first_imgQPR manager Mark Hughes is full of confidence ahead of the new season and says – given that the deal to sign Samba Diakite was agreed in January – he has spent a net total of £1.5m to transform Rangers’ squad this summer.Click here for the QPR v Swansea quizSee also:Hughes adamant new-look QPR will deliverFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img

first_imgRemember when botulinum toxin, one of the most potent poisons known to man, entered medical science for good?  Now fashion models brag about how “botox” improved their good looks, and sufferers of excess sweating or migraines find relief with the neurotoxin.  The search for good in bad substances has not stopped; other venomous organisms, once a scourge of mankind, are being investigated as agents of health for our bodies and our crops.Nature’s pharmacy:  Live Science listed the following plants and animals as potential sources of medicine: venomous cone snails, cave creatures, sap from the guggel tree, a weed from the Nile, and various extracts from sea squirts.  “Nature is a prolific source of new medicines,” the article said.  “In fact, natural products have led to more than half of the new drugs introduced during the past 25 years.”    A passing reference to evolution said, “Over millions of years, organisms have evolved protective chemicals that interact with specific proteins in their enemies,” but did not elaborate on how that could have happened or how the organisms survived without them in the meantime.  “Where nature is hiding the next medical treasure is anyone’s guess.”Snail drug store:  Back in February, PhysOrg mentioned work at the University of Utah to isolate prialt, a venom from a marine cone snail.  “Prialt is injected into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord to treat chronic, intractable pain suffered by people with cancer, AIDS, injury, failed back surgery or certain nervous system disorders.”Scorpion fertilizer:  An article on Science Daily describes work at Michigan State working to understand scorpion venom as a useful pesticide for farmers.  Apparently the venom attacks some ion channels in insects but not mammals.  If researchers can determine why, they may be able to design pesticides that selectively attack insects without hurting other animals.  They are using the Israeli desert scorpion as their model organism.Spider painkiller:  Back in March, Science Daily reported on work at UC Riverside to isolate a toxin in the American funnel web spider that appears effective in blocking the action of calcium channels.  “The toxin offers a new target for studying T-type channels, which play a role in congestive heart failure, hypertension, epilepsy and pain.”The Live Science article mentioned above explained why natural substances hold promise for medicine: “Because all living things share the same basic biochemistry, those chemicals can interact with the same proteins in people.” Sometimes a little poison, injected into the right place under the right conditions, can bring healing and relief.  See also 06/08/2004, 05/21/2007 bullet 4, and 12/10/2010, bullet 14.We humans tend to attribute morality to substances – the anthropomorphic fallacy.  Toxins and poisons seem evil.  Actually, they are just molecules, involved in checks and balances in the web of nature, whose actions under the right circumstances can be salutary for humans.  Little is gained by making up stories about how they evolved in the unobservable past.  Observational, testable lab work will determine whether the substances we naturally avoid in spiders, scorpions, snakes, snails, fungi and bacteria can be useful for improving our lives. (Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_img2 March 2007South Africa has identified the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces as key for development in the forestry, wood and paper sector, with reforestation a vital part of the strategy.Business Day reported this week that the government envisages between R20- and R30-billion of investment by the private sector, including the Industrial Development Corporation, over the next five years to develop the economies of the two provinces.Forestry is one of the sectors identified as a key growth area in terms of the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (Asgi-SA), which aims to reduce poverty and unemployment and help the country achieve an economic growth rate of 6% per annum.In addition, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has drafted a separate sector strategy to deal with challenges facing an industry that has been neglected over the past decade.According to the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, the sector employs about 170 000 people and contributes more than R16-billion annually to the South African economy.Speaking to journalists during the Eastern Cape Forestry and Timber Processing Summit in Mthatha on Monday, Water Affairs and Forestry Minister Lindiwe Hendricks said that developing the industry in the Eastern Cape had the potential to create about 26 000 direct jobs at plantation level and a further 1 700 jobs at processing level.Business Day reports that up to 15 400 such jobs could be created in KwaZulu-Natal.“In SA the backlog is bad, as we have not planned new trees over the past decade,” DTI deputy director-general Lionel October said during the summit. “There is the immediate potential for the forestation of more than 100 000 hectares [in the Eastern Cape].”October told Business Day that while an explosion in global industrial development and construction, led by China, had boosted demand for timber and wood products, South Africa had not taken advantage of this situation.He said the DTI would work with Water Affairs and Forestry and the private sector to ensure increased downstream processing opportunities for small businesses as well as black economic empowerment companies.The development of downstream industries will require massive investment, however, and it is hoped that foreign investors will come to the party. According to October, delegations from Finland and Indonesia have already visited South Africa and have shown an interest in investing in the industry.SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is placing renewed focus on caring for the vital soils of the United States with a new Soil Health Division“We’re getting back to our roots and our basics. NRCS was born 80 years ago, created in the wake of the Dust Bowl. Our focus then was sharing our knowledge of farming and soil conservation practices with farmers to help improve the health of their soils. We have recently come full circle and are back to the principles of soil health and looking beyond the physical and chemical properties to the biological properties,” said Jason Weller, NRCS chief. “We are looking at all of the biota that live below the surface that help support the food production for those of us who live above the surface of the soil.”Rather than addressing the health of the nation’s soils from Washington, D.C., the NRCS is targeting resources for soil health in the field.“It is about first educating our own employees by giving them the skills and training they need to work with farmers and ranchers to help with their overall cropping and grazing systems. Also importantly we are providing training to our Soil and Water Conservation District partners, and, most crucially, our customers — farmers and ranchers,” Weller said. “We are starting to hire and recruit some of the nation’s best soil scientists, agronomists and resource conservationists to get out in the field. Importantly, this division is not based in Washington, D.C. — 99% of the employees are out in the field where they belong. There we can provide one-on-one service for farmers and training opportunities for our own staff.”Weller feels this emphasis on soil health at the NRCS will further enhance the USDA’s overall commitment to caring for natural resources.“The most valuable asset a farmer has is the soil. We can look at how to use different types of tillage, other farm inputs, manure management and other inputs, chemistry, nutrient management, and drainage management in a holistic look at how you manage the soils,” he said. “We have learned through science that by improving the overall health of your soils, it will help maintain or boost yields. We can’t do this without interest and engagement from the ag community. The innovation and leadership starts with farmers.”last_img read more

first_imgIt’s time to ditch the 3D glasses. MIT is here to change the way we go to the movies.Top image via Christine Daniloff/MITOnly weeks ago we mentioned that MIT was going to change SFX and sound design forever with their computerized sound design. While that could eventually change the whole world of post-production, their latest announcement ahead of SIGGRAPH will impact audiences in the not-too-distant future.The MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) has released a new paper (alongside Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science) demonstrating a 3D display that allows audiences to watch 3D films without 3D glasses. As a daily wearer of eyeglasses, it almost brings me to tears that I may soon be able to watch a 3D movie in theaters. Now I won’t have to strain my eyes to look through the one tiny part where my glasses and the 3D glasses line up. Dubbed Cinema 3D, this new prototype uses a special array of lenses and mirrors to create a 3D image. The most astonishing feat — it doesn’t matter where an audience member is sitting in the theater. The 3D experience is available at every seat.“Existing approaches to glasses-free 3-D require screens whose resolution requirements are so enormous that they are completely impractical… This is the first technical approach that allows for glasses-free 3-D on a large scale.” – MIT professor Wojciech MatusikResearchers admit that the system is not ready for mass production, but they are optimistic that future developments will lead to theaters offering a glasses-free 3D experience. Glasses-free 3D does already exist on a much smaller scale, particularly in traditional televisions use of a parallax barrier — “slits in front of the screen that allows each eye to see a different set of pixels, creating a simulated sense of depth.”The downside is that parallax barriers require viewers to be a certain distance from the screen, which obviously wouldn’t work in theaters.Image via ShutterstockCinema 3D encodes multiple parallax barriers in one display, so each viewer sees a parallax barrier tailored to their specific seat. That is then replicated across the theater using Cinema 3D’s mirrors and lens special optics system.The MIT Media Lab is also involved in creating new projectors that cover the entire angular range of the audience, but the resolution of the projected image is much lower.The key insight with Cinema 3D is that people in movie theaters move their heads only over a very small range of angles, limited by the width of their seat. Thus, it is enough to display images to a narrow range of angles and replicate that to all seats in the theater.The Cinema 3D system isn’t practical at this moment, as the prototype required fifty sets of mirrors and lenses. Professor Matusik says that the team hopes to build a larger version of the display to refine the optics and improve the image resolution.It remains to be seen whether the approach is financially feasible enough to scale up to a full-blown theater… But we are optimistic that this is an important next step in developing glasses-free 3-D for large spaces like movie theaters and auditoriums. — MatusikRead more about the 3D tech here.last_img read more

first_imgThe Pakistan army on Wednesday targeted dozens of forward posts and villages with artillery guns along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri and Poonch districts, officials said. The intense shelling and firing from across the border continued throughout the night in Sunderbani sector of Rajouri district, while it started in Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch in the early hours of Wednesday, they said. Officials said the Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively, and the exchange of heavy fire caused panic among the border residents. However, there was no report of any casualty on the Indian side, they said. Pakistan had resorted to cross-border firing at Nowshera and Sunderbani in Rajouri and Krishna Ghati in Poonch on Tuesday as well. While the cross-border skirmishes lasted for over three hours in Nowshera sector which left a soldier injured, the firing in Krishna Ghati took place from 6 pm to 8:15 pm. Firing in Sunderbani sector started at 8:30 pm Tuesday and ended around 4:30 am on Wednesday, the officials said. Minutes later, they said the guns once again roared in Krishna Ghati sector and firing was underway between the two sides when last reports were received.There has been a spurt in ceasefire violations by Pakistan after India’s preemptive air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp in Balakot on February 26 following the February 14 suicide bombing in Pulwama in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. Four civilians, including three members of a family, were killed and several others injured in over 60 incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the LoC in Rajouri and Poonch last week.last_img read more