Fair racing in Ferndale gets underway today

first_imgFERNDALE >> John F. Martin, regarded as one of sharpest thoroughbred trainers in California, has always had tremendous success claiming “veteran” horses with back class, consistent recent form and plenty of gas from the starting gate.Candy For Debbie, a nine-year-old “old pro” with 68 career starts and a lifetime bankroll of $218,499, is a perfect example of the magic Martin touch.Fresh from a wire-to-wire win at Santa Rosa, Candy For Debbie will be a solid favorite to capture the $9,000 Jeff …last_img read more

Entrepreneurs Find Gold in Nature

first_img(Visited 22 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Inspiration for invention comes from everywhere in nature’s engineering.  At every level, there are designs worth imitating.Biomaterials:  PhysOrg‘s headline says all you need to know: “Researcher creates bioinspired and biofunctional materials for widely diverse applications.”  It’s about Brad Olsen, a young researcher at MIT, who is creating “new materials that are derived from, or inspired by, biology.”  Read the article for three stunning examples in energy production, wound healing and toxic chemical cleanup.Butterfly plastic:  Want colorful plastics without the toxic dyes?  Make it with structural color, the way butterflies do.  That’s the eco-friendly story from the American Chemical Society.Butterfly probes:  Clemson University engineers are trying to imitate another part of the butterfly: the thin proboscis that allows the insects to feed on nectar.  So far, they’ve learned that the proboscis has a dual mechanism, acting like a soda straw and a sponge.  How does the proboscis form?  How does it prevent getting gummed up?  A “huge number of applications” could come from this effort, including the ability to pluck individual genes from cells and replace them.  For close-up images of the butterfly proboscis, including views of it assembling after hatching from the chrysalis, see the documentary Metamorphosis: The Beauty and Design of Butterflies.Popeye power:  Want more energy from spinach than Popeye’s muscles?  Use spinach leaves to inspire artificial photosynthesis.  That’s what engineers at Purdue University are exploring.Nanopropellers:  At the American Technion Society, engineers are making nanopropellers in the billionths-of-an-inch range.  Now where do you think they got that idea?  They don’t credit the bacterium that invented it first, but they’re proud of their work, even though it is much simpler than a bacterial flagellum.  Another press release from Springer does give credit to the living prototypes.Cartilage:  The weave of fibers in the photo looks like a close-up of a knitted sweater, but it’s artificial cartilage funded by the National Science Foundation (see Live Science write-up).  combined with stem cells, it can form a durable, flexible framework for repair of injuries, because it “mimics the suppleness and strength of natural cartilage tissue.”Neurons:  IBM’s new chip mimics the brain, with a million artificial neurons on a “neurosynaptic chip.”  Story on PhysOrg.  “We have taken inspiration from the cerebral cortex to design this chip,” the chief scientist said.  See Perspective article, “The brain chip” in Science Magazine, accompanying the IBM paper in Science.Spider silk:  After a decade of biomimetics research, biologists are still trying to figure out how spiders spin their amazing silks.  Some progress was reported in PLoS Biology this month and summarized by Science Daily.  The PLoS entry begins and ends:Spider silk is wonderful stuff—light as the breeze and stretchy yet stronger than steel. People can manufacture synthetic fibers, such as Kevlar, that come close but can’t begin to match the process spiders use. Their silk proteins, called spidroins, rapidly convert from the soluble form to solid fibers at ambient temperatures and with water as the solvent. Not only is this beyond us, we don’t even know how spiders do it. Now, in this issue of PLOS Biology, new research by Anna Rising, Jan Johansson, and colleagues shows [sic] that silk formation involves structural shifts at either end of the spidroin and that these shifts are completely different, overturning the hypothesis that these protein terminals play similar roles….This work brings us closer to unraveling the mystery of spider silk, explaining how it can form so quickly—faster than a meter per second—as well as how its formation can be confined to the spinning duct. Moreover, because the N- and C-terminal domains of spidroins are found nowhere else, this lock and trigger formation is likely unique to spider silk. Besides being essential to producing biomimetic spidroin fibers, knowing how spiders spin silk could give insights into natural ways of hindering the amyloid fibrils associated with disease [like Alzheimer’s].Who would have thought the little Araneus spider sitting in its web in the photo was such a genius?  Now see this cartoon.Hummingbird vs UAV:  Engineers are getting closer to making drones that can hover as efficiently as hummingbirds, PhysOrg reports, but they’re not there yet.  It’s kind of humbling in a way:The hummingbird observations and comparison with the Black Hornet are one more instance of scientists’ keen interest in what can happen when exploring how biology and engineering can intersect. Scientists are humbled by engineering skills of animals and seek to translate those skills using technology. “There is still a ton we can learn from nature,” Lentink said….The Black Hornet is a 16-gram helicopter used by British troops for surveillance in Afghanistan.  A short entry on Science Magazine says that the “awesome strength of a hummingbird” is partly due to wings that are 27% more efficient than the current best microcopter rotors (see documentary Flight: The Genius of Birds).  A longer entry on the BBC News brings butterflies into the picture, too.Synthetic cells:  Bioengineers at Rice University are working on synthetic cells and proteins, trying to “advance bio-logic” in order to imitate the “programming” that cells do so naturally.Whale in the kitchen:  It may only be a crude imitation, but a pot strainer fashioned after the blue whale’s baleen was promoted on Gizmodo.  “The Largest Mammal On Earth Makes For the Perfect Pot Strainer,” the headline reads.Origami robot:  A self-folding robot that looks a bit like a crawling bug is shown in a video clip on Live Science.  The robot is called “self-assembling” but the second half of the video clip shows that a lot of intelligent design went into its manufacture.  The project was reported in Science Magazine; see also the Perspective article.  Question: is it biomimetics to imitate the Japanese art of origami?Hitchhiker: This one’s a bit of a stretch for biomimetics, but there’s a robot in Canada imitating the human practice of hitchhiking.  Live Science reports that HitchBot even imitates the right-thumb-out posture, and updates its Facebook and Instagram accounts after each ride.  So far, nobody has stolen the cute robot.Biomimetics has revolutionized biology.  It has turned the stale practice of spinning Darwinian just-so stories about everything into a gold rush of design.  Let’s keep the momentum going!last_img read more

‘We rise to any challenge’ – Zuma

first_imgSouth African President Jacob Zuma showsoff his football skills in parliament beforethe 2009 Confederations Cup, flanked by2010 Fifa World Cup Organising CommitteeCEO Danny Jordaan (left) and Fifasecretary-general Jérôme Falcke (right).(Image: LOC)MEDIA CONTACTS• Wolfgang Eichler, Fifa Media Officer+27 11 567 2010 or +27 83 2010 471media-sa@fifa.org• Delia Fischer, Fifa Media Officer+27 11 567 2010 or +27 11 567 2524media-sa@fifa.org • Jermaine Craig, Media Manager2010 Fifa World CupLocal Organising Committee+27 11 567 2010 or +27 83 201 0121jermaine.craig@2010oc.com RELATED ARTICLES• Mandela meets final Bafana squad• Black Stars shine for Africa• Meet Bafana’s number-one fan• 2010 World Cup journalist’s toolkit• 2010 World Cup: SA’s great leap forward?As South Africa enters its last week of hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup, President Jacob Zuma has said in an interview with Fifa that his country’s organisation of the tournament has exceeded expectations – and confounded the sceptics.Speaking at the presidential residence in Pretoria, Zuma discussed the legacy of the tournament, its effect on nation-building, and his favourite teams. This is an edited version of the interview.Fifa: With only a week left in the 2010 Fifa World Cup, what are your impression so far of the tournament? Jacob Zuma: I think the tournament is going extremely well and South Africans are happy. You just have to see the reactions of the people at the matches.I must also say that the international community is happy about this tournament. I had an opportunity to be in Toronto at the G8 meeting and there was much excitement among other heads of state. I think we have proved that not only South Africa, but Africa is capable of hosting any major event.When you were in prison on Robben Island, did you imagine that South Africa would host an event of this magnitude, and you would be in charge of the country when it took place?I don’t think any of us imagined that. At that time we were campaigning for the isolation of apartheid South Africa. And when Fifa took a decision to ban South Africa, it was a significant step. We only dreamed that, one day, a free and equal South Africa would participate in international competitions. We never thought that South Africa, so early on, would host a World Cup.In any case, when I was in Robben Island I never thought I would be president. It is indeed a humbling experience.How important was it for South Africa to succeed at this Fifa World Cup, given the scepticism some have shown in its ability to do so?I think it was very important for us to succeed. You must remember that, as South Africans, we pride ourselves on the fact that we always rise up to any challenge. As a matter of fact, nobody believed that we would have a smooth transition from apartheid – but we did it.As you know, a Fifa World Cup has never been hosted in Africa. When South Africa first declared its intentions to host the World Cup, some people said, “What is this country from Africa thinking?”Yes, we lost the first time (to Germany), but we knew we would do it the next time. That is what defines us as a country – our belief that nothing is impossible.When we completed the stadiums, people started to talk about security and other issues, but we have had a great tournament. And today a lot of people who are honest enough have come out and said, “We were wrong about your country.”The tournament has also been seen as an opportunity for nation-building in this young democracy. Do you think that has been achieved?Absolutely, beyond expectations. It has been an important component of our nation-building. This is the first time we have seen this Rainbow Nation really coming together in a manner we have not witnessed before. For the first time, every South African is now flying our national flag. Everybody is just crazy about the tournament, both black and white.Do you think that successfully hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup will make it easier for the country to win bids to host other international events?We have proved to the world that we are capable of hosting any international event, that we have the resources and infrastructure. People are already talking about the possibility of bidding for major events, such as the Olympics. I don’t see why we can’t bid to host the Olympics in the future. It’s important for Africa.What lessons, as a government, have you learned from hosting the World Cup?There are many. For one, we learned a lot about how to work with strict timelines. We have embarked on a lot of development and we had to work within a tight schedule in order to deliver on time.You are known for your love for football. How many matches have you been able to watch, and which team has impressed you so far?I have watched many games. I think this Fifa World Cup has been different. The football has been so unpredictable. Some of the countries who were favourites are now out of the tournament and the gap between the so-called big teams and other teams is narrowing.Of course, there are countries that have played well. Even though Bafana Bafana did not qualify, I think we played good football. We were so close to qualifying.I have been impressed with the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Germany. I think the Germans has reinvented their game: they are playing with so much speed and it’s good to watch them. And the teams from Latin America have been great: Brazil and Argentina are a pleasure to watch. In Africa, we are proud of Ghana – they have represented us well.May we put you in the spot and ask you to predict the team that will win the tournament on 11 July?It’s difficult to say, but I think the winner will be among the teams I have mentioned (laughing).There is a lot of talk about the legacy of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. What legacy would you like it to leave for South Africa’s children?Firstly, the world is aware that Africa has the capacity to host the World Cup. Everybody has seen that we are equal to the task. It has taken our economic development to a new level.One of the important things for Africa is education and programmes like 1Goal are playing a vital role – that is legacy. The tournament has inspired Africans.last_img read more

Huge surprise bolsters bears

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Today was a huge surprise with corn and soybean yields higher, not lower. The market is not taking out post report lows in the minutes following the noon release. It could indicate end users are stepping in to cover needs.USDA put the U.S. corn production at 14.184 billion bushels with a yield of 169.9 bushels per acre. Ending stocks were pegged at 2.335 billion bushels. Last month corn ending stocks were 2.27 billion bushels. USDA put the U.S. soybean production at 4.43 billion bushels with a yield of 49.9 bushels per acre. Soybean ending stocks were estimated at 475 million bushels. Last month soybean ending stocks were 475 million bushels. Ending soybean stocks were unchanged due to higher crush and higher exports.As the noon hour approached, corn was down 5 cents, soybeans were down 2 cents, with wheat unchanged. Shortly after the report, corn was down 8 cents, soybeans were 13 cents, with wheat down 3 centsGoing into the USDA report today, the average trade estimate for corn production was 14.03 billion bushels with a yield of 168.2 while ending stocks were estimated at 2.17 billion bushels. Last month USDA in a bearish report had U.S. corn production at 14.15 billion bushels and a yield of 169.5 bushels per acre. The average trade estimate for soybean production this month was 4.32 billion bushels and a yield of 48.8. Soybean production in August was 4.38 billion bushels and a yield of 49.4.World ending stocks of wheat did decrease in spite of increased production in Russia. Russia has been in the headlines in recent days due to reports of reducing rail rates to move grain from the interior to export locations. There is uncertainty if the rate reductions are for just wheat or all grains.World ending stocks of corn and soybeans did increase. World ending stocks of wheat were down ever so slightly.Both corn and soybeans had double digit losses with the Aug. 10 report. Corn was down 15 cents while soybeans were down 33 cents on report day. For the September report, if you expected USDA corn yields to be reduced at least 2 bushels per acre and the soybean yield at least 1 bushel per acre, you are likely going to be disappointed with the report today. The October report will have lots of actual harvest data to help determine corn and soybean yields. This report will not have the luxury of very much harvest data to determine production and yields.While it is not a headline banner that grabs attention from all or even many, watch corn used for ethanol with old crop corn to increase from the August report. Last month USDA put corn used for ethanol at 5.45 billion bushels. The weekly ethanol report for much of July and August had extremely strong corn usage. Any increased usage will decrease old corn ending stocks and flow into the new crop table with a smaller beginning stocks number. In recent months USDA has now included sorghum used for ethanol in this weekly report. From September 2016 to July 2017 roughly 107 million bushels of sorghum was used in ethanol production.Ohio should see several days of rain this week as the leftovers from Hurricane Irma pass through. For the dry areas of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, it will be too little too late for many producers to do any good for soybeans or corn. December CBOT corn has traded in a range of $3.52-$3.62 this month. November CBOT soybeans had a range in September before the USDA report today of $9.52-$9.77. Look for the report today to break corn and soybeans out of that tight trading range.Corn ratings with last night’s weekly crop progress report were unchanged at 61% good and excellent. Nine states, including Ohio, saw improvement while six states had corn rating declines. The U.S. soybean crop was rated at 60% good and excellent, compared to 61% last week. Ohio was unchanged at 56% good and excellent.Weather in South America is currently the tale of two extremes. Brazil is too dry while Argentina is to wet. The dry weather in Brazil will likely only improve the chances of seeing more winter corn planted there next May-June as producers skip the opportunity to plant corn early in the growing season.Actual combine reports in coming days and weeks will be the order of the day now that the monthly USDA report is behind us. Producers and traders alike will be most anxious to see harvest reports as many continue to think USDA was too high on their corn and soybean yield estimates detailed in August.Higher corn and soybean yields will leave many scratching their heads today.last_img read more

Agra put on 72-hour weather alert till Monday

first_imgThe weather office on Friday sounded a 72-hour alert till Monday here in Uttar Pradesh, Agra District Magistrate Gaurav Dayal said and issued a detailed advisory to manage any imminent disaster.This comes after a 132-kmph dust storm hit the city on the intervening night of Wednesday-Thursday, bringing heavy showers and hailstorm that killed 44 people and destroyed properties worth in crores. The doctors at the S.N. Medical College conducted the postmortem of 44 bodies who succumbed to injuries. The number of deaths were expected to rise.Agra witnessed two devastating storms in 20 days. More than 1,400 villages continue to remain without power supply, an official said. Trains were still running late. Historical buildings, including the Taj Mahal suffered extensive damages. Two wooden doors of the Taj minarets were damaged and several trees in the mausoleum were uprooted.Divisional Commissioner K. Ram Mohan Rao and Dayal visited the medical college hospital to review arrangements.A separate ward has been opened there and a dedicated team of doctors has been deputed. Mr. Rao told medical staff to provide prompt services and ensure there was no lack of medicines.Dayal along with Special Superintendent Amit Pathak and other senior officials visited several villages in Khairagarh. A team of officials were deputed to survey affected villages and evaluate loss of property and crop. The district magistrate has promised adequate compensation.last_img read more