Early season woes continue for USC

first_imgIt was a tough day for the No. 12 USC women’s soccer team Friday, as it battled both the extreme dry heat and the Mexican national team. Unfortunately for the Women of Troy, both the temperature (which reached the upper 90s) and the opposing team were hot as Mexico beat USC 2-0.Mexico controlled the ball for most of the match because its quick play and one-two balls were too fast for the Women of Troy. Senior goalkeepers Kristin Olsen and redshirt Brittany Massro played one half each for the Women of Troy, and they did their best to keep USC in the game as they came up with some big saves.Falling short · Senior defender Meagan Holmes said her team, which allowed Mexico two late-half goals, didn’t finish off halves strong enough. – Carlo Acenas | Daily TrojanBut it was two late Mexican goals, one at the end of each half, that proved to be the difference. Just as in the game against Texas A&M last weekend, USC managed to keep the ball out of its net for most of the half but was seeking the final whistle four minutes too early.“I don’t think we dug deep enough or showed enough passion,” said senior defender Meagan Holmes. “I think that’s what it came down to because both goals were in the last five minutes of both halves.”Coach Ali Khosroshahin started eight freshmen and sophomores with little collegiate experience in the exhibition match against Mexico. Even though USC is returning seven starters from last year’s team, Khosroshahin wanted to get some younger players playing time and give them an opportunity to show they belong on the field. But not many players impressed the coach.“We’re very green is definitely something I walked away with,” Khosroshahin said. “There are players that got opportunities they may not get again.”USC’s inexperience showed on the field as it tried to find some chemistry. There were times when the Women of Troy were able to string many passes together, but it was the transition from the backline to the front line where they struggled the most.“We need to transition better. We are really having a poor time getting the ball from one end to the other,” Khosroshahin said. “I attribute it to inconsistency.”Mexico’s forward Monica Ocampo frustrated the Women of Troy throughout the entire game. She threatened to score numerous times in the first half and, even though USC had a few shots, Ocampo and Mexico were the more dangerous team in the first half.In fact, it was Ocampo’s goal in the waning moments of the first half that gave Mexico the 1-0 lead. Ocampo got the ball at the top of the box, dribbled around Holmes and fired the shot past a diving Olsen.The second half was more of the same. USC didn’t create many opportunities in the attacking third and turned the ball over, letting Mexico take possession of the ball and charge at the backline without much resistance. The defense did have three new starters on the field, but they couldn’t contain the dynamic Mexican offense.“I thought we were very, very soft defensively,” Khosroshahin said. “We just needed to win a tackle and we couldn’t do that. I tried to get players some time but it was disappointing.”Mexico scored its second goal with just under four minutes left on the clock in the second half, as a nifty through ball by Evelyn Lopez found Tania Morales behind the defense as she slotted it past Massro for the clinching goal.Even though the Women of Troy weren’t able to keep up with the Mexican national team, they tried to learn from the match. Freshman Kat Parker played the entire game in the midfield and saw what the Women of Troy needed to work on.“Probably just switching sides more, finding open spaces and attacking as a group instead of individuals,” she said.Khosroshahin knew that playing Mexico would be a tough test for the Women of Troy, and despite the problems, he took some positives out of the match.“We don’t face too many teams that move the ball like them. We can learn from this,” he said.last_img read more

Read More →

Paleontologist Spills Beans on Evolutionary Emptiness

first_imgA noted evolutionary paleontologist reviews a new book on evolutionary mechanisms favorably, but gives Darwin skeptics ammo in the process.Kevin Padian, a renowned evolutionary paleontologist, is certainly no friend of creation or intelligent design. When speaking to his Darwin buddies, he feels comfortable enough to be frank about problems. Here are some scraps from the table of his book review in Nature, “Evolution: Parallel lives,” a review of Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution, by Jonathan B. Losos (Riverhead: 2017). Padian highly recommends the book, but has to make some corrections to views that Losos presents. We summarize some tasty morsels:Dinosaurs were not wiped out by an asteroid. Padian debunks a common myth that Losos perpetuates. The book “goes off the rails” early on, he complains:There is one problem. Some research suggests that dinosaurs had been declining for millions of years before the impact as the climate changed, shallow inland seas receded and returned, temperatures dropped and inland environments destabilized. Their extinction rates did not increase at the end of the Cretaceous; rather, origination of new species plummeted, and so diversity dropped. If there were any dinosaurs left by the very end of the period, they would probably not have succeeded in the cooler, forested world of the Palaeogene period that followed. The Chicxulub asteroid and the large-scale volcanic activity around the same time may have been almost irrelevant to their fates.Mammals did not arise because the dinosaurs went extinct.Neither is it sensible to maintain that their demise paved the way for mammals. Recent discoveries show enormous ecological diversity in Cretaceous mammals, from swimmers to gliders; they rarely topped 10 kilograms at the time, but became larger in the Palaeogene. Just as importantly, they lived in environments quite different from those of the Cretaceous. So stories about “replaying the tape” of evolution can acquire a different cast, given further evidence.Convergent evolution is not a law of nature.We can catalogue examples all day, but is there any real theory of convergence? We cannot assert that some lineages are ‘fated’ to converge on these features. Biological ideas of determinism went out with Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in the late eighteenth century.Natural selection is the Stuff Happens Law.The idea of contingency is perhaps best based on palaeontologist Dolf Seilacher’s theory of constructional morphology. In this, features such as the elephant’s trunk or the osprey’s habit of catching fish with claws rather than beak result from three factors: adaptation (the selective component), evolutionary history (organisms must work with what they’ve inherited) and construction (how the material properties of living structures empower and constrain their form). From there, history takes over. Evolution is not a preordained, inevitable narrative. Neither is it a crapshoot, with random particulates disporting themselves until something works. Rather, it is like the game Monopoly. Where you go next is in part determined by where you are now; who you are is where you’ve been (your acquisitions); where you can go is determined by the throw of the dice, with limited possibilities and probabilities.Padian doesn’t seem to reflect on the fact that Monopoly is played by intelligent minds with a goal. Evolution has no goal or desire to win; therefore, it is a complete throw of the dice (the Stuff Happens Law), where extinction is just as good an outcome as survival, because naturalism is blind, and nobody cares.Padian threw his dice, landed on Chance and got a “Go to Jail” card. He should realize that in Evolution Monopoly, the board is the fitness landscape, and there are no “Get Out of Jail Free” cards in the deck. His only way out is to become a creationist and find grace.(Visited 1,034 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Read More →

Walking for Eden, and elephants

first_img19 March 2009Walking is much more than a way to get from A to B. It’s a meditation and a pilgrimage.The late Boudewijn Wegerif, a Swede who walked from Stockholm to Cape Town in 1999 to protest world debt, called walking “brain aerobics.” He maintained that the regular movement of your left leg and right arm followed by right leg and left arm – continued for a couple of hours – increased the connections between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. He would have known. Stockholm to Cape Town is a long trek.MediaClubSouthAfricaFree high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service. Of course, in this day and age, walking is probably the least efficient way to get from one place to another – unless they’re really close. So there has to be another reason for anyone deciding to walk the 400-odd kilometres between Kranshoek in the Knysna Forest to Addo near Port Elizabeth. And there is. South Africa’s Eden to Addo Mega-Hike is a pilgrimage – a pilgrimage to biodiversity.The hike is offered once a year, usually in September, as a “slackpacking” trail. What this means is that trailists carry only the essentials in a day pack, and all their gear is taken from camp to camp by a back-up vehicle. Added luxuries are the fact that your tents are erected for you, and meals provided. So like any good pilgrim, you can concentrate on the mission at hand.Natural migrationThe mission is to understand the need for, and importance of, conservation corridors in general, and this one in particular. In the past, conservation areas were established for a variety of reasons, mostly good. But often they were too small to allow for natural migration, so the pressure on the reserve’s resources would become excessive, and necessitate some rather creative management strategies.This has been recognised by conservation authorities in the last couple of decades so reserves in the southern Africa region – and indeed all over the world – are being consolidated.Successful local examples include the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, made up of the Kruger National Park in South Africa, Gonarezhou National Park, Manjinji Pan Sanctuary and Malipati Safari Area in Zimbabwe, and the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique; and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park that straddles the border between South Africa and Botswana. In fact, fences between conservation areas are dropping almost as fast as the value of the Zimbabwe dollar.The hike traverses a unique as-yet unproclaimed corridor stretching from the tangled, green coastal Afromontane Forest biome of Knysna in the Western Cape to the game-rich Albany Thicket of Addo in the Eastern Cape, passing through a range of farms and reserves belonging to about 60 different landowners.While all the stakeholders are in favour of the idea of a conservation corridor, it’s not that easy to implement. Which is why the Mega-Hike was established. As well as being a great way to spend about three weeks, it is also a fund-raising project, and offers participants the opportunity to interact with a variety of conservation specialists who share their knowledge on the trail.It really is about the conservation, not the walking. All profits go directly to the Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative, a non-profit Section 21 company.Going postalGaleo Saintz, who leads the hike, pioneered the route in 2005 with the specific purpose of finding out whether there was a hikeable route between Knysna and Addo.He set off alone and posted light, dehydrated food, spare camping gas cylinders and fresh socks to himself at post offices in towns he’d never heard of. He was joined on sections of the walk by friends – and even one complete stranger, who really liked what he was doing so decided to keep him company.The upshot was that he managed to track down his supplies in the tiny rural post offices, and found it was possible – if rather strenuous – to hike the route. The next year, 2006, the escorted Eden to Addo Mega-Hike was launched with 24 participants. The 2007 trek was cancelled as Saintz was sick, and no one else knew the route, but the 2008 one went ahead without a hitch, with 18 hikers walking the full distance, and six opting for one of the shorter one- or two-week options.“The long-term strategy,” Saintz says, “is to make it a self-guided trail, but it’s wild country and, with so many landowners, it will take a lot of planning.”The hike straddles five distinct biomes and links three major conservation areas. The existing parks and reserves are the Knysna Protected Area, the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve and the Greater Addo Elephant National Park. These together protect patches of Afromontane Forest, Mountain Fynbos, Succulent Karoo, Savanna Grassland and Albany Thicket. All these biomes are transition zones that overlap – and even shift from year to year with varying rainfall.The trail takes participants from one biome to another, linking seven mountain ranges and peaks over the 19 days. Daily walking distances average about 23 kilometres, with the shortest day being 12 kilometres and the longest about 35 kilometres, so this is not an easy hike. The terrain is mountainous and there is little flat walking, and where there is, it is far.The views are stupendous, the air is invigorating and the constant change in scenery and vegetation offers an intellectual challenge equal to the physical one.Some not-so pretty aspects of the hike include climbing over fences, fighting through thick stands of invasive alien trees, and coming across gin traps and other indications that the proclamation of this corridor really is a priority. Fireside debates are long, interesting and – while not acrimonious – can get quite robust.Mysterious elephants of KnysnaIt is surmised – with some good evidence – that the trail loosely follows old elephant migration paths. And this raises an interesting question.The elephants of Knysna, the only really wild elephants left in South Africa as there are no fences keeping them in a designated park – and certainly the most mysterious, elusive and endangered – are dwindling at an alarming rate. Strong evidence suggests that only one matriarch and a few younger individuals remain. But they are genetically isolated, and almost certainly destined to die out.Conservationists tried translocating a couple of elephants from Kruger to Knysna a few years ago, but those poor Lowveld animals took one look at the tangled forests and rushed to hide out in the much safer-looking surrounding farmlands. That didn’t work out and that plan was abandoned.So there’s no hope for the Knysna elephants. They’re on a one-way trip to extinction – to join the dodo and the quagga. They say extinction is forever, but perhaps, just maybe, if the corridor is opened the elephants may start exploring ancient migration routes, and who knows.It’s a ridiculously optimistic and romantic idea, but that’s what a pilgrimage is all about – faith. And hope. It’s about putting one foot in front of the other, day after day, for a cause, for a dream, and for a better future.The 2009 hike runs from 4 to 23 September. There are only 24 places. Book now.First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.last_img read more

Read More →

Google’s Cloud Problems Should Terrify Enterprises

first_imgIT + Project Management: A Love Affair Related Posts brian proffitt Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Yesterday’s Gmail outage was not just another pain. Out-of-control code also brought down some Chrome browsers, hurting productivity for those affected. As the boundary between cloud services and native clients blur, enterprises cannot afford this kind of instability any longer.Monday was not a fun time to be a Google user. For about 40 minutes yesterday afternoon (on the East Coast), Gmail service, as well as Google Drive, experienced scattered outages. Reports indicate that personal Gmail accounts may have been more affected than Google Apps accounts.Curiously, at nearly the same time, many Google Chrome users started reporting that their browsers were doing full-on crashes – very much a problem, since their browser of choice was actually now killing all of their Internet-based tasks. It was also weird, because Chrome, like most current browsers, tries to sandbox individual tabs so that if a bad script gets loaded from a faulty page, that tab will hang and not the whole browser. To have the entire client crash was trouble.The Whys And WhereforesThe two failures may have been unrelated, though it’s not clear. The Chrome browser issue was caused by a problem with the Google Sync service — the feature that enable Chrome users to sync their preferences and bookmarks across machines.According to Chrome developer Tim Steele, the back-end Chrome Sync servers experienced problems because of a load-balancing configuration change in their quota management system, a change that turned out to be wrong and ended up forcing the Sync service to throttle itself back.Steele’s comments seem to imply that it was not the Gmail outage that caused the Chrome browsers to die, but perhaps the Sync problem that spread out to other services, like Gmail.“That change was to a core piece of infrastructure that many services at Google depend on. This means other services may have been affected at the same time, leading to the confounding original title of this bug [‘When Gmail is down, Chrome Sync crashes Chrome’],” Steele wrote. “Because of the quota service failure, Chrome Sync Servers reacted too conservatively by telling clients to throttle ‘all; data types, without accounting for the fact that not all client versions support all data types.”Hence, crashing Chrome browsers and perhaps some downed Google services, too.The Enterprise ImpactIn the grand scheme, this was not a huge problem. Depending on where you were, the issue cleared in about half an hour, and not every Chrome browser tanked, since not every Chrome user has Sync activated.But the implications of this event are a little alarming. Here we have a situation where a change was made to complex software in the cloud and it immediately rippled right out to users. That change appeared to touch other services. Even if Gmail were unaffected by Sync’s problem, there is still the disturbing issue of browsers going down.It’s reasonable, if irksome, to expect a cloud service to go down once in a while. It’s part of working in the cloud. But to have a rich client installed natively on your machine crash too, thus preventing other work while waiting for the original service to restart?To an enterprise IT shop, which should (and usually does) test the heck out of any software before releasing anything to production, this is the opposite of what should happen. Enterprise procurement and configuration is often months behind the consumer market precisely because they don’t want cutting-edge software in the building to torque their employee’s machines.Cloud-based apps like Google and Office 365 can change that sense of security in a heartbeat.It’s not feasible to advocate the cessation of cloud-based tech. The benefits of cloud computing are too big to ignore. But if Google wants to be a serious enterprise player, it must find a way to properly test its configuration changes before they go live.Now that the company is charging for Google Apps for Business, that becomes even more paramount. When money’s involved, the stakes get a lot higher.Image courtesy of Shutterstock.center_img Tags:#Google 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

Read More →

Stained glass residential school tribute unveiled

first_img(Image of a portion of stained glass window depicting residential school students and “awakening.”)APTN National NewsOTTAWA–Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan unveiled a stained glass window in honour of residential school survivors Monday, marking the June 11, 2008, anniversary of the prime minister’s apology for one of the darkest periods in Canadian history.The unveiling of the stained glass window, which was designed by Metis artist Christi Belcourt, comes as crisis swirls around the multibillion dollar residential school settlement that led to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apology.The stained glass artwork, titled Giniigaaniimenaaning, which translated from Ojibway to English means Looking Ahead, was unveiled at the Chateau Laurier, a luxury hotel next to Parliament Hill. The artwork aims to tell the story of Aboriginal people journeying through the “darkness” of residential schools, through “awakening” and eventually reconciliation.“There will be people who will say, ‘Well what will a glass do when there are so many unresolved issues to deal with?’ Issues about land, about the environment, treaties, Metis rights,” said Belcourt, during the unveiling. “There will be 60,000 people walking through Parliament ever year…they will always be reminded.”Belcourt asked non-Aboriginal Canadians to remember that reconciliation takes two sides and urged them to stop writing “filled-with-hate comments” on news website in response to stories about Aboriginal issues.“Aboriginal people have contributed great things to this country and we have always done it in peaceful ways,” she said. “We have always given and given and given…We are going to be stronger if we come together, two sides.”Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan called Belcourt’s stained glass window a “magnificent work” and said it was a symbol of reconciliation.“The stained glass window will be a visible reminder of the residential school’s legacy,” said Duncan.   “It will be a beautiful l and powerful reminder of the lessons learned through the residential school experience. It will also be an enduring symbol of Canadian’s efforts to make amends and achieve reconciliation with Aboriginal people.”Architect Douglas Cardinal, who designed the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C., and the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Que., along the Ottawa River, said Belcourt’s artwork was chosen unanimously by the selection committee.“The selection committee sought artwork that among other things honoured the First Nations, Inuit and Metis children that attended Indian Residential Schools and that depicted the concept of reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians,” said Cardinal, who was on the committee.The unveiling of the artwork, which will be installed on Parliament Hill’s Centre Block, above the entrance reserved for MPs, comes a week after a British Columbia judge barred a Calgary lawyer and his firm from handling any more residential school files, leaving thousands of claims in limbo.The BC judge found that David Blott and his firm Blott & Company were using residential school settlements to enrich themselves by offering high interest loans to former students and doing little to help their clients through the process.Evidence has since surfaced that suggests other lawyers handling residential school claims across the country may be engaging in similar tactics.Duncan, however, dismissed concerns the Blott fiasco had tarnished the residential school settlement process.“Yes, the people who are victims of malfeasance on the part of the legal community certainly did not deserve that, but the process will address all of those people and so they will not be penalized in any form,” said Duncan. “It wasn’t the process that led to this circumstance. The process was designed to deal with people with fairness and respect.”Canada, the churches and Aboriginal organizations agreed to a $5 billion residential school settlement agreement on behalf of former residential school students. The apology followed the settlement agreement which was the largest of its kind in Canadian history.About 150,000 children were cycled through residential schools which lasted over 100 years. Hundreds, maybe thousands of children died at the schools and, in the majority of cases, parents were never informed. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was also created by the settlement, is currently involved in a project to find out who these children were and where they are buried.last_img read more

Read More →