Chance The Rapper Leads Boyz II Men-Inspired Obama Ode & More On SNL [Videos]

first_imgLast night, multiple GRAMMY-winning Chicago artist Chance The Rapper joined Saturday Night Live (SNL) as their weekly guest host. The famously against-the-grain young artist proved to be a highly entertaining MC for the evening. First, in his opening monologue, Chance explained that he wasn’t there to promote any project–he was just trying to become the “Mariah Carey of Thanksgiving.” He used that as an introduction for a new holiday-appropriate song (“It’s Thanksgiving time, the one day a year/where you invite the folks that you normally fear./It’s Thanksgiving time when you are forced to see/every single bad apple on your whole family tree.).Watch Chance the Rapper’s opening monologue below via Saturday Night Live (SNL) on YouTubeChance The Rapper Inspires Chicago Bulls To Donate $1 Million To Chicago Public SchoolsChance appeared in a number of great skits and shorts throughout the episode, including playing an overly excited kid on school career day, a hockey announcer, a member of a scorned old-school 70’s hip hop pioneer speaking out about ignorant young rappers who don’t know their roots.Watch the “Rap History” sketch from last night, featuring hilarious cameos from Questlove, Common, and, of course Chance The Rapper about fictional MC “Lil Doo Doo”, played by Pete Davidson:The highlight of Chance’s top-notch SNL stint, however, was a short music video featuring him alongside cast members Kenan Thompson and Chris Redd that channeled the vintage early-90s output of superstar R&B crooners Boyz II Men, featuring the same lavishly-decorated sets, spoken heartfelt interludes–the whole nine yards. The video begins as a familiarly wistful lament to a past flame that’s moved on, but it’s not until the song’s first chorus that you realize who they’re singing to: former President Barack Obama. As the parody trio (dubbed De-Von-Tre) sings, “Every night, I turn the TV on and cry / I say why, I feel like we’re all gonna die / So come back, Barack,” the trio sing. “Even though it’s not allowed / We want you back somehow / I need you in my life / So come back, Barack / We didn’t know what we had / Now things are looking bad / Like really bad, like world war bad, like nuclear bad / So come back, Barack.”Watch Chance The Rapper, Kenan Thompson, and Chris Redd’s “Come Back Barack” parody from Saturday Night Live:Watch Chance The Rapper Debut A New Song Live On The Late Show With Stephen ColbertChance also took great joy in announcing the episode’s musical guest, polarizing hip-hop heavyweight Eminem, who performed a medley of his 2017 track “Walk On Water”, his powerful 2000 classic “Stan”, and his 2010smash hit Rihanna collaboration “Love The Way You Lie”. You can watch the video below via SNL on YouTube:last_img read more

JCC Reopening Plan Approved By SUNY

first_imgJAMESTOWN — Students starting or continuing higher education this Fall at Jamestown Community College will have a variety of options and safety measures after the State University of New York approved JCC’s reopening plans for the upcoming semester.JCC’s plan for the fall semester incorporates both mandatory and recommended COVID-19 protocols issued by New York state, focuses on the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and the larger community, according to JCC President Danial DeMarte.“JCC is excited about welcoming our students and community back this fall,” DeMarte said. “Although we continue to adapt our policies and procedures based on state and federal guidelines, we have developed a robust plan that prepares students for a successful fall semester.”The fall 2020 course schedule is available at sunyjcc.edu/courses. JCC’s reopening plan for the fall semester, which has been approved for certification by the State University of New York, was designed to minimize disruption for students while supporting the learning process and providing a reasonable degree of options and flexibility. The plan includes online, hybrid, and in-person courses. Approximately 125 online and hybrid courses are designated as flex courses which could meet as in-person classes on campus when COVID-19 measures allow.“If conditions improve and we have approval from the governor, students enrolled in flex courses will be provided the opportunity to be in class, on campus, on the synchronous days and times already scheduled,” said DeMarte, emphasizing that students would need to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and state and local health department guidelines on social distancing and the use of personal protective equipment.JCC’s student support services, which include tutoring, academic advising, library services, and more, as well as connections to local, state, and federal benefit programs, will continue to be available to students.“JCC is working hard to ensure that students have access to the support they need to succeed in today’s educational environment,” said Kirk Young, vice president of student affairs.DeMarte noted that JCC’s workforce readiness training programs for employers throughout the region have shifted delivery to both synchronous and asynchronous formats for the fall. A mix of formats, including synchronous, asynchronous, hybrid, and on-campus, will be provided.JCC also plans to open its three residence halls to 250 students, which allows for the implementation of recommended social distancing measures.“Although the residential experience will be different than what it has been in the past, the opportunity to be involved in a dedicated learning community continues to be one of JCC’s points of pride,” added Dr. Young. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

A $4 trillion plan could make or break dreams of U.S. homebuyers

first_imgWashington says a major change in the mortgage-backed securities market could make home loans more affordable nationwide.Not everyone on Wall Street is so sure.The revamp, the most significant overhaul of the market in a generation, will virtually eliminate the distinction between bonds issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which guarantee nearly half of U.S. residential mortgages. The hope is that blending the two will improve market liquidity and, as a result, mitigate investor risk while helping keep a lid on mortgage costs.But skeptics warn that the change could actually raise mortgage rates, rather than lower them. The big test starts on June 3, when the first of a new breed of combined security is set to roll off the line. It’s the final step in a more than five-year process to unify a roughly $4.4 trillion pile of agency MBS currently split between the two government-sponsored enterprises. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

Duo confident of Euro qualification

first_img “It’s going to be tough but with the extra teams going through this time it’s got to be the best chance we’ve had for a long time. “It’s important we get off to a good start in the group. The other teams will be thinking of that as well, especially Greece, given that they were in the World Cup but they aren’t, with respect, a Spain or a Germany. “But you don’t get to the World Cup knockout stages without being a good side, so everyone expects them to qualify from the group. There is second and a play-off place up for grabs though. “This campaign is going to be big for everyone. I want to contribute and have a successful campaign but it’s down to improving results on the pitch.” Two of Northern Ireland’s biggest frustrations in recent years have been their poor form on the road and Brunt’s disappointing goals record – just one goal in 46 caps. A result against Hungary would quickly turn around the first of those issues, but Brunt warned his own search for a second goal may be one of the sacrifices along the way. “Of course you want to score more goals, but if you take away David Healy then you could probably say it’s a problem for most of us in the camp. “It’s a different responsibility at international level away from home. A lot of times away from home with Northern Ireland we’re under a lot of pressure, but we often defend really well and that can impact on us in an attacking sense. “If getting a result means more defending I’ll take it. It really doesn’t matter who scores though, even if (goalkeeper) Roy Carroll smacks one in.” For Hughes, this is the second qualifying campaign since he reversed his retirement. It is widely assumed it will also be his last but having called it a day once and changed his mind he is no longer willing to predict his future. “That question is always going to be around when you’re at the age I’m at, especially after making the U-turn a couple of years ago, but regardless of whether this was my second campaign or my last this is as good a chance as we’ve had in a long time. “I’m taking each game as it comes now and not looking past Sunday. “Look at the guy in the World Cup (43-year-old Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon), it’s always possible.” Northern Ireland stalwarts Aaron Hughes and Chris Brunt are cautiously optimistic of emerging from a “wide open” Euro 2016 group. The pair are among their country’s most experienced campaigners, sharing 136 caps and a combined 26 years of international football, but both are still searching for a first major tournament appearance. There are unlikely to be too many more chances, with Hughes 34 and Brunt approaching his 30th birthday, and the one in front of them is as enticing as they have experienced. There are no heavy-hitters in Group F – they start against Hungary on Sunday and also face Romania, Finland and the Faroe Islands – and the play-off on offer for the third-placed side seems an achievable aim. Hughes and Brunt have been around long enough to temper any undue enthusiasm with a shot of realism, but spirits remained high as they touched down in Budapest. “I think we can do it, but all the other teams will be saying the exact same thing,” said Hughes. “In our World Cup group a lot of people would have said Russia and Portugal will be the top two and the rest are fighting for order but it’s very hard to predict this one. “Greece are consistent and know what it takes to get through but everyone else on any given night can beat each other. “That throws the group wide open and we have to be confident we can do it.” West Brom captain Brunt echoed those sentiments, sensing a real chance to take Northern Ireland back to the big stage for the first time since the 1986 World Cup. “You’ve got to be confident going in,” said the midfielder. Press Associationlast_img read more

Marcus Rashford: All the talk at Man United

first_imgMANCHESTER, England (AP): The player who is all the talk at Manchester United right now isn’t listed on the 31-man squad on the back of the team’s match-day program. There’s even a section currently up on United’s website, posing the question many are wondering: Who is Marcus Rashford? Well, he is the 18-year-old rookie striker who has saved under-pressure United coach Louis van Gaal from even deeper scrutiny and who could be a potential star of the future at Old Trafford. Playing in his first match for United’s senior team as a late injury replacement, Rashford scored twice against FC Midtjylland to lead United’s recovery in a 5-1 win that qualified the team for the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday. With an injury crisis coursing through Van Gaal’s squad, Rashford is likely to be starting up front against Arsenal in a globally anticipated English Premier League game in front of nearly 80,000 spectators on Sunday. It’s something of a whirlwind for a player who, before Thursday, had never started a game above under-19 level and signed a professional contract at United only in 2014. Now he is the club’s youngest ever scorer in European soccer. Van Gaal is clearly excited about Rashford’s potential, but is being cautious. “It is fantastic (for him), but you have to be consistent and we are looking for consistent strikers,” Van Gaal said after the Midtjylland game, slightly puncturing the jubilant mood. “There are not so many on this earth.” Of course, these are early days for Rashford and there are plenty of examples of where great starts to careers at United didn’t come to fruition. For every Wayne Rooney, who memorably scored a hat-trick in the Champions League on his United debut, there is Federico Macheda — the Italian who scored on his first-team debut in April 2009, but has been on an unsuccessful tour of the English lower leagues ever since. Rashford looks to have the composure and technique to go places, though. Born and raised in Manchester, he comes from the same junior club — Fletcher Moss — that spawned former United players Wes Brown, Danny Welbeck and Ravel Morrison. He has captained United’s Under-19 team and was the top scorer for the Under-18s last season. Against Midtjylland, he liked to get involved in play rather than just prey on the shoulder of the last defender. But his predatory close-range finishes for his second-half double showed a goalscorer’s instinct. “In the first half he ran too much out wide,” Van Gaal said, “and I said he needs to be in front of goal to score.” Rashford is arguably United’s sixth-choice striker — behind Rooney, Anthony Martial, James Wilson, Will Keane and emergency targetman Marouane Fellaini. Those five are either injured or on loan (Wilson) so Rashford is likely to start against Arsenal, a game United needs to win to keep in touch with the top four. “I watched him last night and he was quite impressive,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. “I know all of their players — Rashford I didn’t know.” He’ll know more about the kid come Sunday evening.last_img read more

Enron execs Skilling, Lay convicted of conspiracy

first_imgBoth men are expected to appeal. The judge in the case, Sim Lake, scheduled sentencing for Sept. 11. Until then, the two men are free on bail. If they lose their appeals, Skilling and Lay face potential sentences that experts believe will keep them in prison for the rest of their lives. Skilling, who had few family members in attendance, reacted with little emotion as the verdict was read, briefly searching the audience’s faces and later striding confidently alone out of the courtroom ahead of his lead lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli. “Obviously, I’m disappointed,” Skilling said as he left the courthouse, “but that’s the way the system works.” Once jurors and the judge left the courtroom, Lay’s family members huddled around him. Elizabeth Vittor, Lay’s daughter and a lawyer who had worked on his defense team, sobbed uncontrollably. Two local ministers also leaned in and hugged Lay, whose family members soon formed a circle in the courtroom, with arms over shoulders, and cried together. “I know, I know,” Lay said to several of them in a soothing voice, as they clutched at his suit coat. After he emerged from the courthouse, Lay said, “I firmly believe I’m innocent of the charges against me.” In televised remarks he said, “We believe that God, in fact, is in control and indeed he does work all things for good for those who love the Lord.” For a company that once seemed so complex that almost no one could understand how it actually made its money, the cases ended up being simpler than most people envisioned. Lay, 64, and Skilling, 52, were found guilty of lying – to investors, employees and government regulators – in an effort to disguise the crumbling fortunes of their energy empire. The 12 jurors and three alternates, who all agreed to talk to about 100 reporters at a news conference after the verdict, said they were persuaded – by the volume of evidence the government presented and by Skilling’s and Lay’s own appearances on the stand – that the men had perpetuated a far-reaching fraud by lying to investors and employees about Enron’s performance. The panel rejected the former chief executives’ insistence that no fraud occurred at Enron other than that committed by a few underlings who stole millions in secret side deals. And the jurors said they did not believe that negative news media reports and failing market confidence combined to sink the company. “The jury has spoken, and they have sent an unmistakable message to boardrooms across the country that you can’t lie to shareholders, you can’t put yourself in front of your employees’ interests, and no matter how rich and powerful you are you have to play by the rules,” Sean M. Berkowitz, the director of the Justice Department’s Enron Task Force, said outside the courthouse. For years, Enron’s gravity-defying stock price made it a Wall Street darling and an icon of the “New Economy” of the 1990s. But its sudden collapse at the end of 2001 and revelation that it was little more than a house of cards left Enron and its crooked E as the premier public symbol of corporate ignominy. Investors and employees lost billions when Enron shares became worthless. Enron’s fall had a far greater impact than on just the energy industry by heightening nervousness among average investors about the transparency of American companies. “The Enron case and all the other scandals and cases that trailed after it may have finally punctured that romance with Wall Street that has been true of American culture for a while now,” said Steve Fraser, a historian and author of “Every Man a Speculator: A History of Wall Street in American Life.” At Enron, Skilling was the visionary from the world of management consulting who spearheaded the company’s rapid ascent by fastening on new ways to turn such commodities as natural gas and electricity into complex, lucrative financial instruments. Lay, the company’s founder, was the public face of Enron. Known for his close ties to President George W. Bush’s family, he built Enron into a symbol of civic pride and envy in its hometown of Houston and throughout the financial world. The verdicts are a long-awaited vindication for federal prosecutors, who had produced mixed results from their four-year investigation of wrongdoing at the company. The investigation resulted in 16 guilty pleas by Enron executives, and four convictions of Merrill Lynch bankers in a case involving the bogus sale of Nigerian barges to the Wall Street firm. Last year, however, the Supreme Court, blaming flawed jury instructions, overturned the obstruction-of-justice verdict that sounded the death knell for accounting firm Arthur Andersen, Enron’s outside auditor. And a jury either acquitted or failed to agree on charges in the fraud trial of former managers of Enron’s failed broadband division. During the 56-day trial, defense lawyers repeatedly criticized prosecutors for bringing criminal charges against Skilling and Lay, saying the government had set out to punish the company’s top officers regardless of what the facts might be. The lawyers said the government was criminalizing normal business practices and accused prosecutors of pressuring key witnesses to plead guilty to crimes they did not commit. The defense lawyers also complained about a lack of access to witnesses who they contended could have corroborated their clients’ versions of events. Several jurors said they would have liked to hear from more witnesses, in particular Richard A. Causey, the chief accounting officer whom neither side called in the end. “To me, he was a missing link,” said one juror, Douglas Baggett, an electrical designer. “He would have linked a lot of things together for us had he testified.” The Enron trial, perhaps more than any other, punctuates the era of corporate corruption, also illustrated by the failure of WorldCom, the telecommunications giant whose bankruptcy after revelations of $11 billion in accounting fraud even exceeded Enron’s in size; the prosecution of Frank P. Quattrone, the technology industry banker; and executive-suite scandals at Tyco, Adelphia Communications Corp. and HealthSouth Corp. Lay was forced to remain in the courthouse for more than three hours after the verdict was announced for a hearing on securing a $5 million bond, which will come from a mix of financial pledges from his children, and to surrender his passport. Lake will have broad discretion in determining the former executives’ sentences. He is not known for his leniency. Two years ago he sentenced Jamie Olis, a former midlevel executive at Dynegy, an Enron competitor, to 24 years for his role in a scheme to disguise the company’s finances. An appeals court last year ordered the judge to revise the sentence. A hearing is set for June 9. The guilty verdicts could have limited impact on a spate of civil cases. “They are not the ones who are going to pay the billions of dollars in additional recoveries that we hope to obtain on top of the $7.2 billion we already have from banks in our previous settlements,” said William S. Lerach, the lead lawyer in the largest civil case, set to go to trial in October. From the beginning, the Enron leaders’ trial was not what many people expected after revelations of secret off-the-books schemes that earned a small fortune for Andrew S. Fastow, Enron’s former chief financial officer, and his cadre of co-conspirators. Those transactions were used to artificially prop up the company’s profits, but prosecutors never seriously attempted to prove that Lay and Skilling were responsible for them. Rather than delve into whether those intricate accounting structures were legitimate, prosecutors focused almost exclusively on what they cited as the false statements Skilling and Lay made to employees and outside investors. The “lies and choices” theme transformed the case into a test of credibility between the former chief executives and the more than half a dozen witnesses from inside Enron who testified for the government. During the trial, the government called 25 witnesses and the defense called 31, including Skilling and Lay. Government witnesses, including former Enron Treasurer Ben F. Glisan Jr., testified that the executives had sanctioned or encouraged manipulative accounting practices and then crossed the line from corporate cheerleading into outright misrepresentations of Enron’s financial performance. Fastow’s emotional turn on the stand offered some of the most devastating evidence against Skilling, and to a lesser extent, Lay. He said he had struck “bear hug” side deals with Skilling guaranteeing that his off-the-books partnerships, dubbed LJM, would not lose money in their dealings with Enron. Fastow also described how Skilling had bought in to the idea of using the LJMs to gin up more earnings to meet quarterly targets. But Fastow’s own admitted history of extensive crimes at Enron was brutally dissected by Petrocelli, and jurors said they did not find Fastow particularly persuasive. “Fastow was Fastow,” said a juror, Donald Martin, shaking his head. “We knew where he was coming from.” The jurors said they were moved, in contrast, by the testimony of Glisan. “We kept on going back to that testimony to corroborate things,” said another juror, Freddy Delgado, an elementary-school principal. “I think that was one of the best witnesses brought forward.” The surprise testimony of David W. Delainey, the former chief executive of a retail energy unit called Energy Services, also helped pave the way for Skilling’s conviction. Delainey, who pleaded guilty to fraud, said Skilling took part in a decision to shift some $200 million in losses from Energy Services to the more profitable wholesale energy division to avoid having to admit to investors that Energy Services was failing. On the stand, Skilling offered differing and confusing explanations for the shift. He proved evasive and sometimes forgetful, and he revealed an emotional immaturity that led some to question whether he should ever have been leading such a large company. His abrupt resignation in August 2001, after only six months as chief executive, led to a bout of heavy drinking as a depressed Skilling watched in horror as the company he helped build edged ever closer to the brink. For Lay, a key turning point came when Sherron S. Watkins, the former Enron vice president, took the stand to describe how she confronted him with concerns about Enron’s accounting. Watkins said the subsequent investigation Lay ordered, conducted by Enron’s in-house law firm, Vinson & Elkins, was intentionally limited in scope to conclude that there were no problems. Other issues plagued Lay’s defense, most notably his own testiness on the stand and the sudden illness of his lead lawyer, Ramsey, a well-regarded criminal defense attorney who was forced to miss more than a month of the trial because of coronary disease.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! HOUSTON – Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, the chief executives who guided Enron through its spectacular rise and even more stunning fall, were found guilty Thursday of fraud and conspiracy. They are among the most prominent corporate leaders in a wave of scandals that marked the get-rich-quick excesses and management failures of the 1990s. The jury of eight women and four men reached the verdicts after a little more than five days of deliberations. Skilling was convicted of 18 counts of fraud and conspiracy and one count of insider trading. He was acquitted on nine counts of insider trading. Lay was found guilty on six counts of fraud and conspiracy and four counts of bank fraud. The conspiracy and fraud convictions each carries a sentence of five years to 10 years in prison. The insider trading charge against Skilling carries a maximum of 10 years in prison. last_img read more

Real convinced Mourinho will stay

first_imgReal Madrid director Emilio Butragueno says the club are convinced Jose Mourinho will not leave at the end of the season.Former Chelsea boss Mourinho has been linked with a return to Stamford Bridge and has made it clear he misses the Premier League.But Butragueno told Sky: “There is no problem for us. No debate. He is under contract – he has two more years – and there is no question.“He started a project last season, had a good second season, and the performance of the team is extremely good. We’re happy with him and his leadership.”Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img

New Dinosaur Finds Astonish Paleontologists

first_imgSome recent dinosaur discoveries on different sides of the world have produced amazement among scientists and the public as well.Tire tracks uncover dino tracks:  ATVs and dirt bikes have ridden for years over a place that is now found to be loaded with dinosaur tracks.  Near Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah, reported the Salt Lake Tribune, thousands of dinosaur tracks were discovered in an area thought to have been a desert – “as harsh as the Sahara” – when dinosaurs roamed there.  Associated Press and National Geographic News gave short summaries of the story.    The Tribune said that one species of carnivore was as small as a robin.  Five other species, including a 3-toed crocodile and a plant-eater 35 feet long, were found across dozens of layers of rock.  “You rarely find herbivores in a desert,” said Martin Lockley, curator of the Dinosaur Tracks Museum at the University of Colorado at Denver.  As paleontologists flock to the site, one question will be what conditions allowed these prints to be preserved in a dry desert.    Dinosaur tracks are known in other places in the southwest, such as near Tuba City, Arizona, and Zion National Park.  Another dinosaur trove is being explored in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park east of the Coral Pink Sand Dunes (10/09/2007, bullet 1).  And far away and down under, Science Daily reported a track site in Australia.  Dinosaur tracks have even been found in Israel (search list at Bible Places), but when they walked there, maybe only Job knows.Spanish inquisitive:  Imagine more than 8,000 dinosaurs, some 65 feet long, buried together in one location.  That’s what The Times Online (UK) reported about a site between Madrid and Valencia that was discovered during excavations for a rail line.  100 titanosaurs are included in this massive graveyard that includes a wealth of other plant and animal species.    The traditional dating of the strata, 80 million years old, represents a time when the number of dinosaur species was supposed to be sharply declining.  “Palaeontologists working in Lo Hueco, though, have been amazed to find a wide variety of dinosaurs from the period.”  No less remarkable is the manner in which they died.  “The range of species they are finding at the 80 million-year-old site and their state of conservation is virtually unparalleled in Europe and challenges long-held beliefs about the way in which dinosaurs became extinct.”  One of the excavators remarked, “Everything indicates that the dinosours [sic] were enjoying great evolutionary vigour when they suddenly disappeared.”    Excavators are hurrying to sift through 20,000 kg of sediment so that railway digging can continue.  The site is 80 to 100 times the size of a normal excavation in terms of time and money, the report said. They expect to find dozens of smaller species.    Surprisingly, American science news media are not reporting this story.  A report from Expatica counts 30 paleontologists and geologists working flat-out with volunteers to preserve the bones before construction resumes.  This is one of Europe’s most spectacular dinosaur finds (cf. Switzerland and Germany, 08/15/2007).  “The state of conservation is incredible,” the director of the dig said.  “There are articulated skeletons, for example, a neck that is several meters long with all its vertebrae and ribs in place.”  The article says the pit is 20 meters deep.  It appears to be in a fluvial channel, where “the animals were probably washed into it by heavy flooding.” Sometimes the reactions of scientists are as interesting as the fossils.  One of the directors of the dig in Spain said, “This is completely beyond what we expected to find.  This represents a huge leap in our understanding of the Upper Cretaceous.”  This can only mean that before the huge leap, there was less than understanding.The pit in Spain is a phenomenal discovery—where are the dinosaur media?  Are they afraid that creationists will jump on it?  This doesn’t look like slow, gradual evolution or uniformitarianism: it looks like a giant flood buried them all.  Maybe the same flood hit Switzerland, Germany and Norway (04/25/2006).  Toss in Australia and Montana while we’re at it.  Maybe the Utah group was running for their lives.  Maybe yes, maybe Noah.    The Times Online article demonstrates why we don’t print unmoderated reader comments at this site.  All it takes is for a few idiots to say stupid things, and the stink spreads around.  Fortunately the comments we get are mostly thoughtful and erudite, because our readers tend to be educated and intelligent.  It’s very possible the ones who sent in those remarks are trolls just trying to make Christians look bad.  If you are prone to write responses on blogs, please think and do your homework first – and brush up on your spelling and punctuation, too.  An education with our Baloney Detector should be a prerequisite for any public writing.(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

The Crawling Eye: Cells as Lenses

first_imgCertain bacteria can respond to light be turning their whole bodies into eyeballs.The cells are round anyway; why not focus light? Scientists have wondered why certain cyanobacteria in “pond slime” are able to move toward light, a process given the name phototaxis (“light order”). A new study published in eLife suggests that the whole cell becomes a lens. The BBC News comments:Despite being just three micrometres (0.003mm) in diameter, the bacteria in the study use the same physical principles as the eye of a camera or a human.This makes them “probably the world’s smallest and oldest example” of such a lens, the researchers write in the journal eLife.Scientists had noticed photo taxis for a long time. Reporter Jonathan Webb writes, “After more than three centuries of scientists eyeballing bugs under microscopes, Prof Mullineaux said it was remarkable that nobody had picked up on this before.” A press release from the University of Freiberg sheds some light on that:All previous attempts to explain bacterial phototaxis, the process by which bacteria move toward light, have failed because these organisms, which measure only a few lengths of a light wave, were thought to be too small to perceive differences in light between the front and back side of the cell. Since the entire bacterium functions like a lens, however, the organisms can concentrate light, creating a pronounced light gradient within the cell.It’s not that different from the way the human eyeball focuses light, Live Science says. “A cyanobacterium, however, is 500 million times smaller than the human eye, and the algae likely view only the blurry outlines of objects that the human eye could see clearly, the researchers said.” In response to the light, a cyanobacterium grows tiny tentacles called pili that move the cell toward the light source.What’s also remarkable is that none of the articles or the journal paper itself talked about evolution.Think about what a cell needs to use this information. It has to know how to shape itself into a lens. There have to be receptors at the focal point. Those receptors have to send signals to the nucleus, where genes must be transcribed to turn the information into action. The cell has to grow pili at the right place, and move them in directions that push the whole cell toward the light.If any one of those processes is missing (and each involves complex molecular machinery), phototaxis wouldn’t work. That’s design, not evolution. That this takes place in a “simple, primitive” life form like a bacterium should give Charlie more cold shudders. (Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

New wine label protects trees

first_imgRhebokskloof’s cellar has produced a number of award-winning wines. (Image: Rhebokskloof) The South African wine industry is again showing its commitment to caring for the environment with the introduction of the first wine label that contains no wood fibre.Rhebokskloof Wine estate in Paarl, Western Cape, is the first winemaker in South Africa to use wood fibre-free labels on its bottles. The winery, which has operated since 1797, produces not only a range of award-winning wines, but also olives and table grapes.The local wine industry has already introduced green innovations such as lightweight glass bottles, carbon-neutral production processes, and the sustainability seal which assures consumers that their purchase was produced responsibly every step of the way.Now Rhebokskloof’s Estate Shiraz 2009 will sport a label completely free of wood fibre, which means that no trees were cut down to make the paper. Instead, the label is made from sugarcane fibre.Fast-growing sugarcane is widely cultivated in South Africa and is 100% renewable. The fibre or bagasse is a by-product of sugar refining and is all that is left after the juice has been squeezed from the sugarcane stalks, hence it doesn’t add any extra burden to the environment unlike chopping down trees for conventional labels.“Every bit helps to preserve the environment and that is why we decided to use a new wood-free label paper called Treefree,” said Rhebokskloof MD Anton du Toit, confirming that not one tree was harmed in the manufacturing process.Exciting developmentThe Treefree paper, which is available from mid-November, was developed by Paarl Labels together with UPM Raflatac, the label materials supply division of Finnish forest product company UPM.The material is hailed as an exciting development in the local label industry, which derives a large proportion of its income from wine and beverages. The new labels are indistinguishable from any other quality label, yet they are completely harmless in ecological terms.Paarl Labels claims that the Treefree label will not suffer the fate of many other labels after sitting for hours in an ice bucket, and will still look fresh and undamaged despite its soggy surroundings.The paper weighs 110 grams per square metre and has an uncoated surface, which gives it a natural feel and a neutral, earthy colour. The colour can be subtly altered according to the client’s preference.Treefree is suitable for additional processes such as screen printing and hot-stamp foiling, and is coated with a permanent acrylic adhesive which holds well to a glass surface even when wet. Paarl Labels is confident that, should there be sufficient demand for Treefree on plastic bottles, they will be able to rise to the challenge.It is a relatively heavy paper and, said Paarl Labels MD Callie de Wet, may not be suitable for small, thin bottles such as those used for miniatures.“We recommend a proper test process before Treefree gets selected for any of these sharp curved applications,” said De Wet.He said that the launch of the Treefree label is another step forward for Paarl Labels’ commitment to responsible printing, and will give their clients the peace of mind of knowing that they are contributing towards care of the environment.last_img read more