Tony Becca | West Indies cricket in a tailspin

first_img It is either that or they cannot spot talent, or they simply hope to go in the hat and find a special few. On top of that, in their haste to succeed, they probably cannot wait on the development process. That is probably why they keep selecting young players, and why the powers that be keep talking about a “young” team when they should be talking about the West Indies team. Probably they do not remember that international cricket calls for the best against the best and that West Indian fans want to be represented by their best players. For whatever reason, the West Indies team these days seems to be made up of whoever is available. The real problem with West Indies cricket today may also be the fact that West Indies cricket is in the hands of too many foreign administrators and foreign coaches. On that topic, a look at the recent West Indies women’s team may provide some answers to the problem. Whenever I remember the brilliance of the women in the field, I remember who was the fielding coach of the women’s team. I remember that he was Gus Logie. I remember that Logie was once one of the best fielders in one of the best West Indies teams, and I also heard that he had the ladies going through the fielding routine religiously every day. Practice becomes perfect, and my hope is that the West Indies can get people like him, ex-West Indian cricketers who want to be administrators or coaches, send them to Australia or England, get them an Australian or English passport, fly them back to the West Indies, and employ them as administrators and coaches. That may satisfy the cultural side of West Indians, the pride in their achievements over the years, their respect for their heroes, and their sense of national pride. The West Indies problem, however, could well be that times have changed, and definitely, that champions are not born every day. In 1966, however, when six West Indians appeared in the Rest of the World X1 at Lord’s, and again after that, when they were still guided by West Indians and were champions of the world, it was happy times for West Indians. DEVELOPMENT PROCESS If you listen to most West Indian cricket fans, the man who should be tarred, feathered, and run out of town for the embarrassing state of West Indies cricket is none other than president Dave Cameron. Cameron, as the leader, must take some of the blame for the present state of West Indies cricket. He should not, and cannot, however, be held totally responsible for its present state. And regardless of the talk, or excuses, of the captains and the coaches after each defeat, the kind comments from the winning captains after each embarrassing defeat, and the fact that a few senior players were missing, or were not selected, the results tell the story, especially on the recent tours of India and Bangladesh. Regardless of what has been said and the many excuses, the tour to India was a disaster. Despite India resting a number of their top players for the contests, and although one or two of the matches were close and exciting, the results were largely disappointing and embarrassing. The scores were such that it made little difference the type of pitch or whether the West Indies batted first or second. And the tour of Bangladesh, ranked just a few points below the West Indies at number nine, was no different. In the two-Test series, for example, the West Indies lost for the first time in Bangladesh. They lost 2-0, and they lost by 64 runs and by an innings and 184 runs. UNJUSTIFIED OCCASION While Cameron must be applauded for his stance re the players on the many interruptions due to their participation in the various T20 leagues around the world, during their understandable fight for more money, the strike on at least one unjustified occasion while on tour, and following the disrespect shown to him by a few players, he did all this, or so it appeared, in an autocratic manner. Leaders are there to lead, to “work” things out, and to find solutions. It’s as simple as that. Against that, however, despite siding with the “big three” – India, England, and Australia – and depending on foreigners to guide West Indies cricket back to its former glory, Cameron certainly tried his best to help West Indies cricket. To his eternal credit, and despite the empty stands, Cameron introduced, for the second time, and kept it going, return matches in the four-day competition in an effort to get more first-class cricket for West Indians, and his tenure has seen an increase in the pay of West Indian cricketers, including first-class players and women players. Cricket, however, is the business of the board. Cricket is played on the field, and West Indies first-class cricket, which was among the best, and the West Indies team, which was also once the best, are now suffering. Although there are many reasons for it, the buck, as is commonly said, stops with the leader, or leaders. West Indies cricket, despite better accommodation, age group competitions, return matches, and better pay for the players, has been getting worse and worse for the past 20 years or so, and with no end in sight. There is an argument about changing times, more people getting opportunities, other interests, and things to do, but remembering that these things are happening in other countries, these excuses are just excuses. In fairness to the board, or boards, they have tried everything possible to remedy the situation, or nearly everything. There is more cricket, competitive cricket, today than at any other time in history: the regional four-day and 50-over tournaments, the Caribbean Premier League, the different age-group tournaments, the franchise tournaments around the region, and on top of that, many more players are now being paid to play cricket. Although the board is guilty for its general stewardship of West Indies cricket, it is not 100 per cent guilty for its performance on the field of play. Cameron, and his colleagues, cannot and should not be expected to don pads, to bowl, and to field. The performance of the West Indies team falls squarely on the shoulders of those who play, especially those who call themselves professionals but who, on so many, many occasions, perform like rank amateurs, making mistakes, simple mistakes, and the same mistakes, over and over again. May be, however, a part of the problem of West Indies cricket is the men chosen as selectors. The impression is that selectors are selecting “young” players because they remember the selection of young and mostly untried players like Garry Sobers, Sonny Ramadhin, Alfred Valentine, and Michael Holding and company, their success, and would like to replicate their selection.last_img read more

White paper on sugar is ‘dog-whistle’ for closing industry

first_imgDear Editor,The ‘white paper on sugar’, as presented by Agriculture Minister Noel Holder, is a non-paper. It is another cruel and shameless attempt to change the narrative. Like the previous desperate attempts, this white paper is just as futile; the ugly narrative cannot be changed. Far from changing the narrative, the white non-paper confirms that, at the very least, APNU+AFC is maliciously downsizing SUGAR as a prelude for its CLOSURE. This is the narrative they desperately want to change, but the Guyanese people are not buying APNU+AFC’s misinformation and misdirection. The white paper, a doomsday presentation, provides neither assurances nor plans on how three sugar estates — Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt — will stay open. In fact, reading between the lines, the definite closure of three more sugar estates in 2017, added to Wales which was closed in 2016, represent the beginning of a plan to close sugar.David Granger, Nagamootoo, Ramjattan, Holder, Trotman, Charandass, Thomas and the whole APNU+AFC machinery, together with the hatchet team of GUYSUCO senior management and Board, must carry this shame with them forever. The scandal, fiasco and shame of SUGAR downsizing; the subsequent closure and the loss of more than 15,000 jobs; and the threat of poverty for between 50,000 and 100,000 people, will be tattooed on their foreheads forever.More than half of the paper is filled with interesting but irrelevant historical information, with a hefty dose of inaccuracies. Production data, even if historical, is meaningful only if it is accurate.For example: between 1976, when SUGAR was nationalised, and 1992, production averaged about 245,000 tons annually, and not 328,000 tons. This average production under the nationalised industry was significantly below the average sugar production between 1946 and 1976, when the industry was operated by Bookers. GUYSUCO’s records, Bank of Guyana’s Annual Statistics, Bureau of Statistics and National Budget data will confirm my statistics.In fact, production in the 1980s fell to an average of about 200,000 tons; and, by 1991, had fallen closer to 100,000 tons. Production rose to an average above 250,000 tons in the 1990s, and even surpassed 300,000 tons on several instances in the 1990s, before encountering difficulties beginning in 2010. These difficulties followed the EU’s arbitrary 37% reduction of the price for sugar, the impact of climate change, and the need for accelerated mechanization — all difficult but solvable issues, but each of them but unaddressed in the paper.Interestingly, the white paper omitted relevant information. SUGAR provided to Central Government almost $100B in monetary worth at today’s value through the Sugar Levy imposed between 1976 and 1996. This omitted information is relevant, as it places present-day cash inputs from Central Government in a different perspective: Central Government is repaying, not subsidizing, SUGAR.In addition, the white paper ignored the $30B in EU Budgetary Support as compensation for the arbitrary reduction of sugar prices. This, too, is relevant information for relevant assessment of what is going on in SUGAR. Significantly, diversification of GUYSUCO’s operation was an important part of the 1980s’ SUGAR Story. This was ignored in the white paper. The omitted information does not support a narrative that APNU+AFC wants to disseminate to people.The so-called white paper ignored the recommendation of APNU+AFC’s own CoI, and further ignored the recommendation of the IMF. While it makes reference to some aspects of the CoI Report, it conveniently ignored the more relevant information, and it simply pretended that the IMF had nothing to say about SUGAR.The historical perspective, with its hefty portion of inaccuracies and its listing of problems, represent more than 75% of the paper. The section dealing with the future of SUGAR is skimpier than the bikinis that are just lines on almost naked women, leaving little for the imagination. In fact, there is little for us to imagine or speculate on, whether it is the skimpy bikinis or the white paper on sugar.It is clear that SUGAR is being downsized, to begin with; and three estates will continue, but without plans in regard to making them more efficient and profitable, and ready for diversification; thus these will also be thrown aside.Diversification has always been a much-touted plan for GUYSUCO. The white paper ignored any discussion of the disastrous 1980s’ diversification schemes. Yet, the elephant in the room is APNU+AFC’s much touted plans, adverted in various public engagements, to resuscitate some of these same failed diversification plans. Are these still being considered?The PPP’s approach on diversification in the 1990s to 2015 was diversification of sugar-based products, as opposed to the PNC/APNU+AFC’s plans, which diversify into non-sugar areas. For example, the PPP sought to add value by reducing bulk sugar production while increasing packaged sugar – Demerara Gold and other branded packaged sugar products and bottled molasses. The white paper completely ignores the Blairmont and Enmore sugar and molasses packaging plants. These are profitable value-added sugar products for CARICOM and other markets around the world. Is it an oversight or deliberate because it does not fit the narrative for closing SUGAR?The PPP’s diversification plan included production of ethanol to meet, first, the demand of the local market, as legislation was being prepared to mandate ethanol-based gasoline for all vehicles, with at least 10% ethanol as a requirement at all gas-stations. A prototype ethanol plant was established at Albion and showed that ethanol production was feasible and could add value to sugar.last_img read more

Kenya to play Tonga in Bowl quarters

first_img0Shares0000NAIROBI, Kenya, November 25- Kenya will play Tonga in the Bowl quarterfinal on Saturday after their Gold Coast Sevens Main Cup campaign ended following two defeats.Pit against HSBC World Sevens Series champions, New Zealand and titans Fiji in Pool A, the relatively inexperienced Mitch Ocholla’s side more than held their own against the favourites before beating upstarts Niue 19-7 in their final fixture. Fielding five World Series debutants, Kenya went down 26-7 to New Zealand in their opener where skipper, Sydney Ashioya, scored their own try to bring the scores level at 5-5 in the first half.Joe Webber, Tim Mikkelson and D J Phobes added further tries to Frank Arai opener with Tomasi Cama converting three of them to seal the win for the Kiwis.James Brown got the Fijians off to a flier with only 48 seconds on the clock in Kenya’s second game before debutant Andrew Amonde was sin-bined and Setefano Cakau went over for the second.Osea Kolinisau converted both efforts to leave Kenya trailing 14-0 at the breather but they got off to a perfect start in the second when Oscar Ouma touched down and Ashioya converted to halve the deficit.Jimilai Naikadawa and Joeli Lutumailagi in addition to Likai Ikanaikoda’s boot late on purged the hopes of an upset.In their final pool game, Kenya were stunned by Niue when Matt Faleuka scored the opening try with Kenny Akulu successfully converting for a 7-0 early lead.But Ouma’s try and Charles Kanyi’s kick brought the side’s level at the break before debutant Michael Agevi and the boot of Kanyi at the start of the second half gave them the lead with scores at 14-7.Another first timer, William Ambaka pulled the Kenyans further but Christopher Asego missed the conversion to leave the final scores standing at 19-7.New Zealand topped the group after walloping Fiji 28-5 and Niue 38-0. The newcomers lost by a similar margin to the Fijians.Kenya’s opponents in the Bowl quarters, Tonga opened with a 24-7 defeat to Wales before losing 19-0 to England and 12-14 to Scotland.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Spector’s DNA absence explained

first_imgPhil Spector’s DNA was not found on the gun that killed Lana Clarkson, a criminalist testified Monday, but he suggested it might have been hidden under the large amount of the actress’ blood on the weapon. Sheriff’s criminalist Steve Renteria, called by the prosecution in Spector’s murder trial, acknowledged that numerous items analyzed by the crime lab showed only the DNA of the dead woman. “Just because Lana Clarkson was the sole donor (of DNA) that doesn’t mean that nobody else on Earth came in contact with those things?” Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson asked the witness. “Correct,” replied Renteria. “It all has to do with the amount of cells present.” He noted that a large smear of blood on the banister of a staircase next to her body showed only her DNA. “There could have been trace cells from another donor,” he said, but they would have been overwhelmed by the large smear. “I didn’t see his DNA but it could have been there underlying,” said the witness. Defense attorney Christopher Plourd, cross-examining the witness, elicited testimony that Spector’s DNA was also not detected on the bullets found in the gun. The defense is expected to argue that the absence of Spector’s DNA on the gun means he did not pull the trigger and that Clarkson killed herself. The prosecution may argue that Spector wiped off the gun at some point. Clarkson, 40, died on Feb. 3, 2003, from a single shot fired from a revolver in her mouth. Her body was found slumped in a chair in the foyer of Spector’s Alhambra mansion. With the emphasis on forensic evidence, Renteria also testified about the unexpected absence of blood spray from Clarkson on a wall near her body or on the carpet in front of it, suggesting something or someone in front of her could have blocked it. 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

Foreign thugs slip on the ICE

first_imgAt least four of the gang members were arrested in the San Fernando Valley. Four were picked up in Palmdale and one in Ventura. The aggressive federal efforts come as crime rates rise in metropolitan areas across the country and cities complain about growing gang violence. Officials from Los Angeles and other cities were in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to lobby congressional leaders to support stiff new penalties and provide new funding to combat gang violence. In Los Angeles, officials estimate there are 39,000 local gang members affiliated with about 400 gangs. City officials have beefed up police efforts recently and earlier this month said some types of gang-related crimes in the San Fernando Valley and other parts of L.A. have dropped by as much as 30 percent in the first five months of the year to one of the lowest levels in recent history. In a sweeping crackdown on gang members who are in the country illegally, more than 120 people have been arrested in Los Angeles over the past three months and now face immigration charges, federal prison and deportation, officials said Wednesday. The arrests, part of a new national effort by local law enforcement and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, mark the first time the federal government has used its immigration authority to target gang members who are in the country illegally. So far, 5,000 illegal-immigrant gang members have been arrested nationwide, officials said. In Los Angeles, 124 gang members have been arrested and are facing prosecution for immigration violations. Of those, 56 are also facing federal criminal charges, including re-entry after deportation, which has a maximum sentence of 20 years. “The foreign national gang members we are targeting are not poster children for the American dream,” said Robert Schoch, head of the U.S. ICE agency’s Los Angeles investigations office. “In fact, these are career criminals that are preying on members in their immigrant communities.” While gang-related homicides saw the biggest drop, the total of all gang-related crimes dropped by 5.5 percent citywide – from 2,521 incidents in the first five months of 2006 to 2,382 in the same period this year. Still, gang-related crimes in the Valley rose about 9 percent. In February, the LAPD created its own Most Wanted list of gangsters and developed a program that brings in the FBI, federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, county district attorney and city attorney in a coordinated response. On the federal level, enforcement officials are moving to get gangsters off the street by nabbing them for immigration violations and any other crimes they can. Under Operation Community Shield, immigration officials are working more closely with the Los Angeles Police Department and City Attorney’s Office to identify gang members who are in the U.S. illegally. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo said that since April he has passed the names of convicted gang-injunction violators to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which works with ICE to determine their residency status. Acting U.S. Attorney George S. Cardona said illegal-immigrant gang members have to serve time in state prison for the state crimes they’re convicted of – whether gun, drug or violent offenses. Then they serve time in federal prison for immigration violations and are deported upon release. Typically, immigrants who are convicted of illegal re-entry after being deported serve up to five years in federal prison before being deported again, he said. Cardona said his staff will “try and do more federal prosecutions to try and let them know that they’re not just going to get taken on a bus down, dropped off in Mexico, and then be able to come back four days later if they can find a way across the border without anything happening to them.” (213) 978-0390160Want 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

Kilmarnock cut Rangers ticket allocation for final game

first_img“As promised, we have worked with and listened to feedback from our leading supporters’ groups in a real effort to encourage and inspire the next generation of Killie fans. “After the game we’re encouraging all Killie fans to stay in the stadium and watch one of the most memorable Killie teams in recent memory complete their traditional lap of honour complete with a few words from our manager Steve Clarke.”A Rangers spokesperson said: “We are disappointed with the decision, which will force us to consider carefully what application we will seek for future matches at Rugby Park.”The match, which will be Kilmarnock’s final game of the season, could be crucial in the battle to qualify for the Europa league. Kilmarnock have cut Rangers’ ticket allocation for the upcoming Premiership match at Rugby Park as they plan a “celebration of all things Killie” in their anniversary year.Fans of the Ibrox club are usually given the Chadwick and Moffat stands for matches between the sides and are given around 8,000 tickets.But with Kilmarnock celebrating their 150th year, and in the hunt for a European place and a record points total, the decision has been taken to half the usual number of tickets for Rangers fans and house them in the Chadwick Stand with the Moffat stand available for home fans. Major shareholder Billy Bowie said: “Kilmarnock FC is a family club and we want to make sure Rugby Park is an enjoyable and safe environment for people to enjoy watching football. Steve Clarke’s side are currently level on points with Aberdeen and are in third-place thanks to a slightly better goal difference gong into the post-split fixtures.last_img read more

Photo of the Week: Courthouse Grille in Plymouth, Michigan

first_imgIt was a restaurant in Plymouth, Michigan for over 80 years, but the vacant building will be demolished for redevelopment. The Courthouse Grille on the hilltop overlooking Edward Hines Park closed in late 2017. For many families in the west metro Detroit suburbs, including mine, it was a place for family reunions, holiday celebrations, graduation parties, and first dates. I knew it as The Hillside Inn when I was growing up. It was the scene for birthday celebrations as well as a Girl Scout seniors graduation for me. We held our son’s high school graduation party there.The restaurant changed names and ownership over the years, but always retained memories of wonderful meals and good memories for me.The building has stood vacant since early January 2018. Some of the shutters have fallen down off the building, though the rest of the outside of the restaurant looks good. We’ve lost a lot of buildings in the Plymouth/Canton area due to redevelopment over the years. I’m sad this historical building will be gone soon. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading…RelatedCourthouse Grille: ReviewLast night we stopped in for dinner at Ernesto’s Italian Garden, one of our old standby restaurants in Plymouth, Michigan only to discover the restaurant has changed names. Now called the Courthouse Grille (in recognition of the 35th District Court next door), it turns out the former owner (who sold…In “Miscellaneous”Amici Italian Bistro: Restaurant ReviewI’m always looking for family-run, out of the way restaurants that serve great food and have friendly good service. Over the years, I’ve added Gabriel’s Cheese Steak Hoagies in Ypsilanti, O’Sushi in Canton, Casey’s Tavern in Ann Arbor, and Polonia in Hamtramck to our family’s list of favorite restaurants. Sadly,…In “Miscellaneous”Photo of the Week: Marquette County CourthouseWhen I drove by the courthouse in downtown Marquette, Michigan, I thought it looked familiar. Where had I seen it before? I hadn’t been to Marquette for over 10 years, so it wasn’t a familiar place. Did someone share a photo with me on social media? Was the courthouse in…In “Michigan”last_img read more

Is Your Approach to Network Device Security Sufficiently Middle of the Road?

first_imgSponsored by Axis CommunicationsAttitudes toward the cyber risk posed by network devices can vary substantially. Some organizations don’t give it much thought. They plow ahead, adding this or that device to the network without much consideration. They may not even bother to change the default password on their new IP camera. At the other extreme is hysteria, facilitated by horror stories and fanciful hypotheticals that gain traction in the media. Retail professionals in this camp could shy away from adding security devices to the network–out of concerns for security.So who’s right?- Sponsor – Neither, suggests John Bartolac, cyber security expert and senior manager for cyber strategy at Axis Communications, a leading provider of IP-based products and solutions.Smart, connected products represent a real opportunity for retailers and loss prevention practitioners. Effective use of these devices can cut expenses, improve operational efficiency, enhance safety, reduce loss, and drive business. But connected devices aren’t risk-free. “Connected devices offer great benefits, but you need to be sure these things are protected,” said Bartolac. If not deployed and maintained properly, network devices can become threat vectors for cyber instrusions, such as a botnet attack.However, while the risk is legitimate, it doesn’t outweigh the value that can be leveraged from connected devices. “You have to look at the risk, absolutely. But you shouldn’t panic or let fear paralyze you and miss out—you just need to account for the risk when you add devices,” said Bartolac.Essentially, LP should embrace the opportunities but be diligent when deploying solutions, he suggested.The risk is something that retailers have started to recognize. “I’m seeing retailers making themselves more aware of the risks, probably because of the marriage of LP with IT,” said Bartolac. “They are starting to look into what kinds of things can create risk and what kinds of solutions are appropriate, especially as systems are getting more complex.”For years, the most retailers worried about with respect to a surveillance camera was whether it was mistakenly positioned to capture customer cardholder information. “However, now that it’s a network device that can be the subject of attack, you need to take those possibilities into consideration,” said Bartolac. “Imagine what a day without online sales could do a retailer. It is devastating.”It’s an important recognition. “When you look at IP cameras, they really are acting like a server on the network,” said Bartolac. “It’s necessary to take many of the same precautions to protect a camera as a network.”At the outset, it’s critical for LP to evaluate the security of a security device as closely they do other criteria, such as compatibility, features, and price. Bartolac noted that not all manufacturers of network security devices are designed for security, and there is no guarantee—if a flaw is found—that the manufacturer will roll out a timely fix. Often, even basic security precautions are ignored in the manufacture and installation of security devices. Additionally, not all vendors do the same amount of testing.Consequently, choosing trusted manufacturers and integrators is critical, as is working exclusively with vendors that offer a roadmap for security. Axis, for example, provides a hardening guide for its network security devices, such as IP cameras.It may also be helpful to resist having your heart set on specific products when entering a project, as doing so can lead to overlooking vulnerabilities. It’s also important to develop internal technology expertise so that your LP team is capable of asking all the necessary questions. Finally, Bartolac says it’s helpful to establish best practices for low, medium, or high device protection, and to then follow the appropriate level depending on the level of risk associated with a specific device.It’s not just dodgy manufacturers or lackadaisical integrators that can be the source of risk. Retailers, too, can be guilty of failing to take even basic protections. “One of the most important security measures is the most basic—it’s passwords and the management of passwords,” said Bartolac. “It blows my mind that some companies will keep out-of-box passwords for every device and never change them.” Default passwords for IP devices are typically easy to guess and even published online, and offer an easy and frequently used avenue for cyber criminals to gain unauthorized access to a retailer’s system. Effective ways to leverage passwords to stop attacks are to set strong, unique passwords; ensure good password management; use certificates in lieu of passwords; and to change passwords on a regular basis.What are some of the other actions that retailers and LP pros should take? Bartolac and Axis offer some valuable best practices:Deploy and install devices in the recommended way. By disabling unused services and only installing trusted applications reduces the chances that a would-be perpetrator could exploit a system vulnerability. Also, place cameras where they’re out of reach of a potential attacker’s tampering.Use a principle of “least privileged accounts.” This means limiting users to only the resources they need to perform their job.To reduce exposure, prohibit direct camera access from any device that accesses video, unless it is required by the solution. Clients should only access video through a video management system or a media proxy.Adhere to a well-documented maintenance plan, and keep network devices current with firmware and security updates.Work closely with your entire supply chain of vendors to understand possible threats to your network in using your selected devices. Remember to understand the system as a whole, not just each individual device. In a truly integrated system, the devices will need to speak to each other.Ideally, all devices should fit into your IT policy on their own as well as when configured to work together.Make sure your systems are using at least of one the common authentication protocols: HTTP digest authentication and HTTPS. This ensures that all information is encrypted before being sent across the network.Technology is moving fast, and it is natural to be excited by the value that network connected devices can provide LP and retail organizations. And while the risks should not dissuade LP practitioners from pursuing those solutions, “they have to do their due diligence,” said Bartolac. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

First Steps in the Anti-Piracy Discussion Stumble Out of the Gate

first_imgscott fulton 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#privacy#security#web It is not a Mexican counterpart of SOPA, as we’ve covered here previously, but the piece of legislation known worldwide as the “Döring bill” or Ley Döring remains as much a hot topic throughout Latin America as SOPA was in the U.S. It is an anti-piracy bill, though rather than blocking access to websites at the ISP level, it would have ISPs shut off Web access from users found to be repeatedly trafficking in illicit, copyrighted material.The largely unpopular bill re-entered the news this past Friday in Mexico City, where a public discussion on the bill and on anti-piracy legislation worldwide – the very type of discussion this issue has demanded – ended with the principal invited guest, Sen. Federico Döring Casar, not showing up.As it happened, according to El Economista, the event ended up being something of a rally against anti-piracy legislation of all forms. The president of the Mexican Internet Association, for example, stated the Döring bill put undue obligations on the digital publishing industry to police its own readers, arguing that (translating from Spanish) “we should not criminalize the publishers to protect the authors.” Sen. Döring had spoken out against SOPA prior to his introduction of the bill (which is still under consideration), so many have characterized the senator has somewhat hypocritical. As he explains it, anti-piracy legislation is necessary, but not in a form that endangers a publisher’s right to free expression. From his vantage point, his bill would not shut off the faucet when illicit material is discovered to spew out of it. Rather, it would tap users on the shoulder and remind them not to drink from that faucet – and then take them away from the sink once they’ve shown that they’re not listening.As Mónica Fonseca from Colombia’s NTN24 asked me this morning for an interview slated to appear on her “C.S.T.” program this week, how do we get to a perfect balance between protecting copyright and enabling the freedom of individuals to post what they want, where they wish?I had to answer her, when and if we do reach a balancing point, it won’t look like the right for individuals to post whatever they want. For decades, copyright law protected artists from having their works presented to a broad audience by some unaffiliated individual looking to make a buck. While in retrospect, it seems silly to imagine someone pitching a tent in his backyard, putting on a couple of LPs, and charging a thousand people 10 bucks admission to hear them, this was a legitimate fear once the fidelity of recorded works reached such a high level, and not everyone had access to such quality.The Internet has turned everything upside down. It effectively gives every individual the power of a broadcaster. I took a gamble that Mónica would agree with me that I would not have the right to rebroadcast an episode of Project Runway Latin America (the other show she’s known for) with someone else’s advertising attached. The Web might give me the means, but means and rights are two different things. (If you search YouTube for videos of PRLA, you’ll find the producer has issued takedown notices on several.)The balance she’s hoping for, I argued, can only be achieved if the two important factors in this argument (let’s leave out the pirates altogether) agreed to meet each other halfway. First, content creators and the lawmakers who act in their interests must resolve to stop being so skeptical about the motives of everyday individuals. They just want the means to use the media they download fairly, and technology is often so convoluted that they must resort to unusual means to accomplish it – and sometimes, yes, that does mean copying discs.But individuals must learn not to be so hypocritical themselves. We talk a lot about how a third-party monitoring system, like the one the Döring law proposes, could conceivably be used to infringe upon individual liberties, and would be an invasion of individuals’ rights to anonymity. We say this while we’re updating our status on Facebook, we’re broadcasting our GPS location to “the community,” we’re telling the world when we’ve left home and when we’ve come home from work, and we’re sharing every last thought in 140 characters or less. Obviously there are some third parties we’re willing to trust without a second thought; we’re just skeptical of those that actively advertise themselves as monitors of Web behavior. We’re more skeptical of systems that are at least being honest than of the thousands or more that are inherently dishonest.Maybe most importantly of all, though, is that we need to show up and have this discussion. Our absence does far more damage than our participation ever could.last_img read more

Stink bugs protect their eggs by changing their color

first_imgNewspaper lining the bottom of a stink bug (Podisus maculiventris, pictured, with eggs at bottom) cage may seem an unlikely impetus for scientific discovery, but it was the black and white squares of the crossword puzzle that that led Paul Abram, an entomologist working towards his Ph.D. at Université de Montréal in Canada, to suspect that stink bugs might be employing a surprising strategy when laying their eggs. Plenty of animals, like birds and other insects, lay eggs that differ in color based on what their parents eat or other factors, but scientists have never observed mothers intentionally changing the color of their eggs. Abram noticed that the eggs on the dark squares tended to be darker and vice versa. Although camouflage might be a tempting explanation for the phenomenon, subsequent experiments, in which the stink bugs were given only white fabric to lay their eggs on, revealed that the pigments served a different function. According to research published today in Current Biology, female stink bugs can change the color of their eggs depending how much light is reflecting off a surface by selectively adding a dark pigment. Because of the pigment’s ability to absorb UV light, the researchers believe that its function is to protect the delicate DNA and cellular machinery inside the developing bug. Abram likens it to sunscreen. In the wild stink bugs lay their eggs on leaves, and additional experiments showed that the bugs placed darker eggs on the top (in direct sunlight), whereas eggs on the shaded underside of the leaf contained 2.1 times less pigment on average. The identity of the pigment is still unknown, but early experiments suggest that it may be related to melanin—the most abundant dark pigment on the planet.last_img read more