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Mason City School District looking to apply for membership in Northeast Iowa Conference

first_imgMASON CITY — The Mason City School Board tonight will consider a recommendation to make an application for membership in the Northeast Iowa Conference. The high school’s athletics and activities director Barry Andersen for the last few months has been looking into the possibility of the school district leaving the Central Iowa Metro League. Andersen’s recommendation to the board says moving to the Northeast Iowa Conference would cut travel costs almost in half and hopefully would equalize competition for students. Andersen in a memo to the school board says it would also help with scheduling, and that the student socio-economic profile is similar in all schools.Five of the seven members of the Northeast Iowa Conference would have to approve the application. The NEIC’s current membership includes Waverly-Shell Rock, Decorah, Charles City, Crestwood, Waukon, Oelwein and New Hampton. The Mason City School Board meets tonight at 5:30 in the administration building.last_img read more

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TRF Trains 13 Journalists on Illicit Financial Flows, Tax Haven Reporting

first_imgThe journalists who participated in the trainingA three-day media training workshop under the theme ‘Foundation Wealth of Nation’ organized by the Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF) to horn the skills of journalists in covering illicit financial flows and tax havens has ended in Monrovia.The training, which was held on November 23-25, brought together 13 journalists, including Daily Observer’s Business and Economic reporter David A. Yates, and taught them on how to report and investigate illicit financial flows, tax avoidance and the role of tax havens in Liberia and the global economy.The three-day workshop covered illicit finance, elements of reporting on companies, as well as an overview and understanding of company accounts. It also included consideration in the Liberian context and the impact of illicit financial flows on the country and its people.Facilitator Rex Merrifield said the Wealth of Nations – while reporting on the illicit financial flows project, was part of a larger program taking place across Africa to support journalists and media organizations to cover illicit financial flows and raise awareness of the issue.Merrifield said the training also encouraged journalism that relates these issues to the lives of citizens through engaging storytelling in a proper way.The course also focused on improving coverage of national and international financial issues through detailed briefings, where appropriate.The TRF training consultant meanwhile urged journalists to use the knowledge acquired over the three days and put it into practice.Siatta-Scott Johnson, president of the Female Journalist Association (Feja), who spoke on behalf of the participants, thanked Merrifield and TRF for the workshop.Participants included: David A. Yates (Daily Observer); Zeze Ballah (Bush Chicken); Precious Gaye (Inprofile Daily); Kokulubah Zayzay (UNMIL Radio); Orlind Cooper (Media Development), Int; Bettie Johnson-Mbayo, Al-Varney Rogers (FrontPage Africa), Siatta-Scott Johnson (President of Female Journalist Association); Edward Blamo (Capital Times); Emmanuel T. Dagleh (ELBC correspondent) and Classic FM in Margibi County; Alloysious Davies (The News); Mr. Gbatemah (Bush Chicken).Wealth of Nations is an award-winning program run by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in collaboration with some of Africa’s leading organizations, promoting excellence in journalism.The project is supported by Norway’s Development Agency (Norad), and was named the winner of the International Capacity Building category at the British Expertise International Awards 2017, which recognize outstanding international work done by UK based organizations.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Why Your Brain Has Gray Matter, and Why You Should Use It

first_imgVertebrate brains have an outer layer of “gray matter” over the inner “white matter.”  Why is this?  “By borrowing mathematical tools from theoretical physics,” a press release from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory announced, two researchers found out.Based on no fewer than 62 mathematical equations and expressions, the theory provides a possible explanation for the structure of various regions including the cerebral cortex and spinal cord.  The theory is based on the idea that maximum brain function requires a high level of interconnectivity among brain neurons but a low level of delays in the time it takes for signals to move through the brain.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Their paper was published in PLoS Computational Biology.1  Despite the implicit deduction that the brain appears optimally designed, the authors looked to the random, unguided processes of evolution to explain how it got that way.  Notice the first word in this next sentence: “Assuming that evolution maximized brain functionality, what is the reason for such segregation?”  they asked.  Did the claim of evolution ever get past the assumption stage?Gray matter contains neuron somata, synapses, and local wiring, such as dendrites and mostly nonmyelinated axons.  White matter contains global, and in large brains mostly myelinated, axons that implement global communication.  What is the evolutionary advantage of such segregation?  Networks with the same local and global connectivity could be wired so that global and local connections are finely intermixed.  Since such design is not observed, and invoking an evolutionary accident as an explanation has agnostic flavor, we searched for an explanation based on the optimization approach, which is rooted in the evolutionary theory.Their use of the term agnostic is not what most people think (i.e., uncertainty about the existence of God), but a-gnostic, or “not knowing.”  They understood, in other words, that saying it was a lucky accident is a non-answer.  Rather, they assumed that evolutionary theory provides a pathway through the randomness toward optimization.  They stated again that this was their starting assumption:We started with the assumption that evolution “tinkered” with brain design [sic] to maximize its functionality.  Brain functionality must benefit from higher synaptic connectivity, because synaptic connections are central for information processing as well as learning and memory, thought to manifest in synaptic modifications.  However, increasing connectivity requires adding wiring to the network, which comes at a cost.  The cost of wiring is due to metabolic energy required for maintenance and conduction, guidance mechanisms in development, conduction time delays and attenuation, and wiring volume.Sounds like a lot of engineering talk.  The scientists assumed, but did not demonstrate in this paper,2 that natural selection was up to the task of yielding this optimized entity sometimes called the most complex assemblage of matter in the known universe.1Quan Wen and Dmitri B. Chlovskii, “Segregation of the Brain into Gray and White Matter: A Design Minimizing Conduction Delays,” Public Library of Science Computational Biology, Volume 1 | Issue 7 | December 2005.2Here are the only other mentions of evolution in this paper:“Although wiring volume minimization is an important factor in the evolution of brain design, [earlier] results remain inconclusive…”“Finally, it is likely that, in the course of evolution, minimization of conduction delay was accompanied by the increase in connectivity.”“In a neurobiological context this means a combination of high computational power in local circuits with fast global communication.  Thus it is not surprising that evolution adopted this architecture when the size of the network made all-to-all connectivity impractical.”“Although we do not know whether competing desiderata of short time delay and high interconnectivity were crucial factors driving evolution of vertebrate brains, our theory makes testable predictions.  Below, we compare these predictions with known anatomical facts.”  (These concerned measurements of cortical thickness and brain size among various vertebrates.)“In general, the evolutionary cost is likely to include both the volume and the time delay.”In none of these references to evolution were specific details provided about how the variations occurred, how they added up, and how they converged on a variety of vertebrate brains, each composed of billions of neurons that function together as an optimized unit.Brains are mathematically perfect for achieving the sweet spot between maximized interconnectivity and minimized transmission delays.  The authors reminded us that a human brain contains about 10 billion neurons, and that each one can contain thousands of connections with other neurons.  The two-layer structure meets the competing requirements to a T.  That part is amazing.  Assuming that evolution did it earns this entry the Dumb award – really dumb.    Here again we are told about another apparition of the goddess of the Darwin Party, Tinker Bell.  As the legend goes, she flitted aimlessly around the Cambrian swamps about 500 million years ago, zapping some emerging vertebrates with her mutation wand, killing countless myriads of them till one emerged lucky enough to have the beginnings of an optimized brain.  As animals evolved, this process was repeated myriads of times more over millions of years, producing larger and more complex brains.  Finally, at the end of the line, computational biologists emerged who could look back and analyze the whole process with abstract reasoning and mathematical equations, concluding that evolution had produced an optimized brain.  Let us ask these true believers a simple question.  If the brain evolved, how can you be sure of anything, including the proposition that the brain evolved?  (From experience, we know that posing this type of question to a Darwinist is like putting a moron in a round room and telling him there is a penny in the corner.)    By assuming evolution at the outset, these computational evolutionists have provided as much insight into the origin of the brain as the vain mathematician did in the “assume we have a can opener” joke in the 12/17/2005 commentary.  Their logic is as follows: Assume evolution produces optimized structures.  An optimized brain would be structured so as to maximize interconnectivity and minimize delays.  The brains we observe accomplish this by segregating highly-connected neurons in a gray matter layer and long axons in a white matter layer, thus fulfilling both requirements in an exquisite product that is the most complex device in the universe, that took us 62 simultaneous equations to describe.  Isn’t evolution wonderful?    Undoubtedly this paper will be dutifully added to the growing corpus of scripture that the Darwin Party can hold up at school board meetings to show that the peer-reviewed scientific journals are filled with evidence for evolution, and that nothing in biology would make sense without it.  Anyone raising his hand and saying, but to me, that looks like design would be quickly answered with, “Excuse me, we are talking about science here.  If you want to change the subject to religion, go to church.”    Assumption is the mother of all myths.  Perhaps you have heard the etymology of the word ASSUME: making an ASS (donkey) out of U and ME.  Having gray matter is one thing.  Using it is another.(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Standard buys into Russian bank

first_img9 March 2009Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank by assets, is to acquire a 33% stake in the Troika Dialog Group, the most established and largest independent investment bank in Russia.Standard Bank said in a statement last week that the deal will initially comprise a US$200-million (about R2.1-billion) convertible loan extended by the bank’s international operations to the Troika Dialog Group.This will be followed by the sale of 100% Standard Bank’s existing Russian operations, ZAO Standard Bank, to Troika.“The combined operation will have a capital base in excess of $850-million and will be strongly positioned to compete in the Russian financial services sector and to pursue banking consolidation opportunities in Russia,” Standard Bank said.According to news agency Reuters, the transaction marks the first major foreign investment in the Russian financial sector since the start of the global economic crisis.Emerging market bankingRussia is the third-largest economy amongst global emerging markets and has considerable wealth, while Troika is a brokerage and investment bank that operates across the Commonwealth of Independent States.“It has consistently demonstrated market strength in its core lines of business, namely capital, investment banking, asset management, private equity investments and personal investments and finance,” Standard Bank said.In order to give effect to the strategic partnership, Standard Bank and Troika Dialog plan to enter a relationship agreement which will govern the ongoing shareholder relationship and commercial cooperation between the two groups.Expansion strategy“The investment is aligned with Standard Bank’s strategy to expand its international networks and capabilities and, where appropriate, to find the right partners to support the expansion of these networks,” Standard Bank said.“This transaction enables Standard Bank to have an enhanced access to this large emerging economy, along with a close alliance with a leading Russian company.”The transaction is subject to the approval of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the Russian antitrust authorities and the South African Registrar of Banks.SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

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Map Your Show at the FSR

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest New for this year’s 55th Farm Science Review, visitors will be able to “Map Your Show” on a new mobile app in preparation for the three-day event. The app is available in app stores now. Visitors will be able to browse the interactive map and search for specific exhibitors or product categories.“Visitors will be able to see over 4,000 product lines exhibited by 640 exhibitors,” said Nick Zachrich, Farm Science Review Manager. Educational presentations, demonstrations and displays are ongoing throughout the three days, Zachrich said. Research tours on water quality, nutrient management and other topics in partnership with Ohio State and Beck’s Hybrids will be available.Visitors seeking credits for Certified Crop Advisors (CCA) or pesticide application recertification should check the event schedule, Zachrich said.Shuttle wagons will take visitors to a variety of field demonstrations featuring different agronomic operations. Demonstrations include drainage installation, UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicles), cornstalk baling and much more.last_img read more

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Year-End VC Report Shows Strength of Internet & Early Stage Investment

first_imgInvestment research firm CB Insights has released its end-of-year report for 2010, which finds both the fourth quarter and the year overall ending strong. The $6.5 billion in VC funding over 735 deals makes the fourth quarter an eight quarter high on deals and dollars. And overall, the year saw $23.7 billion in funding in 2792 deals – a 14% growth in funding and a 13% growth in deals over 2009.“For those of you looking for a data point that suggests VC is back and on the road to recovery after 2009’s tough sledding,” the report reads, “the eight quarter high on deals and dollars gives you something to hang your hat on. For those of you who think VC is overheated and we’re headed for a bubble, the eight quarter high on deals and dollars gives you something to hang your hat on. Yes – it’s all a matter of perspective.” And for those of you wanting to argue that New York is indeed a hotspot for investment, this report will help make that argument too.The report identifies a number of trends in both industries and regions.New York Takes the #2 Spot For Tech VC from MassachusettsOver the last five quarters, New York saw 208 tech deals. Massachusetts, 207. Funding to New York companies came in at $1.22 billion versus the $1.21 billion for Massachusetts. Sure, this isn’t a rousting of Massachusetts by New York. It’s a slim victory. What is interesting, however, are the trends of these states when mapped together. Internet Hot, Hot, HotBoth deals and dollars were up – way up – for the Internet sector, hitting a five quarter high – even if you exclude the massive Groupon funding from the calculations. Related Posts Investment in green tech and clean tech declined. And while deals in the healthcare space were up slightly year-over-year, funding was down almost 16%. audrey watters Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Early Stage VC GrowsSeed VC deals stayed about the same in the fourth quarter as in Q3 – about 11% of deals. But the share of Series A deals increased over the same period. And altogether, early stage deal activity was nearly 50% of total deals, the highest level in five quarters. Tags:#start#tips The fourth quarter was the highest in five quarters for New York in terms of investment and deal volume – up 90% and 29% respectively since the third quarter. And year-over-year, investment in New York was up 63%.Number of VC Deals Grows in California, But Funding Dollars DownCalifornia is still the leading state for venture capital. Relative to 2009, California saw a 3% growth in the number of deals, but the funding amount dropped by 2%. 60% of the funding in the state when to Internet and Healthcare companies. No surprise, mobile investment continued to grow. Alas, Poor Washington…Over 50% of the deals in Washington were in early-stage companies, and almost 60% of the deals were to Internet firms. As the latter tend to be less capital-intensive than other industries, this drove Washington to a five quarter low in VC funding. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Playing on a Perfect Pitch

first_imgA dying sportswriter, Karunasena, wants to make a documentary on cricketer Pradeep Mathew, who he believes to be the greatest spin bowler ever. There is a compelling mystery surrounding this cricketer. Who is he? What is his mystique? Is he alive? Did he even exist? If so, how was he erased from public memory? Will the quest that now gives meaning to the life of an otherwise inconsequential writer be realised? The plot of this engrossing mystery is easily summarised. But its literary achievement is not. Chinaman is, quite simply put, something as close to a masterpiece as anything to have come out of South Asia in recent years. Most South Asian writing in English has lived down to a genre in which critics place it. We have the “postcolonial” novel, the “Indian” novel, the “Pakistani” novel and so forth; almost as if novels were simply history by other means. In line with our tendency to engage novels by placing them in genres and limiting them, Chinaman is also being described as the Great Sri Lankan Novel or, more charitably, the Great Cricket Novel. Its achievement is that its plenitude transcends any description that seeks to confine it to a particular genre. It is, unlike much other writing in this genre, simply a great novel: a work of exquisite literary craftsmanship.What makes this novel exceptional is this. In most contemporary novels, identity dominates over individuality, history over character, argument over observation, politics over life, moralising over moral psychology. Chinaman is a class apart for several reasons. It is incredibly funny and moving at the same time. It has a lightness of touch that lesser writers can only aspire to achieve. The humour in the book resides not simply in the jokes; it is the way in which the humour gives a whole new context to the complexities of life. Its prose is crystal sharp, almost Wodehousian in its precision. It can convey in one lapidary sentence what other novels take pages to describe. The characters are memorable. Their insights on life come largely from their individuality. Karunasena, for example, achieves a kind of luminous, wry and funny clarity over his surroundings largely because of his defeatism. It is almost as if you can understand the world only if you have no stake in it.advertisementHis small circle of friends and family are memorable in their own ways. If Karunasena has the insight of detachment, his wife has the insight of affection; his son of rebellion; and his friends of a genteel sociability. There is also a rich cast of finely etched smaller characters, none of whom is wasted. The conversations amongst all the characters pull off the unbelievable feat of being both so recognisable and so funny at the same time. Many of the conversations, particularly between Karunasena and his wife Sheila, are perfect examples of what a master novelist can do.The novel deftly brings into perspective several large themes: the odd gap between talent and success, the regret of recognising a truth too late, the importance of sociability. Much of it is a wry look at the way we construct meaning. Some of Karunasena’s friends are busy searching for the meaning of life, flirting with doctrines that promise ultimate redemption. But Karunasena is more engaged with the meaning of life. “Unlike life, sports matters” will perhaps become the most often quoted of several memorable epigrams in the book. Like most humans, Karunasena constructs meaning vicariously, living through the achievements of others. What can compare with the thrill of a World Cup victory, or your son hitting a six? Sports are, in a sense, like ritual: anyone can participate in it vicariously. From an external point of view, it seems arbitrary and pointless. But the paradox is precisely that for this reason it can invest meaning in life like nothing else can.Then there is Pradeep Mathew, the elusive cricketer, whose life itself shows how talent can be hostage to the complex tides of history and fortune. His character bears the weight of ethnic relations in Sri Lanka. But what are these constructs of identity that hold his career hostage? Are they also forms of vicarious arbitrariness? The delicacy with which Karunatilaka weaves history is an object lesson in that old adage about novel writing: show, not tell. The plot has an innovative narrative structure. For cricket fans, Karunatilaka creates an entire world with extraordinary precision: from cricket history to statistics, from bookies to unruly commentators. The cricket is engrossing but never intrusive.advertisementThere are layers and layers to this novel. But it is a measure of Karunatilaka’s craftsmanship that the novel remains so thoroughly enjoyable, a sheer reading delight. Most novels try and plumb depths of history to the point of getting lost. This one does something more difficult and artful: illuminate surfaces with a depth of insight that is rare. “Wasting talent is a crime,” Graham Snow, a commentator, says in the book. “A sin”, replies the character Ari. There is no doubt that Karunatilaka has committed neither a crime nor a sin.last_img read more

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Position Vacant: Game Development Officer – North Queensland

first_imgQueensland Touch invites interested parties to apply for the position of Game Development Officer in North Queensland.We are currently looking to employ a Game Development Officer based in Townsville to service the North Queensland Region. The successful applicant will be employed Full Time however their hours will be flexible and will include weekend work. A laptop and mobile phone will be supplied.Fuel and Travel Expense are all on top of the salary package. The salary will be $35,000 to $42,000 plus Superannuation.If you are passionate and interested in working for one of the largest participation sports in Queensland then apply now.Please see the attached job description with applications required by the COB – 22nd March, 2009.Please send a covering letter and you resume to Rod Wise on email: [email protected] Filesgame_development_officer_qta_1_-pdflast_img read more

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Season 2 starts in Victoria today 2

first_imgTruffaut chicharrones chambray vape banjo ramps, kombucha vexillologist godard kinfolk green juice synth migas. Shoreditch cronut echo park, direct trade tumblr venmo brunch. Mixtape gentrify polaroid, forage food truck chillwave DIY stumptown yr. Church-key roof party coloring book, photo booth yuccie pug fingerstache echo park whatever jean shorts. Forage flexitarian man braid, offal banjo knausgaard whatever chillwave keffiyeh tattooed stumptown austin normcore keytar. Succulents hot chicken coloring book, sriracha chicharrones blog lumbersexual pabst scenester bitters schlitz la croix. Activated charcoal cornhole letterpress bitters.Aesthetic four dollar toast activated charcoal, pinterest vape cold-pressed letterpress readymade flexitarian chambray messenger bag retro deep v. Sustainable bicycle rights keytar vinyl, fashion axe viral gluten-free heirloom listicle swag blue bottle selvage brunch 8-bit vegan. Craft beer chambray listicle, gochujang raw denim cronut street art shabby chic leggings green juice prism hexagon +1 blog. Waistcoat shabby chic hexagon forage truffaut, small batch distilleryportland cornhole blog. Brooklyn raclette sustainable lo-fi crucifix semiotics bushwick neutra post-ironic. Shoreditch woke letterpress, PBR&B thundercats you probably haven’t heard of them authentic before they sold out cronut hell of pinterest affogato hammock. Biodiesel quinoa succulents venmo deep v, vape pabst tacos tbh swag iceland.Man braid ugh lumbersexual, DIY tumblr cray post-ironic literally 90’s hot chicken man bun polaroid you probably haven’t heard of them stumptown– John Citizen3 wolf moon retro freegan quinoa. Wayfarers 8-bit hella PBR&B squid, forage kombucha bitters prism seitan pickled neutra venmo. Intelligentsia echo park typewriter poutine. Man braid ughlumbersexual, DIY tumblr cray post-ironic literally 90’s hot chicken man bun polaroid you probably haven’t heard of them stumptown. Williamsburg slow-carb marfa, vexillologist ramps organicsingle-origin coffee mixtape pop-up. Cliche ramps portland, actually heirloom kickstarter celiac dreamcatcher kogi lo-fi vaporware pok pok tofu. Roof party schlitz subway tile, raw denim pop-up bespoke chartreuse heirloom disrupt la croix tousled fixie fingerstache drinking vinegar.Pug lomo freegan, chillwave locavore 3 wolf moon pork belly pinterest selfies. Asymmetrical iPhone cold-pressed, viral selvage hammock occupy activated charcoal cardigan kale chips four dollar toast actually shabby chic. Cold-pressed viral shabby chic vegan cray. Heirloom four loko biodiesel edison bulb, leggings tofu sustainable trust fund portland etsy scenester direct trade twee hoodie glossier. Af waistcoat next level thundercats. Gastropub cronut brunch enamel pin man braid fashion axe, food truck hell of disrupt plaid gochujang activated charcoal selfies. Ennui selfies XOXOauthentic, hashtag poke la croix bushwick retro intelligentsia.last_img read more

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A local substitute teacher is facing a criminal ch

A local substitute teacher is facing a criminal ch

first_imgA local substitute teacher is facing a criminal charge, for allegedly having sex with one of her students.The woman facing the charge of school employee engaging in a sex act with a student under the age of nineteen is 54-year-old Meta Diane Lovely of Duncanville.Court records show Lovely was a highly requested substitute teacher at Paul W. Bryant High School where the 16-year- old student attended.Information within those records reveal the student told police he frequently went to Lovely’s classroom, which led to social media communication and eventually phone communication between the two.The student said his relationship with Lovely turned sexual and the two began meeting to have sexual intercourse at his residence and other places.In those same documents, it’s written that Lovely denies having sex with the student and they she claims to have only communicated with him as a mentor, but did go to the young man’s house without permission from his mother…where she stayed only for 6 minutes.Lovely’s attorney, Mary Turner released a statement saying, “Meta is innocent and adamantly denies these allegations.Lovely turned herself in to police Wednesday morning and was placed in the Tuscaloosa County Jail on a $30,000.00 bond.last_img read more

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