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Bus experiment happily now in rear-view mirror

first_imgMY monthlong experiment with public transportation ended Friday. Except for a couple of “emergencies,” I left my car at home and traveled this city by bus for 30 extremely long days. This really big city.I went to work each day on the bus. If I needed groceries, I’d take the bus or harass a friend for a ride. When my sister came to town, I made her ride the subway to Hollywood, rather than shuttling her around sightseeing. When I had to go downtown for a fancy press awards dinner, I rode the bus in a spaghetti-strap dress.For the month of June, I experienced life in Los Angeles as many other people do without a car and hating it.I’d like to say this experience made me a better person. I’d like to report that I’ve made life-changing connections with other riders. I’d like to say that I’ve had profound revelations about the human condition or about the state of social justice. I’d like to say I’ve become a public-transportation convert. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2But I cannot say any of those things, not truthfully. The only thing like an epiphany to hit me was something I already knew: Riding the bus in Los Angeles sucks.It sucks because there’s little incentive to leave the car at home, even with gas prices so high and this so-called phantom traffic. I didn’t save time. In fact, my daily commute averaged a combined 3.5 hours a day. That’s a long time to add to a workday, especially when it’s spent crammed in with a bunch of tired and cranky strangers.Nor did I save money on transportation costs. I thought I might, since I drive 50 miles a day round trip. But I have a hybrid car, and the MTA’s crazy bus pass system isn’t cheap. The top end of the bus pass ($58 a month) is supposed to let you ride on any Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus or rail line, L.A. Department of Transportation commuter buses and Dash buses, Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus and all sorts of other municipal bus lines. However, to ride the L.A. DOT’s commuter express past a few miles say, to or from the San Fernando Valley you must purchase an extra stamp for $17 a pop. A bus pass for $75 a month hardly seems like a big incentive.This is not to say that I didn’t learn anything useful from this personal challenge.For instance, I learned the only white-collar workers who take the bus are people who have recent DUI convictions, people with medical conditions, such as grand mal seizures, or people who are crazy. I often caught people looking at me as if they were wondering which I one I was. I also learned that giving up your car changes your life, and not in a good way. On the weekends, I love to drive out to the beach, visit friends in other parts of the city or county, take the dog for hikes at Griffith Park, or hit Home Depot and Target repeatedly. After figuring out that any of these trips would involve either changing buses at least once, a long wait in the hot sun (buses in L.A. run less frequently on the weekends), getting stuck after dark in a strange neighborhood in a tank top and shorts, or carrying a bag of garden mulch a half-mile, I stayed home a lot.But the most important thing I learned from my bus experiment is that it is both humbling and humiliating to be dependent on the bus. When you drive, you are in control of your destination and thus, in a way, your destiny. When you ride the bus, you give up control to the bus driver, to the other passengers and to chance itself.Sometimes the buses don’t come when they are supposed to. Sometimes they don’t come at all. Sometimes they come but don’t stop for you. Sometimes the drivers are mean to riders, and the riders have to take it. Sometimes you make good time and meet your connections; sometimes you don’t. This randomness is perhaps the hardest part of public transportation for those of us used to driving.At the beginning of this experiment I wondered if I might choose to ride the bus for good. I won’t. I will try to ride it to work once or twice a week, but tomorrow, I will be back on the 101 Freeway with the rest of you. And I will be happy to be back.Mariel Garza is a columnist and editorial writer for the Los Angeles Daily News. Write to her by e-mail at mariel.garza@dailynews.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Horses stranded on flooded knoll

first_imgAMSTERDAM, Netherlands – Rescue workers struggled Thursday to save a herd of 100 horses stranded for days on a tiny knoll after a fierce storm turned their pasture into an angry sea. Eighteen horses have drowned and the rest have spent two nights huddled together in knee-deep water. Rescuers planned to bring in horses that are strong swimmers to show the panicky animals, including several foals, how to get to dry land. Dutch television and newspapers carried dramatic photographs and footage of the horses crowded together, their backs to the wind, on a small patch of ground. They were surrounded by brackish-colored sea water, pushed by the storm surge into a wilderness area outside the dikes of Marrum, 90 miles northeast of Amsterdam. Marrum’s fire department used small boats to ferry about 20 horses, including the smallest foals, to safety Wednesday. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’The Dutch army tried to rescue the rest of the herd, but called off the operation when water levels receded to less than three feet in some places, grounding pontoon boats. Mayor Wil van der Berg said he considered using helicopters to transport the animals, but decided the noise and lights might panic the horses and cause more to drown. Although horses can swim and the closest dry land was only several hundred yards away, there were concerns the animals could become ensnared in submerged barbed wire fences or that they might tire if they headed toward land farther away. Water levels continued to fall Thursday, and the surviving animals were brought feed and blankets by boat. Veterinarians examined them, the Netherlands’ state broadcaster said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

A full summary of Saturday’s Scottish Premiership results

first_imgSeven different goalscorers hit the back of the net as the Dons maintained their winning run this season and Thistle lost their fourth on the trot. Ryan Christie, Kenny McLean and Scott Wright scored for the visitors before substitute Adam Rooney hit the 84th minute decider.Chris Erskine netted his 50th goal for Partick Thistle, Kris Doolan added another which now means he has scored against every team in Scotland’s top flight. Niall Keown bagged Thistle’s third.Hamilton Accies mounted a late comeback against Kilmarnock to secure a 2-2 draw at Rugby Park and maintain their fourth-placed spot in the table. Celtic were knocked off the top of the Scottish Premiership table after dropping two points in a 1-draw 1 with St Johnstone.Brendan Rodgers’ side looked set to lose their incredible unbeaten domestic run with Steven MacLean scoring after 39 minutes but Callum McGregor found a crucial equaliser 11 minutes from the end.Saints midfielder Murray Davidson suffered a serious head knock and facial injury after just three minutes and had to be taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for treatment.Aberdeen scored a late winner in an exciting seven-goal thriller at Firhill, beating Partick Thistle 4-3. A Louis Longridge own goal and Lee Erwin strike put the home side ahead but Giannis Skondras and Ali Crawford, from the spot, won Accies a share of the points.Meanwhile, at Fir Park, a stunning Louis Moult strike into the top corner secured Motherwell all three points against Hearts.Kyle Lafferty had put the visitors ahead with his first league goal in maroon but Ryan Bowman equalised before Moult struck the 41st-minute winner.last_img read more

‘Celebrate Africa’s humanity’

first_imgThe slogan was launched by 2010 Local Organising Committee chairman Irvin Khoza during the worldwide broadcast of the 2010 preliminary draw TV show in Durban on Sunday.“‘Ke Nako’ simply means ‘It’s Time’,” Fifa says on its website. “And indeed Africa’s time has come to use the 2010 Fifa World Cup to change perceptions of Africa and reposition the continent in a positive light with South Africa as the theatre and Africa the stage.”Khoza said the Local Organising Committee had “felt it appropriate that we develop a message, a theme that would resonate with the objectives of the global football family as well as the intentions and ambitions of the African diaspora.“In the development of this slogan – our 2010 message – we were also inspired by the outpouring of excitement and joy that we witnessed from villages and cities across the continent when President Blatter announced the name ‘South Africa’ on 15 May 2004.”Speaking during Sunday’s ceremony at the Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, South African President Thabo Mbeki said the country aimed to “stage an event that will send ripples of confidence from the Cape to Cairo – an event that will create social and economic opportunities throughout Africa.“We want to ensure that one day, historians will reflect upon the 2010 Fifa World Cup as a moment when Africa stood tall and resolutely turned the tide on centuries of poverty and conflict.”Useful linksFifa: www.fifa.com2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa: www.fifa.com/worldcup/index.htmlSouth Africa 2010: www.sa2010.gov.zaSouthAfrica.info – 2010: www.southafrica.info/2010/last_img read more

R104m leg-up for Zim cotton farmers

first_imgDBSA has provided a critical loan to Zimbabwe’s emerging cotton farmers. (Image: C S Monitor) MEDIA CONTACTS • Lesetsa Matshekga Investment Officer DBSA +27 11 313 3289 or +27 78 800 9146  RELATED ARTICLES • Botswana revives ostrich farming • SA store shows new way to farm • Congo welcomes SA farmers • Zambian hydro projects in full swingBongani NkosiZimbabwe’s small-scale cotton farmers have received a major financial boost from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to improve their output.DBSA announced the R104.6-million (US$748 000) loan to the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) on 23 November 2010.The funds will go towards Cottco’s inputs credit scheme, which facilitates funding for the emerging farmers.“This is a first ever landmark investment in Zimbabwe by the DBSA,” Admassu Tadesse, group executive for the international division at DBSA, said in a statement.“Through this investment communal and small-scale farmers will have access both to credit and capacity-building programmes which will empower them to grow more cotton.”Cottco supports thousands of small-scale producers, who farm about 242 000ha of land in the Southern African country. DBSA said the organisation works with a wide network of farmers, and provides access to skills and infrastructure.It provides farming inputs such as fertiliser, seed and chemicals through its credit scheme. These are made available during the growing season, under recommendations from Cottco’s agronomists.Zimbabwe’s cotton farming sector has been negatively affected by a lack of funding in recent years, as has all other facets of the country’s agricultural industry.DBSA said lack of access to foreign currency has stalled progress in reviving Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector.Before the recent loan, funds had dried up for Cottco, which meant local farmers battled to access much-needed finance for their capital expenditure needs and day-to-day duties.Recovery programme The developmental bank’s loan is meant to support the Zimbabwean government’s Short Term Economic Recovery Programme. The programme has identified agro-processing and agriculture as key priority sectors to drive the recovery of the domestic economy, Tadesse said.The agricultural sector is the major backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy, and when it began to collapse in 2000, the entire country took a hard knock.Widespread government seizure of commercial farmland through a controversial land reform act was at the heart of the crisis.According to the DBSA, agriculture contributes up to 17% of Zimbabwe’s GDP, 60% of manufacturing inputs, 35% of foreign exchange earnings and 15% of formal employment.“The Zimbabwean economy is heavily dependent on agriculture,” Tadesse said, adding that the bank believes that its loan to Cottco will be significant in supporting the revival of the industry, protect existing jobs in the sector and create new employment opportunities.Cottco is expected employ more than 5 000 Zimbabweans during the next buying season, which will generate about R25.6-million ($3.6-million) in wages, according to DBSA.Development mandateDBSA aims to invest in projects that have potential to boost the economies of Southern African nations. It recently contributed R748 000 ($105-million) towards the expansion of Zambia’s Kariba North Bank hydro power station.“The Zimbabwean investment is in line with the bank’s mandate and strategy to support development and viable projects in key economic sectors such as agriculture,” said Tadesse.“Building sustainable regional economies remain a priority area that the DBSA will aggressively pursue to ensure that the region is prosperous, integrated and progressively free of poverty and dependency,” he added.last_img read more

Rypple Makes Real Waves in the Enterprise

first_imgsteven walling Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Tags:#enterprise Related Posts 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Nowcenter_img Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Rypple is an enterprise solution that works in such a simple, effectual way that it borders on the elegant. It uses absolutely top-notch social web design to engineer a user experience that is focused on solving a single problem: how to gather honest feedback quickly.Since its founding, Rypple has garnered some serious accolades from the media and users alike. Everyone from The Economist to “Wikinomics” author Don Tapscott have been singing its praises. Come this fall, new additions to the service will boost its ability to support collaboration among coworkers.Rypple is a web-based service similar to Twitter, in that it takes fairly mundane technology – plain text input that is limited in length – and builds a platform around it that enables an immediately tangible ecosystem to develop online. Except for analytics and tagging, it includes no other major up-front features except the ability to ask a question and provide anonymous answers. Via an admin panel, users of the paid enterprise version can do things like suggest questions and tags beforehand. This simplicity makes Rypple the kind of tool wherein the constraints on software open up room for social innovation around it.In its current state, Rypple has already taken off in the enterprise. But a major addition already being tested will supplement the communicative powers of the software with a dash of collaboration. When the TouchBase feature is launched sometime this fall, users will be able to set regular face-to-face meetings and collaboratively edit the agenda. Constant employee feedback and collaborative meetings might seem like the kind of enterprise 2.0 functionality made to please Gen Y and drive management off with fears of anonymity. But by building social software around a habit already ingrained in business (the performance review) Rypple has put the capability of the web to work for enterprise. last_img read more

Apple Reshuffles India Business

first_imgApple India has merged its product divisions and split its business into two in line with its retail strategy in a bid to significantly expand its market reach. Related Itemslast_img

Video: Sacrifice of ancient horses gives clues to their domestication

first_imgVideo: Sacrifice of ancient horses gives clues to their domestication By Sarah CrespiApr. 27, 2017 , 2:00 PM Horses were first domesticated for riding and milking (yes, milking) 5500 years ago in northern Kazakhstan, but they’ve changed a lot since then. In a study published today in Science, researchers looked at genomes from 14 horses from between 4100 and 2300 years ago—the midpoint between when the animals were first domesticated and now—to better understand the arc of their domestication. The genomes came from 14 Bronze and Iron Age horses preserved as part of rituals in which sometimes dozens of horses were killed and elaborately arranged and buried by the Sintashta of Russia and Scythians of Kazakhstan. The samples revealed what these ancient societies were breeding for in their horses—sturdy legs and many different coat colors, for example. The genomes also showed a much greater genetic diversity in the ancient horse populations, suggesting that the limited diversity in the horse population of today came about during the last 2000 years and was not a result of domestication per se. More broadly, the research offers support for the “neural crest theory of domestication”—the idea that the pressure of domestication on genes acts at an early developmental stage on certain cells that later diversify and spread throughout the animal—allowing a suite of diverse traits like floppy ears and docile manner to be selected for all at once. Scientists suspect the same thing happened to dogs, cats, and a host of other domesticated animals. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Analysis: U.S. science adviser has a vision for cutting research red tape, but details are scarce

first_img Analysis: U.S. science adviser has a vision for cutting research red tape, but details are scarce Stephen Voss U.S. academic scientists and university officials have long complained about how much time they must spend complying with the many rules relating to the federal dollars they receive. But since President Donald Trump assumed office, most scientists have refocused their angst on the president’s proposed large spending cuts to basic research and his administration’s seeming indifference to combatting climate change. What is known as the administrative burden issue has largely fallen off their radar, in large part because they fear that any changes by the Trump administration might make matters worse rather than better.Kelvin Droegemeier wants to turn back the clock. As director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the president’s science adviser, Droegemeier generally avoids the subject of federal budgets and climate change when talking to researchers. Science lobbyists say his silence is understandable, given the slim chance that his advice would alter the administration’s stance on those issues.Instead, Droegemeier prefers to discuss how he wants to “unleash scientists” and remove obstacles to their greater productivity—especially bureaucratic red tape. “This thing has been studied to death. Now it’s time to take action,” he said yesterday during a meeting with a panel of space scientists and aerospace engineers convened by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, D.C. “I am absolutely intent on moving the needle. In fact, I’m almost angry.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Kelvin Droegemeier in his office next to the White Housecenter_img That’s strong language from the normally mild-mannered Droegemeier. But it’s become part of his stump speech since becoming OSTP director in January. And he’s likely to repeat that message tomorrow at the annual Forum on Science and Technology Policy in Washington, D.C., put on by AAAS (publisher of ScienceInsider).Finding an open laneRailing against the administrative burden on the U.S. research community resonates with his audiences. A federal survey has consistently found that scientists say they spend more than 40% of the time they allocate to a federal grant on activities other than actual research—a list that includes mentoring students and writing papers. Although Droemegeier acknowledges that some of those activities are necessary and even important, he says others “are not valuable and serve no useful purpose. I can’t think of anything more wasteful” of the time and energy of brilliant, highly trained scientists, he adds.But his forceful language turns mushy when Droegemeier is asked how he would eliminate wasteful practices. In 2016, Congress passed a law that told the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to set up an advisory board, called the Research Policy Board, to tackle the issue. But Trump budget officials have balked at setting up the board, saying lawmakers first need to change how the National Institutes of Health reimburses universities for the money they spend on infrastructure and overhead related to federal grants. OMB says those changes would free up money for more spending on biomedical research. But Congress has prohibited the administration from reducing those payments, so efforts to establish the policy board are at an impasse.Speaking yesterday to ScienceInsider, Droegemeier said there’s another, faster way to address administrative burdens without creating the board. “There’s nothing that prohibits us from moving forward via the National Science and Technology Council [NSTC],” he says, referring to an existing White House body OSTP manages that has representatives from two dozen federal agencies. Using NSTC may even be preferable, he says, “given the slow pace of change” and the fact that U.S. voters will go to the polls again in November 2020.Alpha institutesDroegemeier’s desire to “unleash the human mind” goes beyond simply reducing federal paperwork. He has repeatedly told scientific audiences that he would also like to see new forms of research collaborations among government agencies, universities, and corporations that wouldn’t be bound by existing rules.One approach, which he has labeled alpha institutes, “would bring together smart people and turn them loose,” he told the academies panel. “You don’t want them to violate any laws. But you’re basically saying to them, ‘We’ll unencumber you as much as possible. Instead of a report every quarter, you’ll make a two-page PowerPoint presentation once a year.’”Droegemeier has been toying with the idea for a decade and admits that it still lacks important details, such as which federal rules might have to be waived or altered to allow them to exist. And there are other questions. “Who would choose the problem, and who would choose the people? Yeah, that’s all to be determined,” he says, along with how the institutes would be funded. “Some of them may fail. But that’s fine,” he adds. “The point is to send the message that our research enterprise is burdened with unnecessary regulations and that it’s time to fix this problem.”A second promising approach, Droegemeier says, would be to expand the existing number of academic-industry partnerships, including having academic scientists remain as faculty members while also working for a company. “It’s not a completely foreign idea,” he says. “But we just don’t do it very often because of all the potential conflicts.”Droegemeier thinks the scientific community has the power to remove that obstacle by thinking more boldly. “We end up not doing something not because it doesn’t make sense, but because it’s difficult,” he says. “We need to take intellectual risks, and we don’t do that as often as we used to.”The odds that any of these reforms will come to pass under Droegemeier’s watch aren’t good, he admits. But he plans to give it a try for however long he remains in the White House.“We have 20 months [before Trump’s term ends], what can we accomplish?” he says. “I didn’t come to Washington just to keep the lights on.” By Jeffrey MervisMay. 1, 2019 , 12:55 PMlast_img read more

J Dey murder case: Mumbai Police’ case against Jigna Vora is weak

first_imgIt’s been three months and three days since the Mumbai Crime Branch caused a sensation by arresting journalist Jigna Vora in the Mid-Day journalist J Dey’s murder case. The police had then claimed that Jigna had ‘facilitated’ the murder, by providing gangster Chotta Rajan Dey’s bike registration number, as also his home and office address through either her phone or computer. Mumbai’s Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik and Joint Police Commissioner Himanshu Roy said then that they had ‘strong’ evidence against Jigna, evidence that had been vetted by legal experts.On February 21, the Mumbai Crime Branch filed a chargesheet against Jigna. However, the more than 1,400 page chargesheet seemed short of the ‘strong’ evidence against the journalist that the police had spoken of earlier. The police did not put forth the ‘crucial’ and ‘clinching’ piece of evidence in the case, of emails containing Dey’s bike registration number and his home and office address that Jigna allegedly sent to Rajan.Evidence on the basis of which they arrested her. What the police have instead provided is a record of 36 calls exchanged between Rajan and the journalist. The chargesheet says the calls went up a few days before Dey was killed.The Mumbai police holding up the number of calls between Jigna and Rajan as evidence of the former’s guilt seems pathetic, as a journalist talking to a gangster is not something new. What the cops have failed to present is evidence of the two indeed planning the crime. Unfortunately the Mumbai Crime Branch only has the call records and no transcripts of the conversations between Jigna and Rajan.advertisementThis also raises a question about journalism because every time a journalist talks to any gangster he may be exposing himself to the hazard of being implicated in case another journalist or even a gangster is bumped off.Another ‘strong’ piece of evidence the police claim to have is yet to be presented. Apparently the police have witnesses (journalists) who claim that Rajan called them after Dey’s murder and confessed to having killed Dey at Jigna’s instigation. This again seems to lack evidentiary value for, legally speaking, the police can’t claim to be sure about the man on the other end who ‘confessed’ indeed being Rajan. Two, Rajan had also supposedly spoken to some journalists after Dey’s murder claiming he was not involved in the crime. So which Rajan does one believe?The other pieces of ‘strong’ evidence that the Mumbai police have are again questionable. The police claim that Jigna got Dey murdered due to professional rivalry and to prove this they have attached a report by Dey who claimed in June 2011 that underworld gangster Dawood Ibrahim had fled Pakistan after the US special forces killed Osama bin Laden there. Jigna however wrote a report soon after that claimed that Dawood and Shakeel were hiding in the mountains of Waziristan. What does the police claim imply here? Are they saying that the mere fact that one journalist’s story has been contradicted by another can be cited by the law enforcement agencies as proof against the latter in case the former meets with an unnatural death? If this becomes a precedent, journalists would find it very difficult to ply their trade.This is not to assert that Jigna is an innocent who is being victimised by the police. The point I am trying to make is that the police must do their homework well if they are serious about ensuring conviction in the case. Jigna should be punished if she is guilty but this will not happen on the basis of flimsy evidence that is not likely to stand up in a court of law.===BJP Chief Nitin Gadkari is upset with Shiv Sena.Despite the Shiv Sena and the BJP emerging victorious in Mumbai and Thane there is growing trouble between the two parties. BJP Chief Nitin Gadkari recently complained in an interview about editorials in Sena mouthpiece Saamna being critical of leaders like LK Advani, Narendra Modi and Gadkari himself.The BJP chief said such articles were hitting ties between the BJP and the Sena. While the Sena has denied that it has been deliberately targetting BJP leaders, the rift between the two parties seems no sign of abating.BJP leader Vinod Tawde on Monday stunned the Sena when he demanded that since his party had performed better in the civic polls, its candidate should be allowed to be the Mayor of Mumbai for at least one year. This is bound to upset the Sena as the post of Mumbai Mayor has always been held by it. Sena leaders say the BJP’s demand would be rebuffed in style. Looks like the BJP’s grievances against the Sena are not likely to end soon.advertisement===Raj ploughs a lonely furrow Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray.Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray was touted as the ‘kingmaker’ prior to the BMC elections. However, while his party’s tally improved from 8 to 28, he wasn’t able to prevent his cousin and arch rival Uddhav’s party, the Shiv Sena, from coming to power in the BMC.Though Raj is seeking consolation in the fact that MNS has emerged as the largest party in Nashik with 40 seats, there too he is facing obstacles. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chaggan Bhujbal whose political future is at stake in Nashik has decided to cobble up a coalition with the Congress and the Republican Party of India (RPI).Bhujbal has offered RPI chief Ramdas Athavale the post of Nashik Mayor if he lends two corporators to the NCP- Cong combine. An ecstatic Athavale has gone to town saying that Raj has turned from being ‘kingmaker’ to ‘kingfisher’, in a reference to his isolation. ===Double whammy for Cong has it smarting The case against former Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh is strong.There have been plenty of red faces in the Congress over the past ten days. Barely had the party been able to stomach its embarrassing defeat in the BMC polls that news came in about the Bombay High Court ordering the Mumbai Police commissioner to inquire into the assets of Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh.The court order came on a PIL filed in the High Court on the issue. Interestingly, while the Congress high command is upset with the verdict, many Congressmen in Mumbai are sporting a ‘I told you so’ expression on their faces.Even before the PIL against Kripashankar was filed last year, Congressmen from the city had sent a file on Singh’s huge assets and numerous bank accounts to Congress leaders in Delhi.In fact, a few Congressmen had alleged that Singh was selling tickets for the BMC polls. However, no action was taken against him.Now another file on Kripashankar has been sent to Delhi. This time careful attention is being paid to it in Delhi, as it contains the complete judgement of the Bombay HC against Singh.While Singh is apparently planning to appeal in the Supreme Court, many legal experts felt that the damning evidence against Singh makes it unlikely that he will get relief from the SC.last_img read more