Report: Warriors’ Steph Curry struggles to adjust to new arena, routine, faces

first_imgYou knew it was going to happen. You knew how it was going to happen. You knew it was going to suck.As a basketball team, the Warriors have pitched off the summit of Everest. As an entertainment venture, they’ve gone from functional comfort to “because we can” opulence.How’s that working for you? Maybe a better question would be, How is that working for Steph Curry, the face of the dynasty?Last week the estimable Marc Spears published on The Undefeated a lengthy piece documenting the …last_img read more

Game Theory Undermined: Evolution of Altruism Not Demonstrated

first_img(Visited 23 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Games that psychologists play with human lab rats don’t show what evolutionists think they do.For many years, evolutionary psychologists have used games like the “public goods game” to probe the origin of human altruistic behavior in natural selection (e.g. 9/07/14, 1/31/14, 11/03/13, 8/15/12).  The games may not reflect reality, an article on PhysOrg suggests.Economic ‘games’ routinely used in the lab to probe people’s preferences and thoughts find that humans are uniquely altruistic, sacrificing money to benefit strangers. A new study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B suggests that people don’t actually play these games in the way researchers expect, and finds no evidence for altruistic behaviour.Dr Maxwell Burton-Chellew from the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford casts doubt on the methods used.  Interviewed in the article, he explains that the subjects may just not understand the rules. Asked if his findings threaten to undermine years of work, he said:This is potentially quite a bit [sic; big] problem for the field, since all the work (and there is a lot!) using these economic games assumes that you can probe peoples’ thoughts, desires and, importantly, preferences by using these games. But if they don’t understand the game, it all falls apart. For example, some previous work uses these games to suggest that different people might have varying levels of altruism, with culture and specific genes influencing altruism. But these results could just reflect differences in how well people understand the game, how consistently they play it, whether they use all the information available to them or ignore it, or any combination of these factors.Burton-Chellew gives more reasons why the experiments are doomed to fail:Well, it is interesting to contrast how animal behaviourists and economists study animals making choices. In non-human animal studies, you need a lot of evidence to back up any claims of cognition, and you have to build up any claims for cognitive operations (such as altruism or rational decision-making) from the bottom up. Economics, on the other hand, often assumes that humans always make sensible decisions, and any claims of deviations from this instead need lots of evidence. So it’s more of a top-down approach. Scientifically, this doesn’t make any sense: there shouldn’t be a difference in approaches to studying humans versus other animals. I am hoping to bring these two approaches together.So rather than illuminating human behavior, the experiments may just be recreation, with the losers of the game being the evolutionary psychologists.So how, exactly, is the Oxford zoologist going to treat his fellow human beings without committing the Ratomorphic Fallacy? (treating humans as lab rats).  Is he going to put the humans in cages and feed them cheese while he manipulates their environment? Or is he going to teach the rats to talk so that he can reason with them about economics? “Scientifically, this doesn’t make any sense” to treat humans and animals differently, he says. You be the judge of what makes sense. If he thinks altruism evolved from animals, then so did his scientific reasoning. Unless he is willing to get in the cage with the human animals, he has a bad case of the Yoda Complex. Nevertheless, we agree that the years of work by game theorists trying to understand human behavior amounts to goofing off on the job.Note to Oxford eggheads: economics is an intelligent-design-based science.last_img read more

Mega crowds at Megafest

first_imgBishop TD Jakes on the cover of Time Magazine, which once voted him America’s Best preacher. (Image:Time.com)Khanyi MagubaneIn early October over 100 000 Christians descended on the Nasrec expo centre in Johannesburg for the MegaFest International festival, a two-day extravaganza of faith hosted by world-renowned preacher and bestselling author Bishop TD Jakes, once named the top preacher in the US by Time magazine.Held from Saturday 11 to Sunday 12 October, the event is believed to have cost Jakes’s Potter’s House Church some (R65-million) US$7-million to host. Featuring top local and international gospel artists and a number of respected preachers, it was the first MegaFest to be staged outside the US.“We can no longer live in corners and just care about ourselves,” Jakes said at a news conference before the event. “Americans are becoming increasingly global-minded. If there were anything positive that came out of 9-11, it’s the realisation that we are our brothers’ keepers.”Attending the event were some of South Africa’s top business people, including Patrice Motsepe, mining magnate and the country’s first black dollar billionaire. Motsepe said the event would bring much-needed spiritual rejuvenation to South Africa. “There is a unique role that religion plays in South Africa,” he said. According to the 2001 census, 35.8-million South Africans are Christians – 79.8% of the population. Religious leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu played an important role in the end of apartheid.Motsepe, who is a devout Catholic, welcomed the US preacher’s presence in South Africa. “We have always felt there is something special and emotional about the connection between Africans and African-Americans,” he said.More than a thousand African-Americans attended the festival. For many, the trip marked a “journey back to the motherland”.At a press briefing during the festival, Jakes said he had no idea what to expect, as MegaFest had been the first time his church had undertaken so massive a project. But it was clearly a success.“I had problems getting to the venue myself, there were so many people coming in on the opening day,” he said.People from all walks of life endured the hot sun to listen to Jakes and the other preachers deliver powerful messages.Local gospel musicians Hlengiwe Mhlaba, Joyous Celebration, Ntokozo Mbambo, Benjamin Dube, and Lionel Petersen joined international acts Mary Mary, Israel Houghton and New Breed, Yolanda Adams as well as the Potter’s house church choir to thrill the audience with their performance.Operating under the theme Change, over the two days speaker after speaker encouraged the crowd to use their faith to live a quality life emotionally, spiritually and physically.Jakes said change is a universal phenomenon affecting every area of society.“A change is coming. Everyone is talking change. Barack Obama is talking about change. Now John McCain is talking about change.”He said change would not come from the government or the White House, but from the church.Fellowship, rejuvenation and personal growthFirst held in 2004, MegaFest is now one of the largest religious gatherings in the US, attended by more than 700 000 people to date.Created by Jakes as a festival for fellowship, spiritual rejuvenation and personal growth, it includes youth events, live concerts and activities for the entire family.Last year the event took a hiatus, with Jakes announcing that for the first time the event would be moved out of the US, to South Africa.It took over a year to plan MegaFest International, with about 150 South Africa-based staff from the Potter’s House Church working on the logistics.“I believe that the true purpose of the ministry is to go beyond the traditional wall and minister to the world,” Jakes said. “MegaFest International provides us with that platform.”Caring for the communityMegaFest brought with it more than a two-day church event, but also a number of philanthropic initiatives. One of these is MegaCare, a comprehensive health and educational campaign.As part of the Megafest programme, MegaCare intends on providing healthcare and educational opportunities in South Africa and Swaziland. Some of the health initiatives took place during the two-day festival, while others will continue for a week in South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia.The campaign provided comprehensive medical services to the general public, including health screenings, HIV counseling and testing, and dental and ophthalmic care. Counselors offered advice and guidance on gender-based violence, couple matters and spiritual health.Other Potter’s House projects run during Megafest included the construction of 12 houses for low-income families in Tembisa, east of Johannesburg, allowing them to move out of shacks into real homes.In Swaziland, the Potter’s House for Children orphanage provides care to children aged six and younger who have lost one or both parents to Aids. The children receive an education, medical care and meals. The centre will also be provided with safe and clean water from a new well.A community in Zambia was also provided with fresh water, with the MegaCare campaign rehabilitating two wells.An astonishing riseBishop Thomas Dexter Jakes started the Potter’s House ministry in Dallas, Texas, in 1996.Since then his rise in the Christian fraternity has been astonishing. He is an award-winning and best-selling author, and a sought-after conference speaker.In 2001 Jakes appeared on the cover of Time magazine, which named him America’s best preacher. In 2005 the magazine listed him as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in the US, and in 1999 the New York Times identified him as one of the five top evangelists most frequently cited by scholars, theologians and evangelical leaders.This acclaim comes partly from Jakes’s bestselling books, which deal in particular with issues of particular interest to women. His most popular book, Woman, thou art Loosed, published in 1993, has sold millions of copies around the world.What started out as a simple Sunday-school curriculum, the Woman thou art Loosed theme grew into a book, was later adapted into a stage-play, a conference and a full-length feature film.In 2002 Jakes’s book God’s Leading Lady hit the fourth spot in the New York Times bestseller list for self-help titles.In addition to his 30 or so books, Jakes is also an accomplished musician with his Potter’s House Choir, which has recorded a number of award-winning CDs.On the pulpit, Jakes is known for hosting powerful conferences. In 1993 Jakes created a conference for men called ManPower, which helps men of all races and background address specific needs, hurts and struggles from a biblical perspective. Ten years later, in 2003, the conference was attended by a record-breaking 44 000 men.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at [email protected] articlesSouth Africa’s populationThe Arch turns 77Motsepe joins billionaires’ clubUseful linksBishop TD JakesMegaFest International Potter’s House Church MegaCarelast_img read more

Abalone aquaculture could end poaching

first_imgPoaching has almost wiped out abalone along South Africa’s coast, but a research project is showing a viable way to build a commercial farm and save wild populations – as well as provide jobs and economic growth.Seeding abalone beds in the Eastern Cape. (Image: Rhodes University)Sulaiman PhilipThe demand for abalone, or white gold, has devastated natural stocks of the delicacy along South Africa’s south and east coasts. In the Western Cape, overfishing and poaching are beginning to have the same effect on that region’s perlemoen, as abalone is known locally.A new research study being conducted by a team from the universities of Fort Hare and Rhodes, as well as Nelson Mandela University and commercial fisheries, hopes to find ways to restock natural populations and produce abalone for the export market.The team is headed by Professor Peter Britz of Rhodes, former head of the International Abalone Association. The project is looking at restoring natural stocks and researching the viability of abalone aquaculture projects.It began in earnest in 2014, when rights were granted to black-owned fish company Ulwandle Fishing. Andrew Witte, researcher and doctoral candidate, explains: “The purpose of the rights and permits are to encourage the establishment and development of a sustainable fisheries industry as well as drive community upliftment and ensure the health and protection of reef systems along the South African coast.”Preliminary research began two years earlier, however, when researchers assessed the habitat and population status of the abalone beds in Cape Recife, Port Elizabeth. They released abalone into research plots before the project’s 2014 start. As Witte explains, the plots grew into a commercial seeding pilot project. “The focus now is on the dispersion and migration of seeded abalone and the goal is the establishment of the first stages of a harvesting programme. More than 170 heavily poached and depleted plots along reefs in Port Elizabeth have been seeded with 30 tons of abalone, which translates into 1.7 million abalone.”Commercial farmingThe commercial beds are protected by a private security company, the South African Police Service and a team from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. In the short time the project has been running, says Witte, it has “reduced poaching and promotes sustainable resource use and benefits for coastal communities. The farm also employs more than 160 people.”It is hoped that a sustainable fishery will grow the local economy and create jobs. Profitability of commercial aquaculture will depend on the survival, growth and migration of the stock being released, and this is the focus of the research.Britz points out that 50% of the spats (baby perlemoen) released in the Cape Recife project have survived, “which shows it is a viable way to build a commercial farm and save wild populations. For farming to be profitable research is important.”Fifty percent of spats, or baby perlemoen, released in the Cape Recife project have survived. (Image: Rhodes University)According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) aquaculture has the potential to contribute to economic activity, poverty reduction, empowerment and employment in South Africa’s coastal and inand communities.The Cape Recife research is contributing to the restocking of collapsed abalone communities. It is also responsible for the growth of the area’s economy. In addition, it is increasing the number of marine researchers who will go on to make a difference in conservation and sustainability.The marketIn 2014 alone, 1,115 metric tons of abalone was exported, mostly to China. A large percentage of this was poached. The economic value of this market led to the government, through its Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy initiative, to fund the research.Funding has been released through the Department of Trade and Industry’s flagship research and development fund, the Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme (THRIP). The government believes that the ocean economy can contribute R177-billion to the gross domestic product and create one million jobs by 2033.The South African abalone aquaculture industry is worth R355-million a year. South African abalone – Haliotis midae – is one of the three most sought-after species. Britz believes that about 3,000 tons of poached perlemoen has been shipped out of the country over the past few years. “Because of the demand, canned perlemoen from South Africa can be sold for top prices – $75-$105 a kilo (R986-R1,380) deshelled in cans.”Thanks in part to the kind of research being done by the professor and his team, South Africa is reaping the benefits through a growing legal harvesting industry. “The result today is a buoyant perlemoen farming industry and a canned product which is selling like hot cakes, creating jobs in an area where they were haemorrhaging after the wild fishery had to be closed, and even raising the possibility of reseeding devastated reefs.”Poaching is organised crimeA 2012 trial in Port Elizabeth revealed just how well organised and funded poaching syndicates were.At the time, there were estimated to be up to 300 abalone divers in the Eastern Cape, and for most them poaching was their ony source of income. South African Defence intelligence put the number of people involved in poaching across the country at the time at 1,500, including drivers, lookouts and runners.At the time, while availability was still high, divers could make up to R54,000 per expedition. It was not uncommon for boats to carry as many as 10 divers per trip, who averaged six dives per month. Rhodes researchers Britz and Dr Serge Raemaker estimated that there were at least 50 boats being used in poaching operations in the province.In a report used by the prosecution, Raemaker and Britz interviewed poachers, conservationists and law enforcement and found that in 2005, syndicates spent R32-million on boats and 4x4s to begin the plunder of rich perlemoen fields discovered five years earlier.The report concluded that Port Elizabeth’s perlemoen resources resulted in “a large illegal and highly organised network developed from the urban centre of Port Elizabeth systematically [targeting] perlemoen reefs across the entire Eastern Cape for transport inland and export to the Far East”.The prosecutor in the case, Martin le Roux, told the court ahead of sentencing: “This is not a case about perlemoen; it is about organised crime. About racketeering.”Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Ohio Ag Weather and Forecast – December 12, 2019

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Still chilly today, but we see a little bit of temperature moderation for tomorrow and early Saturday. Generally, we still see higher precipitation threats for the weekend and early next week, as moisture seems to want to focus more on Ohio than the rest of the eastern corn belt.Today we see at least partly sunny skies, but we stay chilly. Tomorrow, with a mix of clouds and sun, we cant rule out scattered late afternoon rain showers trying to develop near the Ohio river. However, most of the action stays south into KY and WV.Saturday looks to be our most active day of weather, with moisture overspreading the entire state. Temps look like they will be cold enough to make most of the action come as snow. Right now we will throw out a projection of 1″-5″ with coverage at 75% of Ohio. However, there is a chance that a little of that may come as rain, especially farther south. Any rain will take snow potential away. The moisture sticks around most of the day. The map at right shows weekend precipitation potential, in liquid equivalent form.Sunday should feature a mix of clouds and sun, but we get colder air back in over the region. On Monday we have to allow for some scattered rain or snow shower action early in the morning down near the Ohio River again, but the rest of the state misses that action. Sun will be replaced by increasing clouds through Monday with a chance of minor snow showers or flurries developing in afternoon and evening hours. Coverage will be limited to 40%, and totals are not impressive. Tuesday, we see morning snow showers bringing a fresh coating to 2 inches to 80% of Ohio, but by afternoon sunshine is back.Sunshine finishes the rest of the 10 day forecast window for Wednesday through Saturday. WE will stay chilly the first two days, but expect significant warming for next Friday and Saturday. Models are in stark disagreement over temps for the extended 11-16 day forecast window, with one saying well above normal and the other saying more well below normal air is coming. The disagreement is impressive, and means that we are going to continue to watch closely over the next 2-3 days for signs, but think that a normal to slightly below normal bias should be expected for the week of Christmas at this time.last_img read more