CRUK & British Rowing partnership launches with indoor rowing festival

first_img Melanie May | 7 November 2016 | News AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis6 Cancer Research UK and British Rowing have announced a new partnership, launching next month with a festival of indoor rowing.The partnership kicks off at the British Rowing Indoor Championships on 10th December at the Lee Valley VeloPark, and will centre around this event and Cancer Research UK’s The Great Row, an indoor rowing challenge that launches in January next year and culminates with The Cancer Research UK Boat Races on 2nd April.The British Rowing Indoor Championships are open to anyone who wants to race on an indoor rowing machine over 500m, 2,000m or as part of a relay team. The Cancer Research UK team will be at the event to meet competitors and spectators alongside the athletes from Great Britain’s national team.The Great Row is open to anyone who wants to start their year with a challenge on the indoor rowing machine, and both events will raise money for the charity’s cancer research.Kenny Baillie, director of partnerships and communications at British Rowing said:“This year’s British Rowing Indoor Championships will be a great event to launch our new partnership and generate momentum into the new year for The Great Row. Indoor rowing is the perfect workout for people of all ages and backgrounds and these two events offer the opportunity for anyone to get involved with the sport, from complete beginner to seasoned pro.”Photo credit: British Rowing/Naomi Baker Advertisement About Melanie May Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via CRUK & British Rowing partnership launches with indoor rowing festivalcenter_img  68 total views,  2 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis6  67 total views,  1 views today Tagged with: Cancer Research UK Fundraising ideas sportlast_img read more

Trump signals he’ll support UK claim Russia to blame for nerve agent attack

first_imgABC News(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump Tuesday voiced strong support for British Prime Minister Theresa May a day after she alleged Russia was responsible for the nerve agent attack in the United Kingdom earlier this month against a former Russian spy.“It sounds to me like it would be Russia based on all of the evidence they have,” the president asserted as left the White House Tuesday for a trip to California. “It sounds to me like they believe it was Russia, and I would certainly take that finding as fact.”Trump indicated he would be able to come to a more definitive conclusion after speaking with May later Tuesday.“I’m speaking to Theresa May today,” adding, “As soon as we get the facts straight, if we agree with them, we will condemn Russia or whoever it may be.”On Monday, May delivered a strong assessment condemning the Kremlin for the attack based on mounting evidence, including Russia’s previous production of the agent and “record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations.”“The Government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal,” the prime minister said. “Our commitment to collective defense and security through NATO remains as strong as ever in the face of Russian behavior.” Trump’s comments went much further than the White House was willing to say up until now. When asked Monday whether the White House backed May’s comments, press secretary Sarah Sanders did not blame Russia in any way or even mention Russia by name.“The use of a highly lethal nerve agent against U.K. citizens on U.K. soil is an outrage,” Sanders said Monday. “The attack was reckless, indiscriminate and irresponsible. We offer the fullest condemnation, and we extend our sympathy to the victims and their families and our support to the UK government.” Before he was fired Tuesday, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson broke with the White House’s response on Russia Monday night, releasing his own tough statement calling Russia “an irresponsible force of instability in the world.”“We have full confidence in the UK’s investigation and its assessment that Russia was likely responsible,” he said in a pointed statement.Those responsible, he says, “must face appropriately serious consequences.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Uruguayan Armed Forces Saves Lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo

first_img“There are other air units from other countries in the area, however the URUAVU is the [region’s] only air unit that has the capability of operating with night-vision goggles,” FAU Colonel Guillermo Gurbindo told Diálogo. “This element allows for observation and emergency missions at night in areas where visibility is virtually nil, including in unfavorable geographical areas and mountain regions and in weather conditions that can often be adverse. On several occasions, the presence and capabilities of the URUAVU contingent meant the difference between life or death for people requiring immediate medical assistance, so the effectiveness of these operations is essential for us and for the people.” The URUAVU contingent, comprised of 52 FAU service members, has been participating in the MONUSCO in the DRC since 2010. The Uruguayan Army has participated in the MONUSCO for more than 15 years, almost since the mission began, and for “enough time to cover virtually all of the territory of the DRC, where a variety of tasks have been effectively carried out,” Col. Gurbindo stated. The Uruguayan Air Force (FAU) conducted the most recent MEDEVAC on February 13th, when members of the Helicopter Detachment of the Uruguayan Aviation Unit (URUAVU) used a Bell 212 helicopter – identified as UN 851 – to complete a rescue in eastern region of Mwenga. After inclement weather delayed the morning rescue for more than two hours, the URUAVU team was able to fly a doctor and a nurse to Mwenga to transport a male malaria patient to a facility for treatment. The URUAVU team is well-equipped to carry out its missions on behalf of the MONUSCO. The detachment has two Bell 212 Twin Huey helicopters – one stationed in the province of North Kivu and another at a Military base in the province of South Kivu. The URUAVU deploys the helicopters to conduct MEDEVACs, search-and-rescue missions, reconnaissance, and for flights to observe the transport of authorities and cargo. Uruguay, which recently was elected to occupy a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, has actively contributed to peacekeeping missions by deploying Troops and equipment. The South American nation also participates in various debates and multilateral initiatives related to this important matter for the international community. The URUAVU team conducted two other recent MEDEVACs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). On February 7th, the URUAVU team departed from the Beni Airport to Rwindi, where it evacuated three men who were suffering from various ailments to the airport in Goma, and on January 24th, the URUAVU peacekeepers transported a Military observer who was possibly suffering from malaria for treatment. By Dialogo March 07, 2016center_img At a medical facility, doctors treated a boy who had facial lacerations and a man who had been shot in the right leg. The URUAVU team then transported the two patients to an airport in the city of Goma, where a local medical team took over treatment. Two days earlier, the URUAVU crew conducted a medical evacuation in the city of Bushekere, where they flew for more than an hour between mountains before landing in a secure landing spot where the Congolese Armed Forces had cordoned off the area. Continuing Uruguayan presence In the past five years, the URAVU helicopters have flown 5,000 hours in which they transported nearly 14,000 passengers and 200 tons of cargo. The helicopters have carried out 126 MEDVAC operations, allowing 160 patients to be transferred from remote locations to health centers. The Uruguayan Military contingent participating in the United Nations (UN) Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) continues to save the lives of victims in the longstanding African conflict. In response to recent clashes that have left dozens dead and wounded, the Uruguayan peacekeepers conducted medical evacuations (MEDEVACs) in the country’s eastern region. last_img read more

$1.3 Million Raised for Student Scholarships at Saint Martin’s Gala with…

first_imgFacebook65Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Saint Martin’s UniversityOn November 3, more than 600 friends and alumni helped Saint Martin’s University raise over $1.3 million for student scholarships at the Saint Martin’s Gala, held on the University’s Lacey campus. This year’s Gala featured James Beard-award winning chef Roy Yamaguchi, known throughout the world for his beautiful restaurants, Hawai`i-inspired cuisine, four cookbooks and “Hawai`i Cooks with Roy Yamaguchi” on PBS. Yamaguchi’s cooking demonstrations and wonderful personality inspired the guests to raise over $1.3 million figure in support of student scholarships.The black-tie celebration was the thirteenth Gala, the University’s annual signature fund-raising event, and this year’s edition came with a focus on an aspect of the University’s history. As Saint Martin’s University President Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D., explained, “This year’s Gala celebrates the fact that, for over 50 years, students from the Pacific Islands, including Hawai’i, American Samoa, Guam and the Federated States of Micronesia, have helped guide and shape the culture of Saint Martin’s.”As in years past, Saint Martin’s students played a major role in the event. Chantal Arevalo, who graduated in 2017 with a degree in secondary education, expressed her gratitude for the tremendous financial assistance that Saint Martin’s students have received through scholarships. “Standing among you are several Saint Martin’s students,” said Arevalo. “These young women and men represent the thousands of students who have received scholarships at Saint Martin’s over the years. Because of generous donors like you, they were given the opportunity to transform their lives through a Saint Martin’s education.”Moved by her remarks, guests raised more than $570,000 toward the University’s “Feed-a-Mind” scholarship funds. After “Feed-a-Mind,” inspired by Chantal’s speech and experiences, a special ask for diversity programs at Saint Martin’s raised more than $4,600 from 92 donors.At the start of the festivities, Saint Martin’s students from the Hui ʻO Hawaiʻi Club performed a traditional dance before emcee R.C. Smith and Yamaguchi took the stage at Marcus Pavilion.Throughout the evening, Yamaguchi offered culinary demonstrations of the five-course gourmet dinner at the stage kitchen, custom-built and donated by Rob Rice Homes. The evening’s program included a live auction and the much-anticipated “Feed-a-Mind” paddle-raise aimed at generating scholarship funds for Saint Martin’s students.For the menu, Yamaguchi chose dishes featuring amazing seafood and tropical fruits like yuzu and passion fruit, with colors and flavors intended to delight the senses. The menu included hamachi crudo with yuzu kosho aioli and white balsamic prawn burrata crostini, yukuri ahi tataki and matcha soba salad and king crab fennel and arugula salad, cilantro ginger halibut with king oyster mushrooms and seared baby bok choy, slow braised beef short ribs marble potatoes and kale and multi-colored Swiss chard and, for dessert, taro coconut pound cake with lemon syrup, pistachio streusel, miso caramel, strawberry lilkoi gel and micro shiso. Each course was paired with specialty wines from the Gala’s wine sponsors, Maryhill Winery, Stottle Winery, Cadaretta and Donedei.Several guests had the opportunity to join Yamaguchi on stage, including those whose winning bids landed them on barstools near the stage kitchen.Earlier that day, Yamaguchi arrived at Trautman Student Union Building for a meet-and-greet event with students. He shared stories about his life and career and discussed how he got into cooking through his family and a home economics course he took at school. “I love cooking, so I’m fortunate that I can wake up every morning and do what I love to do,” Yamaguchi said.The chairs for the 2018 Saint Martin’s Gala were Armandino Batali ‘59, Rick Panowicz and Waite Dalrymple ‘65.More than 240 members of the Saint Martin’s community—including students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends—served as volunteers for the Gala.If you were unable to attend the Gala, or would like to make an additional gift, you can still support student scholarships by making a gift online.To view photos from the event, visit Saint Martin’s Facebook page.The chef and the theme for Gala 2019, set for Saturday, Nov. 2, will be announced in the future. For more information about Gala 2019, visit our Gala website, SPONSOR THANK YOUSaint Martin’s University thanks the following Gala Event Sponsors:Presenting Sponsor: Bon AppétitCelebrity Photo Sponsor: Anchor BankGala Reception Sponsor: WSECULive Auction Sponsor: Chicago TitlePrint Sponsor: Capitol City PressBroadcast Media Sponsor: KCTS9Hospitality Sponsor: Columbia HospitalityPrint Media Sponsor: Showcase MagazineRunway Sponsor: Alaska AirlinesCoffee Sponsor: Batdorf & Bronson Coffee RoastersGreen Room Sponsor: Selmer’s Home FurnishingsGala Kitchen Sponsor: Rob Rice HomesSilent Auction Sponsor: Hanson SubaruWine Sponsors: Cadaretta, Donedei, Maryhill Winery and Stottle WineryGala Store Sponsor: Aurora LasikWineglass Sponsor: Sunset AirRaffle Sponsor: Panowicz JewelersHors d’oeuvres Sponsor: Anthony’s Homeport Olympia and Taylor Shellfish FarmsSaint Martin Table Sponsors: FORMA Construction and Joe and Liz WilliamsSaint Benedict Table Sponsors: ACU/America’s Credit Union; Aurora Lasik; Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc.; MJR Development; Uptown Lounge; Armandino ’59 and Marilyn Batali; Waite ’65 and Patty Dalrymple; Dr. Jay and Carla Rudd (Aurora Lasik).Saint Gertrude Table Sponsors: Ed and Becky Barton; Kathy and Gordon Beecher; Toni Christy; Waite ’65 and Patty Dalrymple; Debra Hodous and Pat Geiger; Max ’69 and Margi Hamed; Kathleen O’Grady; Rick and Pam Panowicz; Dennis ’69 and Tedi Reynolds ’71; John and Michele Riel; Diamond Technology Innovations/Jernigan Foundation; Heritage Bank; Moss Adams/Propel Insurance; Olympia Federal Savings; Panagiotu Pension Advisors; Providence Health and Service; The Rants Group (Pat and Helen Rants); South Puget Sound Community College; Sunset Air, Inc. (Brian and Valerie Fleutsch); Timberland Bank; TwinStar Credit Union; US Bank; Vigil Adams Real Estate; The Wave Carwash (Mike and Katie Opitz)Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 13 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 26 majors and ten graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,300 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and more students to its extended campus located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at

Local economy looks good, but clouds on horizon

first_imgParks said it was clear to her that Ventura County’s Save Open-space and Agricultural Resources initiatives approved by voters in the late 1990s to limit growth are responsible for the county’s population growth rate declines. “Without SOAR, we would have seen thousands of new homes in the open spaces around our cities,” she said. “SOAR is helping maintain our quality of life and a strong economy.” Watkins did not discuss what effect SOAR might be having on the population but did point to an aging population and an exodus of younger people seeking jobs and cheaper housing elsewhere. The high cost of local housing will continue to drive away high-paying jobs, he said. As an example, his report pointed to Technicolor’s recent announcement the company is moving hundreds of manufacturing jobs out of the county. The report also noted that Countrywide Financial’s growth over the past real estate boom has greatly contributed to economic growth, so any decision it might make to relocate jobs or merge with another company could have serious economic consequences locally. OXNARD – This year should be a good one for Ventura County’s economy, with rising employment and incomes, but there are several potential problem areas, according to economists who presented their economic forecast for the area last week. “We are seeing very low population growth and very strong economic growth in Ventura County,” said Bill Watkins, executive director of the UCSB Economic Forecast Project and a former research economist at the Federal Reserve. Watkins presented the project’s report on the Ventura County Economic Outlook 2007 at a seminar in Oxnard attended by 400 business and government leaders. Linda Parks, chairwoman of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, attended and said she was glad to hear the county’s economy was prospering along with a low population growth rate – less than 1 percent in 2006 – that she advocates along with preserving open space. Amgen and other technology companies should help the county continue to prosper, the report said, and Watkins predicted the county’s economic growth rate would be 3.9 percent in 2007 and 4.1 percent in 2008. He predicted the county’s job growth rate would be 1.8 percent in 2007. And he noted there are large numbers of county residents who commute to jobs in Los Angeles and might be able to fill new jobs created locally. “So far at least, the county is pulling off the economic hat trick of strong economic growth in the presence of weak population growth,” he said. As for housing, “Realtors are having a terrible year,” he said. But he added the county is facing nothing like the drop of home values in the 1990s and predicted housing prices would rise in 2008. The median price for a Ventura County home was $565,000 last month. He said the county’s high cost of housing is a threat to the local work force, with growing numbers of residents priced out of home ownership. He showed a picture of a tin-roof shack and quipped that if it were in Montecito, in Santa Barbara County, it would sell for $2 million. The pressure on the rental market has pushed rents to record heights – up 6.1 percent in 2006 to a new peak of $1,523 in the county for a two-bedroom apartment. In the Thousand Oaks area, rents were up 8.5 percent last year to an average of $1,637 a month for a two-bedroom. As for housing construction, he predicted that after a low of 1,900 permits for 2007, new housing production would climb, exceeding 2,500 new housing units in 2009 and 2,800 in 2010. Preliminary figures indicate Ventura County’s population grew more slowly last year than even Santa Barbara County. [email protected] (805) 583-7602160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Chelsea again linked with Spain star amid reports of Barca talks

first_imgFormer Manchester United defender Gerard Pique, recently linked with a move to Chelsea, will discuss his future with Barcelona after the international break, the Mirror say. The Spain international is reported to have fallen out with boss Luis Enrique and the Mirror say Chelsea are monitoring the situation. United, meanwhile, are apparently keen to re-sign him.It is has been reported that Enrique would be happy to sell Pique, 25, but that Barca chiefs want him to stay.The Express claim Chelsea are looking to offload Andre Schurrle to Borussia Dortmund in an exchange deal involving Marco Reus.A number of other Premier League clubs are said to be interested in Reus, 25, including Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United.He is reported to have a clause in his contract enabling him to leave for £20m at the end of the season, but it is claimed that Chelsea are not only interested but want to sign him in January.Blues boss Jose Mourinho is expected to offer Schurrle in a straight swap, the Express say.And there continues to be speculation over the future of highly-rated Fulham youngster Patrick Roberts.The Mirror say Liverpool are stepping up their interest in the teenager and are looking to beat Chelsea as well as Arsenal to his signing.Liverpool are said to have watched Roberts three times this season and be willing to loan him back to Fulham if they secure his transfer.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Arcata downs Ferndale in season-opening softball win

first_imgArcata>> As the sun decided to grace Humboldt County with its presence this week after a full winter of gray skies and relentless rain, local prep baseball and softball teams, which had multiple games cancelled and postponed to start the season, were able to finally get underway when the skies cleared on Tuesday. Boy, were they glad to be back.“To finally be able to get out here in the sunshine and get a game in was an awesome feeling,” said Arcata head coach Kristen Nouzovsky, whose team …last_img

With Warriors shorthanded, Curry sets new playoff career high

first_imgThe Warriors needed Steph Curry to score big in Wednesday’s Game 3, and he did.But without Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney, Curry’s huge scoring night didn’t equal Warriors success as most of Golden State’s squad struggled as they lost to the Raptors, 123-109.Shooters shoot— Bay Area Sports HQ (@BayAreaSportsHQ) June 6, 2019 Curry set a new career record for points in a playoff game at 47, including six made 3-pointers, but Toronto’s …last_img

Big Science Loves ID – Sometimes

first_imgDespite institutional rejection of intelligent design, researchers are attracted to ID when it can make money, make them famous, or advance understanding of nature.To be inspired to imitate nature’s designs, don’t you have to presuppose that nature’s designs are good? If you have to use your best intelligence to mimic what nature has done, how can you believe nature arrived at the solution without intelligence? The gold rush going on in biomimetics leaves secular scientists who hate creationism and ID in this awkward position. Let’s see how it’s turning out in the latest flood of news.Breakthrough! Spinning spider silk is now possible! – sort of (Swedish Laboratory of Sciences). Replicating spider silk, one of the strongest flexible materials known, has been a long dream for biomimetics engineers. The real stuff is stronger than steel but biodegradable. It’s also hard to make, and you can’t harvest it from spiders, which tend to be aggressive and territorial, even if you could extract a little from their tiny organs. Various artificial methods tried have fallen short of the spider’s gold standard. Well, why didn’t they think of this before? – imitate the spider’s spinnerets! A new “biomimetic spinning apparatus” made at the lab imitates many of the complex molecular mechanisms taking place in the spider’s spinning organs (see also Live Science‘s coverage).  “Today they report that they can produce kilometer long threads that for the first time resemble real spider silk,” researchers at the lab say. Nature Research Highlights qualifies the boast a little: “The artificial silk (pictured) had some physical properties that were similar to those of natural silk, but was less tough.” Expect to hear more about this breakthrough, though, and watch for exciting applications to come. Take a look at Live Science’s photo gallery of the new silk, then read about the work at University of Nottingham for the background story. The article tells how a chance meeting between a spider expert and a chemist led to the ‘Aha’ moment: “We could make that!”Improve smartphone cameras with insect vision ( Visitors at CES this month were no doubt impressed with an industrial camera only 2mm thick. “Similar to the eyes of insects, its lens is partitioned into 135 tiny facets.” Researchers at Fraunhofer arrived at this by “following nature’s model,” the article says. Current models only have 4 megapixel resolution, but that will improve, as smartphone manufacturers are eager to get rid of “camera bulge” that keeps the phones thicker than desired. They expect a 3.5 mm version of their “facetVISION camera” will deliver 10 megapixels. The lenses built on the “insect eye principle” are easy to manufacture, the inventors say, even without having to lay eggs that undergo metamorphosis. Imagine the money that this bio-inspired invention could make.Clean up oil spills in the lotus position (Nature Communications). Nature is one of the most anti-ID journals out there, but it published this paper by German scientists who came up with “adaptable bioinspired special wetting surface for multifunctional oil/water separation.” The ability to separate oil from water has many applications in industry, perhaps none as important to environmentalists as cleaning up oil spills. So where did they get the inspiration for developing a new “nanofur” with the ability to do this, that is both biodegradable and reusable? Not from mammals, but from lotus leaves. “Taking inspiration from the multifunctionality of plant surfaces into the global problem of oil/water separation,” they created an artificial model that imitates the super-hydrophobic lotus leaf, which works with a “fur” principle: “The surface wettability of the plant leaves is enhanced by a variety of nano- and microstructures such as hairs, waxes or cuticular folds.” A related article on superhydrophobic surfaces inspired by lotus leaves appears in Nature.Need a damage-resistant drone? Bee careful how you make it (New Scientist). It would be interesting to know how many people who got drones for Christmas are shedding tears right now after their thousand-dollar toy crashed or flew off and never came back. “This is how you do it,” NS shows under a picture of a bumblebee. Insects can stay aloft even with a broken leg, and fly through winds without crashing. To achieve the success of insects, drones of the future may have to take the flapping-wing route instead of the rotary-quadcopter design. Bumblebees are the tankers of the insect world. They fly superbly even in turbulent air. With the right software, robotic drones might some day keep their owners’ eyes drier. And there’s more bio-inspiration at work, the article points out:“Understanding how insects solve this problem will be very useful for drone design,” says Crall.Meanwhile, other researchers have examined how stick insects right themselves in the air after a fall, how owls fly silently and how pigeons navigate turbulence to pick up some aerodynamic tricks for flying robots.Make like a bird and perch (University of Bristol). Your science project is to design a drone that can land on a twig. Good luck. Well, the geniuses at Bristol won that prize. But it’s more than just a stunt. “The revolutionary development of a fixed wing aircraft that can land in a small or confined space has the potential to significantly impact intelligence-gathering and the delivery of aid in a humanitarian disaster.” Suddenly what sparrows do every day transforms into a matter of global defense and disaster response, thanks to biomimetics.Silk strategies: top down or bottom up?  PNAS discusses how best to try to make artificial silk. Silkworms make it look so easy. “Above all, the attractiveness of silk materials is based on their natural source, superior mechanical properties, ease of processing in water at conditions of ambient temperature and pressure, their compatibility with a wide range of additives for added material functionality, and their ability to be molded into a variety of forms using either a top-down or bottom-up approach.”The secret is inside your ears. Who would have thought that ear wax could inspire engineers? Reporters at ECN News say that the greasy substance actually has “innovative potential as a high-tech filter for use in robotics and other fields.” A researcher from Georgia Tech caught the inspiration when noticing that earwax is a great substance for holding back water in a channel, like the ear canal. Wanting to know how it works led to research on wax from a variety of animals, and led to discoveries that the wax could be used to filter air as well as water. It might even be put to use on a future Mars rover. (This link was sent in by a CEH reader.)Clingfish-ing along to bio-inspired suction cups (The Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology). Would you like to have a suction cup that clings to wet surfaces, so your soap dish wouldn’t keep falling in the shower? Scientists at the University of Alaska found an animal, the clingfish, that has a suction cup that holds tightly to its shelly prey, even in strong waves 150 times the fish’s body weight. The clingfish’s secret consists of tiny projections on the inside of the suction organ that are arranged in a hierarchical manner. We can’t expect to replicate this feat in all its complexity. “Biomimicry is not about creating a one-to-one replica of the original inspiration,” a researcher says. “Instead, it requires understanding of the underlying mechanisms so that the technology can be employed in a simplified yet useful manner.” No mention of evolution in this article, understandably.Learning the trunk trick (New Scientist). An elephant can carry a heavy log a meter across with its flexible trunk, but it can also handle small, delicate objects. That’s got to inspire someone – and it has. Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology studied the physics involved and want to imitate the elephant trunk for robotic arms. “If we know how an elephant manipulates its trunk to handle such a huge range of objects, we may be inspired to develop a universal robotic gripper,” the team lead says. But he realizes it won’t be easy, “because existing artificial muscle technology would struggle to match the complexity of the muscular manoeuvres within the trunk.” The idea is worth it. Imagine “soft but highly versatile robotic gripping devices for use in industry and perhaps for delicate rescue operations.”Stick to the corn oil ( Researchers at Kansas State have developed a cheap biodegradable adhesive made from corn oil, soybean oil and other plant oils. The adhesive, which they envision using for painter’s tape (a big waste product) “outperforms previous bio-based adhesives because it adheres to a surface for a longer period of time, has a longer shelf life and is more water-resistant.”What good is a pine cone? (PLoS One). Pine cones inspired Korea to develop a “Biologically-Inspired Symmetric Bidirectional Switch.” Learn how in this open-access paper that says, “In this study, we designed a temperature-sensitive hydrogel with symmetric structure with inspiration from pine cone scales.” Amazing as it seems, scientists at the Albert Ludwig University of Frieburg just found out that even fossil pine cones retain their touch! They looked at fossil cones they say are over 16 million years old that could still flex when wet. “The cones analyzed in the study therefore represent the oldest known plant structures that are still capable of movement and can also serve as a model for bioinspired technical applications with low maintenance requirements” (i.e., no batteries to replace).Nano, nano: envisioning transportation at a very small scale (American Institute of Physics). The smart guys at AIP figured out that “A new design for a fully biocompatible motility engine transports colloidal particles faster than diffusion with active filaments.” Their inspiration? The cilia and flagella that Michael Behe famously wrote about in Darwin’s Black Box that he called “irreducibly complex molecular machines.” With targeted drug delivery a big topic in cancer treatments, this project can’t hurry up too much.Let your robot do the caterpillar dance (Live Science).  “A soft, caterpillar-like robot might one day climb trees to monitor the environment,” this article says. A team at the University of Tokyo thought soft robots are cool. Then they got worried. “Modeling and predicting such activity currently requires vast amounts of computation because of the many and unpredictable ways in which such robots can move, the researchers said.” They watched caterpillars and wondered, how do the caterpillars manifest such exquisite control with a small number of neurons? That’s when the light bulb went on. The control must be decentralized, they reasoned. Accordingly, “The scientists developed a caterpillar-like soft robot that was inspired by their animal model.” See the Royal Society’s Open Science journal for their write-up.Follow the cell into the reaction core ( “Inspired by the cell,” Europeans are finding ways to concentrate complex drug factories into a single small reactor. Why do they want to do this? The potential benefits are manifold, they say, but they will have to overcome a number of hurdles to match nature:They are inspired by the biological cell, a tiny space in which nature succeeds in enabling many different chemical reaction chains (cascades) to take place, at the same pressure and temperature and in the same solvent (water). And constantly, which means fast. Cells do this using enzymes, substances that give the reactions a helping hand. The researchers want to be able to make drugs in the same way in small chemical reactors that operate constantly.Beetle Bailey’s armor (Northwestern University). “What can a beetle tell us about good design principles? Quite a lot, actually.” That’s how this article starts. Think of how lightweight a beetle’s outer covering is, yet it is very strong. And the beetle can fly! One has to get down to nanomechanics to decipher the structure of a beetle’s exoskeleton, but the engineers at Northwestern feel it’s worth it. So does the Air Force, which is helping fund the work that “could ultimately uncover information that could guide the design and manufacturing of new and improved artificial materials by emulating these time-tested natural patterns, a process known as bio-mimicry.” Soldiers would be really happy to get the same protection their armor gives them now but with a lot less weight.Biological bone meets artificial bone (Science Daily). Engineers at University of New South Wales are studying how bone grows so they can use what they learn to grow artificial bone and other useful materials. They can’t quite figure out how to imitate collagen and elastin, so they are substituting artificial materials for those, but “nature’s weaving formula” inspired a first-stage trial of a ‘smart’ material that “mimics the sophisticated and complex properties of one nature’s ingenious materials, the bone tissue periosteum.” Skiers, want a protective suit made of this flexible, strong stuff? Nurses, want a better compression bandage to heal injuries? Even race car drivers and astronauts might benefit from what the UNSW researchers are learning about nature’s bone weaving formula.Where now, photosynthesis? ( For obvious reasons, photosynthesis has been a holy grail for biomimetics. The smart guys at MIT figured out a new model of plant’s methods of sunlight energy capture that “could help guide scientists in designing new types of solar cells made of organic materials that efficiently capture light.” We’ve been waiting a long time for that hope to show fruit. “Nature has mastered this art, evolving from a very limited number of building blocks an impressive diversity of photosynthetic light-harvesting complexes, which are highly versatile and efficient.” Evolving in this context doesn’t necessarily imply Darwinian evolution. It means that from simple building blocks, nature builds exquisite light-capturing machines that the world’s best engineers still haven’t been able to imitate.Smear on some of that cyanobacteria sunscreen, please (Taylor & Francis). Is cyanobacteria the future of sunscreen? Could be, if an international team gets their way. Biologically-based sunscreen would be safer, more environmentally-friendly, and sustainable. And think of this: you wouldn’t have to keep putting it on, because  cyanobacteria self-renew, living off of carbon dioxide, sunlight and a few basic nutrients. In fact, “some of its species live in extremely arid habitats and thus produce compounds that give them the ability to cope with both high UV radiation and extreme desiccation.” Sounds better than that oily stuff, doesn’t it?Spin that plant turbine (PLoS One). Face it; wind farms are ugly, noisy, and hazardous to bats and birds. But the Department of Energy is pushing for 20% wind energy by 2030. What to do? These scientists watched cottonwood leaves fluttering in the breeze and had an idea. Why not attach piezoelectric elements to similar structures? They built a prototype, but their first trial at “plant-inspired designs” fell short. So next, they mimicked cattail leaves waving in the wind. The system worked, but still fell short of energy targets. That’s OK; even if this approach doesn’t look like a near-term reality, it’s important to keep searching, and science learns by failure as well as success. “Although our results discourage focus on piezoelectric schemes, alternative methods like the triboelectric system pioneered by Wang’s group may offer a more productive test of wind energy harvesting by botanic mimics.” One thing is not failing: inspiration to follow nature’s designs. If plant-inspired wind harvesting works some day, it can take more units off the power grid and thereby help protect the nation from a threat that’s creating a growing fear among defense experts: catastrophic EMP attack from an airborne nuclear warhead. Distributing the power locally would help mitigate the damage. It will be interesting to see, also, if bats and birds avoid “flapping” turbines better than rotating ones, and if wind machines can be made quieter and as aesthetically pleasing as leaves in the breeze.Geek bonus: Read Nature Communications if interested in this title: “Therapeutic microparticles functionalized with biomimetic cardiac stem cell membranes and secretome.”Wow! How about that. This list of 20 discoveries took extra hours to write up, because there is so much news about biomimetics coming in so fast. This is where the action is, folks. It’s not in Darwinian evolution. That old dogma is rusting on the junk pile. Teachers, parents, deans: get your students thinking bio-inspired engineering! It’s great all around: it requires studying biology in detail to figure out how organisms work, and it leads to the most amazing applications that can improve our lives in everything from personal health to recreation to industry to national defense. Money is racing after bio-inspired design. On top of all this, it’s making science fun again! Look at how many different institutions around the world are caught up in this 21st century gold rush. The momentum has only increased over the past 15 years since we started reporting on biomimicry, and there’s no end in sight. Intelligent design is the future of science. (Listen to CSC’s “ID the Future” podcast.)Recent comment from a donor: “Hi Dave. Blessings on your website it’s merely the best most up-to-date insightful witty whimsical creation evolution thought minder website out there. Let God be true and every man be a liar.” —a medical doctor in California. (Visited 71 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

‘Social consensus, jobs’ to cut inequality

first_img18 May 2012For the country to overcome inequality, South Africans must reach consensus on both workers’ wages and executive pay rates, and speeding up the creation of new jobs, says Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel.Speaking at the Next Economy National Dialogue on income inequality in Parliament, Cape Town on Thursday, Patel singled out figures in the 2010 household survey that revealed that the top 10% of earners in South Africa took home salaries that were 101 times higher than the bottom 10% of earners.“When what one person takes away is so disproportionally larger than what another takes away, the social glue that holds society together weakens,” he said, adding that income inequality also suppressed the market, as fewer people were able to buy goods and services.Effective partnerships neededWhat was needed were more effective partnerships between all sections of society.“If partnership can do what it did to the Japanese economy after the end of the Second World War, or the German economy, or to a number of other successful economies, partnership needs a sense of being in something together,” Patel said.He highlighted the progress that Brazil had made in overcoming inequality since the mid-1990s, even though, between 2000 and 2008, Brazil and South Africa had grown at nearly the same rate – Brazil at 3.5%, South Africa at 3.6%.The government was addressing inequality largely through social grants, the country’s regressive tax system, and free or subsidised basic services.New job opportunities keyHowever, this wasn’t enough, Patel said, adding that the government alone would never be able to overcome inequality in South Africa.“We have got to build, to a greater and greater extent, opportunities for employment, for jobs, for decent work, as the principle means out of poverty.”While over 300 000 new jobs had been added over the last 12 months, just over 400 000 new jobs had been added since the adoption of the New Growth Path 18 months ago – compared to the previous 18 months preceding the adoption of the new policy, when the country lost over 600 000 jobs.“But not withstanding that jobs growth, we are hardly making a dent in jobs growth, we are hardly making a dent in unemployment levels,” Patel said.CEOs must disclose pay packages: VaviAlso addressing the debate in Parliament, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi said that at a youth wage subsidy – an idea first mooted by the National Treasury – would only address unemployment in the short term.Vavi acknowledged that unemployment was the biggest problem the country faced, but said that at the same time, one couldn’t look away from the issue of high pay, adding that the country needed a mechanism to get chief executives to disclose the level of their pay packages.He agreed with the 2011 report and findings of the UK High Pay Commission, that shareholders should be given more power to vote on the pay packages and bonuses of top executives.He said top South African executives wanted to measure their packages with those of other developed countries, while at the same time arguing that workers had to be paid on par with other developing countries.Vavi pointed out that top executives in South Africa earned 1 728 times the average worker in their respective companies, while this gap was only at 319 times in the US.Business sector ‘unfairly demonised’Bobby Godsell, chairman of Business Leadership South Africa, who backed the idea of setting up a commission to examine corporate pay as the UK had done, said the business sector was often unfairly demonised.Business owners and business leaders were not only after money when running a company, but also wanted to build good companies and make a contribution to society.Top executives had to be remunerated accordingly, he said.In response to Vavi’s assertion that inequality was increasingly dividing the country along class lines, Nazmeera Moola, head of macro-strategy at Macquarie First South, stressed that the country needed to create more jobs, no matter the scale of remuneration.“There is class warfare, and the warfare is between those who have formal sector jobs and those that don’t,” Moola said.What would relieve unemployment and narrow the gap between the rich and poor, she said, was if the country helped smaller firms to hire more workers.UK High Pay Commission chairperson joins debateJoining the debate in Cape Town on Thursday, Deborah Hargreaves, chairperson of the UK High Pay Commission, said the commission had developed a 12-point plan which had subsequently been adopted by the Labour party.Hargreaves said the plan included a call to give shareholders a binding vote on chief executives’ pay or exist bonuses.She said the UK government was currently drafting regulations around executive pay which included making allowances for more diversity on companies’ remuneration committees, and the calculation of a single figure around which executive pay could be structured.However, she said the UK government had not turned down a more controversial idea to have employee representative on remuneration committees.She said massive distortions in pay destabilised economic growth as it drew many of the brightest minds to the financial sector, away from the industrial sector. It also demoralised those in the workforce who felt that pay rates were unfair.There was also evidence that more equal societies attracted more entrepreneurship.She said the top 0.1% of income earners in the UK (earning more than £500 000 and consisting of 36 000 people) saw their pay rise by 64% between 1997 and 2008, while the income of middle-income earners rose only by seven percent over the same period.In a recent British survey that asked how much top executives should be paid, most people polled said top executives should be paid between £500 000 and £700 000 pounds – a massive contrast to the average top pay of £4.2-million, she said.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more