Human ‘Missing Link’ Skull Found in Ethiopia

first_imgReuters reported that a skull intermediate between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens has been found in Ethiopia (see MSNBC News): “Ethiopian find could fill gap in human origins,” reads the title.  “Skull seen as ‘intermediate’ between modern humans and older ancestors.”  Associated Press (see Fox News) says this fossil is 250,000 to 500,000 years old, but another AP story on Fox News claims there is new evidence from stone tools that humans were in England 700,000 years ago.  “The discovery that early humans could have existed this far north this long ago was startling,” said Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum.Creationists believe Homo erectus were true humans, so this is no issue about evolution, really.  We’ve seen these kinds of claims so many times before.  Now that it has made its splash in the media, a rival will soon be along to discredit the classification, or the date, or the significance of the find.  If their dates are not all mixed up beyond comprehension, there is no way the Ethiopian find could be a missing link if humans were already in Camelot.(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Airlines call for global consistency with crash investigations.

first_imgThe IATA boss used the forum to take another swipe at the lack of consultation in a decision by the US to ban large electronic devices from the cabins of some flight from the Middle east and North Africa.He said the measure “challenged public confidence with inconsistencies” and failed to adequately address safety concerns about concentrations of lithium ion batteries in aircraft holds.He also called for more attention to be paid to the rising problem of drones around airports and their increasing hazard to aviation.“The great majority of drone owners operate their devices responsibly, but it is also the case that the number of incidents is rising,’’ he said. “There is significant work being developed at ICAO to produce standards for the larger drones that are equipped to share the airspace with manned aircraft.“However, we need to ensure that the smaller drones, whether intended for recreational or commercial use, are kept out of airspace used for approach and landing operations of air transport. “ International airlines have issued a call for a global standard for air accident investigations after a study revealed reports were available for just 30 per cent of about 1000 crashes over the past decade.The study by the International Air Transport Association’s Accident Classification Task Force found that reports were available for only about 300 of the crashes and many of those had room for improvement.Air accident investigations are covered under rules defined by the UN-backed International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).ICAO’s Accident Investigation Section is responsible for developing and updating Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) under a set of rules known Annex 13.These require member states to investigate accidents taking place in their territory and, for international flights,  set out rules on issues such as notification, investigation and reporting.But adherence to those requirements can differ between jurisdictions.Speaking at a safety and flight operations conference in Korea on April 24, IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac called for greater cooperation on global standards for air accident investigations.“Global standards exist, but they are not being applied universally,’’ de Juniac said, pointing to the IATA finding on accident reports.  “The investigation process is one of our most important learning tools when building global standards.“To learn from an accident, we need reports that are complete, accessible and timely. We also need states to fully respect the standards and processes enshrined in global agreements for participation in the investigation by all specified parties.’’As air traffic grows, so does the number of accidents — even if the accident rate remains stable.The aviation industry has worked hard to improve safety over the past two decades through improved auditing, better technology and enhanced procedures.This has allowed aviation to remain by far the safest form of long-distance travel with a commercial aviation accident rate in 2016 of 2.56 major jet hull losses per million flights.IATA says this is the equivalent to a person taking one flight every day of their life for about 1800 years before being involved in an accident.But the big drops in the global accident rates made at the end of the 20th century have flattened out in recent years.Theis has prompted the industry to focus on key areas such as loss of control-Inflight (LOC-I), controlled flight Into terrain (CFIT) and runway safety.It also looking increasingly at data analysis as a way of generating improvements through an IATA initiative called the Global  Aviation Data Management Program, which brings together information from more than 470 organisations.De Juniac said information provided through this initiative was already helping to identify potential hazards through the analysis of de-identified aircraft flight recorder data.”“The data generated from the 100,000 safe flights each day can help us understand where the next threat or challenge may arise,’’ de Juniac said. “We need to move ahead in this area with speed.’’last_img read more

Free online courses for environmental science

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Anyone with access to the Internet, any time, anywhere, can take a series of free online introductory courses in environmental science at The Ohio State University.Three new Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are available for anyone interested in learning more about Earth’s environment and sustainability. The courses are part of the Introduction to Environmental Science series offered by the Canvas Network.The first course in the series, Earth’s Environment: Soil, Water, and Air, introduces students to environmental science, environmental literacy and the scientific process.The series’ second course, Energy and Earth: Fossil Fuels, Alternative, and Renewable Energy, explores human energy production and use and their impact on the environment, human health and Earth’s ecosystems.The third course, Life on Earth: Biomes, Climates, Ecology, and Evolution, looks at the vast diversity of life on Earth.Brian Lower, associate professor in Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), leads the courses’ team of instructors. SENR is part of the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).The new series is being made available to students across the globe at no charge through Canvas, which, according to its website, works “to promote openness and innovation in education.” It does that by assimilating courses from colleges, universities and organizations to create open-access educational experiences.“These courses have the potential to reach a variety of learners, and we hope that the material helps students reach their educational or career goals,” Lower said.Designers from Ohio State’s Office of Distance Education and eLearning (ODEE) helped develop the new series. ODEE has collaborated with SENR over the past three years to develop several online courses for Ohio State undergraduate students, including Sustainability Metrics; Introduction to Rural Sociology; Introduction to Environmental Science; and Introduction to Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife.Anyone from across the globe can easily enroll in the series once they create a account, said Ella Weaver, one of the courses’ instructors and an instructional aides associate who works to support SENR’s eLearning initiatives.“By enrolling, students are able to connect to open content in an online platform at their leisure,” Weaver said. “Each course offered is free and self-paced, so students have access to all the course material and resources on a continuous basis and don’t have to worry about cost or time constraints.”Offering the course content as a series allows greater flexibility for the diverse needs of students, Weaver said. Students can opt to enroll in the full series or simply enroll in an individual course in the series that aligns more with their interests or goals.“We recommend spending three hours per week if students are going to be active participants in the courses,” Weaver said. “Participants may also just access the chapters they are interested in and pop in and out of a course.”Lower said the new courses keep with Ohio State’s tradition of developing innovative approaches to teaching and learning. He said he and the other instructors have strived to provide engaging, inclusive educational materials to attract a diverse audience of students.“Several hundred students have enrolled in the course during the first month, and we expect this number to grow to several thousand enrolled students in 2018,” he said.Through a welcome survey built into the courses, the instructors have learned more about their student enrollees. For example, of those completing the survey, 65% were outside North America, 43% use a language other than English as their primary spoken language, and 23% were taking their first online course.last_img read more

NemaStrike Technology on Hold

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Pamela Smith DTN Progressive Farmer Crops Technology EditorDECATUR, Ill. (DTN) — Bayer has announced it will not sell its seed treatment known as NemaStrike for the 2020 growing season, citing ongoing safety concerns with the nematicide.The company says the product, which is designed to protect crops against nematodes, has caused skin irritations with some individuals who have handled the product. Acceleron NemaStrike ST was commercially available as a premium seed treatment on corn, cotton and soybean in 2019.This is the second time that NemaStrike has been sidelined. In 2018, the broad-spectrum nematicide was halted after some workers involved in the manufacturing process experienced rashes when their skin came into contact with the product, Bayer told DTN in interviews last fall. The company told DTN at that time that NemaStrike would be sold with strong messaging to wear chemical-resistant gloves, long-sleeved shirt, long pants and socks and shoes while handling, as part of a larger stewardship and safety initiative.Tioxazafen, the active ingredient in NemaStrike Technology, represents a new class of nematicides that is reported to affect the worm’s mitochondria, which is the energy factory of cells.Bayer divested some products from their portfolio to BASF as part of the remedy process to retain NemaStrike when purchasing Monsanto.“Bayer was obligated to make certain divestments in order to obtain regulatory approval of its acquisition of Monsanto Company,” said a Bayer spokesperson. “These divestments are determined primarily by regulatory agencies’ judgement concerning the steps necessary to preserve competition in relevant markets. That said, Bayer believes in the potential grower value of NemaStrike Technology.”Bayer provided the following statement to DTN, but did not indicate what the future was for the nematicide:“After a careful assessment of the applicator and grower experience in 2019, Bayer has made the decision that NemaStrike Technology will not be offered broadly in 2020 for corn, cotton or soybeans. While the vast majority of applicators and grower customers had a positive experience with NemaStrike Technology this year, a limited number of individuals experienced skin irritations after handling Acceleron(R) NemaStrike ST or seed treated with the product. While this was a small number relative to the total number of users, we strive to ensure a positive user experience for all our customers and therefore decided to take this action.“We will provide additional information to our customers in the coming weeks, including which alternative products will be available for the 2020 planting season. NemaStrike Technology has demonstrated consistent yield protection performance of 5+ bu/acre in corn, 2+ bu/acre in soybean, and 80 lbs. lint/acre in cotton on average in the U.S. over five years of field trials. This technology offers significant value to growers, and we are committed to evaluating options to improve the user experience.”Pamela Smith can be reached at Pamela.smith@dtn.comFollow her on Twitter @PamSmithDTN(AG)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more