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Favorite Flatwater Rivers

first_imgWhen it comes to its rivers, the Blue Ridge Mountains are a special place. Some of its flowing waters are among the oldest in the entire world; they have patiently been eating away at the bedrock for eons. These rivers have also long served as a draw for settlers and visitors alike who continue to seek out the ample opportunities to fish and float among the rapids and eddies. Our rivers also offer some of the best whitewater paddling you can find anywhere—which explains why we see so many kayaks tied to the roofs of cars around our region.But the rivers here also deliver unique paddling opportunities to the less thrill-seeking among us. If a one- or two-day family-friendly float with the chance to stop along the way, pitch a tent, and spark a campfire sounds appealing to you, then read on. We have enlisted the help of three passionate advocates for our mountain rivers—Hartwell Carson, Mark Singleton, and Erin McCombs—who were willing to share some off-the-beaten-path stretches of river in the heart of the mountains that are not only easy to paddle and navigate, but also offer the chance to commune with an incredibly diverse range of aquatic wildlife. Depending on the season, you might even spy far more fish, fowl, and reptiles than you will other people. Well, as long as you don’t tell too many other folks about where you were.The French Broad RiverCarson Suggests:Oskar Blues Brewery /Pisgah Forest Access to Penrose Access AreaIf you happen to spot Hartwell Carson out on the French Broad River, it’s likely his trusted yellow lab mix Junebug is riding shotgun. Whether it’s monitoring the river for sources of pollution like a leaky sewage pipe or picking up trash, Carson spends at least a few days every week floating and paddling the river in his job as the French Broad’s Riverkeeper, which is part of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a national organization based in New York City dedicated to keeping our rivers, lakes, and stream clean. For ten years, Carson has been patrolling the 213-mile river from its headwaters in Pisgah National Forest to its confluence with the Tennessee River in Knoxville, Tenn.Today, Carson is part of MountainTrue, an environmental advocacy group based in Asheville, which continues to play a role in the rebirth of the French Broad as a destination for not just kayakers and tubers out for a lazy afternoon, but also the return of native wildlife like the muskellunge, better known as Muskie.Carson moved to Asheville from Montana after earning a master’s degree in resource management and was immediately drawn to the wide river that cut through town. “Nobody would get into the river 10 or 11 years ago,” says Carson, who grew up in Georgia and visited Asheville in the summers. “But I’d like to credit our work for some of the cleaning up that we’ve seen in recent years.”Carson has also paddled the entire river, including one epic adventure where he and a friend floated the entire 213 miles, a trip that took 16 days and involved eating a lot of bologna. The section of the river that runs through Asheville has become particularly popular with locals and tourists alike as the growing number of outfitters has made it easy and convenient to float or paddle up through the city’s burgeoning River Arts District and up to the Bywater, a much frequented drinking establishment in the summer months. Traffic on the river should surge even more when New Belgium Brewing, which hugs the river, opens in 2015. There’s even momentum to build a whitewater park in the same area.For paddlers looking for a more serene experience on the river, Carson suggests heading south toward the river’s headwaters in Rosman, N.C. Unlike the Asheville section, which tends to be wide and relatively shallow, the upstream sections of the French Broad are more meandering and narrow, Carson says, with plenty of river birch and overhanging foliage to make it feel almost like you’re traveling through a tunnel at times.FBR-06112012-501_FIXA great stretch Carson recommends for some stress-free flat-water paddling begins near the Oskar Blues Brewery in Brevard at the Pisgah Forest Access area on Wilson Rd., which has ample parking and a concrete ramp to help launch watercraft. You then paddle north as you snake past some farms and pasture land until the Davidson River joins the French Broad, which picks up some steam with the addition of all that fast-moving mountain water.This part of the river is also known as the “muskie mile” in honor of the giant prehistoric fish that lurk beneath the surface. The fish, which can reach three-feet-long and weigh more than 20 pounds each, now thrive in the river thanks to a fishery, the southernmost one dedicated to muskie in the U.S., which has helped rebuild the population of the species after it was wiped out by a chemical spill back in the 1940s. Though he’s tried countless times, Carson says he has yet to catch an elusive muskie. “They call them the fish of ten thousand casts,” he says.After paddling for another five miles or so you’ll float by the Little River Campsite, a primitive paddle-in-only site that kicks off the French Broad Paddle Trail, which is a series of six campsites along the river that Carson helped establish. Would-be paddle-campers can visit the site frenchbroadpaddle.com to make reservations and extend their river adventures into multi-day affairs.But if you’re interested in making more of a day trip of things, keep paddling for another mile or so until you reach the Penrose Access Area, a fairly new addition for the river that has a boat ramp, floating dock and plenty of space to keep the car you dropped off earlier that day.The Little TennesseeSingleton Suggests:Needmore Rd to U.S. 19., at Fontana LakeAs you’re entering the town of Franklin, NC, it can be easy to miss that you’ve crossed the Little Tennessee River, or “Little T” as locals know it. While there’s a fine greenway that stretches north along the river’s banks for a few miles, the river itself flows unimpeded for some 24 miles from town until eventually being swallowed by the waters of Fontana Lake, which is created by the Fontana Dam.Just a few miles north and downstream of town, the river enters some relatively remote and unpopulated territory that makes for some scintillating flat-water paddling on some of the cleanest and clearest water in the region. “This is a fun class II section, especially with kids,” says Mark Singleton, the director of American Whitewater, a non-profit dedicated to conserving and restoring America’s whitewater resources.Singleton lives in nearby Cullowhee where his wife is a teacher at Western Carolina University. He moved to the area back in the 1990s to work for the Nantahala Outdoor Center before eventually taking over the director’s role at American Whitewater, where he’s been for the past 10 years. Singleton says he has long been a conservationist and has worked to support recreational access to other nearby rivers like the Tuckasegee, Nantahala, and Cheoah.Singleton admits he prefers kayaking steeper whitewater or local Class III rapids. But when he’s up for something slower, he and his family truck over to the Little T for some relaxed summer floating.One advantage the Little T has over some of its neighbors like the Nantahala, Singleton says, is that it’s both less crowded and warmer. When you combine those factors with how clear the water is, it makes for prime snorkeling opportunities. While that might at first seem counterintuitive—You can snorkel in a river?—the Little T offers Caribbean-like opportunities to spot multi-colored fish (especially during spawning season) of a startling variety such as largemouth bass, rock bass, perch, walleye, red-horse sucker, bream, bluegill, catfish, as well as many species of minnow. If you’re patient, you may even spy a giant salamander called a hellbender, which can grow up to 2.5 feet long. All that wildlife helps explain why the Little T will soon be designated a Native Fish Conservation Area. You might even see Native American fish weirs along the river as you paddle.While you could float the entire 24-mile stretch from Franklin to Fontana Lake, Singleton recommends the six-mile section that begins along Needmore Road, about 13 miles north of Franklin, as a great day trip.Drive up Rt. 28, Bryson City Rd., and then turn left over the bridge on Tellico Road to the gravel section of Needmore Rd. along the river, where you’ll find a series of excellent put ins as you travel downstream.One feature to look for is the suspension bridge that spans the river, which was originally built to allow farm kids to catch the school bus in the days before quality roads existed on both sides of the river.Your paddling adventure continues until you reach the take out at the bridge under U.S. 19, which involves a bit of a rocky climb to get from the river to your dropped car. You could also continue on into the lake itself.Along the way you will see plenty of wildlife, forest, and farmland, but very few homes. There are also ample camping and picnicking opportunities along both banks of the river—as well as on several of the islands that have dug themselves in midstream.One drawback of the Little T is that it can get shallow, especially during the summer when there hasn’t been a lot of rain. Singleton suggests checking out the U.S. Geological Survey gauges available online before heading to the river and waiting for a measurement of at least 1,000 cfs to ensure enough clearance over the river’s pebbly bottom.The only hazard on the river is a set of potentially nasty rapids that sit midstream right before you reach the takeout. But, if you’ve picked a day where the water is running high enough, “you might not even know you’ve run them,” Singleton says.The New RiverMcCombs Suggests:New River State Park in North Carolina to Rte. 93 on the Virginia State LineDid you know that some of the oldest rivers in the entire world are right here in the Appalachians? The most ancient of them all just might be the New River, which geologists believe could have begun flowing some 360 million years ago. The New gets it start by meandering through the town of Boone, N.C. as it continues flowing some 320 miles north into Virginia and West Virginia, where, near the town of Fayetteville, it spills over into the New River Gorge. Every summer, thousands of eager rafters and kayakers flock to the Gorge to tackle its series of challenging Class III and V rapids.FlatwaterNew_FIXBut the New River offers more than just whitewater thrills, says Erin McCombs, the associate conservation director for American Rivers, a Washington, D.C.-based organization dedicated to protecting and restoring our nation’s rivers. In particular, McCombs focuses on the potential for dam removal projects in the Southern Appalachian region.McCombs, who grew up near the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tenn., studied biology at Appalachian State University in Boone where she first fell in love with our region’s wide-ranging biodiversity. “I continue to be in awe of the different species and habitats we have here,” she says. While she had dreamed of becoming a marine biologist growing up, McCombs increasingly became fascinated by the life teeming in the region’s multitude of rivers. As part of her master’s degree, she studied under Dr. Michael Gangloff, a malacologist, or expert on mollusks, who has been tracking the progress of how freshwater mussels on the New River are making a comeback. “Freshwater mussels are like environmental sentinels,” says McCombs. “Since they are filter feeders and need clean water free of pollution like sediment, freshwater mussels are a good indicator of the quality of the stream.”A wide variety of fish now thrive in the cleaner waters of the river, including smallmouth bass—known as black bass—as well as muskie, flathead catfish, and even walleye. The New River is also home to plenty of wildlife that live above the waterline as well, including a wide variety of songbirds, wood ducks, kingfishers, and red-winged blackbirds.A great place to start a journey on the river, says McCombs, is at the New River State Park, which is about an hour or so north of Boone near the town of Jefferson. The park is a beautiful wedge of land bordering the river that could be a camping, hiking, and picnicking destination all on its own. You can also pick up helpful maps and tips at the park’s ranger station to help you plan your journey. Put your boat in at the ramp at Wagoner Access point where the water gets lit up by the dappled sunlight that sneaks through the abundant trees and foliage bordering the river.The river runs unimpeded from the park all the way up to the Virginia border, a stretch of some 27 miles that was designated a National Scenic River in 1976. There are multiple takeout points along the way you can use to build-your-own daytrip. You’ll also have to portage around a low bridge a few miles downstream from the park.If you have the time, McCombs recommends making it an overnight trip by taking advantage of a couple of different camping options you’ll find along the way such as the paddle-in campgrounds available at U.S. 221 and later at the Alleghany County Access near the Virginia border. There’s also a commercial camping site available just south of Route 93 in Virginia.McCombs remembers fondly paddling and camping on this very route just a few years ago, and talking about it made her excited to return and do it all over again. “It’s a nice rural escape and it felt like we had the river to ourselves for miles and miles,” she says.last_img read more

Controversial Link-Sharing Charges Against Barrett Brown Dropped

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Barrett Brown (Photo credit: Free Barrett Brown)Federal prosecutors in Texas earlier this week dropped several controversial charges against author and journalist Barrett Brown in a case civil liberty groups fear could chill free speech.The dropped charges stem from Brown having copied and pasted a link in a chat room containing thousands of stolen credit card information and other material from Stratfor, a Texas-based global intelligence company, which was hacked in December 2012.Brown’s supporters, which include civil liberty groups and high-profile journalists, most notably, Glenn Greenwald of NSA leak fame, have criticized the government for seeking to criminalize the sharing of already publicly available information. Brown was not involved in the hack against Stratfor, which the FBI knew about as early as Dec. 6, 2011, and it was the agency that allegedly orchestrated the hack through a confidential informant, according to a court filing by Brown’s attorneys.The government’s decision to drop counts one and three through 12 came one day after Brown’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss those charges. Prosecutors did not explain in the motion why they dropped the counts.“The criminalization of Mr. Brown’s speech (by republishing the hyperlink) is an unconstitutional abridgment of the First Amendment because it regulates pure political speech based on its content,” his lawyers wrote in the motion.Brown’s attorneys go on to say that the charges “would be unconstitutionally overbroad and chill speech in violation of the First Amendment.”Related: NDAA, Indefinite Detention, And The Battle Raging Against The Most Important Law You’ve Never Heard OfRelated: Revolution’s Family Tree: Franklin and Adams to Manning and SnowdenBrown, whose work has appeared in the Guardian, Huffington Post and Vanity Fair, among other media outlets, remains accused of concealing two laptops and for threatening an FBI agent and his family in a YouTube video. The dropped charges cut a considerable amount of time from Brown’s potential sentence, but he still faces 70 years in prison, according to reports.According to the indictment, Brown allegedly called the FBI agent a “fucking chicken shit little faggot cocksucker.” He also alleged that the agent is “a criminal, who is involved in a criminal conspiracy.”The 32-year-old journalist and satirist founded Project PM, a crowdsourcing tool, in 2009. His attorneys have described the website as a “collaborative web application” which allows others to conduct research using publicly available materials—including information obtained from leakers and hackers, according to court documents.Brown’s attorney, Ahmed Ghappour, told the Guardian that the government did “the right thing dropping the charges.”“We will continue to fight for Barrett every way we can,” he added.last_img read more

Big data as collaborative opportunity

first_img 5SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr How can CUs of all sizes best get on board with this new trend?by: Lisa HochgrafSometimes I get a single press release about a topic new to me and that prompts a story in CUES’ publications. Other times, I suddenly see a new topic everywhere. “Big data” is everywhere. And I’m wondering if it marks an opportunity for CUs to collaborate.For the uninitiated, big data is a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate for making sense of them.Getting and managing big data may be easier for big organizations. So I guess it wasn’t a huge surprise when I got a press release saying that $13 billion BECU, Seattle, had signed with INETCO Analytics to acquire rich transaction data from the CU’s ATM network. The goal is to gain on-demand visibility into member analytics, as a stepping stone to ensuring delivery of the best member experience possible.“INETCO Analytics effectively shrinks our member transaction data gathering and analysis time from weeks down to minutes—which allows us to make decisions based on timely and comprehensive cardholder analytics,” says BECU ATM Channel Manager Shirley Taylor in the release. continue reading »last_img read more

‘Liputan6.com’ reports intimidation against its journalist to police

first_imgPopular news outlet Liputan6.com filed a report of alleged intimidation, in the form of doxing, against one of its journalists, Cakrayuri “Cakra” Nuralam, to the Jakarta Police on Monday.”We have reported the [unlawful] publication of a Liputan6.com journalist’s personal information [to the police]. This report is a way to fight against intimidation toward journalists,” Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers) director Ade Wahyudin said on Monday.Liputan6.com editor-in-chief Irna Gustiawati said she had also reported the intimidation to the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) last Tuesday.In a meeting, the commission said doxing was a violation of human rights, especially since the attack did not only affect the victim but also his family members.On Sept. 11, several social media accounts published Cakra’s personal information on several platforms, such as Instagram and Telegram.In a bid to discredit him, the perpetrator edited Cakra’s photos and published them without his consent. Moreover, the perpetrator also edited pictures taken by Liputan6.com journalists to be used in a campaign of harassment against the news outlet and the journalist.Read also: AJI urges police to investigate alleged intimidation, doxing of Detik journalistThe intimidation was apparently inspired by a fact-check article published on Sept. 10, in which Cakra refuted claims that a member of the House of Representatives from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) is the grandson of the founder of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in West Sumatra.A day later, four Instagram accounts posted Cakra’s personal data, such as his social media accounts, email addresses and phone numbers.Those accounts also posted hate speech against him, calling Cakra “the regime’s journalist”, “a monkey” and “a PKI supporter” among other things.Throughout 2019, LBH Pers recorded an increasing number of incidents of violence against journalists, including cyberattacks and doxing. The institute found 79 attacks against journalists in 2019, which was eight more cases than in 2018.Ade expressed hope that other journalists who experienced similar cyberbullying could also file a report to the police.”Filing a report is necessary as a deterrent effect against perpetrators. Journalists work for the public interest and they are protected by the Press Law,” he said. According to the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), three cases of doxing against journalists were reported to authorities in 2018. However, no case of journalist doxing has been solved by the police or law enforcement.Topics :last_img read more

Spurs don’t need to ‘buy’ trophies – Pochettino

first_imgThe question remains, though, how long Spurs can keep an exciting young squad assembled by Pochettino together if trophies don’t come along soon.And their quest for Cup glory will be hampered by the absence of talismanic striker Harry Kane, who is sidelined for the rest of the month at least by ankle ligament damage picked up in a 4-1 win at Bournemouth last weekend.On-form South Korean international Son Heung-min stepped ably into Kane’s shoes by scoring twice to take his tally to seven goals in his last four games.And Son is expected to deputise for the England striker once more ahead of the more physical presence of Fernando Llorente on his return to the Liberty Stadium.Llorente’s presence was badly missed by Swansea early in the season, but the Welsh side have been in great form since Carlos Carvalhal replaced the sacked Paul Clement in December.The Swans have lost just twice in 15 games in 2018, although one of those defeats did come against Spurs in early January.Carvalhal will have to cope without Ghanian international brothers Jordan and Andre Ayew as the former is suspended, whilst the latter is cup-tied having previously played in the competition for West Ham.Share on: WhatsApp London, United Kingdom | AFP | Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino believes his side should be proud of their achievements in recent years even if they haven’t delivered silverware because they can’t “buy” trophies like their competitors.Pochettino’s men travel to Swansea City on Saturday (1215GMT) in the hope of reaching the last four of the FA Cup.Spurs have impressed at home and abroad in the last three seasons under Pochettino, but will again end the season without a trophy unless they lift the FA Cup on May 19 at their adopted home of Wembley.But Pochettino knocked down suggestions Tottenham will have underachieved yet again if they fail to win a trophy this season.“People that understand football very well know that this project is a project that is very exciting because we are not a club that are going to buy trophies, we are a club that is going to deserve trophies,” said the Argentine.“That for me is why people show frustration because they think we deserve trophies that we do not achieve.”Despite a lack of silverware, Spurs have punched well above their weight in finishing in the top four in recent seasons.last_img read more

A Labor of Love from Retired Red Bank ‘Soupmeister’

first_imgSt. Mark’s is always seeking donations for operating expenses and paper products. The group receives plenty of food donations, but they don’t always have the paper plates, utensils and other items to go with it. “That’s where a lot of our money ends up going,” she said. “The more people we serve, the more garbage bags we need.” KEANSBURG – Last September, Red Bank’s beloved “Soupmeister” Gary Sable, former owner of That Hot Dog Place, hung up his ladle after serving delicious soups and hot dogs in the community for many years. You might remember his small alleyway shop between White and Monmouth streets, now under new management as Soul Sandwich. A view of the dining room at St. Mark’s Center for Community Renewal (CCR) facility in Keansburg. Photo by Allison Perrine By Allison Perrine | [email protected] “I love it,” said Sable, adding he feels good while doing it. Recently, the CCR received a $110,000 Impact100 Jersey Coast to make several improvements to its facility, including renovating the kitchen, increasing programming for visitors, updating dining room features like new windows and air conditioning and establishing an outdoor patio area. This was the CCR’s first time applying for the Impact100 grant, and representatives were pleasantly surprised when they received it. According to Broderick, it’s difficult to get accepted the first time applying. Impact100 Jersey Coast is made up of women who try to raise awareness for the community’s needs and fund transformational grants for high-impact projects, it asserts. Sable has been a St. Mark’s parishioner for years and decided to take on some volunteer work after a push from Rev. Deacon Rosemarie Broderick. “Of course, everybody loves his stuff,” she said with enthusiasm. So much so that the first time he made his chili for the people of St. Mark’s he received a standing ovation. “I guess they liked the chili!” said Sable. He likes to cook at home as well when he’s not volunteering, but not breakfast. That’s his wife’s domain, he joked. “She’s a breakfast girl and I’m the dinner guy,” he said with a laugh. But money aside, the grant also opened the CCR up to different people with varying connections and backgrounds. One woman, for example, brought her husband with an engineering background to the CCR to examine the area. “It gave us access to a lot of women, especially, who are able to help us with different not-for-profit ideas,” said Broderick. “We’re all helping one another to help the people of Keansburg.” The Hazlet resident visits the CCR twice a week to cook up tasty homemade soups, chilis, shepherd’s pie and more. His new “customers” come from different backgrounds. Some are homeless, some are addicts or recovering addicts, retired persons, unemployed or underemployed workers. Others come not for food, but fellowship.  Photo by Allison Perrine “Through the blessings of what we get from the food bank, we’ve been able to serve things like coq au vin, duck l’orange, filet mignon on the grill,” said Broderick. The CCR also serves fresh fish to its visitors thanks to FulFill’s Seafood Gleaning program. It was one of the first kitchens in the area to participate in the initiative. The CCR has over 700 registered families and serves about 4,000 meals to the community every month. Breakfast and lunch meals are served daily. And twice a month the center receives 25,000 pounds of food courtesy of FulFill food bank. Just months into his retirement, Sable now offers his culinary skills as a labor of love to the Keansburg community at the Center for Community Renewal (CCR), an outreach ministry of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 247 Carr Ave. Gary Sable, who served his soups in the Red Bank community for years, now offers his skills in the kitchen at St. Mark’s Center for Community Renewal in Keansburg. Photo by Allison Perrine St. Mark’s plans to renovate its Center for Community Renewal (CCR) facility. That includes dining room and kitchen upgrades, among other improvements. Photo by Allison Perrine For more information, visit stmarkskeansburg.org.last_img read more


first_imgTIAGO PEREIRA, GENEROSIDADE, WINNER: “I was so excited because this is only my second graded win in North America. Generosidade was so good today. We sat behind, we let the pace go and the last three-eighths, I was able to get outside and get up to win it. I thank Paulo, the owners, the horse, everyone that has helped me.“Paulo told me to relax the first part of the race the other times I rode her because she liked to do that when she ran in Brazil. But, in the three races here, they were not so good, maybe she didn’t love the track. Her last work was good and today she was too good for them.” -30- TYLER BAZE, QUICK CASABLANCA, SECOND: “I tried to thread the needle and a horse stopped in front of me. The horse is on the top of his game right now. He’s doing awesome. I can’t wait for the next one.” PAULO LOBO, GENEROSIDADE, WINNER: “She’s a marathon horse. She loves the distance and we were looking for a mile and a half. She had her race (in the Astra Jan. 17) and we pointed for this race. I think the rain helped me because she’s seven years old, she has issues, little problems, and the softer ground helped her.“Tiago knows her very well. This is the fourth time he’s ridden her. She’s an easy filly that comes from behind. She ran huge today.“The owner is from Brazil but he breeds in Europe and races there also. He has a huge farm in Sao Paulo. We’ll decide whether or not to breed her this week.” TRAINER QUOTEScenter_img RAFAEL BEJARANO, BIG JOHN B, SEVENTH AS FAVORITE: “If we have an excuse, it’s that my horse would prefer a firmer turf. The grass is really soft and my horse, he likes it better when it’s firm.” NOTES: The winning owner is Haras Phillipson, Inc., of Sao Paulo, Brazil. JOCKEY QUOTES last_img read more

Can SETI Avoid Intelligent Design Implications by Rebranding?

first_img(Visited 379 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 A SETI leader thinks the label has outlived its usefulness and does not reflect what SETI scientists actually do.Jill Tarter, a 35-year leader of the Center for SETI Research (part of the SETI Institute), wants to ditch SETI – the name, at least. According to Space.com,At a recent meeting of the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Astrobiology Science Strategy for the Search for Life in the Universe, held here at the University of California, Irvine, Tarter explained that the phrase “search for extraterrestrial intelligence” generates an incorrect perception of what scientists in this field are actually doing. A more appropriate title for the field, she said, would be “the search for technosignatures,” or signs of technology created by intelligent alien civilizations.“We need to be very careful about our language,” Tarter said during a presentation at the committee meeting on Jan. 18. “SETI is not the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. We can’t define intelligence, and we sure as hell don’t know how to detect it remotely. [SETI] … is searching for evidence of someone else’s technology. We use technology as a proxy for intelligence.“[The acronym] ‘SETI’ has been problematic in history, and we should just drop [it] and just continue to talk about a search for technosignatures,” she said.As reported often here since 12/03/05, SETI is de facto intelligent design science. Its practitioners are to a large degree atheistic naturalists, believing that everything, including life and intelligence, emerged from a physical big bang. They are often adamant in their denunciations of creationism and intelligent design. And yet, curiously, their mission has depended on the ability to differentiate intelligent causes from natural causes, which is the core aim of intelligent design. Can they escape the conundrum by rebranding their work? What could cause a ‘technosignature’?Through a convoluted chain of reasoning, with detours into the mystical realm, Tarter tries to equate technology with nature:Science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke wrote that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” which would mean that alien technology could be as mysterious and unexplainable to humans as technologies that appear in science-fiction TV shows and movies. That opens up a dauntingly large range of possibilities for what technosignatures might look like. What if an alien civilization were communicating via a mechanism that Earth-based scientists haven’t discovered yet? Would humans immediately recognize these “magical” technosignatures, or would we not see them as unnatural?Tarter said she prefers to focus on a slight alteration of Clarke’s prediction written by the futurist Karl Schroeder: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from nature.“If advanced civilizations have reached technological nirvana, she says, they will have no wastage and “appear natural” to us. She advocates, therefore, looking for civilizations that have “not yet reached that level of sophistication.” Insufficiently advanced technologies will be wasteful, like that of humans, she thinks. Maybe we could find fellowship at that level.“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from nature.“Tarter, whose work inspired the main character in the movie Contact, says that old SETI looked for direct communication. New SETI tries to identify ‘technosignatures’ by eavesdropping on internal communications of aliens. One way to do it is to identify planets that appear to have modified their natural environments. An example she points to is the recent interest in a possible alien megastructure around Boyajian’s Star. Further investigation by the Breakthrough Listen project falsified those hopes, finding a natural explanation.So is there a difference between old SETI and new SETI? Basically, Tarter has encapsulated technology within nature, saying that it may look designed by intelligent beings because it is mysterious to us. But this explanation begins to unravel when you reflect these ideas back on herself. Is she intelligent? Did she uses intelligent causes, or natural causes, to propose the philosophical ideas in this article?The rebranding proposal is self-defeating. If alien technology that leaves technosignatures is not caused intentionally by intelligent minds, then our own human minds reduce to natural causes, and nothing we do has any purpose or direction. Technology just ’emerges’ magically. Stuff Happens.last_img read more

Sars, banks sign tax accord

first_imgThe South African Revenue Service (Sars) and the Banking Association of South Africa have signed an accord to improve the levels of tax compliance countrywide. Once accepted by both the banking industry and Sars, the framework has the potential to be translated into industry standards. 4 February 2009 “We are totally committed to sound tax morality and continue to endeavour to instil sound tax practice across the industry. Source: BuaNews On the other hand, the accord encourages Sars to dedicate specific resources to the banking industry and ensure professionalism in the services they provide to the industry. The accord encourages the banking industry to promote tax compliance, both within banks and their clients, to periodically determine the effective tax rate of banks, and to regularly engage with Sars to resolve any matters of dispute. “We’ve been engaging Sars over the years to formalise a constructive relationship,” Booyesen said. “We are a critical element of the economy of the country and we believe it is appropriate that we indicate the importance of establishing sound interaction between business and Sars. Briefing the media at the signing of the accord in Johannesburg last week, the Banking Association’s Steven Booyesen said the agreement established a platform for constructive interaction between the industry and Sars.center_img It also provides greater certainty on the interpretation and application of tax and custom laws, and the identification of tax risks. Promoting tax compliance Sars commissioner Pravin Gordhan explained that the accord would establish a framework for cooperation between the parties to discourage impermissible tax arrangements, while also enhancing their own services. Gordhan said the revenue service also aimed to offer an advance ruling system that would be responsible for, and facilitate, tax certainty for banks and the industry as a whole. It would also promote the highest standards of tax compliance and also discourage practices that were inconsistent with the law. ‘Higher tax morality’ “As Sars, we are committed to offering dedicated services to the banking industry through the Large Business Centre, which will include the appointment of a taxpayer relationship manager to focus exclusively on the banking industry,” he said. “We will deepen our understanding of the banking industry in terms of building technical and professional skills.” “The framework will promote exemplary service offerings to the banking industry, while pursuing a climate of higher tax morality,” he said.last_img read more

Career Opportunity: Organization Director

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ohio Farm Bureau Federation is seeking a highly motivated, detail-oriented self-starter for a management position in Champaign, Clark, Darke and Miami counties. Individual must be willing to reside in the service area. Demonstrated leadership skills and management ability is required as is a bachelor’s degree in an agriculture-related field. Three years of work experience in agriculture or in a business setting is preferred. The ideal candidate will have a working knowledge of a membership organization and be comfortable with public speaking and sales. Attractive benefit package includes a company vehicle. Email resumé and cover letter to [email protected] Deadline to apply: Dec. 13, 2019 by 5 p.m.About Ohio Farm BureauThe Ohio Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots membership organization that supports programs that ensure the growth of Ohio food and farms, such as advocating for good government policy, developing opportunities for young farmers, providing student scholarships and grants, supporting Ohio food efforts, creating food literacy programs for kids, hosting community-building events and funding efforts to protect the environment, water quality, farmland preservation and more.Position detailsProvide quality professional service and support to county boards and volunteer leaders to meet the needs of the membership relative to established organizational goals and objectives, consistent with Ohio Farm Bureau’s Strategic Plan.Primary duties:Provide leadership and direction to county Farm Bureaus for the purpose of improving the strength, effectiveness and visibility of the organization in pursuit of stated Ohio Farm Bureau and County Farm Bureau goals and programs.Achieve membership growth through multiple strategies including an annual volunteer membership campaign, direct sales and strong partnerships.Work with county leaders to recruit new volunteers and provide leadership opportunities and training to develop and enhance volunteer leadership skills.Develop and enhance relationships with Nationwide, legislators, governmental agencies, agribusiness, local businesses, community groups and other strategic partners.Assist the county board to oversee county finances and develop an annual budget aligned to county goals and annual audits.Responsible for managing the local Farm Bureau office, including but not limited to personnel, data management, finances and correspondence.Minimum educational experience qualification: Minimum skill qualifications: Proficient in basic computer skillsOrganizational skillsCapacity to motivate, enthuse and recognize volunteersPublic speaking abilitiesFinancial and marketing knowledgeMinimum other qualifications: Must have and maintain a valid driver’s license.Must live in a county in the organization director territory.Preferred qualifications: One to two years of work experience in a business environment.Knowledge or experience in agriculture.Deadline to apply: Dec. 13, 2019 by 5 p.m.Email resumé and cover letter to [email protected]last_img read more