A Stern lesson

first_imgMe and my kids built a QPR snowman last weekend. We decided against calling it ‘Cisse’ after figuring it would probably take longer than 33 minutes to go into meltdown.The French striker certainly didn’t live up to his surname, shaking Roger Johnson firmly by the throat after the Wolves defender had chopped him down in mid-flight.Much was made of how Cisse’s impulsive reaction was a result of suffering two broken legs in the past.“As Abramovich was pictured standing over a nervous looking Andre Villas-Boas, all that was missing was a black cloak and a large scythe.”It reminded me of my marvellously-named old maths teacher, Mr Stern.A wartime submarine operative, every time he heard the phrase ‘Hit the deck!’ he would instinctively throw himself to the floor.The old boy shared this little secret with us in an off-guard moment and quickly began to wish he hadn’t after spending the rest of our lessons that term picking himself up.In the case of Cisse, you’d have to keep your wits about you if you were behind him in the supermarket – the merest of nudges with your trolley and you’d be picking up your teeth with broken fingers.It had all been going swimmingly up until the Frenchman’s unscheduled departure, then Wolves took a leaf out of his book and grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck to take a vital three points back to the Black Country.I can’t remember the last time I felt quite so miserable leaving Loftus Road – made worse by the fact I was with my little one so had to be content with shouting obscenities in my head, while reassuring her it wasn’t the end of the world.Thankfully within half an hour of getting back, she looked out of the window and uttered those three little words guaranteed to make you forget all your troubles in an instant.. ”It’s snowing, Daddy!”Back in business.Aside from Bobby Zamora’s debut goal, the only other bright note for Rangers fans was the late cameo by Adel Taarabt, back to his mercurial best as he dictated play and peppered Wayne Hennessy’s goal with thunderbolts.With all the marquee signings and his unrewarding trip to Africa, Taarabt was in danger of becoming a forgotten man but he could yet hold the key to QPR’s survival hopes.When the Moroccan was going through a bad patch earlier this season, Joey Barton said: “I came here and was told he was a genius. I have yet to see it.”After Taarabt’s weekend masterclass, the QPR skipper remained curiously tight-lipped, preferring instead to wade into the John Terry row, picking fights with journalists and vowing to go to jail and become a martyr in the name of free speech. So, a typical week in other words.Of course everything in the football world was overshadowed by the resignation of England boss Fabio Capello and the acquittal of Harry Redknapp – the second and third biggest stories of the week after Kop Cat.Redknapp was immediately installed as favourite to land the national job – encapsulated by The Sun headline above a picture of him and the Italian – ‘Arryvederci!’Capello’s demise came after his furious public reaction to the FA’s sacking of his captain John Terry over the alleged racial abuse of Anton Ferdinand at Loftus Road in April.Chelsea fans have refused to acknowledge their skipper’s England demotion, chanting “There’s only one England captain”, during the thrilling 3-3 draw with Manchester United at the Bridge on Sunday.The match itself was arguably the game of the season, with Chelsea racing into a three-goal lead, including a corker from Juan Mata, before Howard Webb finally remembered he was a United fan (I’m joking) and helped to even things up by awarding a couple of penalties.He’s behind you…Before the game, Sir Alex Ferguson gave a pre-match interview while bizarrely dressed in a white polo neck jumper. I was half expecting him to turn to the camera and say: “Welcome to Jazz Club…Nice!”Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich reacted to the latest setback by putting in an appearance at the Blues’ training ground.As Abramovich was pictured standing over a nervous looking Andre Villas-Boas, all that was missing was a black cloak and a large scythe.As for the other Manchester-west London clash, City were too strong for Fulham, sweeping Martin Jol’s team aside 3-0.At one stage the flakes were falling so hard at the Etihad there was a danger the game might be called off – until they spotted Mohammed Al-Fayed crouched behind the advertising boards with a portable snow machine.Brentford’s game against Preston didn’t make the cut and further snow on Thursday night put paid to this weekend’s clash with Oldham, leaving frustrated fans on the Griffin Park Grapevine forum forced to make their own entertainment.After exhausting favourite crisp flavours they moved on to how things are different now to the olden days.Supermarkets and squad rotation figured highly but I quite liked ‘Christmas being spoken about before December’ and ‘kids no longer calling their parents’ friends Auntie and Uncle’.Nostalgia, eh? It’s not what it used to be.Follow Chris on Twitterlast_img read more

Spinning Solar System Objects to Keep Them Old

first_imgIf you remove the obligation to think in billions of years, many phenomena in the solar system make more sense.PlutoMore anomalies on Pluto look young. “Pluto is coloured red by ammonia spewing from underneath its surface,” writes Leah Crane for New Scientist. That should sound baffling for an object assumed to be 4.5 billion years old.In space, ammonia doesn’t last long – it is easily broken up by ultraviolet light and charged particles from the sun, as well as cosmic rays from elsewhere in the galaxy.“Ammonia is a fragile molecule in a space environment, so the fact that we see it exposed on the surface means that it was put there recently,” says New Horizons team member Dale Cruikshank at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California. “I don’t mean last Thursday, but maybe 100 million years ago.”In context, 100 million years represents only 1/45th the assumed age of the solar system. And there’s a lot of the ammonia present. Unexpected findings like this require auxiliary hypotheses to keep them old. Try as he might, Cruikshank can’t stretch the age out far enough:Because the ammonia is spread over such a large area, it probably emerged in spurting fountains of ice particles as well as by oozing, Cruikshank says. He and his colleagues calculated that this activity must have taken place at most one billion years ago for the ammonia to still be detectable, though it may be more recent.So how and why did it start spurting in the last 1/5th of the assumed age? Quick! Change the subject! “This does not mean that life is present — and we have not yet found it — but it indicates a place where we should look,” another planetary scientist says in an article on Space.com. The paper in Science Advances, however, cannot get 4.5 billion years [4 x 109] out of Pluto.At times when Pluto’s atmosphere is 10% transparent to Lyman-α photons, this flux corresponds to a time scale of ~4 × 105 years [450,000 years], indicating a geologically short lifetime. At times of lower atmospheric transparency, the equivalent lifetime for the ammonia is ~4 × 108 years [400 million years].Ultima ThuleAnother surprising body in the outer solar system is Ultima Thule, the Kuiper Belt object that New Horizons encountered in January two years after its Pluto flyby. Space.com drew attention to “mystery mounds” that the discovery team found. Listen to the sound of scientists gasping when the two lobes of the body were found not to be spherical:“That caught us by surprise,” Stern added. “I think it caught everybody by surprise.”New Horizons imagery also revealed a number of abutting mound-like features on the larger of the two lobes, which mission team members call Ultima. (The smaller lobe, naturally, is Thule.)“They seem to be raised, but exactly what causes them we’re not sure,” Stern said. “It’s still early days.”An early hypothesis held that the mounds resulted from convection of low-temperature ice, which was driven by the heat generated by the radioactive decay of aluminum-26. But further work suggests that this is an unlikely scenario, Stern said. The team now thinks the mounds may be the retained outlines of the small planetesimals that came together to form the Ultima lobe long ago.“But there could be other processes as well,” Stern said. “So, this is an active topic of debate.“NeptuneAnother object showing activity is Triton, Neptune’s largest moon. When Voyager 2 flew by in 1989, scientists were astonished to see evidence of cryovolcanoes and nitrogen geysers. An article on Phys.org tries to explain which gases are likely responsible (N2 and CO), but dodges the question of whether its activity could have been occurring for 4.5 billion years. This article also changes the subject, saying of nitrogen (an inert gas in its diatomic molecular form), “Its abundance in the outer Solar System is an important key to life’s origins, as it is an important part of the building blocks of life.” But the scientists admit Neptune and Triton most likely do not have life. The statement titillates the public with an irrelevant supposition in order to dodge the question of age.SaturnWith Cassini data safely archived on Earth, scientists will be combing through its findings for years or decades. In a recent paper in Geophysical Research Letters, the main findings from Cassini’s last year at Saturn have been summarized. All of them sound too dynamic to last for billions of years.New discoveries examined in this issue include tiny ring particles with complex hydrocarbons streaming into Saturn’s atmosphere, methane from the rings feeding Saturn’s upper atmosphere, electric currents flowing between Saturn and its rings, and a new inner radiation belt. Saturn gravity and magnetic field measurements detected deep winds and differential rotation in its upper layers. Results from Cassini’s final orbits turned out to be more interesting than we could have imagined. Understanding the interior of Saturn and the interplay between the rings and planet will provide insights into how our solar system formed and evolved and the role of gas giant planets in exoplanet systems.Scientists often mask their surprise at false predictions by calling the findings “interesting” while issuing more promissory notes about how the findings will “provide insights” into “evolution” of this or that phenomenon.The SunAren’t we lucky to have a star that spins slowly? That’s uncommon. In fact, the planets have far more of the solar system’s angular momentum than the sun does. That seems backwards. New Scientist describes how lucky Earth was in the sun’s early history:[Prabel] Saxena and his team used data from the Kepler Space Telescope on other sun-like stars to build three models of the young Earth and moon, each with the sun rotating at a different rate. The faster the young sun rotated, the more often it would have experienced flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), blasting huge plumes of plasma into space and battering the inner solar system.They found that for the fast- and even medium-rotating models, there were too many CMEs. Even if the sun rotated just about once every week, there could be tens of CMEs a day, enough to erode away all of the moon’s potassium and much of its sodium – volatile elements that we know still exist there today.In reporter Leah Crane’s headline, “The young sun spun slowly, which could explain why we are here.” Count your lucky stars.Two false assumptions are holding back real science about the solar system: (1) the moyboy mindset, and (2) secularism. Think of how liberating it would be to see our extremely special Earth as a product of intelligent design not that long ago.From a philosophy of science standpoint, there is no obligation for scientists to spin observations into a preferred timeline. Suppose, for instance, each scientist were to just look at processes occurring on a moon—say, the geysers on Triton or Enceladus—and make reasonable upper limits about how long that could have been going on. Why not call that number the maximum age of the moon, and leave it at that? Why all the spin doctoring to force-fit the age into the 4.5 billion years belief?Taking the supposition further, why does the 4.5 billion year age, derived from meteorites, take precedence over everything else? Why couldn’t that age bow to younger ages of other objects? Or, to think even more outside the consensus box, why couldn’t each object in the solar system have its own age?You know the answer. Secular scientists want a comprehensive, materialistic world view from big bang to man. They want galaxies to evolve, stars to evolve, planets to evolve, life to evolve, and human minds to evolve. Everything has to fit that vision, so everything has to evolve in the right order. Plus, Darwin needs those billions of years for life to evolve. It’s irritating to have objects show up out of their spot in the timeline. If Pluto looks too young, it must be artificially aged via storytelling!But what if it is young? Just asking. (Visited 428 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Queensland seeks SA partners

first_img27 March 2007A business delegation from the Australian state of Queensland, led by Premier Peter Beattie, was in South Africa last week, looking to forge partnerships with local companies for skills training and infrastructure development.Business Day reports that the focus of the partnerships would be around clean coal technology, skills training and infrastructure development.Queensland’s economy is built around its big coal reserves, being mined by groups such as Anglo Coal, BHP Billiton and Xstrata, all companies with a substantial presence in South Africa. The state has also encouraged non-mining industries such as tourism, aviation and biotechnology.Beattie told Business Day last week that although Queensland was the biggest exporter of coal in the world, with South Africa coming second, the two were not competitors. Rather, he said, they had similar interests in developing clean coal technology to ensure the long-term future of their coal sectors.Queensland is also interested in entering into partnerships with South Africa in training and skills development against a global background of skills shortages, especially in mining and engineering.Beattie added that his state had no intention of poaching skilled South African workers, but in the case of companies like Anglo Coal, which operates both in Queensland and South Africa, staff with specific skills could be moved around to address particular needs.As such, 200 South African freight train drivers would be heading for Queensland for further skills and training. According to Engineering News, both South Africa and Queensland make use of the narrow-gauge rail system.“We are happy to help where we can,” Beattie told Engineering News, adding that Queensland could offer expertise in various areas, such as maintenance, signalling and freight-forwarding systems, among others.Another area where partnerships could be useful was for South African companies hoping to do business in China, to use Queensland’s proximity to China as a base, just as SA was an ideal location for Australian companies planning to do business in Africa.In return, Queensland is looking for investors in its Northern Economic Triangle, where it plans to develop infrastructure to support private sector investment in industrial development and minerals processing, as well as the Surat Basin, which contains about 4-billion tons of steam coal.The Queensland government is currently investing Aus $1-billion in a clean coal technology called Zerogen, an electricity generator now in the pilot stage. They are hoping to implement the technology in a power station within the next year.Beattie told Business Day that the real issue was not whether the technology worked, but getting it at the right price. Still, he said though it would more expensive than traditional coal-fired plants, it would remain cheaper than nuclear power.SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Airbus: 10,000 up

first_imgEuropean plane maker Airbus has celebrated its 10,000th delivery with a vow it will take just 10 years to deliver its next 10,000 aircraft.A long and spectacular journey beginning with the Airbus 300B  — the world’s first twin-aisle, twin engine aircraft – hit a major milestone on Friday with the delivery of a  fuel-efficient A350-900 to Singapore Airlines.The world needs more A380s.The European manufacturer’s 10,000th delivery came as production at Airbus is at record levels and its ubiquitous single-aisle A320 is taking off around the world every two seconds.The delivery milestone was celebrated today at a special ceremony in Toulouse attended by Singapore Airlines chief executive Goh Choon Phong and Airbus Group boss Tom Enders.Enders said Airbus’s founders five decades ago could not have foreseen that the company would be delivering its 10,000th aircraft as early as 2016.He said the company was producing at rate of just over half an aircraft a month in the 1970s.Almost 8000 of the 10,000 aircraft delivered had been delivered in the past 15 years and it was less than nine years ago that Airbus had delivered its 5000th aircraft. It took Airbus 19 years to deliver its first thousand aircraft and just 19 months for the last 1000.“There were years, I’m told, where we had more cancellations than new orders,’’ he said. “Today we deliver more than 600 aircraft a year and the ramp-up is continuing.’’Enders said the company now had the widest product line in the industry and its manufacturing footprint extended far beyond Europe to China and the US. “We’ve gone from only 15 per cent market share as recently as 1995 to standard market share of around 50 per cent over the last 10 years or so and there’s not that much more you can wish for in a duopoly.’’The Airbus boss said the manufacturer became faster and more efficient every year and the A350 gave a strong indication of what the next 10,000 aircraft would be.He predicted accelerating technology such as digitalisation would see the next 10,000 aircraft come in many more versions and variations.“I think we’ll continue to be smarter, we will definitely be more productive, we will be safer,’’ he said “The overall ingenuity our people and our many partners from all over the world can dream up will make them more fuel efficient, cleaner, easier to maintain, easier to operate… and able to carry more passengers hopefully in ever more comfort.“And when we develop new aircraft, I’m confident we will be able to design and develop them much faster and with much less cost than is still the case today.’’Goh was picking up the airline’s sixth A350-900 as part of an order that will see it take 67 of the fuel- efficient aircraft, including seven ultra long range planes that will be used on services from Singapore to Los Angeles, New York and an undisclosed third destination. It will be the launch customer for the A350-900ULR when deliveries begin in 2018.The A350 delivered Friday will be used to re-establish long-haul services between Singapore and San Francisco and Goh said it showed how far Airbus had come.“The A350s allow us to have more long haul destinations on a non-stop basis which helps to boost our network competitiveness and our connectivity and helps us further develop our home base, the Singapore hub,’’ he said, noting that customer feedback about the plane so far had been positive.Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Airbus have a long history and shared several milestones, including the first revenue flight of the double -decker A380 superjumbo in 2007.SIA placed its first order with Airbus in 1979 when it opted for the A300B4 and the group  has since operated aircraft from all of Airbus’ product lines – the A300, A310, A320, A330, A340, A350 and A380 families. The latest plane is adorned with  “10,000th Airbus Aircraft” decal  and will be used to launch non-stop flights between Singapore and San Francisco later this month. Singapore Airlines’ first A350-900 went into service in March and the aircraft type is now being used for Amsterdam, Dusseldorf and Johannesburg flights, with more destinations to be added as additional aircraft enter the fleet.Airbus has 810 firm orders for the aircraft from 43 customers, with Singapore’s order the second biggest after Qatar Airways’ 80 planes. Airbus is making two versions of the plane:  the A350-900, designed to carry 325 passengers in a three-class configuration, and the bigger 366- passenger A350-1000, due to have its first flight by the end of the year and enter service in the second half of next year.  Both are powered by Rolls Royce Trent engines: the Trent XWB-84 EP on the -900 and the more powerful Trent XWB-97 on the 1000.Seventy per cent of the A350 airframe is  composite Airbus says the aircraft offers a 25 per cent increase in fuel efficiency as well as significant reductions in noise, with exterior noise levels 21 effective perceived noise decibels below International Civil Aviation Organisation current standards.Airbus currently produces about seven A350s a month but plans to increase the rate to 10 a month in 2018.Steve Creedy travelled to Toulouse courtesy of Singapore Airlines.last_img read more

Tiger Kloof School earns a reputation for excellence

first_imgThe clock in the tower behind these Tiger Kloof pupils was a gift from the Great Khama. (Image: Mark Boobbyer)• Mark BoobbyerDirectorTiger Kloof Educational Institution+27 82 3388424marktigertk@gmail.com• Helping kids shine at school – in their own language • Youth urged to get involved • South African education project wins top award • Botswana launches brand strategy • Mandela’s ‘classrooms for human beings’Sulaiman PhilipSituated on the outskirts of Vryburg, Tiger Kloof – named after a stop on Cecil John Rhodes’ mooted Cape to Cairo railway – is a school with a rich African history.It has been many things since it was first established in 1904 – a missionary school for the Batswana elite, a source of irritation to the apartheid government, a farm and a government school for the impoverished students of Vryburg. What it has done best is demand excellence from all its pupils.Over the years, Tiger Kloof developed into one of the top schools for the elite of what became Botswana. When the country gained independence in 1965, its entire first cabinet was made up of old Tigers. The first two presidents, who governed for a total of 33 years – Sir Seretse Khama and Sir Ketumile Masire – were also former students of this school in rural North West Province. Among other illustrious alumni are Dr Ruth Mompati, former South African ambassador to Switzerland and ex mayor of Vryburg, and Motsamai Mpho, a veteran of Botswana politics and one of 67 men who stood trial with Chief Albert Luthuli for treason.As Masire said recently: “One day, Botswana will build a memorial to Tiger Kloof.”Bumping over the railway tracks towards the gates of Tiger Kloof, visitors pass a foundation stone laid by its London Missionary Society founders. “No one can lay any other foundation than that already laid, which is Jesus Christ,” it reads. It is the guiding spirit that has helped the school rise, fall and resurrect itself. It is a lesson the people of Botswana understand perfectly; faith leads to action.Missionary schoolA plea by the Batswana royal house to Queen Victoria for a school to educate the elite led to the arrival of the Reverend WC Willoughby of the London Missionary Society (LMS) in Bechuanaland. Though he was Christian, the Batswana leader, Khama the Great, distrusted the intentions of Willoughby and refused him permission to build a school within the borders of what would become Botswana. Willoughby had to travel 300 kilometres south to build on an open piece of veld on a stop of the Cape to Cairo railroad. As Moeding, or “the place of running water” as the school was called in Setswana, grew it became a centre of academic excellence with a teachers training college, as well as an industrial and Bible school.Aubrey Lewis was the headmaster in 1953 when the South African government passed the Bantu Education Act. The pacifist LMS pastor believed that the Act, which wanted to keep black Africans as simple hewers of wood and drawers of water, went against his and the school’s Christian principles. For two years the missionaries tried to walk a line between the government policy and their own conscience before finally leaving. Tiger Kloof lurched along as a government school until 1962, when students rioted, burning down the original boys’ hostel. Today the school’s new media centre is built on the foundations of that building.Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoed took a personal interest in this “black spot” of a school and shut it down in 1966. The land was sold cheaply to a local white farmer in return for a promise that he would destroy all the buildings on the land. The buildings were all built using stone quarried on the land in the style of the missionary stations that dotted Africa – sturdy, beautiful buildings that were meant to celebrate the glory of God. The farmer who bought the land could not bring himself to tear them down; instead he used them to house his cattle or just neglected them.For 30 years they crumbled from neglect until David Matthews, headmaster of Maru-a-pula school in Gaborone, wondered about the history of the derelict buildings he passed as he drove along the N14 to Botswana. Discovering the rich, deep connections between Tiger Kloof and Botswana, he pushed prominent old Tigers in Botswana to help resurrect the school.Reopened by TutuIn his speech at the school’s re-opening in 1995, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, whose mother had attended Tiger Kloof, expressed the hope that the school would once again produce the next generation of leaders. “Leaders who will lead their communities while holding firmly to the values that they have learned at Tiger Kloof.”It has hardly rained in Vryburg for two years, not till today – 5 February – that is, when the sun stayed hidden behind foreboding grey clouds. The sky opened and a deluge covered the town, turning streets into streams and playing fields into ponds. It’s late in the morning and pupils at Tiger Kloof are dancing across the torrents streaming down into the quarry on the school grounds. They laugh as they race through the running water, with pants turned up to their knees. The delighted children take pictures of themselves and their friends as they jump off the planks laid over the streams and into the water.Many of the school’s students come from Vryburg’s impoverished Huhudi settlement and were unable to get to school. It has been a wasted school day says Mark Boobbyer, the school’s director. “No matter; we used the day to take the kids down to the quarry to look at the waterfall. Once the quarry has filled up we will use it as a classroom for our leadership and teambuilding classes.”Tiger Kloof’s embrace of non-traditional subjects has created a climate that allows each student to grow to their potential. Since it re-opened as a government school it has steadily improved its matric pass rate, with a 100 % success in 2010. In its first year, the school had just 25 students; today it caters to 670 students from Grade R to matric, with about 180 boarders. There are pupils from 13 countries, but most of the students are drawn from the townships of Vryburg where unemployment is about 80%. The best of those students, those willing to work diligently and hard, are given bursaries.Financing the school, which is uncommon because it is a government school on private land, is a constant challenge. Boobbyer explains that the boarders help to subsidise the day learners but, “to run the school we manage. To develop the school we need to fund raise.”What was originally the girls’ school at Tiger Kloof now houses the primary school (Image: Mark Boobbyer)Foreign fundingDecisions taken when the school re-opened have made it easier to tap into foreign funding and allowed students to travel, he says. It is a member of Round Square, a network of international schools, which allows Tiger Kloof to switch students and teachers through the network’s exchange programmes. Membership of Round Square and the Solon Education Fund also allows the school to tap into a stream of international donors.Tiger Kloof embraces three principles that guide the spirit of teaching. First, because the school sits on 1 200 hectares of farmland, they teach the children to embrace the idea of sustainable living. Second, they expect students to get involved in the school’s service projects, including feeding people in their own settlements through the soup kitchens they run. Finally, the school’s association with Round Square allows the children of rural North West to interact with international students, which helps open their eyes to the world beyond their doors.“In a few weeks I will be travelling to England with some students on a fundraising trip. We do cultural or sporting exchanges as well. It helps our kids realise how big the world is and they develop a sense that their dreams can be as big as the world,” Boobbyer explains.Pupils come from 8 countries across southern Africa, all drawn by the school’s reputation. A big part of that reputation has been earned by the dedication of the teaching staff. They are drawn from across the globe and across creeds and race. But the school, in Boobbyer’s opinion, lacks male teachers, especially black men to act as role models for the children. Ideally, he would like to see former students come back to teach.“I can’t overestimate the importance of having black male role models standing in front of a class, but teaching is not an aspirational profession for them. Tiger Kloof is such a special place, I think it would take someone who was a student here to understand and be able to pass on the values we hold dear.”There are still deserted buildings on the grounds of Tiger Kloof, old ghosts that refused to die despite the best efforts of a hateful system. Boobbyer and his staff work tirelessly to win funding to build facilities to match the reputation the school has earned. “Tiger Kloof is like the mustard tree in the parable of Jesus. It starts small but grows to be the largest garden plant and all sorts of animals come and refresh themselves in its shade and branches.”last_img read more

Insights from the 2017 Census of Agriculture

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest In April the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture, spanning some 6.4 million new points of information about America’s farms and ranches and those who operate them, including new data about on-farm decision making, down to the county level.Information collected by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) directly from farmers and ranchers reveals both farm numbers and land in farms have ongoing small percentage declines since the last Census in 2012. At the same time, there continue to be more of the largest and smallest operations and fewer middle-sized farms. The average age of all farmers and ranchers continues to rise.“We are pleased to deliver Census of Agriculture results to America, and especially to the farmers and ranchers who participated,” said Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. “We can all use the Census to tell the tremendous story of U.S. agriculture and how it is changing. As a data-driven organization, we are eager to dig in to this wealth of information to advance our goals of supporting farmers and ranchers, facilitating rural prosperity, and strengthening stewardship of private lands efficiently, effectively, and with integrity.”In terms of Ohio numbers, the 2017 Census of Agriculture data show the following key findings:The average age of Ohio producers increased from 54.6 years in 2012 to 55.8 in 2017.Ohio cropland harvested increased from 10.1 million acres in 2012 to 10.2 million acres in 2017.Ohio ranked eighth nationally in corn production and seventh in soybean production.Ohio ranked eighth nationally in hogs sold and eleventh in milk sales.Ohio was second nationally in layer inventory.5,782 farms reported renewable energy producing systems, up from 2,094 farms in 2012. Ohio ranked fifth among the states with renewable energy producing systems.“The Census shows new data that can be compared to previous censuses for insights into agricultural trends and changes down to the county level,” said Hubert Hamer, NASS administrator. “While the current picture shows a consistent trend in the structure of U.S. agriculture, there are some ups and downs since the last Census as well as first-time data on topics such as military status and on-farm decision making. To make it easier to delve into the data, we are pleased to make the results available in many online formats including a new data query interface, as well as traditional data tables.”Census data provide valuable insights into demographics, economics, land and activities on U.S. farms and ranches. Some key national highlights include:There are 2.04 million farms and ranches (down 3.2% from 2012) with an average size of 441 acres (up 1.6%) on 900 million acres (down 1.6%).The 273,000 smallest (1 to 9 acres) farms make up 0.1% of all farmland while the 85,127 largest (2,000 or more acres) farms make up 58% of farmland.Just 105,453 farms produced 75% of all sales in 2017, down from 119,908 in 2012.Of the 2.04 million farms and ranches, the 76,865 making $1 million or more in 2017 represent just over two-thirds of the $389 billion in total value of production while the 1.56 million operations making under $50,000 represent just 2.9%.Farm expenses are $326 billion with feed, livestock purchased, hired labor, fertilizer and cash rents topping the list of farm expenses in 2017.Average farm income is $43,053. A total of 43.6% of farms had positive net cash farm income in 2017.96% of farms and ranches are family owned.Farms with Internet access rose from 69.6% in 2012 to 75.4% in 2017.A total of 133,176 farms and ranches use renewable energy producing systems, more than double the 57,299 in 2012.In 2017, 130,056 farms sold directly to consumers, with sales of $2.8 billion.Sales to retail outlets, institutions and food hubs by 28,958 operations are valued at $9 billion.For the 2017 Census of Agriculture, NASS changed the demographic questions to better represent the roles of all persons involved in on-farm decision making. As a result, in 2017 the number of producers is up by nearly seven% to 3.4 million, because more farms reported multiple producers. Most of these newly identified producers are female. While the number of male producers fell 1.7% to 2.17 million from 2012 to 2017, the number of female producers increased by nearly 27% to 1.23 million. This change underscores the effectiveness of the questionnaire changes.Other demographic highlights include:The average age of all producers is 57.5, up 1.2 years from 2012.The number of producers who have served in the military is 370,619, or 11% of all. They are older than the average at 67.9.There are 321,261 young producers age 35 or less on 240,141 farms. Farms with young producers making decisions tend to be larger than average in both acres and sales.More than any other age group, young producers make decisions regarding livestock, though the difference is slight.One in four producers is a beginning farmer with 10 or fewer years of experience and an average age of 46.3. Farms with new or beginning producers making decisions tend to be smaller than average in both acres and value of production.36% of all producers are female and 56% of all farms have at least one female decision maker. Farms with female producers making decisions tend to be smaller than average in both acres and value of production.Female producers are most heavily engaged in the day-to-day decisions along with record keeping and financial management.Results are available in many online formats including video presentations, a new data query interface, maps, and traditional data tables. All information is available at www.nass.usda.gov/AgCensus.The Census tells the story of American agriculture and is an important part of our history. First conducted in 1840 in conjunction with the decennial Census, the Census of Agriculture accounts for all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. After 1920, the Census happened every four to five years. By 1982, it was regularly conducted once every five years.Today, NASS sends questionnaires to nearly 3 million potential U.S. farms and ranches. Nearly 25% of those who responded did so online. Conducted since 1997 by USDA NASS – the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture — it remains the only source of comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the nation and is invaluable for planning the future.last_img read more

6 injured as car ploughs into Eid celebration in UK

first_imgBy Aditi KhannaLondon, Jun 25 (PTI) Six people, including three children, were injured when a car mounted a kerb and ploughed into a crowd of people participating in an event to celebrate Eid outside a sports centre in northeast England today.Police said the incident in Newcastle was not believed to be terrorism-related but a full investigation was underway.”As previously stated there is nothing to suggest that this is terror related. A 42-year-old woman is currently in police custody and police are not looking for any other suspects at this time,” a Northumbria Police statement said.One of the children is said to have been critically injured. Hundreds of people were at the event this morning to mark the end of Ramzan outside the Westgate Sports Centre.A North East Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We received our first 999 call at 9.15 this morning to report a car that had mounted the kerb.”We have taken six people to hospital; they have gone to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle; three children and three adults.”Emergency services included six ambulances, two paramedic rapid response vehicles and the air ambulance.An eyewitness told the BBC: “From what I understand, [a woman who had been at prayer] was about to leave in her car and I believe she lost control.”I ran up straight away because everyone was moving in on all the injured, trying to put water in their mouths.”The parents of the kids were there, I had to sort of try and calm them down just to tell them the ambulance is there and they will take care of it; they know what theyre doing.advertisement”It caused a lot of panic; everyone was screaming when it happened, it wasnt the best of experiences.”Chi Onwurah, Labour MP for Newcastle Central, tweeted: “So sad, I was at the prayers earlier & there were so much joy & unity. Thinking of those affected by what I am told was terrible accident.”Britain is on high alert following recent terror attacks involving vehicles. On June 19, a man drove a van into Muslim worshippers in London, killing one and injuring others. PTI AK ABHlast_img read more

Nadal to open 1st branch of his tennis academy in Mexico

first_imgManacor (Spain), Oct 23 (IANS) Spanish tennis great Rafael Nadal, currently world No.1, announced on Tuesday that he will open a branch of his tennis academy at a resort hotel in Mexico next month, which will be his academy’s first expansion abroad.Set to be located in a tourist complex on the Caribbean coast near the city of Cancun, the venture will be a branch of the Rafa Nadal Sports Centre located in Manacor, Nadal’s hometown on the Balearic island of Mallorca, reports Efe.”It is our first expansion outside (Manacor) and for all of us and for me it is a reason for satisfaction and pride,” Nadal said during a press conference at his academy.The Mexican centre is to consist of eight tennis courts, one padel court, a gym and a museum at a hotel owned by the Palladium Hotel Group, whose CEO Abel Matutes Prats is also from the Balearic islands.Nadal announced the opening of the new branch alongside Matutes, as well as Nadal’s uncle and former coach, Toni Nadal, his current coach, Carlos Moya, his father, Sebastian Nadal and other figures responsible for the operation of his academy.Nadal explained that running the academy “has been very important work, but as I always say, everything is improvable. It is not easy to manage the lives of 120 young people who trust us to improve not only their tennis level, but also personal level with studies that are demanding,” Nadal added.Nadal said he plans to reappear next week at the Paris Masters tennis tournament, once he overcomes his right knee injury that forced him to retire in the US Open semi-finals against Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro on September 7.–IANStri/bgadvertisementlast_img read more

10 months agoAbraham informs Chelsea he wants to leave Aston Villa

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Abraham informs Chelsea he wants to leave Aston Villaby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea striker Tammy Abraham wants to leave Aston Villa this month.The Sun says the England striker can return from Aston Villa this month in the terms of his season-long move to the Championship side.And the Chelsea striker has attracted interest from top-flight clubs looking to boost their attack in the second half of the season.Abraham, 21, will be targeted by the clubs who missed out on Dominic Solanke, who is poised to join Crystal Palace.Both young Three Lions strikers have been on the radar for Bournemouth, Huddersfield, Brighton and Fulham.Moving away from Villa will be a blow to Dean Smith’s promotion hopes, with the club five points off the play-offs.It will also put Smith in the market for a replacement in attack for the second half of the season. last_img read more