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City approves cutting 14 mid-day school crossing guards

By on January 3, 2020

first_imgWHITTIER – Crossing guards tasked with overseeing the mid-day release of kindergartners in half-day programs will no longer be in place at 14 intersections come Nov. 1, school officials said Friday. In a city report, officials said the crossing-guard eliminations would not affect public safety because schools already have a policy in place to protect kindergartners during the mid-day school-release time, which ranges from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. The motion to cut the city-funded crossing guards was approved at the City Council’s last meeting on Sept. 25. For more on this story, pick up a copy of tomorrow’s Whittier Daily News. 165Let’s talk business.Catch up on the business news closest to you with our daily newsletter. Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Getting a Hand on Facts and Meanings

By on December 19, 2019

first_imgWhat could be more simple than pressing a button with your finger?  That “seemingly trivial action is the result of a complex neuro-motor-mechanical process orchestrated with precision timing by the brain, nervous system and muscles of the hand.”  So says a press release from University of Southern California posted on EurekAlert.    Simple, everyday acts we perform without thinking: cracking an egg, typing on a keyboard, fastening a button, fumbling with a cell phone to answer a call – all require a sophisticated coordination and messaging system between the brain, the nervous system and 30 muscles of the hand.  Francisco Valero-Cuevas of USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering commented, “we don’t understand well what a hand is bio-mechanically, how it is controlled neurologically, how disease impairs it, and how treatment can best restore its function.”    In an effort to begin to understand, Valero-Cuevas and Madhusudhan Venkadesan, a mathematician from Cornell, measured electrical activity of the muscles of the hand when students simply pressed a surface with a forefinger.  Seven muscles of the forefinger clearly switched from a “motion” mode to a “force” mode 65 milliseconds before impacting the surface.  “Venkadesan’s mathematical modeling and analysis revealed that the underlying neural control also switched between mutually incompatible strategies in a time-critical manner.”  This is a “neurally-demanding” transition even for such a trivial act.  The brain must be planning the transition ahead of time, because there is a finite amount of time required to activate the muscles.  “Neurophysiological limitations prevent an instantaneous or perfect switch,” Valero-Cuevas said, “so we speculate that there must be specialized circuits and strategies that allow people to do so effectively.”  Imagine, he said, going through life with winter gloves on.  That’s how life would be without these systems.  Our ability to perform fine manipulation of objects with our fingers is a result of many parts working together in precise ways.    What does all this mean?  For one thing, it explains why it takes years of training for children to master precision skills with their fingers like pinching and manipulating objects, and why these skills can be lost with neurological diseases and aging.  “But perhaps even more importantly,” he said, “the findings suggest a functional explanation for an important evolutionary feature of the human brain: its disproportionately large sensory and motor centers associated with hand function.”    Valero-Cuevas marched seamlessly from observations in the present to speculations about prehistory.  “If, indeed, the nervous system faced evolutionary pressures to be able to anticipate and precisely control routine tasks like rapid precision pinch, the cortical structures for sensorimotor integration for finger function would probably need to be pretty well developed in the brain,” Valero-Cuevas said.    “That would give us the neural circuits needed for careful timing of motor actions and fine control of finger muscles,” he said.  “Thus, our work begins to propose some functional justifications for the evolution of specialized brain areas controlling dexterous manipulation of the fingertips in humans.”    The article was also posted by Science Daily on Jan. 28.The article changed subjects at this point and talked about possible medical applications of their biomechanical research.  For some reason this story was unreachable on the USC website.  The title was present, but the link was broken.For three sins of USC, and for four, the reprimand due these scientists will not be turned back.  (1) Disjunction: There is no connection between the observed facts and their evolutionary story.  They made it up out of thin air with hand-waving and magic.  (2) Misrepresentation: It misrepresents evolutionary theory.  Needs to do not produce complex structures.  “Evolutionary pressures” do not “give” the “neural circuits needed” to provide precision switching and control of 30 muscles to perform fine manipulations of objects.  The only evolutionary pressure is the one to go extinct.  Unless random mutations appear, the pressure is toward death, not emergence of complex, interacting systems.  (Good luck waiting ten to the quintillion years for that to happen.)  (3) Deception: By presenting an evolutionary explanation as incontrovertible fact, they are lying to the public and their students.  What they saw was engineering design, not evolution.  OK, strike three; but since creationists are longsuffering and merciful, one more chance.  Whoops: (4) Ingratitude: Can any sin be more egregious than to be handed a gift, like two hands and ten fingers, and then to use them against the Giver?    The observational facts of science do not support evolutionary storytelling.  You saw it just now.  These researchers looked at raw, empirical evidence for fine-tuned complexity, and even admitted they don’t understand it, but then immediately leaped into Fantasyland to claim with brashness and confidence that it evolved.  They get away with it because that is all they have ever been trained to believe, and critics are systematically expelled from the discussion.  Philosophers who should be blowing the whistle on these unwarranted assertions are too often cowed into timidity by the temerity of the Darwin Party.    Until scientists realize that such philosophical inferences are unfounded – that they are contrary to the purpose and reasoning of science – the debate over creation and evolution will be muddled in noise.  It is not the job of the scientist to invent a tale about a mythical past he cannot observe even in principle.  Stick to the facts.  Get a grip.  Press here.  Then, and only then, can people with sense discuss what the facts mean.Encore:  To reinforce the conviction that brain/hand coordination could never have evolved, listen to a recording of Vladimir Horowitz playing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3.  Horowitz performed nearly 30 minutes entirely from memory, over a huge dynamic range with such rapid-fire precision it is incredible to conceive of the brain signaling involved.  Can you imagine a chimpanzee doing this?  Or composing such a thing?  For a sample, here is part of the second movement on YouTube.  You absolutely must hear the third and final movement.  Here is a taste on YouTube, which, unfortunately, stops before the grand finale.  A poorer-quality video that includes the ending can be found at truveo.com.  If you liked these, here’s another fast finger frolic.  How about one more?  Go ahead, Charlie; tell me about evolution.(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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WOTUS 60-Day Public Comment Begins

By on December 17, 2019

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Todd NeeleyDTN Staff ReporterOMAHA (DTN) — The 60-day public comment period for the newly proposed waters of the United States, or WOTUS, rule launched Thursday with the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers publishing the rule in the Federal Register.The new rule moves forward while the 2015 rule under the Obama administration remains in legal limbo and essentially in effect in 22 states.EPA and the Army Corps are on track to finalize the new rule by September, which is likely to trigger a new round of legal challenges.The publication of the new rule already has drawn praise and outrage from a number of interest groups. The public comment period closes April 15.In a statement to DTN, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said the group supports the proposal.“Today’s release of a new draft Clean Water Rule is a major step toward fair and understandable water regulation on America’s farms and ranches and other working lands,” Duvall said. “We haven’t yet examined every word of today’s proposal, but even a quick look shows many of the previous rule’s worst problems are on their way out.”Agriculture and other industry groups raised concerns that the 2015 rule expanded federal jurisdiction of water and land, leading to a series of lawsuits.Waters Advocacy Coalition, a lobbying coalition championing the new WOTUS rule, said the process in creating the new rule has been transparent.“Over the past two years, the EPA and Army Corps have engaged with state, tribal, and local officials as well as affected stakeholders to propose a new clean water rule,” spokesman Arjun Mody said in a statement. “This proposed new clean water rule provides clarity on the scope of federal authority under the Clean Water Act and recognizes the primary responsibilities of states and tribes to manage their land and water resources.”In a news release, the Waterkeeper Alliance calls the proposed rule a “treacherous strategy” to eliminate Clean Water Act protections.“The Trump administration’s proposal to eviscerate the Clean Water Act is a gift to polluters and an attack on the civil right of American citizens and our children to live in a safe nation free from exposure to dangerous toxins,” Waterkeeper Alliance President Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said in a statement. “History and science have proven that we cannot control pollution or protect our waterways without broad federal protections, and it is imperative for citizens to be able to hold polluters accountable for their misdeeds.”The National Wildlife Federation urged the EPA to rethink its proposed rule, in a news release.NWF President and Chief Executive Officer Collin O’Mara said the rule represents the “most significant attempt to remove protections” to streams and wetlands.“At a time when communities across the country are facing drinking water and flooding crises exacerbated by climate change, we call upon the EPA to rescind this misguided proposal that would make it easier to damage our streams and wetlands, destroy fish and wildlife habitat, threaten our communities with increased flooding, and pollute our drinking water,” O’Mara stated.Read the proposed rule here: https://www.federalregister.gov/…Todd Neeley can be reached at [email protected] him on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN(CCSK)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Video: Iowa Scores 1st Touchdown Of Big Ten Championship On 85-Yard Beathard To Smith Pass

By on October 27, 2019

first_imgIowa football players walk out onto the field.MIAMI GARDENS, FL – JANUARY 05: The Iowa Hawkeyes take the field in front of their fans against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the FedEx Orange Bowl at Land Shark Stadium on January 5, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Iowa won 24-14. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)We have an extremely tight one at Lucas Oil Stadium tonight, but if things hold, Iowa will be conference champs. After the Hawkeyes and Michigan State Spartans traded five field goals through the first three quarters, C.J. Beathard aired it out, connecting with Tevaun Smith on a deep pass for an 85 yard [email protected] just erupted. Why? Because @HawkeyeFootball just took the lead on this *long* TD. https://t.co/AdE6L3P3p2— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) December 6, 2015Iowa leads 13-9 with 13:51 remaining in the game. You’re up, Connor Cook.last_img read more

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INX Media PCs plea to surrender dismissed to be in Tihar till

By on October 18, 2019

first_imgNew Delhi: Offering no respite from Tihar Jail, a special CBI court here on Friday dismissed former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s plea to surrender to the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the INX Media case.Chidambaram was sent to 14 days of judicial custody on Septemeber 5, after having spent 15 days in CBI custody since his dramatic arrest on the night of August 21. The same day that the court had sent him to Tihar Jail here, senior advocate Kapil Sibal had moved a plea to surrender to the ED in connection with the probe, following which Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar had issued a notice to the financial probe agency asking it to respond to the plea. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’On Thursday, the matter was heard in court, where the ED argued, through Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, that they did not need custody of Chidambaram as of yet and needed to complete some background investigation first. The probe agency also sought the dismissal of the surrender plea, saying that the accused could not decide the time, place and condition for his remand and that this decision was the prerogative of the investigative agency. However, Sibal had told the court that ED’s only intention was to humiliate his client by keeping him in judicial custody, as their intention to arrest him was clear on the night of August 20-21, when officials had arrived at Chidambaram’s Jor Bagh residence. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KIn fact, a team from ED was also present in court on the day Chidambaram was being sent to judicial custody, in the apprehension to arrest him if he was spared from judicial custody, according to sources in the know. The ED had told the court that they had questioned six people in connection with the case and more such enquiries needed to be finished before probe officials can decide on when Chidambaram’s custody is required. Special judge Kuhar pronounced the order, dismissing Chidambaram’s surrender plea on Friday after reserving it on Thursday. Now, the 73-year-old senior Congress leader will remain in Tihar under judicial custody till September 19.last_img read more

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CANADA ROCKS WITH THE ROLLING STONES HERES WHAT HAPPENED AT THE SHOW

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first_imgMick Jagger (Photo Courtesy of Central Image Agency) Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement One of the greatest rock n’ roll bands in history, The Rolling Stones, kicked off Canada Day weekend celebrations on Saturday with an energetic, rowdy show at Canada Rocks. Tens of thousands of fans — 71,000 to be precise — descended upon Burl’s Creek in Oro-Medonte, Ont., for the day-long festival.According to frontman Mick Jagger, the show marked the band’s 35th show in Ontario alone, and since April 23, 1965, The Rolling Stones have established a deep-rooted connection to Canada, frequently make a point of celebrating it.From headlining Toronto’s biggest-ever charity event, SARSStock, in 2003, to recording multiple live albums across the nation — Love You Live (1975) and Light the Fuse (2012) — the four-piece band have created a rich history in Canada and earned the hearts of millions. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment center_img Login/Register With: Facebook Not only did last night’s show mark the only Canadian stop on the critically acclaimed No Filter tour, but it saw the band’s return to the country for the first time in more than six years. Twitterlast_img read more

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Aimia to cut costs further as it prepares for end of Air

By on October 13, 2019

first_imgMONTREAL – Aimia Inc. share plunged 27 per cent Thursday after the operator of the Aeroplan loyalty card reported a wider quarterly loss and plans to pursue deeper cost cutting.The Montreal-based company plans to trim its costs by $70 million per year by 2019 as it continues to adjust to Air Canada’s decision not to renew its long-term partnership in 2020. It has already sold several businesses, including its British Nectar coalition, and cut staffing in half since 2015 to about 1,600 people.Chief executive David Johnston said efforts to simplify its business to drive further savings will come in ways other than further large layoffs.“We’ve done quite a bit of that this year but there’s some corporate simplification we’re doing — properties, technology — I’m not envisaging material further job cuts,” he said in an interview Thursday.Shares of Aimia Inc. fell more than 27 per cent in mid-afternoon trading after it reported a $214.7-million loss in its latest quarter, hurt by a charge related to the sale of its Nectar program and related assets.Aimia shares were down 65 cents at $1.73 in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.Johnston declined to comment on the stock movement but said the company delivered good 2017 results despite the challenges of having to deal with Air Canada’s decision in May, which raised questions about Aimia’s future.“The Aeroplan team and the Aimia team have delivered a fantastic financial performance in what was undoubtedly a tough year.”Michael Goldberg of DBRS said the stock decline is due to concerns about the quarterly results, including higher fourth-quarter redemptions, than lingering concerns about the company’s future after Air Canada.The company plans to unveil changes to Aeroplan in the coming months that will focus the card beyond 2020 more on leisure travel of its premium members. It will offer broader choice with multi-airline awards, tailored experiences beyond flights and a simpler customer experience.Johnston said Aeroplan redemptions rose 9.9 per cent in the fourth quarter and four per cent in 2017 mainly because of the availability of lower airfares and more use for non-air rewards not because of member concerns about the program.Gross billings rose two per cent but are expected to decrease a bit in 2018.“Even after that redemption they’re coming back re-engaging with the program and earning more points and that’s a healthy behaviour in a loyalty program and I’m fine with that,” he added.Neil Linsdell of Industrial Alliance Securities said Aimia faces challenges even though more cost cutting is inevitable to address upcoming profit pressures.“Rather than a grand Plan B replacement of Air Canada, Aeroplan may see itself evolve steadily through 2020,” he wrote in a report.Aimia investor Mittleman Investment Management LLC of New York increased its ownership to 10.6 per cent in January and said in a regulatory filing last week that it may push for changes to Aimia’s board, management and seek a sale of some or all of the business.Christopher Mittleman called on management during a conference call Thursday to justify the sale of the Nectar business to British retailer Sainsbury for $105 million earlier this month, saying the rationale behind the transaction was difficult to grasp.Chief Financial Officer Mark Grafton said the sale was the “best risk adjusted outcome for the company.”Johnston declined in an interview to respond directly to the investor’s push, but said efforts to revise Aeroplan post-2020, simplify its structure and maintain a strong balance sheet will deliver for shareholders.“Our shareholders are very clear on those priorities because I talk about them every second I can and we’ll deliver on those and then we’ll deliver for shareholders.”The loyalty rewards company reported a loss of $1.44 per share for the quarter ended Dec. 31 compared with a loss of $57.2 million or 40 cents per share a year ago.The results in the most recent quarter included an impairment charge of $180.5 million related to the Nectar coalition loyalty program and U.K. ISS business.Revenue totalled $398.6 million, down from $440.1 million in the last three months of 2016.Follow @RossMarowits on Twitter.Companies in this story: (TSX:AIM, TSX:AC)last_img read more

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Annual pace of housing starts in Canada fell in December CMHC report

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first_imgOTTAWA — Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the annual pace of housing starts fell last month.The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts in Canada was 213,419 units in December, down from 224,349 in November.Economists had expected an annual rate of 205,000, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.The annual pace of urban starts dropped by 5.8 per cent to 194,594 units in December as the annual rate of multiple-unit projects such as condominiums, apartments and townhouses fell 6.8 per cent to 144,728 units.The pace of single-detached urban starts fell by 2.5 per cent to 49,866 units.Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 18,825 units.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Should social media livestreaming be banned

By on October 12, 2019

first_imgNew Delhi: Would you want your teenager to watch terrorists killing people in the real world or someone committing suicide? No one, in their right mind, would ever want their kids to get exposed to such events, simply for the repercussions that such content can have on young impressionable minds. But with a smartphone on their hand and Facebook installed in it, chances of them watching such horrific content some day cannot be denied, especially because the social media giant allows all its users to go live. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year The 28-year-old Australian who sprayed bullets on innocent people who were praying at mosques in New Zealand on March 15 decided to broadcast his act on Facebook. Facebook said the video was viewed fewer than 200 times during the live broadcast, but it was watched about 4,000 times before being removed from the platform. By that time, copies of the 17-minute video were later shared in millions on other social media platforms, including Twitter and YouTube. Also Read – New HP Pavilion x360 notebook with in-built Alexa in India Facebook earlier faced flak for the live streaming of suicides on its platform from different parts of the world, including India. So does that mean that live broadcast on social media platforms should be banned? “What happened in New Zealand was one-of-a-kind heinous exhibition of brutality and terror. I don’t think the world has become so bad that we should see such things occurring repetitively,” Faisal Kawoosa, Chief Analyst at market research firm techARC, told IANS. “Live streaming is an essential part of social media platforms and as video becomes the default mode of communication over digital platforms, live streaming empowers users to be real time on these platforms,” he added. Youngsters also find the facility, which is also available on YouTube and Instagram, useful for broadcasting their travelling adventures and tutorials. “The ‘live’ feature on social networking platforms could be good for people who want to publicise stuff like their travel, fashion or subject tutorials,” said 25-year-old Rijul Rajpal who works with a film production company. Many even find it helpful for connecting with their favourite film stars and music icons. But despite the usefulness of the feature, one cannot deny the potential of misuse of the feature, especially because the social media companies have still not developed a technology that can prevent the broadcast of live shooting. Facebook said that its Artificial Intelligence (AI) system could not automatically detect the New Zealand shooting video as the system was not properly trained. It promised to improve its technology so that broadcast of such videos can be prevented in the future. But policy makers are not impressed. In the US, tech firms have already been asked to brief the Congress on March 27 regarding their response to dissemination of the video of the New Zealand terrorists attack on their platforms. The social media giant may face similar questions from lawmakers in other countries in the coming days.last_img read more

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