November 6, 2020 Find out more #CollateralFreedom: RSF unblocks eight sites censored during pandemic Help by sharing this information Credit: Radio Ozodi (RFE/RL) Organisation RSF_en Tajikistan is ranked 161st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index, after falling 45 places since 2015. The situation of its journalists has worsened even more in recent weeks in connection with the coronavirus epidemic. Tajikistan imposes total control over independent broadcast media The prosecutor-general’s office says the case against him is based on “more than 200 articles and commentaries containing extremist content” that were published between 2013 and 2019. The charges are surprising as Sharipov has repeatedly criticized religious extremism and terrorism. “Daler Sharipov’s arrest ahead of the parliamentary elections in March, unsurprisingly won by the ruling party, and presidential elections in November, is a new warning by the authorities to critical journalists and media,” said Jeanne Cavelier, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. “We condemn these absurd charges and call for his immediate release.” News TajikistanEurope – Central Asia Condemning abusesReligious intolerance EnvironmentFreedom of expressionJudicial harassment TajikistanEurope – Central Asia Condemning abusesReligious intolerance EnvironmentFreedom of expressionJudicial harassment to go further UPDATE ON 16/04/2020On the second and final day of a trial held behind closed doors, Daler Sharipov was sentenced today to a year in prison. Although he categorically rejected the charge of extremism, he is not for the time being planning to appeal.Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on Tajikistan’s authorities to release Daler Sharipov, a journalist specializing in religious issues whose trial on absurd extremism charges is due to begin on Monday in the capital, Dushanbe. May 14, 2021 Find out more April 11, 2020 – Updated on April 16, 2020 Tajik journalist to be tried this Monday for “extremism” Arrested by the intelligence services on 28 January, Sharipov is facing up to five years in prison under article 189 of the penal code for “inciting national, racial, ethnic or religious hatred” and for “propaganda” on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been banned in Tajikistan since 2006. Journalist loses accreditation over report about Tajikistan’s president News News Follow the news on Tajikistan Sharipov wrote for the independent news website Ozodagon from 2013 until its closure after years of harassment in 2019, often commenting on violations of human rights and religious freedoms. He was hospitalized in May 2012 after being badly beaten in a still unpunished attack. News Receive email alerts August 25, 2020 Find out more
Scientists have a knack for asking questions about things most of us take for granted. “The whole orchestra tunes up to an A note from the oboe – but how do our brains tell that all the different sounds are the same pitch?” asks Robert J. Zatorre in Nature.1 This is a puzzling question to neurologists. There’s more, as Zatorre illustrates with a Disney story:As Pythagoras knew, if you pluck a string, it will vibrate in its entire extent, as well as in halves, thirds and so on, and each of those vibrational modes will result in a separate harmonic frequency. Yet we usually perceive the pitch as corresponding to the lowest of these, which is the fundamental. For a simple demonstration of the ‘missing fundamental’ effect, pick up a phone. Most telephone lines cut off the lower frequencies, resulting in a slightly tinny sound, yet the fundamental pitch does not change; a male voice does not sound like Mickey Mouse. The brain seems to figure out the missing pitch. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Is this just learned behavior, or what? Apparently not. Researchers working with marmosets have found neurons that are pitch-sensitive:Bendor and Wang studied the auditory cortex (the region of the brain that enables perception of sound) in the marmoset monkey. They show that there are neurons in this region that respond in essentially the same way to a variety of sounds that all have the same fundamental but do not share any frequencies. For example, a neuron that responds to 200 hertz also responds to the combination of 800, 1,000, and 1,200 hertz because all correspond to the same fundamental. This effect is unusual because neurons usually respond only within their receptive field, which is typically a narrow range of frequencies. The marmoset neurons, however, responded not only to frequencies in their receptive fields, but also when there was no frequency within the receptive field but the other frequencies in the stimulus were harmonically related to the missing one. This property makes psychologists happy, because it provides evidence (if not yet a mechanism) for perceptual constancy. These neurons respond to an abstract property – pitch – derived from, but not identical to, physical sound features. Presumably, therefore, it is thanks to such neurons that we can follow a tune as the instruments change.That leads to an evolutionary follow-up question, which Zatorre attempts to answer: One might wonder why marmosets need such a system, given that they don’t spend much time listening to iPods. But periodic sounds are important in the natural environment because they are almost exclusively produced by other animals, and so pitch is a good cue to segregate these sounds from background noise. Marmosets are highly vocal creatures, and the development of pitch-sensitive neurons would also be central to communication. From an evolutionary perspective, these abilities could be seen as precursors to human pitch perception, which has led to our unique development of music and is similarly crucial for speech.That’s that for now; he quickly changes the subject: “Now that we know that there are pitch-sensitive neural units, we have to discover how they work.” He has a long list of unanswered questions: How does the ear keep the information intact through the transformations between eardrum and cochlea? How does the brain extract details from the overall fabric of sound? What are the inputs to these pitch-sensitive neurons? – are they hierarchical, or built up from multiple inputs from other structures in the brain? Do inputs from the higher cognitive regions of the brain participate? Are these neuronal properties hard-wired or learned? The list of answers is shorter: we don’t know.1Robert J. Zatorre, “Neuroscience: Finding the missing fundamental,” Nature 436, 1093-1094 (25 August 2005) | doi: 10.1038/4361093a.This article almost earned a Dumb award for its useless evolutionary speculations. Zatorre committed the plostrum ante equum fallacy (cart before the horse), assuming that necessity was a sufficient mother of invention. Aside from the empty evolutionary fluff, though, the article underscored a fascinating aspect of hearing that merely hints at the engineering necessary to make it work. Music doesn’t make evolutionary sense because it is a gift of God. If Bach appreciated that fact, how much more so should modern anatomists, physiologists and neurologists.(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Three recent news stories about mammals involve time. Does nature time things well, or do evolutionists tell swell things about time? Time will tell.Placental mammals – Watch those assumptions: How much can you trust dates that can vary by 50%? A report in Science Daily says the new “consensus” date for the appearance of placental mammals just jumped from 122 million years ago to 84 million years ago. The article mentions assumptions three times, though, with serious caveats about those dates: “However, this discrepancy may not be real, but rather appear because of the violation of implicit assumptions in the estimation procedures, such as abrupt acceleration of evolutionary rate entangled with gradual variation and large-scale convergent evolution in molecular level.” Later, “They emphasize the necessity to scrutinize the implicit assumptions adopted by the models of molecular evolution and to develop procedures which rely little on those assumptions.” A follow-up question: what are the new assumptions of the new study?Laotian Rock Rat — Yep, It’s a Living Fossil: The unusual rat-like mammal found in a Laotian food market in 2005 (05/16/2005) is a living fossil, reported National Geographic News. Some researchers claim that it “belongs to a family of rodents thought to have gone extinct 11 million years ago.”Bears – Keeping fit while sleeping: On much shorter time scales (months), bears manage to keep most of their muscle strength during the winter hibernation. Science Daily reported that “Bears in this study exhibited remarkable conservation of muscle function…. In spite of a size difference of almost three orders of magnitude and a 30 degree Celsius difference in torpor body temperature, the black bear may conserve muscle function to the extent of or perhaps better than small-mammal hibernators.” How the authors entered Colorado bear dens to take the measurements sounds like an adventure to be told somewhere.Anyone see evolution here? Anyone see millions of years here? Always scrutinize those implicit assumptions.(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
19 March 2009 Mainstream is also engaged in development projects in the US, UK, Canada, Chile and Germany. Earlier this month, the company signed a CAD$840-million deal to build wind farms in Canada, and in February it won the right to develop a £1.1-billion offshore wind farm off Scotland. Irish company Mainstream Renewable Power has signed a €850-million (about R11-billion) joint venture deal with South African firm Genesis Eco-Energy to build wind farms to generate “an initial pipeline” of over 500 MW of energy in the Eastern, Northern and Western Cape provinces by 2014. The two projects “are both at advanced development stages and are expected to be fully operational early in 2011,” Mainstream said in a statement on Thursday. Mainstream’s O’Connor said that while there was currently less than 10 MW of wind energy in operation in South Africa, with the country’s “excellent wind resource there’s the potential for many thousands. SAinfo reporter “We are confident that the South African government will shortly implement appropriate policies to kick-start and support the wind energy market,” O’Connor added. “Wind energy is very much an untapped resource in South Africa, and this is a huge opportunity for us,” said Mainstream chief executive Eddie O’Connor. At the same time, the government is placing increasing emphasis on reducing South Africa’s dependence on fossil fuels. Speaking at a renewable energy conference in Pretoria on Thursday, Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica said the government wanted renewable energy to account for between 6% and 9% of electricity generated in the country by 2013, and between 9% and 15% by 2018. The joint venture company plans to have two projects – a 30 MW wind farm at Jeffrey’s Bay near Port Elizabeth, and a 40 MW project at Colesberg in the Northern Cape – ready for construction early in 2010. Besides contributing to South Africa’s climate change mitigation strategy, the new projects will give a major boost to local economic development, energy security and job creation. A shortage of power generating capacity is constraining South Africa’s economic growth, and state electricity company Eskom is to spend hundreds of billions of rands over the next five years on increasing this capacity. Genesis Eco-Energy’s director of operations, Davin Chown said that Mainstream’s investment was “a vote of confidence in both the Genesis team as well as the emerging renewable energy market in South Africa, which holds significant potential for an investment and development partnership such as ours.” Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
Starting with Android 3.0, developers can break the Activities of their applications into subcomponents called Fragments, then combine them in a variety of ways to create a richer, more interactive experience. For example, an application can use a set of Fragments to create a true multipane UI, with the user being able to interact with each pane independently. Fragments can be added, removed, replaced, and animated inside an Activity dynamically, and they are modular and reusable across multiple Activities. Because they are modular, Fragments also offer an efficient way for developers to write applications that can run properly on both larger screen as well as smaller screen devices.According to Barra, it is these application fragments that will allow developers and designers to create apps on Honeycomb that will work for both smartphones and tablets.“Fragments are a design construct that’s thought through with the fundamental requirement of screen size independence. We’re thinking about designing apps that work for any screen size,” said Barra.Barra also pointed out that perhaps not all apps are meant for all devices and platforms – a point we could certainly agree with.“If [developers] write something for the tablet and they optimize it to run on the tablet, they want it to run on the tablet,” said Barra. “Some of these games that you’ve seen are built for a large screen.”In the end, said Barra, Google isn’t facing any more issues with fragmentation in the Android ecosystem any more than other rapidly developing and iterating technologies.“There are no compatibility issues that you could point to today,” said Barra. “You could argue about hardware legacy, which is something that any ecosystem that deals with rapidly evolving technology has to understand, but there are no compatibility issues as far as applications are concerned.” Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… When we took a leap last night and made some predictions about what Google might announce today, one was that Big G would officially announce the forking of Android into two separate operating systems, one for smartphones and one for tablets. “A Honeycomb (read: tablet) UI just might not make sense for smartphones,” we wrote, “and vice-versa.”Today, we got a chance to ask Google product management director Hugo Barra, who told us that some of the developer features shown today were created to address precisely these concerns.“Honeycomb is a tablet-optimized operating system. As you saw in the demos today, compatibility just isn’t an issue,” explained Barra. “Apps that are built for phones work seamlessly on tablets. We’re giving developers additional tools to make it optimized optimized for tablets as well as tools to design an app that works on both.”During today’s presentation, Barra demonstrated one of these tools, which he called “application fragments.” Using Gmail as an example, Barra showed how the screen was split into to sections, and how these sections could be reused to interact with different content. Google offers a description of the functionality on its developer site: 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market mike melanson Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Google#NYT#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…
Connecting with people, finding places liked by friends and tracking personal travel habits over time were listed as the primary reasons people who use location based social networks like Facebook Places, Foursquare and Google Latitude do so in a survey published by Portland, Oregon digital marketing firm White Horse. The firm surveyed 437 smartphone owners and found that discounts and gaming were not seen as significant motivators for the use of location services. (Lost in Geolocation: Why Consumers Haven’t Bought it and How Marketers Can Fix It)56% of smartphone owners surveyed said they knew about these services and 39% of respondents said they used them. Facebook Places was the clear leader among users (42%) with Latitude (27%) and Foursquare (25%) tied somewhere behind. The biggest barriers to use among non-users? Privacy concerns and lack of clear benefit. Graphs below. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… marshall kirkpatrick The White Horse survey includes 11 other charts and graphs and a number of recommendations. All of this has to be taken with a grain of salt, of course, because it’s a firm that does web design and marketing as a service. That 39% of respondents surveyed said they knew about and used location based services seems to me a high number, reason to be optimistic, not as the survey’s title says any indication that the sector is broken. None the less (see my disclosure below), the data is quite interesting and the recommendations are thought provoking and well articulated.Included in those recommendations are the following:Companies interested in reaching potential consumers using location based services should build their own, rather than emphasize participation in existing services, because existing services add too little to the core social networking features they duplicate from Facebook, Twitter or the good old fashioned telephone.Companies should seek to fullfil new social functions with location apps, not just communication. That’s already covered. “Marketers will need to posit experiences & goals that make sense for their particular brands to endorse, build appropriate interactions, and test rewards and incentives,” the report says.Build a social media presence first. “…success will depend on engaging those customers who are most active in social media, based on an understanding of their ‘native’ social experiences in existing communities, whether physical or digital. To think that users will adopt a branded geolocation app that is unmoored from existing social experiences is not realistic.”Privacy: “Currently, geolocation apps handle data in ways that consumers can neither understand nor control.”Model after Foursquare but keep an eye on Facebook. I’m not entirely clear on what this recommendation means.Readers interested in the location based social networking use cases and avoidance should check out our coverage including Why We Check In: The Reasons People Use Location-Based Social Networks, 2011: The Year the Check-in Died, Check-ins Are Dead? Location App Life360 Adds 1 Million Users in 10 Weeks.Disclosure: I happen to be on an Advisory Board for White Horse design, but I missed the email when this report was sent out and just saw it written up tonight on the independent blog Marketing Pilgrim. I would have written about this report whether I had any connection to the company or not (I love this stuff) and probably would have written basically the same post here either way. If completely disinterested, I might not be able to tell you that the cookies they served at the last Advisory Board meeting were stale. Just kidding. Tags:#Location#privacy#web Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market
NU Bulldogs keep UAAP crown. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMANILA, Philippines—National University retained its throne after a sweep of Far Eastern University ending in an emphatic 24-26, 25-23, 25-23, 25-19 Game 2 win in the UAAP Season 81 men’s volleyball finals Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.The Bulldogs claimed their fourth overall volleyball title since winning the first one in Season 75 against, as fate had it, the Tamaraws.ADVERTISEMENT Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too Fellow graduating Bulldog Madzlan Gampong had nine points while Rookie of the Year James Natividad had eight.Richard Solis had 18 points to lead FEU, which had four more players score in double digits.John Paul Bugaoan, Jude Garcia, Redi John Paler, and Peter Quiel had 11 points apiece.NU took Game 1 in four sets, 21-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-18.ADVERTISEMENT PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Finals MVP Bryan Bagunas carried NU in the clutch, scoring four of his team’s last five points including three straight kills to seal the win.“Of course I’m happy we’re the champions again, and I’m proud of our performance because it kept on improving until we got here in the finals,” said NU head coach Dante Alinsunurin.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“I’m just ecstatic because of what we’ve achieved this year.”Bagunas, who was named Finals MVP, finished with a career-high 35 points, practically carrying NU on his back. Rory McIlroy likely to play in 2020 Olympics for Ireland Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew LATEST STORIES ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP View comments
Dan Cohen AUTHOR The Pentagon has failed to outline how it plans to achieve savings in its civilian and contractor workforces that the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill calls for, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).Section 955 of the measure requires the department to achieve savings in the cost of the civilian and contractor workforces from FY 2012-2017 at the same rate as military personnel costs associated with reductions in end strength decline.“While DOD developed a plan for reductions in the civilian workforce, it did not provide details to understand how these reductions would be achieved or any information demonstrating that the goals were being achieved,” the report states.“Without this information, Congress has limited assurance on how the department will achieve required savings and whether the savings will be achieved in a manner that is consistent with workforce management laws,” GAO said.DOD has reduced the size of its civilian workforce by 3.3 percent from FY 2012-2016, but civilian personnel costs dropped by only 0.9 percent, the agency found. Over the same period, military end strength has declined by about 6 percent, and personnel costs have fallen by about 8 percent.The congressional watchdog agency found that the Pentagon would need to reduce spending on its contractor workforce by about $4.1 billion from FY 2012-2017 to match the planned reduction in military forces over the same period.“At a time when the entire federal government is facing fiscal challenges that are likely to continue, DOD must plan strategically for reductions to its civilian and contractor workforces to achieve savings,” the report stated, according to the Military Times.
A team of researchers from the University of Münster, the University of Oxford and the University of Exeter has built an all-optical neural network on a single chip. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes their chip, which has no optical-to-electronic conversions, and how well it worked. Geoffrey Burr with IBM Research – Almaden has published a News and Views piece discussing the work by the team in the same journal issue. More information: J. Feldmann et al. All-optical spiking neurosynaptic networks with self-learning capabilities, Nature (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1157-8Press release Modern computers run on electricity—it powers devices and serves as a storage and data medium. But for several decades, scientists have wondered if it might be possible to use light as the data medium—crunching photons instead of electrons. Engineers have many hurdles in attempting to create such a device, however, most prominently the bottlenecks that arise when converting between optical and electrical systems. In more recent times, there has been a renewed interest in building an optically based computer—but now, the focus is energy conservation. Big modern computers used for heavy-duty applications require a lot of electricity. Logic suggests that computers based on light should be less energy intensive, most particularly because they would not generate as much heat, making cooling systems obsolete. In this new effort, the researchers have taken a step toward the creation of optically based computers by building an all-optical neural network on a single chip.The researchers noted that one type of computer system seemed most amenable to optics—deep neural networks. This is because such networks rely on artificial neurons with synaptic connections that can be weighted based on past learning experiences. They noted also that crystalline phase change materials could also serve such a purpose. They are materials that experience a change in structure when heated—in this case, by a laser. Using such a material, the team built a chip with four neurons connected with 60 synapses using waveguides to control the flow of information represented by light. Testing showed the chip was capable of learning, recognizing patterns and performing computations. Explore further Citation: An all-optical neural network on a single chip (2019, May 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-all-optical-neural-network-chip.html Light-based computer hardware that can compete with silicon Journal information: Nature This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. All-optical spiking neuronal circuits. a, b, Schematic of the network realized in this study, consisting of several pre-synaptic input neurons and one post-synaptic output neuron connected via PCM synapses. The input spikes are weighted using PCM cells and summed up using a WDM multiplexer (MUX). If the integrated power of the postsynaptic spikes surpasses a certain threshold, the PCM cell on the ring resonator switches and an output pulse (neuronal spike) is generated. c, Photonic circuit diagram of an integrated optical neuron with symbol block shown in the inset (top right). Several of these blocks can be connected to larger networks using the wavelength inputs and outputs. d, Optical micrograph of three fabricated neurons (B5, D1 and D2), showing four input ports. The four small ring resonators on the left are used to couple light of different wavelengths from the inputs to a single waveguide, which then leads to the PCM cell at the crossing point with the large ring. The triangular structures on the bottom are grating couplers used to couple light onto and off the chip. Credit: Nature (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1157-8 © 2019 Science X Network
Kolkata: Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s apex cultural body, has nominated Kolkata’s Durga puja to be included in UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) for the year 2020. It may be mentioned that it was Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had prodded the state Tourism department to make a serious pitch to have the Durga Puja festival listed by UNESCO.The department made a presentation to a team from UNESCO to have the festival listed in the latter’s ‘List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataA team had visited the city in January and in a meeting with representatives from across the country as well as the South Asian countries, sought preliminary applications from all of them them about the tangible and intangible heritage of their respective states and countries. The meeting was hosted by the state Tourism department. Bengal’s Durga Puja has been showcased in a big way across the globe with Banerjee ushering in a grand end to the Puja by organising a stunning Red Road carnival where as many as 70 of the city’s best-known Durga idols paraded this year. The he extravaganza, touted to be second only to the renowned Rio Carnival stepped into its third year in 2018. In its nomination of Durga Puja for the Representative List, the SNA stated that: “Durga Puja is the best instance of the public performance of religion and art in the city. It witnesses a celebration of craftsmanship, cross-cultural transactions and cross-community revelry. …….The exemplary character of Durga Puja lies in its ability to not temporarily bind itself to the ritual occasion. Its dynamism lies in it being a constantly mutating event – in its fusion of tradition with changing tastes and popular cultures, and in the adaptation of the iconographies of Durga and the styles of her temporary abodes to cater to new regimes of art production.” Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateIt may be mentioned that every year, UNESCO adds to its list of ICH cultural traditions and arts from around the world, either as ‘In Need of Urgent Safeguarding’ or in its ‘Representative List of ICH of Humanity’. India’s nominees are proposed by the SNA which was appointed as the nodal agency for ICH by the Union Ministry of Culture in 2011. India currently has 13 ICH on the list, including the Kumbh Mela, the dance forms of Chhau, Kalbelia and Mudiyettu , Vedic and Buddhist chanting and the tradition of brass and copper utensil making in Punjab’s Jandiala Guru.