No hurdles a big mistake by Digicel GP organisers

first_imgThe revelation that there would again be no hurdles event in this year’s Digicel Grand Prix series at the recent launch came as a big shock for many individuals close to the sport.On the schedule are the: 100 metres, 200 metres, 400 metres, 800 metres and 4×400 metres relays, along with the long and high jumps. The latter was added to the list this year.This snub can be seen as a slap in the face for the athletes who are involved in both the intermediate and sprint hurdles. One can understand the hurdles’ absence during last year’s introductory season of the Grand Prix, but it is indeed a big mistake that for the second year in a row this discipline is not one of those events that will be contested.The people who make up the Technical Committee are competent individuals and they do understand the strength of the country’s track and field, so why add the high jump and not one of the hurdle events? Why is it that both the 100m and 200m are being contested at the same meets? They could simply have replaced the 200m with either the 100m hurdles or the 400m hurdles.Outside of the 100 metres, hurdle events have been the country’s most successful at the international level, and athletes doing this discipline should be encouraged.At the last IAAF World Junior Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon, Jamaica had two medallists as Jaheel Hyde won gold in the 400m hurdles, while Tyler Mason won silver in the 110m hurdles.Last summer, it was gold for Danielle Williams in the women’s 100m hurdles with her sister Shermaine also making the final. In the men’s 110m hurdles Hansle Parchment, an Olympic bronze medallist, won the silver medal here, while Omar McLeod almost made it to the final. Also, the defending champion in the men’s 110 metres hurdles at the Commonwealth Games is none other than our own Andrew Riley.If we are getting success in a particular discipline, we must continue to give the younger athletes in the event the support and encouragement that they need.EXCELLENT TRACK RECORDJamaica’s track record in the hurdles has been excellent over the years with several athletes winning major medals.Among the juniors it started with Gillian Russell and continued with Camille Robinson, Shermaine Williams, Natasha Ruddock, Latoya Greaves, Sherene Pinnock, Yanique Thompson, Jeneive Russell, Marvin Williams and Keiron Stewart who have all won medals at the junior level internationally.Among the seniors the likes of Michelle Freeman, Deon Hemmings, Delloreen Ennis- London, Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Winthrop Graham and Danny McFarlane have all had major success.The Digicel Grand Prix series will start on Saturday February 6 with the Western Championships in Montego Bay and the Youngster Goldsmith inside the National Stadium.There is hope that good sense will prevail and it will not be too late for the organisers to have a change of heart and replace one of the sprint events with either the sprint or intermediate hurdles.- R.G.last_img read more

‘State of Emergency Offers No Solutions’

first_imgThe Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) has described as a “misstep and poor political judgment” the Liberian President’s declaration of a national State of Emergency.President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Wednesday declared a “state of emergency” and called for legislative support in accordance with the 1986 Constitution.Addressing a news conference Thursday in Monrovia, IREDD Senior Policy Director Dan T. Saryee, noted that the declaration neither offers any results-oriented solution to the economic reasons cited nor does it provide any direct solution to the eradication of Ebola from “poverty stricken Liberians.”The international research group pointed out that the government’s decision will only exacerbate hardship, escalate vulnerability of the people to hunger and death by curable diseases (malaria, typhoid, diarrhea, etc.) and further deny the country of much needed revenues.  In fact, the consequence that comes with a state of emergency is comparable to shooting oneself in the leg, Saryee said.The research institute believes that the government’s pronouncement is a clear indication that all activities including the operations of concessions, plantations, international NGOs, businesses and market places are hereby “shut down.”IREDD described the President’s decision as a “sad and unprecedented action that demonstrates no iota of good leadership, intended to raise untimely alarm to position Liberia for a handsome share of the funds to fight Ebola in the sub-region.”In finding solution to the spread of Ebola IREDD recommended: “that the National Legislature should deny the approval of the state of emergency required of them by Article 88 of the Liberian Constitution.  Government should urgently take action to prescribe motivational packages such as benefits in insurance, death benefits including education benefits  for children of affected medical practitioners, to ensure they are motivated to make the ultimate sacrifices as required to fight the pandemic.  Government should take concrete actions to re-open all the referral health centers by ensuring that the requisite manpower, technicians, logistics needed to run various testing at these centers are available and accessible.”Relative to the militarization of communities and highways, Saryee asserted that said action was unnecessary, adding; “This only scares away investors.”On the way forward, he said,  government should establish testing centers at every entry point, to ensure that traveler, pedestrians and other commuters are properly screened to prevent the spread of the virus.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Intolerance Grows for Skeptics of Consensus Science in Spite of Data

first_img(Visited 22 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 If you question evolution or man-caused global warming, be prepared for a smear.  If you are a Christian, be prepared for hate.  But the skeptics may have the facts on their side.Bill Nye was at it again (see 8/26/2012), smearing creationists on MSNBC.com, arguing (again) that U.S. science is threatened by those who don’t embrace evolution.  He targeted Bible-believing Christians in particular.  According to AP reporter Dylan Lovan, “The man known to a generation of Americans as ‘The Science Guy’ is condemning efforts by some Christian groups to cast doubts on evolution and lawmakers who want to bring the Bible into science classrooms.”  No examples were cited: only the vague fear that “Nye, 56, also decried efforts in recent years by lawmakers and school boards in some states to present Bible stories as an alternative to evolution in public schools.”   Aside from the fact that academic freedom laws try to allow scientific criticisms of Darwin in science class, not the Bible, the article refers to Christian as believers in the Genesis account, ignoring the fact that many Jews and Muslims do also.  While strongly urging Christians to “question your beliefs,” Bill Nye appears unready to question his own.  In a photo, Nye is shown shaking hands with President Obama.  Some of the comments after the article are filled with unmitigated vitriol against creationists.Live Science took aim at Fox News, a cable TV news service that advertises itself as “fair and balanced” because (unlike its competitors) it presents both conservative and liberal viewpoints.  The headline shouts, “Fox News Climate Coverage 93% Wrong, Report Finds.”  The evidence cited by reporter Stephanie Pappas, though, consisted of little more than circular reasoning: “The researchers found that Fox News and the Journal were consistently dismissive of the established scientific consensus that climate change is happening and that human activities are the main driver.”  This is akin to a syllogism: “a. Everybody who is somebody agrees with me.  b. You don’t agree with me.  c.  You are not somebody.”  Ignoring specifics, Pappas referrred to “established science— in this case, the overwhelming body of evidence that human-caused climate change is occurring.”A look at the literature, though, fails to establish it as established science.  As seen in leading journals, scientists – even though they agree with the consensus – are often the very ones pointing out flaws in their models and doubts about the sweeping conclusions.Recently, for instance, the Editors of Nature (19 Sept 2012) warned, “Better models are needed before exceptional events can be reliably linked to global warming.”  Tying visible effects to the theory require “enormous research effort,” they said, considering the political and economic fallout that may ensue from claims that particular events or threats (“event attribution”) are of man’s doing.  At a recent workshop, “some speakers questioned whether event attribution was possible at all.”   Here’s how indecisive the evidence is: “One critic argued that, given the insufficient observational data and the coarse and mathematically far-from-perfect climate models used to generate attribution claims, they are unjustifiably speculative, basically unverifiable and better not made at all,” they said.  “And even if event attribution were reliable, another speaker added, the notion that it is useful for any section of society is unproven.”  How does that jive with the certainty Stephanie Pappas exhibited?  The editors of Nature, certainly a pro-warming fountainhead, had more subdued advice: “when communicating their results, scientists must be open about shortcomings in the models used.”  The editorial generated some lively comments.Just a week earlier, in a letter to Nature Sept 13, two scientists (who agree with the consensus) noted causes for public skepticism of the climate alarmists.  “The public-image problem of current models stems partly from scientists’ failures to identify the limitations openly,” they said, suggesting that the public is often given bold pronouncements without proper scientific caution.  “It is important to distinguish between questions for which current models are useful as prediction engines and those for which the models merely probe possibilities. The role of science is to reflect on the plausibility and relevance of such possibilities.”  Memories of fraud seem to have faded into the background.It’s not even clear that warming is bad.  “Rather than kicking off the expected cycles of extinction, periods of warming in Earth’s history were accompanied by increased biodiversity, according to a report published this week,” Nature News wrote.  The article hedged its bets that human-caused warming could be worse.  Such reports of significant past warming, though, such as the inference about climate from the redwoods in northern Canada kimberlite (9/19/2012) make it difficult for skeptics to get worked up about what is going on now.  The researcher was actually surprised by what he found: “given that climate change is generally viewed as disruptive, Mayhew admits it was a ‘big surprise” to find that eras of warming were accompanied by increases in biodiversity.’”  His out was to say that the current warming is happening too fast for nature to cope.  By the time that can be proven, however, we will all be dead from old age.In another example of surprise, researchers studied the effects of global warming on migrating cormorants (Gienapp and Bregnballe, “Fitness Consequences of Timing of Migration and Breeding in Cormorants,” PLoS ONE 7(9): e46165. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046165).  They didn’t find what they expected. They thought the birds would be disrupted by the climate shifts, but “the increasing selection pressure on timing seems to be unrelated to climate change as the climatic variables that were related to selection strength did not increase during the study period.”  They tossed the ball to previous papers in footnotes to allege that climate change has disrupted other organisms, but they did not find disruption in their own work.Researchers using a submarine in the North Sea expected to find methane reservoirs locked in ice to be coming loose as the climate warms, unleashing more of the  greenhouse gas that is more potent than CO2.  What they found, Science Daily reported, was that the submarine vents have been spewing out methane for centuries, long before the industrial revolution.  “[T]he fear,” therefore, “that the gas emanation is a consequence of the current rising sea temperature does not seem to apply.… the observed gas emanations are probably not caused by human influence.”Beneath the permafrost of Bylot Island in Canada’s arctic, dead leaves,  tree trunks and pollen tell of a time when a diverse forest thrived there, filled with willow, pine and spruce.  Can a frozen forest rise again?  Live Science reporter Jeanna Brynner investigated this fossil forest, said to be 2.6 to 3 million years old.  The actual wood is preserved, bearing tribute to a much warmer and pleasant past – a surprise, considering how the trees would have had to live in a land of the midnight sun and months of darkness.   Certainly man was not to blame for a significant climate shift.  And that’s not all: even farther north, “Fossil forests of a similar age have also been found on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic, where so-called ‘mummy trees’ were uncovered in the wake of a melting glacier.”  (See 3/17/2011.)What exactly, then, are pro-consensus advocates worried about?  Biblical creationists deny these fossil forests are millions of years old, a seemingly more reasonable interpretation of the evidence.  Darwin skeptics at school boards are not trying to insert religious texts into the science classroom; they generally want to get the lies and distortions about Darwin evolution corrected in textbooks, and mitigate the scare tactics in presentations of global warming.  Meanwhile, the U.S. remains the scientific leader in the world despite millions of his creationist bogeymen.  What precisely is Bill Nye worried about?By all accounts, the hard-core warmist alarmists and Darwin bulldogs are far left in their politics (8/22/2012, 7/26/2012) .  It’s just like leftists to divide people into us-vs-them and use fear and hate to denounce their critics.  It’s just like them to use glittering generalities to advance their view, and associate themselves with “science” (a.k.a. scientism), while sidestepping the uncooperative facts that undermine their position.  They don’t want a reasoned discussion; they want power.  Once you understand their propaganda tactics and how to refute them, your timidity will subside.  Then, learn how to use evidence and logic to put the proud boasters in their place.Project:  Encourage Bill Nye to take his message to Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Syria.last_img read more

Supporting entrepreneurship to create jobs

first_imgThe partnership was announced on Monday 10 March at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Braamfontein; Nedbank handed over a cheque for R1-million to fund the 50 entrepreneurs participating in the 2014 programme (images: Mathiba Molefe)Nedbank and the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship have banded together to support promising entrepreneurs through funding, networking opportunities and mentorship support to help them build lucrative and sustainable businesses.Joe Bayliss, chief executive officer (CEO) at the Virgin Group, said, “Training and development is at the heart of our offering and more importantly, we encourage aspirant entrepreneurs to engage with a community of mentors, role models, industry experts and business networks including investors with both national and international links.”Describing the programmes on offer, he said they “cover a range of key elements in the running of a successful business, including budgeting, financial management, business expansion, sales and marketing, risk management, HR [human resources] and capacity issues.”The partnership was announced on Monday 10 March at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Braamfontein; Nedbank handed over a cheque forR1-million to fund the 50 entrepreneurs participating in the 2014 programme.“It’s a great pleasure to be formally acknowledging our partnership with Nedbank,” said Jane Rankin, interim CEO at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship.“Considering Nedbank’s ethos around entrepreneurship, we feel very privileged to be partnering with a bank that shares a similar philosophy to our own.”Nedbank’s role in the partnership is in line with the corporate’s efforts to support small and medium enterprises through investing in entrepreneurs’ training and development.Nedbank also offers an array of products- such as insurance, financial planning and franchising packages – tailored for small, medium and micro businesses.The partnership will provide support to budding entrepreneurs through mentorship, and access to Nedbank’s financial expertise and small business products.“This is a wonderful opportunity for our entrepreneurs going through the centre,” said Rankin.She added, “Nedbank will be exposing the entrepreneurs to the various funding opportunities, to training opportunities and a number of Nedbank staff will be assisting us with mentoring as well.”Sibusiso Ngwenya (right), created Skinny Sbu Socks, which has grown significantly with the centre’s help since it was established in April 2013THE ENTREPRENEUR’S ROLE IN SOUTH AFRICAAccording to Stats SA, unemployment stood at just over 24% in the fourth quarter of the 2013 financial year. But small and medium enterprises employ some 65% of South Africans; supporting their success is central to reducing unemployment levels in the country.“I think it’s very important to create that awareness, in the current economy where unemployment figures are going higher and higher, for the youth to understand that there are alternatives,” said Nirmala Reddy, senior manager for enterprise development at Nedbank.“With the likes of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, with the corporate support you really can change your life and that of the community in which you operate and that spreads out to the broader community.”Dylan Jonsson, an entrepreneur participating in the programme, owns thecatering company, A Thyme to Dine. He said, “The Branson Centre has helped me tremendously; many opportunities and doors have opened for me and their support has helped me pursue my passion.“I got to cater for Richard Branson when he was out here and also for the Virgin Galactic launch. We’re planning on exporting products to China and the UK and that’s also due to the Branson Centre and partners like Nedbank.”Another participant, Sibusiso Ngwenya, created Skinny Sbu Socks, which has grown significantly with the centre’s help since it was established in April 2013.He said, “Nedbank and the Branson Centre have not only offered us financial opportunities but they have also offered us support as a business person because the entrepreneurial journey can be lonely at times.”He added, “We entered this whole industry from passion and we didn’t know anything about entrepreneurship. Now they’re teaching us the basics about business and how to grow our business, so it has really fast-tracked our journey as Skinny Sbu Socks.“We’ve seen that Nedbank is supporting small and medium enterprises; today we’ve actually witnessed that, with them giving away a cheque for R1-million to assist us in getting the basics as entrepreneurs.”For more information about the partnership or the parties involved and the services they offer please visit www.nedbank.co.za and www.bransoncentre.org.last_img read more