Ferndale scores four in sixth to beat Waldorf in NCS semifinal

first_imgFerndale >> Trailing late in the game with their season on the line, the reigning North Coast Section Division VI champions showed what being a champion is all about.Down 3-0 against a pitcher that had befuddled them for five innings, the Ferndale Wildcats (12-11) scored four runs in a wild sixth inning to snatch an NCS D-6 semifinal victory, 4-3, over San Francisco Waldorf on Friday at Ferndale High School, advancing to the section championship for the second-consecutive year. “It’s just a …last_img read more

Giants’ bats silenced by Padres

first_imgScoring runs continues to be a struggle for what is left of the Giants.With only four of eight opening day position players still in uniform as the final week of the season began, the Giants lost 5-0 to the Padres on Monday night, falling to 4-17 for the month of September.The Giants have averaged just 2.6 runs in those 21 games, topping five runs just once.The day after the Padres lost 14-0 to the Dodgers, the NL West’s last-place team got a near-complete game from right-hander Bryan …last_img read more

Saturn, the Bringer of Youth

first_imgMore discoveries of youthful phenomena contradict Gustav Holst’s musical tribute to “Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age.”Recent analyses of Cassini data continue the theme of Saturn’s music, which is more like Peter Pan than Holst. As you interpret the following news stories, keep in mind that the moyboy ages are upper limits. They could be much lower. What surprises planetary scientists is that these phenomena exist at a time when humans can observe them. If they were billions of years old, how could that be?Saturn and its rings as seen by Cassini, April 25, 2016.Young RingsSaturn’s Rings Are Beautiful, But They Won’t Last (Space.com). “But if you could travel 300 million years into the future, you would need to, because by then, chances are those rings would be gone — and they could disappear even faster.”Saturn Is Losing Its Rings (Live Science). “We are lucky to be around to see Saturn’s ring system, which appears to be in the middle of its lifetime,” lead author James O’Donoghue. Ring rain is only one drain on Saturn’s rings, reports Meghan Bartels. The scientists measured such a high rate of loss, it implies the rings are losing “a huge amount of the icy rings, between 925 and 6,000 lbs. (420 to 2,800 kilograms) every second.” But there’s more:The fate of the rings looks even grimmer considering research published earlier this year using Cassini data, which looked at a different, still-more-voluminous, type of infall from Saturn’s rings that’s descending into the planet. O’Donoghue and his co-authors didn’t include that infall in the estimates presented in their paper, but suggested in an accompanying statement that the two phenomena combined could gorge through the rings in more like 100 million years.Saturn is losing its rings at ‘worst-case-scenario’ rate (Science Daily and NASA Astrobiology Magazine). Particles are being drawn into Saturn hourly in a process called “ring rain.” Looking back over time, the scientists give the rings a maximum age of 100 million years – just 1/45th the assumed age of Saturn. What happened so that we see them in the human era of telescopes? See the problem discussed in video clips from NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center. After explaining ring rain, the narrator puts an upper limit on age of 100 million years for the rings. He says, “This means Saturn wasn’t born this way, as the planet is known to be over 4 billion years old.” But is that really known? Nobody was there to measure it. Believing in 4 billion years creates a conundrum of explaining how Saturn got its rings so recently. These are incompatible beliefs.“We estimate that this ‘ring rain’ drains an amount of water products that could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool from Saturn’s rings in half an hour,” said James O’Donoghue of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “From this alone, the entire ring system will be gone in 300 million years, but add to this the Cassini-spacecraft measured ring-material detected falling into Saturn’s equator, and the rings have less than 100 million years to live.This is relatively short, compared to Saturn’s age of over 4 billion years.” O’Donoghue is lead author of a study on Saturn’s ring rain appearing in Icarus December 17.A recent origin for Saturn’s rings from the collisional disruption of an icy moon (Icarus). The latest attempt to solve the ring age problem comes from John Dubinski. In this paper, he calls on the planetologist’s favorite tool – an impact – to get the rings to form just when humans can see them. Simultaneously, it solves the heat problem for Enceladus. Convenient for him, there is no way to prove it, because the Mimas-size impactor was never observed.Dione, Tethys, Pandora and Saturn’s rings from Cassini, Sept 22, 2005Young MoonsEnceladus is mentioned in the above articles as another body constantly losing material to Saturn. “The team also discovered a glowing band at a higher latitude in the southern hemisphere,” NASA Goddard says. “This is where Saturn’s magnetic field intersects the orbit of Enceladus, a geologically active moon that is shooting geysers of water ice into space, indicating that some of those particles are raining onto Saturn as well.” From there, the article sidesteps the problem of Enceladus’ age, preferring a hydrobioscopic dodge about possible life on Enceladus.Long-term stability of Enceladus’ uneven ice shell (Icarus). This paper by European planetologists tries to keep Enceladus old, despite those hundred-some-odd geysers blasting material out to space every hour, creating the E-ring around Saturn and losing some of that ice to Saturn itself. They invent a model that keeps the ice shell in a steady state, but that doesn’t explain why heat flow up to 60 watts per square meter is coming out of that little bitty moon, the diameter of Arizona or Iowa (not that those states are little bitty, but that’s small for a solar system object).Implications of nonsynchronous rotation on the deformational history and ice shell properties in the south polar terrain of Enceladus (Icarus). One of the conclusions of this paper is that “Enceladus’s tiger stripes are on the order of 100,000 years old.” That’s a wildly young age for standard views of the age of the solar system. Why did it happen that recently instead of billions of years ago?Artwork of the Cassini spacecraft flying through the geyser plumes of Enceladus.Orbital evolution of Saturn’s mid-sized moons and the tidal heating of Enceladus (Icarus). Here’s another attempt to keep Enceladus old, this time by Japanese scientists using N-body simulations. Right off the bat, though, they identify two problems: tidal forces that should pull the inner moons into Saturn over time, and the Enceladus geysers that shouldn’t be there. Tidal heating, they say, is “orders of magnitude” too low to keep that small moon’s inferred ocean liquid. Their simulations “may” explain how these problems could be surmounted, but their model falls far short of proof. In the end, they call for ‘future study” of the possibilities.The formation and orbital evolution of Saturn’s inner mid-sized moons – Rhea, Dione, Tethys, Enceladus, and Mimas – are still debated. The most puzzling aspects are 1) how the Tethys–Dione pair and the Mimas–Enceladus pair passed through their strong 3:2 mean-motion resonances during the tidal orbital evolution, and 2) the current strong heat flow from Enceladus, which is a few orders of magnitude higher than the tidal energy dissipation caused by the present orbital eccentricity of Enceladus.Saturn’s moon Dione Covered by Mysterious Stripes (NASA Astrobiology Magazine). Parallel lines and intersecting lines on the surface of Dione are “unlike anything else we’ve seen in the Solar System,” says one planetary scientist. The material making the lines, dubbed “linear virgae,’ could be coming “from Saturn’s rings, passing comets, or co-orbital moons Helene and Polydeuces.” Ignore the astrobiological speculation inserted without justification. Whatever the stripes are, “they are among the youngest surfaces on Dione” says Alex Patthoff, co-author of a paper on Geophysical Research Letters. The paper says, “Here we seek to constrain whether the linear virgae are endogenic, suggesting that the surface of Dione has been geologically active recently or if they are exogenic, suggesting a recent, or even ongoing, process in the Saturn system.” They argue for the latter, but either way, they’re young.Next Young Object?Looking ahead, the New Horizons spacecraft that found Pluto looking much younger than expected (16 July 2018) is due to reach its next target, Ultima Thule, on New Year’s Day (BBC News). The 30-km-wide object will be the most distant body in our solar system seen up close. Any bets on how young this object will appear?They’re still not taking our proposed compromise. We’ll give them 100 million years, if they accept that as the age of the solar system. No takers? Strange. Must be because that is not nearly enough time for Darwinism on Earth.I’ve been following the ring problem for many years. I wrote my first paper about it in a solar system astrophysics class back in December 1989, 29 years ago this month. I read each article about it by ringmasters Jeff Cuzzi, Larry Esposito, Carolyn Porco and others in Sky and Telescope and Astronomy magazines. When the internet made scientific papers accessible, I followed the current thinking each year. At JPL I got to meet some of the ringmasters and hear their talks. They knew of all the erosional processes since Voyager days, but kept hoping a mechanism would be found to keep the rings old. Nothing worked. As a member of the Cassini team, I followed the new discoveries about ring age. Now, we see that the erosion is faster than earlier thought. The evidence is now unquestionable: the rings are young. These articles didn’t even mention micrometeoroid bombardment, sputtering, collisional spreading and other processes that should destroy the rings in short order.Are you seeing a trend in the solar system? Everything seems to be “younger than thought.” In biology, complex organisms and traits keep appearing “earlier than thought.” Both trends bring bad news to old-age Darwinian materialists. (Visited 515 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Taking African bush lore to Oz

first_imgEcoTraining runs the first structuredfield-guide training course in South Africa,with a dedicated venue, a comprehensivecurriculum, and instructors who cut theirteeth at the finest game lodges in thecountry.(Image: EcoTraining) Students on the Field Guides Associationof South Africa 1 course learning toidentify animal tracks.(Image: Jennifer Stern) Each student gets a chance to be the“tracker” and occupy the hot seat.(Image: Jennifer Stern)Jennifer SternInnovative South African wildlife training company EcoTraining is going international, setting up a branch in Australia. The first camp will open in the Bamuru Plains area next to Kakadu National Park Region in the Northern Territory near Darwin in October 2008, offering a field guide course, with plans to add birding and indigenous culture courses.EcoTraining was started in 1993 by a group of bush guides from Londolozi and Sabi Sabi who realised that, with the end of apartheid, international tourists would pour into South Africa. And, they reckoned, wildlife and safaris would be a big part of the attraction. While food, décor and position play big role, it is the quality of the guides that sets a game lodge apart.So EcoTraining began to run the first structured field-guide training course in South Africa, with a dedicated venue, a comprehensive curriculum, and instructors who cut their teeth at the finest game lodges in the country. Around the same time, the Field Guides Association of South Africa (FGASA) was set up to – among other things – standardise field guide qualifications.Anton Lategan joined EcoTraining as an instructor in 1997. By the end of the year he and veteran field guide and wildlife photographer Lex Hes had teamed up with to buy the company. At the time they operated from a corner in the north of Sabi Sands with one Series 3 Land Rover, one bucket shower, one pit toilet and a few tents.Rough, ready, and part of natureThey’ve come a long way since then, with three dedicated camps, but they’re definitely not planning to go the luxury route. The camps are not fenced, and it’s happened more than once that course participants couldn’t get to the showers before supper because a small herd of elephants were snacking on the trees near the ablution blocks. But that’s what it’s all about. It’s part of the strategy to remind aspirant guides that they are an integral part of nature.The company offers a range of courses, including special interest courses such as birding, animal tracks and trailing, and wildlife photography. A course popular with both tourists and locals who fancy getting to grips with the bush is the Eco Quest course, on which trainees learn how to track, drive a 4×4, and approach dangerous animals in the wild. The emphasis is on getting a better understanding of nature and of animals, but it’s not tied to a career path.The mainstay of the company, though, is the field guide courses – Level One, Level Two and Trails Guide. These 28-day courses comply with the regulations and standards laid down by the Tourism and Hospitality Education and Training Authority, and the South African Qualifications Authority. But not everyone who does these courses wants to work as a guide. Some attend for their own personal development, and an opportunity to really learn about the bush.One such person was Mark Hutchinson, an Australian who visited South Africa to do the Level 1 course at Karongwe in the winter of 2006. He not only had a great time, he also saw the potential of the EcoTraining model, and approached the owners to negotiate setting up a branch in Australia.This was not EcoTraining’s first venture beyond South Africa’s borders. Of the 2 000 or so people the company has trained, a number are from Botswana, Namibia and Kenya. Some students are school leavers, others postgraduates, and some illiterate. Course participants span the spectrum from wealthy gap-year kids from Europe to rural people from African villages. EcoTraining aims to reach a wide audience with its conservation message through guide training.EcoTraining Australia is a partnership between Anton Lategan and Lex Hes of EcoTraining South Africa, and Australians Mark Hutchinson, owner of Fishabout Tours and Untamed Tracks, a travel audiovisual marketing company, and Charles Carlow, owner of Wilderness Australia, which runs a number of upmarket lodges.Plans are afoot to build more camps in Australia to take advantage of the extensive wilderness areas, the fascinating cultural heritage, and the abundance of interesting animals and plants. EcoTraining also plans to set up something more permanent in Kenya, and are negotiating with interested parties to set up bases in the Zambezi Valley.A role in conservationWhile field guide training is important to the tourism industry, there is a more serious reason to do it as well.“EcoTraining is uniquely positioned to play a role in conservation through our professional network, our experienced team and our commitment to our mission of teaching people about the natural environment,” says Lategan.“Well-trained professional guides inspire people throughout the world to become environmentally conscious and proactively involved in conservation. This has a kind of multiplier effect when you consider the repeated exposure guides have to tourists from all over the world on a continuous basis.”When asked about expansion plans, smiled and said, “We are a humble organisation with a serious mission, and an excellent foundation to build on. So yes there will be expansion, but I don’t see expansion as growth for growth’s sake. The natural world is being destroyed, and we need to stand up and be counted in whichever arena we are needed.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email marya@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.Related articlesSouth Africa’s national parksSouth Africa’s tourist highlightsHot idea keeps tuskers at bayRescuing the white rhinoTracking elephants across AfricaEcotourism reaps rich rewardsUseful linksEcoTrainingField Guides Association of South AfricaEcoTraining AustraliaSouth African National Parkslast_img read more

SA improves on mining investment attractiveness index

first_img5 March 2014 South Africa moved up 14 places to 53th out of 112 jurisdictions surveyed in the latest Fraser Institute ranking of the world’s most attractive regions for mining investment. The Canada-based think-tank’s 2013/14 Survey of Mining Companies, released on Monday, is based on the opinions of mining executives representing 690 mineral exploration and development companies on the investment climate of 112 jurisdictions around the world. The companies participating in the survey reported exploration spending of US$4.6-billion in 2012 and $3.4-billion in 2013. In the previous survey, for 2012/13, South Africa was ranked 67th out of 79 jurisdictions in the survey’s overall Investment Attractiveness Index. South Africa’s rise to 53rd in the latest rankings was accompanied by an improvement in its score from 47.8 to 54.7 out of a possible 100, and put the country at seventh-best for mining investment attractiveness in Africa, after Botswana (24th), Ghana (33rd), Namibia (34th), Zambia (41st), Eritrea (48th) and Burkina Faso (49th). Topping the Fraser Institute’s rankings for 2013/14 is Western Australia, followed by the US state of Nevada, Canadian province Newfoundland and Labrador, Finland and Alaska. The institute’s Investment Attractiveness Index is constructed by combining two other indices, a Policy Perception Index which measures the effects of government policy on mining companies’ attitudes toward exploration investment, and a Best Practices Mineral Potential Index which rates regions based on their geological attractiveness. On the Policy Perception Index, South Africa improved its score from 35.0 to 39.8 out of a possible 100, while remaining at 64th place in the rankings – although the number of jurisdictions surveyed had grown from 96 to 112. According to a report in Business Day on Tuesday, South Africa “picked up points in investor perceptions of its current regulations, its legal system, tax and infrastructure. But investors were less complimentary about its environmental regulations, regulatory efficiency and labour regulations. On labour regulations, it ranked fourth from the bottom – only two places above Venezuela.” On the Mineral Potential Index, South Africa climbed 13 places from 50th out of 96 jurisdictions to 37 out of 112 jurisdictions, making it the fifth most geologically attractive African country after the Democratic Republic of Congo (26th), Zambia (28th), Botswana (30th) and Ghana (32nd). SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

John Deere introduces new 5R Series Tractors and 540R Loader

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest John Deere introduces its new 5R Series Tractors that leverage existing technologies normally found in large tractors, to provide customers with unrivaled maneuverability, an easy-to-use transmission, increased visibility, loader integration, and operator comfort.A 7.4-foot wheelbase paired with a 60-degree steering angle, provides a tight turning radius of 12.1 feet. Customers working in confined areas such as barns, will be able to easily maneuver in tight areas increasing their productivity.Shifting is virtually effortless with two fully electronic transmission options, CommandQuad Manual and Command8. Using a multi-range selection, the operator can toggle from B range through D range without stopping. “Base equipment also includes AutoClutch, leveraged from our larger row-crop tractors. That means no clutching is necessary, ever. Step on the brake and the clutch automatically disengages,” says Chris Lammie, global product line planner for John Deere.Upward visibility has been improved 80 percent through the Premium Panorama cab roof, compared to a John Deere 5M Tractor with the Premium Cab. Forward visibility is 7 percent better thanks to single-piece front windshield, making it ideal for loader applications.Six halogen work lights (two front, two rear, and two side) are included as standard equipment to shine brightly and improve visibility in low-light conditions. For maximum illumination, owners can choose to replace the halogen lights with optional factory- or field-installed LED lights.An interactive display located in the right hand cornerpost, is placed out of the line of sight from the operator. “Tractor operations can be customized by the operator to best fit their preferences,” says Lammie.A high-back swivel seat features thicker cushions and wider armrests than those found on John Deere 5M Tractors. Options normally found in larger John Deere row-crop tractors also are now available for the 5R. New to the utility tractor lineup, optional cab suspension provides a more comfortable ride for long work days.The 5R can be equipped with the new John Deere 540R Loader. The loader’s automatic mast latch, single-point hydraulic connection, remote implement latch and slide-slung self-leveling links provide an integrated loader experience for the 5R Tractor operator. Removal or installation of the loader can be accomplished with a single trip out of the cab, thanks to a latch system that automatically connects the loader once contact is made between the loader boom and mounting frames, simplifying the connection process.To improve loader operation, a mechanical or electrohydraulic loader joystick option is integrated into the swivel seat. Gear-shift buttons and a joystick reverser are built into the loader joystick control. “Its simple one-handed operation lets you control loader, speed, and direction, all without letting go of the joystick,” Lammie says.For more information about the 5R Tractor and 540R Loader, contact your local John Deere dealer or visit www.JohnDeere.com/ag.last_img read more

Minimize the risk of harvest fires

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Dry corn and soybean fields have put farmers at greater risk of their combines catching on fire while harvesting crops.At least three combine fires were sparked across Ohio in one week this fall. Two happened during the recent week-long heatwave: one in Crawford County on Sept. 22, another in Miami County on Sept. 24. A third combine fire happened Sept. 28 in Shelby County leaving a man with serious burns, according to news reports.Combines can catch fire when the dry plant material or grain dust mix with heat generated by the combine’s motor, belts or exhaust system or by the static electricity produced as the combine is driven through a field, said Rory Lewandowski. He is an agricultural and natural resources educator for Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University.Every year, harvest comes with some risk of combine fires, but this year was especially dry so the risk is higher than usual, Lewandowski said. The recent rains have certainly helped, but have not eliminated the risk.Having machinery equipped with a trustworthy fire extinguisher is one of the first lines of defense against field fires, said Dee Jepsen, state safety leader for OSU Extension. Combines should carry an ABC 10-pound fire extinguisher, while tractors are recommended to have a 5-pound unit. Every vehicle in the field should have a fire extinguisher, she said.“Nothing is worse than watching the combine go up in flames while you’re running to the end of the field to retrieve the fire extinguisher on the grain cart,” Jepsen said.Another safety measure is to attach a chain to the frame of the combine and allow it to drag along the ground, which can reduce the buildup of static electricity, Lewandowski said. Clearing away chaff from various parts of the combine could also reduce the odds of fire, he said.“We wouldn’t have near the risk of fires if we were harvesting under wet conditions,” he said.The week-long heat wave that began Sept. 21 and ended Sept. 27 included multiple record-high days, said Aaron Wilson, climate specialist for OSU Extension.In the first half of September, temperatures averaged 2 to 9 degrees below normal, then in the second half of the month, the mercury rose. During the heat wave, the northern part of Ohio was 12 to 16 degrees above normal, and the southern part of the state was 8 to 12 degrees above average.“It’s a pretty extreme shift,” Wilson said.Additional safety tips to avoid a combine fire include the following:Keep machinery in good repair. Apply grease to bearings and oil chains regularly to reduce friction. It is advisable to perform maintenance checks at the end of the day, rather than at the beginning, to detect any hot or smoldering areas that may break out into flames overnight.Keep machinery clean and free of plant materials, especially around the wrap points. Wipe up any fuel or oil leaks to eliminate additional fuel sources; and do not leave oily rags on equipment or in the cab.Take time to cool down the equipment each night, and check for any hot spots.last_img read more

Ohio Ag Weather and Forecast, September 6, 2018

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Rain moves in today and this kicks off a fairly wet pattern here over the next week or so. We are going just a little wetter in our forecast this morning, mostly due to the fact that scattered showers linger longer next week. But, before we get there, let’s take a look at the short-term forecast. Today and tomorrow we see scattered showers moving across the state, stretching west to east and slowly working south. Rain totals combined  are not that impressive, but will be from will be from .05”-.25” with two-day coverage at 70%. This will come as an off shoot of a cold front that has been making its way across the upper Midwest and western corn belt over the past 2 days.The remains of tropical system Gordon will move in for the weekend. On Saturday, we have rains mostly south of I-70, and coverage in that area will be only about 40%. the remains of Gordon really do not arrive here until late Saturday night and then we see our heaviest rains for Sunday and Monday. Right now we will put rain totals at 1-4″, and we still have concern about higher totals. We feel the best area for the heaviest rain totals will be in central Ohio, and northeast Ohio. The map at right shows combined rain potential from this morning through next Tuesday morning.Tuesday should be mostly dry, with only a small chance of pop up showers down near the river. However, moisture returns for the rest of the week. Scattered showers are in for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, with 40-50% coverage on each individual day, and combined 3 day coverage at 70%. Rain totals for the second half of next week will be from .1″-.7″.We are dry for next Saturday through the following Monday, as we finish the 10-day window and move into the 11-16 day extended period. We are keeping our next chance of rain for the 18th and 19th (Tuesday and Wednesday), although the system looks significantly weaker this morning. We will leave half inch rain totals in the forecast for now but will lop off the upper end of the range and see how this system unfolds in the coming days. Coverage is being pulled back to 70%. Dry weather returns for the 20th and 21st, with rain likely again for the 22nd.We see temps pulling back today as the rain spreads across the state, and the weekend should see temps a bit below normal. Then for next week, we warm back up and should see temps normal to above normal. The forecast this morning is very similar to yesterday, but the addition of scattered moisture through the second half of next week gives us a wetter feel, even though we are taking some rain out of the early part of next week.last_img read more

It’s Twitter vs. Free Speech, And Free Speech Is Losing

first_imgThe Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Tags:#blocked#Country Withheld Tool#Facebook#Free speech#Pakistan#privacy#Russia#twitter#Ukraine Related Posts center_img Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Twitter has been a lot more proactive in complying with national-government requests to block particular tweets and user accounts than many activists had expected—a stance that may be helping it reach its growth targets, but that also puts its historic dedication to free speech in jeopardy.Earlier this month, for instance, Twitter acquiesced to five requests to block “blasphemous” and “un-ethical” tweets in Pakistan. Since December, it has complied with 10 of 14 takedown requests from Russia—some of which actually involve blocking tweets from a Ukrainian account so that it can’t be viewed in Russia. These actions affected an unknown but presumably large number of tweets, as they targeted not just particular messages, but also certain user accounts and even Twitter search results.Two years ago, Twitter unveiled its “country withheld content” tool, the ungainly moniker for its ability to block tweets from appearing in certain countries. Its goal, essentially, was to comply with limited, legally authorized requests to block tweets in order to forestall a broader nationwide ban on the service, as happened briefly in Turkey a few months ago.See also: Turkey Will Lift Its Twitter BanActivist organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation initially supported Twitter’s steps with the blocking it tool, viewing it as a lesser of evils and noting that it would be subject to broad oversight by its own users and the Internet at large. In a blog post at the time, the EFF added that it expected Twitter would only feel compelled to block tweets when it received a court order in countries where it keeps offices and employees—the U.K., Ireland, Japan and Germany.It hasn’t worked out that way.The Censorship Tool: If You Build It, They Will ComeTwitter has long distinguished itself as a strong supporter of free speech and an advocate for its users’ privacy; CEO Dick Costolo even referred to the company as “the free speech wing of the free speech party.” But that was 2011. Twitter’s big IPO is now history, and now the company faces investor pressure to remake itself as a service for a more general audience—a mandate Twitter has interpreted as copycatting Facebook and focusing on commerce opportunities. It’s perhaps not a coincidence that Twitter has also recently warmed to tweet-blocking requests. The two most recent instances are particularly interesting, because the company doesn’t have offices or employees in either Pakistan or Russia. It’s also not clear that Twitter received an actual court order in either case.In Pakistan, Twitter blocked the allegedly blasphemous tweets after receiving a request from the country’s telecommunications authority. The tweets in question include messages from anti-Islam bloggers and the so-called Duke porn star Belle Knox. Others bore images of burning Qurans and crude cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.It’s the first time Twitter has used its country withheld content tool in Pakistan. The Pakistan advocacy organization Bolo Bhi claims the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority doesn’t have the right to ask Twitter to take down tweets. See Also: Twitter Tells Tweeters How To Tiptoe Past Turkey’s Twitter BanEarlier this month in Russia, Twitter received a request to block the account “@PravyjSektorRus,” an account that belongs to a Ukrainian political party some Russian officials characterize as neo-Nazi fascists. Twitter blocked the political account in Russia, allegedly after receiving a Russian court order to do so. (In a recent blog post, the EFF wrote that Twitter had “confirmed” its receipt of a court order and that the company would be posting it on the site ChillingEffects.org, where Twitter posts all such “withheld content” requests it accepts, though there’s no sign of it yet. Update: See the links below. It’s not clear where they come from, unless it’s from the Office of the Prosecutor General, which is not a court.) Twitter has apparently come to the same conclusion as Internet giants like Facebook and Google—namely, that you can’t build a platform that lets people say and share what they want without pissing off authorities. So in order to continue to grow, Twitter must, however reluctantly, censor its users when bureaucrats, authoritarians and religiously minded officials ask it to.In Twitter’s desperation to become a global competitor to Facebook, it’s running headlong into its commitment to free speech—and free speech is losing. While the company and national authorities might be pleased with this direction, users will suffer the consequences of yet another tech company putting profit before people.We’ve reached out to Twitter for comment, so far with no response. We’ll update if we hear back.Update 1:51 p.m.: Twitter provided the theselinks to the Russian takedown requests posted on ChillingEffects.org. Unfortunately, they don’t provide much clarification. Lead image courtesy of Giridhar Appaji Nag Y on Flickr selena larsonlast_img read more

Naroda Gamm massacre: Deadline set for Maya Kodnani’s defence

first_imgThe special trial court, conducting the trial in the Naroda Gamm massacre case during the 2002 riots, has asked former Gujarat minister and key accused Maya Kodnani to get BJP President Amit Shah to testify in her favour as defence witness by next Tuesday.While asking the accused to ensure that the witness testifies by September 12, the court said there will be no further adjournment of the case.In her application on Friday, Ms. Kodnani said since Mr. Shah is not “reachable” due to his busy schedule and constant mobility, “It is difficult to decide as to which address the summons be served to him.”Ms. Kodnani, who was convicted in the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre case, in which 97 persons belonging to the minority community were killed, is a key accused in the Naroda Gaam massacre case, involving the brutal murder of 11 persons, also during the 2002 riots.Also read: 28 years for Maya Kodnani, Bajrangi to spend entire life in prisonShe had sought time till September 12, 2017 while Special judge P.B. Desai had granted time till September 8 for her to bring Mr. Shah to testify as defence witness.During the hearing, Ms. Kodnani urged the court to allow her to bring Mr Shah and 13 others as her witnesses to testify that she was not present at the site when the massacre was carried out.Among the 14 persons she listed as witnesses, 12 including her husband have already testified in her favour. Mr Shah is the last listed defence witness in her trial; all others have been cross-examined by the court.Verdict deferredIn a separate case, the Gujarat High Court has again deferred its verdict on Zakia Jafri’s challenge to an SIT court granting a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others in a criminal conspiracy related to the 2002 riots.last_img read more