Category: biaulrqw

Lindener jailed, fined for ammo possession

first_imgA Lindener who appeared before Magistrate Clive Nurse at the Linden Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday was sentenced to three years in prison for the unlawful possession of ammunition.Andre Walcott, 23, had initially pleaded not guilty to the charge which stated that on August 7, 2014, he had 10 live .32 rounds of ammunition in his possession, while not having a firearm licence in force.However, when the case was called on Tuesday, the defendant changed his plea to guilty.Responding to questions posed by the presiding Magistrate, he also indicated that he had not consumed alcohol or narcotics over the last 24 hours and as such, he is changing his plea of his own free will.Magistrate Nurse then related to the defendant that the offence was a serious one, carrying a minimum penalty of three years in prison.In his plea of mitigation, Walcott asked the court to take into consideration the fact that he had been on remand for the offence since 2014, added to the fact that he has a three-year-old daughter.Magistrate Nurse told the court that he took that into consideration, adding that he gave the defendant credit for not wasting the court’s time. As such, he deducted two years from the original sentence, leaving three years. Additionally, the defendant was fined ,000.last_img read more

Start reading Lindener jailed, fined for ammo possession

New Ecobank MD Hails Liberia’s Economic Recovery

first_imgThe new Managing Director of ECOBANK – Liberia, Mr. Gilles Guerard, has hailed Liberia for doing so well in its economic recovery in 2015, compared to the challenges faced in 2014 and 2013.In these past two years, he said, the Liberian nation faced two very serious challenges: the fall in commodity prices, notably iron ore and natural rubber, and, of course, the Ebola crisis that within a short period killed over 4,000 people in Liberia alone. It made this country the worst country hit, compared to the other two affected nations in the Mano River basin, Guinea and Sierra Leone.In an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer newspaper on Tuesday, Managing Director Guerard recalled that those two challenges—the fall in commodity prices and Ebola—slowed the Liberian economy and investments in all sectors.“But,” he added, “in 2015, with the help of the international community and the stimulus package they put into place, Liberia is experiencing a positive economic growth of 0.5%.”The international partners he referred to, he said, are the World Bank, European Union, International Monetary Fund, the United States of America, the African Development Bank and the People’s Republic of China.Critical to this economic recovery, said Mr. Guerard, have been the macroeconomic policies of the government of Liberia (GOL) and the crucial role of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), which did much to assist in the successful fight against the Ebola epidemic. “Both the GOL and the CBL, helped by the international community, did much to relieve the pressure on business and industrial enterprises,” Mr. Guerard pointed out.As a result, he quickly added, “We expect Liberia, in 2016, to experience 5% to 6% economic growth.” This would be very similar to what was the case in the year immediately prior to the Ebola epidemic. Therefore, investments made this year are bound to reap benefits in 2016, Guerard projected optimistically.The ECOBANK boss told the Daily Observer that “one of the clear indications of the recovery is the 2014-2015 performance of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), which surpassed its own projections.” Indeed, in the Daily Observer’s story of Wednesday, October 28, 2015 entitled, “LRA Exceeds Revenue Target,” this publication quoted LRA’s Commissioner General, Madam Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, who applauded her staff for “diligently working to surpass the 2014/2015 fiscal revenue targets mandated by the National Legislature.” In the 2014/2015 Fiscal Budget, she said, the LRA was mandated to raise US$635.23 million. The entity, however, she happily reported, “exceeded that amount by US$8.22 million, netting a total of US$643.46 million.Asked by the Observer Reporter how ECOBANK is doing, Mr. Guerard replied that his bank “remains one of the major players in the market.” “Our focus in 2015 is to restructure and modernize our platform and system to serve our customers better. We have increased our ATM network and the POS (the point of sales). We now print our own ATM cards right here in Liberia. To do that, we have printing machines in all our branches.”ECOBANK, he continued, has re-launched its Internet Banking Platform and the OMNI – an internet bank for corporate customers. “This is to enable our customers to transmit on line more securely, faster and cheaper,” he explained.The bank has also reformed its trade finance to improve its capacity. “We have increased our trade finance line in order to give more credit for trade financing. We have also increased our corresponding network, which means our partnership with other banks, generally.”ECOBANK’s cash management “has also been improved,” he said. “We have been supporting government and international institutions to meet their payment obligations throughout the country. We were the bank that facilitated all the payments in connection with Ebola all over the country, with the aim of enhancing poverty reduction,” said Mr. Guerard.The payments came from such institutions as the Ministry of Health, Education, Agriculture and other sectors. Now with the reinvigorated economic recovery, said Mr. Guerard, “we are focusing on the construction and energy sectors. We expect a lot to take place in these sectors and we expect to be a major player in them.” “We work with the companies doing the job—the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) and foreign companies, including those from Germany, Canada, Britain, and we provide banking services to facilitate the operations.” The Observer asked how Mr. Guerard himself was doing as Liberia’s new ECOBANK MD. “We are very busy,” replied the Benin-born 51 year-old international banker. Mr. Guerard has been in ECOBANK’s employ since 1991, starting at the bank’s Group Office in his native Benin. There he served as Treasurer and Marketing Risk Officer. He came to Liberia from Rwanda, where he served as MD. Before then, he was MD in Guinea Bissau.“We realize that we are working in an entirely new environment—Liberia—and we are aware of the new economic and business challenges. We have to define our own strategies in dealing with the market.“We have had to learn from past mistakes so as not to repeat them. Viewing the bank’s staff in 2015, we see the need for more training and supervision in order to keep the staff focused and enable them to understand the banking policies and procedures. We have sensed the need to enforce the rules and respect the procedures. We have also endeavored to define the importance of customers and customer service, as well as to secure the bank.”“Are you making a profit?” was the Observer’s next question.“Our profit in 2014 was 3.6%–and that is profit before tax (PBT),” Mr. Guerard stated. “We expect it to be higher in 2015. Revenue is growing and liquidity is good,” he added.“The challenge,” he continued, “is with the quality of credit, and we are dealing with it. We are very prudent and will continue to be in our loan policy.“We also have problems with fraud, and we are dealing with these, too. You know we have zero tolerance for fraud.” As for ECOBANK’s relationship with the Central Bank, Mr. Guerard said the CBL has been “very supportive. They are listening to us. The CBL played a key role during the Ebola crisis to support the banks.”“We are working closely as partners to implement reforms in the payment system. First there is the RTGS—the Retreatment Gross System—which means payment between the banks. We are moving from manual to electronic. This is key because it will speed up interbank payments for customers, and facilitate more funds between banks.”Guerard also divulged the coming online of the National Switch. Presently, visa cards used in Liberia have to be reconciled at the VISA headquarters outside the country. But soon all switching will be settled here, instead of abroad.There is also the issue of financial reporting to the Central Bank. “We are currently doing this manually; but we are working on the project right now to report electronically to the CBL.“Finally, there is the issue of Delinquency (Bank Debtor). The list is synchronized at the Central Bank. The purpose here is to keep the bad debtor out of the market.” For example, a bad debtor will be known to all the banks through the Central Bank. So such a debtor cannot leave the bank he is still owing and seek a loan from another bank. The red flag will be automatically raised, and such a debtor will be stuck—unable to seek a loan at any other bank. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Start reading New Ecobank MD Hails Liberia’s Economic Recovery

2 Cops to be charged – DPP

first_imgTurkeyen Police Station rapeTwo Policemen who allegedly raped a woman who had gone to the Turkeyen Police Station to report a matter are expected to be formally charged following advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions. The incident is said to have occurred on New Years’ Day when the Sophia, Greater Georgetown, woman made her report and then requested to utilise a restroom to relief herself while at the station. Instead of pointing the woman to the right restroom which is often utilised by members of the public, she was directed to another and more discreet washroom when the Policemen allegedly pounced on her and raped her. The file was returned to the Police containing advice to institute rape charges against the two accused on Wednesday. Following the report of the rape, the ranks were transferred to the Tactical Services Unit (TSU), where they remain under close arrest.last_img read more

Start reading 2 Cops to be charged – DPP

CLLR McBRIDE TAKES UP SEAT ON COUNTY COUNCIL

first_imgFORMER Fianna Fail man Michael McBride took up his position on the county councillor today and declared: “I’m delighted to be a Labour Party representative.”Last Friday donegaldaily was first to reveal that Mr McBride had accepted an offer to be co-opted onto Donegal County Council.And today he was accompanied to HQ in Lifford by Senator Jimmy Harte whose seat he is taking up. Said Cllr McBride: “I am deeply honoured to be representing people in Letterkenny and Milford. I know a lot of the councillors on the council and of course some are former party colleagues in Fianna Fail.“I am delighted to be representing the people and for the Labour Party.”Cllr McBride was formally co-opted and welcomed to the body by all other councillors.Senator Harte added: “Michael is a fantastic representative. He will serve the people well. “This is a good day for the electorate and a good day for the Labour Party.”CLLR McBRIDE TAKES UP SEAT ON COUNTY COUNCIL was last modified: May 30th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:county councillormichael mcbrideSenator Jimmy Hartelast_img read more

Start reading CLLR McBRIDE TAKES UP SEAT ON COUNTY COUNCIL

DDTV: VIDEO OF DEPUTY PADRAIG MACLOCHLAINN SPEAKING IN DAIL ON SEPTIC TANK CHARGES

first_imgSINN FEIN Donegal TD Padraig MacLochlainn has hit out in the Dail on septic tank charges.Deputy MacLochlainn told the Dail that the charges amounted to a tax on the rural people of Donegal and other counties. Click the video to watch:DDTV: VIDEO OF DEPUTY PADRAIG MACLOCHLAINN SPEAKING IN DAIL ON SEPTIC TANK CHARGES was last modified: December 1st, 2011 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Padraig MacLochlainn TDseptic tank chargeslast_img read more

Start reading DDTV: VIDEO OF DEPUTY PADRAIG MACLOCHLAINN SPEAKING IN DAIL ON SEPTIC TANK CHARGES

Picture Special: Scoil Naomh Fiachra students serve perfect pancakes

first_imgThe smell of freshly cooked pancakes wafted throughout the halls of Scoil Naomh Fiachra in Illistrin today as students served up some delicious treats! Pancake Tuesday was celebrated in many classrooms today in the school, with students getting creative with toppings and decorations for their homemade delights.With Lent beginning tomorrow, Pancake Tuesday is a special occasion in Scoil Naomh Fiachra as staff and pupils give up some of the goodies until Easter Sunday (which this year, falls on April Fools Day!). Pictured are pupils from Ms Boyle’s senior infants class who enjoyed making (and eating!) their pancakes today. Picture Special: Scoil Naomh Fiachra students serve perfect pancakes was last modified: February 13th, 2018 by Elaine McCalligShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Illistrinlentpancake tuesdaypicture speciallast_img read more

Start reading Picture Special: Scoil Naomh Fiachra students serve perfect pancakes

DD Gardening: Six tips to maintaining a lawn

first_imgIn this weekend’s column, I discuss how to get your lawn summer ready. I have listed six tips on getting the very best out of your lawn and getting it looking ship shape for the year ahead.Scarification This is a method of removing the thatch layer in your lawn. The thatch is made up of decomposed or semi-decomposed organic matter. This includes uncollected grass clippings and leaves among others. This is where a build-up of moss can occur. By removing a percentage of this, it helps to allow the rain to percolate down through this area quicker reducing damp conditions. As well as improving airflow through grass sward helping to reduce diseases. It also helps encourage the spread of more vulnerable grass varieties to regenerate. Advertisement Regeneration Your lawn encompasses at least a half dozen grass varieties and weeds. Obviously, over time the more vulnerable varieties and less competitive ones will lose out. This can be key to the overall appearance and the ecology of your lawn. Renown or stitching in seed on a biannual basis can greatly benefit your lawn.Watering As you can imagine grass varieties are shallow rooting. They have a fibrous root system that spreads out just below the surface of the soil. Long periods of dry weather can have ill effects on your lawn. We can still see some damage to lawns from last year’s drought spell. So give it a watering during periods of dry spells will help keep it alive. Advertisement Mowing Regularly mowing will increase the density of the grass. Basically what happens is the individual grass plants panic and stress out after mowing. They then respond by shooting out stolons i.e baby grass plants. These new grass plants then grow up and thicken the overall lawn. It also helps create more competition helping to fight out weed problemsFeed At the end of the day grass are plants and plants like us require food to thrive. Regularly feeding your lawn with either a specialised soluble or solid feed will see a vast improvement. A soluble feed will act quicker but last shorter as for a solid feed will respond slower but be available for a greater length of time. A specialised lawn feed will have all the correct nutrients.pH This is a measurement of how alkaline or acidic your soil is. This can impact the nutrients available to your grass and what they will be able to take up. Also, certain grass varieties and weeds will tolerate various pH readings.Ideally, a pH at around 6.5 will be sufficient, this is slightly on the acidic side. Liming will help alleviate the problem of soil been too acidic. Lime is a natural rock material that is alkaline. Acidic based feeds will help alleviate the problem of soil been too alkaline.If you would like to arrange a consultation and for further information visit my website conorgallinagh.com.I have a number of gardening events coming up over the next few weeks and information on these are available on my Facebook page – Conor Gallinagh – Horticulture Consultant. https://www.facebook.com/conorgallinaghhorticulture/ Happy Gardening!!DD Gardening: Six tips to maintaining a lawn was last modified: April 20th, 2019 by Conor GallinaghShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Start reading DD Gardening: Six tips to maintaining a lawn

Venus Flytrap De-Darwinized

first_img This repetition of Darwin’s name is especially puzzling since the authors made no attempt to explain how this amazing plant evolved (they didn’t even invoke the phrase convergent evolution).  Darwin wrote a book on insectivorous plants in 1875, in which he described experiments he performed on the Venus flytrap, but he did not provide a theory for how the plant might have evolved, nor did he mention it in his best-known work, On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection. To the contrary, the quotations above almost emphasize that Darwin did not understand how this wonder of nature originated. Nor was Darwin the first to study the plant.  It had been discovered in 1763, almost a century before the Origin.  A description and illustration of it was sent by British naturalist John Ellis to Linnaeus in 1769, with the comment, “My dear Friend, I know that every discovery in nature is a treat to you; but in this you will have a feast” (source: Hunt Institute).  William Paley gave it a short description in his 1804 book Natural Theology, or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity Collected from the Appearances of Nature.3  So by all rights, he could have been honored instead of Darwin in the current paper, having it called “the Paley plant.” 1. Escalante-Perez et al., “A special pair of phytohormones controls excitability, slow closure, and external stomach formation in the Venus flytrap,” PNAS, published online before print September 6, 2011, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1112535108. 2. Footnote in paper refers to Charles Darwin, Insectivorous Plants (John Murray, 1875), available at Darwin-Online.UK. 3. Paley, Natural Theology, p. 367, published at Darwin-Online.UK. If you stand for fairness and historical accuracy, snatch that well-designed plant out of Charlie’s gnarly hands and let’s set the record straight.  This plant is more irreducibly complex than Behe’s man-made mousetrap.  (The scientific name, by the way, means “Dione’s daughter’s mousetrap”).  It’s even more exquisite than Ellis, Linnaeus or Paley could have imagined.  Darwin would have croaked if he had been told what these scientists found.  Since the Venus flytrap clearly bears the hallmarks of intelligent design, let’s call it “the Paley plant, known since the time of the famous Biblical creationist, Linnaeus.”(Visited 215 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Urea had already been shown by Darwin to induce secretion in Dionaea.2 Darwin had a fascination for the Venus flytrap, but is it appropriate to conjure up his ghost when talking about it?  The carnivorous plant still defies evolutionary explanations, especially now, when a recent paper drew attention to more amazing design features from macro to micro.  For some reason, writers still feel a compulsion to mention Darwin’s name when talking about a plant that defies his evolutionary ideas. Even though the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) grows only in America (particularly, in the Carolinas), it has long fascinated botanists from around the world.  Recently, a team of plant biophysicists from Germany and Saudi Arabia went hunting for the clever plant’s secrets.  Publishing in PNAS,1 they concentrated on plant hormones involved in the stimulation of the traps, the fast closure followed by slow constricting closure, and the formation of an “external stomach” on the trap surfaces that digests the prey.  They found that signals for trap closure follow different signaling pathways than those for digestion.  In sum, “These findings demonstrate that prey-catching Dionaea combines plant-specific signaling pathways… with a rapidly acting trigger, which uses ion channels, action potentials, and Ca2+ [calcium ion] signals.”  That’s a lot of cooperation between multiple parts, each exquisitely adapted to their role in the goal of catching bugs. Students who have played with Venus flytraps in school know that it takes two strokes of the trigger hairs separated by a short pause, or two strokes of separate hairs, to make the trap shut.  This prevents needless trap resets from falling leaves or other non-prey objects.  But they probably didn’t realize they have just tripped an electrical switch leading to a series of mechanical events: “Insects touching these mechanosenory organs protruding from the upper leaf epidermis of the Venus flytrap activate mechanosensitive ion channels and generate receptor potentials, which induce an action potential.”  Prior to closure, the trap has been set by storing elastic energy, allowing it to close within 100 milliseconds (1/10 second).  But even when sprung, that’s not all.  A whole sequence of coordinated events is set into action: However, the trap is not completely closed at this moment. To hermetically seal the trap, it requires ongoing activation of the mechanosensitive hairs by the trapped prey. Unless the prey is able to escape, it will further stimulate the inner surface of the lobes, thereby triggering further APs [action potentials]. This forces the edges of the lobes together, sealing the trap hermetically (prey-dependent slow closure) to form an external “stomach” in which prey digestion occurs. The second phase of trap closure is accompanied by secretion of lytic enzymes from the glands covering the inner surface of the bilobed leaf trap. Thus, digestive glands do not secrete until stimulated by natural or artificial prey. Additionally, prey-derived compounds stimulate digestive glands leading to acidification of the external stomach and production of lytic enzymes. The authors seem fascinated by this process, as any observer would be.  How can a plant act like a meat-eating animal?  “Many similarities between fast processes involved in carnivory and signals of the nervous system suggest similarity in mechanisms,” they said.  And sure enough, “ion channels and chemical factors are at the basis of triggering mechanisms in both systems.”  Both tigers and Venus flytraps employ calcium signals, ion channels, exocytosis, and secreted substances.  In particular, the researchers discovered an interplay between two plant hormones, jasmonic acid and abscisic acid: “Whereas the former systematically alerts neighboring traps to the presence of prey and elicits secretion, the latter regulates trap sensitivity, protecting the carnivore from untimely prey catching during periods of drought.”  This little plant thought of everything (so to speak). The analogy between carnivory in two completely different kingdoms of life is so uncanny, the authors elaborated on it in their concluding discussion: Our results imply that phosphorylation/dephosphorylation reactions are important modulators of plant carnivore excitability.  This reveals another analogy to the nervous system, where both electrical excitability and synaptic transmission is strongly modulated by such posttranslational modifications.  Dionaea assembles an extensive signaling network that relies partly on plant-specific components (which it uses for its own specific purposes) and partly on mechanisms resembling those of higher animals. However, in contrast to nerve cells in animals, terrestrial plants lack fast voltage-dependent Na+ [sodium] channels, possibly due to the fact that Na+ gradients in such plants are minor. Thus, Na+ currents would not be very efficient to transiently depolarize the membrane potential.  Instead, plants possess a rapid (R-type) anion channel current component in addition to the slow (S-type) anion channels (SLAC1). This anion channel exhibits voltage-dependent features of neuronal calcium and sodium channels. Upon depolarization, this channel type activates with fast kinetics, whereas hyperpolarization causes deactivation. Hence, this type of plant anion channel has all of the properties to substitute for Na+ channels and to drive the Dionaea AP [action potential]. Of all the nerve – a plant that is vastly unrelated to the animal kingdom has analogous components for hunting prey found in mammals with central nervous systems.  Why, then, did these authors call it the “Darwin plant”?  No common ancestor of plants and animals would have had all these components, and no sequence of transitional forms shows carnivory from the most primitive plants to this exotic angiosperm – a flowering plant, by the way, that does not need bug meat to survive, since it has all the photosynthetic gear to get by. What’s Darwin got to do with it? Nevertheless, the ghost of Darwin lurked in the shadows from beginning to end: Venus flytrap’s leaves can catch an insect in a fraction of a second.  Since the time of Charles Darwin, scientists have struggled to understand the sensory biology and biomechanics of this plant, Dionaea muscipula.center_img Sequencing the genome of the Venus flytrap and identifying the genes encoding key elements in mechanoelectric trap contraction will allow us to further understand the action of the Darwin plant and to characterize both similarities and differences between analogous processes in the two kingdoms. Furthermore, with the ion channel genes identified and functionally expressed, it will be possible to reconstitute the Dionaea AP and secretion process known since Darwin’s time. Although this type of plant carnivory has been known since Darwin’s time, insights about the hapto-electrochemical coupling associated with the trapping behavior of Dionaea remain rather limited.last_img read more

Start reading Venus Flytrap De-Darwinized

No Scientific Method Can Generate Integrity

first_imgThe frequency of articles about misconduct, fraud and reproducibility show that scientists’ integrity cannot be assumed by a “scientific method.”Scientists are only people. They are not immune to the temptations and failings of others. Peer review and the “scientific method” (if there is such a thing) can guard against some misinformation getting out, but no method is immune from character defects. All conclusions from data must pass through fallible human beings. The following reports show that problems of scientific integrity loom large, despite a method that is widely thought to protect against them.Another High-Profile FraudVaccine researcher Dong-Pyou Han doesn’t look happy in the photo in a Nature piece about the latest fraud.Rare is the scientist who goes to prison on research misconduct charges. But on 1 July, Dong-Pyou Han, a former biomedical scientist at Iowa State University in Ames, was sentenced to 57 months for fabricating and falsifying data in HIV vaccine trials. Han has also been fined US$7.2 million and will be subject to three years of supervised release after he leaves prison.His case had a higher profile than most, attracting interest from a powerful US senator. Han’s harsh sentence raises questions about how alleged research fraud is handled in the United States, from decisions about whether to prosecute to the types of punishments imposed by grant-making agencies.Is this proof science can keep its own house clean? Not necessarily. He was caught, yes—but only after years of deceit. “Han said that he began the subterfuge to cover up a sample mix-up that he had made years before.” How many others get away with fraud? Harsh as this sentence seems, some feel it isn’t harsh enough. “This seems like a very light penalty for a doctor who purposely tampered with a research trial and directly caused millions of taxpayer dollars to be wasted on fraudulent studies,” Senator Charles Grassley (R, Iowa) complained. He also said, “I worry that other cases may go unnoticed or unaddressed if there isn’t a public outcry.”The ORI (Office of Research Integrity) appears about as effective at stopping fraud as the U.N. is in stopping terror. They probably wouldn’t have investigated this case at all without Grassley’s insistence, the article says. It ends on a depressing note: “once” when some in the ORI sought to conduct a formal investigation of the impact of penalties for fraud, the Obama Administration shut it down on the grounds that “it cost too much and people were unlikely to respond.”Reproducibility crisis “Experiments should be reproducible,” Finagle’s Rules jest. “They should all fail the same way.” The lack of reproducibility in preclinical trials is no laughing matter, three scientists reported last month in PLoS Biology:Low reproducibility rates within life science research undermine cumulative knowledge production and contribute to both delays and costs of therapeutic drug development. An analysis of past studies indicates that the cumulative (total) prevalence of irreproducible preclinical research exceeds 50%, resulting in approximately US$28,000,000,000 (US$28B)/year spent on preclinical research that is not reproducible—in the United States alone.That’s shocking. One might expect a few percent of reports to have problems, but why are over half irreproducible? Is it from carelessness? Is it fraud? This is affecting patients’ lives and hopes. The watchdogs are not sure of all the causes, but “one fact remains clear: the challenge of increasing reproducibility and addressing the costs associated with the lack of reproducibility in life science research is simply too important and costly to ignore.”The flaw is not limited to the life sciences. Nature wrote about the reproducibility crisis in cosmology. People are getting tired of astronomers “crying wolf” too often about spectacular findings, Jan Conrad writes:The past few years have seen a slew of announcements of major discoveries in particle astrophysics and cosmology. The list includes faster-than-light neutrinos; dark-matter particles producing γ-rays; X-rays scattering off nuclei underground; and even evidence in the cosmic microwave background for gravitational waves caused by the rapid inflation of the early Universe. Most of these turned out to be false alarms; and in my view, that is the probable fate of the rest….I also worry that false discoveries are undermining public trust in science. As cosmic phenomena come and go — not to mention endless speculation about hypothetical concepts such as parallel and holographic universes — why should anyone believe that any scientific result will hold?Conrad does not say that any  “method” can solve this. Instead, “To avoid further weakening of scientific standards and reputations, researchers need to stick to scientific best practice.” How, though, does that advice differ from any other field of human inquiry? “Best practice” is a moral judgment, not a methodological one. Critical examination, alertness to personal biases, rewards and punishments—these best practices are not limited to science. None of them, further, will work without people of integrity.Maybe this is just limited to a few fields, like cosmology and medicine. Nope, says Stuart Buck, a specialist in research integrity from Texas. He writes in Science Magazine, after pointing out famous cases of research fraud, “Nearly every field is affected, from clinical trials and neuroimaging, to economics and computer science.” Even if he’s right that “Most scientists aspire to greater transparency,” the point is that no “scientific method” protects against immorality. And even for the righteous, “if being transparent taps into scarce grant money and requires extra work, it is unlikely that scientists will be able to live up to their own cherished values.” It’s a familiar human foible in all walks of life, not just science.Calls for IntegrityThis headline from Carnegie Mellon sounds noble: “Top Scientists Call for Improved Incentives to Ensure Research Integrity.” Isn’t science supposed to be a “self-correcting process”? The article calls that a “notion”. It is belied by the problems discussed further down.  It may be comforting to know that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is making this a priority, but one might ask, “Who’s watching the watchers?” If the NAS guards lack integrity, it could become a conspiracy or racket. Will a simplistic “Scientific Method” solve this?“Science is littered with irreproducible results, even from top places, and it’s a widespread problem that looks different in different domains, but there are shared commonalities,” said CMU’s Stephen E. Fienberg (pictured right), the Maurice Faulk University Professor of Statistics and Social Sciences. “As a statistician, I understand how the role of data is critical. But determining how to set a policy to support data access is very complicated — there is not a simple set of rules.”The authors’ advice is littered with moral words: integrity, responsibility, ethics. “Additionally, universities should insist that their faculty and students are educated in research ethics; that their publications do not feature honorary or ghost authors; that public information officers avoid hype in publicizing findings; and suspect research is promptly and thoroughly investigated.” Can you crank any of that out of a scientific method?For those who idolize the Scientific Method as the pure, unadulterated path to Truth, study carefully what these articles are saying. Any truth claim must test itself (hear Nancy Pearcey on this). You can’t use the “scientific method” (if there is such a thing) on the scientific method. A method is assumed, not tested. Someone might counter, “Sure you can. You can test all the truth claims that come out of the scientific method against those that are not produced by the scientific method.” But what if the meta-researcher is a fraud? Then you would need another experiment to test the scientific-method-of-the-scientific-method against the scientific method. This creates an infinite regress of watchers watching the watchers watching the watchers. Nothing works without integrity — whether for the individual researcher or for the scientific community.The scientific method (if there is such a thing) is downstream of character; it is utterly useless without integrity. For integrity, there is no method. There is only obedience to a standard, such as “Thou shalt not bear false witness” and “Thou shalt not covet.” You cannot have science without the Ten Commandments. Science without an eternal guiding principle of ethics degenerates into majority rule, evolving standards, and whatever a given society is willing to tolerate at a given time, or what is imposed on them by people in power (think 1984).So Who watches the watchers? “I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” This is the God who makes science possible. We are all accountable to our Maker.  Want to have a robust science producing reliable results? Guide on the words of the Author of the Ten Commandments.Resource: Listen to Dennis Prager on why the Ninth Commandment is essential for a healthy civilization (including science).(Visited 93 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Start reading No Scientific Method Can Generate Integrity

Beck’s collaborates with John Deere for seamless data transfer

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Beck’s is pleased to announce a collaboration between its secure, web-based precision ag tool, FARMserver, and John Deere’s Operations Center in MyJohnDeere.com to improve data flow and connectivity. The collaboration will allow users the ability to seamlessly transfer data and field prescriptions between their FARMserver account and John Deere equipment.“Since the inception of FARMserver, we have worked hard to deliver a product that is not only farmer friendly and easy-to-use, but that is compatible with all colors and brands of equipment,” said Scott Beck, president of Beck’s. “We recognized data connectivity and transfer are some of the biggest obstacles for farming operations. Our partnership with John Deere enhances the user experience for our customers.”Beck’s FARMserver team identified one of the biggest pain points for farmers was the process of manually transferring agronomic data between equipment monitors and a precision ag data platform. Beck’s has worked in conjunction with John Deere to give farmers the ability to use and apply their data more efficiently.“The Operations Center open platform gives farmers the opportunity to see the performance of their operations and collaborate with agronomic and business partners to optimize their production and costs. Beck’s and John Deere share the commitment to honor data principles and enable farmers to control and manage their data. Through the Operations Center, that environment also supports farmers’ efforts to optimize their returns,” said Pat Pinkston, Vice President Technology and Information Solutions, John Deere. MyJohnDeere, a comprehensive information platform enables the management of equipment data, production data and farm operations.FARMserver customers with existing subscriptions to the Operations Center in MyJohnDeere and JDLink Connect will have the ability to create field prescriptions within their FARMserver account and automatically upload it to their equipment monitors. By allowing farmers to make changes on the fly, they can quickly adjust prescriptions or applications based on field conditions. In addition, the automatic transfer will allow users to see their data immediately and start analyzing it instead of waiting until the end of the season.For more information or to sign up for a membership, visit FARMserver.com or call 317-565-4120.last_img read more

Start reading Beck’s collaborates with John Deere for seamless data transfer