Lack of furniture, leaking roofs exposed at Linden schools

first_imgA recent visit by regional officials to numerous schools in Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) has unearthed several pertinent issues which need to be resolved. The group of officials consisting Regional Chairman Renis Morian; Regional Vice Chairman Elroy Adolph; Regional Education Officer Marcia Paddy-Andrews; Councillor, Dr Gregory Harris; and Regional Education Committee Chairman Denise Belgrave, visited St Aidan’s and Christiansburg Primary and Harmony Secondary schools where the issues were highlighted.The wood which was placed to secure a classroom wall at the Christiansburg Primary SchoolAt Harmony Secondary, located at Wismar, Linden, the officials were met with issues ranging from the lack of basic furniture, leaking roofs and electrical issues (exposed electrical wires). There were also classrooms without electricity supply. It was also noted that the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) would be reviewing contracts at the school due to several issues with contractors.Other issues which were brought to the fore during the visit were the need for desks and benches. It was also noted that the school’s Home Economics laboratory is in dire need of sewing machines, since the sewing machines have malfunctioned. There were also gas cylinders which need to be refilled.Over at the Christiansburg Primary and St Aidan’s Primary School, which are housed together in the same building, different issues were highlighted. At St Aidan’s Primary, a cleaner complained about the situation regarding improper drainage system of the washrooms.“I could get infection at any time in that building. It’s not healthy,” the cleaner pointed out to officials. Furthermore, a teacher attached to the Christiansburg Primary school highlighted that the wall in her classroom is shaking and is presently being supported by a piece of wood which had been strategically placed by handymen. The teacher further voiced her opinion regarding the presence of dilapidated furniture in the classroom as well as dysfunctional door and cupboard locks. She noted that as a result of this issue, her classroom was ransacked. During the visit, the Regional Chairman further sought to provide encouragement to students to work hard and stay in school. The RDC also pledged to provide first aid kits to the schools and presented several school bags to students during the visit. (Utamu Belle)last_img read more

Milankovitch Cycles Indistinguishable from Randomness

first_imgA claim has often been made by geologists that the rock sediments record cyclical changes in Earth’s orbit.  Milankovitch cycles, named for the man who analyzed them, are a set of regular periodic changes to the orbital eccentricity, obliquity, and axial precession of the Earth over tens and hundreds of thousands of years.  These subtle changes, it is alleged, produce climate change and sea level fluctuations.  The climate forcing, in turn, produces periodic differences in the thickness of sedimentary layers.  The search for Milankovitch signatures in rock records has been used as a method of dating sediments.    Geologists at Virginia State and Virginia Polytechnic tested this hypothesis with computer models.  They specifically encoded Milankovitch-like cycles in the production of sediments.  The layering produced was indistinguishable from randomness, according to their report in the Journal of Geology.1  Here was their conclusion:The simulations used a cyclic Milankovitch driver to produce cyclic stratigraphy, but the lithofacies thickness frequencies and autocorrelation methods used to analyze the resultant rock successions found that these records often appeared independent of periodic orbital forcing.  This indicates that the factors involved in depositing cyclic sedimentary layers, as simulated in the model, tend to mask the original periodic signal (such as Milankovitch orbital forcing) and produce the appearance of independence or stochasticity.  The hypothesis is that the rocks are independent of extrabasinal forcing, and these simulations indicate how difficult it is to disprove such independence.  Real rock successions are very likely to have been historically more complex than our simulations governed by merely a few basic parameters.  This poses a challenge to even most cleverly designed quantitative methods used to test for stratigraphic patterns, with their statistical outcomes being inherently ambiguous: does a given outcome indicate that the record was not formed in a cyclic fashion, or does it merely reflect the fact that an original cyclic driver has been masked by the complexity of depositional processes?  It is important, therefore, to have controls by which these methods can be tested.  The use of simulations can provide such controls by producing synthetic data with known Milankovitch cyclic drivers and thus providing an independent assessment of statistical methods applied to test real empirical records.They said the results they got with known cyclic drivers was “extremely noisy.”  Obtaining a significant signature required extreme climate differences, like between greenhouse and icehouse conditions for 100,000 years.  Even then, the results were ambiguous: “even with high-magnitude sea level fluctuations, a periodic driver of sediment deposition can be concealed.”.  And that’s not the only factor: “The incompleteness of the carbonate stratigraphic record may act to conceal cyclic driving forces,” they said, “in turn making it difficult to assess the quality of methods developed to measure cyclicity.”  Their computer simulations, they felt, provided a missing control on the theory:The methods for testing for the presence or absence of a Milankovitch driver in ancient successions must demonstrate patterns that are distinct from what would be expected if the rocks were deposited independent of orbital forcing.  One of the problems with many of the methods for detecting cyclicity is that they test a single series (e.g., a stratigraphic column).  This tends to miss lateral substitution of facies that occurs at similar water depths in real settings.  The benefit of using simulations is their ability to capture information such as periods of no deposition or gaps in deposition from erosion that would otherwise be difficult to quantify in real successions.1.  Dexter, Kowalewski and Read, “Distinguishing Milankovitch-Driven Processes in the Rock Record from Stochasticity Using Computer-Simulated Stratigraphy,” The Journal of Geology,2009, volume 117, p. 349�361, DOI: 10.1086/599021.Another dating method is shown to be a bruised reed.  Unfortunately, some well-meaning books like The Privileged Planet have leaned on this reed: “Finally, there are the Milankovitch cycles, probably the single most useful type of clock for layered deposits” (p. 30).  If this is the best, what about the others?  They tried to defend it with mathematical talk about Fourier analysis and power spectra (p. 370 n25), assuming that sophisticated math can discern a reliable signal in noise.  They did not consider the possibility of getting false signals in actual noise.  Then they used it and other methods to portray an old earth embedded with log records of its history over vast ages.    Although that section did not harm the basic thesis of the book (that our planet appears designed for scientific discovery), it exposes a weakness of some well-meaning attempts to ground design inferences in shaky foundations.  Layers of rocks record something, obviously, but the time scale and explanations become increasingly tenuous when eyewitnesses are unavailable and multiple causes are involved.  We should be wary of taking published scientific claims uncritically and placing too much authority in the ability of secular scientists to discern unobservable history through their worldview-tainted glasses.    Be wary especially of the divination methods of pagans (examples: 11/06/2008, 07/26/2008, 06/12/2008, 01/25/2008).  Would Daniel have referred to the scholarship of the Babylonian hepatoscopists as a reliable source?(Visited 94 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Plastic bags: think thicker!

first_imgThe ban on thin plastic shopping bags is now in effect. Shoppers either have to provide their own bags or pay for the new-style, thicker, recyclable bags.Store supplied are a major source of litter. (Image: Frank Gruber)Brand South Africa reporterRetailers across the country have to comply with the new regulations prohibiting the use of thin plastic bags and encouraging the use of thicker, more durable, recyclable bags. If you want more information on the new regulations – or want to report retailers who aren’t toeing – there’s a hotline number to dial.The hotline – 0800 203 622 – is being run by the department of environmental affairs and tourism.Consumers, for their part, have the option of re-using the thicker plastic bags – paying up to 25 cents for the 10-litre plastic bag, 31 cents for the 12-litre bag and 49 cents for the 24-litre one – using their own carrier bags, or doing without bags altogether.Phindile Makwakwa of the department of environmental affairs and tourism said the new law aims to protect the environment. “Plastic waste is the most visible and is not biodegradable, thus the need to manage the problem,” Makwakwa explained.She added that retailers had agreed to lower some food prices in order to compensate consumers for the extra expense of the new bags.The new regulations prohibit the manufacture, trade in and commercial distribution of thin plastic bags in all retail stores in South Africa. According to the new law, plastic bags should now be made thicker, about 30 microns, so they can be easily recycled.The department argues that the move will strengthen the recycling industry, retaining existing jobs and creating new ones.Failing to comply with the new legislation could result in fines of up to R10 000 or one years’ imprisonment for first-time offenders, and fines of up to R100 000 or imprisonment of up to 10 years for repeat offenders.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Africa’s education and gender equality goals ‘well achieved’

first_img5 November 2015Africa is on track with goals such as promoting gender equality and empowering women, according to the 2015 Millennium Development Goals Report released at the 10th African Economic Conference this week.The conference was held in Kinshasa, in Democratic Republic of Congo from 2 to 4 November. Increasing government spending on health care, education and support of vulnerable groups such as the elderly, were key topics discussed by experts at the conference.The annual conference is organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Development Programme and the UN Economic Commission for Africa. The theme of this year’s event was: “Addressing poverty and inequality in the post-2015 development agenda”. It provided a forum to explore the policy, institutional, and investment frameworks needed to boost Africa’s equitable, inclusive and environmentally sustainable development.Pali Lehohla, the statistician-general at Statistics South Africa, was one of the speakers at the event.Watch Lehohla explain the issues that need to be solved in Africa:Implementing better policiesConference discussion included debate about the call from economists for better policies to promote income distribution in Africa, according to the AfDB.While Africa as a whole had made considerable progress on poverty reduction since the mid-1990s as a result of rapid economic growth, it had yet to have a significant impact on income distribution, said the bank.“Since mid-2000, Africa’s (gross domestic product) growth has been high, averaging 5%, and well above the global average of 3% per year, instilling optimism about the continent’s economic prospects. However, the growth has not been inclusive or equitable, and has made little impact on poverty,” it said on its website.AfDB also said that better social policies could enhance income growth and income distribution, including “improving the complementarity between physical capital and education, especially at the basic educational level”.In addition, there was a need for policymakers in Africa to put greater emphasis on addressing income inequality, empowering women, narrowing the gaps in health, nutrition and education, and challenging prejudices and stereotypes that fed discrimination and marginalisation.Watch Abebe Shimeles, the acting director of development research at AfDB, talk about why poverty will continue in Africa unless policies are tackled per population:Speaking in a session at the conference, Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa, the acting vice-president and chief economist of AfDB, underscored the need to take into account the political economy to effectively address income inequalities.“Public policy needs to take (into) account the role of local bureaucracy because they are affected by the same policies,” Kayizzi-Mugerwa said, pointing out that economic managers needed to consult local administrative structures in policy formulation to make it effective. He also spoke about agricultural productivity and industrialisation as necessary to feed the continent and for it to achieve sustainable development.“To feed Africa adequately, agricultural productivity must rise as well as farmers’ incomes.” -Kayizzi-Mugwerwa, #AfDB #2015AEC— AfDB_Group (@AfDB_Group) November 2, 2015“Africa’s industrialization is a must if the continent is to achieve sustainable development.” -Kayizzi-Mugerwa, #AfDB #2015AEC— AfDB_Group (@AfDB_Group) November 2, 2015According to experts, a small number of African countries is relying primarily on improving income distribution to reduce poverty. However, worsening income distribution is the major culprit in the majority of countries experiencing poverty exacerbation.Statistics also show that other regions of the world have performed better, showing that the gap between Africa and the developed world is increasing. This suggests that Africa must perform even better and set up measures to address income inequality to catch up with the rest of the world.There was a greater risk of high inequality in resource-dependent countries as 55% of resource-rich countries had experienced an increase in inequality compared to 50% of non-resource-rich countries, Professor Haroon Bhorat, of the University of Cape Town, in South Africa, argued in his presentation, “Resource dependence and inequality in Africa: impact, consequence and solutions”.He pointed out that high resource-dependent economies were associated with lower levels of civil society organisation, less transparent electoral processes and less effective government. Bhorat argued that drivers of inequality in resource- dependent economies included high initial capital cost of entry into natural resources and poor employment generation.“There is need for strong institutions and good governance to manage resources. There is also a need for greater emphasis on social protection,” he said, pointing out that while there were no clear success stories, countries such as Ghana and Botswana could provide some positive lessons to guide institutional arrangements that governed resource wealth.Report on Africa’s goalsThe Millennium Development Goals Report revealed that three of the seven goals for Africa were on track. These are:  Combating HIV/Aids, malaria, and other diseases: a downward trend is observed in the incidence, prevalence and death rates associated with HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis, especially since 2000.  Promoting gender equality and empowering women: for example, Africa has made the most progress in increasing the number of seats held by women in national parliaments, with an average increase of 15% between 2000 and 2014.  Achieving universal primary education: the average primary completion rate stands at 67%, and the youth literacy rate reached 69.61% in 2012, in part owing to increased access to universal primary education.  The goals that were not on track in Africa, were:  Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger: poverty is perpetuated by rising inequalities, unemployment, the youth bulge, unplanned urbanisation, lack of diversification, et cetera. Hunger declined by 8% in Africa excluding North Africa between 1990 and 2013.  Reduce child mortality: the under-five mortality rate fell by 55% between 1990 and 2012, while the infant mortality rate fell by 40%. Only Egypt, Liberia, Malawi and Tunisia achieved both targets on reducing child mortality.  Improve maternal health: by 2013, Africa had 289 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births, compared to the world average of 210 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births.  Ensure environmental sustainability: declining forest cover in Africa. More than 250 participants from across the continent and outside it, including policymakers, academics, and leaders of civil society and the private sector, attended the 10th African Economic Conference.Source: African Development Bank Grouplast_img read more

Communication and Connection in Relationships

first_imgBy Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhDCreative Commons [Flickr, I miss you, March 3, 2012]How do military couples share the stresses of deployment within a relationship?  Researcher Rossetto examined the relational coping strategies that military wives used during deployment of their partner in combat and non-combat situations [1].Face-to-face or telephone interviews were conducted in relation with 26 military wives (or fiancées) of military members who were deployed to combat or non-combat zones.  The women participating in the study averaged 27 years old, with an average length of marriage of 5 years. Interviews were moderately structured with participants responding to broad questions such as “tell me about your deployment experience”, or “how do you talk with people within your family about your experiences with deployment”.  Participants were encouraged to provide personal narratives of their experiences, allowing the interviewer to explore coping behaviors in the relationship.Relational coping strategies were identified and categorized by common themes in the analysis of the interviews collected.  In the resulting analysis two relational strategies became apparent: (1) Choosing methods of communication such as phone, Internet, or letters, and (2) Choosing open versus restricted communication; that is, openly sharing thoughts, feelings, and information versus withholding some thoughts, feelings, or information from the partner.Most common technologies were the telephone or Internet, and communications took place though e-mail, instant messages, and sending pictures or videos. Some couples were able to maintain a sense of togetherness by playing video games, using web cameras to show the military member things happening in the home, or to shop together.  Some women used blogs as a method to communicate their feelings.  Letters were also highly valued. In this study, couples reported making decisions about what information to communicate – whether to express emotions and experiences or to withhold emotions and other information.  Women tended to choose open communication more often than restricted communication.  Women who chose open communication reported that they felt that open communication would encourage intimacy and smooth the transition following deployment.  Women who chose limited communication felt that by restricting communication, they would be protecting themselves, their husbands, and their relationship by reducing worry.With the availability of newer technologies, service members can more easily communicate with their partners at home, which allow for many creative ways to interact.  There may need to be a balance between maintaining intimacy to strengthen and maintain the relationship versus the need for both parties to be able to cope effectively with the stressors at hand.References[1] Rossetto, K.R. (2013). Relational coping during deployment: Managing communication and connection in relationships. Personal Relationships, 20(3), 568-586.This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.last_img read more

Russell Simmons And RushCard Support PopUp Grocery And Nutritional Center In Flint

first_imgFlint Community Grocery, powered by Fresh Start CDC, launched its first pop-up grocery store on Saturday, April 16, 2016, on the campus of New Jerusalem Full Gospel Baptist Church located at 1035 E. Carpenter Road.Flint residents were encouraged to come out and shop for high-quality produce and other premium all-natural food products. RushCard, a prepaid debit card company co-founded by Russell Simmons, made a donation to support the effort.Flint Community Grocery is a local initiative to provide access to better quality wholesome and organic food products to the residents of Flint, Michigan. Fresh Start CDC is a non-profit organization that was established in 2014 by New Jerusalem Full Gospel Baptist Church to enhance economic development in Flint and surrounding communities by providing a one-stop model to enhance the availability of nutritional foods and preventative healthcare for residents of north Flint.Residents were provided with a high-quality shopping experience that aimed to assist in addressing the immediate need for fresh food to help combat the effects of lead poisoning. Within the past two years, three full-service grocery stores in Flint have permanently closed their doors with little notice, creating a food desert. Nutrition and cooking classes were also provided at no cost to community members to help them learn fun and creative new meals to prepare with fresh produce.“What’s happening in Flint is a reflection of how both the government, with the water crisis, and the private sector, with the fresh food shortage, have fallen short in serving community needs,” said Russell Simmons. “As a natural extension of our ongoing effort to provide for underserved communities, RushCard is supporting this emergency pop-up in hopes it will highlight the reality of food deserts across this country. We invite citizens and corporations to join in supporting this effort.”RushCard’s support of Flint Community Grocery is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to support the people of Flint. In February, RushCard co-founder Russell Simmons visited Flint to distribute 150,000 bottles of drinking water to RushCard customers and called on other corporations to step up and support the people of Flint during the water crisis.last_img read more