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first_imgDDTV: Gerry Collins, the former smoker who, along with his family, has led this year’s QUIT campaign has inspired thousands of Donegal people to stop smoking.Gerry sadly passed away in March and as part of his and his family’s final contribution to the QUIT campaign, we are publishing a new short film called Gerry’s Story – a short film about family, loss and gratitude. The film is a final summation of Gerry’s message for smokers and for everyone.It includes many of the moments and messages that we’ve seen in his three TV ads, but allows for a more detailed and deeper picture of himself, his circle of friends and family life, the thoughts of his loved ones, how it was for all of them to be part of the campaign, and their shared experience of his smoking, his illness and his final months.Please click play to watch – and please share it.  DDTV: A SHORT FILM ON THE LIFE AND DEATH OF SMOKER GERRY COLLINS was last modified: June 17th, 2014 by John2Share 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:final filmGerry CollinsQUIT campaignsmokervideolast_img read more

Earth Uniqueness Up; SETI Down

first_imgOur earth seems special – maybe because it is.  Some astronomers are seriously considering that life might be rare or unique on our rare (or unique) planet.  If so, hopes for finding sentient aliens on the celestial radio dial drop accordingly.  The 50th anniversary of the first SETI search came, unfortunately for search enthusiasts, at a time when funding is harder to get. New Scientist has been running a series called “Existence” for the purpose of examining big questions about the origin of the universe, life, and consciousness.  Most of the articles try to give atheist answers to arguments of intelligent design.  In “Why is the universe just right for us?” for instance, Marcus Chown tried to explain away fine-tuning arguments with responses that physical constants might be interconnected, or are not as finely tuned as they seem, or that the multiverse hypothesis provides a way out.  Even so, he could not explain away the incredibly “fortuitous” dark energy parameter. In “Where did we come from?” Stephen Hawking presented the standard big bang scenario with inflation, but admitted at the end that “many huge mysteries remain,” leaving the solution in the future.  In “Why is there a universe?” Amanda Gefter tried to explain how something can come from nothing via quantum fluctuations.  MacGregor Campbell posted a cartoony animation trying to convince puzzled readers that “nothing” and “something” might be one and the same – i.e., that our physical universe, including us, might really be nothing.  At the end, though, Gefter realized this is not a satisfactory answer: None of this really gets us off the hook, however. Our understanding of creation relies on the validity of the laws of physics, particularly quantum uncertainty. But that implies that the laws of physics were somehow encoded into the fabric of our universe before it existed. How can physical laws exist outside of space and time and without a cause of their own? Or, to put it another way, why is there something rather than nothing? Readers of these articles might well ask how nothing could know anything. Live Science put forth a new idea by David Spiegel [Princeton U] and Edwin Turner [U of Tokyo] that allows for sentient life being so rare that we might be alone in the universe.  Using Bayesian analysis, they showed mathematically that there is no way to prefer the belief life is common over the belief life is rare, even using the famous Drake equation.  When you have only one data point, “Our own existence implies very little about how many other times life has arisen.”  Accordingly, it is just as scientifically reasonable to believe life is unique in the universe as to argue it must be common. In a Nature News article, M. Mitchell Waldrop announced royally, “SETI Is dead – Long live SETI.”  By that he meant that “The closure of the Allen Telescope Array shifts the search for extraterrestrial intelligence away from big science.”  California’s budget crisis has shut down hopes at the Hat Creek site to scan the skies for intelligent signals.  With that comes the graying of the true believers: The melancholy vista at Hat Creek makes it easy to entertain equally melancholy thoughts about the SETI enterprise itself. It’s the ultimate in high-risk, high-payoff science, pursued by only a handful of passionate researchers. In 50 years of searching, they have turned up nothing — and they can’t quite shake an association in the public mind with flying-saucer sightings and Hollywood science fiction, all of which is so easy for cost-cutting politicians to ridicule that any substantial federal funding for SETI is impossible. Private support for the search is getting tighter because of the global recession. And many of the pioneers who have championed the search are now well into their 60s, 70s or 80s. SETI Institute research head Jill Tarter remains optimistic, however, because smaller, cheaper searches are still continuing, and all searches over the past half century have only represented a tiny sample of space.  Bottom line, though, is that nothing has been found, and even the most optimistic proponents cannot provide any reasonable estimate of the chances of success, despite the self-reinforcing opinions of those whose reputations depend on high hopes (Space.com). It really is kind of sad to see weeds grow around the Allen Telescope Array, built, like one of the designers said, “in a time of irrational exuberance, [that] ended in the great recession.”  For one thing, it is sad to see any money wasted.  For another, it kept the SETI people busy on a project unlikely to succeed instead of employed in possibly more damaging work (like Darwin Party Enforcers).  And lastly, the SETI hype gave us a lot of material for Stupid Evolution Quotes of the Week.  SETI is dead; SET your I on ID.(Visited 46 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Sudafrikas chemische Industrie

first_imgDie Chemieindustrie Sudafrikas, die alles von der Kraftstoff- und Plastikherstellung bis zum Pharmabereich umfasst, ist die großte ihrer Art in ganz Afrika und wird vom Staat als Hauptantriebsmotor des Wirtschaftswachstums gesehen.Sie dominiert die Produktion in Sudafrika und tragt mehr zur Wirtschaft bei als jeder andere Industriezweig. Über die Halfte aller Arbeitsplatze in der Produktion entfallt auf die Chemieindustrie.Obwohl die Industrie nach wie vor von lokalen Unternehmen dominiert wird, sind einige internationale Konzerne mit lokalen Vertriebsniederlassungen vertreten und engagieren sich vielfach in der lokalen Produktion.BereicheDie Industrie wird vom Grundchemikalien-Bereich dominiert, dessen Flussigkraftstoffe, Olefine, organische Losungsmitte und industriellen Mineralderivate insgesamt 31% der Chemieproduktion des Landes ausmachen.Die anderen 10 Unerbereiche sind Plastikprodukte (ca. 20% der Produktion), Pharma (8%), anorganische Chemikalien (8%), Primarpolymare und Gummi(7%), organische Chemikalien (6%), Gummiprodukte (5%), Schuttgut- (5%) und Verbraucherchemikalien (5%), und Funktions- und Spezialchemikalien (5%).Obwohl drei dieser Bereiche – Kraftstoffe, Schuttgutchemikalien und Pharma – in Relation zur Gesamtwirtschaft uberdurchschnittliche Ergebnisse erzielen, ist Sudafrikas Chemieindustrie weltweit betrachtet relativ klein.Von den 80.000 Grund- bzw. Reinchemikalien, die derzeit weltweit gewerbsmaßig produziert werden, stellt Sudafrika ca. 300 her, zumeist geringwertige Rohstoffe in Massenproduktion.Staatliche StrategieDie sudafrikanischen Chemieexporte verzeichneten seit 1999 ein jahrliches Wachstum von ca. 19%. Begunstigende Faktoren waren neue Handelsabkommen und eine erhohte Wettbewerbsfahigkeit durch geringe Produktionskosten bei reichlich vorhandenen mineralischen und organischen Rohstoffen. Die Energiekosten sind relativ gering in Sudafrika und der Sektor profitiert von einer wirtschaftlichen, kostengunstigen Wasser- und Dampfversorgung.Allerdings wird nach wie vor mehr importiert als exportiert. Der Staat zielt darauf ab, dieses Missverhaltnis auszugleichen mit einer kurzlich eingefuhrten Industriepolitik zur Forderung von Exporten, die einen Mehrwert darstellen.Die lokale Industrie ist einseitig auf einen international wettbewerbsfahigen Upstream-Sektor ausgerichtet und vernachlassigt dabei einen nachgelagerten Sektor, der ein hohes Entwicklungspotential in sich birgt.Eine Umkehrung dieser Ausrichtung wurde der Industrie helfen, die Veredelungsexporte zu steigern und somit Arbeitsplatze zu schaffen. Die nachgelagerte Produktion ist arbeitsintensiver und zieht eine Vielzahl von kleineren Firmen an.Veredelung ist der Schlusselfaktor in dieser Strategie. Sudafrika hat einen naturlichen Vorteil in form von mineralischen Rohstoffen, die jedoch zumeist in Rohform exportiert werden. Es gibt jedoch – unter Ausnutzung der lokalen Arbeitskraft – betrachtliche Moglichkeiten zur Umwandlung dieser Materialien zu anorganischen Chemikalien, die als Exportgut einen Mehrwert darstellen.Staat und Industrie arbeiten daruber hinaus zusammen an der Ausbeutung der bislang ungenutzten Bodenschatzen, zu denen u. a. große Fluorvorkommen gehoren.PlastikSudafrikas Plastikindustrie ist gut in Form. Eine kurzlich veroffentlichte Übersicht in Engineering News listet eine Vielzahl von Herstellern von Produkten, die “im weltweiten Wettbewerb sowohl von der Qualitat als auch von der Performance her standhalten”.Der lokale Markt wird zu uber 50% von Verpackungsmaterialien dominiert. Die Industrie wurde vor einigen Jahren mit der Einfuhrung einer Abgabe auf Plastiktuten aus Umweltschutzgrunden hart getroffen.Aber man ist zuversichtlich, da auch die Regierung die Plastikherstellung mit als Hauptarbeitsplatzmotor sieht.Die Polymerproduktion ist ein potentieller Expansionsbereich. Sudafrika exportiert “erhebliche Mengen an Polymeren”, so die Plastics Federation of SA, importiert jedoch immer noch großere Mengen an polymerischen Halbprodukten wie zum Beispiel Styropor, was hier nicht hergestellt wird.Die meisten Plastikunternehmen in Sudafrika sind klein. Über 800 Unternehmen betatigen sich in der Plastikumwandlung. Manche sind dabei hochinnovativ, wie zum Beispiel Timber Plastics, ein Unternehmen, das Plastikabfall wie zum Beispiel Getrankeflaschen recycelt und sie zu Elementen wie z. B. Pfahlen, Brettern und Balken presst.GasverflussigungstechnikSudafrika ist weltweiter Marktfuhrer in kohlebasierter Synthese- und Gasverflussigungstechnik. Das Land gehort weltweit betrachtet zu den Billigherstellern von Äthylen und Propylen, dank des ungehinderten Zugangs zu geringhaltiger Kohle und dank hochwertiger Verfahrenstechnik.PharmaindustrieEs gibt große Moglichkeiten fur Pharmahersteller in Sudafrika. Die Regierung plant ein Entwicklungsprogramm fur die inlandische Pharmaindustrie durch gezielte Forderung der lokalen Produktion von anspruchsvollen Erzeugnissen wie zum Beispiel antiretrovirale Arzneimittel zur Bekampfung des HIV-/AIDS-Virus.Die Regierung mochte ebenfalls die Forschung und die technologische Infrastruktur fordern, um das Wachstum des Sektors zu stimulieren.UmweltschutzUmweltschutz ist ein Schlusselfaktor in der Entwicklung der Chemiebranche. Sudafrika hat die Umweltstandards der Industrielander ubernommen, darunter auch Initiativen zur Forderung eines kooperativen Umweltmanagements und Richtlinien fur die Entsorgung von Sondermull.Letzte Aktualisierung: September 2008SAinfo reporter. Quellen (Englische Websites):Department of Trade and IndustryStatistics South AfricaChemical and Allied Industries’ AssociationSouth African Chemical InstituteCHEMISSAPlastics Federation of South AfricaEngineering NewsBusiness Daylast_img read more

Nestlé nurtures future footballers

first_imgNestlé’s Milo brand is getting behind football in South Africa by supporting its development in schools. (Image: Nestlé Milo) MEDIA CONTACTS • Ravi PillayNestlé public affairs manager+27 11 889 6799 or + 27 82 908 2580RELATED ARTICLES • SA’s children get football fever • Peace football tournament for SA • Football for Hope to unite SA • Fly the Flag for Football toolkitJanine ErasmusThe 2009 Nestlé Milo Champions tournament brought almost 6 000 schools from around South Africa together in Soweto to compete for the trophy, as well as R100 000 (US$13 300) for the winning school to invest in a health, wellness or nutrition initiative.With the 2010 Fifa World Cup now scant months away, football fever in all forms is gripping the nation as never before. Last year’s Milo Champions competition, run in collaboration with the South African Schools Football Association (Sasfa) and the Supersport television channel, was the second edition.About 94 500 would-be football stars participated in the 2009 tournament, with around 75 000 children from some 4 800 schools taking part in the 2008 event.Dorothy Langa Primary School in Limpopo province was the ultimate winner, snatching the title from Mpumalanga’s Mapula Sindane School in an exciting final that came down to a penalty shoot-out. Dorothy Langa, with two goals to Mapula’s one, emerged triumphant.“It is great to see that school competitions like this are not dominated by one school,” said Dorothy Langa head coach Mpho Mathopa. “Our achievement has reflected the true spirit of competition and shown that there is a balance of football talent in the country.”Developing future talentThe competition was open to all South African primary schools, and took place over four months. District and regional winners went through to the provincial play-offs, and the nine provincial winners progressed to the national finals at Hyundai Park in Soweto.“We want to see growth in school soccer in our country,” said Sasfa president Mandla “Shoes” Mazibuko. “Next year we will make sure that more schools take part in this wonderful tournament.”Global food giant Nestlé has invested generously in the Milo Champions tournament. In addition to the grand prize, each provincial winner walked off with R10 000 ($1 320), while the runner-up took home R75 000 and the third-placed team won R50 000 ($6 600).The programme is intended primarily to foster young football talent in South Africa while promoting an enthusiasm for the beautiful game and an awareness of the importance of healthy living. As well as valuable football coaching from top players, all participants received comprehensive nutritional education.Nestlé South Africa MD Yves Manghardt said, “We at Nestlé hope that each child who has played in this tournament comes out a winner, having learnt about teamwork, determination and most importantly why sports and a healthy lifestyle are qualities that will stand them strong through life.”Nurturing football skillsDorothy Langa chose to use the money for a new football field, which was officially opened towards the end of 2009. The 68m x 50m field, complete with borehole to ensure that the pitch is always green, was a welcome addition to the school’s infrastructure.To celebrate the occasion former Bafana Bafana defender Mark Fish gave a coaching clinic at the school. Fish is Nestlé’s Milo brand ambassador for good health, and also took time to visit each of the nine finalists beforehand to help with their preparations for the big day.At the same time Nestlé launched the South African branch of its Healthy Kids programme. This is a global initiative that aims to fight the growing problem of malnutrition and obesity in children between the ages of four and 16. By encouraging good nutrition and exercise, Healthy Kids aims to raise a healthier, more active generation.The programme was introduced to the world in April 2009 by Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke.Regional competitionIn anticipation of the first World Cup to take place on African soil, the Milo brand is deepening its association with football in South Africa by extending the Champions tournament to the entire African continent.The inaugural African Milo Champions tournament was launched in September 2009 and features top under-13 teams from Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. Regional stages are already underway, and the final will take place in South Africa in May 2010, just before the month-long Fifa World Cup kicks off in June.last_img read more

What It’s Like To Write For Demand Media: Low Pay But Lots of Freedom

first_imgRelated Posts Tags:#New Media#user-generated content#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market guest author 1 Editor: This is a guest post by Andria Krewson, a freelance journalist who has written for Demand Media. Given our recent focus on Demand Media and so-called content farms, we thought it would be interesting to get the perspective of a Demand Media writer.I made $37.50 at Demand Studios in November. That money went directly into my Paypal account, on time, with no billing hassles. But it probably took me about six hours of filling out a profile, studying a style guide and learning how to navigate the system. So my hourly pay was about $6, for a writer new to the system.Andria Krewson is a freelance journalist and consultant in Charlotte, N.C. She has worked at newspapers for 27 years, focusing on design and editing of community publications. She blogs for her neighborhood at Under Oak and covers changing culture at Crossroads Charlotte. Reach her on Twitter as @underoak.I had heard about Demand Studios from former co-workers before Wired wrote about Demand Media (Demand Studio’s parent company) in October, and media pundits like Jay Rosen followed up with comments on Twitter and an interview with the company’s CEO at ReadWriteWeb. [Ed: ReadWriteWeb’s first analysis of Demand Media was in August.] Demand Media has been criticized for producing low-quality content designed for search engine optimization. It’s not journalism, critics say, and it’s clogging up Google searches, making good stuff hard to find.But I suspect much of that criticism has come from people who haven’t gone inside the Demand Studios part of Demand Media to see how it really works, or they haven’t thought enough about what kind of content it provides, or they haven’t thought enough about how it feels to swallow your pride and make a little money with your strongest knowledge and skills, no matter the global hourly rate.There are differences between the user-generated content at sites Demand Media feeds, and the content generated by Demand Studios.So let’s get to it.How it worksPeople sign up as writers, editors or filmmakers. I signed up as a writer. Contributors study the style guide, which gives specifics on allowed citations, and why citations are needed, and how to write for search-engine optimization without sounding too clunky. New writers can also consult forums and connect with other contributors with social-networking tools. Writers can then use keywords, pay rates and general content areas to search through available assignments. Generally, enough assignments exist that writers can find subjects of personal interest.Fact sheets get $7.50 an assignment. I fulfilled one of those before I realized that rate of pay wasn’t worth the effort. The next two assignments, for $15 each, both dealt with the same topic, with slightly different angles, and I chose them because I knew the subject well. Still, I had to do some research, to back up my statements and provide links to .edu or .gov sites. No Wikipedia allowed.Once accepting assignments, I had a week to submit them to editors. While I could have written each piece without any research, citations and outbound links are required, as well as a summary (a nut graf, essentially, in newspaper terms). Frankly, the discipline of filling out boxes with words could help some professional writers improve the focus of their pieces. Certainly new writers can learn from the system. And the SEO tips in the style guide are worth study.One piece I wrote was bounced back for further editing. The editor’s comments were gentle but clear. I made fixes, resubmitted, and got paid, through Paypal, no invoices necessary.What’s the content?The stories are usually how-to pieces, often broken into steps. They’re evergreen, designed to be as relevant in a year or two as they are now. They’re the kinds of questions I would usually get answered through a phone call to my contractor father, or my brother the car genius, or my mother the seamstress/cook/homemaker/gardener/early computer geek.You can tell by the assignment headlines that they’re generated from search engine queries, and sometimes those search terms provide some amusement. People are actually turning to Google to ask these questions? What happened to asking basic questions from friends and family?But indeed, we’re in a different world, and the criticism of Demand Media by some pundits strikes me as a bit elitist, as if the Internet weren’t for everyone. A personal example:(Daughter, 19, volunteers to help me with my eye shadow for a special event.)Me: Where’d you learn this technique?Her: Youtube.(And indeed, eHow videos, supplied by Demand Media, show how to apply eye shadow.)Swallowing my prideMy friends who first told me about Demand Studios are wordsmiths, copy editors of the highest skill levels, who worked for Demand Studios for $3.50 a story.Yes, $3.50 a story. But one friend, once he had the hang of the system, managed to work fast enough to raise his rate to about $20 an hour, from his couch, on his schedule, while waiting to get a full-time job elsewhere.Another friend also edited for Demand Studios, as a supplement to a part-time job before eventually getting full-time work, after about a year of underemployment.Demand Media doesn’t need help with public relations from me. They’re compiling comments in an internal forum from their writers about why they love Demand Studios. And plenty of people have commented. They appear to be overwhelmingly women, often with children, often English majors or journalism students, looking for a way to do what they love and make a little money at it.Compare those demographics to Wikipedia: more than 80% male, more than 65% single, more than 85% without children, around 70% under the age of 30.Admittedly, working for Demand Studios isn’t a point of pride for most professional journalists. But the interface and the editing allow people with other expertise to share knowledge. I recommended the site to my father the contractor. It could be a good way for a retiree with a lifetime of knowledge to document life lessons for others.People with disabilities, or people who have to fit their work around children’s schedules, or people between jobs have a place to earn some money, from their living rooms. It’s not the only “writer mill” out there, but it has been under fire lately, and a look inside might add a little light.Jay Rosen’s interview with the CEO of Demand Media, Richard Rosenblatt, done via IM, included this quote from Rosenblatt:“What’s more like a sweatshop: someone’s living room working their own hours or a typical newsroom?”Certainly some people in newsrooms are feeling pressure these days, but perhaps that quote isn’t quite fair. For a newsroom copy editor to earn $28 an hour (not factoring in benefits), at the Demand Studios rate of $3.50 a story, they would have to “edit” 64 stories in an eight-hour shift. I don’t know of newsrooms that are quite at that point yet, but then again, we’re in a global economy, with global pay rates.Some wordsmiths will choose to work from their couches. Take a good, broad look at what they produce before criticizing.Check out ReadWriteWeb’s entire coverage of Demand Media and content farms:Content Farms: Why Media, Blogs & Google Should Be WorriedHow Google Can Combat Content FarmsJay Rosen Interviews Demand Media: Are Content Farms “Demonic”?Demand Media Is a Page View Generating Machine – And it’s WorkingAnswers.com: 31 Million Copied and Pasted Web Pages Can’t Go WrongThe Age of Mega Content Sites – Answers.com and Demand MediaHow Demand Media Produces 4,000 Pieces of Content a DayAd-Driven Content – Is it Crossing The Line?last_img read more