World Championships FactJamaica’s Bertland Cameron won the men’s 400 metres at the first IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, Finland in 1983. Cameron, the hot favourite for gold, crossed the line in 45.05 seconds.
(Visited 31 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 A tiny bird could live like other birds do without having to fly non-stop for 1,700 miles. Other examples abound of over-design in the animal world.Bird marathon: As shown for the Arctic tern in Flight: The Genius of Birds, new miniature geolocators are opening windows on animal migrations. Ornithologists were stunned to find that the blackpoll warbler, a literal “bird in the hand” as to size, could fly non-stop for over 1,700 miles in just 2-3 days. How can it store enough fat reserves for such a marathon flight? Given its small size, its feat is astonishing. Science Magazine and Science Daily took note of this finding. Live Science reports,“If you account for body scale and size, the blackpoll warbler is the hands-down winner,” Rimmer said. “I’m used to being amazed by birds because they do a lot of cool, extraordinary things, but it’s hard to top this one.”Scientists have long suspected that the blackpoll warbler is an amazing nonstop flier, crossing the Atlantic from the Northeast to northern South America in just two to three days. (Occasionally, exhausted birds would land en masse on ships hundreds of miles from the Atlantic Coast during stormy weather.) Now, they finally have proof.Bat non-demolition derby: How do swarms of bats keep from crashing into each other? That’s what National Geographic asked. Answer: “The mammals obey ‘traffic rules,’ using their built-in sonar to track each others’ positions in the air,” according to research by the University of Southern Denmark (see 3/24/15 and 3/28/15).Seahorse tails: Mention “prehensile tail” and you probably think of a gibbon or monkey. Seahorses have them, too, says Science Daily, and their secrets are being uncovered by the Fellowship of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). The tails possess the “seemingly contradictory characteristics of flexibility and rigidity,” the scientists found, eager to learn about that for their own designs.Ants in space: Take an ant farm to the International Space Station (ISS); what happens? A kid could only dream of a science project that good. The BBC News reports that the ants learned quickly to “grapple well in zero-G,” an environment they never face on the earth and could not have evolved to prepare for.Ants carried to the International Space Station were still able to use teamwork to search new areas, despite falling off the walls of their containers for up to eight seconds at a time.Their “collective search” was hampered but still took place, biologists said.The insects also showed an impressive knack for regaining their footing after taking a zero-g tumble.Living in poison fumes: Despite the toxic gases and suffocating fumes around some volcanoes, Czech researchers found numerous organisms living in and around that environment. In areas that would kill a human, micro-organisms were thriving in an area previously thought too hostile for life. (PhysOrg)Pupfish holdouts: A few thousand years ago, Death Valley was a lake 100 feet deep (Lake Manly), filled with fish. Now it’s the hottest place on earth, and water is very scarce. As their watery habitats dry up, desert pupfish are on the edge of extinction. Stacy Brooks says on PhysOrg that they can go without breathing in their highly-saline environment for up to 5 hours.The tortoise flip: It seems mean to put a turtle on its back, but researchers at the University of Belgrade wanted to learn about the biomechanics of turning right side up. Nature sums up the findings: “They found that larger animals of both sexes spent more time righting themselves than smaller ones. Males that had larger plates along the rear edge of their shell — useful for adding stability during mating — also took longer to flip themselves back over.” The amazing thing is they could do it at all.Another gecko trick: We all love how they can walk on glass and ceilings. Geckos can also turn water droplets into popcorn (see ENV). Another trick is reported by Bob Yirka on PhysOrg: repelling dirt and bacteria with their skin (this is a follow-up to the “water popcorn” discovery). Researchers poured red wine, cola, soy sauce and other liquids on gecko skin and it ran right off. Then another discovery was made:Even more impressive, the team found that when they deposited a bit of the type of bacteria that causes bad breath in people, onto the gecko skin, the skin somehow killed it after just one day, it—the researchers do not know how, but suspect it had something to do with the size and/or shape of the bacteria coming into contact with the spikes on the skin. Interestingly, human stem cells placed on the gecko were not killed, and in fact grew.Someone sees antibacterial surfaces for hospital gear coming with this trick.The design inference is in the details. Actually, it is visible at all scales, from molecule to biosphere. Do such capabilities arise from genetic accidents, when many of these abilities vastly exceed the needs of mere survival? This is over-design, and we should be over-joyed to witness it. read more
The annual World Economic Forum is an opportunity for dialogue, debate and problem solving on a global level between political leaders, business experts, and civil society. Held in Davos, Switzerland, this year’s theme is “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. When Nelson Mandela attended Davos in 1999, he spoke of fostering acceptance and democracy. (Image: WEF, Facebook)Compiled by Priya PitamberThe Swiss village of Davos is once again hosting the annual World Economic Forum (WEF). From 20 to 23 January, it is a platform for global political leaders, business and industry experts, academia and civil society to come together to discuss the world’s economy.Numerous things have been said about Africa and the state of the continent by its leaders and others. We look back on some of the more compelling statements from previous WEFs.Images sourced from: WEF, Facebook read more
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest It was a church potluck like any other. But within days, botulism killed one Fairfield County woman and hospitalized 24 others. It was from potato salad, made with improperly home-canned potatoes.Foodborne botulism is rare, but the April 2015 incident was a somber reminder of the importance of strictly following home food preservation guidelines, said Shannon Carter, family and consumer sciences educator in Fairfield County for Ohio State University Extension.Last year, Carter offered two home-food preservation classes to county residents. This year, she offered 10. And those were just a few of the classes offered by OSU Extension across the state. Listings are available at fcs.osu.edu/food-safety/home-food-preservation, along with links to how-to videos and other resources.“Foodborne botulism can be caused by using the wrong canning method,” Carter said. A pressure canner, rather than a simple boiling water bath, is necessary to kill botulism spores in low-acid canned foods such as meat, potatoes and other vegetables. But people still water-bath their green beans and other foods, and if they’ve done it that way successfully for years, why would they change?”Even if canning jars are properly sealed, botulism spores can grow. In fact, such spores can grow only in a sealed environment without oxygen, Carter said, along with high-moisture and low-acid conditions.“Water boils at 212 degrees,” she said. “If you have a boiling water canner, you can boil something for three, five, even 25 hours, and it will still only get to 212 degrees.“To kill Clostridium botulinum spores in low-acid foods, you need to get the temperature up to 250 degrees, and the only way to do that is to use a pressure canner.”Official home food preservation guidelines, available online at the National Center for Home Food Preservation at nchfp.uga.edu, are periodically updated, Carter said. So if you are following old guidelines, you aren’t getting the most accurate information.For example, tomatoes used to be considered a high-acid food, but today’s varieties are often right on the line between high-acid and low-acid, so citric acid or vinegar must be added to them before being canned.Also, standard household vinegar is now often a lower strength than it used to be, Carter said, so following old recipes, possibly passed down for generations, that call for vinegar to acidify a food for water bath canning may not provide the margin of safety necessary.Many people, Carter said who have canned for years — even decades — are unaware of new recommendations. And, surprisingly, she added, canning methods portrayed on televised food shows, websites and even in some cookbooks are often improper.“People don’t know what they don’t know,” Carter said. “So we’ve been trying to get information out to people. It’s important.”Deb Kilbarger, registered sanitarian and food program supervisor for the Fairfield Department of Health, said the April incident was the first time she and her colleagues, some of whom had worked in public health for decades, had seen a case of foodborne botulism, “let alone an outbreak.”The crisis made a lot of people sit up and take notice, said Kelly Spindler, registered sanitarian and director of environmental health for the department.“It helped people understand how serious food safety is, what can go wrong if food is not properly prepared or held at the proper temperatures, and, in canning, how important it is to follow certain procedures,” Spindler said.Aubry Shaw, of Grove City, attended two of Carter’s sessions this summer. She still misses her mother-in-law, Kim Shaw — the woman who died in the botulism outbreak.“She was always smiling,” Shaw said. “She was a wonderful mother. She was a great provider for the family. She would go out of her way to do anything for anybody. She was amazing.”The personal experience of losing someone to foodborne botulism drew Shaw — and her grandmother — to participate in Carter’s canning classes.“Even if you’ve had some experience in canning, there’s always something you can learn,” Shaw said. “That’s why it’s important to come to classes like this. I think food safety programs like this from the Extension office are incredible.”In fact, Kilbarger said, she knows of no other organization that offers home food preservation classes like Extension’s.“Anyone who cans should take the class,” Kilbarger said. “Even if you’ve been doing it forever, there might be a safer way. Hopefully, these classes will prevent anything like this from happening again.”Shaw provided an additional word of guidance: “If you home can, just be safe about it. If you have canned something and it doesn’t seem quite right, just throw it out. It’s not worth taking a chance.” read more
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest CornCorn showed signs of life with hot and dry weather forecasted throughout the Midwest the next two weeks. Realistically prolonged dry weather is necessary for a significant rally since subsoil moisture has been plentiful. Trend line yields are definitely still possible. Two good rains (one after Father’s Day and another after the 4th) is really all it takes to have a great crop.The downhill slide of beansBeans have dropped nearly $1.50 off their high earlier this year. Many traders expected beans to rally like last year, but this didn’t happen for at least two reasons.Significant palm oil reductions due to El Niño last year forced China to grind more soybeans earlier this year. This caused an overabundance of soymeal sitting in storage right now. With palm oil production back to normal levels there is less demand for soy oil and with plenty of soymeal in storage there is no increased push for soybeans.This year the South American harvest was large, unlike last year’s that was plagued with production issues. There is significant competition for bean buyers this year.Combine this with all the beans still in storage, and the possibility of a rally has declined over the last few months. I suspected this might happen and sold most of my 2017 beans when prices were at profitable levels earlier this year. While weather is still a wildcard, I’m glad I did.Earlier this year I sat in a meeting hosted by a large grain company. Farmers were “scratching their heads” over the high futures prices, because considering market conditions, beans seemed overpriced. When asked if anyone was selling, most said they would sell some, but most were going to hold out for $12+, like the year before. Unfortunately this year, $12 didn’t happen.In my opinion, sometimes it just pays to sell when prices are profitable and the market doesn’t make any sense. My current bean positionI often describe the rationale and detail behind individual trades I make throughout the year. Since normally these trades only represent about 5% to 10% of my actual production for a given year, it’s difficult to understand my overall position. Farmers should always roll up all of their trades to determine overall positions. So, in an effort of full transparency, I’m sharing my current positions. POSITION – BEANS20162017Beans Sold100%100%CBOT Price$9.30$9.75Market Carry$.30 est$.30 estBasis on Farm($.40) est($.30) estCash Price$9.20 est$9.75 est Notes: my ‘16 bean position is completely tied up in a futures position. I have no options in place or basis set for the ’16 beans. My 2017 price is a combination of futures and options with the worst case scenario shown (best case scenario is near $10.10). The 2017 market carry and basis estimates are what I’m expecting to receive right now.Is your breakeven point too low?Recently I heard an analyst tell farmers to determine their breakeven points and when the market gets to that price, farmers should sell some corn. In my opinion, this isn’t necessarily good advice. What if 3 different farmers have breakeven points at $3.75, $4.10, $4.50 (on futures)? Considering prices in the last year, only two of these farmers would have priced corn and the farmer with a $4.50 breakeven wouldn’t have priced any of their corn for the last two years.What is the average breakeven for farmers?The Universities of Iowa and Illinois published that a “typical” farmer’s breakeven is about $4.20. Their values for seed, chemicals, fertilizer, etc. were close to what I see farmers spending throughout the Midwest.They also used custom rates for equipment costs, which I also recommend. However, this is where I see many farmers cheat. Often farmers use their equipment loans applied to their acres, which can be misleading. Applying more acres to equipment adds more hours on the machine. When it’s time to trade, a combine with 600 hours is worth more than one with 900 hours, so those additional hours need to factor into the equipment costs. That’s why using custom rates for equipment costs is the more accurate estimate.Most banks also suggest farmers include cost of living expenses in their breakeven and I agree. Farmers don’t have to farm. They could work elsewhere, even if it’s part-time, so this cost needs to be considered.Finally, the value of the land must be included in the breakeven. This is where farmers short themselves the most. Farmers who purchased land before 2007 have seen a significant increase in value. While loan payments haven’t increased, taxes most likely have but that increase is small in the large picture. So, I think the most accurate estimate for land value is to use the going rate for land rent in the area. For instance, if a farmer’s loan + tax payment is $150 per acre, but a nearby farmer is willing to pay $250/acre to rent the land, then the $250/acre should be used when determining the breakeven number (not $150). Even though you may not want to, you could rent your ground to a neighbor and remove the added risk of being a farmer. Most farmers don’t think this way, but they should. As the saying goes, the goal is to work smarter, not harder.Adding all of these inputs together, the average farmer usually has a breakeven of $4 to $4.20 on a futures level.What about basis?This is a factor, but for simplicity of this article I’m only talking in futures prices. While basis does vary across the Midwest (i.e. Ohio is usually +.10-.20, Iowa and Illinois is usually zero, Nebraska may be -.40 and South Dakota may be -.70). Ultimately the average basis in all locations usually works the futures levels back to the same price for all farmers across the country.Landowners: Getting all you deserveFarmers who had the good fortune of buying land at the right time shouldn’t let this keep them from getting the best prices. These farmers may have lower break evens, so I often see them start selling too early. Then when prices take off, they may not have enough bushels to take advantage of better prices. For instance last year, some of these farmers started selling at $4, only to stop between $4.20 to $4.50 because they didn’t think they would produce enough. In other words, they weren’t aggressive enough, and then became too aggressive, only to miss opportunity all around.What if I paid too much for land in 2012?When purchasing land it should be thought of as a 30-year investment. The excitement of increased land values in 2012 motivated some buyers to make purchases that may not be seen as the best purchase today. In some cases, these farmers have a loan payments higher than rent values (example: a loan + tax payment of $350 per acre on land that can only be rented for $250). In this case, I recommend that farmers still use the $250 per acre in their breakeven, not the price you need, but the price you can get. If you don’t, you might have a breakeven that is never attainable, like the farmer who needs $4.50 but hasn’t been able to get it for two years. Farmers in these situations need to shift their marketing goal to lose the least amount of money. Hopefully yields will increase over time or grain prices have a strong rally. Realistically though, this could take 10 to 20 years. On the bright side, it’s already been five years, so things could turn around very quickly or maybe in another few years. Hopefully these farmers have enough equity to ride through these problems in the meantime.Bottom line: farmers need to figure the true going rate for farming their land when figuring their breakeven prices and developing their marketing strategy. Otherwise, their marketing goals could potentially mean leaving money on the table or not making a big enough profit for all the work and risk to be worth it.Jon grew up raising corn and soybeans on a farm near Beatrice, NE. Upon graduation from The University of Nebraska in Lincoln, he became a grain merchandiser and has been trading corn, soybeans and other grains for the last 18 years, building relationships with end-users in the process. After successfully marketing his father’s grain and getting his MBA, 10 years ago he started helping farmer clients market their grain based upon his principals of farmer education, reducing risk, understanding storage potential and using basis strategy to maximize individual farm operation profits. A big believer in farmer education of futures trading, Jon writes a weekly commentary to farmers interested in learning more and growing their farm operations.Trading of futures, options, swaps and other derivatives is risky and is not suitable for all persons. All of these investment products are leveraged, and you can lose more than your initial deposit. Each investment product is offered only to and from jurisdictions where solicitation and sale are lawful, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations in such jurisdiction. The information provided here should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research before making your investment decisions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC is merely providing this information for your general information and the information does not take into account any particular individual’s investment objectives, financial situation, or needs. All investors should obtain advice based on their unique situation before making any investment decision. The contents of this communication and any attachments are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances should they be construed as an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation to buy or sell any future, option, swap or other derivative. The sources for the information and any opinions in this communication are believed to be reliable, but Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of such information or opinions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC and its principals and employees may take positions different from any positions described in this communication. Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. read more
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