Category: kgmkimyi

Students strip off for charity calendar

first_imgOxford-based student charity TravelAid has produced a naked calendar with the aim of raising money for projects in the developing world.Oxford Undressed features shots of naked students with their modesty preserved by typical Oxonian adornments such as books and mortar boards.The calendar features classic images such as punting on the Cherwell, string quartet in the Holywell music room and trashing on New College Lane, and will be on sale for £10.Catherine Little, the charity coordinator said, “TravelAid is expanding both in the developing world and out to different universities across the UK, and this calendar is part of our fund-raising ethic which promotes development through enterprise.” The initiative follows a similar calendar that raised over £2000 to buy a school bus in Nepal two years ago.A second-year student at Trinity who participated in the calendar recounted, “Doing the calendar shots was quite a giggle; never before (and never again, I expect) had I sat naked in a punt at 5.30 am in the rain! I’m going to spend the summer vacation teaching in rural China.”One Hertford student, who has previously posed for a naked calendar added, “What an excellent cause – you get to help a charity and support people by stripping off at the same time. Win win.”Recent years have seen a number of naked calendars produced in Oxford. In 2006, St Catz undergraduates stripped for a calendar in memory of a student killed in a cycling accident; in the same year members of St Anne’s, including porters, bared all in aid of the homeless.Naked calendars have not always been greeted with a warm reception, illustrated in 2003 when ten LMH students were given a dressing-down for posing naked in the fellows’ garden without permission.Portia Roelefs, OUSU’s part-time women’s officer, commented positively on the charity’s efforts. She said, “Whilst I personally cannot imagine actually choosing to hang it on my wall, I admire the creativity of Travelaid’s fund-raising.”TravelAid partners with local charities and communities to alleviate poverty and build social capacity in the developing world.Students are offered the opportunity to travel to project destinations during the summer, including China, Ecuador, India, Kenya and Nepal.last_img read more

Sterling drop may halt a lowering of flour prices

first_imgThe plunging value of sterling against the dollar and the euro, combined with a decline in UK wheat quality, may put a stop to the recent falls in flour prices.The pound has fallen in value by more than 20% compared to the dollar in the past month, from around $2 to $1.54. Against the euro, sterling has suffered similarly heavy losses, falling in value from E1.43 at the beginning of the year to around E1.20 last week.According to Alex Waugh, director-general of Nabim, the falls could push up wheat prices. “Imported bread wheat, which accounts for around 20% of the UK market, is priced in US dollars, while UK wheat prices are underpinned by the euro because of the Common Agricultural Policy,” he said. “At the same time, British wheat quality has suffered because of heavy summer rain.”The HGCA said analysis of British wheat had shown low protein levels, while wheat harvested later in the season had high moisture content and was of variable quality. HGCA crop marketing director Alastair Dickie said the economic crisis had undermined the price of milling wheat, which had fallen from a high of £200 a tonne in March to £135-£140 a tonne this month.Both Nabim and the HGCA expect currency turmoil to be more of a challenge than EU proposals to reintroduce import duties on cereals, to safeguard European farmers from falling grain prices. The duties were suspended last December in response to record prices and tight supply. The EU hopes raising import duties to keep the price above E155 a tonne will help ensure European farmers can earn a reasonable living.last_img read more

Colson Whitehead, literary chameleon

first_imgColson Whitehead ’91 has gained a reputation as a literary chameleon, deftly blurring the lines between literary and genre fiction, and using his uncanny abilities to inhabit and reinvent conventional frames in order to explore the themes of race, technology, history, and popular culture that continually resurface in his work. In a country where reading habits and reading publics are still more segregated than we often care to admit, his books enjoy a rare crossover appeal. His first novel, “The Intuitionist,” is a detective story that regularly turns up in college courses; the zombie thriller “Zone One” drew praise from literary critics and genre fiction fans alike; “Sag Harbor,” about black privileged kids coming of age in the 1980s, was a surprise bestseller. In an era when commercial pressure reinforces the writerly instinct to cultivate a recognizable “voice,” his astonishingly varied output, coupled with highly polished, virtuosic prose, makes Whitehead one of the most ambitious and unpredictable authors working today.Beyond the books, Whitehead swims effortlessly in the hyper-connected moment: he maintains an active presence on Twitter, where his sly and dyspeptic observations on the curious and the mundane have gained him a devoted following. A sampling includes sagacious tips for the aspiring writer—“Epigraphs are always better than what follows. Pick crappy epigraphs so you don’t look bad”—and riffs on Ezra Pound: “The apparition of these faces in the crowd / Petals on a wet, black bough / Probably hasn’t been gentrified though.” In the pages of The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker, he has wryly dissected contemporary mores and the light-speed metamorphoses of language in the age of social media. In a widely shared essay from last year, he parsed the current attachment to the “tautophrase,” as in “you do you” and “it is what it is.” Or Taylor Swift’s popularization of “Haters gonna hate.” Swift makes an easy target, of course, but Whitehead takes aim at the rhetoric of those in power too, and the narcissism in our culture more generally. He’s more gadfly than moralist, but there is a Voltaire-like venom to his sarcasms. “The modern tautophrase empowers the individual,” he observes, “regardless of how shallow that individual is.” Read Full Storylast_img read more

English professor examine La Santa Muerte folk figure

first_imgProfessor Desiree Martin, an assistant professor of English at the University of California, Davis, spoke Thursday in the Hesburgh Center Auditorium about the growing following of La Santa Muerte, a skeletal Central American folk figure whose name translates to Saint Death, in a talk called “Borderlands Saints: Reflections on Secular Sanctity and La Santa Muerta.”“It [the current version of the following] dates from roughly the early eighties, and it kind of really gained steam in the mid-nineties during the Mexican peso crisis of 1994”, Martin said. “The origin of Santa Muerte that goes further back — there is no consensus on when belief in Santa Muerte first arose. … She is sometimes linked to Saint Paschal Baylon [a Spanish Friar and Catholic Saint from the mid to late 1590’s], and she’s linked to a saint in France who appears as a skeletal figure and another saint from Oaxaca who looks like a skeleton, so there is no real consensus, but probably the roots are pre-colonial as there are indigenous gods that match their beliefs and take a skeletal form.”Martin said Santa Muerte controversially highlights a contemporary symbol of secular sanctity, where a profane figure is worshipped in a way that is not unlike the worship of a sacred figure.“Since Santa Muerte is so strongly associated with the profane, especially in relation to illegality or transgressivity, she is a particularly extreme example of the collision between the secular and the sacred. Santa Muerte is famous for being very miraculous and loyal but also for being a jealous, vengeful patron who requires the utmost devotion and respect,” Martin said. “Santa Muerte is not venerated for her purity but for her accessibility and for her resistance to the powerful forces of the state, the Catholic Church and wealthy elites.”Matin said the exchange at the heart of devotees’ interaction and relationship with Santa Muerte, however, highlights a darker aspect of the relationship between worshipper and figure. Martin showed clips from Eva Aridjis’s 2007 documentary “La Santa Muerte,” which depicted a woman praising Santa Muerte while in prison.“This woman, who paints murals and images of Santa Muerte for her fellow inmates, situates her art as both offering and commodity. She also openly identifies the death saint as both a provider and a guardian for her drug habit,” Martin said. “The woman seems neither to expect judgment of nor deliverance from her drug habit. Instead, she considers Santa Muerte a friend and companion who will not only protect her from an overdose, but will stay by her side as she gets high, perhaps implicitly participating in her illicit journey.”Martin says the ambivalent and two-faced nature of Santa Muerte is inherently contradictory, leading to her image as a disruptor of class, racial, gender and sexual hierarchies being downplayed in favor of an intimidating image of the pagan, the Satanic, or the criminal.“In reality, Santa Muerte threatens her critics because she helps her marginalized devotees, especially migrants, poor barrio residents, and most contentiously, criminals,” she said. “But for the majority of devotees, Santa Muerte’s dark side is not exclusively or even primarily linked to the criminal underworld. Instead, it manifests through the Death Saint’s purported jealousy and the price she supposedly exacts from believers who use her powers recklessly or who fail to pay her proper tribute.”Tags: Desiree Martin, Santa Muertelast_img read more

Digital Extension Delivery

first_imgDue to social distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents and specialists quickly shifted gears to deliver in-person programs online. But they didn’t expect the overwhelming response they received from the public.In Fayette County, Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Agent Kim Toal and Program Assistant Cynthia McCrary have been offering hour-long programs via Zoom three days per week since March. “To me, it’s been a really great experience. I’ve had people email me saying they have enjoyed the online format because they usually weren’t able to come in person,” said Toal, who previously organized weekly in-person seminars on Tuesdays. “We try to do weekly themes and offer a mix of programming on vegetables, ornamentals, etc. Native plants and pollinators have been really popular.”The response to online delivery has been much higher than Extension employees originally expected, with an average of 50 people logging in to each online session versus 30 to 35 participants attending weekly face-to-face meetings, according to Toal.Camden County ANR Agent Jessica Warren has seen a similar jump in numbers. Her Friday “lunch and learn” series has attracted 25 to 60 people each week, double or triple the previous average number of participants. If that many people were to show up in person, they wouldn’t be able to fit in the local Extension office.“When we started working at home, I thought I wouldn’t hear from anybody, but it’s just the opposite,” Warren said. “It’s also less of a commitment to take a lunch break and learn something online (than to travel to attend in person).”While UGA Extension was already using digital platforms for professional development and meetings, this has changed the way many agents and specialists will use technology for outward-facing programming.“In an effort to continue to provide educational content to the citizens of Georgia during the periods of reduced mobility and social interaction, Extension has significantly increased its use of digital learning technologies,” said Mark McCann, assistant dean for Extension in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “The most popular method has been through online webinars. This is a platform that UGA Extension has used frequently in the professional development of our faculty and staff over the past several years.”Already a tight-knit community of colleagues, producing new online content has increased opportunities for collaboration among Extension specialists and agents across the state and beyond.For a four-week backyard fruits webinar series, Fannin and Gilmer County Agent Ashley Hoppers is collaborating with Josh Fuder in Cherokee County and Ashley Brantley in Muscogee County, as well as colleagues from Auburn University, University of Tennessee, North Carolina State and Auburn University to present sessions on everything from berries to specialty fruits. Hoppers has been amazed at the level of participation — each session has had an average of 300 participants and more than 1,000 people have registered for the sessions.Faculty have found that online sessions have attracted their “regular” local audiences as well as participants from all over the U.S.“It has been neat to see who has tuned in and to see this level of engagement. It’s very humbling, actually. I had no idea this program would be embraced like it has,” said Hoppers, who surveyed participants to see where they were tuning in from, including one from Italy.Poultry science Extension specialists who previously held fee-based poultry housing workshops for 100-125 individuals on campus, with additional attendees via webinar, have held eight free weekly webinars. These have reached over 8,000 people with 5,800 live viewers and nearly 3,000 more watching recordings.“It’s been sort of an explosion of interest,” said Michael Czarick. “We’re reaching smaller farmers, a broad and more diverse audience than was held before.”He and his colleague Brian Fairchild have seen their reach expand to 40 states and 77 countries. Their email list, which they use to announce workshops, has doubled in the number of subscribers through their website, poultryventilation.com.Extension specialists and agents have shared their expertise about trending topics to employees statewide and answered questions via webinars. Subjects have included specific health information related to COVID-19, working and parenting at home, personal finance, gardening and many others. These resources are available at extension.uga.edu/emergencies.The webinars have served a public relations role for Extension as well, reaching audiences that were previously unaware of Extension and its many offerings.“One of the questions in my pre-webinar survey is whether this is your first Extension program and many people said yes. I think it is growing our base in a way that was unanticipated. Through this program alone, having an online presence is engaging with new audiences. They are tuning in and then become interested in finding their own local office,” Hoppers said. “UGA Extension is a statewide entity and we are letting people know that Extension exists in their own home counties and that Extension is here and ready to help regardless of where they are located.”People aren’t just listening, they’re engaging and following up, too.“One couple was in New York looking to move to the area,” said Warren, who answers many questions for retirees who move to coastal Camden County as well as for locals. She covers topics including misunderstood species, beekeeping, seed saving, citrus issues and water quality. Composting at home has been the most popular, she says.“I’ve been surprised how many people actually choose to turn their camera on,” said Warren. “For a lot of people, they like to learn something and do something, but it’s also a time to make connections and even see other people that they know in some cases, especially since we’re not doing a lot of that right now.”Agents and specialists field dozens of questions during and after the virtual sessions.“Loads of people are really appreciative of what we are doing,” said Czarick. “We probably get 30 to 50 emails afterward with follow-up questions and feedback, and we answer 50 to 100 questions during the webinar through the chat.”The overwhelmingly positive response from the public has served as a case study for virtual Extension programming.“I believe the reception of the recent webinars indicates that our audiences are ready for more content delivered digitally,” said McCann. “The time and distance constraints of our audiences make this a convenient and efficient teaching tool.”Extension employees and offices are also ramping up their social media presence and reach during this time by posting events, videos and tips. Although many offices were already on these platforms, they have seen more interest and engagement from followers.   “We’re reaching way more people with this online way of doing things,” said Hoppers. “The trade-off is that face-to-face human interaction that is the bread and butter of Extension — having that personal engagement is important — but there is definitely room for technology in our future programming.”For a list of upcoming Extension programming, visit extension.uga.edu/calendar.Find recordings available on the Extension YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/ugaextension or contact your local UGA Extension office for more information by visiting extension.uga.edu/county-offices.Maria Lameiras contributed to this story.last_img read more

Investor group targets planned GE coal plant in Kenya

first_imgInvestor group targets planned GE coal plant in Kenya FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Thomson Reuters Foundation:A group of investors in U.S. conglomerate General Electric (GE) has publicly opposed its plans to buy a stake in a Kenyan coal-fired plant, claiming the project would damage the environment and undermine efforts to fight global warming.In a public letter to GE, nearly five dozen institutional and individual shareholders called on the company to reverse course on its intentions to purchase a 20 percent stake in a planned 1,000-megawatt coal plant on Kenya’s Lamu island.The move follows years of controversy over the Kenyan government’s plans to build East Africa’s first coal-fired power plant on Lamu, a United Nations World Heritage site. The project has divided communities, and environmentalists fear the plant will destroy the marine environment of the region, a tourist destination that is one of the best-preserved Swahili settlements.It was unclear how much GE stock the letter’s signatories hold. The information was not included in the missive, and their spokeswoman said she did not have the data. GE did not immediately answer an emailed request for comments.Among those signing the letter was the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, an association of more than 70 United Kingdom-based public sector pension funds with about $300 billion in assets under management. Also signing were several religious groups.GE signed an agreement in May to design and help build the plant along with Amu Power, a consortium contracted with delivering the $2 billion project. With the deal, GE, through its affiliates, also will acquire a stake in Amu.More: Investor group opposes General Electric plans for Kenyan power plantlast_img read more

Honduras Defense University Offers Students a Quality Education

first_img“The advantage of these devices will be that a control tower will be able to record the information provided, and even if the buoys are destroyed, the evidence will remain secure in the tower’s virtual storage,” said Colonel Manuel Antonio Peraza Rivera, UDH’s vice rector for academics. This year, Honduras Defense University celebrates 10 years of providing members of the Honduran Armed Forces access to a top-notch Military university education for undergraduate and graduate students. This year, Honduras Defense University celebrates 10 years of providing members of the Honduran Armed Forces access to a top-notch Military university education for undergraduate and graduate students. For instance, one such project involves the development of an automated buoy that will allow users to establish control points with more rigorous technological support throughout Honduran waters. The prototype will include cameras and a radar system, and will offer the ability to verify whether a ship or underwater vessel is inside Honduran waters. In addition, the cameras will identify the type of ship that has entered Honduran waters, and will obtain real-time information about the vessel. Providing higher education to young Cadet candidates “The advantage of these devices will be that a control tower will be able to record the information provided, and even if the buoys are destroyed, the evidence will remain secure in the tower’s virtual storage,” said Colonel Manuel Antonio Peraza Rivera, UDH’s vice rector for academics. By Dialogo March 24, 2015 “Mechatronic engineering has arisen from the need for high technology that the military air, ground, and sea forces now have,” according to Rear Adm. Romero. “The requirements are greater and greater, and we need qualified people.” Students at each of these schools have the opportunity to study a wide array of courses related to the Armed Forces. The College of Military Sciences offers majors in Communications, War Materials, Intelligence, Artillery, and Engineering. Aeronautical Sciences offers majors in Military Piloting, Air Defense, and Logistics. And Naval Sciences offers Communications, General Studies, and Maritime Engineering. In addition, Cadet candidates from any of the academies may pursue a bachelor’s degree in Military Mechatronic Engineering or Military Nursing. For instance, one such project involves the development of an automated buoy that will allow users to establish control points with more rigorous technological support throughout Honduran waters. The prototype will include cameras and a radar system, and will offer the ability to verify whether a ship or underwater vessel is inside Honduran waters. In addition, the cameras will identify the type of ship that has entered Honduran waters, and will obtain real-time information about the vessel. “Before UDH was created, people who began a Military career found themselves in a difficult situation where the studies they had completed were not recognized at the university level, or they had to attend domestic or foreign universities to complete a university degree that normally had nothing to do with their Military careers.” Providing higher education to young Cadet candidates All of these courses help the Armed Forces prepare students to meet the Military’s technological challenges. For instance, every five years, UDH graduates a group of Cadets in Mechatronic Engineering who will be responsible for developing various projects. In 2016, UDH is expected to graduate 22 mechatronics students from the three academies. The education offered by UDH is one of the reasons that a high percentage of the officers in the Honduran Armed Forces has a college degree. Currently, 99 percent of the officers in the Honduran Military have at least an undergraduate degree; of those, 60 percent also have a master’s degree, according to Rear Adm. Romero. In the near future, UDH plans to create a doctorate program in Defense and Security, which would be a requirement for service members’ promotion to general officers. In addition to providing post-graduate courses, UDH also allows young people who are joining the Military the opportunity to pursue a college education. Every October, the latter take UDH’s admissions exam for a place in its classes, and hundreds are admitted every year. For example, on January 11, the university admitted 412 young Cadets between the ages of 16 and 22; of these, 156 were accepted at the College of Military Sciences; 146 at the College of Naval Sciences; and 110 at the College of Aeronautical Sciences. Education helps the Military improve its technology “For parents, UDH (Universidad de Defensa de Honduras) offers their children the best levels of education, with zero failures in class,” according to Rear Adm. Romero Burgos. “Our youth receives quality education and the assurance that they are immersed in a process to be educated with a view to serving their country, and this service will be with great dignity, knowing that there is sacrifice, but there is much more honor in serving one’s country.” In addition to providing post-graduate courses, UDH also allows young people who are joining the Military the opportunity to pursue a college education. Every October, the latter take UDH’s admissions exam for a place in its classes, and hundreds are admitted every year. For example, on January 11, the university admitted 412 young Cadets between the ages of 16 and 22; of these, 156 were accepted at the College of Military Sciences; 146 at the College of Naval Sciences; and 110 at the College of Aeronautical Sciences. Students at each of these schools have the opportunity to study a wide array of courses related to the Armed Forces. The College of Military Sciences offers majors in Communications, War Materials, Intelligence, Artillery, and Engineering. Aeronautical Sciences offers majors in Military Piloting, Air Defense, and Logistics. And Naval Sciences offers Communications, General Studies, and Maritime Engineering. In addition, Cadet candidates from any of the academies may pursue a bachelor’s degree in Military Mechatronic Engineering or Military Nursing. UDH is a pioneer in university-level Military education in Central America, according to UDH rector Rear Admiral Ramón Cristóbal Romero Burgos; it’s also part of the country’s university system, which consists of 20 universities, including 14 private and six public institutions. The university is public, and civilians are allowed to attend the university for graduate work. UDH is a pioneer in university-level Military education in Central America, according to UDH rector Rear Admiral Ramón Cristóbal Romero Burgos; it’s also part of the country’s university system, which consists of 20 universities, including 14 private and six public institutions. The university is public, and civilians are allowed to attend the university for graduate work. All of these courses help the Armed Forces prepare students to meet the Military’s technological challenges. For instance, every five years, UDH graduates a group of Cadets in Mechatronic Engineering who will be responsible for developing various projects. In 2016, UDH is expected to graduate 22 mechatronics students from the three academies. “For parents, UDH (Universidad de Defensa de Honduras) offers their children the best levels of education, with zero failures in class,” according to Rear Adm. Romero Burgos. “Our youth receives quality education and the assurance that they are immersed in a process to be educated with a view to serving their country, and this service will be with great dignity, knowing that there is sacrifice, but there is much more honor in serving one’s country.” After graduation, these students will join the Armed Forces Research and Development Institute to work on a variety of automation projects, including efforts to produce ammunition, buoys, and security systems. “Mechatronic engineering has arisen from the need for high technology that the military air, ground, and sea forces now have,” according to Rear Adm. Romero. “The requirements are greater and greater, and we need qualified people.” “Before UDH was created, people who began a Military career found themselves in a difficult situation where the studies they had completed were not recognized at the university level, or they had to attend domestic or foreign universities to complete a university degree that normally had nothing to do with their Military careers.” After graduation, these students will join the Armed Forces Research and Development Institute to work on a variety of automation projects, including efforts to produce ammunition, buoys, and security systems. Education helps the Military improve its technology The education offered by UDH is one of the reasons that a high percentage of the officers in the Honduran Armed Forces has a college degree. Currently, 99 percent of the officers in the Honduran Military have at least an undergraduate degree; of those, 60 percent also have a master’s degree, according to Rear Adm. Romero. In the near future, UDH plans to create a doctorate program in Defense and Security, which would be a requirement for service members’ promotion to general officers. THE DEATHS APRIL 17, 18, 19, 2015 Hi, the information is very interesting, but I just want to know is it for cadets? Or what do I have to do to be able to get into the UDH. I am currently study nursing at the UNAH, but because of financially issues, I would like to find a place I could serve and continue to study. I await information from you. Thank you very much When are the entrance exams and what are the requirements or where is there more information. Hi, I would like to know what the requirements are to be able to join and when are the exams. Good afternoon, I would like to know if there are distance learning or virtual courses for the staff in other countries. I appreciate any information that could be provided. Hi I would like to study for a nursing license but as a civilian where can I go for informationlast_img read more

A Motorcycle Rally in a Pandemic? ‘We Kind of Knew What Was Going to Happen’

first_img– Advertisement – “I don’t understand why he went to Sturgis and didn’t take Covid seriously,” said Jon Esmay, a friend who had not spoken with Mr. Aguirre in a few months. “Mostly I’m just angry that someone who talked to or saw him more often didn’t get him to the ER. I’m angry that I didn’t talk to him more often.”Dustin Van Balen, who considered Mr. Aguirre to be like an adopted brother, said he had been trying to piece together a timeline using Mr. Aguirre’s phone. But he said they might never have answers.“Not knowing is the hardest part,” he said.Mark Walker reported from Sturgis, and Jack Healy from Denver. After the crowds streamed home like some huge exhalation, coronavirus cases tied to the rally began popping up as far away as New Hampshire. Infection numbers climbed in the Dakotas and in the neighboring states of Wyoming and Nebraska, where thousands of residents had returned from Sturgis.In all, cases spread to more than 20 states and at least 300 people — including revelers’ families and co-workers who never set foot in South Dakota, according to state health officials. Twin sisters who had worked at a bike-washing stand in Sturgis tested positive. So did a local paramedic. And a motorcycle mechanic’s family in Rapid City. “I said back in March, do you want me to build a wall around Sturgis or a wall around South Dakota, because that is the only way we could have stopped them,” Mayor Mark Carstensen of Sturgis said.The backlash came quickly. After the rally concluded, city officials were flooded with death threats day and night by phone, email and mail. Some called the rally a declaration of freedom and went home with T-shirts declaring, “Screw Covid I Went to Sturgis.” But others in deeply conservative South Dakota now say it recklessly helped seed a new wave of cases raging out of control in the state.Family members who stayed away are angry at relatives who attended and brought the virus home. Sturgis council members who approved the rally have been bombarded with death threats. And health experts and politicians are still fighting over how many cases Sturgis may have caused across the country. STURGIS, S.D. — Albert Aguirre was amped as he and a buddy skimmed across the South Dakota plains, heading to join 460,000 bikers for a motorcycle rally shaping up to be a Woodstock of unmasked, uninhibited coronavirus defiance.“Sit tight Sturgis,” Mr. Aguirre, 40, posted on Facebook on Aug. 7 as he snapped a photo of the sun sifting through the clouds. “We’re almost there!”- Advertisement – The illnesses cut rifts among friends and families. In the rural panhandle of western Nebraska, Heather Edwards watched with frustration after a cousin who had worked at the rally tested positive and then shrugged off the seriousness because she had a mild case. A woman in Sioux Falls, S.D., seethed after her sister returned home from Sturgis, went to a wedding with a pasta buffet and tested positive the next day.Heidi Morgan, a conservative Republican who lives in the Black Hills, said some friends from Nebraska who attended Sturgis got sick after returning home. They refused to get tested out of a belief that the rally’s opponents wanted to use higher infection numbers as a political weapon.“There’s that feeling of, ‘We’re not going to add to the numbers,’” said Ms. Morgan, who said her family had taken the pandemic seriously, guided by their Baptist faith in putting others’ welfare first. “I’m trying to convince them that’s not true.”‘Not Knowing Is the Hardest Part’Mr. Aguirre was found dead at home on Sept. 10. The officers who moved his body wore gowns and protective gear because of the coronavirus risk, according to Chief Matt Betzen of the Vermillion Police Department. A posthumous test for the virus came back positive, according to the county coroner. In Rapid City, Holly Sortland had feared the virus would find her family, especially her 15-year-old son who has a heart defect. Her husband was a motorcycle mechanic in Sturgis, and though he wore a mask and tried to stay away from the rally crowds, a co-worker had been going maskless to the bars. Five people at his bike shop tested positive.“We kind of knew what was going to happen,” Ms. Sortland said. “I’ve never seen him so sick.”By mid-August, Ms. Sortland said, her husband was running a 101-degree fever and shed about 10 pounds. When she got flowers for her birthday, she realized that she could not smell them — a symptom that she, too, had Covid-19. A positive coronavirus test confirmed it. A contact tracer with the South Dakota Department of Health called the family to ask where her husband worked, but he worried about getting into trouble with his boss given the stigma that swirls around the virus, Ms. Sortland said. When she talked with the tracer, she said, she was not asked about her family contacts or where she had shopped.To date, the Health Department has reported 125 coronavirus cases among state residents who attended the rally. Derrick Haskins, a department spokesman, said the agency only conducts contact tracing on South Dakota residents.The Minnesota Department of Health in September connected 74 cases to the rally — 51 people who attended and 23 others who came into contact with them later. A man in his 60s who attended the rally contracted the virus and died. He is the only rallygoer whose death has been attributed to the coronavirus.“It is very challenging to trace the infections that attendees may have spread after they returned from Sturgis,” said Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious disease epidemiology at the Minnesota Department of Health. “We were able to link several infections at a Minnesota wedding to someone who had gone to Sturgis but we were not able to definitively state there was a direct link. The web just becomes too complicated.” Health officials said a lack of contact tracing and the sheer scale of the event have made it impossible to know how many people were infected directly or indirectly because of Sturgis.“We don’t know if we’ll ever know the full extent,” said Dr. Benjamin C. Aaker, president of the South Dakota State Medical Association. “These people go home and get sick with coronavirus. They don’t have any way of knowing whether they picked it up at the rally or back in California.”Mr. Aguirre’s friends said they would likely never know whether he got sick at Sturgis, at a bar or restaurant in his hometown as college students returned, or somewhere else altogether.But friends said that by early September, Mr. Aguirre — a big guy and fiercely loyal friend who loved cooking and the Wu-Tang Clan — had been sick for more than a week and was struggling to breathe and eat. He called a local clinic but worried he could not afford to go to a hospital because he did not have insurance, according to friends and the chief of the Vermillion Police Department. In response, the city scrubbed its website of all personal contact information and replaced it with a generic phone line. The death threats ramped up another notch after a study suggested the event resulted in an estimated 250,000 coronavirus infections across the country.Mike Bachand, a City Council member, was among those who received death threats for his vote to host the event. The messages continue to come in, he said.Rod Woodruff, owner of the Buffalo Chip, which is outside the city limits of Sturgis and is used as a campground by motorcyclists during the rally, said he could not rationally see how the event could end up being a superspreader event and was skeptical of some of the cases being linked back to the event. Mr. Woodruff said he did not know of anyone who contracted the virus at the campgrounds. Democrats and some conservatives in South Dakota say the rally turned their state into a petri dish. They say Sturgis and other mass gatherings like President Trump’s Fourth of July rally, the state fair and an early-September Mustang car rally in Sturgis helped send the state’s infection rate soaring to one of the highest in the nation. The state is averaging about 1,100 cases a day, compared with fewer than 100 in much of August and September.But other conservatives accuse the news media and Democrats of inflating case counts and exaggerating the rally’s toll to smear its bikers. They said the number of infections was negligible compared with the thousands who attended, and pointed out that many rallygoers spent the week outdoors, camping and zooming through Spearfish Canyon and the Badlands.‘I’ve Never Seen Him So Sick’Back home, quietly, people were getting sick. And health departments in different states were struggling to trace where they had gotten sick or who else they might have infected on long road trips that spanned hundreds of miles. A month later, back home in the college town of Vermillion, S.D., Mr. Aguirre was so sick he could barely take a shower. He had not been tested but told friends that it had to be Covid-19.Infectious-disease experts had warned about the dangers of cramming thousands of revelers into the Black Hills of South Dakota at the height of a pandemic. But it was the 80th anniversary of the annual Sturgis rally, and bikers were coming no matter what. South Dakota’s Republican governor, a vocal opponent of lockdowns, gave her blessing, local leaders set aside their misgivings, and thousands of people from every state in the nation rolled down Sturgis’s Main Street.- Advertisement – In the aftermath, hundreds of people have gotten sick and Sturgis has become a rumbling symbol of America’s bitter divisions over the coronavirus, even now, as cases continue to surge, surpassing more than 121,000 daily infections on Thursday, and the nation’s death toll crosses 235,000. South Dakota’s Health Department has not connected any deaths to the rally, and Mr. Aguirre’s friends said they have been struggling to get answers or information about how and where he got sick, and wondering whether they could have helped. In North Dakota, the Health Department traced 30 cases back to the event, said Nicole Peske, a spokeswoman for the agency. That number, she added, does not include any secondary coronavirus cases that may have resulted if someone contracted the virus from someone who was at the rally.Ms. Peske said the agency was still investigating the cases linked to the event. “Hanging in there?” a friend, Dan Herrera, texted Mr. Aguirre on Sept. 5.“About to get in the shower and see how much energy that uses,” Mr. Aguirre replied.“Good luck.”Three days later, Mr. Herrera texted Mr. Aguirre to check in.This time, there was no answer.‘Do You Want Me to Build a Wall Around Sturgis?’Like every year, banners strung across Main Street proclaimed, “Welcome Harley Riders.” Downtown was blocked off for motorcycle parking. And despite rising case counts and growing criticism, Gov. Kristi Noem told Fox News in August that the state was handling the virus and glad to host the rally. “We hope people come,” she said.But behind the scenes, many in the 7,000-person city of Sturgis were on edge.Three City Council members wanted to call it off, but they changed their votes at the last minute after several large concert venues, including the Buffalo Chip campground and Rushmore Photo and Gifts, sent letters threatening legal action against the city. Sixty percent of residents who answered a city-sponsored survey wanted to postpone the rally, but city officials said they were boxed in. – Advertisement –last_img read more

Robots could replace average agents by 2020 according to one of Australia’s most respected futurists

first_imgVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 2:36Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -2:36 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p360p360p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenProperty News: The future of real estate02:36Would you buy a house from a robot?ROBOTS could replace average agents by 2020 according to one of Australia’s most respected futurists.Nigel Dalton, chief inventor at the REA Group, said robotics were reaching the stage where real estate agents who didn’t adapt would be out of work.“By 2020 robots will have the capability to replace real estate agents,” he said.“But only the average real estate agent.”Mr Dalton, who was speaking at Australasian Real Estate Conference on the Gold Coast, said from mail sorting in China to holographic spouses in Japan, robotics have already advanced at a head-turning pace.“A computer brick layer has accuracy six times better than a human.”Mr Dalton said the self-driving cars, virtual reality and holographic projection will see many customer-oriented tasks outsourced to automation.“They come to your office, they look at a dozen properties in a virtual reality head set and you go, ‘Which ones do you like?’ They go, ‘Those two.’”More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home4 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor4 hours agoNigel Dalton reckons robots will replace “average’’ agents in the future.“The (self-drive) Tesla is outside, it’ll drive you around, you’ll be met at the house by a robot or hologram. They’ll show you around, any questions, push a button and I’ll be there in a hologram,” he said.“Is that possible? That is possible.”Mr Dalton said, however, good agents still have skills robots don’t.“There’s a moment when you present your proposition to a couple… There’s a moment in that conversation when a glance happens – a 70 millisecond glance and you know you’re in trouble. I cannot get a computer to recognise the glance.”“Buying and selling property is a complex problem, but the trajectory (of technological advancement) is steepening.” He also said the level of trust humans place in robots will need to adapt in the future.“Would you get inside a car nobody is driving? I have another test, would you let a robot cut your hair?” he asked the attendees.last_img read more

The one simple thing you can do to avoid being scammed thousands of dollars

first_imgMore from newsNew apartments released at idyllic retirement community Samford Grove Presented by Parks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus18 hours agoIt’s easy to avoid being scammed according to GlobalX CEO Peter Maloney.But he said there was one very simple thing buyers could do to avoid being caught – make a phone call.Any email asking for funds to be transferred should be verified with a phone call before any money was released.“Pick up the phone and ask them,’’ he said.“It really is that simple’’. WHICH CAPITAL CITY IS BEST FOR UNITS Australian Institute of Conveyancers President Shane Jacob echoed the call for all involved in the property purchase process to be diligent.“It is vital that buyers and conveyancers become more informed. If you receive an email that you think is suspicious, buyers should be calling their conveyancer to confirm it is legitimate,” Mr Jacob said.“Scammers are getting smarter, so property buyers and their legal representation need to be aware in order to protect themselves.” Do one simple thing to avoid losing thousands when you buy property.MILLIONS of dollars have been lost to scammers intercepting property transactions already this year, but there is something you can do to protect yourself.Conveyancing technology experts GlobalX has revealed that many who operate within the industry are unaware that scammers are successfully ripping off buyers already in Australia.CEO Peter Maloney said millions had been lost in transactions.The common rort involves scammers hacking conveyancers’ client lists, impersonating them and emailing their clients to advise them the property trust account details had changed so clients would transfer property purchase funds into a fraudulent account.Mr Maloney said he was aware of instances of money being stolen this way in both South Australia and Western Australia where eight buyers were targeted and lost millions.Mr Maloney said if you were paying a $200,000 deposit to buy and house and put it into a scammers account unknowingly it could be almost impossible to trace and retrieve it.He said the buyer was not the only one affected as transactions could then fall through and the seller would have to market their home again.last_img read more