first_imgDonegal County Council is to issue letters to more than 30,000 households throughout the county advising them of their liability to pay the Household Charge this week.The letter reminds householders that this is a self declaration charge which was introduced under the Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 and that late payments continue to incur penalties and interest fees on an ongoing monthly basis.The amount now due, if paid in October, is €127 per property and this will continue to increase each month until the charge is paid. Households have been identified from the Property Registration Authority database.The council says that due to the manner in which names and addresses can be entered and recorded differently in computer systems by the public it is possible that in some circumstances details may not be matched correctly and some householders may receive a letter in error.A spokesman says that in these cases and to avoid receiving further letters households are asked to contact the Central Bureau to verify their details and to ensure their records are updated.Mr. Garry Martin, Director of Finance with Donegal County Council urged householders who have not yet paid the charge to do so as soon as possible to prevent any further unnecessary penalties and late interest fees accruing. He acknowledging and thanked the 34,000 plus householders who have paid their charge in Donegal at this time.“We understand that from 2013 the Revenue Commissioners will be responsible for pursuing any outstanding household charge and we would urge households who have not yet paid the charge to do so as soon as possible to avoid any further penalties and interest fees that the Revenue Commissioners will likely be pursuing from 2013 on”.Monies collected from the Household Charge contribute to the Councils Local Government Fund allocation which finances or co-finances local services including fire & emergency services, road maintenance & street cleaning, development and other community projects, co-financing of EU projects, libraries, playgrounds, public lighting etc.The council spokesman said these services benefit all communities across the County.Donegal’s compliance rate to date for payment of the Household Charge has necessitated in the Council reviewing options for postponement of certain expenditure between now and the end of the year, in order to reduce expenditure and remain within available Budget as a result of a reduction in the Council’s Local Government Find allocation for 2012. Mr. Martin concluded by advising that ”the greater the level of payment compliance in the County in the next number of weeks, the lesser the impact on available spend between now and the end of the year”COUNCIL TO BLITZ DONEGAL HOUSEHOLDS WITH 30,000 DEMAND LETTERS was last modified: October 12th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Donegal County CouncilHOUSEHOLD CHARGElast_img read more

Amazing Fossils: What Do They Mean?

first_img What is a fossil?  The definition gets a little fuzzy at the edges.  Is fuzz from a hypothetical living creature evidence of its existence?  Live Science entertained claims from some Russians that “indisputable proof” that the abominable snowman has been found.  What is the evidence?  “a few strands of hair and some tracks in the snow.”  Readers can evaluate for themselves whether this supports the believers’ boast that they are “95 percent sure that the yeti exists.”  Previous claims of indisputable proof have been withdrawn.  It’s hard to prove a universal negative that creatures like Yeti and Bigfoot don’t exist, but like reporter Benjamin Radford said, “If populations of yetis — like Bigfoot — really exist, they have somehow managed to avoid leaving any physical traces of their presence: no bodies, bones, teeth, hair, scat, or anything else.”  The irony of this statement was apparently lost on Radford (deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer) who did not make a similar claim for SETI, which, despite the rhyme with Yeti, gets a pass among scientists in spite of similar lack of evidence. Fossils are fascinating for everyone – creationists and evolutionists alike.  Creationists have to do some extra work to scour off the hard evolutionary crust on the story that sticks, like hardened barbecue drippings, on the underlying empirical evidence.  Is said fossil 135 million years old?  No.  It is a few days old, or weeks, or months, or years.  It’s as old as when it was pulled up out of the ground.  Whatever else is being claimed about it is inference.  Inference requires an interpretive context.  For most secular scientists, that context is Darwinian evolution and the geologic column with its millions and billions of years.  That’s how they can look at a fossil beetle that is identical to those alive today, and say that it hasn’t evolved at all for 20 million years – three times the amount of time their theory alleges that a cow turned into a whale. That’s how they can pass the buck, believing that a species of insect should only last 2-3 million years, but finding stasis extending 20 million (in their scheme), they can call it “another question for scientists to address.”  It’s how they can find original melanocyte material in rock and say it survived 115 million years.  It’s how they can see bigger, better creatures no longer with us, and call it evolution. With such extraordinary flexibility in their interpretive context, anything goes: rodents crossed the ocean with hoatzins, today’s hummingbirds evolved from gigantic reptiles, and beetles survived massive swings in climate without any evolutionary change at all.  Drastic evolutionary changes exist side by side with extreme stasis (e.g., living fossils) among creatures that inhabited the same Earth, even the same habitat, through all its swings of climate and geology.  They can see evidence of mass burials in flood waters (ichthyosaurs aligned by current, eye-blink rapid preservation of a dinosaur in sediment as it chokes), and say it just represents local happenstance.  In terms of credulity, this makes the Yeti believers look like logicians by comparison.  Remember that fossils exist in the present.  Yes, fossils can shed light on past conditions, but only in terms of one’s chosen interpretive context.  When reading scientific reports about fossils, always, always, look for the interpretive context; then gauge the credibility of the evidence against that context.(Visited 45 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Sea monsters:  According to New Scientist, nine giant ichthyosaurs have been found in Nevada – now a desert.  And that’s not all.  Something even scarier killed them: giant squids the size of blue whales, the largest current animals on Earth.  If Mark McMenamin of Holyoke College is right, the giant kraken of myth was real.  Other paleontologists don’t buy his explanation, but the ichthyosaur part is undeniable; although the nine giants died in different ways, “Ancient currents seem to have aligned the skeletons,” the article said. Nice T. rex:  The feared giant of Jurassic Park, Tyrannosaurus Rex, was bigger and faster than thought, reported PhysOrg.  A team from the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and the Royal Veterinary College “applied cutting edge technology and computer modeling to ‘weigh’ five Tyrannosaurus rex specimens.”  Old Sue could claim “I was a teenage monster.”  One researcher claimed, “We estimate they grew as fast as 3,950 pounds per year (1790 kg) during the teenage period of growth, which is more than twice the previous estimate,” making it one of the largest bipeds that ever lived.  Someone get word to the animators for Terra Nova. Pterosaur tooth tales:  Based on a piece of snout and a bit of a tooth from a pterosaur, according to Live Science, a researcher from the University of Leicester has decided that “a group of the extinct, flying reptiles could reach sizes larger than previously thought.”  So ugly it could be called cute (see artist’s conception in the article), Coloborhynchus capito, a rare ornithocheirid found in England, used its teeth and beak to capture fish while gliding over the water, somewhat like a pelican.  Extrapolating from the exceptional tooth size, the researchers estimated a wingspan of 27 feet for the creature.  By comparison, today’s largest bird, the California condor, spreads its wings up to 10 feet. Dinosaur Arkansas raceway:  A “Huge New Dinosaur Trackway” as long as two football fields, located in Arkansas, was reported by National Geographic News.  The article dates the two prints at 120 million years and identifies two species, “the eight-ton Acrocanthosaurus atokensis—one of the largest predators ever to walk Earth—and sauropods, or long-necked plant-eaters.”  The prints show that the former did not have webbed feet and walked pigeon-toed with toes turned a bit inward.  For 120 million years, these prints never saw the light of day, but then, the article said, “A private citizen recently found the tracks, which were possibly exposed after a rainstorm scoured away a thin layer of shale.” Perfect dinosaur:  One of the most complete dinosaur fossils ever found was reported by New Scientist, along with a picture of the creature said to by 135 million years old.  The fossil, captured in Bavarian shale, preserves 98 percent of the animal’s skeleton.  “Although Chinese bird and dinosaur fossils are famed for delicate details such as their feathers, they don’t match this 72-centimetre-long theropod in terms of clarity and completeness of preservation,” the article said.  No feathers are evident in this fossil of an unclassified “predatory theropod” which may be the most complete dinosaur fossil ever found.  As with many dinosaur fossils, this one shows the upturned head in death throes as if suffocating when it died. Rafting rodents:  Tiny teeth said to be from rodents at least 41 million years old have been found in Peru.  According to the researchers from Case Western Reserve University, reported in PhysOrg, this means that rodents rafted like Reepicheep across the Atlantic.  Why?  They evolved in Africa, the team believes.  But then that creates a 9-million-year gap to the next oldest new-world rodent, said to be 32 million years old.  “Taken all together, the pattern contradicts the theory of a northward expansion deduced from the fossil record 20 years ago,” and pushes back the evolution of rodents in South America.  The fossil ash layer was dated by the argon-argon radiometric method.  “This study shows that where we’re looking for fossils has a major effect on what we think we know about mammal evolution,” one team member (Darin Croft) said, affirming that “There are still a lot of great fossils to be discovered.”  He offered a prediction: “Odds are pretty low that we would push back the date for these rodents by more than a million years or two.”  According to Science Daily’s coverage, the tiny tooth held in the palm of a researcher’s hand proves that the “Find Is 10 Million Years Older and Confirms Animals from Africa.” Rafting birds:  One of the most unusual birds today is the hoatzin – a denizen of South America whose young have claws on their wings.  Where did it come from?  According to a new theory by a German team reported on PhysOrg, this bird’s alleged ancestors arose in Africa.  Unable to fly across the ocean, they must have rafted from Africa on rafts of flotsam and jetsam.  This interpretation was made necessary by evolutionary estimates of the older date of the Namibian fossil. More early bird feather color:  Additional evidence for melanosomes in fossil bird feathers has been reported in PLoS ONE by Barden, Wogelius et al. (6[10]: e25494. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0025494).  It’s original material they estimated at 115 to 105 million years old.  “In combination, these techniques strongly suggest that not only do the feathers contain endogenous organic material, but that both geochemical and morphological evidence supports the preservation of original eumelanic pigment residue.” Fossil moths in color:  Coloration of a different kind has been found: the coloration of moths said to be 47 million years old, reported PhysOrg.  Pigments were not preserved in the fine-grained German rock, but microscopic structural patterns allowed Maria McNamara (Yale) to reconstruct the moth’s colorful flitting in its day.  It was a vivid yellow-green color, tinged in blue, similar to that of modern forester moths.  The fossil was notable for having structural color over its entire body.  Dr. McNamara explained more about her color-sleuthing work in a related article on the BBC News about the color on fossil beetles. Living fossil beetle:  An aquatic beetle “still alive today and widely distributed in Eurasia” had a fossil counterpart in sediments said to be 20 million years old, reported Science Daily.  What does it mean for evolutionary theory?  “The Siberian fossil provides new data for the long-lasting debate among scientists about the average duration of an insect species,” the article said.  Contrary to long thought estimates of species duration at 2-3 million years, this fossil shows exceptional stasis for ten times longer in the evolutionary timeline.  “The long-living species had to survive the massive changes of the Earth’s climate during the last millions of years — how they managed to do so is another question for scientists to address.” Almost every week, on continents around the world, remains of once-living creatures come to light.  Here are just a few of the fascinating fossils that have been reported this month.  What do they suggest about life in their day?last_img read more

New Orlando Stadium complete

first_imgThe surrounding communities have benefited from the upgrades too, with well-lit footways from Orlando and Mlamlankunzi stations improving safety and security for commuters and over 2 200 jobs were created with skills in carpentry, bricklaying, plastering and painting being transferred. Construction at Johannesburg’s Orlando Stadium, to be used as a training venue during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, has been completed. The R280-million revamp of the stadium, which began in May 2006, involved kitting out the multi-functional facility with hospitality facilities that can accommodate 120 suites, conference facilities, a gymnasium, fan shop, offices and security facilities. The seating capacity has been increased from 24 000 to over 40 000, and the stadium will be now able to cater to cater to both soccer and rugby matches, as well as community gatherings and music concerts. The new stadium gets its first taste of football action on Saturday, when home team Orlando Pirates play Thanda Royal Zulu in a Premier Soccer League match. This will be followed by Moroka Swallows versus Platinum Stars on Sunday, and locals Kaiser Chiefs against Golden Arrows on 26 November. Community benefits The Johannesburg municipality hopes that Orlando Stadium will in the future represent a change in Soweto’s skyline that will be seen as a reference point for all tourists and soccer lovers. Executive director of the city’s 2010 unit, Sibongile Mazibuko, told reporters that they had been working with the South African Police Service, the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department and the city’s disaster management unit to ensure that the weekends PSL games were safe, manageable and enjoyable to all.center_img “When the soccer spectacle has come and gone, there must be something of value that is there for all to see and point at,” Johannesburg council chairperson Nandi Mayathula-Khoza said this week. 20 November 2008 “We will not be filling the stadium to its capacity of 40 000, but will only be allowing about 30 000 spectators due to the fact that this will be the first test for the stadium,” said Mazibuko. Source: BuaNews Safety, security Responding to questions on the role and management of the stadium post-2010, Mayathula-Khoza explained that a public tender had been put out for a company to manage the stadium independently after the tournament.last_img read more

First Meerkat support structure completed

first_img6 February 2014The first dish support structure for the Meerkat radio telescope, manufactured by South African company Tricom Structures, is ready to be transported to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) site in Carnavon in the Northern Cape.The SKA project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, which is to be co-hosted by South Africa and Australia.The 64-dish MeerKAT radio telescope is due to come online in 2016 both as a precursor to the SKA and as one of the most powerful telescopes in the world in its own right.Addressing a media briefing in Pretoria on Wednesday, Tricom Structures CEO Sihle Shange said the massive steel structure was expected to be transported from Pretoria, where the company is based, to Carnavon before the end of the month.The structure weighs about 25 tons and will need two or more abnormal-load trucks to transport it, Shange said.He said Tricom would be assembling all 64 structures for the Meerkat telescope at a rate of two a month, adding that he was confident that the company would meet the 2016 deadline.“We have design capability and we are confident that everything will be smooth,” he said, adding that they would create more jobs should there be a need.Each structure will have to provide exceptionally stable support for a 13.5 x 16 metre main reflector dish standing at a height of 19 metres in the face of winds capable of gusting at up to 144 kilometres an hour.The MeerKAT is due to be commissioned in 2014/15, and to come online for science operations in 2016. It will be the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the southern hemisphere until the Square Kilometre Array itself is completed around 2024. Leading radio astronomy teams from around the globe having already signed up to use the and SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

I will try to retire as an India cricketer, says Kedar Jadhav

first_imgWhen Kedar Jadhav learnt about the big news of his India call, there wasn’t much time to celebrate. The moment he had been waiting for all his life had arrived as the selectors named him in a 15 man squad for the Bangladesh ODI’s, but he was busy attending to his father’s fearful road accident. “He was returning after watching me in an IPL game when his car suffered a bad accident. His spectacles had hit both the eyes hard and the right eye was badly damaged,” Kedar recalls in an interview with India Today.  Thankfully Jadhav Sr has since recovered and he can now afford to breathe easy. Kedar credits his father a lot in allowing him to take the punt in playing professional sport. His father’s sorted ways and retirement planning has allowed him to live a content life even as Kedar’s three sisters and he are all married. “I have to say I never had the pressure of what happens if I fail in cricket. He has taken care of all that,” he says.  Aged 29, if Kedar now gets his opportunity to play his first India game in Dhaka, he will be one of the older pros in a youthful and very different India side. Unlike his captain for the series Suresh Raina, Kedar wasn’t someone in national reckoning in age group tournaments or youth World Cups. He made his List A debut, aged 23. “I have always got most things a bit late but once I have got them, they have not gone away,” Kedar philosophises.  And than goes on to add, “On the cricket front I must admit I have wasted a few opportunities. Two years back I got a 300 plus in the first game of the new season but ended up scoring only 630 runs in the year. If I had carried on from there I should have played for India two years back,” he says.  Its Kedar’s free flowing style of batting that’s helped him score 1200 plus runs in the last Ranji season and earn the selectors nod. Inspired by the Virender Sehwag school of batting, he plans to continue carrying the same approach to international cricket. “There’s one thing about Viru pa’, he looks to hit a boundary or a six first and if it’s not possible, than looks for a single. That’s what I try to do in my batting as well,” he says.  “Of course I can’t bat like him. He is unique; I have to use my legs to connect the ball to the middle of the bat. But I try to think like him while batting,” he adds as a rejoinder. Kedar also comes across as someone ever willing to learn. “While I am motivated by Viru pa’s batting, I am a middle order player and one batsman whom I look to learn from in that position is MS Dhoni. There is a lesson in his calmness in the middle overs. I may have to bat there a lot and try to be a good finisher,” Kedar opines.  While he’s observed and learned from Sehwag and Dhoni, his hands-on mentor has been Maharashtra coach and former India selector Surendra Bhave. “One thing he always tells me that performance is not based on talent all the time, it’s about making most of the opportunity you get,” an advice he always keeps close by his side.  Kedar has left for Bangladesh with the rest of the Indian team and opportunities like these may not come too often. With the cream of Indian batting rested for a not so important series, it’s his chance to make it count. And while he may have got his India call at 29, Kedar suggests he will try to ensure he is here to stay. “Hopefully will try to retire an India cricketer,” he throws himself a challenge.advertisementlast_img read more