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first_imgKevin Friel from Fanad displays his Donegal colours in the snows of Beverly, BostonWE’RE a hardy lot.And ex-pats in the North-East United States have had to put up with a massive snowfall this weekend, so much snow they even gave it a name – the Nemo Blizzard.But it didn’t stop this lot enjoying the snow….and Donegal’s victory over Down in the Allianz National League match. Kevin Friel from Fanad took a break from watching the game in Beverly, Boston to step outside for this pic (top).Kevin says his town has been hit with 34 inches of snow and was watching the game with his sisters Nuala wright and Martina Hegarty.This is the main street outside his home below. Meanwhile in Glouchester,Massachusetts, Glenn Gallagher’s home literally has snow right up to the roof of his home.But it didn’t stop the Killybegs man going outside to wave the Donegal flag below!Glenn Gallagher in Gloucester, MAGlenn flies the Donegal flag before getting back to clearing the snowYou can just make out Glenn’s pet pooch through the snowDaniel Smith from Keadue is pictured below in Sunnyside, Queens, New York. He has been living in the States for three years now – the last two in New York, after spending a year in Texas.  You can just see the Empire State Building in Manhattan in the background.“I had just gotten off the phone with my brother, Matthew, who was in MacCumhail Park just before throw in when I took the photo.  The last Donegal match I was at was the Down match in the Ulster Final when I was at home on holiday last summer,” said Daniel.Daniel Smith from KeadueMeanwhile Eunan and Jonathan Kirby – with their roots in Carrigart – are enjoying the snow in Boston below.The Kirbys in BostonIn New Plains, New Jersey, John and Anne Gallagher made sure the children enjoyed the snow in their Donegal colours – and Sam! The Gallaghers in New JerseyHow did Sam get all the way to NJ?* You can send your pix to [email protected] SPECIAL: CELEBRATING DONEGAL’S WIN OVER DOWN – IN THE AMERICAN SNOW! was last modified: February 10th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:PICTURE SPECIAL: CELEBRATING DONEGAL’S WIN OVER DOWN – IN THE AMERICAN SNOW!last_img read more

Ramon Laureano honored as AL Player of the Week

first_imgHOUSTON — In the hours following the announcement of Ramon Laureano’s American League Player of the Week honor, Laureano took a light snooze in the A’s clubhouse at Minute Maid Park. A major series against Oakland’s toughest division foe was afoot, and no award would interrupt his unorthodox intense zen.“It’s cool,” Laureano said a while later of the award. “I enjoyed it for one minute because Bob told me to, but got to keep moving on. Today’s a new series, very important.”That’s typical …last_img

Ring Around the Dwarf Planet Says ‘I’m Young’

first_imgYou can’t declare something old just because your worldview requires it to be old.New Scientist declared in bold print, “Distant dwarf planet near Pluto has a ring that no one expected.” Reporter Ken Croswell, however, never explains why it was unexpected to find a prominent ring around the dwarf planet Haumea, located about 2 billion miles beyond the orbit of Pluto. When surprised by something that shouldn’t last for billions of years around a body smaller than Pluto, one strategy astronomers employ is to look excited:“This is a landmark discovery,” says Alan Stern at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “It’s very exciting.”“It was really an amazing surprise,” says Santos-Sanz.“This is fabulous. It’s a really great discovery,” says William McKinnon at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri.The smiles distract from the blushing at having discovered something that “no one expected” – why? because delicate things like rings cannot last for billions of years. Nature News & Views explains why even Saturn’s rings remain an age-old problem:Saturn’s are the most studied of all rings, and yet they remain enigmatic. Data from the Cassini spacecraft revealed that gravitational interactions between the planet’s rings and moons shepherd the ring material, and that one of the rings is produced entirely from matter that spews from the moon Enceladus. However, the formation mechanisms responsible for the other rings remain uncertain — possibilities include co-formation with the planet, break-up of a captured body or satellite and collisions between the planet and other bodies.A key factor in differentiating between these possibilities is the age of Saturn’s rings, but this is difficult to determine. The timescale for creating such massive rings, and the lack of dust, suggest an age of billions of years. However, the rings’ brightness, which is expected to lessen over time, points to a relatively young age of 150 million years. It is even possible that some parts of the rings are old but others are young.Composite explanations are generally unsatisfying in science. Why are you fat? Well, it might be your genes, or your diet, or your lack of self-control. Or it might just be normal for your ethnicity. Well, which is it? Are Saturn’s rings young, old, or ‘yold‘? If Saturn’s rings remain “enigmatic” after centuries of study, how much more surprising is it to find a little world with far less gravity holding on to a ring of particles! Sound the bugles: it must have been an impact! Maybe a finely-tuned impact hit Haumea just right to send rocks out and yet keep them within the dwarf planet’s sphere of gravitational influence. Read between the lines when Nature says,With the authors’ discovery of a ring around a small body in the outer Solar System, which is in a completely different environment from the rings around the giant planets, the fundamental questions of how planetary rings form and evolve have become even more intriguing.Egg-shaped Haumea with ring. Credit: IAA-CSIC/UHUThe article proceeds to disclose that two Centaurs one tenth the diameter of Haumea also have rings (Centaurs are asteroids orbiting between Jupiter and Neptune). The astronomers’ paper in the same issue of Nature talks about those cases, the Centaurs named Chariklo and Chiron, which unexpectedly were found to have rings. Another strategy for dealing with the unexpected is to postulate that the unexpected is the New Normal:These discoveries directed our attention to Centaurs and phenomenology related to them to explain our unexpected findings. The discovery of a ring around Haumea—a much more distant body, in a completely different dynamical class, much larger than Chariklo and Chiron, with satellites and with a very elongated triaxial shape—has numerous implications, such as rings being possibly common also in the trans-Neptunian region from which Centaurs are delivered, and opens the door to new avenues of research.Does one normally give new research to folks who goofed in their expectations? Other facts militating against old ages include Haumea’s rapid rotation and the presence of an outer moon that should disrupt delicate ring particles over long ages. The authors of the paper do not attempt to age-date the ring or explain its formation. The summary article, however, repeats the ‘New Normal’ talking point:Centaurs are thought [by whom?] to have originally been located farther out in the Solar System, and then gradually moved inward to their current orbits. Because these orbits are intertwined with those of the giant planets, they are gravitationally unstable and last for only millions of years. Numerical simulations have counter-intuitively demonstrated that rings around a Centaur are likely to survive the transition from the outer Solar System, including close encounters with the giant planets. The authors’ discovery prompts speculation that ring systems in the outer Solar System are not uncommon, and that we can anticipate more discoveries in this region.That’s a third strategy to avoid shame: look forward to more surprises. That makes being wrong part of the job.What happened to accountability? Once planetary scientists accepted the A.S.S. (age of the solar system, assumed to be 4.5 billion years) as their consensus (the Law of the Misdeeds and Perversions, which cannot be altered), they expected everything to look old. Take note that 150 million years represents three percent of the A.S.S. That leaves 97% of the A.S.S. unexplained and contrary to observations. If this were the only case of a young-looking object, it might be excusable as a rare anomaly. For years, though, we have reported young-looking phenomena at just about every planet and class of object in the solar system: a magnetic field at little Mercury, sudden resurfacing at Venus, Io’s volcanoes, the decay of Earth’s magnetic field, small moons about to crash into Mars, Saturn’s rings, the Phoebe Ring, the geysers of Enceladus, Titan’s atmosphere and lack of ethane oceans, Miranda’s surface, Triton’s activity, Pluto’s geology, and much more (search on Solar System or Dating Methods in our topical categories for lots of evidence). Their origin models are forever wrong about accretion, disk instabilities, migrations and finely-tuned impacts. It’s hard to think of any job whose ‘experts’ have been more consistently wrong about the ages of things than the moyboys of planetary science (well, maybe cosmologists, too). The only thing they are good at is distracting attention from their mistakes with tactics like hydrobioscopy and the other three strategies mentioned above (acting excited, turning the unexpected into the New Normal, and making surprises part of the job). They are outstanding at math and jargon, and know their physics. Individually they can be pleasant, but they act like members of a tight-knit club of experts who all agree that the solar system is old. They attend conferences where nobody dares stray too far out of line. All must wear D-Merit Badges to be tolerated. Non-moyboys are forbidden, even when the evidence is on their side.* The reason: King Charlie needs those billions of years. Moyboy planetary scientists play a crucial role as enablers of his cult.*Don’t believe this? Imagine one of them saying, “You know, guys, it appears that Saturn is young, and maybe all the planets are a lot younger than we thought.” (Visited 530 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

USDA offers plentiful numbers for the sideways market to digest

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Last month USDA held their annual outlook conference. During this conference they provide 10-year projections for U.S. grains. Typically, during the first day they provide acres estimates for U.S. grains. Then during the second day they publish additional numbers that include supply and demand estimates, including ending stocks.There are a bunch of numbers. To highlight a few: USDA estimated 2016 corn acres at 90 million acres, up from last year’s 88 million acres. Soybeans for 2016 were projected at 82.5 million acres. This is down ever so slightly from last year’s 82.7 million acres. Wheat acres continue their trend of shrinking from previous years, projected this year to be just 51 million acres. Last year U.S. wheat acres were 54.6 million acres. One way of looking at 2016 acres is to total corn, soybeans, and wheat, the three major U.S. crops. USDA puts the total for those three at 223.5 million acres, last year that total was 225.3 million acres. If you go the additional step to look at all U.S. grains, those acres are estimated to reach 272.8 million acres, down from last year at 275.8 million acres.The ending stocks projections for 2016-17 corn were estimated at 1.977 billion bushels, up slightly from the 2015-16 ending stocks of 1.837 billion bushels. Ending stocks of two billion bushels or more only encourages the bears. So, producers, “Don’t feed the bears.” USDA estimated the 2016 corn yield at 168 bushels per acre. Compare that to the record yield in 2014 of 171 bushels per acre and last year’s 168.8 bushels per acre. Many producers and analysts are already thinking that such a high corn yield could be suspect this year. Their reasoning stems from looking at past years’ final corn yield. Rarely do you see the reality of actually obtaining three years in a row of record or near record yields.Soybean ending stocks become a much more delicate situation. Ending stocks for the 2015-16 year are currently estimated at 450 million bushels. Next year for 2016-17, USDA puts ending stocks at 440 million bushels. Many are suggesting that USDA has soybean exports too high for both the 2015 and 2016 crop years. Those analysts are suggesting soybean ending stocks could reach 550 to 600 million bushels for the 2016-17 crop year. Two things come immediately to mind for soybean ending stocks. First, we are two months plus away from seeing U.S. soybeans planted reaching 50% or more.Keep in mind that USDA is merely sticking their toe in the water with the February outlook numbers. The February numbers tend to be the low acres numbers for the year and increase with time. While weather can play a huge role, final acres numbers can vary significantly from the February outlook numbers. Second, is something that is hard to wrap your head around if you have not been a student of the market for decades. The 600 million bushel or higher ending stocks has been forecast numerous times in the past 15 years, only to be forgotten with time. Then months later, with additional demand or production-reducing weather issues, it has been reduced to 250 to 400 million bushels.Producers will have until March 15 to make their final decisions on crop insurance for 2016 corn and soybeans. If they do take zero action, coverage levels will be the same as those seen for 2015. Premiums per acre look to be down slightly from 2015. Revenue protection for corn will be near $3.87 while soybeans will be near $8.86.Corn and soybeans made new lows for the month of February in the final week of the month. During that same week, wheat made new six year lows. Anticipated higher production for Brazil’s corn and soybeans was partly to blame. Expect Argentina to be aggressive sellers of both soybeans and soymeal in the months ahead. Four dollar corn seems to be very hard to reach without some kind of weather issues in the next two months.Thought for the day. “Hasbro announced they are making a new version of Monopoly to appeal to a younger generation. It won’t come with any cash, so you’ll have to borrow some from your parents’ Monopoly game.” – Jimmy Fallon.last_img read more

My wandering thoughts on facial recognition software for dairy cows

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Recently I read the headline: “Cargill, Cainthus partner to bring facial recognition technology to dairy farms” (Feedstuffs, Jan. 31, 2018). Wow! Reading a cow’s face? I can think of nothing more stoic or poker-faced than a cow. That must be some software.Then I read further and learned that this new software — machine vision software — recognizes each cow’s hide pattern and facial shape. Cainthus, the Dublin, Ireland-based developer of the software, has developed algorithms to track cows’ key data traits such as ruminations, water and feed intake, time spent lying, standing or walking, and body temperature to flag exactly how each cow in a herd is doing.The software also predicts when a cow is in heat, even if she has no visible signs. Combine this information with milk production data and voila! Everything a dairyman needs to know about his herd is available on his smartphone or computer.And if software that identifies the face of one cow from another isn’t enough to blow your mind, Cainthus plans to extend this technology to poultry and fish farms.Doesn’t that sound far out? Recognizing one chicken from another! Or better yet, telling fish apart. I hope they made the machine waterproof.Then I let my imagination run wild. Hard to believe, right? What if this face recognition technology could be adapted to monitor spouses? I’ll have to admit, I’m often clueless about picking up on my wife Kris’s state from one moment to the next. This could save my hide, despite myself.Think how much easier it would be to have at your fingertips on your smartphone, technology that could give you a high degree of confidence in knowing your spouse’s degree of approachability — in real time — on any number of subjects.For instance:First thing in the morning, I could get an instant read on Kris’s mood, to get off on the right foot, and keep it out of my mouth.Check a bar graph on my cell phone to determine the best time to tell Kris about the pickup I bought.Sync with Kris’s Fit-Bit to see if she slept well the night before, not that I can’t figure that out the old-fashioned way.See if the time is right to ask her if it’s OK to go fishing or hunting, to a ballgame or check out a farm sale.Know when the timing is right for … well, you know….Advanced warning when it’s better to be out of sight as in “out of sight and out of mind”.As I read the Feedstuffs article I also thought that the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) should use this software at airports. I would no longer need a passport. This could be problematic for Kris, though, depending on whether she had put her “face” on or was going au natural.On further reflection, and before I cause myself further harm, I think it would be wise to leave well enough alone. No trying to read Kris’s mind…. I should just do what I’m told. Life’s more peaceful that way.last_img read more

Is There A God? Crowdsourcing The Really Big Questions

first_imgTechnology enables our work, connects our world and changes our lives. So far, however, it has failed to definitively answer life’s big questions, like:Is there a God?Are we alone in the universe?What’s the best superpower to have? Where technology has foundered, though, perhaps the crowd – all of us – can succeed. After all, according to Wikipedia, the “wisdom of the crowd” is a well-documented principle:The wisdom of the crowd is the process of taking into account the collective opinion of a group of individuals rather than a single expert to answer a question. A large group’s aggregated answers to questions involving quantity estimation, general world knowledge, and spatial reasoning has generally been found to be as good as, and often better than, the answer given by any of the individuals within the group.Wisdom Of The CrowdTo find the answers to the questions that have eluded humankind from before the beginning of civilization, I consulted three popular sources of crowdsourced knowledge:Yahoo! Answers: Anyone with a Yahoo ID can proffer a question or an answer. Regrettably, the site appears populated mostly by lonely teens – with a related level of expertise – and the design seems optimized for the late 1990s. Quora: Quora bills itself as “your best source of knowledge.” Unfortunately, it insists upon your social media identity as the price of entry. The site does have a powerful search function, although many questions seem posed for no reason other than to show off how clever the asker is.StackExchange: StackExchange is comprised of various mini-sites, called “communities,” mostly technical in nature. There’s an Ubuntu community, an Android community and many others. No registration is required. Questions can even be altered by users. The result is sort of like Wikipedia, albeit mostly for ephemeral data for very technically specific questions.I searched all three for the answers to the big-picture questions listed above. I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. Does God Exist? (Does Game of Thrones?)On StackExchange, asking “does God exist” maddeningly brings up questions related to George RR Martin and something called the “eleventh metal.” On Yahoo Answers, the very first response is a paid link to “Does God Exist at Amazon” – sadly, without a definitive answer. Quora fared much better. Perhaps too well, as a barrage of answers and related questions were quickly presented on a page of seemingly endless text.The best answer? I scrolled through scores of responses on Quora and found this posted quote from Einstein – which may be no answer at all:“We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.”Are We alone In The Universe? (Signs Point To Yes)Next, I searched for the answer to “are we alone in the universe?” On this question, StackExchange failed wonderfully – leading me down a rabbit hole of questions concerning Star Trek, Star Wars and waffle irons. Quora’s crowd mostly just answered this question with another question. Define “alone” or define “we,” for example. Surprisingly, Yahoo Answers offered what I considered the best response – if not exactly an answer:There are, in theory, 750,000,000,000,000,000 solar systems in the visible universe. Do you really think that only 1 solar system out of 750 sextillion solar systems has life?  The Best Superpower? (A Fast Answer)Fine. Forget life’s big questions. The singular conundrum that has plagued me since I was a child is: “What is the best superpower.” Here, at least, Yahoo Answers, powered in large part by youngsters, and Quora, its users a mash-up of Silicon Valley’s biggest dreamers and daringest wannabes, were actually able to shed some light.Super speed was never the superpower I dreamt about, but a Quora member, Gary Stiffelman, made a strong case:My answer is super-speed, like The Flash. It displaces flight, invisibility, invulnerability, teleportation and a lot of other powers.   Related Posts Tags:#quora#social media#Yahoo Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification It can even displace super strength, as hitting something millions of times in a few seconds has the same effect as a single super blow. Fun stuff.No Guarantee Of Accuracy Sadly, for life’s big questions, consulting the crowd has left me no wiser than before. Perhaps, even in an age of global connectivity, with information at our fingertips and technology all around us, there may be answers to questions we are still not yet ready to know – or can only discover on our own. As Wikipedia notes, “crowds tend to work best when there is a correct answer to the question being posed, such as a question about geography or mathematics.” Maybe God isn’t in the details…Image courtesy of Shutterstock. A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit brian s halllast_img read more