first_imgMoody’s: Much of proposed U.S. LNG export capacity likely to be delayed for years FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Oversupplied global LNG markets are struggling to rebalance from the shock of the coronavirus pandemic, and new export capacity under construction in the U.S. and elsewhere risks extending the gas glut into the mid-2020s, according to Moody’s Investors Service. This dynamic has created a significantly more difficult environment for commercially sanctioning new LNG projects, and it may cull their number in the U.S., the rating agency said.“The U.S. is still within reach of becoming the world’s largest LNG exporter by the mid-2020s,” Moody’s said in an Oct. 15 report, pointing to some 14 U.S. LNG projects that have federal permits but have not advanced to construction. “But virtually all of these new U.S. projects are still awaiting contract backing before beginning construction, and today’s oversupplied global LNG markets will likely delay much of this proposed capacity until at least well into the decade.”The gas glut in the early 2020s will create greater challenges in obtaining the long-term supply deals and pricing commitments that underpinned previous investments in LNG projects, Moody’s said.“The pandemic-related downturn has trimmed expectations of growth in fundamental long-term demand for LNG in the next five years and has increased investment risks on future capacity expansion projects designed to meet LNG demand beyond 2025,” Moody’s said.Competitive and financial hurdles have increased for LNG projects, which involve multibillion-dollar investments, high capital intensity, and long-term payback periods, according to the rating agency. Project developers also face increased competition, both from renewable energy sources that are growing at a rapid clip and from proposed large-scale expansions of LNG plants in Russia and Qatar. The large national LNG producers benefit from lower construction costs and low downstream costs, as well as sovereign backing and ownership of most of the local competitive resources.The growth of global LNG supplies will slow in 2021 and 2022, following a wave of capacity that came online last year, especially in the U.S. The world is struggling to absorb this increase in supply because of a sharp drop in demand that resulted from the coronavirus exacerbating already weak market conditions.[Corey Paul]More ($): Pandemic disruption may curb a raft of US LNG projects, Moody’s sayslast_img read more

first_imgBy Dialogo March 29, 2010 British Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, responsible for the 2012 London Games, affirmed that Rio de Janeiro, host of the 2016 competition, will be able to benefit from the British capital’s organizational experience. “This was the first of several meetings intended to strengthen ties between the two countries. Brazil has to take advantage of London’s experience; Brazil has a lot to learn from our mistakes and from what we got right,” Jowell noted after signing an agreement with her Brazilian counterpart, Sports Minister Orlando Silva. In the British minister’s view, London “made the mistakes first so that Rio won’t make them later, and the most important thing is always to keep an eye on the clock. You lose control over the Olympic budget if you don’t get things done on time. Delays lead to financial loss of control.” Jowell, who met with the governor of Rio de Janeiro state, Sergio Cabral, and with the mayor of the state capital of the same name, Eduardo Paes, signed an agreement for cooperation and the exchange of experiences between the cities that will host the next two Olympics. “The agreement has as its objective to maximize business and investment opportunities between the countries involved in organizing major sports events, like the Olympics and the 2014 Brazilian World Cup,” the British Consulate noted in a statement.last_img read more

first_imgAiling Super Eagles goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme was nominated along with fellow senior national teammates like Victor Moses, John Mikel Obi, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun and Wilfred Ndidi for the 2017/2018 Nigeria Pitch Awards scheduled to hold in June in Lagos.Also nominated for the prestigious Pitch Award is Super Falcons star forward, Asisat Oshoala.At the unveiling of nominees for the fifth edition of the awards in Lagos yesterday, organisers, Match Makers Consult, and its auditors, SIAO Partners explained the transparent process that led to the selection of the players for honour. Other players also nominated in various categories include; Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Shehu Abdullahi, Odion Ighalo, Anthony Okpotu (Lobi Stars), Stephen Odey and Rasheedat Ajibade (FC Robo).In all, three nominees are listed in each of the 18 categories of the awards. Among the categories are King of The Pitch which has Mikel, Ndidi and Moses as contenders while Oshoala, Ajibade and Charity Reuben of Ibom Angels are in the running for the Queen of the Pitch award.For the Goalkeeper of the Year award, the trio of Ikeme, Ezenwa and Dele Ajiboye will slug it out while Balogun, Troost-Ekong and Abdullahi do battle for the Defender of the Year.Mikel, Ndidi and Moses are in the midfield category while for the Striker of the Year will be between Ighalo, Okpotu and Moses.For the Most Valuable Player (Men) in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), Ezenwa, Okpotu and Odey will go head-to-head while Ajibade, Reuben and Amarachi Okonkwo of Nasarawa Amazons are in contention for the Nigeria Women Football League top prize.Other categories include Coach of the Year, Club/Team of the Year, Referee of the Year, and State With The Grassroots Programme.Also, there is the category for Football Friendly Governor of The Year, Sam Okwaraji Award for Commitment to Nigerian Football, Corporate Sponsor of the Year, Football Journalist of the Year (Print), Football Journalist of the Year (Radio) and Football Journalist of the Year (TV).THE CATEGORIES*GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR1. Carl Ikeme (Wolverhampton Wanderers)2. Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Ifeanyi Ubah FC)3. Dele Ajiboye (Plateau United FC)*DEFENDER OF THE YEAR1. Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05)2. William Troost-Ekong (Bursapor FC)3. Shehu Abdullahi (Bursaspor FC)*MIDFIELDER OF THE YEAR1. John Mikel Obi (Tianjin Teda)2. Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City FC)3. Victor Moses (Chelsea FC)*STRIKER OF THE YEAR1. Victor Moses (Chelsea FC)2. Anthony Okpotu (Lobi Stars FC)3. Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai)*MVP (MEN) IN THE NPFL1. Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Ifeanyi Ubah FC)2. Stephen Odey (MFM FC/FC Zurich)3. Anthony Okpotu (Lobi Stars FC)*MVP (WOMEN) IN THE NWFL1. Charity Reuben (Ibom Angels)2. Rasheedat Ajibade (FC Robo)3. Amarachi Okonkwo (Nasarawa Amazons)*COACH OF THE YEAR1. Fidelis Elechukwu (MFM FC)2. Gernot Rohr (Super Eagles)3. Kennedy Boboye (Plateau United)*CLUB/TEAM OF THE YEAR1. Super Eagles2. Plateau United FC3. MFM FC*REFEREE OF THE YEAR1. Ferdinand Udoh2. Adebimpe Quadri3. Ogabor Joseph*STATE WITH THE BEST GRASSROOTS DEVT PROGRAMME1. Lagos State2. Rivers State3. Delta State*FOOTBALL FRIENDLY GOVERNOR OF THE YEAR1. Godwin Obaseki (Edo State)2. Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom State)3. Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos State)*SAM OKWARAJI AWARD1. Shehu Dikko (2nd Vice President, NFF)2. Amaju Melvin Pinnick (President, NFF)3. Chief Ifeanyi Ubah (Chairman, Ifeanyi Ubah FC)*CORPORATE SPONSOR OF FOOTBALL AWARD1. Aiteo Group2. Nigerian Breweries plc3. Coca Cola plc*FOOTBALL JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR (PRINT)1. Johnny Edwards (Complete Sports)2. Tana Aiyejina (Punch Newspapers)3. Olalekan Okusan (The Nation Newspapers)*FOOTBALL JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR (RADIO)1. Godwin Enakhena (Top Radio FM)2. Olawale Adigun (Top Radio FM)3. Tony Bekederemo (Brila FM)*FOOTBALL JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR (TV)1. Austin Okon-Akpan (Channels TV)2. Godwin Enakhena (LTV/SportsSplash)3. Mozez Praiz (Supersport)*QUEEN OF THE PITCH1. Rasheedat Ajibade (FC Robo)2. Rueben Charity (Ibom Angels)3. Asisat Oshoala (Dalian Quanjian)*KING OF THE PITCH1. Victor Moses (Chelsea FC)2. Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City FC)3. John Mikel Obi (Tiajin Teda)Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

first_imgIt was the kind of bold coaching decision only the best in the business might make.Jill Ellis did it, and she prevailed.And she rendered those who wondered so often about her ability not necessarily speechless, but pointless. They can still talk, but she’ll need to do more no more than gesture toward those two trophies. The final whistle blew, and the players hugged and cried on the field, and then they walked past a series of dignitaries to accept their champions’ medals. This was followed by a trophy lift, with copious amounts of confetti flying around. A few days later there was a parade through the streets of New York City, and then lots of lovely things said about the United States women’s national team. None of this resulted in Jill Ellis being acclaimed, even accepted, as USWNT coach. More often, she was mocked. So she did it again. Only better.What could any of her critics say after the Americans rampaged through the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup with no defeats, more goals than anyone, ever, and not a single moment in seven games when they were on the wrong side of the score? Not a thing. Except, now, goodbye.MORE: A beginner’s guide to watching the USWNT stars in NWSLEllis will coach a few “Victory Tour” games with the USWNT and then depart. She knew it was time, even though it won’t necessarily be easy to find another job this lucrative and another position this exalted.“This is not a job that someone sits in for 10 years,” she told reporters Tuesday in a media conference call. “Change is good.”She acknowledged coaching the U.S. women “is one of the most challenging jobs in terms of expectations,” which helps explain why her tenure was not truly appreciated by her critics until she left them with no choice. Ellis won 87 percent of the games she coached and still ranks only fourth in U.S. Soccer history.For everything she has done and everything she has meant to this program we say, THANK YOU ❤️Jill Ellis will step down as #USWNT head coach in October.#ThankYouJill:— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) July 30, 2019Her tactical choices commonly were doubted during her tenure as coach, even right up through her final major event. There were several decisions Ellis made, though, that were essential to securing two World Cup titles and yet were disparaged by amateur and professional critics of her work.Morgan Brian to midfield, June 2015: Through four games at the World Cup, the American offense was stagnant, and the defense appeared vulnerable. Ellis deployed the squad in a 4-4-2 formation with midfielders Lauren Holiday and Carli Lloyd sharing the defensive duties and attacking opportunities. It wasn’t working.In the round of 16 against Colombia, though, Holiday picked up a caution just 17 minutes into the game, leading to a mandatory suspension. Ellis needed to play someone else next to Lloyd; she chose Brian, still just 22, and assigned her to function as a defensive midfielder — commonly called a No. 6. The 4-4-2 became, more often, a 4-5-1.Brian carried off those duties flawlessly, remaining in that position even after Holiday returned. Brian’s effectiveness freed Lloyd to attack and deliver five goals in the final three games.Adopting the 4-3-3 formation, Summer 2016: Ellis tinkered with this approach as early as 2014, but it became the preferred strategy after the U.S. was eliminated from the 2016 Olympics. It was an ideal scheme for the USWNT because it places so much emphasis on the offensive ability of the three forwards, in this case Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath. The U.S. has lost just once in 18 months since the 4-3-3 became the standard.Julie Ertz to No. 6, August 2017: It takes a bold coach to break up a successful centerback pairing. It’s like Simon deciding he can do just as well, even better, without Garfunkel. In the 4-3-3, however, especially one oriented to be as dynamic as this, it is essential to deploy one midfielder who can responsibly destroy opposing attacks.Ellis didn’t invent the idea of Ertz as a defensive midfielder. She began playing there for her NWSL club, the Chicago Red Stars, in the 2017 season. Moving her to that position for the U.S., however, meant ending the partnership between Ertz and Becky Sauerbrunn that had been so destructive to opponents in the 2015 World Cup win. But Ellis trusted that Abby Dahlkemper was ready to elevate to a starting position at centerback, and she was right.Dahlkemper was tremendous in France. And once the U.S. began facing a steady stream of high-level opponents in the knockout rounds of the 2019 tournament, Ertz consistently wrecked the attacks of Spain, France, England and especially the Netherlands. She also slid easily into a five-player back line when the Americans were protecting late leads in each of those games, another Ellis maneuver that paid off big.Crystal Dunn to left back, April 2018: In 2015, after being the last player cut from the U.S. World Cup team, Dunn returned to her NWSL club in Washington and led the league in goals and earned MVP honors.In deciding how best to fit her into the U.S. team for 2019, Ellis looked at Dunn as a defender. This decision was not greeted kindly by all in the soccer press.With Rapinoe playing in the advanced position on the left, however, and with so many midfield options across the field, Ellis trusted that Dunn’s dynamism would make her a force when attacking from the left back position. That combination between Rapinoe and Dunn never quite developed in the World Cup, not to the degree imagined, because as brilliant as Rapinoe was when the game came to a stop — free kicks, corners, penalties — the heat during the tournament sapped some of her spark. Combining with Dunn became difficult.The decision worked anyway because Dunn became a spectacular left back. Her speed allowed her to keep pace with opposing forwards. Her tackling was aggressive, incisive and effective. Her ability to move the ball forward fueled some of the most important offensive moves.Rose Lavelle to the starting lineup, August 2018: With Ertz entrenched at No. 6, Ellis had to decide which players to install in the attacking roles, with so many options from which to choose: Lindsey Horan, on her way to becoming 2018 NWSL MVP; Samantha Mewis, starring for title-bound North Carolina; Brian, who played there regularly earlier in the year.Ellis knew what she had in Lavelle but had to wait. Lavelle had badly damaged her hamstring in 2017 and took months to recover, then took more time to completely find her form. When she started against Brazil last summer, however, she scored the team’s first goal in a 4-1 win and showed the creative qualities that separate her from pretty much every other player in the world.Ellis bet big on those talents, putting her name on the team sheet above many accomplished Americans. The soccer media mostly favored Horan and campaigned for her to own that position. But Lavelle was brilliant throughout, struggling in just one of the six games in which she played, and she wound up scoring the clinching goal in the final and earning the Bronze Ball as the tournament’s third-best player.Sam Mewis to lineup fixture, June 2019: Prior to the send-off series of games in the U.S. that would launch the team toward the World Cup, Horan picked up a slight injury. It was an easy decision to move Mewis into that role temporarily. As Mewis excelled, however, taking her out of the lineup became harder to do.In the World Cup opener against Thailand, Sauerbrunn’s minor injury meant Ertz moving to defense and Ellis being able to start Lavelle, Mewis and Horan at once. Eventually, though, a decision would need to be made. And because Mewis had been outstanding, and because her 5-10 height would be an aide on set pieces against taller opponents, Ellis stuck with Mewis.That meant Horan, described by some soccer analysts as the world’s best midfielder, watched some of the tournament’s key moments from the bench.last_img read more

first_imgRiad Bajić and Vedran Kjosevski signed five-year agreement with football club ‘Željezničar’ from Sarajevo.Talented football players who previously played for young team of football club ‘Željezničar’ have signed an agreement which will last until 2018.Both players have had trainings with A team of Željezničar, and Bajić has been preparing for the past half-season, while Kjosevski has trained with Željezničar several times.(

first_imgHe was only a high school senior when, in 1984 in the living room of his father, Dr. Edward Binyah Kesselly, Dr. S. Jabaru Carlon and others met to found the Unity Party to contest the 1985 presidential and Legislative elections.Young Kesselly recalled that UP’s founding fathers, by giving it the name “Unity Party,” were determined that the party would “epitomize Unity.”  Its original motto was “One People, One Destiny.”  He then told the Unity Party Leadership and membership that the best way to honor Dr. Carlon and all of its fallen heroes is by returning “to day zero—a day for us to reflect, start all over and finally realize that the Unity Party is an institution that was founded on ideals and principles, not on individuals and personalities.  We should revert to its original path for which he and other great men suffered, bled and died—one that epitomizes Unity.” One could candidly say that with Unity Party’s standard bearer, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, present at the funeral and listening, young Kesselly’s was a mouthful.    What was significant about the Tribute was what he did not say, but preferred to hold on the ancient dictum: “A hint to the wise is quite sufficient.”The Daily Observer on Sunday morning called around to talk with some UP stalwarts to gauge their reaction to Mr. Kesselly’s call.  Most of them said what the public already knew: that the party is in apparent disarray.  UP has not held a congress since 2011 when they met to nominate President Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph N. Boakai to succeed themselves on the UP ticket.The party’s youth wing has been critical of the leadership, and many members have bitterly complained that the administration has not rewarded it partisans with jobs.  Said one, “The entire Cabinet is filled with ‘friends of the President,’ not with partisans, and this has seriously embittered the party rank and file.Ironically, one of those in the party leadership being criticized is young Kesselly himself, who heads one of the major components of government, the Liberia Maritime Authority.  They say there is no party stalwart in the whole of Maritime except, of course, the Commissioner himself.Unfortunately, Mr. Kesselly could not be reached yesterday for comment on this allegation.But we wish to state that jobs for partisans alone are not what constitute a viable and properly functioning political party.  A properly functioning political party is one that holds regular meetings of the rank and file.  If it is the party in power, which UP currently is, it should keep the membership regularly informed about government policies and programs, in order to enlist party support. A political party, in developing countries, especially, should hold leadership seminars and workshops to empower the membership with leadership skills to keep them in top shape always, not just at election time.But the lack of jobs for the rank and file is not the only problem that has embittered the UP membership.  Some of them, including leading businesspeople within the party ranks, complain that they are unable to get a single contract from the UP-led government.  Here again, they complain that the party leadership is giving business opportunities only to “the President’s friends.”  Several key partisans with some financial resources say they have been trying to get into the ownership of some of the oil blocks, but to no avail.  They say the President’s friends are linking up with foreigners to purchase oil blocks; and these partisans are bitterly and painfully disappointed.Most Liberian leaders are very conversant with how American politicians do business.  Both Republicans and Democrats in power reach out to their partisans not only with jobs, but contracts also.  These beneficiaries, in turn, oil the parties’ money machines.  That is in part of how the American middle class keeps democracy functioning.But it appears that successive administrations in Liberia have frustrated the development of a Liberian middle class.  These administrations have consistently favored foreigners. Yet who can and will build Liberia in the way it should be built but Liberians themselves, in the same way the Americans and Europeans have built their countries and the Nigerians and Ghanaians are building theirs?  Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgA Donegal man has been named TG4’s Singer of the Year.Gort a’ Choirce’s, Lillis Ó Laoire, two-time winner of the premier sean-nós singing competition Corn Uí Riada in 1991 and again in 1994 is to be awarded the title.Lillis now lives in Galway, where he lectures in Irish, folklore and Celtic civilisation at NUI Galway. O’Laoire was raised in a bilingual family and spoke both Irish and English at home.He learned traditional songs in school, but his interest in singing truly began during his time at NUI Galway, where he studied Irish and took classes with celticist Breandán Ó Madagáin.Ó Madagáin taught Irish poetry and texts in relation to music, and O’Laoire became interested in this connection through him.He started publicly singing in competitions at NUI Galway, organised by the Irish language society at the time and in 1986, began competing at the fleadh ceoil. In 1991 and again in 1994, he won the prestigious Corn Uí Riada singing competition at the Oireachtas na Gaeilge. Harper Laoise Kelly from Westport, Co. Mayo is announced as TG4’s ‘Musician of the Year’, and is one of the youngest recipients of the main award to date. Laoise will be awarded the title at TG4’s Gradam Ceoil gala concert which will take place in Belfast’s Waterfront Hall next February.The other award recipients are Lifetime Achievement Award to Séamus Connolly, Outstanding Contribution Award to Nenagh’s Ned Kelly and Composer of the Year to Josephine Marsh.Gradam Ceoil TG4 is 23 years in existence, an awards ceremony that recognises and celebrates the cream of Irish traditional music.The full list of TG4 Gradam Ceoil 2020 recipients reads as follows:Ceoltóir na Bliana/Musician of the Year: Laoise Kelly Ceoltóir Óg/Young Musician of the Year: Sharon HowleyGradam Saoil/Lifetime Achievement: Séamus ConnollyAmhránaí na Bliana/Singer of the Year: Lillis Ó LaoireGradam Comaoine/Outstanding Contribution: Ned Kelly Cumadóir na Bliana / Composer of the Year: Josephine MarshGradam Ceoil TG4 is the premier annual traditional music awards scheme and academy. An independent panel of adjudicators select recipients each year.It is not a competition. The Gradam Ceoil recipients are presented with a specially-commissioned piece by leading sculptor John Coll as well as a small stipend.This year’s awards will be presented at the Gradam Ceoil TG4 concert in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast on Sunday 23rd February and televised live on TG4 at 9:30pm, hosted by Doireann Ní Ghlacáin & Dónal O’Connor, the 2020 Gradam recipients will be joined in performance on stage by their own special musical guests in a unique, star-studded line-up of musicians and award-presenters.TG4 Director General, Alan Esslemont, sais ‘Gradam Ceoil TG4 is 23 years in existence, and recognises the best of traditional Irish music, an initiative that TG4 is immensely proud of. I would like to congratulate all of this year’s winners. They are the embodiment of traditional Irish music and song, and we are delighted to award them the highest honour in Irish music. Gradam Ceoil TG4 will take place in The Waterfront Hall in Belfast for the third year running, a successful collaboration with Belfast City Council, ILBF, Red Shoe Productions and TG4’.Donegal man named TG4’s Singer of the Year was last modified: November 15th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_img(Visited 23 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 The “mind-body problem” is alive and well. Can these phenomena be reduced to matter in motion?Babies feel pain like adults do:  We all know that pain is more than just a conditioned response; it hurts! A press release from the University of Oxford took brain scans and found that babies’ brains light up during pain with similar patterns as adult brains, suggesting they experience pain the same way. Incidentally, an important vote is going on in Congress on a law that would restrict abortions for “pain-capable” babies in the womb (see FRC News). Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council says “this legislation conforms federal abortion law to modern science.”Hearing between the ears:  How does the brain balance hearing coming from two sources? Science Daily reports that scientists at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have determined part of the answer: it has to do with the “olivocochlear reflex” —“Our hearing is so sensitive that we can hear a pin drop and that’s because of the ‘cochlear amplifier’ in our inner ear. This stems from outer hair cells in the cochlea which amplify sound vibrations.”“When sound intensity increases, the olivocochlear reflex turns down the ‘cochlear amplifier’ to dynamically balance the input of each ear for optimal hearing, sound localisation and to protect hearing.“The study found that the cochlear’s outer hair cells, which amplify sound vibrations, also provide the sensory signal to the brain for dynamic feedback control of this sound amplification, via a small group of auditory nerve fibres of previously unknown function.The brain, of course, has to know what to do with this information that the mechanical and physical hearing organs deliver to it.Motion blur compensation: Your eyes are constantly moving, and often, objects you see are moving, too. Why don’t you see a constantly blurred picture? The UC San Diego Health System has a partial answer:Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Shiley Eye Institute have identified the molecular “glue” that builds the brain connections that keep visual images clear and still, even as objects or your eyes move. Using mouse models, the researchers demonstrate that image stabilization depends upon two proteins, Contactin-4 and amyloid precursor protein, binding during embryonic development. The study is published May 7 by Neuron.Lead scientist and ophthalmologist Andrew D. Huberman discusses sensors and “precise connections” between neurons in the brain aided by these proteins. When these proteins are mutated, “the circuit didn’t form properly and visual cells didn’t talk to the brain correctly.”Brain’s router: The brain’s “sorting and routing center” is discussed in Science Magazine. Environmental messages from the senses need to know where to go; how is this achieved? Researchers have found that the hippocampus does not send out general broadcasts. Instead, “hippocampal neurons route distinct behavior-contingent information selectively to different target areas.”How do higher brain areas communicate with each other? Do they send out all computations equally to all target areas and leave the recipient to extract the needed and relevant information? Or does the transmitting region package and route computations differentially to distinct target areas, depending on the content? Ciocchi et al. found that the ventral hippocampus routes anxiety-related information preferentially to the prefrontal cortex and goal-related information preferentially to the nucleus accumbens. Hippocampal neurons with multiple projections were more involved in a variety of behavioral tasks and in memory consolidation.Organizational principles: Without mentioning evolution, a press release from the Max Planck Florida Institute shows how its team created 3-D color models of neuronal interconnections in order to understand the “organizational principles of the neocortex.” Consider what transpires when a rat twitches a single whisker:First, neurons of all cell types projected the majority of their axon – the part of the neuron that transmits information to other neurons – far beyond the borders of the cortical column they were located in. Thus, information from a single whisker will spread into multiple cortical columns…. Second, these trans-columnar pathways were not uniformly structured. Instead, each cell type showed specific and asymmetric axon projection patterns, for example interconnecting columns that represent whiskers with similar distance to the bottom of the snout. Finally, the researchers showed that the observed principles of trans-columnar pathways could be advantageous, compared to any previously postulated cortex model, for encoding complex sensory information.Time code: The brain can even simulate time dilation and time contraction. A paper in Current Biology explores the “neural coding” itself can dilate and contract.The brain is a time machine, of sorts. It is always attempting to predict the future. At this moment you are automatically predicting the next word in this ……. And given the dynamic nature of the world, the ability to tell time and process temporal information is critical for motor coordination, sensory processing, and the ability to anticipate environmental events.Think about how a piano student can play the same piece fast or slow. How do the neurons adjust for the time differences? Some progress was made by Mello et al. in a paper in the same issue of Current Biology, but much remains unknown:Nevertheless, the new study by Mello et al.  is the first to provide clear evidence for a relative code for timing on the seconds to minute scale. The most fascinating question raised is how this is accomplished. How does a population of neurons temporally contract or dilate their responses? At the population level we can think of the firing pattern as a trajectory in N-dimensional space — where N corresponds to the number of recorded neurons. Thus, a relative temporal code corresponds to traveling along the same (or similar) trajectory at different speeds. In principle the simplest way to achieve such a rescaling is to scale the time constant of the neurons in circuits. There is, however, little evidence that such a mechanism is physiologically plausible. Another possibility is that tonic inputs or neuromodulators effectively control the dynamics of the circuits in a manner that scales the speed of the neural trajectory.Because rats can robustly rescale their motor behaviors, and humans can easily rescale the speed with which they speak or play a musical piece, future studies will have to determine not only how the brain encodes time, but how it does so in a flexible manner that allows for time dilation and contraction.Is anyone considering the possibility that the user of the brain tells the neurons what to do?Unreal abstractions: PhysOrg asks a semi-philosophical question: “Can the brain map ‘non-conventional’ geometries (and abstract spaces)?” It’s an interesting question, because one would suspect that evolution would have no use for such abstractions; it needs to tailor the organism to the real world. Nevertheless, research published by the Royal Society suggests that mammal brains are pre-equipped to comprehend hyperbolic spaces and non-Euclidean geometries:Grid cells, space-mapping neurons of the entorhinal cortex of rodents, could also work for hyperbolic surfaces. A SISSA study just published in Interface, the journal of the Royal Society, tests a model (a computer simulation) based on mathematical principles, that explains how maps emerge in the brain and shows how these maps adapt to the environment in which the individual develops.“It took human culture millennia to arrive at a mathematical formulation of non-Euclidean spaces”, comments SISSA neuroscientist Alessandro Treves, “but it’s very likely that our brains could get there long before. In fact, it’s likely that the brain of rodents gets there very naturally every day.”Choosing not to be depressed: Is depression a disease of physical neurons? If so, it would seem curable by physical drugs. Science Daily, though, reproduced a press release from The Lancet that announces, “Mindfulness-based therapy could offer an alternative to antidepressants for preventing depression relapse.” Mindfulness therapy takes the reality of the mind seriously. In a controlled experiment, one group kept taking antidepressants, but the other group engaged their minds with “guided mindfulness practices, group discussion and other cognitive behavioural exercises.” Both groups had similar rates of relapse and success. One advantage of mindfulness-based therapy is cost: “As a group intervention, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy was relatively low cost compared to therapies provided on an individual basis and, in terms of the cost of all health and social care services used by participants during the study, we found no significant difference between the two treatments.”The mind-body problem raises profound philosophical and theological questions. How does the realm of atoms and the realm of concepts interact? Which is predominant? Many books have been written on these questions, but the evidence cited here underscores the view of the human mind as a personal soul with free will. The neurons of hearing, sight and the other senses are servants to the self. For non-human mammals like the rats in the experiments, input from the senses is directed by the brain intelligently for adaptive responses (instincts), but think about the human cases. The piano student can choose to play a piece fast or slow; the neurons do not determine any instinctual response. We can all say “no” to our neurons and choose to take actions that at times are radically opposed to what our senses or instincts (if we have such things) pressure us to do. We can even blaze past the pain and do a courageous act that makes no sense in terms of safety or survival.We further can tell that the soul is real, because in none of these research projects did the scientists act by instinct. Nothing in the presumed evolution of the human being gave survival value to writing a scientific paper, conducting a controlled experiment, or reasoning about the causes and effects of abstract geometric concepts on grid cells. It’s not surprising that each of the researchers was silent on the subject of evolution.As for depression, it’s doubtful the researchers at Oxford gave spiritual comfort from the Bible to the patients in the mindfulness-based therapy group. If they gave them old-fashioned non-directive counseling and empty talk in group discussions, that would be highly unlikely to bring comfort except for the false comfort of shared misery. The gospel of Jesus Christ, however, is a well-spring of joy. Paul said, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2). What could be better for a depressed person than peace, grace, joy, and hope? In a real sense, depressed people are selfish. They’re thinking about themselves and their feelings: “Woe is me; I’m so sad, I deserve better.” The gospel takes our eyes off ourselves and onto our Maker where they belong. We all would be less depressed if we stood in this grace of God by faith, by trusting God’s promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, for “access by faith” into the glory of God.Once a person is walking by faith in the joy of the Lord, grateful for forgiveness and a new life, a whole new world of joy just begins. Think about these wonders of science mentioned in this one article: projection neurons that connect precisely to give you clear vision, outer hair cells in the cochlea that automatically balance the inputs from your two ears, organizational principles, time codes — He made these all for you, so that life could be richer, that you might look up and share His great love. I guarantee you will find it hard to be depressed when your response to these facts is, “Wow! That’s amazing! Thank you Lord! I love you, Lord! Your awesome power and wisdom is incomprehensible; it’s beautiful—Hallelujah!”last_img read more

first_imgSkiing down Ben McDhui, one of the highmountain peaks in the New England andWartrail region.(Image: South African Tourism)MEDIA CONTACTS • Kath IstedChair, New England Wartrail CommunityTourism Association+27 45 974 [email protected]• Janet ViedgeVice-chair, New England WartrailCommunity Tourism Association+27 45 974 [email protected] ARTICLES• Wandering the Whale Trail• Scuba-diving South Africa• The Tour de Kruger: a wild ride• Return to Zimbabwe• Knysna away from the crowdsFiona McIntoshWith the final draw over, the group stage matches scheduled and the official football unveiled, excitement for the 2010 Fifa World Cup is ramping up.But what if you aren’t excited? What if magnificent stadiums leave you cold, and the idea of the crowds, the buzz, the drama and spectacle fill you with horror? Well, then you can head for the hills – literally.One of the best places in South Africa to get away from almost everything is the Wartrail and New England region of the southern Drakensberg mountains, in one of the more remote parts of the Eastern Cape province.With the World Cup playing in June and July, during the southern hemisphere winter, this little-known mountainous part of the country is likely to be covered snow, a far cry from what you’d expect from an African winter.Mountain peaks such as Ben McDhui, Avoca and Snowdon rise to over 3 000 metres, tumbling rivers have carved deep sandstone gorges and caves, there is well-preserved rock art, and a host of adventures from fishing to horse riding.Wartrail is long drive from anywhere, cellphone reception is extremely limited and the accommodation is warm and welcoming rather than five-star. But this is its appeal – a place you can throw snowballs then drink red wine in front of the fire. Somewhere you can escape the crowds.There’s no shortage of farm-stay accommodation in the area so you can stay put or migrate between the dozen affordable fully-catered or self-catering guest houses. All have fireplaces and electric blankets, and specialise in home cooking, often using home-grown ingredients.The key to enjoying the place is to bring good boots, warm jackets, beanies and gloves and get out with a make-shift sledge or a carrot for the snowman’s nose, enjoying some fun in the snow.With its high mountain passes, which include Naude’s Nek, the highest pass in the Cape, and the challenging Bastervoetpad, Wartrail is a mecca for 4×4, quad-biking and mountain-biking enthusiasts who revel in challenge of the steep and icy tracks, but there are also easy trails too suited to kids and novices.But the best way to appreciate the area is on foot. Here hikers are spoilt for choice, with numerous short strolls and day walks from the farms.There’s also a five-night, guided and fully catered trail, the Wartrail Skywalk, which starts at Rosstrevor near the town of Barkly East, heads over the hills for around 15 kilometres each day to the farms of Pitlochrie, Balloch, and Reedsdell before ending at Bidstone, high up the valley. The trail is certainly not for the faint-hearted at any time of year, but if you’re reasonably fit it’s a must to really get a feel for wild mountain country.En route, usually accompanied by the farm dogs, you climb spectacular peaks and ridges, watch lammergeier (bearded vulture) soaring overhead and enjoy some of the least visited, yet most accessible rock art in the country. It was here that rock art specialist David Lewis-Williams, co-author of Images of Power, based most of his early research.Many of the paintings are easy to find, such as those among the craggy sandstone boulders behind Balloch Guest House, while real enthusiasts wanting to learn more about the techniques and interpretation of the paintings can sign up for a rock art tour with local fundi Dawn Green.And then of course there’s the chance to swish down the white stuff on skis or snowboards, to drink glühwein and indulge in some après ski fun at nearby Tiffindell, South Africa’s only downhill ski resort.If this all sounds too active don’t worry, it’s not all about adrenalin. There’s plenty to amuse those of a more leisurely bent. Anglers can tickle a trout even in the cold, and there’s a lovely tea garden at Reedsdell.At the Old Dairy Restaurant at Rosstrevor, housed in a beautiful old sandstone barn converted from a dairy, you can while away the day enjoying the scenery in a sedentary fashion, reading, talking to the local people and learning more about the history the area.The Wartrail area, situated below Lundean’s Nek, was the old border of the former homeland of Transkei and Lesotho. Its name comes from the days when King Mosheshwe of Lesotho sent cattle raiding parties over the Nek and through Mosheshesford to rustle the stock of the Xhosas living down in Elliot.Returning to Lesotho with the cattle, Mosheshwe’s men were often pursued by the Xhosa and, instead of abandoning the beasts, they would drive them into the river to drown. This is the origin of the name of the river flowing through Reedsdell, the River Joggem, “eater-of-cattle”.It’s hard to imagine such bloodshed when you survey the tranquil surrounds. Today Wartrail is a peaceful place, proud of its community projects, such as the Bruce Sephton Tennis Academy and the Masibambane Knitting Project.The latter encourages rural women to start their own businesses by supplying them with skills training and equipment an providing a local outlet for their products – knitted beanies, scarves and children’s jerseys – which are sold, along with emu products made on site, in the Wartrail Craft Shop on Reedsdell Farm.Of course the World Cup is just one good reason to escape to Wartrail, but this pristine wonderland is the perfect antidote to the stresses of city life at any time of year. You don’t need an excuse to head to wild mountain country.last_img read more

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Jack Irvin has been named senior director, state and national policy for Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. He will be responsible for managing the organization’s legislative and regulatory team and will represent the interests of Farm Bureau members with Congress, the General Assembly and with federal and state regulatory agencies.Most recently, Irvin served as director of government and industry affairs with the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association where he directed development of public policy and legislative priorities at the state and national levels. He also served that organization by managing communications efforts and developing grassroots volunteers. He previously served as legislative aide to several senators including Tom Niehaus, Larry Mumper and Doug White.He received bachelor’s degrees from Miami University in human resources and organizational behavior. He is an active member in Vista Community Church in Worthington. He and his wife, Erika, reside in Columbus with their two daughters.last_img read more