When the Wells Run Dry

first_imgIt’s a common saying that you never miss the water until the well runs dry.  Well, year after year, this adage plays out in countless communities across Liberia. As Saran Kaba Jones, CEO and Founder of the WASH NGO FaceAfrica, puts it, “It begins with WATER.”From water to tend our crops, to water used for cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene, from water for construction, to water used in washing our hands to prevent the spread of disease, every single sector of human endeavor thrives on the availability, accessibility and affordability of water. As a nation and a people, we may lack many things but one thing we can all agree on is that water is not one of them. Our vast transboundary rivers, beautiful lakes, seemingly endless rainfall and abundant groundwater supply so readily accessible by means of hand-dug wells are all reflections of how endowed Liberia is in freshwater resources. Within and along our national boundaries, non-saline water exists in such volumes that it could literally re-vegetate the Sahara. What seems to be lacking is the adequate means to convert this vastly abundant, untreated, under-utilized natural resource into safe, sufficient and accessible water that meets World Health Organization standards for drinking, domestic and agriculture use. That, unfortunately, is where we fall short.Needless to say, if the Ebola outbreak has taught us anything, it has reminded each of us of the importance of potable water in minimizing the spread of disease. Just take a look around you, almost every single home, office, public gathering, and place of worship or leisure nationwide now has a bucket of chlorinated water for mandatory hand-washing at the entrance. The now instilled habit of washing our hands has become so common a practice in our daily lives in the fight against the deadly EVD that most people are left feeling very uncomfortable without. No doubt, water has been in the forefront of it all.While significant strides have been made in the fight against Ebola nationwide, as we strive to put an end to this gruesome chapter and hopefully revive the dormant sectors of our society, the critical concern surrounding sustained access to potable water nationwide cannot be ignored. Families need water to drink, to cook, to clean, and most importantly, in the continued fight against Ebola, to wash their hands.As we approach the peak of yet another dry season, when the water table tends to drop and shallow wells and surface water sources run dry, history will sadly repeat itself, leaving thousands across Liberia to scramble for water for months on end. Some way, somehow, the lingering question of the availability, accessibility and affordability of safe water must be answered.One proactive approach would be to strategically ensure that people have sustained access to sufficient water at the domestic and community levels. In areas where annual water shortage is known to be very high, it is recommended that local authorities, relevant line ministries and the NGO community consider contingency measures such as: 1) drilling of boreholes as opposed to shallow hand-dug wells — which have a tendency to run dry by February-March; 2) water trucking and establishing of chlorinated service points in various communities, where necessary; 3) the provision and administration of chlorine at hand-pumps, wells and other water sources known to remain viable throughout the dry months; and 4) routine testing of drinking water sources for chlorine residual and bacterial contamination as a protective means of preventing other potential water-borne illnesses such as cholera and diarrhea.  As a caveat, these measures should be employed with advice from a WASH specialist, as water situations are unique from one location to the next. The proposed water testing exercises can be coordinated through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare making use of its existing Environmental Health Technicians in the various counties. These few strategies, though not exhaustive in nature, can help contribute to on-going WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) efforts and ensure that all citizens continue to observe the basic yet highly protective public health measure of regular hand-washing.While the Ebola death tolls may have considerably decreased nationwide, the need to maintain the gains made thus far cannot be overemphasized. According to the United Nations, “Water is critical for sustainable development, including environmental integrity and the alleviation of poverty and hunger, and is indispensable for human health and well-being.”Let’s not wait until the wells run dry to acknowledge the critical role potable water has played in the national and regional fight against Ebola.  Let’s not wait for severe water shortages to realize that in a water-scarce situation, a mother would most likely opt to cook a pot of rice with a single bucket of water to feed her children as opposed to or using that same water just to wash hands.As a nation, a people, policy makers, policy enforcers, service providers, caregivers, health workers, opinion leaders, aid community, let’s chart a new course this New Year and move away from trying to find cures to problems we can readily prevent.  French Environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau once said, “We have the ability to provide clean water for every man, woman and child on the Earth. What has been lacking is the collective will to accomplish this.”  Cousteau argues that addressing the elusive question of potable water for all year round is possible, but he concludes by asking, “What are we waiting for?”  Let’s not wait to miss the water, only when the wells run dry.Magdalene Matthews holds an M. Sc in Environmental Health from the Harvard School of Public Health, Cyprus International Institute; She is also the Author of RISE! Redeeming the Future of Liberia, a Practical Guide to Self-Development. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Man gets 3 years for ganja possession

first_img…nabbed with 21 gramsSataka Joseph, a 25-year-old construction worker, opted not to waste the court’s time and entered a guilty plea to a charge of trafficking in narcotics when arraigned on Monday morning before Georgetown Magistrate Judy Latchman.Joseph had been found in possession of 21 grams of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking on November 16, 2017 at America Street in Georgetown.Police Prosecutor Shawn Gonsalves related that, on the day in question, ranks of the Brickdam Police Station were on patrol in the area when they came into contact with the defendant and conducted a search on his person.A quantity of seeds, leaves and stems suspected to be cannabis were found in his front left side pants pocket wrapped in a transparent plastic bag. Arrested and taken into custody, he orally confessed to ownership of the suspected prohibited herb.Given the chance to speak in court, Joseph remained silent and indicated that he did not wish to say anything,Taking all mitigating factors into consideration, Magistrate Latchman imposed on Joseph a fine of $30,000 and a mandatory term of three years in prison.last_img read more

Rooney makes a point to Man United boss Van Gaal with stunning goal

first_imgHe may have endured another below-par World Cup, but it looks like Manchester United star Wayne Rooney is raring to go ahead of the forthcoming Premier League season with a fine pre-season performance against Roma.The arrival of Louis van Gaal as United boss looks to have put the England man in the shadows, with many expecting him to be overlooked for captaincy, but Rooney certainly made a point by scoring a stunning effort, scoring another and providing a sumptuous assist for Juan Mata as United beat their Italian opposition 3-2 in Denver.Check out Rooney’s goal above and full highlights of the match below.Man United fans, do you think Rooney should be considered for captaincy? Comment below…last_img

Liverpool fans line streets to honour idols

first_img“It’s so uplifting for the city, bringing everybody together,” she added, decked out in a red Liverpool shirt and scarf alongside her husband and son, as the team bus neared their vantage point in the suburb of Mossley Hill.Moments later the double-decker, emblazoned with “Champions of Europe”, rolled by with the famous silver trophy being hoisted aloft by bouncing Liverpool players amid red flare smoke, confetti and wild cheers.The club claimed the European crown for the sixth time Saturday night in Madrid with a 2-0 win over Tottenham in only the second ever all-English final.It followed an epic season in which Liverpool narrowly missed out on a first league title in three decades, causing agony — now somewhat relieved — for fans impatient to end the long wait.Fans lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the bus carrying the players © AFP / Oli SCARFF“What a day — what a weekend! Imagine lifting that cup,” said 78-year-old Stan Evans, a lifelong local fan who looked out of a first-floor pub window as star striker player Mohamed Salah held it aloft just below his gaze.Evans could recall cheering all five of Liverpool’s previous European Cup triumphs, starting in 1977, when they beat Borussia Moenchengladbach in the final in Rome.“This is just as good because I never thought we’d see another one in my lifetime,” he added.– ‘I might cry again’ –Celebrations ran late into the night in Liverpool city centre, as ecstatic supporters danced drunkenly in the streets singing a repertoire of the club’s anthems.The morning after, bleary-eyed fans began streaming back onto the streets ahead of the parade, which worked its way slowly towards the city centre.“I’m ecstatic and hungover at the same time — the best type of hangover,” said Peter Broad, 37, a social housing worker and Liverpool native.“I might cry again,” he added, flag in hand.“It’s emotional — it means so much to you just to win. Liverpool’s a very European city, it’s always been outward-looking,” Broad explained.Supporters lined the streets of Liverpool to greet their returning heroes © AFP / Anthony DevlinThousands of fans lined the roads east of the city centre, while children climbed atop bus stops for a better view, as the bus — preceded by a booming sound stage — made its way.A jubilant atmosphere rippled through the city, as all manner of Liverpool flags flew from buildings and cars, drivers sounded horns and fans carried everything from banners to balloon replicas of the trophy.Aleisha Tipton, 23, from nearby Cheshire, staked out a prime spot near the waterfront end-point.“We don’t care about waiting all afternoon to see them,” she said of her heroes as light rain started to fall.“It can rain all day, we don’t care!”She was wearing a commemorative scarf from 2005, when Liverpool last won the competition in a memorable come-from-behind victory over AC Milan in Istanbul.“This time is better for me as I was only nine then.”For her granddad Ken Jones, 79, this Liverpool team is up there with the best he has seen.“They’re brilliant,” he said. “I don’t think they could replace them with anything better.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson kept a tight grip on the Champions League trophy © AFP / Oli SCARFFLIVERPOOL, United Kingdom, Jun 2 – Under leaden English skies, Liverpool became a carnival of red on Sunday as the football-mad city hailed its heroes for bringing home the Champions League trophy for the first time in 14 years.“We’re just so excited,” said Tina Taylor, 51, as she joined tens of thousands of locals thronging the city’s streets to watch the team parade Europe’s top football prize from an open-top bus.last_img read more

NEW €24M MEDICAL FACILITY AT LETTERKENNY GENERAL WILL IMPROVE PATIENT CARE – HEALTH MINISTER

first_imgThe Minister for Health Dr James Reilly TD officially has said the new Emergency Department and Medical Block at Letterkenny General Hospital will vastly improve patient care.The Minister is in Letterkenny this morning to officially open the units.The €24 million Medical Block is a new facility that has been designed with the needs of patients in mind. The facilities have been functioning for several months, with the official opening today.Each ward is 24-bedded, with 16 of those beds being single en suite rooms. This means that there are a total of 48 single en suite rooms in the new facility, which helps staff care for patients within a therapeutic environment, offers better privacy, protects patients’ dignity and assists with the control of infection.Four of the single rooms on each level are tailor-made to be used as isolation rooms, and are designed to the latest international standards.Speaking today, Dr Reilly said: “I am delighted to be in Donegal to officially open this impressive new facility for the people of Donegal and the North West. I know that patients will welcome this development and I know it will lead to improved outcomes for patients. “I particularly welcome the new Acute Medical Assessment Unit where patients presenting with medical conditions are seen, treated and discharged within 10 hours or a decision is made to admit them to the hospital. This assists the hospital in maintaining lower admission rates and more importantly reduces waiting times for our patients.”It is a proud day for Hospital Manager Mr Seán Murphy.“Today is a truly historic day for Letterkenny General Hospital. The new Emergency Department, Acute Medical Assessment Unit, and Medical Wards constitute the single biggest development in the hospital for 31 years and provide a major enhancement to our delivery of patient care,” he told Donegal Daily.“The last decade has seen a number of very significant service developments in Letterkenny and we are delighted to welcome Minister Reilly to officially open this new facility and share in our celebration of this historic improvement in patient care within Donegal.“I would also like to pay tribute to the staff of this hospital without whose commitment, cooperation, and hard work this facility would not have been opened so quickly. “This wonderful environment for providing patient care is also a tribute to the expertise and efforts of the Capital Project Team led by Mr Michael Martin and the Commissioning Project Team led by Dr Anne Flood and the many Clinicians, including Mr Gerry Lane and Dr Ken Mulpeter, who gave so much of their time in helping design the new facilities.“In welcoming today’s realisation of our vision for improved Emergency Care for the people of Donegal and visitors to our County, we also look forward to the future and the continued development of Letterkenny Hospital as the largest non tertiary provider of Acute Services within HSE West. I have no doubt that Management, Clinicians, Staff and Friends of Letterkenny General will continue to work together to deliver an enhanced range and quality of patient care to our Community throughout this year and in the years ahead.”Project Manger for the Commission Team, Dr Anne Flood, Director of Nursing and Midwifery paid tribute to all who had worked on the commissioning of the new facility.“So many staff of different professional groups worked together in true team spirit to ensure this facility was open on the earliest possible date,” said Dr Flood. “Staff were not only flexible in their working arrangements but many came in out of hours voluntarily to ensure that the new building was open and available for patient care. I am delighted that the new facility allows us to provide clinical care including nursing care for patients in a more clinically appropriate environment than was previously available to us, whilst also allowing us to maintain patient privacy and dignity whilst administering emergency care.“The New Acute Medical Assessment Unit allows many patients to be seen in an area separate from the centre of trauma and emergency care whilst the provision of single rooms on the Medical Wards within this building enhances our Infection Prevention Control measures whilst providing patients with a comfortable and private environment in which to receive care and recover.”Michael Martin, Capital Projects Manager, HSE Estates, commented: “This significant infrastructural project for the Hospital has been delivered on time and within budget, utilising the most modern of technologies and constructed to internationally recognised standards due to the commitment of Project and Clinical Staff at all stages of the Project.“Planning, for example the number of single rooms, preceded the guidance in this area and was advanced due to the excellent clinical argument, and infection control best practice guidance that was put forward locally.“As Project Manager I would like to thank the Clinicians, Nursing and Facilities Staff whose vision made the delivery of this project an enjoyable task. I would acknowledge the excellent work of the Design Team led by TODD Architects and the Contractors who delivered a functional, modern, fit for purpose facility which met and in many cases exceeded all expectations of their brief, and finally would like to pay tribute to all HSE Estates staff, locally, regionally and nationally who assisted and backed this project at all stages from concept to commissioning.”The new ED offers a modern patient-focused environment for patients who require emergency care. Some of the new highly technical innovations include a highly automated robotic pharmacy dispensing system.This ensures that drug stocks are managed in a highly secure and efficient environment and is the first of its kind in the North West. The ED also has a separate children’s area. There is also an area for acute psychiatric admissions. The area provides a safer working environment for staff and a more comfortable welcoming environment for patients and their families.Fast Facts on New Facilities:20km of heating pipe was used30-40 km of electric cabling was used60,000 cubic meters of soil was excavated65,000 man hours went into the building of it.NEW €24M MEDICAL FACILITY AT LETTERKENNY GENERAL WILL IMPROVE PATIENT CARE – HEALTH MINISTER was last modified: March 22nd, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:NEW €24M MEDICAL FACILITY AT LETTERKENNY GENERAL WILL IMPROVE PATIENT CARE – HEALTH MINISTERlast_img read more

TRAVEL: HOW BARCELONA DELIVERS THE PERFECT FAMILY BREAK

first_imgBarcelona delivers on all accounts as the perfect family break with its combination of beach, fun park and enough edgy architecture to wow everyone.A short flight time from Belfast International Airport and the holiday starts after a thirty minute ride on the express airport bus into the heart of the city at Plaça de Catalunya.Amid the teeming hub of tour buses, cafes and bars, you can buy a coffee and simply sit in this famous square and people-watch against the backdrop of the illuminated fountains. The kids will enjoy the jugglers, musicians and street theatre as well as watching the gymnastics of the skateboarders although they might have to negotiate a path through the flocks of pigeons that have made the square their home.Just a short distance away is Barcelona’s famous pedestrianised street – La Rambla.Lined with gift shops, human statues, food outlets and hotels, it is a must-do on the tourist trail simply because of its energy and atmosphere.You will also find one of Europe’s famous food markets along this route – La Boqueria. After a stroll around the many stalls of fish, hams and fruit you may have a chance to try the fine tapas at market bar El Pinotxo. Dining out in this part of the city is expensive but you can still get tapas, pizza, falafel, noodles and other street food without blowing the budget.Our tapas experience was excellent and some highlights included the traditional Catalan tomato bread, cuttlefish stew, patatas bravas, spicy prawns and salted cod.We were saving the other traditional Catalan treat of churros and chocolate for another day.The easy-to-use transport system of metro, buses and trains makes Barcelona a true family-friendly city.However, walking does give you the chance to stand awestruck at the masterpieces of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. We passed Casa Batlló and La Perdrera every day and every day the kids had to take a photograph.But staring at the work-in-progress of La Sagrada Familia was definitely a wow moment.“And it’s not even finished yet,” declared the youngest.It’s said that when asked why it was taking so long to complete the Bascilica (under construction since 1882) Gaudi replied: “My client is not in a hurry.” After a couple of days sight-seeing, it was time to see another side of the region so we caught the train and an hour and a bit later we arrived at Port Aventura.This was our first time at the theme park but I know we will be back.Walking through the resort with its Hallowe’en decorations in gorgeous sunshine was bliss.The park was filled with pumpkins, giant spiders and there were specially-themed Halloween shows taking place.The lack of queues for any rides was a huge advantage of travelling at this time of year.Despite the Aqua Park being closed for the season, there were enough water rides and heart-thumping roller coasters to keep everyone happy.Screams from the Shambhala, Europe’s tallest roller coaster, were warning enough for the faint hearted to avoid.Our only disappointment was the hot chocolate and churros were not the bestAfter a day of full-on fun, the train home was a chance to catch up on some sleep.One of the best ways to discover Barcelona with children is a hop on/hop off tour bus.There are other fantastic tours including a literary tour, Gaudi tour, Gothic Quarter by Night or you could combine your sightseeing with your workout and do a running tour.For us, the Barcelona Bus Turistic was perfect. It was a chance to relax on the top deck in the sunshine and take in this colourful, exciting city.We hopped off at Park Güell, bought some picnic food and spent a sunny afternoon wondering around this artistic playground with its giant ceramic lizard, columns, mosaics and catacombs.The bus route also included a stop at Camp Nou, the hallowed ground of FC Barcelona.We were also able to change routes and take another tour along the Port area of the city.Tickets for the bus tour for a family of four cost €84.00 but this was a full day of sightseeing and one of our holiday highlights.When and how to go: We went in Halloween week and booked flights well in advance with EasyJet from Belfast International to Barcelona. Two adults and two children for less than €360 return.Book well in advance at www.easyjet.com and you can save even more. Watch out for sales periods for even better offers.Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Barcelona and Portadventura. There are fewer people around at those times, cutting queues to the main sites. And it’s cooler!If you are planning to go in the autumn, there’s more here on Portaventura’s Halloween week.https://www.donegaldaily.com/2013/10/01/travel-portaventura-launches-halloween-horror-experience/Spain is Ireland’s favourite tourist destination. But there’s more to the country than a beach holiday.You can visit www.spain.info and browse through hundreds of great ideas about where to go and what to see.Where to stay: Check tripadvisor.ie for the best deals and advice from other travellers. Expect to pay €100 per night for family rooms.You can get various guided walking tours of Barcelona – including a gothic tour, and a chocolate tour. All reasonable and a must.Visit www.barcelonaturisme.com to find out more.TRAVEL: HOW BARCELONA DELIVERS THE PERFECT FAMILY BREAK was last modified: January 19th, 2014 by John2Share 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:BarcelonaBelfast International Airportcity breakeasyjetfamily holidayGuideSpanish tourist Boardlast_img read more

Bridge closures washing out profits for local businesses

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week An employee of Eldiali, Nimeri Hassan, said he had little work to do over the four days while he waiting for customers. “We’re usually busy all the time, but we were just sitting around, wondering if customers were going to arrive,” Hassan said. With other nearby businesses, such as the 7-Eleven, losing more than half their income during the closure and residents forced to make lengthy detours to reach an entrance ramp to the Pomona Freeway, many of those affected worry about what may be in store during the coming rainy season. Raymond Diaz lives on Gallatin Road close to Rosemead where the street was closed down earlier this month. As a retiree he rarely uses the freeway, but he knew neighbors who had their daily commutes interrupted, he said. “Luckily, I don’t have to drive very far anywhere,” Diaz said. “But some of my working neighbors weren’t happy when it took them longer to get to work.” PICO RIVERA — – Heavy rains this winter could mean the end of Osman Eldiali’s business if Caltrans is forced to again close the Rosemead Boulevard bridge over the nearby San Gabriel River. The closure of the bridge between Gallatin Road and San Gabriel Boulevard for four days this month marked the third time this year that heavy rains prompted Caltrans to close the road out of concern for motorists’ safety. Having barely survived this year’s earlier closings, Eldiali, owner of Ed’s Service Station on Rosemead Boulevard adjacent to the bridge, worries the winter rains will destroy his business completely after losing $10,000 over the recent four-day closure. “It killed my business,” Eldiali said. “I lost almost 85 percent of my income during that week. Last closing I lost a lot, but this time I lost so much because we were having a good price deal and were doing a good business. We had lots of customers.” Although the bridge closure causes a significant impact on the city, Caltrans is fully responsible for its cost and maintenance, not the city of Pico Rivera, said Bob Spencer, public information officer for the city. “It’s true that Rosemead (Boulevard) is a main thoroughfare from the (Pomona) 60 Freeway through Pico Rivera and places south,” Spencer said. “And it does cause people headaches when it gets shut down. But it’s a safety issue. Would people rather a bus go plunging into the river?” Judy Gish, spokeswoman for Caltrans, said engineers are still trying to deal with damage caused by last year’s record rains, which forced the bridge to be closed for three weeks in January. Caltrans closed it again in May, when inspectors noticed damage along the bottom of the pillars that hold up the bridge. Gish said a public safety concern arose when, following recent heavy rains, inspectors noticed erosion of the concrete lining protecting the footings of one of the bridge’s pillars. The erosion in turn had allowed the soil underneath the footing to erode also, causing the pillar to settle. Caltrans is currently waiting on permits to drive sheet-pile (thin sheets of steel) into the ground near the footing where the erosion occurred, and to reconstruct the concrete lining protecting the footings. Gish said Caltrans has spent $70,000 out of a total of $900,000 that has been allocated for the bridge’s repair work, all of which she anticipates will be spent. “There are no overall issues but age,” Gish said. “It’s an older structure that was built in the 1950s, so it’s not exactly the latest design. But there are no plans to replace the bridge, and we don’t anticipate the bridge being closed during construction, although we may close one lane on occasion. However, if we do get a significant rain, we might close it while erosion investigations are performed.” — Pam Wight can be reached at (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029, or by e-mail at pam.wight@sgvn.com.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

Women’s Tennis Falls at Nebraska

first_img Doubles competition1. Mary Hanna/P.Del Cueto Castillo (NEB) def. Joely Lomas/Summer Brills (DRAKE) 6-22. Claire Reifeis/Hayley Haakenstad (NEB) def. Kenya Williams/Alex Kozolowski (DRAKE) 6-03. Lisa Andersson/Jeannie Lozowski (NEB) def. Tess Herder/Mela Jaglarz (DRAKE) 4-3 One of the bright spots for the Bulldogs was Summer Brills, who was in the third set with Claire Reifeis at No. 1 before the match went unfinished. Singles competition1. Claire Reifeis (NEB) vs. Summer Brills (DRAKE) 1-6, 6-2, 1-0, unfinished2. P.Del Cueto Castillo (NEB) vs. Tess Herder (DRAKE) 6-3, 3-0, unfinished3. Mary Hanna (NEB) def. Kenya Williams (DRAKE) 6-1, 6-04. Katerina Matysova (NEB) vs. Joely Lomas (DRAKE) 6-3, 5-3, unfinished5. Lisa Andersson (NEB) def. Mela Jaglarz (DRAKE) 6-3, 6-16. Jeannie Lozowski (NEB) def. Alex Kozolowski (DRAKE) 6-0, 6-0 Match Notes:Drake 3-2Nebraska 7-0Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (6,3,5) The Bulldogs will look to rebound quickly as they face off with Colorado State at 11 a.m. on Saturday. LINCOLN, Neb. – The Drake University women’s tennis team dropped a hard-fought match to undefeated Nebraska, 4-0, on Friday at Dillon Tennis Center. The Huskers took an early 1-0 lead by winning the doubles point by taking courts one and two. “It was  a very tough match, but I’m pretty happy with how our team competed. We fought very hard and we have to give credit to Nebraska. They are a very talented team,” said Drake head coach Mai-Ly Tran. Nebraska 4, Drake 0Feb 17, 2017 at Lincoln, Neb.(Dillon Tennis Center)  Print Friendly Version In singles, Nebraska extended its lead to 3-0 with wins on courts three and six. Jeannie Lozowski beat Alex Kozlowski, 6-0, 6-0 while Mary Hanna defeated Kenya Williams, 6-1, 6-0 at No. 3. Huskers’ Lisa Andersson clinched the win for Nebraska with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Mela Jaglarz.last_img read more

Origin of Life: Speculation vs. Evidence

first_imgThe European Astrobiology Magazine reviewed a book1 that tries to give “detailed scrutiny” the problem of “the transition from small, simple molecules to large, complex cells.”  The initial reaction by reviewer Toby Murcott points out glaring problems in origin of life research: uncertainty, lack of consensus, and lack of evidence:What hits you immediately about this subject is the large amount of uncertainty and the many different possible scenarios.  Concerning the transition from prebiotic chemistry to life, there is no clear evidence of chronology.  There are many different pathways from pre-biotic soup to living organisms, and numerous possible intermediate stages with any number of complex organic and biochemical reactions en route.  It’s also clear that the biochemicals of today may have performed very different functions in the past.  For example, the majority of chemical reactions are today mediated by protein enzymes but some indications from biology suggest that RNA was widely used as a catalyst during early chemical evolution.The tone of uncertainty was not mitigated by evidence in the article.  The word perhaps appeared 4 times, possible twice and impossible to say once, scenario four times, uncertainty twice, may and might a dozen times.  We know that today’s organisms rely on proteins, amino acids, fats and sugars, “But just what happened and in what order is a matter of much debate and likely to remain so for some time.”    Specifically, “Three different scenarios for chemical evolution are discussed in the review; co-evolution; self-replicating peptides and the RNA world.”  How did these three fare?  About the co-evolution scenario, “It is the simplest of the models, requiring perhaps the least detailed explanation but it is not a particularly satisfying description.”  For self-replicating peptides, “There is, as yet, no convincing rationale for this transition and what’s more, there is no hint of PNA in any modern organism,” the reviewers said, adding this speculation: “While that does not rule it out, both biochemical and Darwinian evolution are expected to leave detectable traces of their heritage behind.”    That leaves the RNA world by default.  It gets the most attention, but a key step is a big hurdle: “However, an efficient prebiotic pathway for nucleotide synthesis remains to be found.”  In short, origin-of-life research is big on speculation and short on evidence.  Maybe astrobiology could help, Murcott said in conclusion, by actually finding some exotic life somewhere someday:This book covers every element of the evolution of life from the emergence of simple organic molecules to theories on how the first cells might have got together.  How did groups of chemicals and their associated reactions become compartmentalised into prototype cells?  What was the involvement of inorganic matrices and, the big one, how did complexity arise from simple origins?  The authors painstakingly pore over the limited evidence and make intelligent, though guarded, speculations as appropriate.  Anyone who is not comfortable with biochemistry might struggle at times but the summaries are less intense and will allow virtually all readers to grasp the concepts and uncertainties.  In describing the problem of how life emerged the authors also illustrate why astrobiology might provide one of the few experimental opportunities to test the hypotheses.1From Suns to Life: A Chronological Approach to the History of Life on Earth, edited by M. Gargaud et. al. and reprinted from Earth, Moon, and Planets, Vol. 98/1-4, 2006.It’s all futureware, speculation, smoke and mirrors, bluffing and ignorance.  Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking this is scientific.  The use of scientific instruments does not justify calling this science.  Alchemists used the best instruments available and even came up with many useful techniques for physical chemistry.  Their findings about what did not make gold proved useful when the real science of chemistry supplanted alchemy.  But none of the effort, the experimentation, the writing, or the speculation justified the premise of alchemy at all.  Similarly, astrobiologists and chemical evolutionists are revising experimental methods and learning many things about chemicals while ruling out scenarios that prove hopeless for evolving life.  What remains is a bundle of raw speculation that has not yet been ruled out.  Speculation is not science.  If efforts to confirm the speculation result in some interesting scientific observations on the side, well and good for those observations, but the bundle of speculation itself is indistinguishable from modern alchemy – a fun trip on a dead-end road.  Someone quipped, if you don’t care where you are going, you ain’t lost.  We think people should care.  You may be lost and not know it yet.(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

New houses for Elliot Dale residents

first_img2 October 2012 After years of waiting, residents of Elliot Dale in the Eastern Cape have finally received new houses to replace the mud structures they used to call home. Two hundred houses were recently handed over, in the first phase of the a multi-million rand Elliot Dale Rural Sustainable Human Settlements Project, to beneficiaries who qualify for the government housing subsidy grant, falling in the R3 500 to R7 500 income bracket. While phase one saw the construction of 200 units, phase two will result in another 800. At the end of the project, 7 000 new homes will have been built, along with new sanitation, a sports field and a community centre. Eastern Cape Human Settlements MEC Helen Sauls-August, who handed over the houses, said it marked an important era in the rural development agenda for Elliot Dale, Mbhashe and the broader Eastern Cape. “This handover will clearly contribute to an improved household life and a complete human settlements project with a sport field and a community centre for this village. This is one of the few projects to have such amenities in our province,” Sauls-August said. The MEC urged those involved in the project to work hard to ensure that people were not forced to wait any longer than they had to for the services they had a right to. The project had created 25 job opportunities for semi-skilled labourers, 22 for skilled labourers, 64 for youth, 68 for women and 90 for men. With 7 000 beneficiaries expected to have new houses by the time for project is complete, many more employment opportunities are expected to come the way of local people. In July 2011, the Cabinet had identified the 21 poorest district municipalities throughout the country, and the Amathole District – under which Elliot Dale and the Mbashe Local Municipality fell – was among these. A number of projects were being implemented in the area. These included household water connection across the Mbashe Local Municipality, including Elliot Dale; a housing project in Elliot Dale and the completion of 25 household gardens. In addition, 50 hectares of arable land had been cultivated, and the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform was supporting the Elliot Dale community with agricultural inputs, with 10 km of fencing of arable lands having been completed and 15 cooperatives having been registered. Source: SANews.gov.zalast_img read more