The Royal Navy’s auxiliary ship RFA Lyme Bay has returned home after patrolling the Atlantic, visiting 16 nations, helping with two disaster relief operations, and making a $53million cocaine bust.RFA Lyme Bay sailed into Falmouth, England at the weekend having completed a six-month patrol of the North Atlantic and Caribbean islands.The landing ships core company were joined by Royal Navy and Royal Marines, along with Army Commandos and a 20 man Royal Navy Lynx helicopter flight.Over the course of her deployment Lyme Bay visited 11 Caribbean islands representing the UK Government. The ship also provided support to the islands of Dominica and the Bahamas after they were struck by tropical storms.The Royal Navy Lynx helicopter was also put to good use assisting local police forces in finding illegal marijuana plantations, charcoal production sites, illegal fishing activities, and criminal hideouts.The ship also worked closely with the US Coastguard to seek out and stop vessels suspected of smuggling drugs.A US Coastguard spokesman said of the effort: “Lyme Bay’s patrols prevented 2,500kg of cocaine from reaching our shores and nearly $53 million dollars of illicit revenue which will never be used to fund instability, violence or corruption.”[mappress mapid=”17545″] Authorities December 22, 2015 Back to overview,Home naval-today RFA Lyme Bay concludes Atlantic patrol Share this article View post tag: Royal Navy View post tag: RFA Lyme Bay RFA Lyme Bay concludes Atlantic patrol
Human societies developed food preferences based on a blend of what was available and what the group decided it liked most. Those predilections were then passed along as part of the set of socially learned behaviors, values, knowledge, and customs that make up culture. Besides humans, many other social animals are believed to exhibit forms of culture in various ways, too.In fact, according to a new study led by Harvard primatologists Liran Samuni and Martin Surbeck, bonobos, one of our closest living relatives, could be the latest addition to the list.The research, published today in eLife, is the result of a five-year examination of the hunting and feeding habits of two neighboring groups of bonobos at the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They looked at whether ecological and social factors influence those habits. Four of those years were spent tracking the neighboring groups of great apes using GPS and some old-fashioned leg work to record each time they hunted.Analyzing the data, the scientists saw many similarities in the lives of the two bonobo groups, given the names the Ekalakala and the Kokoalongo. Both roam the same territory, roughly 22 square miles of forest. Both wake up and fall asleep in the bird-like nests they build after traveling all day. And, most importantly, both have the access and opportunity to hunt the same kind of prey. This, however, is precisely where researchers noticed a striking difference.The groups consistently preferred to hunt and feast on two different types of prey. The Ekalakala group almost always went after a type of squirrel-like rodent called an anomalure that is capable of gliding through the air from tree to tree. The Kokoalongo group, on the other hand, favored a small to medium-sized antelope called a duiker that lives on the forest floor. “The idea is that if our closest living relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos, both have some cultural traits, then [it’s likely] our ancestors already had some capacity for culture.” — Liran Samuni His research suggests female bonobos are often group leaders; gender cooperation may be the key Deadly violence a natural tendency in chimps, study finds Human knee evolved in lockstep with osteoarthritis, study says Out of 59 hunts between August 2016 and January 2020, the Ekalakala captured and ate 31 anomalure, going after duikers only once. Kokoalongo ate 11 duikers in that time and only three gliding rodents.“It’s basically like two cultures exploiting a common resource in different ways,” said Samuni, a postdoctoral fellow in Harvard’s Pan Lab and the paper’s lead author. “Think about two human cultures living very close to each other but having different preferences: one preferring chicken more while the other culture is more of a beef-eating culture. … That’s kind of what we see.”Using statistical modeling, the scientists found this behavior happens independent of factors like the location of the hunts, their timing, or the season. They also found the preference wasn’t influenced by hunting party size or group cohesion. In fact, the researchers’ model found that the only variable that could reliably predict prey preference was whether the hunters were team Ekalakala or team Kokoalongo.The researchers make clear in the paper that they didn’t investigate how the bonobo groups learned this hunting preference, but through their analysis they were able to rule out ecological factors or genetic differences between the two groups. Basically, it means all evidence points toward this being a learned social behavior.,“It’s the same population, and it’s neighboring communities,” said Surbeck, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology and the paper’s senior author. He founded and directs the Kokolopori Bonobo Research Project. “These two communities basically live in the same exact forest. They use the exact same places, but, nevertheless, they show these differences.”The paper amounts to what’s believed to be the strongest evidence of cultural behavior in this primate species.The researchers believe this paper is only the tip of the iceberg and are already planning the next part of the work: looking at how the bonobo groups learned these behaviors.One of the main goals driving this work is helping characterize the cultural capabilities of the last common ancestor between humans and our two closely related great ape cousins.“The idea is that if our closest living relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos, both have some cultural traits, then [it’s likely] our ancestors already had some capacity for culture,” Samuni said.,Bonobos can play a special role in this mystery. Like chimpanzees, which they are often mistaken for, bonobos share 99 percent of their DNA with humans. Bonobos are often seen as less aggressive and territorial, however, favoring sex in various partner combinations over fighting. Chimp groups, on the other hand, sometimes battle when they meet in the wild, occasionally to the death.Different Bonobo population groups are known to interact and even share meals, which along with their socio-sexual behavior has earned them the moniker “hippie apes.” It’s those free love and peace traits that make them prime for this type of study since scientists can observe two neighboring bonobo groups to distinguish whether a behavior that differs between two groups that interact regularly comes about because of some sort of a learning mechanism (or social preference) or because the environment dictates it, the researchers said.The authors of the paper were not much surprised by their findings.They had noticed this hunting preference anecdotally, and it’s already believed that bonobos have subtle cultural traits. After all, a number of social animals display cultural behavior, especially when it comes to feeding habits. Chimps teach their young to use sticks to fish for termites. Dolphin mothers teach offspring to fit marine sponges to their noses to protect them as they forage on the seafloor.What excites the researchers about this discovery, however, is that it shows the value of studying this often-overlooked endangered species and diving into its culture.“They’re like the missing puzzle piece,” Surbeck said.This work was supported by the Max Planck Society and Harvard University. A flawed masterpiece New faculty: Martin Surbeck Related Analysis holds no evidence for ‘human impact’ claims
Cisco’s Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) refocuses the data center on the driving force of businesses – applications. E-commerce, CRM, ERP and collaboration applications are just a few examples of applications that support mission-critical services to users throughout an organization. And increasingly, growing business demands are forcing IT professionals to manage even more applications with fewer resources, in less time.Cisco’s innovative ACI is a new infrastructure architecture that unifies applications management with a centralized approach. ACI supports a programmatic, application centric policy framework, which simultaneously simplifies management of the entire datacenter while confirming that applications can receive the network infrastructure security and services they demand. ACI represents transformational improvements in networking architecture and capabilities, and VCE is thrilled to bring these new technologies to our customers.VCE was founded to deliver the “first and best” integration of technologies from our investor companies. We closely collaborate to align with the technology roadmaps for Cisco networking and compute, EMC storage and data protection, and VMware server virtualization and cloud management technologies. We productize and deliver the industry’s leading converged infrastructure, the Vblock™ System. VCE employees are data center-focused professionals with a single purpose: To integrate and productize the innovations from our investors while enabling the best customer experience, something we call “The VCE Experience.”Vblock Systems are standardized on Cisco data center products, such as the Unified Compute System (UCS) and the Nexus and MDS families of switches. With the new Cisco Nexus 9000 data center switching portfolio, we will be able to deliver the “first and best” ACI-enabled converged infrastructure system.With the new integration, Vblock Systems will scale to meet peak network performance demands and allow unprecedented agility, reliability and simplicity for application deployment. VCE converged infrastructure solutions for the Cisco ACI policy framework will help to provide many benefits to customers, including:Visibility – Customers will have a detailed application-centric view of their infrastructure. Without impacting other applications, IT administrators will be able to scale application resources to meet user demands, quickly identify and address application performance issues, and maximize IT resources.Agility – IT organizations will be able to quickly deploy new technologies with significantly reduced risk to their IT infrastructure, allowing them to effectively manage, optimize and shift those resources.Open standards – The joint solution will simplify integration into existing and emerging management frameworks with an open, standards-based aggregation of Vblock Systems’ functional, environmental and operational characteristics.Simplicity – VCE roadmap integration with Cisco as well as our unmatched support, configuration and release management provide customers with streamlined operations management.Automation – VCE automation capabilities simplify and standardize error-prone processes associated with maintaining and deploying IT infrastructure and applications.Reliability – VCE provides customers with among the lowest risk and fastest path to implementing new Cisco technologies by integrating closely with the Cisco technology roadmap and providing defined engineering processes and procedures for manufacturing and sustaining Vblock Systems.As Cisco expands its technology investments with ACI, VCE will introduce the new Nexus 9000 series switches as modular options within the Vblock Systems portfolio. Customers will be able to quickly realize all the benefits of the Nexus 9000 family and be prepared to take advantage of ACI’s powerful capabilities.Cisco ACI triggers a new wave of data center engineering. By focusing on applications, IT professionals will be able to shift their focus from the challenges of managing autonomous components to the opportunities to better support and power business initiatives through an agile, systems-based networked infrastructure fabric.
Today announced that AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets will add nearly 75 new jobs in Vermont as a result of its completed acquisition of the Vermont assets of Rural Cellular Communications, a provider of rural and suburban wireless communications services doing business in Vermont under the Unicel brand.The two companies have a long-standing roaming relationship, and AT&T Mobility is committed to a smooth transition for its customers and employees. Part of this transition includes additional staffing and network support in the state. Candidates interested in a career with AT&T Mobility are invited to apply online. Positions include (but are not limited to) wireless sales and sales management.AT&T’s full portfolio of innovative wireless products and services including iPhone and the Blackberry Bold, will be available at ten former Unicel retail locations in Vermont starting mid-January. AT&T Mobility expects to complete re-branding stores with AT&T merchandise, colors and permanent signage in all retail locations, by the end of February.”When consumer demand for our products and services grows so do employment opportunities,” said William Leahy, vice president of Atlantic region legislative and regulatory affairs for AT&T Services, Inc. “We are proud to be making a contribution to Vermont’s economy during these difficult economic times and to be providing world class products and services to Vermont consumers.””In addition to building up our staff, enhancing and expanding our newly acquired wireless network in Vermont is our top priority. In fact, we are now planning next steps for launching our third generation (3G) high speed mobile broadband service in the state,” said Steve Krom, vice president and general manager of AT&T Mobility in New England. “We look forward to welcoming former Unicel customers to the AT&T family and we’re excited to offer all wireless customers in Vermont access to national calling plans with unique features like Rollover and the industry’s hottest line-up of wireless products and services enjoyed by our customers across the country.”Why Vermonters choose AT&T MobilityVermont consumers can take advantage of value-packed national rate plans and features available to the rest of AT&T Mobility’s customers across the country, including Rollover Minutes, a feature exclusive to AT&T Mobility that allows customers to keep their unused Anytime Minutes from month to month for up to a year. Customers on eligible AT&T calling plans can also take advantage of the nation’s largest free mobile to mobile calling community to reach any of AT&T Mobility’s 75 million wireless customers without an additional charge.AT&T Mobility’s wireless network is based on GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) technologies, the most open and widely used wireless network platform in the world. As a result, only AT&T Mobility can offer 3G data roaming in more than 60 countries, including Japan and South Korea, as well as voice calling in more than 200 countries, in addition to the company’s constant 3G expansion in the U.S. Nearly all devices in AT&T Mobility’s current portfolio are “world phones” that can be used around the world.In addition to entering the state of Vermont, AT&T Mobility has also acquired the Unicel store in Plattsburgh, New York as well as the wireless network formerly held by Rural Cellular Communications in the Plattsburgh and Adirondack Park area of eastern New York State.To find out more details about the company’s wireless coverage in Vermont, New York State or anywhere in the United States, consumers can go to AT&T Mobility’s online coverage viewer, http://www.wireless.att.com/coverageviewer/(link is external). The online tool provides up-to-date wireless coverage information for specific locations. The tool can measure the quality of coverage based on a street address, intersection, ZIP code or even a landmark.
U.S. Taxpayers at Risk of Being Saddled With Coal Cleanup Bills FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Michael Corkery for the New York Times:Regulators are wrangling with bankrupt coal companies to set aside enough money to clean up Appalachia’s polluted rivers and mountains so that taxpayers are not stuck with the $1 billion bill.The regulators worry that coal companies will use the bankruptcy courts to pay off their debts to banks and hedge funds, while leaving behind some of their environmental cleanup obligations.The industry asserts that its cleanup plans — which include turning defunct mines back into countryside — are comprehensive and well funded. But some officials say those plans could prove unrealistic and falter as demand for coal remains weak.The latest battle is over Alpha Natural Resources, once a high-flying coal company that borrowed hundreds of millions when the coal market was booming but imploded in the face of competition from cheaper natural gas and tougher environmental regulations.West Virginia faces perhaps the greatest fallout from the flood of coal bankruptcies that have hit the courts in the last year because many of its mines are scheduled to close and will require extensive cleanup. The state took the unusual approach of hiring a seasoned bankruptcy lawyer from New York who grew up in West Virginia to represent its Department of Environmental Protection in the Alpha case.“The goal is to make sure the coal companies clean up the mess when they leave,” said the lawyer, Kevin W. Barrett of Bailey & Glasser, who was named a special assistant attorney general for West Virginia and is taking the lead on the Alpha case.The coal industry has a history of shunting its obligations — so much so that Congress has created a specific law aimed at preventing the industry from walking away.The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 requires coal companies to purchase bonds — effectively, insurance policies — that can be used to pay for reclamation if the companies are insolvent.But in the past, regulators in states like West Virginia and Wyoming had allowed coal companies — particularly the giant mining ones — to “self-bond,” which meant that they had only to promise to pay for reclamation work, but not to actually post bonds.Full article: Regulators Fear $1 Billion Coal Cleanup Bill
Shell to buy output of 100MW battery storage project in U.K., Europe’s largest FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Oil major Shell has signed a multiyear offtake deal with what is slated to be Europe’s largest battery installation.The 100-megawatt Minety project in the southwest of England, an area with a high concentration of solar power capacity, is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The project consists of two 50-megawatt systems.The financial backers of the Minety development are a state-run utility firm China Huaneng Group and the Chinese sovereign wealth fund CNIC.Minety could be the first 100-megawatt battery project completed in Europe. In contrast to the U.S., grid batteries in Europe have only rarely topped 25 megawatts, although there are a few 100-megawatt projects in the planning pipeline, notably in the U.K.Shell subsidiary Limejump, acquired in March 2019, will use the power to optimize local renewable power usage.“Projects like this will be vital for balancing the U.K.’s electricity demand and supply as wind and solar power play bigger roles in powering our lives,” said David Wells, VP of Shell Energy Europe. “Batteries are uniquely suited to optimizing power supplies as the U.K. moves toward a net-zero-carbon system.”[John Parnell]More: Shell signs offtake agreement with ‘Europe’s largest battery’
21SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr CUNA Mutual Group’s Chief Economist Steven Rick joins us to discuss his latest Credit Union Trends Report — and it is a glowing one. In fact, Steven admitted that there really isn’t anything negative to report for September 2015 — except for the fact that it will be a challenge to keep the industry’s current pace, which, in some categories it hasn’t experienced in more than a decade.To get a more detailed picture, we analyzed several of the report’s categories: membership, deposits, loans, home equity, surplus funds, savings and assets, etc. As we reviewed at each category, it was good news after good news after good news. A far cry from where we were a few years ago. But one of the interesting things that Steven pointed out, much of this good news revolves around what consumers are paying at the pump. Find out how the two correlate in our discussion. Enjoy! continue reading »
continue reading » 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The IRS, state tax agencies, and the tax industry are warning industry professionals about a new, convincing phishing scam, capitalizing on the extension tax deadlines of Sept. 15 and Oct. 15.The Internal Revenue Service issued a Security Summit Alert for tax professionals to beware of this new phishing email scam, which impersonates tax software providers. The message claims to offer software upgrades, and attempts to steal usernames and passwords to access the preparers’ accounts and mine sensitive client data.“This sophisticated scam yet again displays cybercriminals’ tax savvy and underscores the need for tax professionals to take strong security measures to protect their clients and protect their business,” the IRS alert advised.The latest email variation carries a subject line of “Software Support Update” and highlights an “Important Software System Upgrade.” The e-mail informs recipients that due to a recent software upgrade, the preparer must revalidate their login credentials. It provides a link to a fictitious website that mirrors the software provider’s actual login page. Instead of upgrading software, the duped tax professionals provide information to cybercriminals who use the stolen credentials to access the preparers’ accounts and to steal client information.
The Transcomp trackside passenger-counting system from Eres Industrie comprises a laser transmitter unit and a counting unit installed on existing signalling or electrification masts facing each other across the track. Programmed with the operating timetable for the route in question and equipped with trackside vibration detectors, the equipment scans passing trains using Class 2 lasers that are harmless to the eye.The output of photoelectric sensor diodes is processed on the opposite side of the track by the counting unit, which compares it with pre-programmed data on train compositions and the configuration of coach interiors to determine which obstacles encountered by the laser beams are passengers. Oblique signals are also analysed to determine where passengers are sitting in rows, and historic data on train occupancy is used to assess if areas ’invisible’ to the lasers are likely to be occupied or not. In trials conducted on SNCF, the Transcomp system achieved its best accuracy rating of 84% with a second class Corail coach when this was 60% full. The final passenger count is downloaded to be viewed on a PC using Windows software. Eres IndustrieLyon, FranceReader Enquiry Number 140
Members of Shell’s Dutch defined contribution (DC) scheme have opted for variable benefits at retirement at a much higher rate than expected.According to Peter Westgeest, supervisory trustee on behalf of the employer, when surveyed just 5% of participants wanted to receive fixed-rate annuities from an insurer at retirement.Other providers of variable benefits have so far observed limited interest from members.Variable payments involves an individual drawing down payments while their remaining pension rights stay invested, accruing additional pension income. In 2013, Shell Netherlands closed its defined benefit (DB) scheme – SSPF – and started its individual DC pension fund for new workers, known as SNPS.Last year, Dutch parliament passed legislation enabling defined contribution pension fund participants to opt for variable benefits, also known as drawdown plans.Shell was among the advocates of such plans for DC arrangements. Without this option, DC schemes would generate lower pension incomes than DB plans.Within DC arrangements like Shell’s, participants must make more choices than at traditional DB schemes, with options for lifecycle investments and benefits.In SNPS, participants can opt for a collective variable pension at Shell at the age of 57.This enables them to annually transfer 10% of their accrued pensions capital to Shell’s benefit scheme, which invests 35% in equity and the remainder in fixed income.Speaking during the World Pension Summit in The Hague last week, Westgeest emphasised that the sponsor refrained from advising participants.“Shell merely provides information and pays the contribution,” he said. “The risks lay with the participants.”The employer does not deploy independent financial planners.Westgeest said that he hoped that participants would be legally enabled to cash in part of their pension in a lump sum – a similar option is open to retirees in the UK.Since the introduction of the legislation, four insurance companies have also developed variable drawdown products, which vary widely in their set up.However, just a small minority of retirees – ranging from one in five at Allianz to one in 10 at Aegon, respectively – has opted for them.