Power Tiller Improves Farmer’s Yield

first_imgThirty three year old farmer Zulu Zayzay, has beenoperating a power tiller provided by USAID FED for the Fuamah District Cooperative Society in Bong Mines, lower Bong County to improve rice production.In an interview with the Daily Observer last Wednesday, Zayzay said although Liberia has emerged from more than a decade of civil conflict, the youths still face a challenge in finding employment.“By supporting Liberian youth in agriculture, USAID FED aids the Liberian government in helping the youth find sustainable employment especially in the area of agriculture,” Zayzay said.He said due to the improved skills and the provision of modern technologies in rice production provided by USAID FED, he has raised enough income to construct a decent home and support his family.He has furthermore developed three hectares with an improved rice seed variety. He said “I got training in growing lowland rice and fertilizer to increase my yield.” He said he grew rice on one acre, using local seed and harvested 15 of 50 kg bags of paddy rice. Since partnering with USAID FED, he said his field has expanded from one acre to three hectares due to the additional support in mechanization.On the three acre rice field he was able to harvest 180 50kg bags last year, which represents an increase of 1167% more than what he used to harvest before USAID FED’s assistance.Zayzay said in August 2015, USAID FED distributed power tillers to 30 youth entrepreneurs from Bong, Lofa, Nimba and Grand Bassa counties to assist lowland rice farmers to plow their fields and generate income. Zulu got one of the power tillers under a cost-share arrangement.“I have reached more than 40 farmers in tilling their fields, totaling approximately 38 hectares, with the power tiller that I obtained from FED,” he said.He observed that this is an opportunity which helps him to raise additional money.In addition to power tillers, USAID FED has distributed 49 tuk tuks with carriages to transport goods from the farms to the markets. These initiatives address constraints in the agriculture business through mechanization and logistics provisions which have become an opportunity to get more youth involved in providing services to farmers.USAID FED has created a strategy that seeks to encourage Liberian youth to be more engaged in agriculture. 500 farmers in Bong Mines have partnered with USAID FED since 2013 to develop approximately 300 hectares of low land rice fields.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Fossil Frog-amander Claimed to Be Missing Link

first_imgIt looks like a frog with four equal legs and a tail; is it the ancestor of frogs and amphibians?  It depends on whether you read the original paper or the popular press.    Live Science writer Jeanna Brynner is absolutely certain this puts a feather in Darwin’s cap: “the creature represents a transitional amphibian, sporting features of both frogs and salamanders.”  The “walking frog” has fused bones in the ankle characteristic of salamanders, and a wide skull and large eardrum characteristic of frogs.  She quoted Jason Anderson (U of Calgary) who described the five-inch Texas fossil, named Gerobatrachus hottoni, as “kind of an early frog-amander.”  Brynner said the fossil “provides a marker of when frogs and salamanders went their separate ways along the evolutionary path toward modern forms.”  She did, however, quote a team member who remarked that the divergence date according to the fossil’s position in the geological record occurred “much more recently than previous molecular data had suggested.”    What did the original paper in Nature claim?1  Right off the bat, Anderson et al remarked, “The origin of extant amphibians (Lissamphibia: frogs, salamanders and caecilians) is one of the most controversial questions in vertebrate evolution, owing to large morphological and temporal gaps in the fossil record.”  This indicates that one alleged transitional fossil could only provide a partial solution at best.  They did claim that G. hottoni “bridges the gap between other Palaeozoic amphibians and the earliest known salientians and caudatans from the Mesozoic,” but the paper revealed a number of questions and problems.  First, the specimen appears to be from a juvenile.  We don’t know what the adult form looked like.  Frogs undergo a dramatic transformation from tailed tadpole to hopping adult.  Second, only one specimen was found.  Third, frogs and salamanders already share a great many traits, both being amphibians, and a good deal of diversity exists within both groups.  Add to that the thousands of extinct species, and the result is a lot of leeway in where a specimen might fit into a big evolutionary picture.    The following excerpt illustrates the amount of wiggle room involved in inferring evolutionary relationships:If our interpretations are correct, the preaxial pattern of digital development is either independently derived in Gerobatrachus and salamanders, or primitive in batrachians but reversed in frogs.  Knowledge of development in fossil taxa is always inferential, especially when based on a single specimen, but our speculative hypothesis is testable with a more complete developmental series of either Gerobatrachus or another amphibamid.  A preaxial pattern of digital development has recently been demonstrated in branchiosaurids, which are thought to be closely related to, if not included within, Amphibamidae (Fig. 4), but branchiosaurids lack ossified carpals and tarsals and thus it remains unknown if they possessed a basale commune [fused distal tarsals].  This observation, however, may support the possibility that preaxial development is primitive for batrachians (and more basal amphibamids), and will be the subject of future research.A good deal of the interpretation was thus left to future research.    After the morphological analysis, the researchers performed a phylogenetic analysis.  Human choice also affects the inferences here: scoring and rescoring results, tossing out instances deemed irrelevant or misleading, and selecting what software and algorithm to use.  How much confidence, then, can be placed in their conclusion?  “Thus, the available morphological evidence supports the hypothesis of a diphyletic origin of extant amphibians from Palaeozoic tetrapods, with a separate origin of the limbless, largely fossorial caecilians from within the lepospondyls, whereas Batrachia originates within Temnospondyli.”    The paper ended by estimating the divergence times of frogs and amphibians, given their hypothesis.  They agreed that the fossil evidence and molecular evidence were off.1.  Anderson et al, “A stem batrachian from the Early Permian of Texas and the origin of frogs and salamanders,” Nature 453, 515-518 (22 May 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06865; Received 23 October 2007.We hope this little excursion into how evidence for Darwinism is manufactured was revealing.  The popular press (especially Darwin-loving, creation-hating sites like Live Science) stretches hypothetical possibilities into confident truths.  Get to the source; look at the raw data and see if the inference is justified.    Look how much human tinkering was required to get the data to fit their inference.  Even if one accepts their dating scheme the match is imperfect and subjective.  Without the dating assumption, the fit is almost completely arbitrary.  Any number of relationships could be hypothesized between living and extinct individuals.  Besides, this is just a claim about a missing link within the amphibians.  We don’t see transitional forms between the higher-level taxa.  Where are the clam-frogs, echino-flies, and sponge-worms?  (No fair mentioning lionfish and scorpionfish – those are just fish.)    The bottom line: data don’t jump up and draw Darwin’s tree of life.  Evolutionary trees are manufactured by certain people with biases, agendas and world views.  If you asked G. hottoni if it was a Tree frog, it would just say ribbit.(Visited 26 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Mobile swipe machines take off in South Africa

first_imgMobile transaction machines are becoming popular. More food outlets have enlisted theservices of the mobile machines. (Images: Bongani Nkosi) MEDIA CONTACTS • Paul Kent Managing DirectorSureSwipe +27 11 581 1216  RELATED ARTICLES • Mobile money grows in Africa • Bidvest first South African bank to trade Yuan • Capitec gets nod from Swiss • World-class banking for 2010Bongani NkosiThe mobile swipe-card machine industry is booming and looks set to grow further, as more businesses and consumers in South Africa realise how convenient and safe the devices are.An increasing number of establishments are enlisting the services of such machines, said Paul Kent, managing director SureSwipe – an independent supplier.The gadgets have gained popularity as local consumers have become more confident in using them.“It’s almost unheard of for a business not to have a portable swipe-card machine,” Kent said.Debit cards are being used more and more in swipe machines, as opposed to credit cards – although the latter still dominates the market. Debit card users now account for about 30% of the market share, Kent said, but he predicts that by 2012 the market will be 50% debit and 50% credit cards.Debit-card usage is “around 30% at present and growing fast”, he added.The machines, also known as speedpoints, have grown in popularity over the last 12 months as new, faster technology has been introduced. About two years ago the industry was still using “first-generation machines that were not as reliable”, said Kent.Swipe-card machines are very popular in the hospitality sector, Kent said. These days one doesn’t need actual cash when eating out or even enjoying a drink at a bar, as a waiter can bring the handy device to your table.Grocery outlets, both big and small, have also introduced the machines in some of their branches. Furniture and clothing stores are using them too.“For consumers, the peace of mind of watching the transaction taking place in front of them, and the convenience of the machine being brought to their table, if they are at a restaurant, … is a significant advantage,” Kent said.“This market is growing rapidly and soon we might tell our grandchildren that once cards were taken from us and swiped some distance from us,” he added.Rental agreementSwipe-card machines are supplied by all four major banks in South Africa – Absa, Standard Bank, FNB and Nedbank – and groups like SureSwipe. Kent said the industry standard is for suppliers to rent out the devices and provide internet connectivity for them.He said they charge businesses R400 (US$58) per month to rent out a mobile machine and R250 ($36) for a fixed machine. Internet connectivity is R119 ($17.20) per month for a portable machine and R180 ($26) for fixed one.“This is the industry standard. With these machines, rental is more expensive than connectivity.”Machines currently available in South Africa take between 10 and 20 seconds to complete a transaction. Kent said his organisation is now eyeing machines that are much faster, like those recently introduced in Brazil, which “cut the time of a swipe to less than three seconds”.New mobile phone technology is changing the way payments are made overseas. Kent said that in the US, consumers can make purchases using their smartphones.With these gaining significant market share in South Africa as well, the country may not be too far away from adopting such payment methods.“The technology is advancing rapidly – from wireless links to satellite transmission – and even capacity to swipe using smartphones,” Kent said.Preventing fraudThe prevailing concern for retailers is that swipe machines use sim cards for internet connectivity, which Kent said can be taken out and used in any mobile phone. “For instance, a waiter could take this out and use it in his or her cellphone to make personal calls. It is quite difficult to do this, but not impossible,” he added.Another concern is that older credit cards can be used without the consent of the owner, as they do not require a secret pin code for machine transactions – but banks are aware of this and have started introducing a pin system for such cards.Debit cards are generally safer, as a user always needs to enter his or her secret pin number when buying or withdrawing money.If a credit card is lost or stolen, it needs to be reported to the police and bank as soon as possible, so it can be barred.“If the credit card company has frozen the account, the machine will decline the card and the credit card company will receive an alert about the transaction,” Kent said. “Overall, credit-card swipe machines can also prevent fraud or criminal activity.”last_img read more

Two Poems for Christmas 2018

first_img Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details. How many leaks must a contractor seal Before you can call him a man? How many coils have to be cleaned To stop all the mold in the pan? Yes, ’n’ how many times should you come back to test Your house with a blower door fan? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind The answer is blowin’ in the wind.Yes, ’n’ how many times must the neighbors protest When wind turbines rise to the sky? How long will it be, in the East and the West, Till wind power’s easy to buy? Yes, ’n’ how much more carbon needs to escape, Till we all give windmills a try? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind The answer is blowin’ in the wind.Yes, ’n’ how many storms will New Orleans face Before it is washed to the sea? Yes, ’n’ how many years will it take to erase The homes on the Florida Keys? Yes, ’n’ how many times can Republicans blink, And pretend that they just do not see? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind The answer is blowin’ in the wind._______Henry Petrossian, a builder in Watertown, Massachusetts, is the current owner of a family construction company founded in 1916 by his great-great-grandfather, also named Henry Petrossian. Henry, a prominent Watertown citizen, is affectionately known there as Henry the Fifth. In the fall of 2017, Henry and his crew were hired to build a Passive House in Newton. Since his crew had never before achieved the ambitious airtightness goal of 0.6 ach50, Henry knew that his employees would have to perform as never before. On the morning of December 24, 2017, he assembled his workers for a jobsite meeting, where he gave the following memorable pep talk.If we are mark’d to fail,… This article is only available to GBA Prime Memberscenter_img Start Free Trial Already a member? Log inlast_img read more

Xbox Chief Don Mattrick Jumps Ship To Zynga

first_imgreadwrite 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout Don Mattrick, president of the Microsoft division that oversees the Xbox, is reportedly leaving the company after months of controversy over its next console and its subsequent flip-flop over some limitations in places on gamers, according to AllThingsD. Mattrick may be leaving for a position at Zynga, possibly as its CEO in a partnership role with co-founder and current chief Mark Pincus. Should that come to pass, Mattrick would be charged with reversing Zynga’s descent, which has only worsened in recent months with mass layoffs and corporate reshuffling.The ATD report didn’t speculate on Mattrick’s presumed reasons for leaving Microsoft. When reached by ReadWrite, both Microsoft and Zynga declined to comment on the report.Update: Zynga has confirmed Mattrick’s hire as CEO. He starts July 8. Here’s his first note to employees. Related Posts 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex…center_img 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Tags:#Microsoft#now#xbox one#zynga 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

Big Cass (or Big C as he’s known now) cuts a promo on why…

first_imgAdvertisementFollowing his release by WWE earlier this year in June, Big C, formerly known as Big Cass, made his first appearance on the independent circuit last week. The 7 footer was fired by his former employers after the Money In the Bank PPV primarily on the grounds of behavioural and personal conduct issues.Big C made an impromptu visit to Championship Wrestling League (CWL), returning to the ring after three months and immediately opened about his WWE release.He asserted that there are only three people in this world that know why he was ousted by WWE but rather, decided to reveal the names on a later date, on a network special about him instead of a low and unknown platform like the CWL.This narrative still remains a myth and all wrestling fans must wait further as Big C has saved the occasion for a much bigger and world-renowned independent show to share his side of the story.On that note, here’s a look at the entire video of Big C’s promo on CWL: Advertisementlast_img read more