9 May

Ridges on Antarctic ice rises

first_imgSatellite pictures have revealed the presence of ridges on the summits of ice rises in Antarctica. Because ice does not exhibit a critical stress it is conclugerd that these ridges must be produced by a snow accumulation process rather than by ice gerformation. A sand-mogerl analogue has been used to simulate this behaviour.last_img

20 Dec

A Very (un)Happy Meal, the Outcome of the Unprecedented Hyperinflation in Venezuela

first_imgBy Marcos Ommati/Diálogo June 14, 2019 In addition to the lack of food, medicine, and other basic necessities, eating out in the country has become something only a select few can afford. Imagine entering a McDonald’s and seeing that a Happy Meal will cost more than what you make in a month. This was the dire situation that Jesus Yepez experienced at the end of last March. The prices caught him so off guard that he sent a picture of the menu to the U.S. news website, INSIDER. Happy Meal items can vary a bit, yet usually come with a hamburger, fries, drink, and children’s toy. The photo shows the meal price at 18,500 bolívares — far higher than Venezuela’s minimum wage at the time. Since then, it has been adjusted to 40,000 bolívares soberanos (nearly $4, according to the Currency Converter website, as of May 14, 2019). The amount will certainly have changed by the time this article is published, due to the country’s exorbitant inflation rate. Trying to be happy Yepez was buying ice cream for his daughter when he noticed the price and decided to take a picture. “With everything that has happened during this crisis, the only thing we can do is try to be happy,” the architect said, making a reference to the smile displayed on the Happy Meal box. Along with the photo he sent to the website, he also said in his email that the restaurant was practically empty due to the excessively high price of eating out in Venezuela, not just in that McDonald’s, but in any restaurant throughout the country. Jesus Yepez also posted a photo of a “tree” made up with bolívares and Monopoly money replacing leaves on his Instagram account. “People here like to joke that our money is worth as much as Monopoly money, meaning, absolutely nothing,” he said. The country’s hyperinflation, which has been a constant issue during the regime of Nicolás Maduro has reduced the bolívar’s value to practically zero. Barters and exchanges Despite the bolívar losing 99 percent of its value since 2013, when Maduro assumed power, Venezuelans do what they can to survive. According to a report in the British newspaper The Guardian, people are bartering and exchanging goods and services among themselves, as well as currencies other than the bolívar in their financial transactions. The situation is so dire, that it’s common to find people scavenging for food scraps in trash cans on the streets of Caracas and in other Venezuelan cities, according to social media posts. One picture in an Instagram post by Stephanie Vita Marcelot shows several people collecting all the water they possibly can from a leaking sewer pipe system. Stephanie Marcelot said that people are getting very desperate since running water was shut off in their homes days ago. “The water seemed clean, even though it was coming out of pipes that feed from the polluted Guaire,” said the Venezuelan woman about the small river that flows through some streets of Caracas. Several social media posts say that those interruptions in service, not just water but also electricity and internet services are constant and more of a rule than the exception in the country, especially with sustenance and medical services in stark decline.last_img read more

17 Dec

Farm to School Programs invest nearly $800 million in local economies

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Schools across the United States purchased $789 million in local foods from farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and food processors and manufacturers in school year 2013 – 2014, according to results from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School Census released today. That represents a 105 percent increase over the 2011-2012 school year when the first census was conducted, signifying the deepening commitment of schools nationwide to bring local food into the cafeteria and strengthen their local economies.“An investment in the health of America’s students through farm to school programming is also an investment in the health of local economies,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Nearly half of schools report that they intend to buy even more local foods in future school years, indicating that farm to school programs will continue helping our children and our communities flourish.”Schools report that farm to school programs can increase the number of students purchasing school breakfast and lunch, improve consumption of healthier foods at school, and reduce plate waste. The programs are often also heavily focused on nutrition education, helping teach children where their food comes from and exposing them to lessons about healthy eating. The census data show that school gardens, which can be both teaching tools and a sources of fresh produce, have nearly tripled over the past two years.At the national level, 42 percent of school districts that responded to the census are operating farm to school programs as of the 2014-2015 school year, and another 16 percent – more than 2,000 districts – have plans to start in the future. The census results show that farm to school programs exist in every state in large and small, rural and urban schools alike. These schools are incorporating local foods throughout the day including school lunch, school breakfast, supper programs, and/or snacks.The newly updated Farm to School Census website allows users to find information about farm to school programs in their state and in their particular school or district. The site also names three top school districts in each state that boast higher than average investment in local food purchasing. In addition, users can vote for a school that they believe administers a creative, innovative, and/or exemplary farm to school program for the “One in a Melon” award. Nominations will be accepted through April 15.In order to establish realistic goals with regard to increasing the availability of local foods in schools, USDA conducted the first nationwide Farm to School Census in 2013. USDA conducted a second Farm to School Census in 2015 to measure progress towards reaching this goal. In 2015, USDA surveyed over 18,000 public, private and charter school districts and 12,585 school districts responded for a response rate of approximately 70percent. Data were collected through an online survey and through a printable mail-in questionnaire. To view the full results, visit https://farmtoschoolcensus.fns.usda.gov.Farm to School is part of the Office of Community Food Systems and is one of many initiatives of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) aimed at improving the health of our next generation. FNS administers America’s fifteen nutrition assistance programs, including, but not limited to, the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Together these programs make up the federal nutrition safety net.The Farm to School program is a core element of the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, which coordinates USDA’s work to support local and regional food systems. F2S Census data and F2S grant award information is available on the KYF2 Compass Map, which identifies USDA investments in local foods and is updated regularly to reflect new information.last_img read more

17 Dec

North American trade deal signed, moves to Congress

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest  Leave a CommentDespite the signing of the new trade agreement among the United States, Canada and Mexico Nov. 30, work remains as the focus now shifts to Congress and its ratification. The new free trade agreement that took more than a year of intense negotiations among the three partners to come to fruition.Officially called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) but dubbed NAFTA 2.0, the agreement must be voted on by each country’s legislative body before it takes effect.“Agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico increased from $8.9 billion to $39 billion under NAFTA,” said American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “In every way, this new agreement is just as good, if not better than, the one that came before.”According to AFBF, several provisions in the agreement will have significant impacts on the agriculture industry:USMCA will provide new market access for dairy and poultry products in Canada and maintains the zero-tariff platform on all other ag products and on all ag products to Mexico.Canada agreed to end its Class 7 pricing scheme.U.S. dairy products gain access to an additional 3.6 percent of Canada’s dairy market.Canada agreed to treat wheat imports the same as domestic wheat for grading and pricing, and Mexico and the U.S. agreed that all grading standards for ag products will be non-discriminatory.USMCA is the first free trade agreement for the U.S. that includes measures that address cooperation, information sharing, and other trade rules related to biotechnology and gene editing. There also are provisions that enhance science-based trading standards among the three nations as the basis for sanitary and phytosanitary measures for ag products, as well as progress in the area of geographic indications.However, Duvall cautioned that there is still work to be done between the three countries to make the agriculture industry whole.“As good as all this news is, farmers and ranchers still face retaliatory tariffs over steel and aluminum disputes with our North American neighbors and other trading partners,” he said. “We urge the administration to redouble its efforts to come to an agreement on those outstanding issues so we can regain the markets we had not long ago.”  Leave a Commentlast_img read more

29 Sep

Mike Trout Is A 430 Million Bargain

Trout’s most similar group averaged just fewer than 1.0 WAR by age 38. And that group contains eight Hall of Famers, including Griffey, Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson and Mel Ott. To further complicate matters, the quality of competition in MLB continues to improve over time, and the game is getting younger, making it more difficult to age well.However, if 1 WAR is worth $8 million in 2019, and that value inflates by 3 percent per season (for the first five seasons),2Basic assumptions which, granted, may need re-examining. the average of Trout’s comparable group would be worth about $450 million from age 27 through age 38. And it bears mentioning that Trout has accumulated 48 percent more WAR through age 26 than his comparable group of all-time legends. (Yes, Trout is good.)So Trout seems like a very good bet to deliver more value to the Angels than they’re paying him for in this contract, even if some of the assumptions above are more player-friendly than the current state of baseball’s economics. While many MLB mega-contracts end up looking bad in retrospect, this Trout deal might be the rare one that delivers positive surplus value for the team.Either way, with no opt-outs in the deal and a full no-trade clause, Trout and the Angels are committed to each other for the long haul. If Trout is interested in winning World Series rings, he took a risk in remaining in Anaheim: He has never won a playoff game with the Angels even while establishing himself at the game’s best player. As great as Trout has been, even the best player cannot do it alone — particularly not in baseball, which is a weak-link sport that is less dependent on star talent than other sports.But in some ways, the Angels’ outlook is improving for the second act of the Trout era. Albert Pujols’s albatross of a contract is coming off the books after the 2021 season — $28 million in present-day dead money the Angels can allocate elsewhere.The Angels entered Tuesday with $28 million committed in 2022 salaries, ranking 18th in baseball despite playing in the sport’s No. 2 market in Los Angeles. (The MLB average is $35.2 million committed in 2022, according to Spotrac.) So should the Angels want to compete in the market for high-end free-agent talent in coming years — like, say, Mookie Betts (free agency ETA 2021) or Francisco Lindor (free agency ETA 2022)3Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons will be a free agent after 2020. — they will have the flexibility and purchasing power to do so. As reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Angels are closing in on a 12-year contract extension worth at least $430 million with outfielder Mike Trout, setting the all-time mark for both the largest contract (passing Bryce Harper’s $330 million deal from a few weeks ago) and the greatest average annual contract value in baseball history. Trout is a longtime object of fascination for us here at FiveThirtyEight; we’ve frequently extolled his virtues as baseball’s best and most consistent star. Now he has the record-breaking contract to match his talent — but one that might still represent a big bargain for the Angels. And the deal’s long-term nature only renews questions about Trout’s ability to win in L.A., as well as his potential to break through as a star off the field.At first glance, about $36 million per year seems like a tremendous deal for the Angels. According to FanGraphs’ estimated market values based on wins above replacement (WAR), a player with Trout’s 2018 production should have been worth about $79 million last season. That’s nothing new for Trout: FanGraphs estimates that he was worth $55 million (in 70 percent of a full season) in 2017, $78 million in 2016 and $74 million in 2016. So if Trout continues his recent pace, the Angels will basically be paying him half of what he’d be worth on the open market over the next few seasons.Of course, Trout is also 27 this year, traditionally the age at which baseball players peak. Trout’s new deal will take him through 2030, his age-38 season. Even though no player in baseball history has posted more career WAR through their age-26 season than Trout,1According to a mix of WAR from FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.com. it’s probably safe to assume that Trout won’t continue to be a 10-WAR-per-season machine throughout the entire life of this contract.The old saying that “Father Time is undefeated” remains true — perhaps truer now than ever. And even star-level players peak more quickly than you might expect. While Willie Mays and Hank Aaron were superstars late into their careers, other outfielders similar to Trout — such as Ken Griffey Jr. and Andruw Jones — fell off a performance cliff after age 30 and never recovered.Here’s a plot of the 10 retired outfielders most similar to Trout through age 26 (according to The Baseball Gauge), along with the arcs of their seasonal WAR as aging took hold: Perhaps most important for the club’s long-term prospects is the productivity of its farm system. For much of Trout’s tenure with the Angels, the club had one of the worst farm systems in baseball. The Angels’ system ranked last in baseball in 2014, 2016 and 2017, according to Baseball America. That’s begun to change. The Angels hired Billy Eppler to lead their front office after the 2015 season; they improved to 14th in the rankings in 2018 and 13th this spring.Outfielder Jo Adell, L.A.’s first-round pick in 2017, has quickly become one of the game’s elite prospects, while starter Griffin Canning, a second-round pick in 2017, gives the Angels a second top-100 prospect. And help from the farm is not too far away: Eight of the top 10 Angels prospects are expected to open in Double-A or higher this spring. Moreover, if the Angels’ top prospect from a year ago, Shohei Ohtani, can become a consistent impact performer as a pitcher and hitter, L.A. could have two star caliber players in one roster spot.The Angels’ biggest long-term issue is that they are in the same division as the Houston Astros, who are on the cutting edge of evaluation and player development. The Astros took home the 2017 World Series trophy, won 103 games a year ago project to win 99 games again this season according to the FiveThirtyEight model, all while maintaining a farm system that has ranked fifth or better in three of the past four years. Baseball America ranks the Astros’ farm system No. 5 in the game entering 2019.It will be no easy task to supplant the Astros as kings of the AL West. And if Trout and the Angels can’t do that, it will be more difficult for Trout to raise his own profile, which lags well behind what his talent would suggest. Only one baseball player made ESPN’s list of the 100 most famous athletes in the world, and it wasn’t Trout — it was Bryce Harper at No. 99. This contract extension makes Trout very rich, but it also forces him to forfeit the chance to join a more likely World Series contender — and he’ll miss out on the spotlight that would have shown on him during his own free agency after the 2020 season.So now the pressure is even greater for the Angels to surround Trout with better talent and build a winner around him. By the end of this contract, he’ll have spent two full decades with the franchise. It would be a true shame if Trout’s next 12 seasons contain as little team success as his first eight did. read more

17 Sep

PNP Opposition Premier has got the Power

first_img Related Items:#consumerprotection, #PriceGouging, #washingtonmisick Recommended for you Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppPROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos – October 26, 2017 –  Price gouging took center stage and front page when media had a press debriefing with Premier Sharlene Robinson about the act which has left residents incensed and outraged; especially as it charged to have happened at a time when the nation was facing two deadly, monster hurricanes.However, the Premier and Finance Minister’s published comments about price control has rubbed the Opposition Leader the wrong way, he says Hon Robinson has forgotten that the law was brought and passed in Parliament in October 2016 when Rufus Ewing was Premier and when he was the Finance Minister.Hon Washington Misick said there is no absence of legislation and called the Premier’s remarks to media, ‘double speak’.  He said in a statement, “The truth is that it is within the Premier’s power, and has been for the last ten months to address price gouging (through regulation) which is already provided for under the Consumer Protection Ordinance passed by the HOA in October 2016.”And Mr. Misick should know, he is the former Finance Minister who introduced the bill and saw it passed on the heels of the House being dissolved ahead of the December 2016 General Elections.The now, Leader of Opposition business said four things need to happen to protect the consumer from unscrupulous vendors including advising the Governor of the assent to the Order; approving Price Control regulations which can come in full or in part as provided for in the law; appoint a Deputy Permanent Secretary of Finance to be the Director of Consumer Affairs with a staff assigned to support and he says,  a Consumer Protection Appeal Board should be established. TCI: Washy says 2020 is his last stand in front-line politics Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp TCI: Progressive National Party Leader ‘Washy’ Misick not banned from RTC TCI: Washy, Calvin, Jay Morley and Bishop Coleta; new executive of Opposition PNPlast_img read more

31 Aug

Astronomers discover superEarth planet orbiting nearby star

first_img Explore further Phase folded curve of the planetary signal detected in GJ 625 using the parameters of the MCMC model. Left panel shows the CCF measurements, right panel the TERRA measurements. Grey dots show the measurements after subtracting the detected activity induced signals. Red dots are the same points binned in phase with a bin size of 0.1. The error bar of a given bin is estimated using the weighted standard deviation of binned measurements divided by the square root of the number of measurements included in this bin. Blue line shows the best fit to the data using a Keplerian model. Credit: Mascareño et al., 2017. Scientists discover a nearby superearth This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. “Super-Earths” are planets more massive than Earth but not exceeding the mass of Neptune. Although the term “super-Earth” refers only to the mass of the planet, it is also used by astronomers to describe planets bigger than Earth but smaller than the so-called “mini-Neptunes” (with a radius between two to four Earth-radii).Located only 21 light years away, GJ 625 is an M-dwarf star (spectral type M2) about 1/3 the size and mass of the sun. Such stars offer great potential in the search for alien Earth-like worlds, as low-mass rocky planets appear to be more frequent around M-dwarfs. However, finding an Earth-like planet orbiting low-mass stars is difficult due to their stellar activity. This is because signals induced by the rotation of a star can easily mimic those of planetary origin. Therefore, the signals coming from M-dwarfs tend to be comparable to those of rocky planets close to the habitable zone of their stars.Recently, a team of astronomers led by Alejandro Suarez Mascareño of the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics, has completed challenging studies of GJ 625, which began in 2013 and lasted over three and a half years. The observations were conducted with the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher for the Northern hemisphere (HARPS-N) spectrograph installed at the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain.The researchers analyzed 151 radial-velocity time series from HARPS-N as part of the HArps-n red Dwarf Exoplanet Survey (HADES) radial velocity program, which resulted in the discovery of a new planet.”We report the discovery of a super-Earth orbiting at the inner edge of the habitable zone of the star GJ 625 based on the analysis of the radial-velocity (RV) time series from the HARPS-N spectrograph, consisting in 151 HARPS-N measurements taken over 3.5 yr,” the paper reads.The newly found alien world, designated GJ 625 b, has a minimum mass of 2.8 Earth masses, which makes it the lightest exoplanet found around an M2 star to date. The planet orbits its host every 14.6 days at a distance of approximately 0.08 AU from the star, which is relatively close. By comparison, Mercury orbits the sun at a mean distance of 0.38 AU. The results of radial velocity measurements allowed the team to conclude that GJ 625 b is a small “super-Earth” on the inner edge of the habitable zone and has a mean surface temperature of 350 K that is very dependent on the atmospheric parameters. Moreover, the researchers assume that the newly detected exoworld might potentially host liquid water, but more observations focused on GJ 625 b’s atmosphere are required to confirm this assumption. (Phys.org)—European astronomers report the detection of a new extrasolar world several times more massive than Earth. The newly found exoplanet, classified as a so-called “super-Earth,” is circling a nearby star designated GJ 625. The researchers detailed their finding in a paper published May 18 on arXiv.org. Citation: Astronomers discover ‘super-Earth’ planet orbiting nearby star (2017, May 29) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-05-astronomers-super-earth-planet-orbiting-nearby.html More information: HADES RV Programme with HARPS-N at TNG: V. A super-Earth on the inner edge of the habitable zone of the nearby M-dwarf GJ 625, arXiv:1705.06537 [astro-ph.EP] arxiv.org/abs/1705.06537AbstractWe report the discovery of a super-Earth orbiting at the inner edge of the habitable zone of the star GJ 625 based on the analysis of the radial-velocity (RV) time series from the HARPS-N spectrograph, consisting in 151 HARPS-N measurements taken over 3.5 yr. GJ 625 b is a planet with a minimum mass M sin i of 2.82 ± 0.51 M⊕ with an orbital period of 14.628 ± 0.013 days at a distance of 0.078 AU of its parent star. The host star is the quiet M2 V star GJ 625, located at 6.5 pc from the Sun. We find the presence of a second radial velocity signal in the range 74-85 days that we relate to stellar rotation after analysing the time series of Ca II H&K and Hα spectroscopic indicators, the variations of the FWHM of the CCF and and the APT2 photometric light curves. We find no evidence linking the short period radial velocity signal to any activity proxy. © 2017 Phys.orglast_img read more