Watch Greensky Bluegrass’s Paul Hoffman Join The Wood Brothers At Blue Ox Fest

first_imgLast weekend, bluegrass fans everywhere celebrated their favorite music at Blue Ox Festival. Among the many performers were both Greensky Bluegrass and The Wood Brothers, and their paths crossed for one glorious moment at the event.Greensky has taken to playing the Wood Brothers’ “Luckiest Man” in their own shows, led by Paul Hoffman on vocals. This time, Hoffman got a chance to play the song with its writers, sitting in on mandolin and vocals for the tune.Watch it all go down below, courtesy of Jeff McCabe.[Photo via Greensky Facebook/Michael Kaiz Photography][H/T JamBase]last_img read more

Could the IRS put marijuana companies out of business?

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » These are the best of times and the worst of times for marijuana banking depending on if you want to view the glass half empty or half full. I’m definitely going with half empty.For you optimistic types, we have the news that a credit union is proudly proclaiming itself the first to offer marijuana banking services catering to marijuana’s nascent recreational marijuana industry in Massachusetts where it has been legalized. I even heard a person being interviewed on Bloomberg Radio this morning saying that the emerging industry will put pressure on neighboring states to further loosen their marijuana laws in order to claim their piece of the pie. This is a direct shot at New York which has one of the most restrictive marijuana laws in the country.Now for the bad news and there’s lots of it. There are growing signs that the IRS is emerging as a major roadblock to expanding the marijuana industry, even in states where it is legal and federal prosecutors have shown no inclination to move against marijuana related businesses operating legally under state law. The case that has gotten most of the attention is the Justice Department’s announcement that it has obtained a conviction against the Oregon operator of a marijuana business for not paying his taxes. But from what I’ve read about this case, this can be brushed aside as the Justice Department taking action against someone who simply neglected to pay his taxes.last_img read more

​UK should focus on flexible DB over collective DC, Mercer says

first_imgThe UK government should focus on offering defined benefit (DB) pension funds greater flexibility over the time-consuming launch of collective defined contribution (CDC) schemes, Mercer has said.While admitting that any reform proposals need to be mindful of “placing all the financial risk” on either a company or employees, the consultancy’s head of DC Brian Henderson stressed that any plans to introduce guarantees into DC would come at a cost.“Essentially,” he said, “a good pension is far more about how much more money can be saved and where that money gets invested rather than simply providing expensive guarantees or risk sharing.”Commenting on the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) consultation paper on the shape of defined ambition (DA) pension schemes – which last year outlined how greater elements of risk-sharing could be introduced into DC pensions – the consultancy called for a focus on simplified DB provision. It backed a previous suggestion by pensions minister Steve Webb that indexation could fall away on any future DB accrual in the wake of reforms to the state pension, and said that the government should introduce a statutory override to allow plan sponsors to introduce it and other changes, including the removal of survivors’ benefits.Glyn Bradley, a consultant at Mercer, added that, while the proposed introduction of CDC is an “appealing ‘third way’ alternative” to existing DB or DC schemes, launching such a pension plan would be a time-consuming undertaking.“A more sensible priority would be to give existing DB schemes more flexibility by addressing some of the current restrictions,” he said.“CDCs are very successful when market conditions and membership are favourable, but overseas experience demonstrates that difficult funding problems can occur when they are least able to cope.”He also noted that some of the “perceived advantages” of CDC could be achieved in the UK if existing legislation were only slightly amended.“The issue is more about trustees and sponsors stepping forward to adopt them,” he said.However, there is little consensus within the industry over CDC.Rival consultancy Aon Hewitt previously argued in favour of collective vehicles, while Barnett Waddingham also suggested the changes would not lead to a “massive” additional legislative burden.last_img read more

Fishing the North Coast: Excitement abounds for salmon opener

first_imgThe excitement and anticipation for Thursday’s salmon opener is as thick London fog in November.I’m not sure if it’s the two-week hiatus — or the fact that there’s so much promise in the ocean right now — but anglers are chomping at the bit to get back on the troll.The fish have arrived big-time in Shelter Cove and there’s good sign up north in Crescent City.Since Monday, the Eureka fleet has been seeing birds, bait and whales while heading both directions upon leaving Humboldt Bay. And …last_img read more

Depressed Kerry Supporters Find New Cause: Fight Creationism

first_imgA grass-roots group of Virginia liberal Democrats has found a new cause to lift them out of their depression after John Kerry’s defeat last fall, according to a Washington Post article reprinted by MSNBC News: “Keep Virginia evolving.”  Their chosen mission is to defend evolution from intrusions by the intelligent design movement and conservative Republicans and Christians.  Peter Slevin writes:Evolution’s newest defenders, who came together in frustration after the November elections, have little political experience, apart from hoisting Kerry-Edwards signs in morning traffic.  They mostly are middle-class people with day jobs.  Some had protested the Vietnam War but had rarely felt inspired to undertake political activism since.  Together, they call themselves the Message Group and depict themselves as “determined and balanced” voters worried about social conservatives.    “I fear for my country.  That sounds like a radical notion, something from the ’60s, but there is a pervasive fear, a scariness,” said Richard Lawrence, 63, a retired Environmental Protection Agency employee who voted for Nixon.  “We’re just a small group, maybe with a powerful idea.  We don’t have a clue, but we’re not letting go.”….    The Message Group was created out of its members’ disappointment.  After President Bush was reelected and Republicans strengthened their hold on Capitol Hill, the group’s future comrades were among millions of demoralized Kerry voters who had invested fresh emotional energy and elbow grease in politics, only to fall short.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Starting from scratch about seven months ago, the group realized they shared a general angst but no mission.  After some discussion, they landed on the cause of defending evolution, especially after hearing that a Baptist pastor had predicted that if enough doubt could be cast on evolution, liberalism would die.  The thought of that prospect apparently provided the spark to lift them out of the malaise of depression and frustration over Kerry’s defeat and give them a new rallying cry.Now, though their aim of defeating intelligent design is explicit, their strategy is, well, evolving.    They selected evolution after deciding that other issues, such as Social Security revisions, were well-covered by bigger, richer groups.  The emerging duel over the teaching of science, they reasoned, was important, local and manageable, an area in which they could make a small impact – and if they got lucky, a big one.They decided to take a stand in Virginia before ID advocates take up their cause in school board hearings.  Their first mailer, urging 75 like-minded souls to “Keep Virginia evolving,” failed to stir the masses to rise up, Slevin said; this draft leaflet “landed with an ugly thud.”  The cause did not resonate with Virginia Democrats somehow.  Those who even knew about it suggested that ignoring ID was the best strategy.  The Message Group tried again, this time with the approach of linking ID with the culture war and the Christian Right.  Fairfax County, which recently chastised a creationist teacher (see 06/14/2005 entry), might join their cause, they hoped.  They also planned to hold a mock Scopes Trial (see 07/19/2005 entry) with the roles reversed for effect, and plotted to link their efforts with the gubernatorial campaign next year.  Meanwhile, the Creation Mega-Conference that started Sunday at Liberty University has not seemed to notice these new foes.    One of the leaders of the Message Group was a former Vietnam sit-in protestor who hasn’t been politically active for years, but was challenged by his wife, who said, according to Slevin, “You used to be so active.  You used to be so smart.  Why don’t you get off your butt and do something?”  Another was upset by what he perceived as hypocrisy among Christians.  Another feels the religious right is a “pernicious foe.”  Conservatives who have heard about this are laughing that it will backfire, stimulating Virginians “to come out and defend their beliefs and vote Republican.”  They think it will make liberals spend a lot of energy but accomplish little.  Slevin points out that the Message Group seems more interested in psychotherapy to alleviate their depression over the Kerry loss than any genuine concern about the truth of evolution: “The new activists describe the effort as a catharsis, no matter the outcome.”This is really funny.  It almost makes you feel sympathy for these old Vietnam hippies with their tie-dye shirts and long gray hair.  There must be something they can do.  Ah!  Here’s a flag we can send up the pole to see if anyone salutes: “Keep Virginia evolving!”  Yes, Virginia, there really is a Charlie Darwin.    One of the leaders said, “I’m just a citizen, not a scientist.  I’ve even had to do a lot of reading to catch up.”  We could suggest some books.  We could also suggest a strategy.  Forget the Scopes sit-in, the chants and incense, and come up with a plausible Darwinian mechanism to explain the origin of life and the molecular machinery of the cell.  Explain the explosively abrupt appearance of all the major body plans in the fossil record simultaneously.  Prove that mind is nothing more than an emergent property of brain chemistry (without committing a logical fallacy in doing so).  Explain the fine-tuning of the universe by chance.  Provide solid scientific answers to these and the other questions the ID community are raising, and you will steal their thunder.    Doesn’t this story just nail the connection between Darwinism and political liberalism? (see 12/02/2004 entry).  When liberal Democrats, who supposedly emphasize free speech, look for a cause in science to land on, it is predictably pro-evolution and the stifling of dissent about Darwin and his materialist philosophy.  Historically, this has usually been the case.  The pro-evolutionists throughout the 19th century were predominantly leftist or radical in political ideology, whether German materialists like Vogt and Buchner, or Karl Marx in London, even Darwin himself and his most ardent supporters.  Liberalism and evolutionism are inextricably linked.  The question is, which is the cart, and which is the horse?(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Iapetus, Charon Look Young for Their Age

first_imgHard bodies in the solar system are supposed to be billions of years old.  Why, then, do so many look smooth and young-looking?  Two examples made news today:Charon So Smooth:  Pluto has a moon named Charon (KAR-on) that apparently leaks beauty cream out of its interior.  Live Science and Space.com report about a study of Charon’s spectrum in the July 10 Astrophysical Journal that indicates it is being resurfaced by cryovolcanism.  They detected crystalline ice that would normally become amorphous in tens of thousands of years.  Though the paper claims water leakage is recoating the surface at a snail’s pace, it is remarkable that a body this small, this far from the sun, in the cold outer regions of the solar system, would be active at all.    A press release from Gemini Observatory describes how astronomers detected the ice coating using spectra obtained through adaptive optics.  It says, “This action could be occurring on timescales as short as a few hours or days, and at levels that would recoat Charon to a depth of one millimeter every 100,000 years.”  These estimates, of course, were inferred from spectra without actually being able to see the eruptions.  Cryovolcanism, where water erupts outward through cracks in the surface (as on Enceladus), was proposed as the only mechanism to explain the presence of crystalline ice.  For this to occur, a large portion of the interior must consist of liquid water, and it must be able to propagate through cracks.  As water approaches the freezing point and expands, the article says it could propagate up half a kilometer to the surface in a matter of hours.    But how could this small moon retain water?  The astronomers detected the signature of ammonia hydrates, which depress the freezing point of water and presumably allow the interior to remain liquid.  Ammonia hydrates have also been detected on Quaoar and at least one other KBO (Kuiper Belt Object).  Signs of active cryovolcanism have also been seen on Ariel, a moon of Uranus.  Ariel may have been subject to tidal flexing in the past, the article says.  “By contrast, Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) such as Charon, Quaoar, Orcus, and others are not tidally squeezed,” the press release states.  “Yet, they seem to show evidence of cryovolcanism.”  The only other source of heat they suggested was internal radioactivity.  Other KBOs larger than 500 km across also show crystalline ice on their surfaces, suggesting that cryovolcanism may be a common feature of these icy bodies in the outer solar system.    An artist’s conception of Charon accompanying the press release shows eruptive plumes spraying crystalline snow onto the surface.  Close-up observations of Charon may be obtained when the New Horizons spacecraft flies by in 2015.Iapetus Youthful Figure:  That’s JPL’s headline: “Saturn’s Old Moon Iapetus Retains its Youthful Figure.”  A press release claims that “The moon has retained the youthful figure and bulging waistline it sported more than three billion years ago,” leaving the question unanswered why it stands alone in that respect.  “Unlike any other moon in the solar system, Iapetus is the same shape today as it was when it was just a few hundred million years old; a well-preserved relic from the time when the solar system was young.”    The model published in Icarus requires large amounts of short-lived radionuclides to heat the interior, and a rapid spin that created the equatorial bulge.  But then what happened?  “The challenge in developing a model of how Iapetus came to be ‘frozen in time’ has been in deducing how it ever became warm enough to form a bulge in the first place, and figuring out what caused the heat source to turn off, leaving Iapetus to freeze.”  Despite these challenges, the scientists feel it tells them Iapetus must be “roughly 4.564 billion years old.”    National Geographic claimed the mystery of Iapetus’ shape is “solved,” but this represents just one competing model and does not answer all the questions, such as the origin of its equatorial mountain range, the source of the dark material that coats half the moon, and the reasons this particular moon would have had such different initial conditions from its neighbors.  Extreme close-up images of Iapetus are hoped for when Cassini flies by on September 10 at less than 1,000 miles above the surface.These announcements should be considered in the context of other recent announcements about age anomalies, such as Enceladus and its geysers (05/21/2007 and 04/20/2007), Titan’s low crater count (03/28/2007), lunar transients on our moon (07/12/2007, activity on Saturn’s Tethys and Dione (06/16/2007), Mercury’s magnetic field (05/04/2007) and indications of activity in Kuiper Belt objects (03/31/2007).You never see these planetary scientists proving the solar system is billions of years old.  You only see them assuming it.  Then, because that parameter cannot be altered, you see them squirm and wriggle the models to fit young-looking phenomena into old ages.  Proposing an ad hoc set of conditions that might fit the data is not the same as proving this is what happened, so National Geographic was way out of line to claim the mystery of Iapetus has been “solved.”    As to the “roughly 4.652 billion years” figure, that is ridiculous.  What did they expect, the exact month and year?  There’s no way the evidence from Iapetus can yield a date to four significant figures without assuming the very thing they ought to be proving.  Dates are inextricably linked to the assumptions made.  Those assumptions should have been stated up front.  They have blindly accepted a consensus date from uniformitarian, evolutionary theories, and molded their data to fit it.  Yet they spoke of these dates as facts.    Good thing the planets don’t talk back, because that wouldn’t go over too well on a date.  Imagine a college student telling his sweetheart, “Your figure is so youthful, and your skin so smooth; you look mighty young for a 4500-year-old.”(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

South African breakthrough for cancer diagnosis

first_img12 November 2015The Aceso machine, designed and developed by Cape Town medical technology company Cape Ray, was officially launched by the Department of Science and Technology at the city’s Groote Schuur Hospital on Thursday, 5 November 2015.The machine, which is undergoing a testing phase at the hospital, is a world- first imaging system that combines mammographic and ultrasound technologies. This does away with the need for multiple screening tests, particularly when analysing dense breast tissue.The R30-million device, funded by the Industrial Development Corporation, allows for the instant detection of even the most microscopic cancer cells.While one in eight women in South Africa are susceptible to developing breast cancer, a more alarming figure is that 40% of these have dense breast tissue, which makes multiple, often painful screenings both difficult and costly, as well as time-consuming. Very often women go for a single screening and receive a negative result yet, without a more in-depth scan of the deep tissue, may remain vulnerable to the disease.Speaking at the launch of Aceso, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel and Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor agreed that the multimillion- rand innovation was a huge gain for not only South Africa, but also the global medical fraternity and for women, in particular.“This machine will not only provide opportunities for better health care,” Patel said, “but it will provide employment opportunities for the country. I’m excited about the potential this holds for economic development. This shows that innovation can address health care problems and is a demonstration that South Africa has smart ideas for the world.”Cape Ray branched out into private development from the medical technology department at the University of Cape Town in 2010, focusing exclusively on developing new mammography technology. The Aceso, patented and ISO-certified in 2012, has been proven effective and safe in screening for breast cancer. It was tested in clinical trials with more than 50 healthy volunteers and 20 patients with confirmed breast cancer.Dr Kit Vaughan, chief executive of Cape Ray, gave a brief demonstration of the machine, explaining how it produces a low-dose X-ray while using ultrasound simultaneously. This allowed for an almost immediate detection by sight.“With this machine, you can perform the mammographic and ultrasound functions at the same time,” he said. “Not only do you save time, but you don’t have to have two machines, so you save money too. The key about this technology is it can be widely used to reach a large number of people, so it is ideal to use in a public health care setting.”The Groote Schuur test trial screening will continue until next month.Vaughan said that after the trials were completed, the machine would be tested further before being awarded its CE (European Conformity) trademark, which would allow the device to be used in Africa and Europe. It would then need to be approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use in that country.Source: CapeRaylast_img read more

IAR enhances Amazon FreeRTOS integration for Arm Cortex-M-based IoT applications

first_imgIAR Systems has released a new plugin for the IoT Microcontroller Operating System Amazon FreeRTOS, providing a high level of control and visibility within IAR Embedded Workbench for Arm. The new plugin adds task awareness for all Arm Cortex-M devices, providing developers with full control of the execution at the task level and enabling display of the local execution context for each individual task within the IAR Embedded Workbench IDE.Together with Amazon Web Services (AWS), IAR Systems provides developers with easy access to high-performance, pre-integrated development tools for developing and debugging embedded and IoT-connected applications based on Amazon FreeRTOS. Amazon FreeRTOS provides tools developers need to quickly and easily deploy a microcontroller-based connected device and develop an embedded or IoT application without having to worry about the complexity of scaling across millions of devices.Enabled by IAR Systems’ C-SPY RTOS Awareness plugin, the integration with IAR Embedded Workbench gives developers a high level of control and visibility over an application built on top of Amazon FreeRTOS. It displays the position in the code, the register content, call stack information and local variables of the selected task. Task-specific breakpoints and task-specific stepping make it easier to debug tasks. Task-specific breakpoints and task-specific stepping make it easier to debug tasks. The new integration is being showcased at IAR Systems’ booth at embedded world.Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: Tools & Software Continue Reading Previous HCC Embedded: MISRA-compliant embedded cryptography suite and managerNext AAEON: embedded artificial Intelligence processing card for AI on Edge computinglast_img read more

Thousands of Haitians find Mexican dream near US border

first_imgTIJUANA, Mexico – Jose Luis Millan found a new crop of star employees at an upscale Tijuana car wash where customers cross the border from the U.S. to pay up to $950 to have their prized possessions steamed and scrubbed for hours. They’re never late, always hustle and come in on days off to learn new skills, traits that he says make them a model for their Mexican counterparts.They are among several thousand Haitians who came to Mexico’s northwest corner hoping to cross the border before the U.S. abruptly closed its doors last year. The Mexican government has welcomed them, with a visa program that helps them fill the need for labour in Tijuana’s growing economy.In a country whose population is 1 per cent black, Tijuana’s Haitians stand out. They share tight living quarters, sending much of their meagre wages to support family in Haiti. Haitians earn far less than they would in the United States but enough to forsake the risk of getting deported by heading north.Two new Haitian restaurants downtown serve dishes with mangoes and mashed plantains. Dozens of Haitian children attend public schools. Factories that export to the U.S. recruit Haitians, who can also be found waiting tables and worshipping at congregations that added services in Creole.“It’s the Mexican dream for many of them, a sense that they belong,” Millan said. “Mexico has given them opportunity. Mexico has opened up and let them achieve their dreams.”Millan, who lived in the Los Angeles area for two decades until he was forced to leave last year for employing dozens of people illegally at his party planning company, sees parallels to Mexicans in the U.S. Their teamwork sets an example. Some customers ask for them.Haitians, he says, “fight hard, fight strong, and they don’t stop.”The Haitians took an accidental route from their impoverished Caribbean homeland to Tijuana, a city of about 2 million that borders San Diego and also has large pockets of Chinese and Korean immigrants.Brazil and its neighbours took in the Haitians after that country’s 2010 earthquake. As construction jobs for the 2016 Summer Olympics ended and Brazil descended into political turmoil, they crossed 10 countries by plane, boat, bus and on foot to San Diego, where U.S. authorities let them in on humanitarian grounds.Then President Barack Obama shifted course in September and started deporting Haitian arrivals. Many decided to call Mexico home.After struggling as a schoolteacher in Haiti, Abelson Etienne moved to Brazil in 2014 to work at a factory that made cable for lighting products. He arrived in Tijuana in December after a harrowing journey with his wife who, despite the U.S. policy shift, was allowed in on humanitarian grounds, presumably because she was seven months’ pregnant.Etienne, a 27-year-old who studied chemistry in college in Haiti, settled into a routine of six-day weeks and three double shifts, earning him 1,900 pesos (a little over $100), mostly for his wife in New York City and the infant son he hasn’t seen. On Sundays, he sleeps until the afternoon and goes to church.“There’s so much work in Tijuana,” he said while a pot of fish stew with mangoes and tomatoes simmered on an electric burner in the two-room apartment that he rents with three other Haitians. “I’ve been treated very well in Mexico.”The Mexican government is giving Haitians one-year, renewable visas that allow them to work but not bring family. Rodulfo Figueroa, the region’s top immigration official, says Mexico is practicing what it asks of the U.S. and other countries.“We believe that there’s a humanitarian case to be made for these people to find better lives in Mexico,” said Figueroa, the National Migration Institute’s delegate in Baja California state, which includes Tijuana. “Our policy is to have the Haitian population do what they need to do to have status in Mexico.”The new arrivals, currently numbering around 3,000, are manageable in a country of 122 million. Central Americans, who come illegally in much larger numbers, are typically deported, although Mexico is granting asylum more often.Rodin St. Surin, 36, is among hundreds of Haitians who found work at Tijuana’s export-oriented factories. CCL Industries Inc., a Toronto-based company that makes Avery office products for retailers including Staples, Wal-Mart, Target and others, needed help after moving manufacturing from Meridian, Mississippi, last year.The plant hired St. Surin and 15 other Haitians in May for its workforce of 1,700 during peak back-to-school season. They inspected and packaged binders at the back of a giant, spotless floor where machines also churn out labels, folders and markers around-the-clock.“I’m very comfortable with these people,” said Mario Aguirre, the plant’s operations director and a 43-year industry veteran. “They have given us very good results. They don’t miss work, they always arrive on time. We’d like to see the same attitude in everyone.”The factory offered 1,500 pesos (about $85) for a six-day week, with health coverage, paid vacation and a free shuttle to work. St. Surin, who left Brazil with hopes of joining a cousin in Miami, sends earnings to a caretaker for his three children in Haiti, whom he hopes to bring to Tijuana.“Mexico could become my home,” he said outside a crowded, graffiti-covered building where a nun allows about 50 Haitians to live rent-free on a street shared by cars and stray dogs. They tap a neighbour’s hose for water to bathe, and cook meals on a campfire under a large canopy.The Ambassadors of Jesus Church, which sits on a rugged dirt road lined by agave and used tires, housed up to 500 Haitians last year on floors strewn with mattresses, making it perhaps the largest religious or civic aid group. Its pastor, Jeccene Thimote, wants to build a “Little Haiti” of 100 houses nearby at the bottom of a canyon where the sound of peacocks and roosters and smell of pigs permeate the air. He built three houses before the city halted construction for lack of flood controls.Thimote, 32, survives on two hours’ sleep, rising to pray at 5 a.m., serving as foreman for a crew of 10 Haitians building a house in one of Tijuana’s wealthiest neighbourhoods, and working the night shift at RSI Home Products Inc., a California-based company that makes cabinetry for The Home Depot and Lowe’s.Thimote, who was among 160 Haitians still living rent-free at the church this summer, sends his earnings to Haiti to settle family debts and support a 3-year-old daughter. He hoped to join a cousin in New York when he left Ecuador last year, but considers Mexico better than Haiti, saying, “There’s more poverty there than here.”The church has adapted. Every Wednesday night, Haitians gather for a rousing sermon in Creole. Mexicans attend a Sunday service in Spanish. A Haitian and Mexican recently announced plans to marry at the church.last_img read more