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Warriors: Playoffs intensity on display in Golden State’s series opener

first_imgCLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos or videos on a mobile deviceThe Warriors finished with a 121-104 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Saturday. Stephen Curry (38 points) scored prolifically while staying efficient from the field (11-of-16), from 3 (8-of-12) and from the free-throw line (8-of-9). Kevin Durant shifted from facilitator back to scorer (23 points) and Draymond Green offered a mix of scoring (17 points), …last_img read more

Leaping to Evolutionary Conclusions

first_img1.  Konopka et al, “Human-specific transcriptional regulation of CNS development genes by FOXP2,” Nature 462, 213-217 (12 November 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature08549.2.  Martin H. Dominguez and Pasko Rakic, “Language evolution: The importance of being human,” Nature 462, 169-170 (12 November 2009) | doi:10.1038/462169a.It’s kind of funny watching the Darwinists go ape in their news stories.  They are desperately trying to shore up support for Darwin by showing that naturalistic science can do the job from the bottom up.  This has all the hallmarks of East Germany boasting the day before the Berlin Wall fell.  In spite of his collapsing economy, Honnecker was so confident of his ideology, he was planning a new high-tech fence that didn’t need guards to mow down its citizens wishing to escape to freedom; it could do the job automatically.  Before he knew what hit him he was history.    Look how Eugenie Scott is fighting little Ray Comfort with an arsenal of resources to overwhelm his little initiative to offer a little bit of Darwin-skeptical material to college students: she’s got a new Don’t Diss Darwin campaign to scare academia into action: “Creationism is coming to a campus near you.”  The campaign website even sells “Darwin: Evolve!” posters and other silly propaganda – posters, bookmarks and flyers.    Why the paranoia?  The Darwin Stasi know that once the wall is breached there is no going back.  Do your part to tear down this wall.  Work fast: if it falls before Nov. 24, the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s Origin, wouldn’t that be one for the history books: big party for has-been falls flat.(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 In classical science, researchers were reluctant to announce bold conclusions without sufficient data.  These days, it seems that science reporters are quick to announce sweeping conclusions that go far beyond the evidence – especially if they appear to support some sort of evolution.Planet magic crystal:  Where to find intelligent life?  Look for stars depleted in lithium.  That seems to be the implication of a story in the BBC News and Science Daily that extrapolated measurements of lower lithium levels from some stars known to have planets.  Maybe the aliens around those stars are using it for di-lithium crystals.  Clara Moskowitz didn’t even need the lithium.  Simple sunlike stars “May be Cosmic Road Signs to Intelligent Aliens,”  she announced on Space.com.  To her, this is all very logical: “The distinction between habitable planets and planets harboring intelligent life is based on the fact that intelligent life requires stars with lifetimes greater than the time required for intelligence to evolve,” she said.  “For example, in the case of this solar system, we could not find ourselves around a star with a lifetime less than 4.5 billion years.”  No other source for intelligent life than blind, purposeless evolution was entertained as a possibility.Cool earth:  Science Daily leapt from a Stanford study of isotope ratios in rocks said to be 3.4 billion years old that the earth was cooler a billion years earlier than thought, and therefore life must have evolved earlier than thought.  “Their findings suggest that the early ocean was much more temperate and that, as a result, life likely diversified and spread across the globe much sooner in Earth’s history than has been generally theorized.”  How one gets from isotope ratios to life was not clear.Origin of life:  An article in Science Daily is accompanied by a picture that looks like a scene from Frankenstein.  Researchers at NASA-Ames are zapping ice with ultraviolet light.  The headline announces, “NASA Reproduces A Building Block Of Life In Laboratory.”  What really happened was that they made uracil (one of the pyrimidines in RNA) under highly specialized conditions.  It’s not really news, anyway; Jonathan Sarfati on Creation.com wrote about this 10 years ago.  Nevertheless, one of the researchers fired a conclusion heard round the universe: “Since we are simulating universal astrophysical conditions, the same is likely wherever planets are formed.”  They speculated that UV light shining on ices could have formed the uracil in comets, but did not explain how the “whimpy” [sic] molecules would have survived re-entry or concentrated in significant amounts to do any good.Plant charity:  PhysOrg reported on work on the yellow jewelweed.  Experiments show that it recognizes kin from non-kin and adjusts its growth accordingly.  Conclusion: “This study demonstrates that plants are social organisms.  It shows that altruism is possible among plants and that response to both kin and strangers depend on the ecology of the plant species.”  When they find plants donating to the Red Cross, they’ll really be onto something.Missing dino link:  The BBC News announced, “Missing link dinosaur discovered.”  It’s a sauropod that the discoverers infer walked on two legs most of the time but occasionally walked on all fours.  But then the article added that it lived in the early Jurassic.  “Although structurally it’s intermediate, it lived too late to be an actual ancestor, because true sauropods already existed [then].”  Now it has to be described as an extinct “living fossil” (an oxymoron) because “the transition” (for which there is no evidence) “must have happened much earlier.”  Science Daily was only slightly more reserved, announcing Darwinly, “New Species Of Vegetarian Dinosaur Close To Common Ancestor Of Gigantic Sauropods.”Dino sweat:  Speaking of dinosaurs, PhysOrg reported on a comparative analysis of dinosaur body types.  The scientists inferred that some of them must have been warm blooded because if not it would be hard for them to function.  The headline: “Warm-blooded dinosaurs worked up a sweat.”  The article also claimed that this demonstrates that warm-bloodedness (endothermy) “evolved” earlier: “This pushes the evolution of endothermy further back into the ancient past than many researchers expected, suggesting that dinosaurs were athletic, endothermic animals throughout the Mesozoic era.”  No fossil dinosaur pole-vaulters were discovered.Bird philosophy:  Some songbirds appear to use sets of syllables in their songs.  PhysOrg jumped into a discussion of “The Link Between Birdsong And Human Language.”  Maybe there is more scholarship in those tweets than we thought.Talking genes:  Most popular science outlets were abuzz today about a paper in tomorrow’s Nature that discussed more research into the FOXP2 gene and its complex interactions with motor actions.1  The paper was reserved in its implications, as was the review by Dominguez and Rakic in the same issue,1 which said of the work by Konopka et al, “it answers many questions, but raises even more.”  You wouldn’t know that by looking at the Live Science headline, where Jeanna Bryner announced triumphantly, “Human Speech Gene Found.”  PhysOrg followed suit, saying, “Why can’t chimps speak?  Study links evolution of single gene to human capacity for language.”  New Scientist was a little more careful, saying in its headline, “Suite of chatterbox genes discovered.”  It should be noted that no gene can create language (in terms of semantics, syntax, and abstract thought).  What has been found is that mutations to the human FOXP2 gene cause serious problems with speech because the motor neurons involved in talking are affected.last_img read more

Featherlike Structures Are Not Feathers

first_img(Visited 92 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 The media have jumped all over a discovery of fuzz on a small ornithischian dinosaur, ignoring the evolutionary problems.No sooner had we published the previous entry about true feathers on an imaginary dinosaur (7/24/14) when another paper came out in Science Magazine announcing “feathers” on a real dinosaur.  The media spin machine immediately went into high gear:Earliest dinosaurs may have sported feathers (Science Magazine News)Did All Dinosaurs Sport Feathers? Downy Beast Suggests Yes (Live Science)Siberian Discovery Suggests Almost All Dinosaurs Were Feathered (National Geographic)Feathersaurus: plant-eating dinos had plumage too (New Scientist)The discovery of a weird dinosaur, Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus, looking something like a cross between a chicken and a fuzzy kangaroo according to the artist’s imagination, was announced in Science Magazine.  The authors, however, preferred the phrase “featherlike structures” instead of feathers throughout the paper.   The only times they spoke of “feathers” per se, they qualified the word as interpretive:Quill-like structures have been reported in the ornithischians Psittacosaurus and Tianyulong, but whether these were true feathers, or some other epidermal appendage, is unclear.Here we report a new ornithischian dinosaur, Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus, with diverse epidermal appendages, including grouped filaments that we interpret as avianlike feathers.They more closely resemble the monofilaments in the basal coelurosaur Sinosauropteryx and are similar to morphotype 1 in a recent evolutionary model of feathers.These groups of filaments are similar to feather morphotype 3 and resemble the down feathers of some modern chicken breeds, such as the Silkie, which are devoid of barbules.The presence of both simple and compound filamentous structures in Kulindadromeus (Fig. 4) supports the hypothesis that the integumentary structures in Ornithischia, already described in Psittacosaurus and Tianyulong, could be homologous to the “protofeathers” in non-avian theropods.These integumentary structures look nothing like bird flight feathers.  They lack a central vane, barbs, barbules and hooks.  They look more like bits of fuzz about 5 to 15 mm long.  Some of the “compound” ones are mere bundles of monofilaments that converge at the base.The problems for evolution are more serious.  These filaments (not “feathers”) were found on an ornithischian (bird-hipped) dinosaur, rather than the saurischian (lizard-hipped) dinosaurs thought to be ancestral to birds.  In Science Magazine News, Michael Balter untangles the confusion surrounding the names, and points out the phylogenetic problem:If these bristly structures represented early feathers, as researchers have increasingly come to think, it would mean that feathers evolved in dinosaurs that preceded the evolutionary split between so-called saurischians (which include the meat-eating species) and ornithischians (which comprise plant-eating species) more than 200 million years ago. (Despite their confusing name, the ornithischians are not related to birds, which are saurischians.)Whatever adorned Kulindadromeus, therefore, had nothing to do with flight feathers.  (The ornithischians include Triceratops, not exactly a frequent flyer by the looks of it.)  Finding fuzz on ornithischians and “coming to think” they represented “early feathers,” therefore, forces evolutionists to imagine that the “featherlike structures” emerged in a common ancestor of both branches, much further back in time than previously thought.  Subsequently, many sub-branches in both groups must have lost the structures, reverting to scales.  It also forces them to imagine feathers having some other function, perhaps mating display or insulation.  The fuzz was “co-opted” for flight millions of years later, in the branches where flight appeared.In the paper, the authors mention “preservation of the scales as carbonaceous remains” found under “a thin superficial carbonaceous sheet” that was removed to see the structures.  This seems to imply that primordial, unpermineralized material was found in the specimens.  As to their interpretation, even dinobird champion Xing Xu “cautions that the fossils are still too fragmentary to be certain that the more complex feathery structures actually correspond to those found later in birds.”In their haste to celebrate birds as dinosaurs, though, most of the reporters downplayed these difficulties.  Indeed, some appeared ready to support a remake of Jurassic Park, outfitting all the dinosaurs with colorful feathers, even T. rex.  “Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jurassic Park’ might need a little more revising,” Tanya Lewis said in Live Science; “– a newly discovered dinosaur species offers hints that feathers were much more common among the ancient beasts than once thought.”There appears to be a clear dividing line at this point between fuzz and true flight feathers.  Evolutionists may call the former “protofeathers” or “featherlike structures” but that doesn’t mean they are feathers or related to feathers.  We think the interpretation of the structures as secondary phenomena resulting from taphonomy (fossilization) should be reconsidered.  In any case, the fuzz on this new creature, if it was functional on the living animal, had nothing to do with the evolution of birds or flight, so it doesn’t support the dino-to-bird story line.  Some reporters need to learn the scientific values of intellectual integrity, epistemic modesty, and interpretive restraint.last_img read more

Education boost for Gauteng

first_imgWith 36 new schools opening in Gautengprovince alone in early 2012, morechildren will be able to receive a soundbasic education. (Image: Shamin Chibba)MEDIA CONTACTS • Charles Phahlane  Communications head, Gauteng   education dept  +27 11 355 1530 or +27 71 860 4496. RELATED ARTICLES • SA businesses urged to adopt schools • SA prioritises quality education • Zuma: SA to meet 2015 education goal • Tackling SA’s education challenges • Can drive raises R8.5m for educationEmily van RijswijckThe Gauteng Department of Education is making good on its promise to step up education efforts, with 36 new schools opening and 500 additional teachers reporting for duty in the first term of 2012.Another 300 pre-fabricated classrooms will also be added to existing schools where overcrowding is a problem.Thirteen of the schools will be ready to accept pupils when inland provinces start their 2012 academic year on 18 January, while another five will open later in the month.The remainder of the schools will be opened during the rest of the first term.While the majority of the new school buildings are pre-fabricated buildings, five of the new schools are solid brick and mortar structures.This brings the number of primary and secondary schools in the province to 2 595 – including independent, non-subsidised schools – with almost 72 000 teachers.The buildup to the new school year already starts six to eight months before, with teachers required to place orders for their support materials in May and actual pupil admissions taking place from August to October the year before.“It’s all systems go for the start of the new academic year,” education MEC Barbara Creecy confirmed at a recent press briefing, adding that the new facilities will go some way towards alleviating pressure in some of the overcrowded schools.Demand for learning space Of the nine provinces, Gauteng has seen the biggest rise in pupil numbers in recent years.According to Creecy, pupil numbers has been growing on average by 2% over the last five years, which means the province has to make space for about 36 000 additional children each year.The province has over 2-million pupils, while more than 14-million children attend school countrywide.“There is no other province that has experienced this level of demand for learning space,” said Creecy in her mid-term budget speech last year.In areas such as informal settlements, where it’s not always possible to build new schools, the education department has expanded its scholar transport scheme to accommodate these already disadvantaged children.In addition a budget of R100-million (US$12.5-million) has been allocated for pre-fabricated classrooms in schools where there is overcrowding.“We will provide 300 pre-fabricated classrooms and 100 pre-fabricated ablution blocks within the financial year,” said Creecy.Maintenance work at existing schools is also ongoing, with work in progress at 42 sites.Schools at the coast opened one week before, with the Western Cape Education Department welcoming pupils at 11 new schools in 2012. In 2011 the Gauteng education department opened six new schools.Aiming for millennium goals South Africa aims to eliminate all mud schools over the next three years and to improve basic safety and functionality of about 3 600 schools by 2014 as part of its contribution to the UN Millennium Development Goals, said President Jabob Zuma during a Parliamentarian session after his State of the Nation address in 2011.The Millennium Development Goal for education is to ensure that, by 2015, the majority of children all over the world are able to access and complete a full course of primary schooling. The government also hopes to increase enrolment rates in secondary schools to 95% by 2014.According to basic education minister Angie Motshekga, concerted efforts on the government’s part has resulted in rises in gross enrolment rates by 20% in primary education and about 15% in secondary education.“In fact, South Africa has almost achieved universal access in primary education,” said Motshekga at a December 2011 meeting on building public-private partnerships in education.Statistics South Africa’s 2010 general household survey found that nationally, 72,8% of persons aged 7 to 24 were attending educational institutions.Steady gains have been made since 2002, yet the number of young people not studying remains unacceptable – most respondents indicated that this was for financial reasons, a situation that the government is addressing. The right to basic education is entrenched in South Africa’s Constitution.Helping children to learnJust in Gauteng alone, almost 900 000 learners are attending the 1 237 no-fee schools, said Creecy. Of these children, over 800 000 also benefit from the government’s nutritional programme.Nationally, Statistics South Africa recorded that the percentage of pupils countrywide who paid no tuition fees increased from 0.7% in 2002 to 54.6% in 2010.To keep up with rising demands, the Gauteng education department’s budget has increased by over 13% from 2010/11 to 2011/12, with R25.9-billion ($3.2-billion) allocated for the current financial year.“Almost 74% of this budget will be spent on salaries for teachers, school administrative staff and office based personnel,” said Creecy.last_img read more

FreshBooks Launches App Store For Invoicing Add-Ons

first_imgTags:#biz#tips A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… john paul titlow Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Web-based invoicing service FreshBooks launched an add-on store today, allowing users to purchase extra features and integrations for their account. The store launched with five add-ons, including a tool for using FreshBooks on Blackberrys, an automated late fee generator and integrations with Peachtree Accounting, Highrise and Constant Contact. Three of the add-ons are free, while two of them cost a few bucks per month. Of course, FreshBooks already integrates with a long list of popular Web apps and services, but this marks the first time the company has made such integrations available as paid monthly subscriptions. This set up allows third party services and developers to sell add-ons through FreshBooks, who takes a 30% commission on each purchase. FreshBooks Chief Handshaker (his actual title) Sunir Shah likens the model to that of a hair salon. “In most hair salons, one person owns the salon and the other hair and nail stylists are separate businesses,” said Shah in a press release announcing the launch. “For the privilege of using the salon space, each pays a percentage of their sales to the owner of the salon.” FreshBooks currently boasts about 60 integrations with third party apps and services, so expect the add-on store to fill up quickly.center_img Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

How to Use Project Backups in Autodesk Smoke

first_imgIf the library also has a matching clib_hist folder be sure to rename it .bkup and rename the matching backup library so that your setups load properly in Smoke. If you get this message, then it means that you didn’t change the clib_hist folder or you changed the wrong one.   This is very bad because it means your setups maybe lost for good and you can’t open/edit or render the CFX clip.When you are all done… Relaunch Smoke and your Media Library in Smoke will have been recovered and your problems should be solved. Note: you only need to change the .clib files for the Libraries that contain a corruption or bad clip or lost clip. All of the libraries are separate and unique to their data.Any questions on the procedure? Feel free to leave a comment here on Premiumbeat. If you have ever had a project corruption or loose a clip in Autodesk Smoke, check out this exclusive video tutorial on how to work with clip backups.I have seen a lot of forum posts from people asking how to recover clips or projects after a crash or corruption in Smoke. Normally Autodesk would tell you to contact Support. The Autodesk Support is wonderful, some of the best in the business…but it is possible for you to do-it-yourself.  Now most will tell you to do this via Terminal and Command Line. But I don’t know too many users who like Terminal commands. It’s 2014, we have GUI.So below is a video tutorial that will explain how Autodesk Smoke saves it’s clips metadata and how to use the Auto Saves and recovers your Sequences, Clips and Libraries if they are damaged due to a crash, corruption, or even user error.NOTE: Be very careful when working with Project Backups.  It is possible to loose data if you are not careful. It is easy once you understand the files and what they do. Perform these actions at our own risk.Best viewed full screen:For the most part, the blog I did for Smoke 2013 on Project Files is accurate still. There are a few differences in the files layout, but the concepts of how the metadata is stored is still valid.Step-by-Step Clip Library Backup Recovery Close Smoke, as you don’t want it running and autosaving when you are working in the backup files. In Finder use the Go To Folder option in the GO Menu [Shift+CMD+G]. Type /usr/discreet/ and press GO.The use of /usr/discreet/… is due to legacy file structure when Smoke was a Discreet Logic company product before it was acquired by Autodesk. The file path is maintained for compatibility reasons with archives from previous Smoke versions.Open the clip folder and then open the Media Volume for your storage. In the example I have 3 media storage folders on 3 different drives. You will only have 1 (stonefs7) normally.Open the folder that matches your Project Name.Inside you will see .clib files and and .clib_hist folders. The names will match the Libraries in your Smoke Media Library.The .clib files are also incremented as 000.clib through 003.clib.  000.clib is the current and active library being loaded in Smoke. The 001-003.clib files are backups that get created when you save or the Smoke auto saves.The clib_hist folders contain the CFX setup information for the clip. Any Library that has a clip that contains a CFX setup on it, will create this clib_hist folder to mange the CFX setups.To use/load one of the backup libraries to recover from a corrupt clip or lost data rename the 000.clib library file that contains that clip with .bkup.Now choose any one of the other matching library files 001, 002, or 003.clib and rename it to 000.clib.  This will now be the “active” library that Smoke will load.last_img read more

Jill Herzig Named EditorinChief of Dr Oz The Good Life

first_imgThe magazine is set to open with a 450,000 rate base, and will complement Oz’s syndicated television talk show.”He’s convincing America that a healthy lifestyle is the bedrock of happiness,” says Herzig in a statement. “I’m looking forward to working with him to create a rich, imaginative editorial package for that transformative message.” Hearst Corp. president and CEO Steve Swartz and Hearst Magazines president David Carey looked inward in recruiting Redbook editor-in-chief Jill Herzig for the same position at Dr. Oz The Good Life.Her hiring, announced Wednesday, comes after word that the magazine will go to a 10X frequency with the Aug./Sept. 2014 launch after successful test releases in January and April. They were under the editorial direction of Alison Brower, but she is leaving Hearst Magazines to return to California.In terms of magazine seniority, Dr Oz is quite a change for Herzig because Redbook is 111 years old. However, shaking up the norm isn’t something Herzig is shy about doing. She did upgrade the beauty and fashion portion of Redbook content from 30 to 50 percent in April 2013 while ending such former editorial mainstays as parenting and relationships. When she was at Redbook she told min that her role was “a never-ending process of keeping Redbook fresh.”From 2003-2010, Herzig was Glamour executive editor and top lieutenant to editor-in-chief Cindi Leive. Earlier career stops included SELF, New Woman and Cosmopolitan under the late editor-in-chief Helen Gurley Brown.last_img read more

Mollie Dickerson Appointed Guidance Curriculum Team Leader For Wilmington High Wilmington Middle School

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Below is a press release from Superintendent Dr. Glenn Brand, announcing the appointment of Ms. Mollie Dickerson as Guidance Curriculum Team Leader:Over the course of the last number of weeks we have launched a search for a permanent Curriculum Team Leader (CTL) for our Guidance Department as we currently have in an interim in the role. Ms. Christine Murray, Coordinator of Behavioral Health and Social Emotional Support coordinated the search with a screening committee that included the following individuals:Jeanette Quirk, Assistant Principal, MSChristopher Phillips, Assistant Principal, HSMaureen O’Mara, HS GuidanceJessica Rugo, HS GuidanceJulie Norton, MS GuidanceMichael Maloney, HS Social Studies TeacherLisa Costantiello, Parent/SEPAC Co‐ChairI want to extend to these individuals my thanks for their time and commitment to this important process.The screening committee reviewed a total of twenty‐two (22) applications from both inside and outside the district and selected a total of five (5) candidates to interview during the week of May 20th. Following the work of the district a total of three (3) candidates were advanced as finalists who then participated in interviews with Ms. Linda Peters, Principal of the Wilmington High School, Mr. Kevin Welch, Interim Principal of the Wilmington Middle School and Ms. Alice Brown‐Legrand, Director of Student Support Services during the week of May 27th.It is with pleasure that I announce the appointment of Ms. Mollie Dickerson as the Guidance Curriculum Team Leader for the Wilmington Public Schools. This position is a key leadership role in leading the school guidance departments and staff in both the middle and high school.Ms. Dickerson was appointed as the Interim Guidance CTL for the 2018‐2019 school year here in WPS. She is credited with several new initiatives in this role such as arranging for Therapy Dog visits, expanding the guidance curriculum to include more workshops for students, serving on the NEASC Steering Committee, and planning and hosting our first Future Teacher Signing Day.Ms. Dickerson completed three years as a guidance counselor at Wilmington High School prior to her appointment this year. Ms. Dickerson is a graduate of Brigham Young University where she received Bachelors of Science in Psychology and English. She received her Masters of Education in Prevention Science and Practice and in Adolescent School Counseling as well as her Certificate of Advanced Studies in School Guidance Counseling from Harvard University.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedNAME CHANGE: ‘Guidance Counselors’ Now Referred To As ‘School Counselors’ In WilmingtonIn “Education”NEW ROLES FOR 3 FAMILIAR EDUCATORS: Shelia Burke, Leanne Ebert & Kevin Welch Named To Leadership PositionsIn “Education”50+ PERSONNEL CHANGES: Who Joined & Who Left Wilmington Public Schools Over The Summer?In “Education”last_img read more

How Researchers Are Keeping Tabs On Oil And Gas Emissions In West

first_img Share Diana Nguyen / Marfa Public RadioSharon Wilson checking out an oil and gas facility near Balmorhea.Funky smelling fumes, dimmer skies, and increased health concerns have all been reported by residents in the Southwest corner of the Permian Basin as the oil and gas industry expands. Growth has been happening north of the Davis Mountains over the last two years.  Concerns about greenhouse gases and toxic emissions have spurred some citizens — like Sharon Wilson — to try to keep oil companies accountable themselves, one rig at a time.During a recent drive along roads in Reeves County near Balmorhea, Wilson is hunting for oil and gas emissions.Specifically, hydrocarbons like methane, benzene, and other vapors escaping from oil and gas facilities. Today she’s checking out sites owned by the Houston-based Apache Corporation.As she gets out of her car, Wilson points out the odor.“Can you smell it? It’s definitely pretty stinky.”Wilson is a part of Earthworks, an environmental advocacy group that says oil and gas operations are threatening the health of people who live in the South Permian Basin and the environment. Other than her nose, she uses a special infrared camera to find chemicals the human eye can’t see.Diana Nguyen / Marfa Public RadioSharon Wilson using an FLIR camera to track oil and gas emissions.At a glance, a pipe at a natural gas site may not seem like much until Wilson points her camera at it. She says, “I’ll show you in the camera. All of this equipment along here, you’re going to see a lot of air pollution. It’s pretty alarming.”Wilson’s camera can reveal plumes of smoke pouring into the air, though the camera can’t tell the difference between say, steam or toxic chemicals. But, Wilson is pretty sure what she’s seeing is pollution.“If you’re seeing something and it’s coming from the equipment on an oil and gas site then the gases are most likely going to be hydrocarbons. No matter what the industry tries to tell us. It’s certainly not cotton candy.”There is a certain amount of emissions oil and gas sites are allowed to legally discharge. Apache Corporation maintains they stay within emission standards. But, in general, Wilson and Earthworks say operators in Texas aren’t being monitored enough.“Nobody’s measuring it. The state does not go out and measure it. The state is not out here doing air testing.”Diana Nguyen / Marfa Public RadioSharron Wilson on the side of a Reeves County road.Professor Gunnar Schade of Texas A&M University agrees. “I often get asked why are we not finding these [leaks], supposedly there are so many leaks out there,” he said. “Well, the dominant leaks occur where you’re not looking.”Schade has a doctorate in natural sciences and his research focuses on the transfer of gases to the atmosphere. He says regulators aren’t keeping up with the Texas oil industry when it comes to hydrocarbon leaks. The Texas Commision on Environmental Quality, or TCEQ, disagrees. It’s the department in charge of monitoring emissions discharged by completed wells and refineries.  In a statement, TCEQ told Marfa Public Radio it does routine inspections of oil and gas sites and has air quality monitoring stations around the state. In the Permian Basin, the commission has four stations to assess the general air quality of the region, which spans thousands of miles.TCEQ also allows companies to do their own assessments. If a company performing a self-evaluation reports a violation it is immune from any penalties. To Schade, these safeguards aren’t doing the job. He says there’s evidence that too many greenhouse gases and toxins are escaping from facilities.Schade also thinks this is a situation that has a simple solution. “Fixing this problem is easy. You do what the prior administration had a suggested. Mainly you look for where the biggest leaks are and you fix those,” he said.For this to work, regulators, like TCEQ, would need to go to every site and do inspections, but Schade says, “Right now, that’s not being done.” According to him, if people want TCEQ to respond to oil and gas sites they’re worried about they need to make their voices heard.“There’s not going to be much response from the regulatory side unless people speak up and say this pad over here I think has a lot of emissions because I wake up with a bloody nose every morning or I smell it all the time.”In an email, a TCEQ official wrote if a leak is an “imminent threat to health or to the environment” they’ll respond within 24 hours or less.Mitch Borden / Marfa Public RadioBalmorhea’s water tower.Before late 2016 there wasn’t really any oil development around Balmorhea. It was known for its pristine natural springs and clear skies. Now, some individuals are claiming emissions are affecting their health and the region’s skies are getting murkier as oil development ramps up.Alfredo Gutierrez is a truck driver from Chicago who hauls freight all over the country. While driving through the Southern Permian Basin for the first time he says he spotted something.“When the sun was going down I saw like the smoke on the air and it was like a clear sky, but this was a different kind of smoke.”Gutierrez is describing the dense haze that sometimes hangs low in the sky around Balmorhea, which he wasn’t expecting to see.“You see this in like a city like Dallas [or] Houston, but not in here with nothing around,” he said. “This is probably like a really contaminated place.”There is no way to tell where the haze is coming from because there is little to no data on the air quality in the Southern Permian Basin and Big Bend. That’s about to change though. Later this month, Dr. Gunnar Schade will begin a year-long project, tracking emissions around Reeves County.  This study should establish a baseline record of air quality for future research and help form a better picture of how the oil and gas industry is affecting the South Permian Basin.Diana Nguyen contributed to this report. This article was originally published on Marfa Public Radio. last_img read more

3 Mobile Apps to Enhance Your AfterWork Life

first_img We have managed to take care of our daytime work hours perfectly, thanks to some spectacular note-taking, travel-booking and other time-saving apps — but what about after work?Don’t they say, work hard but play harder?I believe in this maxim and try my best to make the most of every moment.Related: 6 Apps That Help You Stick to Your GoalsSo I decided to take time to share three wonderful apps on my phone that help me to take care of my after-work needs. From going out with friends to casual dinners with acquaintances to losing those extra inches, these three apps take care of my pleasure, fitness and entertainment needs in the little time I have for these pursuits.1. FitTime Stats — a gym in your phoneThere can be 1,000 reasons why you can’t hit the gym daily. Perhaps you are traveling or occupied in late-night meetings, or, as is common these days, you are working on an important project and lose track of time. Or you are simply too exhausted to commute all the way to the gym.FitTime Stats fits right into your busy schedule and allows you to take up simple exercises, any time of the day. With three levels of exercises, you can go as slow or as fast as you want, and you don’t need any special equipment for the same. The picture-plus-text layout allows you to understand even the most complex exercises.Moreover, it comes with an alarm, so even if you don’t remember to make time for your daily workout, it will remind you — sorry, no excuses! The best part about the app is it doesn’t restrict you with time constraints, so whether you want a short session or a full-blown two-hour workout, you can do it using the app.What’s more, it has a BRAG ABOUT IT button, so you can share your workout stats with your friends on Facebook. All-in-all, it’s a great after-hours app that allows you to stay fit no matter what time of the day it is.Related: 7 Apps to Help Integrate Tech With Self-Improvement Goals2. iSleight — magic in your phoneEvery once in a while, you will have an occasion to impress a business acquaintance or a date, and a true gentleman is always prepared. So let iSleight help you out. iSleight is basically magic in your phone, literally and figuratively speaking.It features a simple card trick which will help you impress your friends, break ice on a date or just win you some bonus points for bringing magic to a party. The app works by bringing the same card that you’ve predicted, every time.So let’s say I predicted the seven of hearts. I will then give my phone to my friend and ask them to shuffle the cards and pick any one card.They pick the card and behold — it’s the seven of hearts! How? Watch the trailer or download the app to see how it works.On the face of it, it is a simple card-guessing game. But despite letting your friends investigate the app as much as they want, it won’t let them guess the secret of your magic.So go ahead, show off the sleight of your hand — or your magic app to be precise.3. Hello Vino — wine wiz in your phoneSo I am at this networking dinner with a couple of industry bigwigs after a conference. Which wine goes best with spaghetti bolognese? Should I order cabernet or merlot? Aren’t they both red wines after all?Whether you are living in the west or east, making sense of wine pairings and ordering the right wine is difficult. But if you are moving in affluent circles, you need to get your wine basics right. Thanks to Hello Vino, it’s easy for everyone to understand the vast and often mysterious world of wine.Hello Vino comes with a label scanner, wine shopping guide and food pairings guide, so every question you may have about wine is answered in the app — from ordering the right wine to taking care of entertainment in the party to losing weight after savoring that spicy spaghetti bolognese.With these three apps, your after-work life will be much easier, as they collectively offer something cool, healthy and impressive.If you really want to take non-work productivity to the next level, here are some more ideas.Try the gift-tracking app that allows you to sync your gift list and track your gift purchases.Jamie’s 20 Minute Meals lets you fix a decent meal in just 20 minutes.As a good night’s sleep is the key to increased productivity, the last in my list is Sleep Cycle alarm clock that analyzes sleep patterns and wakes you in the lightest phase, so you don’t wake up feeling annoyed or tired.Related: 5 Apps That Can Help Executives Strike Work-Life Balance Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. January 26, 2016 5 min read Register Now »last_img read more