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Legislators gear up for court funding challenges

first_img Legislators gear up for court funding challenges Senior EditorLegislators expect to make some hard decisions about the state’s impending takeover of more funding for trial courts in next year’s legislative session, but the hardest task — coming up with the money — likely won’t happen until 2004.Meanwhile, the state court system has identified its “core” functions and expects soon to come up with the costs of maintaining those activities.In 1998, voters approved a constitutional amendment mandating that the state take over from counties more funding of county and circuit courts, no later than July 1, 2004. Counties are supposed to pay for little more than office space and related upkeep and maintenance, while the state takes over juror costs, conflict attorney pay, equipment, and other expenses. Some estimates put the cost around $500 million.That’s a stiff enough bill for a state budget that various estimates had $1 to $2 billion in the red for the coming year. On top of that, the Department of Children and Families is seeking an increase of more than $400 million to deal with low pay, foster care, and child abuse investigation problems. And in November, voters approved two constitutional amendments. One provides for universal pre-K education for anyone who wants it, and is expected to cost several hundred million dollars. The second limits classroom sizes and is projected to add $1 to $2 billion to the state budget annually for the next several years.“It’s more than likely that we will put together the final plan this year, and the funding will be put off until next year,” said Sen. Rod Smith, D-Gainesville, who is expected to play a major role in the Senate’s approach to the court fiscal issue. “I won’t say all of the funding will be put off, but given some of the other amendments that passed [last month], it’s likely most of the funding will be in 2004.”Even putting together a plan is a daunting task, given the number of players involved. Not only does it include the court system, but counties, court clerks, public defenders, and state attorneys all have stakes in the outcome.To help sort things out, the legislature has hired MGT of America to sift through different county and circuit accounting systems and take a look at how the court and various entities function and interact. It’s initial report is due January 15, and Rep. Dudley Goodlette, R-Naples, said that will let lawmakers know where to start.“If with that information we feel we’re far enough along and informed enough, we can begin to draft legislation defining the central elements of the court system and give some direction to local governments on what their continuing role will be,” said Goodlette, who expects a central role in the House approach to Article V funding. “I would hope we are far enough advanced by the time the session arrives to develop some implementing legislation. That would constitute the basis on which the interested parties would be able to anticipate where we may end up in this process, come July 1, 2004.”Smith said lawmakers will make sure all interested parties are heard, although “they may not like what they hear.”“My plan right now is information gathering and making sure everyone is heard,” he added. “Everyone will have access, everyone will be heard.”Both Smith and Goodlette stressed that although the state will be on a tight budget, the goal is not to damage the operation of the courts.“[Senate President and Sen. Jim] King has told me he wants this to be a funding plan that will be based on reality, but will be a system that does not diminish our delivery of justice,” Smith said. “I think the realities of the budget will be conservative, but hopefully not austere.”“We’re looking to preserve, and to the extent we can, enhance the quality of the judicial system in the state of Florida,” Goodlette said. “We’d like for this to be a seamless transition from the standpoint of how the courts function.”While lawmakers are getting ready to set policies, the court system is continuing its long-standing effort to prepare for the Article V funding changes.State Courts Administrator Rob Lubitz said the Trial Court Budget Commission has already identified “what we believe to be the essential elements of the court system.”Those include: Judges and their assistants, court administration, case management, court interpreters, court reporters, masters and hearing officers, legal support, mediation, and expert witness expenses ordered by the courts.By next month, Lubitz said the commission hopes to have a price tag for those central issues. But that won’t be the final cost, he said, because it does not cover the needs of public defenders, state attorneys, court clerks, and counties.“We hope to work with them to develop a combined cost estimate that we can all agree with,” he added.Even with little funding this year, it will be valuable to receive the legislative plans for what will be funded, Lubitz said, and the court work is being done with the knowledge of the extraordinary budget pressures faced by the lawmakers.“There are some tremendous needs for the court system, but we recognize the difficult situation the legislature is in and we look forward to working closely with them in a cooperative manner to address those needs,” he said. December 15, 2002 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Legislators gear up for court funding challengeslast_img read more

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Cricket News Virat Kohli Creates Special Captaincy Record In Pune Test Against South Africa

first_imgNew Delhi: Even before a ball was bowled in the Pune Test between India and South Africa at the MCA stadium, Virat Kohli has created a special captaincy record. The Indian skipper won the toss and chose to bat against the Proteas in what was his 50th Test as skipper of the Indian cricket team. Kohli became the second captain after MS Dhoni to captain in 50 or more Tests and he overtook Sourav Ganguly’s record of 49 Tests. Kohli became captain for the first time during the 2014 series in Australia Down Under but ever since Dhoni’s retirement from Tests in the same series, Kohli has been the full-time captain ever since the start of the Sri Lanka series in 2015. Kohli is the 17th individual to captain a side in 50 or more Tests.Currently, his winning percentage is 58 percent, having won in 29 out of the 50 Tests. Already, he is the most successful Indian captain ever in Tests, breaking Dhoni’s record of 27 which he achieved in 60 Tests. Graeme Smith of South Africa is the only skipper in history to captain in over 100 Tests. From 2003 to 2014, Smith captained South Africa in 109 Tests, winning 53 of them and helping South Africa win back-to-back Test series in Australia and England in 2008 and 2012.Also Read | There is huge gap between Kohli and rest of world: Brian LaraAllan Border of Australia, Stephen Fleming of New Zealand, Ricky Ponting, Clive Lloyd, Dhoni, Alastair Cook, Steve Waugh, Misbah ul Haq, Arjuna Ranatunga, Michael Atherton, Hansie Cronje, Michael Vaughan, Sir Viv Richards, Andrew Strauss and Mark Taylor are the other individuals apart from Kohli who have captained the side in 50 or more Tests. Also Read | Virat Kohli blasts record fifth consecutive fifty in 2019 World Cup, 54th overall in clash vs EnglandIf one looks at the success rate of all captains with a minimum criteria of 50 Tests, then Steve Waugh of Australia has the highest success percentage by winning 41 out of 57 Tests with 71.92 percent success. Waugh is followed by fellow Australian Ricky Ponting who has won 62 percent of his Tests followed by Kohli. The Delhi right-handed batsman was at the helm when India won their first-ever Test series Down Under in 2018/19. After winning the Adelaide Test, India lost in Perth but won a Boxing Day Test for the first time in 37 years and when the Sydney Test was drawn, history was created. India will be gunning to win the Test series against South Africa and continue their great start in the World Test Championship, having won the series in West Indies 2-0 and winning the match in Vizag by 203 runs against the Proteas. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

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McIlroy beats Woods in China exhibition

first_imgMcIlroy shot a 5-under 67 to beat Woods by one stroke in an 18-hole match between the two top-ranked golfers at the Jinsha Lake Golf Club in central China on Monday.“This is certainly not like most Mondays. To have this many people come out and watch us play golf in an exhibition was something special. This doesn’t happen,” Woods said. “As far as doing something like this down the road, it would be fun.”The event, dubbed “Duel at Jinsha Lake,” marked the first time the two golfers had played head-to-head without other competitors. It probably won’t be the last.As stunt planes buzzed overhead, a fleet of Rolls Royces whisked the players to the course, passing helicopters for sale and Aston Martins and Maseratis with showgirls draped over them.Woods said he’d relish the chance to take on McIlroy more often to create a rivalry at the top of the game similar to the one between Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray that have made men’s tennis so exciting in recent years.“If you look at the history of the game, it’s not like other sports where the guys play against each other all the time. Jack (Nicklaus) and Arnold (Palmer) didn’t go at it that often.” No.1 and No. 2 SQAURE OFF—Tiger Woods of the United States, left, and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, right, hold their trophies with Feng Changge, chairman of Harmony Group at the Lake Jinsha Golf Club in Zhengzhou, in central China’s Henan province, Oct. 29. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan) ZHENGZHOU, China (AP)—Rory McIlroy outdueled Tiger Woods in the first one-on-one exhibition match between golf’s two biggest names. Woods thinks he’ll have plenty of chances to get revenge.last_img read more

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Restocked Kansas nabs No. 1 spot in AP Top 25 preseason poll

first_imgIn this March 23, 2018, file photo, Kansas’ Udoka Azubuike (35) dunks as Clemson’s Gabe DeVoe, left, and Aamir Simms watch during the second half of a regional semifinal game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Kansas coach Bill Self sees big holes when he looks at his roster after losing three starters, including Associated Press All-American Devonte’ Graham.The voters in the AP Top 25 poll see something different: a roster restocked so well that Jayhawks will start the season as the nation’s top team.Kansas checked in at No. 1 in the preseason poll released Monday, earning the top spot to start a season for the third time in program history, all under Self. The Jayhawks topped the ballot for 37 of 65 voters, nearly double that of No. 2 Kentucky.“Obviously we lost a lot off last year’s team with Devonte’, Svi (Mykhailiuk) and Malik (Newman), so I’m a little surprised that the writers put us there this preseason,” Self said in a statement to the AP. “It’s definitely a spot we welcome and certainly know the goal is to be playing to that ranking by when it counts the most.“With the young players, we know it’s going to take some time before we’re anywhere close to where we’re going to be, but I do like this team and I think we have a chance to be very good.”The Jayhawks return veteran starters in junior 7-footer Udoka Azubuike and senior Lagerald Vick from a team that reached its first Final Four since 2012. They’re also adding transfer help from Memphis twins Dedric and K.J. Lawson as well as California’s Charlie Moore — all double-digit scorers on their previous teams.And yet, the previous two times the Jayhawks started at No. 1 didn’t end well. The 2004-05 squad lost to Bucknell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. And the 2009-10 team that held the top spot for 15 of 19 weeks overall and won 33 games lost to Northern Iowa in the second round.The ranking comes as the program finds itself entangled in the federal corruption case tied to payments used to steer recruits to certain schools. Testimony during the recent first trials included references to Self and sophomore forward Silvio De Sousa , though Self isn’t charged with wrongdoing and it’s unclear if De Sousa’s status will be affected.CLEAR CHOICESVoters established a clear top tier: Kansas, Kentucky, No. 3 Gonzaga and No. 4 Duke. Those four teams appeared in some combination at the top of nearly half the ballots (32 of 65).John Calipari’s latest group of touted recruits helped the Wildcats earn 19 first-place votes to open as a top-5 team for the eighth straight season.Gonzaga’s ranking is the program’s highest in a preseason AP poll, though the Zags have reached No. 1 during the regular season before. As for Duke, the Blue Devils had started No. 1 in each of the past two preseason AP polls.The points gap between the Jayhawks and the Blue Devils (129 points) at fourth was slimmer than between Duke and fellow Atlantic Coast Conference program Virginia (166 points) at No. 5.FRESH STARTSpeaking of Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers, one of the biggest things to watch will be how well the Virginia responds to the most historic of tournament losses.The Cavaliers ended the regular season as the unanimous AP No. 1-ranked team and the No. 1 overall NCAA Tournament seed, yet somehow became the first 1-seed to lose to a No. 16 against UMBC. Bennett said all the right things about learning from that moment. And his team returns Kyle Guy (14.1 points), Ty Jerome (10.6 points) and its best NBA prospect in sophomore De’Andre Hunter.Virginia has its highest preseason AP ranking since Ralph Sampson’s final team opened at No. 1 in 1982-83.LOFTY STARTThe Martin twins are back along with Jordan Caroline, and that has Nevada starting the year with the program’s highest ever AP poll ranking at No. 7 after last year’s NCAA Sweet 16 run .CHAMPS AT 9No Jalen Brunson, no Mikal Bridges, no Final Four most outstanding player Donte DiVincenzo. And yet reigning national champion Villanova checks in at No. 9.The Wildcats still have Eric Paschall and Phil Booth back while adding Albany graduate transfer Joe Cremo. There’s also a bit of respect built into this ranking, both for the stature of program Jay Wright has developed (two national championships in three seasons) and for the Wildcats’ dominating romp through the postseason.CONFERENCE WATCHThe ACC had the most teams ranked of any conference: Duke, Virginia, No. 8 North Carolina, No. 15 Virginia Tech (its highest spot since the 1995-96 season), No. 16 Syracuse, No. 17 Florida State and No. 22 Clemson.The Southeastern Conference was next up with five teams: Kentucky, No. 6 Tennessee, No. 11 Auburn (the program’s highest ranking since 2000), No. 18 Mississippi State and No. 23 LSU.The Big 12 had four (Kansas, No. 12 Kansas State, No. 13 West Virginia and No. 20 TCU), while the Big Ten and Pac-12 each had three, led by No. 10 Michigan State and No. 14 Oregon, respectively.THE WATCH LISTHello again to Porter Moser, Sister Jean and Loyola (Chicago), last year’s Final Four surprise . The Ramblers were only three points behind No. 25 Washington, putting them just outside the poll.Marquette was next with high-scoring junior Markus Howard back, while Archie Miller’s second year at Indiana has the Hoosiers lurking nearby as well.Several power-conference teams like Florida, Nebraska, Maryland and Wisconsin could find their way into the poll with a few early wins.___More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25___Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardaplast_img read more

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Grambling State University to Host 2019 and 2020 NAIA Championships

first_imgThe National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced that Grambling State University will host the 2019 and 2020 Football National Championships at the historic Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium.Historically, the event draws student-athletes, fans and media personnel to host cities; and includes broadcasts to ESPN3 and regional networks throughout the country, according to a news release on Monday, Dec. 3.“The Grambling State University campus is synonymous with both football and academic achievement,” Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO, said in the news release.“We are grateful to add a host city with this incredibly rich legacy to our list of partners,” Carr said.Formerly held in Daytona Beach, Florida, the mid-December game is expected to generate more than $1 million in economic impact to North Louisiana, officials said in the release.“From homecoming to Bayou Classic, our team has proven time and again that we’re one of the best at delivering game and fan experiences,” said Marc Newman, Vice President for Advancement, Research, and Economic Development at Grambling State.“We are working to leverage that reputation to move our University and City ahead and are excited to have NAIA join us as partners in that effort,” Newman said.The 2019 and 2020 host opportunities are a result of the continued work of the Ruston-Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau in partnership Grambling State University and the City of Grambling to better collaborate with local hotels, transportation providers, and businesses to drive growth.“This selection is a major accomplishment for our area,” said Travis Napper, President and CEO of the Ruston-Lincoln CVB. “Each major event adds value for the citizens, businesses, and the students who call Lincoln Parish home.”Edward Jones, who’s mayor of the city of Grambling, said officials couldn’t be more excited about hosting NAIA and the students and athletes.“They will get to experience the town and culture that has produced hundreds of football legends,” Jones [email protected],The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced that Grambling State University will host the 2019 and 2020 Football National Championships at the historic Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium.Historically, the event draws student-athletes, fans and media personnel to host cities; and includes broadcasts to ESPN3 and regional networks throughout the country, according to a news release on Monday, Dec. 3.“The Grambling State University campus is synonymous with both football and academic achievement,” Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO, said in the news release.“We are grateful to add a host city with this incredibly rich legacy to our list of partners,” Carr said.Formerly held in Daytona Beach, Florida, the mid-December game is expected to generate more than $1 million in economic impact to North Louisiana, officials said in the release.“From homecoming to Bayou Classic, our team has proven time and again that we’re one of the best at delivering game and fan experiences,” said Marc Newman, Vice President for Advancement, Research, and Economic Development at Grambling State.“We are working to leverage that reputation to move our University and City ahead and are excited to have NAIA join us as partners in that effort,” Newman said.The 2019 and 2020 host opportunities are a result of the continued work of the Ruston-Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau in partnership Grambling State University and the City of Grambling to better collaborate with local hotels, transportation providers, and businesses to drive growth.“This selection is a major accomplishment for our area,” said Travis Napper, President and CEO of the Ruston-Lincoln CVB. “Each major event adds value for the citizens, businesses, and the students who call Lincoln Parish home.”Edward Jones, who’s mayor of the city of Grambling, said officials couldn’t be more excited about hosting NAIA and the students and athletes.“They will get to experience the town and culture that has produced hundreds of football legends,” Jones [email protected] Photo: Courtesy Grambling State Universitylast_img read more

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From the Editor: A Mother’s Musings

first_imgTo Our Readers:Mother’s Day is always a terrific day to well, just spend time with my sons. Just hang out together – in the backyard with the dogs, at Monmouth Park, on a golf course. Unfortunately for a long time my oldest, Bart, has been living in the south of France. He lives a very civilized life and I’m thrilled he has a red tile-roofed apartment in an ancient Roman walking city nestled just minutes from the Mediterranean. The largest Place de la Comedie and the oldest carousel in all of Europe doesn’t hurt much either. But, I miss him. He’s happy and has a loving partner so ultimately, that’s what a mother wants for her children. It’s all good. And I’ll get to see him this fall when he comes home for my younger son Shane’s wedding in October. If you look on our Celebrations page this week, you will see Shane’s photo with the love of his life, Kate Judd, who he met while they were both in law school. My son is more than smitten and that goofy grin that’s on his face more than not is the first clue. Kate hails from Westfield, is a killer cook, and Shane from Tinton Falls. Beyond law they share the love of the Giants, dogs, kids, the beach, a sense of humor and a crazy show “How I Met Your Mother” which has something to do with the Yellow umbrella he proposed under. She’s a lovely gal from a really warm, intelligent and wicked funny family. So, I am so very happy for them both and think they are lucky to have found each other. I so look forward to dancing with my son at his wedding. When I ran into some health glitches a few years back, that was the Big Ask of God and thankfully, it came true.Every day I think of funny, tragic and scary days in my sons’ lives, but Mother’s Day probably more than most. Disney World a zillion times, sleeping under the Christmas tree, feeding fish to Pelicans, boating, the first day we put in the pool, the pony for a 4th birthday present, traveling up and down the east and west coast, New Hampshire and Maine, teaching them how to play golf, the first Communion and Confirmation, all my extended sons, getting to the soccer field just in time after a 36- hour trip from Kuala Lumpur, the PTA, being a drama mama, a soccer mom and a varsity football booster who handed out Gatorade after each game, the egg hunts, dragging the younger one from Borneo, to the Galapagos Islands to Western Samoa and lots in between, the many occasions spent at Monmouth Park, the family holidays, the tears after dropping them each off at college and the joy of button-popping graduations. Then there were all those terrifying trips to the ER, the crushed leg on the ski slopes and sleeping in a chair for weeks, explaining why someone they loved would no longer be a part of their daily life but alive in their hearts.I wasn’t the cookie-baking mom with an apron. Far from it. But I was at every game, play and important event in their lives. And I have always told them that as a journalist, I wouldn’t leave them millions but I did change the world for the better. That’s the legacy I leave my sons. And I hope they too leave the world a better place than they found it.But just who would have I have tried to make the world a better place for if not my sons? I’m so proud of them and thank them for the joy and meaning they give my life. They made my life whole and will always make my heart pop!Let’s Have Coffee!Jody [email protected]last_img read more

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Nelson Atom Leafs drop heartbreaker to finish with silver medal

first_imgAnother silver medal for the Nelson Atom Leafs.The Leafs lost a heartbreaking 4-3 decision to Revelstoke Grizzlies in the final of the Castlegar Atom Minor Hockey Tournament Sunday in the Sunflower City.Nelson also won a silver medal in a tournament earlier this month in Kimberley.The game was the second of the tournament between the two powerhouses. The teams played to a 3-3 tie during the round robin draw.Nelson’s other games were a 9-5 win over Grand Forks Bruins and a 10-2 thumping of Castlegar Red Wings. Another tournament.last_img

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New Frontiers leads Donegal CEO to secure major investment

first_imgThey say the key to being a successful entrepreneur is being able to spot a gap in the market and that’s exactly with Karina Kelly, CEO of www.mypicdrop.com did back in November 2017. Karina, who lives outside Donegal Town, was working in product photography for a large eCommerce retailer when she noticed how labour intensive the process of image preparation was for her client. She offered to take some of that work load off their hands. Using her business savvy, Karina went and spoke to other retailers and discovered that this service could be a huge business opportunity. In January 2018 her service went live, helping prepare images for publication on e-commerce sites. Taking the advice of a trusted friend, Karina took a key step to her current success and joined the New Frontiers programme. She credits New Frontiers with teaching businesses how to pin down their idea at an early stage, something that was critical to ensuring that she could grow and develop her product. The programme also focused on getting participants to speak to potential customers. It was during this process that she realised just how much potential there was to develop her product, retailers were asking her to not just prepare their images but to source them as well. The funding provided by phase 2 of New Frontiers helped her focus on this new direction and the input from advisors and mentors helped develop the overall concept and bring it to where it is today.Karina enjoyed being based in the CoLab in LYIT, the comradery that comes with being in an incubation centre helped her through the tougher days, and seeing others succeed provided the inspiration to keep going and see her idea come to life.CoLab Innovation Centre at LYITThe mentoring she received as part of both New Frontiers and Donegal Local Enterprise Board’s Generate Programme helped her to challenge her assumptions and go further than she ever thought possible.She is now moving to developing a software platform, a whole new challenge for her, which sums up what New Frontiers is really about, growing your businesses in directions you would never have previously imagined. Karina recently had her first big success when she secured a place on the NDRC Programme in Galway with an investment of €75,000. Based in the PorterShed in Eyre Square, this initiative is a collaboration from Enterprise Ireland, NDRC and GCID (Galway City Innovation District) aims to drive the growth of digital start-ups nationally.Her plan is to bring her software to the international marketplace as soon as possible.mypicdrop.ie CEO Karina KellyKarina’s advice for anyone starting a new business is: “Apply to New Frontiers, tell people about your idea, and listen to their advice. I can pinpoint clearly the exact pieces of advice I received that have directly led my idea to where it is today. You don’t have to take all advice, but accept it with gratitude, deposit it in your memory and you will be surprised that you might end up using it at a later stage. The innovation that other people’s input can bring to your idea is actually a somewhat magical process to watch unfold.” The future is bright for Karina and MyPicDrop, and with her trademark enthusiasm she says “I can’t wait”. About New FrontiersNew Frontiers, funded by Enterprise Ireland, is Ireland’s national entrepreneur development programme that is delivered in the Northwest by IT Sligo and Letterkenny Institute of Technology. It is designed to help people who have an innovative business idea and would like to establish and run their own companies. It provides participants with a package of supports to help accelerate the business’s development and to equip the promoter with the skills and contacts required to be future business leaders.Recruitment for Phase 2 of New Frontiers is open for applications until June 14th, see www.newfrontiersnw.ie for further information.New Frontiers leads Donegal CEO to secure major investment was last modified: May 30th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare 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:BusinessCoLabEnterpriseinvestmentkarina kellymypicdropNEW FRONTIERSlast_img read more

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This Place Really Has Atmosphere

first_imgOf all the bodies in the solar system, only eight have a substantial atmosphere.  If you add in those with tenuous atmospheres, you can add in Triton and Mercury, and maybe a few others, till it becomes pedantic to call it an atmosphere if there are only a few short-lived molecules hovering over a moon.  Atmospheres are interesting because they circulate, creating winds and clouds and a host of interesting effects that some scientists spend their entire careers studying (to say nothing of weathermen).  They also can dissipate into space over time.  What does the ambience of gas around a sphere have to do with life, evolution, and dating methods?  Here are some recent reports.Mercury:  One doesn’t envision the planet Mercury with an atmosphere, but it has a very slight one.  Why it has any is a puzzle.  So close to the sun, any volatiles should have heated up and escaped from its weak gravity.  Science Daily reported, though, that the solar wind supplies a tenuous atmosphere that hangs around a little while.  Charged particles from the sun liberate molecules from the surface in a process called sputtering (a kind of erosion on an atomic scale).  But then, Mercury’s slight magnetic field should keep the solar wind at bay.  The report says that magnetic “tornados” allow solar wind to reach the surface at certain points and times.  The MESSENGER spacecraft found that these “flux transfer events” allow solar wind particles to replenish the thin atmosphere.  Space.com also discussed this story, saying, “For some reason, there are more tornadoes than scientists had anticipated.”    The sun may not be the only source of gas surrounding this small planet.  Nature this week (June 11) called attention to a recent discovery by MESSENGER of a bright patch on the surface:1 Baked by the Sun and blasted by impacts, Mercury is thought to have lost much of its volatile content – such as water vapour and carbon dioxide – early in its history.  But its interior may have been bubblier than thought, according to Laura Kerber of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and her colleagues.  Using observations from the MESSENGER spacecraft, the researchers spotted the remnants of a volcano that they say was driven by explosive magma with high volatile concentrations.If the volatiles on Mercury resemble those on Earth, as alleged, this complicates theories on the origin of the planets.  It means “Mercury formed from volatile-rich planetesimals from the outer Solar System that migrated inwards.”Earth:  The solar wind batters Earth’s atmosphere, too.  Fortunately, our strong magnetic field keeps most of our gas intact.  National Geographic News said, though, that the sun does steal some of our atmosphere.  The same magnetic energy that protects us also funnels some of the solar wind inside, where it gets heated and escapes.  In fact, we’re losing more oxygen and hydrogen than Venus and Mars.  Not to panic, though: estimates show it would last several more billion years.  The article noted that most of Mars’ original atmosphere was probably lost due to the lack of a global magnetic field.    A planet’s atmosphere is linked to its geology.  Astrobiologists considering conditions for life on other planets need to consider this.  Science Daily reported that without plate tectonics, an atmosphere cannot be sustained.  “If you have plate tectonics, then you can have long-term climate stability, which we think is a prerequisite for life,” said Rory Barnes (University of Washington).  But tectonics can be too severe as well (think Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io).  The close-in habitable zone around red dwarfs has a side effect of generating strong tides and more volcanic activity.  “The planet must be at a distance where tugging from the star’s gravitational field generates tectonics without setting off extreme volcanic activity that resurfaces the planet in too short a time for life to prosper,” the article said.  So now there is a “Tidal Habitable Zone” to worry about.  Barnes said, “Overall, the effect of this work is to reduce the number of habitable environments in the universe, or at least what we have thought of as habitable environments.”Mars:  A report on Science Daily claims that meteor bombardment might have helped Earth and Mars become more habitable.  How?  by modifying their atmospheres.  Researchers at Imperial College London calculated that impacts during the so-called Late Heavy Bombardment could have delivered 10 billion tonnes of water vapor and carbon dioxide to both Earth and Mars.  Why, then, are the planets so different today?  They claim Mars’ lack of global magnetic field exposed it to erosion by the solar wind.  Also, a decline in volcanic activity cooled the atmosphere so that the remaining water molecules froze out.    The article from Science Daily mentioned above also speculated about how Mars might become more friendly to life.  “If Mars were to move closer to the sun, the sun’s tidal tugs could possibly restart the tectonics, releasing gases from the core to provide more atmosphere.  If Mars harbors liquid water, at that point it could be habitable for life as we know it.”    Meanwhile, don’t worry that germs carried by our rovers might be seeding Mars with Earth life.  A story on Astrobiology Magazine says the ultraviolet radiation is intense enough to sterilize everything on the surface.  There’s no escape, even inside salt crystals.  And that’s not the only hazard to life.  Andrew Schuerger, a NASA scientist listed “at least 13 separate factors on Mars that can kill Earth microbes, not counting perchlorate salts uncovered by NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander in the polar region of Mars.”  Earth life would be in even more danger from ionizing radiation if it were not for our atmosphere – with its tenuous ozone layer absorbing most of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.Titan:  The atmosphere of Saturn’s giant moon Titan has been in the news a couple of times this month.  For one thing, summer is refusing to leave its south pole.  A press release from JPL’s Cassini Mission summarizes a paper in Nature about this.2  New Scientist said that Titan’s atmosphere is turning out to be “much more complicated than we ever imagined,” according to Henry Roe of Lowell Observatory.  That, he said, is the “real story” that “we’re only just beginning to acknowledge within the field” of atmospheric science.  Science Daily also reported on the latest findings about Titan’s sluggish seasons.  So did Space.com.That last article on Space.com tossed in the L-word where the others didn’t: “It [Titan] has a thick atmosphere and the right chemistry to support some forms of life,” the article said.  “It actually resembles a frozen version of Earth, several billion years before organisms here began pumping oxygen into our atmosphere.”1.  Research Highlights, “Planetary Science: Mercurial Mercury,” Nature 459, 755 (11 June 2009) | doi:10.1038/459755c.2.  Rodriguez et al, “Global circulation as the main source of cloud activity on Titan,” Nature 459, 678-682 (4 June 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature08014.The atmosphere in the Creation Restaurant is nicer.  There’s no hot air.  The well-mannered customers do not emit foul-smelling gas (04/08/2002).  They don’t moan over their gastric pains (05/02/2003 and 08/22/2005 commentary).  You won’t inhale any stale, foul-smelling smoke about life emerging from dust.  There are no rude customers puffing on Charlie brand cigars (02/05/2002) while making up stories about things they never saw.  It’s one big non-smoking section.  Ahhhhh.  Take a deep breath and savor the aroma of a healthy science atmosphere.(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Take a stand during 16 Days of Activism

first_imgMonday, November 25, 2019The annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, known as the 16 Days campaign, is expected to be launched in Lephalale, in Limpopo, this morning.President Cyril Ramaphosa will launch the campaign with a visit to the Victim Support Centre at Witpoort Police Station.The visit to the police station will be followed by an event at the Ga-Seleka Community Hall, expected to be led by the Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.The objectives of the 16 Days of Activism campaign include expanding the call on men and boys to take a stand against all forms of abuse and the killing of women and children and promoting a multi-sectoral, collective action and responsibility in the fight to eradicate violence against women and children.It is also an opportunity to update the public on the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) and foster partnership for its implementation.All South Africans are during this time mobilised to commit to ending gender-based violence and femicide by signing the National Pledge on GBVF.This year’s campaign is themed “Enough is Enough: 365 days to end Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF)”.If you need help, the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC) is the toll free number to call to speak to a social worker for assistance and counselling. Contact 0800 428 428 (0800 GBV GBV). Callers can also request a social worker from the Command Centre to contact them by dialling *120*7867# (free) from any cell phone. – SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

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