The rate of calcium carbonate precipitation can double if microbes are present, says an article in PhysOrg. Scientists studying hot spring deposits in Yellowstone made this “surprising discovery about the geological record of life and the environment.” The article adds, “Their discovery could affect how certain sequences of sedimentary rock are dated, and how scientists might search for evidence of life on other planets.” The travertine terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone can grow millimeters per day. The precipitation can actually “more than double” when microbes are present, the article said. Calcium carbonate is the most abundant mineral in the rock record. The scientists believe that inferences about the presence of life can be drawn from studying the rate of deposition. “Separating biologically precipitated calcium carbonate from non-biologically precipitated calcium carbonate is difficult,” however. Inferences about life would also require independent knowledge about the rate of deposition. They believe they can tease this information out from the chemistry, based on “the environmental and ecological context of the rock being studied.”The important observation here is that previous trusted assumptions about most common sedimentary rock were off by more than a factor of two. What other assumptions are still unquestioned that will be overturned in the future? Other questions: What will this do to cave formation dating methods? Will they change the textbooks within the next decade? How can they rightfully infer the presence of life from a precipitation rate on a planet where no life has been found, when other unknown factors could influence the rate? How come geologists never apologize for the misinformation they spread?(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
A passenger train mowed down five elephants on Saturday night, triggering a blame game between the Assam forest department and Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR).The engine of the train derailed due to the impact at 9.40 p.m. The section was restored after the engine was put back on track almost five hours later.Forest officials said the drivers of the 15611 Guwahati-Silchar Fast Passenger train ignored flashlight signals and ran into a herd of elephants crossing the track in central Assam’s Hojai district. They said the spot between Hawaipur and Lamshakhan stations, some 180 km east of Guwahati, is a notified elephant corridor.Railway officials claimed the section where the elephants were crossing was not a notified elephant corridor and that a 30 kph speed restriction had been imposed on all trains based on inputs from the Forest Department.Three calves dead“Five elephants, including three calves, reportedly died due to the impact. The loco pilots said the calves did not move from the track and the adult elephants began surrounding them when the accident happened,” an officer of the Lumding Railway Division said.“Our people are trying their best to prevent elephant casualties, but the railways seem to be taking such incidents lightly. I cannot fault our department as the railways had been informed about the movement of elephants and forest guards had tried to warn the drivers with flashlights,” Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma said on Sunday.A railway line passes through 13% of the elephant corridors in the Northeast, primarily Assam. Though the NFR said Saturday’s tragedy did not happen in one of them, forest officials said they submitted a list of 19 places along railway tracks where elephants have been moving across tracks constantly in Lumding, Hojai and Lanka forest ranges.Saturday’s accident site falls under the Lanka forest range, the area’s wildlife officials said. According to the NFR, incidents of elephant crossings have increased sharply in the recent past and trains have been slowed down whenever the Forest Department shared information on herd movement.Coordination is crucial“It is only because of the close coordination between field level officials of the forest and railway departments that 200 incidents have been prevented this year alone,” NFR spokesperson Pranav Jyoti Sharma said.The NFR is keen on mitigating elephant mortality on railway tracks but at the same time safety of train movements has to be ensured, he added.Green activists say encroachment and habitat destruction have forced elephants to stray out of traditional routes for food. One such diversion in December last year saw five wild elephants being knocked down by a speeding train near a tea estate in north-central Assam’s Sonitpur district. Data provided by the Wildlife Division of Assam’s Forest Department say electrocution, train-hit and attack by villagers killed 40 elephants in 2017. Despite the mortality, elephant population in Assam rose from 5,246 in 2002 to 5,719 last year.
Related Items:#DarwinPlusProject, #magneticmedianews, #saveTCIiguanas Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppTurks and Caicos, April 11, 2017 – Providenciales –A “Saving the Iguanas of Turks and Caicos” project has been launched to protect the native species of the island. The three-year Darwin Plus Project, whose main objective is to further the conservation of the rock iguanas and other native reptiles to secure a future for these unique and highly threatened species, had its grand launch this past Friday at the Opus Conference Centre. The organizers of the project have established partnerships with six organizations to achieve their goals. They are: Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), UK; Turks & Caicos National Trust; Department of Environment and Coastal Resources; Department of Agriculture; San Diego Zoo Global, USA and Big Ambergris Cay Facilities Ltd. The organizations will work together initially to design bio-security for Little Water Cay and Big Ambergris Cay. The second phase of the project will focus on implementing necessary actions resulting from the findings, following the bio-security surveillance activities in phase one. Steps taken will also ensure rats, feral cats and other potential harmful species do not become established and threaten the iguanas and native reptiles. The Darwin Plus Project will last for 3 years and costs £370,000 or $460,000 USD. It is said that £200k will come from Darwin and £170k match funding is provided by RSPB and San Diego Zoo Global.Story by: Sheri-Kae McLeod#MagneticMediaNews#saveTCIiguanas#DarwinPlusProject
WILMINGOTN, MA — The Friends of Wilmington Tennis is holding the First Annual Wilmington Tennis Open on Saturday, August 11, 2018 at the Wilmington High School courts.There will be two categories — adult doubles (high school grads & older) and junior singles (grammar school to high school seniors). Players must be able to keep score, serve, and bring a can of new hardcourt/extra duty tennis balls.Registration costs $20. All proceeds to benefit the Friends of Wilmington Tennis.Registration form can be found HERE. Email your information to email@example.com.Tournament directors include Matt Hackett, Rob Mailey, and Kathleen Reynolds. Call 978-729-3600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.The event’s rain date is Sunday, August 12, 2018.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email email@example.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Related2nd Annual Wilmington Tennis Open Set For August 10In “Sports”5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Saturday, August 10, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”Wilmington High School To Administer PSAT Exam On Saturday, October 19In “Education”
YouTube is at the center of content creation, content distribution, and advertising activities for some time now. The impact of YouTube can be estimated from the 1.8 billion YouTube users worldwide. While the YouTube video hosting concept has been a great success story for content creators, the video viewing and recommendation model has been in the middle of a brewing controversy lately. The Controversy Logan Paul was already a top rated YouTube star when he stumbled across a hanging dead body in a Japanese forest which is famous as a suicide spot. After the initial shock and awe, Logan Paul seemed quite amused and commented “Dude, his hands are purple,” then he turned to his friends and giggled. “You ever stand next to a dead guy?”. This particular instance was a shocking moment for YouTubers all across the globe. Disapproving reactions had poured in and the video was taken down 24 hours later by YouTube. In those 24 hours, the video managed to garner 6 million views. Even after the furious backlash, users complained that they were still seeing recommendations of Logan Paul’s videos. That brought the emphasis back on the recommendation system that YouTube uses. YouTube Video Recommendation Back in 2005, when YouTube first started out, it had a uniform homepage for all users. This meant that every YouTube user would see the same homepage and the creators who would feature there, would get a huge boost in their viewership. Their selection was based on their subscriber count, views and user engagement metrics e.g. likes, comments, shares etc. This inspired other users to become creators and start contributing content to become a part of the YouTube family. In 2006, YouTube was bought by Google. Their policies and homepage started evolving gradually. As ads started showing on YouTube videos, the scenario changed quite quickly. Also, with the rapid rise in the number of users, Google had thought it to be a good idea to curate the homepage as per each user’s watch history, subscriptions, and likes. This was a good move in principle since it helped the users to see what they wanted to see. As a part of their next level innovation, a machine learning model was created to suggest or recommend videos to users. The goal of this deep neural network based recommendation engine was to increase watch time of every video so that users stay longer on the platform. What did it change and How When Youtube’s machine learning algorithm shows a few videos in your feed as “Recommended for you”, it predicts what you want to see from your watch history and watch history of similar users. If you interact with any of these videos and watch it for a certain amount of time, the recommendation engine considers it as a success and starts curating a list based on your interactions with its suggested videos. The more data it gathers about your choices and watch history, the more confident it becomes of its own video decisions. The major goal of Youtube’s recommendation engine is to attract your attention and get you hooked to the platform to get more watch time. More watch time means more revenue and more scope for targeted ads. What this changes, is the fundamental concept of choice and the exercising of user discretion. The moment the YouTube Algorithm considers watch time as the most important metric to recommend videos to you, less importance goes into the organic interactions on YouTube, which includes liking, commenting and subscribing to videos and channels. Users get to see video recommendations based on the YouTube Algorithm’s user understanding and its goal of maximizing watch time, with less importance given to user choices. Distorted Reality and YouTube This attention maximizing model is the fundamental working mechanism of mostly all social media networks. But YouTube has not been implicated in the accusation of distorting reality and spreading the fake news as much as Facebook has been in mainstream media. But times are changing and so are the viewpoints related to YouTube’s influence on the global population and its ability to manipulate important public opinion. Guillaume Chaslot, a 36-year-old French computer programmer with a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence, was one of those engineers who was in the core team to develop and perfect the YouTube algorithm. In his own words “YouTube is something that looks like reality, but it is distorted to make you spend more time online. The recommendation algorithm is not optimizing for what is truthful, or balanced, or healthy for democracy.” Chaslot explains that the algorithm never stays the same. It is constantly changing the weight it gives to different signals; the viewing patterns of a user, for example, or the length of time a video is watched before someone clicks away.” Chaslot was fired by Google in 2013 over performance issues. His claim was that he wanted to bring about a change in the approach of the YouTube algorithm to make it more aligned with democratic values instead of being devoted to just increasing the watch time. Where are we headed I am not qualified or righteous enough to answer the direct question – is YouTube good or bad. YouTube creates opportunities for millions of creators worldwide to showcase their talent and present it to a global audience without worrying about country or boundaries. This itself is a huge power for an internet application. But the crucial point to remember here is whether YouTube is using this power to just make the users glued to the screen. Do they really care if you are seeing divisive content or prejudiced flat earther conspiracies as recommended videos? The algorithm can be tweaked to include parameters which will remove unintended bias such as whether a video is propagating fake news or influencing voters minds in an unlawful way. But that is near impossible as machines lack morality or empathy or even common sense. To incorporate humane values such as honesty and morality into an AI system is like creating an AI that is more human than a machine. This is why machine augmented human intelligence will play a more and more crucial role in the near future. The possibilities are endless, be it good or bad. Whether we progress or digress, might not be in our hands anymore. But what might be in our hands is to come together to put effective checkpoints to identify and course correct scenarios where algorithms rule wild. Read Next Sex robots, artificial intelligence, and ethics: How desire shapes and is shaped by algorithms Like newspapers, Google algorithms are protected by the First amendment California replaces cash bail with algorithms
Share Posted by TravelBrands touts the benefits of Uplift Travelweek Group Tags: TravelBrands MISSISSAUGA — TravelBrands says its new partnership with Uplift means agents can offer a monthly payment plan to their clients.Uplift is now available for land-only and TravelGenie bookings through TravelBrands. The tour operator announced its adoption of the new payment plan technology at its cross-Canada Agent Appreciation events earlier this month. Tripcentral.ca is also a client.“Uplift has done an incredible job of offering accessible and seamless payment options for travellers,” says Frank DeMarinis, President & CEO, TravelBrands. “Our partnership with Uplift will continue to support our mission of helping agents work smarter, not harder, and help clients book the vacation of their dreams.”California-based Uplift has a familiar face, Denise Heffron, leading its efforts in Canada. Heffron was named Managing Director in March 2019, tasked with launching and leading the startup in the Canadian market.Uplift offers pay-over-time travel financing solutions and provides travellers with a Pay Monthly option that determines a loan decision within seconds, says TravelBrands.More news: A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerThrough TravelBrands agents can offer monthly payments on all land and TravelGenie bookings. The approval decision is made in the current booking flow and clients will be able to pay for their travel in 12 easy payments.TravelBrands agents can make qualifying bookings and learn more at travelbrandsaccess.com. Wednesday, April 24, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >>