Picture Special: Celebration as Donegal ETB hosts sixth annual awards

first_imgDonegal ETB hosted its sixth annual awards ceremony in the Radisson Hotel, Letterkenny last night in front of a huge turnout. The thirty-four entries showcased the creativity and innovation taking place in ETB schools, centres and Further Education and Training (FET) Service programmes across the county.The judges had a tough job assessing the entries which were competing for an award in five categories: Arts, Culture, Heritage and Irish Language; Further Education and Training; Healthy Living and Wellbeing; Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Donegal ETB Director of Schools, Dr Martin Gormley said: “The projects presented here today are a testament to the excellent teaching and learning taking place every day in our schools, centres and programmes.“This day is all about ‘We’ – We Are Donegal ETB, a family, and every project is a winner here today.”All entrants received a certificate of achievement from Donegal ETB Chief Executive Anne McHugh and the winners received a plaque to mark their win. The category winners were:Arts, Culture, Heritage and the Irish LanguageCrana College: Cultural Heritage Storybook ProjectFinn Valley College: To the Fallen: Songs and Poems of WW1Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada: Letterkenny & Burtonport Railway Extension BookletFurther Education and TrainingLetterkenny Training Centre: Facebook Video Promo CampaignFET Centre, Donegal Town: Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)Learning for Living, Inishowen: Make Yourself at HomeHealthy Living and WellbeingDeele College: Deele’ing with your WellbeingFET Centre, Donegal Town: A Healthier YouCrana College: Green WeekInnovation, Creativity and EntrepreneurshipGairmscoil Mhic Diarmada: Wild Atlantic Water Safety for KidsMagh Ene College: Wild Atlantic DressingGairmscoil Chú Uladh: Tóin The TheolaíScience, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Magh Ene College: Mi-Wi-Fi: An investigation into the high-frequency EM interference between Microwave Ovens and Wi-FiAbbey Vocational School: Rubik’s Cube SolverColáiste Ailigh: Staidéar ar cén glúin in Éirinn atá is gníomhach agus is eolach faoi athrú aeráideDonegal ETB Chief Executive Anne McHugh noted, ‘Looking around at all the entries today, it’s safe to say that the future of our county is in really good hands. It’s just fantastic the way the students and learners are well able to speak and present their projects. They are so innovative and they are re all prize winners.’The awards also included a wonderful singing performance by students from Gairmscoil Chú Uladh.Picture Special: Celebration as Donegal ETB hosts sixth annual awards was last modified: March 22nd, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare 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:Donegal ETBlast_img read more

Darwin Stars at the Galaxy, by Universal Pictures

first_imgA press release from the European Southern Observatory asks, “Do Galaxies Follow Darwinian Evolution?”  One may wonder how stars, which do not bear children, can be considered progeny of Charles Darwin.  They explain:The ‘nature versus nurture’ debate is a hot topic in human psychology.  But astronomers too face similar conundrums, in particular when trying to solve a problem that goes to the very heart of cosmological theories: are the galaxies we see today simply the product of the primordial conditions in which they formed, or did experiences in the past change the path of their evolution?The ESO carried out a survey of 6,500 galaxies that they claim gives a 3-D picture of how galaxies evolved over 9 billion years.  The article says nothing about natural selection or survival of the fittest, but just invokes in the E word that made Darwin famous:This new census reveals a surprising result.  The colour-density relation, that describes the relationship between the properties of a galaxy and its environment, was markedly different 7 billion years ago.  The astronomers thus found that the galaxies’ luminosity, their initial genetic properties, and the environments they reside in have a profound impact on their evolution.One of the astronomers also said the study suggests that “galaxies as we see them today are the product of their inherent genetic information, evolved over time, as well as complex interactions with their environments, such as mergers.”  The E word or its derivatives were used 11 times in the short release, ending with an analogy: “ just as for humans, galaxies’ relationship and interactions can have a profound impact on their evolution.”Good grief, stars have nothing to do with Darwinism.  No, they don’t have genes, and no, they don’t have nurturing parents.  The pure Darwinists are going to get mad for applying natural selection here, to say nothing of confusing it with the controversial notion of niche construction (06/09/2004).      It’s an equivocation fallacy to associate a galaxy’s physical change over time to the kind of evolutionary story Darwin was promoting.  What is this, some fawning attempt at name-dropping to score political points by granting further honors to Charles Augustus?(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Dust a Major Problem on Non-Earth Worlds

first_imgYou can’t just beam down to a planet and start walking around. That dust under your feet can cause major problems.As the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 approaches next year, the moon landings sound like ancient history to many people alive today. Fewer still remember the fear of lunar dust that occupied planners of the moon missions. “It was a real concern,” remembers JPL scientist Dr Henry Richter, whose team prepared for the Surveyor missions—the first soft landings by robotic spacecraft. A minority of scientists, including Dr Thomas Gold, warned that the craft might slowly sink out of sight in the deep dust. That was not the case when Surveyor 1 landed in 1966, reassuring Apollo astronauts in training. We remember the old videos of the astronauts hopping around on a solid surface, kicking up a little dust with their feet. No problem, right? Wrong.David Stacey of the University of Western Australia, reports Phys.org, worries about a “dust dilemma” facing future lunar astronauts.The world’s foremost authority on lunar dust is suggesting the powder-like substance, which is finer than talcum powder and more abrasive than sandpaper, remains a major risk-management problem hampering upcoming space expeditions.Lunar dust is considered the number one environmental problem on the moon and can cause unpredictable hazards for both robots and humans operating on the dust-covered surface.In 2014, China’s little Yutu rover became incapacitated soon after landing, most likely due to the dust. It was a “wakeup call needed to change half-a-century of complacency towards the problem.” The Apollo moonwalks were relatively short (the longest being 7.25 hours by Apollo 17 astronauts), but even with that short an exposure, the astronauts fussed about the dust. It got into everything, covering the spacesuits and jamming equipment. The moon buggies kicked up dust onto them, and once the astronauts got back inside the Lunar Module, the dust irritated the astronauts’ eyes and skin.“Past expeditions have been plagued by dust with issues arising from clogged equipment and zippers, wrist locks, faceplates and a leaking spacesuit. The most alarming characteristic was how quickly and irreversibly problems could strike,” he said.Ceremony on the Plain at Hadley, by Alan BeanLunar dust forms from breakup of rocks by high-speed particles impacting the surface. With no atmosphere or wind, the grains follow ballistic trajectories, but can soar around the surface from distant impacts. The dust grains tend to be sharp and jagged under a microscope. Because there is no surface water, the dust collects static electricity, too, making it cling to objects.Astrobiologists recently got all excited about widespread “water” on the moon (Space.com), but what they mean by water is not wet stuff you can use to wipe off the dust. It’s mainly attached to minerals in the form of hydroxyl ions (OH–), concentrated in ices at the poles in perennially shadowed craters. Scientists believe that it is produced by the solar wind impacting oxygen atoms in the dusty regolith. With sufficient technology, space colonizers might be able to collect enough of the stuff to make water and fuel that could sustain an outpost, but they will still have to deal with the inescapable dust.Some cosmogonists, according to another Phys.org article, wonder how the discovery of widespread ‘water’ will affect lunar origin stories. Did the moon start out wet? Some of them have figured out ways to tweak their impact models for the moon’s origin to allow for more hydrogen and oxygen. But according to the Murphyism “Every solution breeds new problems,” they now have to figure out “why the Moon is depleted of potassium, sodium, and other volatile elements.” Maybe the Earth took it all, some of them surmise; “Or potentially they were part of the Moon when it first accreted from the post-collision disk but were later lost.”Mars, TooRemember NASA’s Phoenix Lander on Mars? It landed near the north pole in 2008 and outlasted its 90-day mission, continuing to work for five months. Orbiting spacecraft can still see it down there, says Space.com, with its parachute and heat shield off to one side. Comparison photos taken years apart show something interesting: Phoenix is being covered with dust. “Dust May Be Burying NASA’s Phoenix Lander on Mars,” reports Mike Wall. The photo caption says, “In the latter photo, dust obscures much of what was visible two months after the landing.”The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), still in orbit, took a photo on December 21, 2017 of the little dead craft. Scientists, by using “an animated-blink comparison with an image from about two months after the May 25, 2008, landing shows that patches of ground that had been darkened by removal of dust during landing events have become coated with dust again.” That was just in nine years; how much dust accumulation would occur in billions of years?Mars weather sometimes entrains dust in global dust storms that make the entire Mars surface appear indistinct from Earth. Another article on Space.com considers that the planet’s dust could have contributed to the loss of its atmosphere. The dust storms tend to throw hydrogen off into space, leading to more dryness over time. Previous research on Martian dust devils suggests that static electricity is a severe problem there, too, as it is on the moon (30 October 2006, 2 August 2006).Dust and HabitabilityAstrobiologists continue speculating about life on other planets beyond what the data will bear. Certainly dust, static electricity and dry conditions must be considered in any model of habitability. For instance, Saturn’s moon Titan suffers from a similar static cling problem (31 March 2017) that should dampen hopes for life there. It should, but it doesn’t. The storytellers continue to tease the public with suggestive headlines like “Does Titan’s Hydrocarbon Soup Hold A Recipe for Life?” by Lisa Kaspen-Powell of Astrobiology Magazine. After a large telescope located in Chile’s Atacama Desert discovered spectral lines for vinyl cyanide in the Titanian gooey lakes, astrobiologists went nuts with speculations that it could form a basis for a hydrocarbon-based life – a kind of life completely unknown by scientific observation, but only knowable through the eyes of imagination.Speaking of the Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth, astrobiologists are using it again for astrobiology propaganda. Recent measurements reported in PNAS show that indigenous bacteria can live in this hostile place, even though it only gets rain every decade or more. Headline writers who don’t know any better, like someone at Fox News, and Jonathan Amos at the BBC News, chirp out fake optimism, saying things like “Bugs found in the driest spot on Earth could indicate life on Mars.” and “Atacama’s lessons about life on Mars.” The blame goes to lead author (and lead propagandist) Dirk Schulze-Makuch, who titillates reporters with phony comparisons, like the following:These hardy organisms are of interest because they may serve as a template for how life could survive on Mars.“All the stresses you have in the Atacama, you have on Mars, too – just a little tick more,” TU Berlin’s Dr Dirk Schulze-Makuch told BBC News.No evidence, in other words, for the claim about life on Mars: just a high perhapsimaybecouldness index. But even that speculation is built on a flawed syllogism, i.e., Major premise: Earth life can thrive in hostile environments. Minor premise: Mars has hostile environments. Conclusion: Mars has life. Astrobiology fails here on two counts: empiricism and logic. Schulze-Makuch and the lemming reporters who follow him off the logical cliff are not even thinking about the other problems, like deadly dust and static electricity.Encela-dustThe lemming reporters are also following secular astrobiologists off a cliff at Saturn’s little moon Enceladus. First, the headlines:Could methane on Saturn’s moon Enceladus be a sign of life? (Fox News)Alien life in our Solar System? Study hints at Saturn’s moon (Phys.org)Could Methane on Saturn’s Moon Enceladus Be a Sign of Life? (Mike Wall, Space.com)We may have already found signs of alien microbes on Enceladus (Andy Coghlan, New Scientist)Good grief; now what? Here’s the empirical data: scientists detected some methane in the geyser plumes of this little moon. What this shows is that reporters can get drunk on methane as well as on Darwine. At first, the excitement was all about water coming out (even though it consists of salty ice crystals and dust). Now, it’s a gas:To be clear, study team members aren’t claiming that Enceladus’ methane is biological; after all, the substance can be produced geologically as well (by reactions between rock and hot water, in fact). But the new results could help inform the search for life on ocean moons in the solar system, Rittmann said.This reasoning, too, is based on a flawed syllogism: Major premise: Some “methanogen” life forms on Earth can metabolize hydrocarbons and give off methane. Minor premise: Enceladus has methane. Conclusion: Enceladus has life.“From an astronomical perspective, future missions to Enceladus or other icy moons should be equipped to be able to detect methanogenic biosignatures related to methanogens, like certain lipids or ratios of certain carbon isotopes,” he said.Isn’t that what the hype is all about? Equipment needs manufacturing. Missions with equipment need a space program. Astrobiologists need a reason to have a job. The public needs hype to influence the government. NASA: Send more money!From dust the astrobiologists came; to dust they will return. Their bad ideas will follow them. Truth abides forever.(Visited 604 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

See Cape Town before you die!

first_img12 November 2002That’s the vote from viewers of the popular BBC travel programme “Holiday’. And on the other side of the Atlantic, readers of the biggest travel magazine in the US gave the thumbs-up to four of South Africa’s premier tourist destinations.It’s been a good week for SA tourism “products’. On Sunday night, “Holiday’ placed Cape Town fifth in its rundown of top destinations, “50 Places To See Before You Die’.Cape Town was the only city to be named in the top five, beating Sydney, New York, Venice and Paris – not to mention famed attractions like India’s Taj Mahal, Egypt’s Pyramids and Australia’s Ayers Rock.Over 20 000 BBC viewers named their “dream destination that both surprises and inspires’, with most votes going to the Grand Canyon, followed by Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Florida’s Walt Disney World, and New Zealand’s South Island.For the BBC’s full report on Cape Town, along with country facts, tourist info and links, and reports on the full range of things to see and do in the city, click here.Conde Nast TravelerIn the same week, on the other side of the Atlantic, some 30 000 readers of the prestigious Conde Nast Traveler (US) voted in the magazine’s Top 100 Readers’ Choice Awards 2002, rating cities, resorts, islands, hotels and cruises according to criteria such as standard of rooms, service, food, location and service – and placed four of South Africa’s leading properties on its Top 25 list.The luxury Singita Private Game Reserve bordering the Kruger National Park scored top honours for the second consecutive year, and was named best resort in Africa and the Middle East, also sharing the World No 1 position as “The Best of the Best 2002′ with a luxury French hotel.Sun International’s five-star Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town was placed fourth, the exclusive Londolozi Game Reserve – also bordering the Kruger Park – was ranked 12th, and the Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town came in at 24th position.Nor are these the only accolades South African tourism has received of late. In the Conde Nast Traveller UK Readers’ Awards, announced in September, South Africa ranked 10th overall in the world as a preferred travel destination, coming in first place for value for money.And in the same month, South Africa was rated as a preferred tourist destination by the French travel industry, with over 21 000 tour operators and retail agents giving the country the thumbs-up at TOP RESA, the annual travel and tourism trade show held in Deauville, France.The latest official tourism statistics also bear out the success of South Africa’s tourism strategy, confirming the country’s position as one of the best-performing destinations in the world.South African Tourism’s chief executive officer, Cheryl Carolus, described the awards as “well-deserved recognition of the immense commitment, made by all winners, to the continued growth and success of South Africa’s tourism industry, and clearly indicate the wealth of quality, value-for-money experiences that we as a country can offer visitors.’SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

South African initiation film shines at Sundance Film Festival

first_imgA new South African film, The Wound, which tackles the secretive world of initiation rituals, premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the leading global independent film showcase. South African musician and actor Nakhane Touré stars in the controversial and widely praised South African film The Wound, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2017. (Image: Urucu Media)CD AndersonThe Wound, a feature drama by South African filmmaker John Trengrove, is set during a traditional initiation ritual for teenage boys in a rural Xhosa community. It explores conflicts between tradition and modernity while dissecting the role of masculinity and sexuality in South African culture.South African musician Nakhane Touré plays the film’s central character, Xolani, an initiation mentor who is secretly gay and is conflicted between his culture’s traditions and his own inner desires.The film, a South African-European co-production, premiered at the respected Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah on 27 January 2017.The festival, which annually attracts more than 50,000 visitors, filmmakers and film distributors from around the world, was founded in 1978 by actor Robert Redford as a platform to showcase small scale, independently made films, particularly those made outside the Hollywood system.Billing The Wound on its official website before its debut, Sundance said the film offered a rare glimpse into the “secretive male-only cultural ritual fighting for relevance in an increasingly westernised world and orchestrates a complex, dynamic examination of sexuality, masculinity, and the clash between traditional and contemporary African values”.Variety, the influential US film industry trade journal, described it as a “hard-edged but beautifully wrought study of clashing Xhosa models of masculinity”, saying it would be an eye-opener to outsiders — and some South Africans too.Another leading US publication, The Hollywood Reporter, praised Touré’s performance as an “expressive … impressive screen debut”. It called the film “intense and provocative”.The Wound has been widely praised and criticised both in South Africa and abroad for its realistic and honest depiction of initiation ceremonies, something usually not exposed to the outside world.In an interview with the Sundance website, Trengrove admitted that ritual initiation was very controversial in South Africa. Having been explored comprehensively in South African art and media over the last 20 years, however, he said that the time was now right to begin talking about the subject in a rational and compassionate way.“I think our film comes at a moment when there’s a growing conversation about a sensitive subject,” he stated. “The ritual has come under fire for reasons of relevance and safety. I think equally it’s still regarded as a meaningful process that boys go through that shows them their place in the world of men.”The Wound will also be screened at the Berlin International Film Festival this month, before returning home to open the 2017 Durban Film Festival in June. It will then be released in selected cinemas countrywide in July.Watch the trailer for The Wound belowSource: Sundance Film Festival websiteWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Manganiyar singer thrashed to death in Rajasthan village; families flee homes

first_imgAbout 20 families belonging to the Manganiyar community of folk musicians have fled their native village in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan after a community member was allegedly beaten to death following a dispute over a ritual in a local temple. The folk singer was held responsible for failure of a temple ritual.A faith healer, Ramesh Suthar, who belongs to the ‘Bhopa’ (exorcist) clan, had claimed that Amad Khan (45) had failed to perform a specific melody at the temple in Dantal village during the Navratra festival, because of which the spirit of the temple goddess did not enter his body. He allegedly thrashed the singer and broke his musical instruments.Suthar allegedly entered the house of Khan, along with some accomplices on September 27 night and assaulted him again, leading to his death. Police have arrested Suthar and launched a hunt for two other accused after registering a murder case under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code.The frightened Manganiyar families have fled Dantal village and about 200 persons are camping at Balad, 20 km away, under the police protection. Some of them shifted to the Jaisalmer town earlier this week and are staying at a night shelter near the railway station.Though the police have assured them of security if they return to their native village, Manganiyars claim that they were being threatened by the dominant Rajput and Suthar castes. Gunasar Lok Sangeet Sansthan president Baksh Khan said the Manganiyars expected the district administration to help in their rehabilitation.last_img read more