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Students of all faiths end day of fasting

first_imgStudents of a number of different faiths participated Thursday in the eighth annual Fastathon from sunrise to sundown.The event, which USC’s Ansar Service Partnership and several other religious organizations sponsored, holds a collective fast every year to raise money and awareness for the homeless and hungry populations in Los Angeles. The fast concluded at sundown with a feast held at USC’s newly rebuilt Caruso Catholic Center.Breaking fast · Nicole Rapatan (left), a sophomore majoring in architecture, and Monica Ramsy, a sophomore majoring in gender studies, feast at the end of Fastathon on Thursday. – Caitlin Ito | Daily TrojanFor coordinators of the event, Fastathon represents more than a simple day of fasting.“All of the Fastathon’s profits go exclusively to humanitarian efforts,” said Faaria Kalam, president of the Ansar Service Partnership, the primary host organization of the event. Supporters of the Fastathon reached out to local businesses for donations to sponsor the fast. Subsequently, all proceeds from these donations are then given to the ILM foundation, an organization that feeds Los Angeles’ burgeoning homeless population.“The Fastathon’s purpose is multifaceted. Each year ILM holds their humanitarian day, where they’ll serve over 10,000 homeless people in Los Angeles, and our students will also volunteer at humanitarian day,” Kalam said. “By going hungry for a day, we can experience the plight of the homeless. We can make sure that others don’t go hungry.”In addition to the fundraising and awareness that Fastathon brings to its participants, many also note that the fast strengthens campus interfaith ties.“The purpose of our fast is to engage in a spiritual practice shared by many faiths that allows us to focus more on what’s really important,” said Katherine Schofield, the minister for campus engagement at the United University Church, another co-sponsor of the event. “We do so much consuming in our lives that it’s imperative to take some time to consider the real things that we should be surrounding ourselves with. In a sense, our own hunger reminds us of the hunger of others.”While Fastathon began eight years ago as a solely Muslim-based effort by the predominately Muslim Ansar Service Project, this year’s fast is the first that is co-sponsored by several other organizations of many faiths, including the Caruso Catholic Center, the United University Church, USC Hillel, the Hindu Student Organization, USC Residential Education and the Office of Religious Life.“This year we’re doing our event bigger than ever before. Usually only Muslim people come out to support us. However, this is the first time we have actively gone out to all of the university organizations to co-sponsor because we understand that the Fastathon is a diversity learning experience,” Kalam said. “We want to create an openness to religious diversity at USC and we want students to understand that poverty exists in America regardless of religion. Hunger doesn’t have a god.”The event’s new location lends yet another hand to the aim of interfaith understanding at the Fastathon. Sergio Avelar, the pastoral council chair at the USC Caruso Catholic Center, said he believes that holding the event at the Catholic Center will help expand the appeal and audience of the event.“In the past, the Fastathon was always held at the mosque on Vermont and Exposition. However, ASP reached out to us to host the Fastathon banquet at our new Catholic Center,” Avelar said. “This change of location gives a chance for the interfaith community to check us out.”Fastathon provides USC students of all faiths with the opportunity to fast for the well-being of others, but also highlights the relationship between faith and community service.“It’s important to draw attention to hunger in our community, and important to recognize how faith can be a basis for approaching issues of social justice,” Schofield said. “ASP deserves a lot of recognition for the wonderful work they do to support and to serve the community through this event.”Some students who fasted for the event said the community service aspect of the event was what drew them to participate.“We thought it was for a good cause,” said Ada Wong, a freshman majoring in business administration. “If you go hungry for a day someone else doesn’t have to.”Alisa Bealessio, a freshman majoring in physics, said she found the event fulfilling and would participate in future events.“I’d do it in the future,” Bealessio said. “It’s not difficult to fast for one day for a good cause.”last_img read more

March Madness: Ranking the NCAA Tournament’s greatest moments

first_imgAlso, they left out Steph Curry.MORE: Mike DeCourcy’s best games from 31 years of Tournament coverageSo when the list originally came out, we went ahead and ranked them as they should have been. And now, on the occasion of the NCAA Tournament’s 80th anniversary, we’re going to improve it again, by updating it and taking care of a few items originally ignored.One thing that strikes you as you go through this, however, is what an amazing event the NCAA Tournament is to behold annually. It seems every year gives us something we’ll want to relive again and again.40. Oregon starts it all, 1939. The late Richard Boughner, who played for Ohio State on the losing side in the first NCAA title game, once told me that first Final Four didn’t seem like that big a deal at the time. When he looked back on the spectacle the event became, it certainly tickled him to have been there at the start. But even though it was the launching point for America’s greatest sporting event, that weekend in Evanston, Ill., has the feel of the first Super Bowl — essential and important in retrospect, but not as memorable as what came afterward.39. ‘Cuse can’t lose, 1996. Almost as remarkable as the exchange between Syracuse and Georgia over the final 20 seconds of overtime in their Sweet 16 game is that the whistle never blew. No timeouts. No fouls. Just end-to-end action that left fans breathless and elevated John Wallace to Syracuse hero with five late points to pull out the win.38. Andre the giant, 1985. One of the great tournament runs in the game history was the work of Memphis point guard Andre Turner, who made buzzer-beating shots to beat both Alabama-Birmingham and Boston College — he also delivered a 12-point, 12-assist double-double in the regional final against Oklahoma — in helping the Tigers to become the only non-Big East school to crash the 1985 Final Four.37. Rip’s flip, 1998. With just a fraction of a second remaining, UConn’s Richard Hamilton grabbed an offensive rebound with his fingertips and flung it in the goal to beat Washington in a Sweet 16 game. In truth, Hamilton’s greatest moments in the NCAA Tournament came a year later, when he led Connecticut to the championship in a classic against Duke. (The stunning baseline drive by Khalid El-Amin that sealed UConn’s surprising victory probably should have made this list ahead of Hamilton’s buzzer-beater.)36. Who are those guys? 1999. Gonzaga introduced itself to the nation’s basketball consciousness with a run to the Elite Eight that included victories over Minnesota, Florida and Stanford and a near-miss in the regional final against eventual champion UConn. On that foundation, the Zags built a national basketball power.35. The longest days, 2005. Beyond doubt the most elite of all Elite Eights occurred in 2005, when three of the four regional championships went into overtime and the other was a six-point North Carolina win over Wisconsin. Illinois rallied from 15 down with four minutes left to force overtime and defeat Arizona. Louisville clawed out of a 20-point deficit to force overtime and beat West Virginia. Michigan State and Kentucky went to double-overtime before the Spartans emerged.34. What Clougherty saw, 1989. Perhaps the most controversial call in NCAA championship game history occurred when official John Clougherty whistled Seton Hall’s Gerald Greene for bumping Michigan guard Rumeal Robinson off a drive with three seconds left in overtime. Robinson made both free throws, and the Wolverines won their only title. Even Robinson said afterward, “Honestly, I thought it was kind of weak to make that call at that time.” One of the great gentlemen in the game and now the ACC’s officials coordinator, Clougherty told the Raleigh News & Observer years later, “There was contact. … if I had waited, held the whistle, maybe I could have made better judgment on the contact.”SN REMEMBERS:March Madness heartbreakers | Best March Madness memories33. The first shall be last, 2011. When VCU was selected to play in the 2011 NCAA Tournament and assigned to play in the inaugural First Four — which meant it would need five wins to reach the Final Four when most would need four — there were loud protests from several ESPN analysts. Then the Rams won that first game, then another and another on the way to upsetting Kansas in the Elite Eight and earning the Rams’ first Final Four berth.32. Beating a pair of aces, 2012. As of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, there had been only four instances of a No. 15 seed beating a No. 2 in the tournament’s history. Then there were two in a matter of hours. First, Norfolk State over Missouri, and then Lehigh over Duke. “We all believed it, and we showed it on the floor,” Lehigh forward John Adams said. “Everybody bought into that idea that we could beat them. The rest is history.” Absolutely.31. Christian’s first miracle, 1990. Before he launched that shot to beat Kentucky, Duke star Christian Laettner stepped into a 17-footer that gave Duke a 79-78 overtime win over UConn and put the Blue Devils into a third consecutive Final Four.30. By Tate George, 1990. Perhaps we should have known Duke was not dead in its historic game against Kentucky, because Connecticut had even less time to come back against Clemson in a Sweet 16 game. The Huskies had 1.0 second, enough time for George to hit a game-winning jumper.29. By George, 2006. No one doubted Connecticut had the most talented team in the 2005-06 season, but the chemistry was volatile all year — and George Mason took advantage in an overtime regional final victory that made the Patriots the first mid-major to reach the Final Four in 27 years.28. One for Hank, 1990. Following the death of superstar forward Hank Gathers in a conference tournament game a little more than a week earlier, Loyola Marymount entered the NCAA Tournament expected to leave early. Gathers’ longtime friend from Philadelphia, Bo Kimble, chose to honor Gathers by shooting a free throw left-handed. He made it — and Marymount went all the way to the Elite Eight.27. No luck for the Irish, 1981. The model for Edney’s shot might have been the work of BYU All-American guard Danny Ainge, who drove through the Notre Dame defense for a game-winning layup against one of Digger Phelps’ most talented teams.MORE: Top 80 upsets in NCAA Tournament history26. Kicking and screaming, 2001. The celebration of the fourth 15-over-2 upset was about as memorable as the game, when Hampton coach Steve Merfeld dashed across the court after the Pirates defeated Iowa State and was lifted into the air from behind by one of his players.25. A game of inches, 2010. Just a little bit softer on the attempt, and Butler would have been the most improbable champions in the history of American sport. That’s how close Gordon Hayward came to beating Duke with his 45-foot heave.24. No, Big Blue, 2015. One of the most loaded Final Fours ever — three of the teams that made it would have been champions in most any other year — was punctuated by Wisconsin’s 71-64 victory over previously undefeated Kentucky in the national semifinals. UK entered the game 38-0 and was attempting to become the first team in 39 years to win an NCAA championship with a perfect record.23. The dribble handoff, 2008. Memphis coach John Calipari said afterward that he told his players to foul and prevent a game-tying 3-pointer from Kansas, but none of the Tigers really tried. Instead, they tried to defend the Jayhawks straight up — but Sherron Collins’ sloppy, desperate dribble handoff freed Mario Chalmers for the 3-pointer that effectively clinched KU’s third NCAA title. It ended an NCAA Tournament rife with upsets.22. The first 15, 1991. Not once in the early years of the 64-team NCAA Tournament had a No. 15 seed beaten a No. 2, but Richmond made history with its 73-69 victory over Syracuse.21. Edney goes coast-to-coast, 1995. Almost every champion has a close call in the tournament, but not this close. UCLA guard Tyus Edney had to drive the length of the court in 4.8 seconds — through the entire Missouri team — and convert a layup that beat the Tigers.20. The last unbeaten, 1976. The final between Michigan and Indiana wasn’t much to watch, but that was mostly because the Hoosiers were too good for the field. They ended that game as 18-point winners and the season with a 32-0 record that hasn’t been matched since.19. “Knock it in, Michael,” 1982. Those were the words of coach Dean Smith to freshman guard Michael Jordan as North Carolina broke a huddle looking for a basket that would put the Tar Heels ahead of Georgetown in one of the best-played of all NCAA finals. And that’s what Jordan did, from 15 feet on the left wing with 15 seconds left to provide the decisive basket in a 63-62 UNC win.MORE: NCAA Tournament’s impactful scoresBest buzzer-beaters | Best clutch shots18. Pacer, 1998. You’ve seen Valparaiso’s Bryce Drew make the game-winning 3-pointer against Ole Miss — on the inbounds play coach Homer Drew called “Pacer” — almost as many times as you’ve seen the Laettner shot against Kentucky. It’s OK, watch it again.17. Double-OT in Greensboro, 1974. A week after David Thompson crashed to the earth against Pitt and banged his head off the floor, he was flying high again and helped NC State end UCLA’s run of consecutive titles at seven in a thrilling overtime game.16. Bank’s open for Carsen, 2019. When Purdue guard Carsen Edwards banked in a 3-pointer late in the Boilermakers’ South Region final game against No. 1 seed Virginia, it looked as though one of the greatest scoring performances in tournament history would push the team to the Final Four. Alas, Purdue wound up in overtime and fell, leaving Edwards with 139 points over four games — a 34.8 average that was a throwback to the days of Austin Carr.15. Wooden ends with 10, 1975. John Wooden announced to the UCLA players before they faced Kentucky in the 1975 championship game that he would be retiring at its conclusion. The Bruins then went out and won one last title for the most accomplished coach in the game’s history.14. A Smart shot, 1987. Missed Syracuse free throws opened the door for Indiana to come back against the Orange in the national championship game, and Smart barged through with a pull-up jumper from the left corner that won coach Bob Knight’s last of three NCAA titles.13. McGuire’s tears, 1977. As the final seconds ticked down on the 1977 NCAA final between Marquette and North Carolina, as it became clear Marquette would win and send coach Al McGuire into retirement with his only title, McGuire broke down and wept on the bench. No one who saw it will forget it.12. Steph storms the field, 2008. It began with an incredible comeback against Gonzaga. And then Davidson took down Georgetown, and in the Sweet 16 the mid-major darlings of coach Bob McKillop became a household name while Steph Curry launched a career that made him one of the most beloved players in the game’s history. Curry averaged 32 points over four games, and the Wildcats fell just two points short of the Final Four.11. The Wright stuff, 2016. After Villanova point guard Ryan Arcidiacono raced up the court in the final 4.7 seconds and dropped a pass to forward Kris Jenkins trailing behind him, and after Jenkins buried a 3-pointer to break a 74-all tie and give Villanova its first NCAA title in over two decades, confetti came bursting from the ceiling of NRG Stadium. Coach Jay Wright played it totally cool, like he’d won the national championship many times before. (*He did win a second two years later).10. Walton near perfection, 1973. No one ever has played a better game than Bill Walton did against Memphis in the 1973 championship: 21-of-22 from the field. It’s staggering how good he was that night.9. Magic vs. Bird, 1979. No game in the tournament’s long history ever received more hype — especially after it was played and Magic Johnson and Larry Bird became longtime rivals in the NBA. Their title-game showdown remains the highest-rated college basketball game ever shown on TV.MORE: Remembering Cincinnati’s barrier-breaking title8. The Sweetest 16, 2018. When Virginia and UMBC took the court in the final 1-vs.-16 matchup of the 2018 tournament, 115 No. 16 seeds had played against No. 1 seeds in the 34 years of the expanded bracket era. All 115 lost. But UMBC was different. Against the nation’s most feared defense, the Retrievers shot 12 of 24 from 3-point range and 54 percent from the field. Guard Jairus Lyles stunned the Cavaliers with 28 points. Over the course of the second half, the expectation that UVA would mount a comeback gave way to the reality that we all were seeing history. Are there any NCAA Tournament mountains left to climb?7. Duke busts Vegas, 1991. Christian Laettner had so many amazing moments in the NCAA Tournament that his two free throws to clinch a victory over unbeaten UNLV are largely forgotten. So is Bobby Hurley’s courageous 3-pointer with 2:15 left to cut a five-point Rebels lead to two. “I thought it was the biggest shot I’ve seen a Duke basketball player make,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said.6. The Perfect Game, 1985. Villanova took 10 shots in the second half of its championship game against Big East rival Georgetown. The Wildcats made nine. That’s how close to perfect the Wildcats had to be to defeat the powerful Hoyas.5. Valvano’s mad dash, 1983. One after another, NC State rallied from the edge of elimination to advance: Pepperdine by two, UNLV by one, Virginia by one. The Pack appeared to be headed for overtime in the championship game against Houston when Dereck Whittenburg threw an airball from long distance as the Cougars defended the last possession well. But nobody boxed out Lorenzo Charles, whose dunk won the game — and sent coach Jim Valvano scrambling around the court looking for someone to hug.4. March goes Mad, 1981. Saturday March 14, 1981 was the day that turned the NCAA Tournament into March Madness. Those of us watching that day remember clearly how NBC showed us Saint Joseph’s upset of No. 1 DePaul, U.S. Reed’s halfcourt shot for Arkansas to beat defending champion Louisville and Rolando Blackman’s long jumper for Kansas State taking down top seed Oregon State. That afternoon became the ideal for tournament coverage in the next three decades.3. The Shot, 1992. When Kentucky point guard Sean Woods nailed an improbable shot over Christian Laettner’s hand with 2.2 seconds left in overtime of the East Region final, it seemed UK was on its way back from the depths of NCAA probation to the height of the Final Four. We’ve all seen what happened 1,000 times. Grant Hill passes to Laettner, Laettner dribbles and fakes, Laettner hits the game’s most famous shot.2. Glory Road, 1966. There was a movie made about the 1966 NCAA championship won by Texas Western — now Texas-El Paso — and it was a great story well told. It was the decision of Miners coach Don Haskins, whom everyone knew best as The Bear, to use start five African-American players against the all-white Kentucky Wildcats. Texas Western’s victory was an enormous step forward for the game — and civil rights in the United States. 1. Game of Change, 1963. It is amazing there never has been a feature film made about the second-round NCAA Tournament game played March 15, 1963 between Mississippi State and Loyola of Illinois. But there has been a documentary — and a book.In “Champions for Change,” Memphis sportswriter Kyle Veazey tells the story of how university officials at Mississippi State and coach Babe McCarthy — after the team three times was kept out of the tournament because of state policy against integrated competition — defied orders from state government officials not to play in the NCAA Tournament. McCarthy did it by essentially sneaking the Bulldogs across the border. Mississippi State lost the game, played on the Michigan State campus, to a Loyola team that went on to win the championship with a lineup including four African-American players.“It was Mississippi at its best when Mississippi was far too often at its worst,” Veazey told Sporting News. “So when you think of societal impacts, the ‘63 game had significant ones on both sides: Mississippi State doing the right thing when it’s state so often got it wrong, and Loyola blazing a trail, to borrow a cliche, all its own. Why this story hasn’t been told more often is beyond me.” (Editor’s note: This article is an updated version of a story previously published on Sporting News’ site).As the 75th NCAA Tournament approached earlier this decade, the NCAA released an official list of the 35 greatest moments in the event’s history. There were some flaws with the list, starting with the fact the folks who compiled placed the items in no particular order.last_img read more

Animals Are “Overengineered” for Navigation

first_imgAnimals outshine us in many ways, but one capability that should humble us is animal navigation.  From spiders to mice, from birds to bees, the ability of animals to find their way around is truly astonishing, and James L. Gould of Princeton has raised our awareness of just how astonishing in a short article in Current Biology (March 23, 2004).1    He starts by explaining that navigation is more than just knowing which way you are pointed: “Nearly all animals move in an oriented way,” he says, “but navigation is something more: the directed movement toward a goal, as opposed to steering toward or away from, say, light or gravity.  Navigation involves the neural processing of sensory inputs to determine a direction and perhaps distance.”  As an example, he mentions how honeybees have to correct for the angle of the sun from morning to afternoon.  This involves much more than orienting at a fixed angle.  The bee has to use changing sensory information to maintain its internal map.    Gould mentions four stumbling blocks that prevented early investigators from appreciating the navigational abilities of animals.  Researchers apparently assumed natural selection was sufficient to explain it all.  He writes, “Several trends reflecting favorably on natural selection and poorly on human imagination characterized early studies of navigation.”  The stumbling blocks investigators have had to get over include:Spectral Breadth:  Early researchers assumed that animals were limited to our own human senses, but found out they can utilize a shopping list of cues invisible to us: ultraviolet light, infrared light, magnetic fields, electric fields, chemical pheromones, ultrasonic sounds and infrasonic sounds.  We were “blind to our own blindness,” he says, “and there is no reason to assume the list is complete.”Complexity: Another “crippling tendency” of early investigators was “what navigation pioneer Donald Griffin called our innate ‘simplicity filter’: the desire to believe that animals do things in the least complex way possible.”  Perhaps it was from our own pride of place, but according to Gould, we should be humbled:Experience, however, tells us that animals whose lives depend on accurate navigation are uniformly overengineered.  Not only do they frequently wring more information out of the cues that surround them than we can, or use more exotic or weaker cues than we find conceivable, they usually come equipped with alternative strategies – a series of backups between which they switch depending on which is providing the most reliable information.Recalibration:  Early studies assumed animals just needed to learn a trick once (a phenomenon called imprinting, true in some short-lived animals.)  Then they found out that some animals are able to recalibrate their instruments.Cognition:  The school of psychology known as behaviorism, which denies instinct, “puts a ceiling on the maximum level of mental activity subject to legitimate investigation,” Gould chides.  As a result of this bias, “most researchers deliberately ignored or denigrated the evidence for cognitive processing in navigating animals.”  Not all animals exhibit cognitive intervention, Gould admits.  But he then makes a very unDarwinian countercharge: “However, the obvious abilities of hunting spiders and honey bees to plan novel routes make it equally clear that phylogenetic distance to humans is no sure guide to the sophistication of a species’ orientation strategies.”    He gives an example: “One of the problems we inherited from behaviorism was the assumption that exploratory behavior must be rewarded.  However, many species examine their surroundings voluntarily and, in fact, do so in detail.”  (See example on mice below.)Let’s look at just a few of the “believe it or not” examples Gould showcases in the article:Honeybees:  Here is an example of switching inputs to get the most reliable information.  “A honey bee, for instance, may set off for a goal using its time-compensated sun compass.  When a cloud covers the sun, it may change to inferring the sun’s position from UV patterns in the sky and opt a minute later for a map-like strategy when it encounters a distinctive landmark.  Lastly, it may ignore all of these cues as it gets close enough to its goal to detect the odors or visual cues provided by the flowers.”Mice:  Here is an example of the “overengineering” Gould spoke of.  Many field animals, like mice, have a strong drive to acquire information about their home range in advance of need, whether or not (as behaviorism would expect) they get an immediate reward.  “Consider mice,” he says,which not only gallop endlessly in running wheels, but actually prefer difficulty, such as square ‘wheels’, or wheels with barriers that must be jumped.  Given a 430 meter long opaque three-dimensional maze of pipes, mice will work out the shortest path within three days, and without reward.Navigation requires determining direction:This can be achieved in two ways, and mice use both: they can use another landmark from their mental map and triangulate the direction of the goal, or they can use a landmark-independent compass like the earth’s magnetic field.–and they never joined the boy scouts.  What’s more, mice “can also navigate perfectly well, even if the habitat fails to provide useful landmarks.  They will remember the direction and length of each leg of their outward journey and integrate the result when they are ready to return and set off home,” even without a trail of bread crumbs. Pigeons:  Daytime provides celestial cues.  “…once the relationship between azimuth and time of day is memorized,” Gould says, “the animal has a highly accurate compass.”  We’ve all heard about the navigational feats of homing pigeons.  They can discern ultraviolet (UV) light, which accentuates polarization patterns of scattered sunlight, for drawing their mental map, and add to it individual data points like “the average of a night’s attempts to escape from a cage, or some other directional measure.”  The cues help them derive a mean vector, with direction pointing to the goal, and length representing scatter.  When all the cues line up, they’ve got their bearing.Migratory birds:  Birds who migrate between nesting grounds and wintering grounds can use sun cues, star cues, magnetic fields and landmarks to find their way.  Not only that, they can recalibrate the cues for seasonal changes, latitude, and longitude.  This requires recalibration:To infer the pole point through broken clouds, the animal’s map of the sky must be updated.  And as the migrants move south in the fall, new sets of stars in the southern sky appear, while northern stars slip below the horizon.  Clearly, changes in both season and latitude make relearning the stars essential.  Only fairly recently has this constant updating been demonstrated.”In fact, for unknown reasons, “nocturnal migrants calibrate their star pole to the magnetic pole.  Instead of simply taking the pole point as the true guide, the birds constantly recalibrate the magnetic pole to the geographic pole, and then the geographic pole to the magnetic pole.”Latitude: Fish, turtles, lobsters, and birds all determine their latitude by the angle of the magnetic field.  “In theory,” Gould says, “animals could obtain the same information from the sun’s noon elevation, but I know of no case in which this traditional human solution is used.”  The critters must know something we don’t.Longitude: house wrens, pigeons, sharks, salmon, sea turtles and spiny lobsters have all conquered a navigational problem that “bedeviled human navigators until very recently,” the problem of determining longitude.  How do they know distance east from west?  How can house wrens find their way back, unerringly, to the same nest box after a long flight at a different time of year from when they left?  “The apparent answer to this conundrum is provided by a map sense,” Gould answers.  The earth’s magnetic field provides both a map and a compass – just the tools you would need if released in an unfamiliar area. Pigeons again:  When homing pigeons circle around before heading home, they are reading the local map of magnetic gradients and extrapolating it from the one they learned at home.  How do pigeons detect the earth’s magnetic field?  They actually have magnetite grains in their heads, in the ethymoid sinus.  Experiments have shown that magnetic anomalies make the birds disoriented.  A sharp pulse of magnetism can severely impair their compass.  But remagnetize the organ by putting it into a magnetic field, and the bird is back to normalGould ends by pointing out two of the biggest challenges to researchers studying animal navigation: (1) the nature of the map sense, and (2) the issue of recalibration, which is still puzzling.  “The interaction of these specific learning programs,” he promises, “doubtlessly holds many magnificent secrets.” 1James L. Gould, “Magazine: Animal Navigation,” Current BiologyVol 14, R221-R224, 23 March 2004.Wow.  Thank you, Dr. Gould.  This article contains absolutely no hints about how such abilities could have evolved; in fact, it contains a couple of off-handed swipes at the notion that natural selection could explain them, or that skill correlates with “phylogenetic distance.”  This is surprising, considering that James L. Gould is a member of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton.  It could just as well have been written by Dr. Gary Parker at the Institute for Creation Research.  It’s a wonder the editors of Current Biology let this one get by without the required pinch of incense to Emperor Charlie.    Notice that these highly refined and accurate navigational skills are possessed by a wide variety of animals: mammals (e.g., mice), insects (e.g., Monarch butterflies — see 05/23/2003 and 07/09/2002 headlines), birds (e.g., Pacific golden plovers, which can navigate over open sea to the Hawaiian islands without having ever seen them), reptiles (e.g., sea turtles), crustaceans (e.g., lobsters), and fish (e.g., salmon).  Skill does not scale with presumed evolutionary advancement: for instance, the spiny lobster wins the prize for magnetic mapping (see 01/06/2003 headline).  Even bacteria and plants can orient themselves with respect to environmental cues.  Humans were given ability to build tools that can navigate a spacecraft to Saturn, but we must surely stand in awe of a God who could put technology that outperforms NASA into a bird brain.  This article goes to show that the film “Incredible Creatures That Defy Evolution” could become an infinite series.  Click your way back through the “Amazing” chain links for many more examples.(Visited 22 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

African nations seeks ways to stop flow of refugees to South Africa

first_img10 November 2014A three-day Migration Dialogue conference was organised by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Tanzania from 7 November 2014, to respond to the ever-evolving and complex dynamics of migration flows from the Horn of Africa, through Kenya and Tanzania to South Africa.Some 24 senior representatives from the governments of Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa and Ethiopia, and from IOM and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), met in Zanzibar to discuss the migration challenges facing the region and how to address them. The event was funded by Japan, as part of IOM’s Voluntary Return Assistance to Migrants in Tanzania project.International migratory movements in Africa have become more complex and mixed in recent years, with flows comprising asylum seekers, refugees and irregular migrants. The exodus of migrants from the Horn of Africa (mainly Ethiopia) to South Africa is a central issue.Each year, thousands of mainly young Ethiopians risk their lives in an attempt to reach South Africa, where they hope to establish better lives for themselves and their families. Migrants often sacrifice their life savings to pay smugglers amounts of up to $4 000 (about R45 000) to facilitate the journey.Human smuggling has become a thriving multi-billion dollar industry, which feeds off people’s desperation to improve their lives. Migrants are loaded into trucks by smugglers or left in “safe” houses in the jungle in Tanzania for days or weeks without food or water. Kenya and Tanzania are significant transit countries and many migrants are intercepted by the authorities en route.“Migrants are above all human beings and have the same human rights as anyone else. They should not be exposed to situations in which their lives are threatened. But the root causes of migration from the Horn to South Africa must be addressed by the governments concerned in order to come up with sustainable solutions to this migration crisis,” said Damien Thuriaux, IOM’s chief of mission in Tanzania.The meeting followed a 2010 regional conference on refugee protection and international migration, during which 13 African states met to discuss mixed movements and irregular migration from the East, Horn and Great Lakes sub-regions to Southern Africa.IOM’s Voluntary Return Assistance to Migrants in Tanzania project has returned over 220 detained Ethiopian migrants this year so far, and is planning to return a total of up to 800 by the end of the year. Since 2009, IOM Tanzania has helped over 2 500 Ethiopian detainees to return home.Source: APOlast_img read more

Add a Side of Geocaching to Your Other Hobby

first_imgShare with your Friends:More “I was very happy when GEOCACHE beat the word BITCOIN; I was thrilled when GEOCACHE trounced COSPLAY… I cannot put into words (!) how ecstatic I was when ZEN took second place and GEOCACHE won the prize.Everywhere I went, there was a Scrabble and GEOCACHE story – CNN, Good Morning America, CBC here in Canada… everywhere!” RCA777Have you spotted a Scrabble Trackable in the wild?The Scrabble success story isn’t the only example of a geocacher who combined their favorite hobbies. That’s what happened when Geocaching HQ heard about the popularity of Airstream RV’s with the Geocachers who love to explore and camp along the way.Geocachers have been known to travel long distances in their RV’s for the perfect story worthy geocaching moment. Airstream and Geocaching were a perfect fit.When we asked longtime Geocacher and Airstream enthusiast, FluteFace, about her favorite hobbies she said, “When we’re on a trip in the Airstream, geocaching is almost always involved. Most geocachers cache when they travel – what better way to travel than in an Airstream.”During the Summer of 2014 Airstream and Geocaching HQ worked together to create 2,000 Trackables tags to be passed out at Geocaching events across the United States. Geocachers swarmed the events closest to their home location in the hopes of receiving an Airstream tag.FluteFace parks her Airstream for the night near one of her favorite caches GC3VN6Y – Buttermilk, placed at what probably is a historical building (of sorts) and may be why the area is called Buttermilk.Nancy aka “yukionna” hosted the event Silver Bullet Launch Party in New Hampshire where her newly renovated 1964 Airstream Bambi II trailer made an appearance.“My husband, Brian, and I have owned Airstream trailers since 2002 and we started geocaching in 2008.  One of our favorite things to do is to travel in our Airstream while geocaching along the way.  Each summer we plan a couple of camping adventures to different destinations which include finding interesting caches during our trip.  When I saw the promotion last year between Airstream and Groundspeak, it was a dream come true for me and I wanted to become involved.” – yukionna SharePrint RelatedFive reminders about trackablesAugust 28, 2018In “News”5 Geocaching Etiquette TipsFebruary 24, 2014In “Community”5 Tips to Achieve Geocaching StardomFebruary 4, 2013In “Community” With ten geocacher appreciation events and over 750 attendees geocachers were literally happy campers. What hobbies do you think would be a geocaching match made in heaven?Group photo from the Silver Bullet geocaching event in front of the renovateda 1964 Airstream Bambi II trailer Photo caption: the official Scrabble Dictionary including the word Geocache can now be found in stores throughout North AmericaOne simple question spin up into a first in the world of Scrabble. It all started when long time geocacher Roy Alexander, RCA777 was playing a game of Scrabble with a friend. He asked whether they would accept the word “geocache” in the game if it were played. They said, no. But Roy wasn’t about to take no for an answer.At the time the word geocache was considered unplayable because it was not yet an official word in the Scrabble Dictionary. Roy jumped at the opportunity when he saw Hasbro announce the #ScrabbleWordShowDown contest on the Hasbro Game Night Facebook page. On March 12th, 2014, RCA77 suggested the word geocache to Hasbro.“I posted a screenshot of my suggestion in geocaching groups on Facebook – and the response was remarkable. Geocachers spread the word and supported the cause; things snowballed very quickly. Hasbro announced that GEOCACHE had made it to list of the final 16 words.” said RCA777.“Geocache” quickly beat out the competition and moved up the charts to the final round knocking out the word “zen”. It was officially announced as the winner on April 10th, 2014, landing it’s appearance in the Official Scrabble Dictionary later that year.Due to the interest from the fanatic geocaching community, Geocaching HQ reached out to Scrabble to create a partnership. Hasbro had 800 trackable tags made and distributed at the 2014 Geocaching Block Party in Seattle. Copies of the new dictionary were also given away as prizes to lucky geocachers. The tags were hot items and geocachers couldn’t wait to get their hands on them!Photo of two lucky geocachers who won the Scrabble board game and Scrabble Dictionary at the 2014 Geocaching Block Partylast_img read more

India vs Pakistan highlights: India beat Pakistan, set up final clash with Sri Lanka

first_imgThe battle of all battles lived up to its top billing. This was the blockbuster India-Pakistan semi-final that everyone had anticipated – in many ways the final before the final in the ICC World Cup.At the PCA Stadium in Mohali on Wednesday, over 28,000 watched the action from the edge of their seats while millions followed the action on television and radio. The bare-knuckled slugfest eventually saw India pack off Pakistan by 29 runs and charge into the summit clash in Mumbai, where they will face Sri Lanka on Saturday.The drama, passion and inyour-face brand of cricket made it almost sad that one side had to bow out but ultimately, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s straightforward gameplan and insistence on taking it as just a cricket match and not a political occasion took India to their third World Cup final. Sadly for his counterpart Shahid Afridi, despite playing superb cricket so far, his team failed to come good against India.India batted first and scored 260 for nine with Sachin Tendulkar scoring a lucky yet adroit 85, missing his 100th international century, and the bowlers then hunted in packs, something never seen in the tournament till Wednesday, as Pakistan were bowled out for 231.With Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his Pakistan counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani at the venue, all eyes were on the 22 players and the quality of cricket justified the billing the match got.At the end, when Virat Kohli caught Misbah ul-Haq off Zaheer Khan to wrap up the Pak innings, India were able to maintain their unblemished record of never losing to Pakistan in a World Cup match.advertisementPakistan’s chase never got off the ground. Mohammad Hafeez and Kamran Akmal put on 44 for the first wicket in nine overs but all the Indian bowlers kept the batsmen in check. It was only a matter of time that someone blinked and it was Kamran, who was deceived by a Zaheer slower ball, caught by Yuvraj at point.Hafeez played some delectable shots but his attempt to paddle-scoop Munaf Patel, who was bowling consistently close to 140 kmph on Wednesday night, waseasily caught by keeper Dhoni as he departed for 43.The lack of boundaries started to take its toll. Attempting to target the least-recognised bowler of the side – Yuvraj Singh – Pakistan lost the plot. First, youngster Asad Shafiq missed a straight delivery and then Younis Khan checkdrove the left-arm spinner to Suresh Raina at covers.The escalating required rate meant that all the bowlers needed was to bowl straight. Umar Akmal smote a six and a four to end the 77-ball boundary drought but Harbhajan Singh ensured that the 29-run knock was just a flash in the pan, knocking back his off-stump.Misbah kept the chase on track with a sensible 56 as they required 62 off the last six overs. In the end, despite his heroics, it was a bridge too far.Earlier, Dhoni called right and India chose to bat first. The decent pace and bounce in the wicket was enough for left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz to come into his own as he restricted India to 260 for nine and walked away with five wickets for 46 runs, his best effort in ODIs.India began in the fifth gear with Virender Sehwag tearing into pace spearhead Umar Gul as only he can, dispatching the Pakistan speedster for five boundaries in the third over of the match. An on-drive and upper cut in Gul’s next over took India’s score to 47 for no loss after just five overs.Afridi then called Riaz and he struck right away, catching Sehwag on the crease and trapping him leg before. The opener was sent back for 38 off 25 balls.Tendulkar was batting without much hassle but the introduction of Saeed Ajmal tied him in knots.But it was one of the most lucky and scrappy innings played by Tendulkar for some time. Every time he gave a chance, a Pakistani fielder found a way to prolong his stay. The maestro was dropped thrice more – on 45, 70 and 81.At the other end, Gambhir was cut open by Mohammad Hafeez, as he was drawn forward and stumped by Kamran for 27. India were 116 for two in the 19th over. He added 64 for the second wicket with Tendulkar.Riaz then came back to change the flow of the innings. Skipper Dhoni, under pressure to score, was trapped leg before by Riaz, for a 42-ball 25. But SureshRaina (36 not out off 39 balls) made sure that India batted out the overs.last_img read more