first_imgSAN FRANCISCO — Matt Chapman’s mom has gotten used to the army sergeant buzzcut, but the look alarmed the third baseman’s Postmates delivery guy the other day.“I kinda snuck up behind him like ‘Matt?’ and he was like ‘Woah!’ Chapman said. “I’ve never had people freak out over a haircut like this before.”All this attention paid to one haircut might be spent elsewhere if the haircut-to-offensive-production correlation didn’t fit so seamlessly. Since Chad Pinder took clippers to his locks in …last_img


first_imgTime to clear the deck again.  Here’s a collection of sweet and sour news nuggets readers may wish to munch on.Fossils: big early spider:  An exquisitely preserved spider has been found in Chinese Jurassic strata; see picture on National Geographic News.  This pushes the origin of its genus back 130 million years, according to the article.Early man: waggle dance:  Is the human mind a collective innovation, like the waggle dance of the honeybee?  John Hoffecker [U of Colorado] got free rein to speculate about the “emergence” of the human brain by evolution in a Science Daily article that spoke of evolution six times and emergence three times, but never tied any genetic mutation to the ability to create stone axes, mechanical clocks, music, and space shuttles.Solar system: poisonous Pluto:  According to Space.com, Pluto has a “surprisingly high” concentration of poisonous carbon monoxide in its tenuous atmosphere.  Another surprise is that its atmosphere extends not just 60 miles above the surface, but 1,860 miles – one fourth the distance to its large moon Charon.Extrasolar planets: hot Jupiter shock:  How can giant planets orbiting their stars closer than Mercury avoid being stripped of their atmospheres?  Royal Astronomical Society reported that they create bow shocks that stream deadly ions around them.  “The presence of a magnetic field could greatly reduce the amount of stellar wind the planet is exposed to, effectively acting as a shield and helping the atmosphere survive.”  Incidentally, that’s what protects earth from a deadly fate.  The L word life was brought up at the end of the article.Plant evolution: plot change:  The ancestors of land plants were not stonewort-like algae after all.  PhysOrg now tells us that the ancestors were actually conjugating green algae [Zygnematales] such as Spirogyra.  Why the change?  According to a multinational research team,It seems that Zygnematales have lost oogamy and their ability to produce sperm and egg cells, and instead, possibly due to selection pressure in the absence of free water, use conjugation for reproduction.  Investigation of such a large number of genes has shown that, despite their apparent simplicity, Zygnematales have genetic traces of other complex traits also associated with green land plants.Evolutionists must be getting warmer at least; PhysOrg also told its readers, “Researchers pinpoint key events in ancient plant evolution.”  Those clever evolutionists are like magicians: “Researchers from the University of Florida and six other institutions have unlocked some of the key foundations for the evolution of seed and flowering plants.”  Maybe your foundations don’t have locks, but the ones at Down House apparently do.Dinosaurs: mighty mouths:  Artwork of a giant Brontomerus delivering a sharp kick, sending a predator flying, accompanies an article on Live Science, “How dinosaurs got huge.”  But the article is not about dinosaur kickboxing, really; it’s about what the giants had to eat to get so big.  Apparently their teeth just raked in the vegetation without the need to chew it.  Compare your diet with theirs: 100,000 calories a day just to stay slim.Marine evolution: divining plankton:  According to PhysOrg, “Plankton fossils tell tale of evolution and extinction.”  According to a Dr Thomas Ezard [University College London], “if we want to understand evolution fully, we need to acknowledge that not all species are one and the same.  The astonishing abundance and diversity of these foraminifera provides crucial clues in awkward parts of evolution’s puzzle.”Fossils: tooth tales:  In an article about how wear marks on teeth can provide clues to diet, PhysOrg got into all kinds of other subjects: when early man learned to cook, why gorillas prefer fruit with their sharp teeth, 14 hour days in the rainforest removing leeches, and attracting kids who love dinosaurs into careers studying evolution.Fossil politics: oyster climate change:  According to PhysOrg, oyster reefs provide a record of past climate change millions of years ago.  But according to Live Science, teens get a failing grade for not realizing that humans are responsible for climate change.Evolutionary theory: new law:  If you thought evolution was a story of upward progress from simplicity to complexity, consider this new evolutionary law stated by Science Daily: “Successful Blueprints Are Recycled by Evolution.”  This is “evolution with a twist,” said a team of evolutionists looking into “the question whether the gene regulatory programs that control this development have been ‘invented’ only once during evolution or whether they might have arisen anew in different species.”  One odd finding from genetics of fruit flies: “Some of the fly species that we looked at are as closely related as humans are to other primates.  Others are as distant as humans and birds.”Evolution and the human birth canal:  According to a story on Medical Express, “Evolutionary changes that make us uniquely human – such as our large heads and narrow pelvises – may have ‘pushed’ human birth timing earlier and can be used to identify genes associated with preterm birth, a new study suggests.”  It may not be clear to others if they have identified a cause, an effect, or neither.Marine biology: rock eyes:  Chitons are “primitive” mollusks that have an ingenious sense: the ability to use calcium carbonate crystals as lenses.  Live Science has a picture and description.  “Chitons first appeared on Earth more than 500 million years ago,” the article claimed.  “But according to the fossil record, the oldest chitons with eyes didn’t emerge until the last 25 million years, making their eyes among the most recent to evolve in animals.  The eyes likely evolved so chitons could see and defend against predators, [Daniel] Speiser said.”  It is plausible that these highly successful creatures never saw a predator for 475 million years – 97% of their tenure on earth?Solar system: fluffy cosmogony:  How to solve the problem that particles don’t stick when they collide?  Answer: make them fluffy, like cotton candy.  That seems to be what Science Daily is suggesting.  “Our study makes us even more convinced than before that the early carbonaceous chondrite rocks were shaped by the turbulent nebula through which they travelled billions of years ago, in much the same way that pebbles in a river are altered when subjected to high turbulence in the water,” someone from Imperial College London said.  “Our research suggests that the turbulence caused these early particles to compact and harden over time to form the first tiny rocks.”    They appeared to just assume, however, that the rocks would stick together – an idea other studies have contradicted.  But they hedged with the admission, “Our work is another step in the process helping us to see how rocky planets and moons that make up parts of our Solar System came into being.”Origin of life: cultural entertainment:  One would think that an article in Live Science would defend the idea that life emerged in mica sheets at the ocean floor.  But one would be wrong.  One will learn more about Helen Hansma’s taste in music and how her theory provides entertainment for the masses.  The best advice she ever got: “Do an experiment poorly.”    Quotable quote: “My Mica Hypothesis for the origin of life is an entertaining and thought-provoking piece of science that interests a wide audience.  It provides new ways to understand how ‘irremediable complexity’ was not necessary for the origin of life and its evolution.”  Is this misquote of Dr. Michael Behe’s phrase “irreducible complexity” part of the entertainment?Solar system origin: some truth:  PhysOrg discussed “our unlikely solar system” by claiming that only 15-25% of planetary models end up with solar systems like ours – rocky planets on the inside tracks, and gas giants in stable orbits outside.  “While you might be skeptical about the validity of a model that puts our best known planetary system in the unlikely basket, there may be some truth in this finding.”  Whether models are the same thing as findings sounds like a good question for philosophers of science.Health: know thyselves:  Science Daily depicted our normal flora as cheats that worked out a deal with our immune system.  Quotable quote:On a more philosophical level, [Sarkis K.] Mazmanian [Caltech] says, the findings suggest that our concept of “self” should be broadened to include our many trillions of microbial residents.  “These bacteria live inside us for our entire lives, and they’ve evolved to look and act like us, as part of us,” he says.  “As far as our immune system is concerned, the molecules made by gut bacteria should be tolerated similarly to our own molecules.  Except in this case, the bacteria ‘teaches’ us to tolerate them, for both our benefit and theirs.” As an exercise, readers may want to practice writing their own commentaries on some of the above.Real science involves observation and practical application.  Evolutionary theory is a useless appendage, a devil on the shoulder telling the scientist that the intelligent design so clearly evident is really Tinker Bell’s magic.  Evolutionary theory gives MAD scientists* a fun game to play, a charade, a game of pretend, loosening their inhibitions as scientists, helping them feel comfortable that their entertaining myths provide “understanding” of the world.  Or that some day it might.  Hope rings eternal.More, more about Darwin,More, more about Darwin,More of his SHL to see,**More of his myth who set us free.*MAD: Mutual Admiration of Darwin.**SHL: Stuff Happens Law (09/22/2009, 09/15/2008 commentaries).(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more


first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Emily UnglesbeeDTN Staff ReporterMONHEIM, Germany (DTN) — At Bayer’s annual Future of Farming Dialogue underway in Germany, company executives are touting their new pricing model, outcome-based pricing, as the potential pricing paradigm of the future.The model involves Bayer setting an expected yield outcome for a product or seed, based on a farm’s data and history stored on the company’s digital ag platform, FieldView, as well as the company’s own research on their products. If a farmer’s final yield falls below that expected value, the company will rebate a certain portion of the original price of the product. If the yield instead surpasses the initial set value, the farmer shares a pre-agreed portion of that additional income with the company.Many farmers have posed questions and expressed concerns regarding aspects of the model on social media this week. So DTN sat down in Germany with Sam Eathington, chief science officer of The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Bayer, to address these questions.Here is the resulting Q&A, lightly edited for clarity.Q: What is the status of Bayer’s outcome-based pricing model in the U.S. today?A: Bayer launched the pilot in 2019 to provide farmers the opportunity to make data-based decisions to optimize their resources, inputs and yield potential while managing risk on their farms. It’s a pilot project and we’re learning ourselves if we can create a model where there is more risk protection and opportunity to share more upside. How would that work? How would it be structured?Q: Will this become a mandatory pricing structure for all Bayer customers in the future?A: The simple way to answer that is we’re not forcing a farmer to do anything. They clearly have choice in how they want to buy inputs and who they want to buy them from. It’s not a mandate. I think there will be a whole distributional response among farmers out there, that — depending on their financial situation, how they like to buy their inputs, who they want to work with — you can imagine a full range of responses there.We tested a number of different financial models in this pilot this year about how much downside protection the farmer wanted versus how must upside sharing they wanted to do. The farmers could run lots of different scenarios across the farm and choose where they wanted to go. There were caps on some of the models [on the upside], where you can say we’ll share at a certain percentage, and if you go beyond that, we’re not sharing. There were others where we continued to share. So there was a broad range of how the upside and the risk protection varied across the models. A very large percentage of the farmers went to one type of model. It was cool to see how that happened. That’s part of what we’re learning — what is the right balance? Because the downside risk in a bad year can be pretty detrimental to you, so do have to understand what’s the cash flow, what are the bank notes that they have to manage.Q: How will this change how Bayer uses farmers’ data?A: Our data privacy policy is the grower owns their data and they determine who they share it with, whether it’s a seed rep or maybe a fertilizer rep. [What we ask] is if you share it with us, we’re going to use it to build new models that can be used for all the farming community. We’re very transparent about that.With the outcome-based pricing, we did have to do an additional policy with those [participating] farmers, because our current data use policy says we won’t use the data for pricing. That’s one of the things we absolutely call out in Climate FieldView. But now with outcome-based pricing, we need to use the data for pricing. In the pilot this year, we actually went to each and every farmer involved and had a new data privacy policy with them that explicitly said we are going to use this data to figure out pricing, because it’s outcome-based pricing. And in that case, we had over 90% of the farmers we talked to agree to go ahead and participate in the pilot. It’s still their choice. In no way are we mandating that they have to do this.Q: How does the company ensure that the high yields created on a farmer’s field are attributable to the product or seed in question, and how does the company verify those yields?A: There a couple ways in the program to do that. Let’s take fungicide for example; we had a pilot on that this year. In that case, we would say, hey, we think this field would benefit from a fungicide application and we think you’ll get this amount of yield protection if you spray this fungicide. So in those pilots, the protocol was an unsprayed strip in the field. We tried to work with the farmers to say how big it should be, where you should put it in the field — you don’t want it on the edge next to the trees or something like that. You want it in a fair place for both the farmer and the technology. That was all tracked in FieldView. And in that case, you’re just measuring the difference. What is the spray check versus the unsprayed check? And if achieved expectations, then that’s great and if it was below that, then we would rebate them in that program.When you get into some of the more complex ones, like doing a pure outcome-based pricing, then you have to start thinking about how is the combine calibrated, and we worked on that protocol with the farmers. We’re going to still do a true-up with weigh tickets, you know every farmer has to do their APH (actual production history) reporting anyway. So there’s still some checks in the system to make sure it’s really being correct and fair to everybody who is participating. There may be some gaming of the system and that’s part of what we have to learn. But there is new technology like this auto-calibration that a lot of equipment companies are coming with in their combines. Those are really good and it takes that extra complexity out of the farmer’s process. The machine is constantly calibrating itself. I can see technology like that coming along with these sort of programs.Q: How does this model avoid rewarding Bayer for individual farming practices (beyond the company’s seed and products) that might increase or influence yield, such as tiling, crop rotation or tillage practices?A: Think about it this way. Let’s use the tile example. Say a farmer put tile in this field 10 years ago and by putting tile in, they drained the field and it yields better there. So what you would see is their average yield should be increasing and will be at a higher rate over time. Now let’s say we come along and want to do outcome-based pricing. We use their base yield level as the baseline, and we’re saying our technology would give you incremental yield. So if your base is already 200 bpa, and now I think my seed adviser will give you an extra 5 bushels, it’s 205 bpa we’re talking about. I don’t go back to the yield you were getting 10 years ago before you got tiling, say 180 bpa, and try to capture the [difference between] 180 and 200 bpa that you get from tiling. We’re not doing that.The only watch-out then that the program has to account for is if a farmer makes a change in the middle of the process. For example, the history on this field for the last 3 to 4 years of data, there was no tile in the field, but then this fall, they went ahead and put tile in field. Those are the fields we have to actually account for differently because we’re not trying to capture [your investment in tile]. We’re not trying to do that at all. We’re basically saying our technology is bringing you this incremental yield, and that’s what we’re talking about sharing and protecting on the downside. As long as their practice has been consistent the last three or four years, we’re not capturing that potential value.Q: Can growers who participate use competitor products on their fields or are they locked into Bayer-specific products?A: This year’s pilot was mostly on seed and we know more about our seed right now than we do our competitors’. We were using, for example this year, DeKalb corn seed, but if you wanted to use a competitor’s fungicide or herbicide in the program, we didn’t care. We were just doing seed at this point. I think down the road — and we’re not there right now — but as we’re get more and more information, I think you’re going to see a world where there are scenarios about products that give customers more choice and they probably just come with different pricing and risk/reward scenarios. Because we’re going to know more about our products than our competitors’ products, and we might not be willing to guarantee as much [yield] with a competitor’s product. We haven’t figured any of that out. That’s part of the learning process we’re in right now.Q: Will Bayer ever mandate other farming practices beyond seed, chemicals, or other inputs in outcome-based pricing agreements?A: I would say we would never mandate — that’s a pretty harsh word. We would probably give you the best recommendations and then figure out a way financially that it is still your choice, but it’s a financial choice. For example, if we think no-till makes this hybrid yield more and is better, but you say there’s no way I want to do no-till, then we just factor that into our [yield] predictions. Farmers are always going to have choice in the system.Emily Unglesbee can be reached at [email protected] her on Twitter @Emily_Unglesbee(PS/CZ)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more


first_imgThis image was purchased by MFLNMC from iStock.com under member ID 8085767. Return to article. Long DescriptionWritten by: Christopher Plein, Ph.D. West Virginia University and Military Families Learning NetworkA few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend and participate in an afternoon conference on the topic of foster care trends and needs in the United States and in my home state of West Virginia. As I listened to the presentations from state officials, academics, and foster parents I was struck by the complexity and importance of the foster care and foster adoption system in our country.  The experience also made me think of military families and their contributions to meeting foster care and child welfare needs in our nation.Military families are among those who volunteer to provide safe homes and care to foster children. Recent media coverage, in such outlets as Woman’s Day and Military.com help to highlight the caring role that military families provide.One big takeaway from such coverage and stories is that military families are especially adept at providing foster care because of their own experiences in moving and adjusting to new places and living arrangements.However, there are also lingering perceptions that military family placements may not be feasible due to transient nature of military life.  There is no doubt that the permanent change of station (PCS) process and the patchwork of state child welfare systems and regulations can create challenge and complications. But as we explore below, much is being done to counter these perceptions and to clear away obstacles for military families to serve as foster parents and to adopt children in foster care.In 2016, there were approximately 438,000 children in foster care.  This represents a steady increase in foster care placements in recent years. There is always a need for foster care parents. Recently, there have been renewed concerns about the capacity of state child welfare systems to adequately serve foster care children.  The number of children in need of foster placement regularly outstrips the availability of foster parents.Across the United States, each state operates its own child welfare system which include foster care programs.  These programs are aimed at ensuring the safety of children who may have to be removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, or risk caused by unstable home environments.State efforts are supported by various federal laws and regulations aimed at providing funding and facilitating interstate cooperation in child placement and services.  These policies, which include the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children and the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance, are especially relevant to military families seeking to foster or adopt children.Many foster kids may have special health care needs.  Unstable home environments can contribute to the development of health problems and inhibit access to regular and coordinated care.  Various experts, professional organizations, and authorities often characterize children in foster care as a “special needs” population due to the high incidence of adverse childhood experiences (ACE) as well as chronic health conditions, poor oral health, behavioral health conditions, and trauma that led to their placements.Fortunately, through law and regulation, both states and the federal government have extended health coverage and services to foster children through the Medicaid program underTitle IV-E of the Social Security Act.  As we have discussed in previous MFLN webinars and blogs, the Medicaid program is a joint state and federal program that serves low income families and many of those with disabilities or special needs.There are many helpful resources that highlight the status and programs for foster children and their healthcare needs.  Among the most helpful are those provided by the U.S. Children’s Bureau.Ideally, foster care provides safe harbor for children with the ultimate goal of reunification with parents or guardians in mind.  However this goal may not always be achieved.  According to federal statistics, in 2016, approximately 26 percent of all foster care children were anticipated to find family stability through adoption.  Many of these adoptions take place with families that are fostering children.Recognizing the valuable role that military families can play in foster care and adoption, but also acknowledging some of the challenges that exist, federal agencies, as well as such groups as the National Military Family Association and the Adoption Exchange Association, have developed helpful resource materials.AdoptUSKids is a federal and non-profit collaborative that is a clearing house of information and guidance in foster care and adoption effort. They have produced a comprehensive guide, entitled “Wherever My Family Is: That’s Home” to assist military families, child welfare professionals, and military support personnel in the foster care to adoption process.The guide provides valuable insight on navigating the foster care and adoption process.  It offers stories about military families that have adopted foster children.  It highlights the various state and federal resources that can help to facilitate the process, and gives special attention to relevant military and DoD regulations and resources.Most importantly, the guide emphasizes the need to build community capacity through networks of understanding and cooperation between civilian child welfare agencies and military resources, such as family service centers found at military installations.  In sum, the message comes across loud and clear that military families are often uniquely situated to lend support to a pressing community and national caregiving need.last_img read more


first_imgRobredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games What ‘missteps’? Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend View comments “In Lionel Messi’s case, he’s widely accepted by the people at all levels,” said Diego Manso, a local private security consultant.“All the same, the security systems will never overlook the probability of a lot of people wanting to approach him, wanting to touch him, take photos with him, from their risk analysis.”Messi and Roccuzzo live in Barcelona where he plays, but still return regularly to Rosario on holiday.The couple had their two children baptized there last year: Thiago, 4 and one-year-old Mateo, both born in Barcelona.“It’s no surprise that he is coming back here to get married,” one of the wedding guests, the player’s old school friend Diego Vallejos, told AFP.“He is an ordinary person who just wants to be near his family and friends. He is a humble person. Money has not changed his personality.”Messi and Roccuzzo met as children. He moved to Spain when he was 13 to join FC Barcelona. But they kept in touch.“They are the love of each other’s lives,” says Vallejos. The designer has dressed stars such as actresses Eva Longoria and Sofia Vergara as well as Spain’s Queen Letizia.From 2200 GMT the guests will pack into the Hotel City-Center Casino, which stands right next to a crime-ridden slum run by drug gangs.“Messi’s wedding accentuates the sense of inequality that is symbolized by the casino in that neighborhood,” said Carlos del Frade, author of several books on the drug trade in Rosario.This city of 1.2 million people is also a cradle of footballing talent, however.“Rosario lives and breathes football. That is another reason Lionel feels so comfortable here,” the city’s mayor, Monica Fein, told AFP.ADVERTISEMENT “I think he is excited that through his wedding his friends (from abroad) will be able to get to know the city he loves so much.”Local delicaciesThe civil wedding ceremony and party will all take place inside the venue, and the guests will be lodged there too.Messi, 30 — considered a man of few words — has reportedly asked chefs to cook local delicacies such as “locro” stew and “empanada” pasties for the feast.The star dish is a typical Argentine beef roast including chitterlings, gizzards and kidneys.Uruguayan pop bands Rombai and Marama plus singer Karina, wife of Argentina footballer Sergio Aguero, will perform at the dance.It is not known whether the guests will also get a song from Shakira, the Colombian diva famous for “Whenever, Wherever.”Tight security and media scrumSome 155 journalists have been accredited to cover the bash, but have been warned they will have no access to the guests.Security will be handled by a private team of Israeli specialists used by Messi for all his excursions. LATEST STORIES MOST READ Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Riveracenter_img Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena MLB umpire Tumpane rescues woman on bridge China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (C), his wife Antonella Roccuzzo and sons pose with the trophy at the end of the Spanish Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) final football match FC Barcelona vs Deportivo Alaves at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid on May 27, 2017. Barcelona won 3-1. / AFP PHOTO / JAVIER SORIANOFootball and showbiz stars gather in northern Argentina on Friday for Latin America’s celebrity wedding bash of the decade when Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi marries his childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo.Pop star Shakira and her husband, Messi’s teammate Gerard Pique, are expected among the 260 guests, according to media and locals close to the event.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ They will join old friends of the couple and footballers such as his Barcelona strike partners Luis Suarez and Neymar.The party at a casino in his hometown Rosario will be a respite for the player from his legal woes. A Spanish court last month rejected his appeal against a conviction for tax fraud.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAll-star guest listBrunette bride Roccuzzo, 29, will wear a dress by Spanish designer Rosa Clara, which has been flown over from Barcelona. Cayetano to unmask people behind ‘smear campaign’ vs him, SEA Gameslast_img read more