Why A’s threw a party for Joakim Soria

first_imgST. LOUIS — Replete with a cake bearing the Mexican flag and his record number, the Oakland A’s honored reliever Joakim Soria on Wednesday for achieving a milestone among Mexican-born pitchers. Soria pitched an inning of relief Tuesday night in the A’s 7-3 victory over the Cardinals – the 647th appearance of his career and most-ever by a Mexican-born pitcher.“You have to be healthy. You have to be in the big leagues. You have to perform,” Soria said in explaining the mark. “You have to be in …last_img read more

Saving albatross, on sea and land

first_imgA black-browed albatross caring for itschick. Albatrosses are attentive parents, with breeding behaviour adapted to empty and safe islands. They therefore have no evolutionary defence against insidious new threats, introduced by people, such as predatory mice. While mice eat their chicks alive, the albatross parents sit by with no sense of their chicks’ plight. (Image: Save the Albatross Campaign) A northern royal albatross in flight near its colony in Taiaroa Head, New Zealand. Albatrosses range over huge areas of ocean, spending over half their lives in flight and regularly circling the globe. (Image: Wikimedia) An infant albatross with deep wounds inflicted by mice. Gough Island in the Southern Atlantic Ocean has a population of some 1-million mice, with devastating effects for the large ocean birds that breed there. (Image strictly copyright Ross Wanless. This image may not be republished or redistributed in any way.) A mouse on Gough Island with the remains of its much larger prey, a petrel chick. (Image strictly copyright Ross Wanless. This image may not be republished or redistributed in any way.)Jennifer SternWith a wingspan greater than the height of the tallest man and over half their lives spent in flight over the seas, albatrosses have a special place in the human imagination. But these great birds, evolved to fill a unique evolutionary niche, are under threat from both huge fishing fleets and the smallest of predators.Albatrosses wander the southern seas skimming the ocean rollers for years at a time. They occasionally land on the water to sleep but, it is thought, can actually catch a few winks while flying. No-one knows for sure, but scientists think that on long flights they may, like dolphins, transport themselves using one hemisphere of their brain, while sleeping with the other.On their long flights albatrosses feed on marine carrion, as well as krill and other sea-surface creatures. Their eyesight is good, but not much use for finding food over the featureless ocean – at least not until they’re almost on top of their lunch. They also dip their feet into the sea to test the temperature and somehow use the information to find out whether there’s a meal in the vicinity.Their most effective sense is smell, as most of their food is dead and floating on the surface. Albatrosses fly enormous distances to find small patches of food scattered over a vast area. This may be the remains of a dead whale, a patch of krill associated with upwelling, a plankton bloom, or even a spawning event.Animals such as squid all spawn together over a short period and then, conveniently for the albatrosses, die en masse, floating to the surface. The albatrosses’ food-finding instincts have served the bird well for millennia, but in the last hundred years or so things have changed.Deadly baitThe last century has seen a revolution in commercial fishing. Refrigeration now allows huge fleets to travel far across the sea, catching and processing enormous numbers of fish. The once-empty southern oceans are now densely populated with trawlers and long-line fishing boats. Unfortunately, these almost exactly replicate the feeding conditions of albatrosses, and other sea feeders such as petrels.Long-line boats lay enormously long fishing lines with baited hooks out the back of the vessel. The lines and bait, which is not exactly at its freshest, float on the surface, sending out deliciously attractive olfactory signals to passing albatrosses.The birds fly down and, as they have done for thousands of years, snatch the morsel from the sea surface. But that morsel is attached to a hook, so the bird is snared, dragged behind the boat, and drowned.It’s estimated that long-line fishing kills more than 100 000 albatrosses a year. That’s one every five minutes. Two albatrosses will have been dragged to a cold and lonely death by the time you have finished reading this article.Fishing trawlers are also deadly to the birds. Trawling nets are enormous – about 50m in length and filled with up to 20 tons of fish on a successful drag. As the net surfaces it is pulled to the boat, and the catch comes within reach of albatrosses and other birds – a veritable feast. The birds may survive a nibble or two, but eventually they get tangled in the net, dragged underwater, and drowned.The upshot is that the great bird’s numbers are declining at an alarming rate, with 19 of the 22 species of albatross listed in the Red Data Book, a global compendium of threatened and endangered species of plants and animals, compiled by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.Safe on land?But it’s not only at sea that albatrosses are threatened. They breed almost exclusively on empty oceanic islands, so they have evolved in an unthreatening environment. They are totally safe in the air and, before commercial fishing, were virtually unthreatened in the water – although they could get nabbed by an opportunistic seal or shark.In 2001 a group of ornithologists spent a year on Gough Island, a cold volcanic island rising from the South Atlantic Ocean at a midpoint between the southern tips of Africa and South America and the northern coast of Antarctica. They made it a priority to find out how well the albatrosses were breeding, given the birds’ severe mortality at sea.The scientists counted the pairs of incubating adults in January and, after hatching, in September counted the surviving chicks. The figures were frightening.Expecting a 60% to 70% breeding success, they were horrified to find it was closer to 30%. More than half the chicks had died. And they had no idea why – although they had a few suspicions.Ross Wanless, a PhD candidate from South Africa’s University of Cape Town, spent a year on Gough from October 2003 to September 2004 to find out what was happening to the chicks. The potential suspects included some kind of disease, poor feeding conditions, the high mortality of adults at sea – causing abandonment of the chicks – or, perhaps, predation by mice.Mice are not indigenous to Gough. Albatrosses evolved to breed on land entirely free of terrestrial predators so, with no natural land enemies, they have no natural land defences. The odd skua may drop in to steal eggs or chicks but the albatrosses could deal with that. They’d see them flying in and, with a good deal of squawking and wing flapping, see them off in a typically avian fashion.For thousands of years there were no mammals – and certainly no humans – on the birds’ breeding islands. But everything changed with the arrival of people.People came with passengers, small companions that had a huge impact on the delicate ecosystems of the southern islands. In 1949 five domestic cats were brought to Marion Island to deal with a mouse problem at the meteorological station. But the cats found burrowing petrels tastier than mice, and their numbers exploded. By 1977 there were 3 400 cats on the island, threatening to drive the birds to extinction. The resulting eradication programme, started in 1982, only managed to remove all cats from Marion by the early 1990s.Gough Island is home to an estimated 1-million mice. Cute, harmless little creatures, one would think.Wanless found otherwise. Like his predecessors, he counted the incubating adult pairs as a basis from which to measure breeding success. But about a month after the chicks had hatched, he began to find bloodied, dead and dying little albatross fluffballs.The mice were, literally, eating the chicks alive, sometimes taking up to a week to finish one off. And all the while the parents would sit there, unaware that their chicks needed help. They had no evolutionary reference for that kind of threat.Save the Albatross CampaignIts lifetime of lonely voyaging makes the albatross resonate in human culture. It’s an agent of karma in Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner and, even, material for Monty Python. The opened wings of the great albatrosses are the widest of any bird, extending over 3.4 metres (11 feet) – a span far larger than the height of the tallest man. They are magnificent birds, and something had to be done.The Save the Albatross Campaign (STAC) is an international organisation set up to find ways to end the breeding and feeding threats to the great bird. One of its priorities is vermin control, with the mice of Gough Island soon to go the way of the cats of Marion Island.The campaign also works with the fishing industry to find an answer to the problem of “by-catch” – a euphemism for animals inadvertently killed in the efficient process of commercial fishing.The solutions are win-win because fishing boats actually do want to only catch fish, not albatrosses, which have no commercial value. Stopping albatrosses from taking bait will reduce fishing companies’ wastage, and improve their bottom line. STAC works at the levels of both the big fishing commissions, or Regional Fishing Management Organisations (RFMOs), and individual crews and fishing companies.On the big scale, the campaign’s objective is to get RFMOs to acknowledge the problem, and take action. There has been good progress. The next step is the mandatory inclusion of mitigation measures in long-line and trawling fleets. These would include setting lines at night when albatrosses don’t feed, making the long-line bait sink quickly so the birds can’t get to it, and bird-scaring lines. The last are, in effect, marine scarecrows – long lines with scary, noisy, fluttering streamers set out before the lines or nets are laid. The birds find them terrifying, and keep away.Scaring lines are another win-win part of the campaign. With STAC’s help, previously unemployed people in Ocean View in Cape Town have started small businesses to make the bird-scaring lines. STAC then buys the lines, and gives them to the fishing boats for free.Unlike dolphin-friendly labelling on tuna tins, there is currently no labelling system for albatross-friendly seafood. But if you want to help save the albatross, look out for the logo of the Marine Stewardship Council on any seafood you buy. This organisation certifies responsible fisheries, with bird-friendliness one of its criteria.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at marya@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.Related articlesBoulders penguins’ promised landLooking out for South Africa’s sea life Saving our vulnerable sharksUseful linksSave the Albatross Campaign Birdlife South AfricaInternational Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Southern African Sustainable Seafood initiativeMarine Stewardship Councillast_img read more

Gibela on track for South African factory

first_img2 July 2015The Gibela Rail Transport Consortium (Gibela) is gearing up to start the construction of its R1-billion, 85 000m² factory complex at Dunnottar in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng. Construction is scheduled to start in the third quarter of this year.Once up and running, it will be building trains at a hitherto unheard-of peak rate of 62 trains a year – and South Africa will have taken a very visible and significant leap into the world of high-tech train manufacturing, according to Gibela. “South Africa’s 40-odd year gap when it comes to train-building technology is about to close,” it says.The factory is part of a contract signed by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) with the Alstom-led consortium in October 2013. Work was meant to start on the factory in the beginning of this year, but delays in securing the site led to delays in construction.The R51-billion contract is to supply Prasa with 600 new trains over 10 years. The first 20 trains are being made in Brazil; the balance will be assembled at the Dunnottar complex. The last train is scheduled for delivery in 2027.This project will, in keeping with the mandate of Prasa, help to restore the viability of South Africa’s commuter rail system, says Gibela. But the expanded fleet of trains is only one of the benefits: others are the skills and technology transfer from Gibela’s French parent company, Alstom, as well as local sourcing of specialised components that will contribute to South Africa’s industrial growth.Job creationTrains are built by people, and once fully operational, the Dunnottar facility employ at least 1 500 people, the majority of whom will be skilled artisans. Recruitment is already at an advanced planning stage for permanent positions, with clear career paths for those selected.Preference will be given to those who have academic qualifications as well as artisanal skills. Most of those recruited will be drawn from the areas adjacent to the manufacturing facility but given the scarcity of the required skills, the net will be cast wider.However, Gibela will undertake training as well in various rail-related skills for possible jobs in the rail industry.At the outset, artisans possessing a range of skills, including leadership, will be selected for intensive training at Alstom’s Brazilian facility where the first 20 of the Prasa trains are being made. They will then be able to pass on their skills to their colleagues back in South Africa on their return.More than 20 Gibela employees, the majority of whom are engineers, are already in France, Italy, Belgium and Brazil, where they are receiving a cross-section of advanced skills that will be critical in supporting a manufacturing rate that will, according to Granger, “test the abilities of the most experienced and large original equipment manufacturer at its best manufacturing unit”.Gibela will ramp up from the current staff complement of 112 to 350 by the end of the company’s March 2016 financial year.Supplier networkParts and components needed to build the modern trains will need to be state of the art. New and established South African suppliers will be brought on board, some of whom will occupy premises at the Dunnottar factory site. A robust, sustainable local supplier base needs to be developed to achieve the company’s 65% local content obligations, it says.To build ties with local suppliers, Gibela has been interacting with local suppliers to leverage the company’s expertise and that of Alstom to equip them with capabilities to be competitive and to manufacture at the required rate and quality. “It is through these relationships and the transparent exchange of information that challenges such as lack of industrialisation and industrial capacity shortages can be overcome and the supply of long-lead items (on time, on budget and in the right quantities) assured,” says Gibela.Work on the first 20 trains in Brazil is well on track, and the first train with its six cars is in the testing phase. Shipment to South Africa is planned in September, with on-shore delivery in November. All six cars of train number two are in the fitting phase and production for the rest is on-going.“We are pleased with the progress made and our Brazilian colleagues are now getting ready to welcome South African artisans and to not only impart skills but also benefit from language and cross-cultural exchanges,” says Granger.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

USDA allows producers to opt out of MPP

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that starting Sept. 1, 2017, dairy producers can enroll for 2018 coverage in the Margin Protection Program (MPP-Dairy).  Secretary Sonny Perdue has utilized additional flexibility this year by providing dairy producers the option of opting out of the program for 2018.“Secretary Perdue is using his authority to allow producers to withdraw from the MPP Dairy Program and not pay the annual administrative fee for 2018,” said Rob Johansson, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “The decision is in response to requests by the dairy industry and a number of MPP-Dairy program participants.”To opt out, a producer should not sign up during the annual registration period. By opting out, a producer would not receive any MPP-Dairy benefits if payments are triggered for 2018. Full details will be included in a subsequent Federal Register Notice. The decision would be for 2018 only and is not retroactive.The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating dairy producers when the margin — the difference between the price of milk and feed costs — falls below the coverage level selected by the producer.MPP-Dairy gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation. Enrollment ends on Dec. 15, 2017, for coverage in calendar year 2018. Participating farmers will remain in the program through Dec. 31, 2018, and pay a minimum $100 administrative fee for 2018 coverage. Producers have the option of selecting a different coverage level from the previous coverage year during open enrollment.Dairy operations enrolling in the program must meet conservation compliance provisions and cannot participate in the Livestock Gross Margin Dairy Insurance Program. Producers can mail the appropriate form to the producer’s administrative county FSA office, along with applicable fees, without necessitating a trip to the local FSA office. If electing higher coverage for 2018, dairy producers can either pay the premium in full at the time of enrollment or pay 100 percent of the premium by Sept. 1, 2018. Premium fees may be paid directly to FSA or producers can work with their milk handlers to remit premiums on their behalf.USDA has a web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the MPP-Dairy that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The online resource, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool, allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, Smartphone, tablet or any other platform, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.For more information, visit FSA online at www.fsa.usda.gov/dairy or stop by a local FSA office to learn more about the MPP-Dairy.last_img read more

That’s one way to get ahead. — Heads of State (GCE041) — Geocache of the Week

first_imgPhotos and Video: Busted! Photo by geocacher MXTrekkerWatch out for the giant Beatles! Photo by geocacher Drew136Just “head” over to this cache to meet these folks. Photo by geocacher ArdentEnthusiastNot even Abe ‘nose’ what you’re looking for. Photo by geocacher Scorpios2931What little-known spots have you discovered by geocaching? Tell us in the comments.Continue to explore some of the most engaging geocaches around the globe. Check out all the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog.If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, just fill out this form. Thanks!Share with your Friends:More These fashionable gentlemen were always a’head’ of the curve. Photo by geocacher TresHntrsGeocache Name:Heads of State (GCE041)Difficulty/Terrain Rating:1/1Why this is the Geocache of the Week:There are some places that deserve to be seen. These rarely visited gems can be anything from a hidden pocket park to a piece of beautiful graffiti—or even a place full of giant presidential heads. However, you can’t always place a geocache there to bring people in. That’s where Virtual Caches come in. While a few rule changes made new Virtual Caches into Waymarks, some of the older Virtual Caches have been grandfathered in since they existed before the rule change. This spot, located in Houston, Texas, is where an artist sculpted and cast these presidential busts for use in a park near Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. You’ll also find sculptures of the Beatles here. What geocachers are saying:“I came down to Houston for the weekend to grab a bunch of challenge caches and virtuals…this one was on my list…..very cool place….added a few pictures to my log….thanks for bringing me here……TFTC!” – mightymouse21“Wow, this was a hoot! Detouring through Texas on our way to GeoWoodstock and had to stop at this one. Glad we did. Took pictures so we will post after we get back to Florida next week. Thanks for the adventure.” – Wilemon“Wow this is great…the things you get to see while geocaching, never would have come here or new about this had it not been for caching, thanks for placing!!” – Holn1b4IDie SharePrint RelatedOne for the Little People — Geocache of the WeekSeptember 5, 2018In “Community”The name says it all. — Director’s A-Mazing Treasure Hunt (GC3Y1GE) — Geocache of the WeekSeptember 10, 2014In “Community”Caching hot spots in Australia, according to Signal the Frog®January 16, 2018In “Community”last_img read more

6 Factors to Determine the Success of Your IoT Project

first_imgThe emergence of IoT has led to work smarter and revolutionizing the way employees work and interact with others. Workplaces are getting smarter; employees are being more productive and potential for smart workplace scheduling is evolving.According to a recent survey by Cisco, deployment of IoT is stalled 60% of the time while only 26% of respondents consider their deployment successful.When it comes to deployment of IoT, a number of factors decide the fate of the project. Either you win or you lose, however, the poor implementation would lead you to lose money and time.How can developers implement a successful IoT project to avoid any loss is the biggest question? Let us have a look at how IoT can be deployed successfully without losing money and wasting time.1.) Strategic Planning before Deploying Before deploying IoT, it is necessary to have a strategic plan to lead your project to success. At this stage, you have to identify your goals, success metrics, business process evaluation and technical inventory. Moreover, you must also have a strong team of qualified experts to assess the opportunities and threats before deploying Internet of things.In a recent Bain and Co. IoT study conducted with over 90% of executives said that “their organization is currently in the state of planning and proof of concept stage”.No matter how longer you to have to spend on your research and plans, it will ultimately lead to reducing the failure rate.2.) Allocate the Hardware Devices Enterprise IoT Solution is not like an application that can be started instantly as the idea comes to mind. The deployment of IoT requires allocation of equipment and machinery from the present inventory of devices.Keeping in view your business goals and expected results, you may have to collaborate with OEM to source bridges, sensors, adapters, actuators and other hardware. After the above step, the organization would have assigned everything that takes to onboard physical devices to the connected platforms.3.) Estimate the Cost of Not Deploying IoT IoT projects will affect the overall process in your organization. Before deploying IoT in your organization, you must determine the real cost of the process being improved. The fixed costs are easy to determine while the variable ones are difficult to evaluate. If you think the cost can be achieved, the project should not be left in the middle.4.) Implement Security and Governance Like any other enterprise solution, IoT security is critical and datasets should be unnamed, inscribed and compressed before processing. It is necessary to have a governance model to limit the access to sensitive and private data. Policies will identify the roles of each individual to control the devices and access the business intelligence dashboard. IoT security must be aligned with existing corporate policies and best security practices.5.) Drive Continuous Improvement Your IoT project should be scalable and improve with the passage of time. As your organization is set to expand and grow, you cannot afford to set your IOT project on the same level. Look for the future prospects and strategize your IoT project mindfully in order to take the leap. The best way is to ask an expert and consult the IoT solution provider to give the best solution that is easily adaptable and scalable at the same time.6.) Intuitive User Experience for Decision Makers Generally, IoT solutions are devised to have user experience meant for two personas including decision makers and operation manager. Operation managers are directly responsible for managing devices later though IoT solution. In fact, they are responsible for maintaining the flawless functioning of devices.In case of business decision makers, they are contingent on data-driven insights for business decision making. They need access to dashboards that represents critical parameters originating from the hot path and cold part analytics. Moreover, they are also granted permission to change the policies and rules according to the changing needs of the business.Author Bio:Ray Parker is an entrepreneur and internet marketer with over 15 years of experience in Search Engine Optimization, Creative Writing and Digital Marketing with IQVIS. He has worked with several clients from all over the globe to offer his services in various domains with a proven track record of success. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Ray Parker is an entrepreneur and internet marketer with over 9 years of experience in Search Engine Optimization, Creative Writing and Digital Marketing. Ray Parker Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Tags:#deployment#Entrepreneur#executives#featured#iot project#iot solution#security Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Related Posts Follow the Pucklast_img read more

Dumaan dedicates pencak silat gold to family

first_imgLATEST STORIES Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Dumaan is second of a brood of six. Their parents are rice farmers.He worked his way up all the way to the national team because of his impressive showing in the sparring sessions.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingDumaan also competed in wushu and taekwondo but now prefers pencak silat where he won the gold medal in the tanding Class A for 45-kg-50kg division in the SEA Games.It was the Philippines’ first gold in the sport since 2005. NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul The Philippine pencak silat team will compete in Korea on Sept 21 for the third Asian Pencak Silat Championship.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ MOST READ Biggest Pogo service provider padlocked for tax evasion Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim NBA: Lamar Odom seeks 1-day contract, retirement with Lakers Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony Dines Dumaan of the Philippines after winning the gold medal in the men’s tanding putra class A 45-50 kg division of the 29th Southeast Asian Games pencak silat competition Tuesday at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center in Kuala Lumpur. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/SEA GAMES POOLKUALA LUMPUR — The first thing 2017 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Dines Dumaan wants to do when he returns to the Philippines is bond with his family back in Roxas City.“I dedicate my gold medal to my countrymen and then to my family,” said the 21-year old Dumaan, who is a full-time athlete after dropping out from college.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’last_img read more