Sand leads the way for Mack

first_imgThe McKinleyville boys basketball team hosted Hoopa Valley Wednesday night in the semifinal of the Dick Niclai Memorial Tournament, running out to a 67-51 win on the back of a monstrous 41-point performance by senior Mason Sand.McKinleyville (18-8) will now face Fortuna (15-11) for the sixth time this season and the third time in eight days in Friday’s tournament championship game,Both teams traded baskets in the first half, with neither able to open up much of a lead. McKinleyville, however, …last_img read more

Pollution gets the boot

first_imgA colourful buffalo, skillfully crafted from flip-flops glued together and then carved. (Image: UniqEco) A small fraction of the thousands of discarded flip-flops that wash up on Kenya’s shores. (Image: UniqEco) Colourful and stylish earrings are just one of the imaginative variety of products fashioned from flip-flops. (Image: UniqEco) A Kenyan woman making beauty from waste. (Image: Elspeth Murray) Janine ErasmusBBC World Challenge finalist UniquEco has turned a potential environmental disaster in Kenya into an income for local crafters – making colourful jewellery and other products from discarded flip-flops that wash up on the country’s shore.The flip-flops arrive in their thousands on Kenya’s northern coast, brought there by the Indian Ocean tides from far-away Asian countries such as Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia and China. The footwear is made from indestructible rubber, which boded ill for the health of the marine ecosystem – until UniquEco, the (Flipflop) Recycling Company, stepped in.The non-profit company seized the opportunity to help generate a sustainable income for women and youths from coastal communities, while simultaneously helping the environment. Not only are the beaches saved, but also the sea creatures that try to eat the rubbery objects and hatchling turtles that have to negotiate their way to the water through the footwear flotsam, often unsuccessfully.UniquEco was started in 2005 by two enterprising Kenyans, Tahreni Bwanaali and Julie Church. Marine conservationist Church had been working since 1997 on a turtle conservation project with the Worldwide Fund for Nature in Kenya, and noticed that children from communities adjacent to the Kiunga Marine National Reserve would fashion the washed-up flip-flops into crude, if colourful, toy boats.“I saw that something imaginative, artistic and inspirational could come from something disposed of, rejected and discarded,” commented Church. She also wished to develop basic business skills for the community, and, realising the potential in the virtually limitless supply of flip-flops, slowly grew her idea into a project for making key rings, serviette holders and placemats.Her clients included the Worldwide Fund for Nature, Switzerland, which placed a substantial order for 20 000 flip-flop key rings. Church brought partner Bwanaali, originally from the area and holder of a master’s degree in business management, on board in 2005 to establish UniquEco and give the project a formal business structure.“We knew something had to be done,” said Church. “The indestructible rubber from the flip-flops spoils the natural beauty of the beaches.”Besides its recognition as a World Challenge finalist, the project was recently featured on the front page of the website for the United Nations Environmental Programme‘s Climate Neutral Network.Transforming waste into beautyThousands of flip-flops are gathered and cleaned, then glued into blocks and carved into one-of-a-kind shapes by local communities. The shapes are sent to UniquEco’s head office in Nairobi to be further adorned with beads and other elements, and off-cuts are shredded to make cushion stuffing.Thus is potentially hazardous debris cunningly transformed into a variety of products ranging from useful household items such as bowls, bottle stops and coasters, to ingenious toys, to eye-catching earrings, necklaces and belts.Products are sold through outlets around the world, and thanks to UniquEco, communities in the area now have an alternative source of income. This reduces their need to over-exploit their natural resources through fishing, the area’s previous main industry. At the same time, almost 150 km of Kenya’s beaches are kept clean.Raising global awarenessTo raise global awareness around the impact of pollution of animal habitats and the benefits of recycling, UniquEco also commissioned two life-sized flip-flop sculptures – one a whale, the other a giraffe.Mfalme wa Bahari (Swahili, meaning “king of the ocean”), the flip-flop Minke whale, was constructed at Marula Studios in Karen, Nairobi. The creature consists of a metal frame covered with thousands of pieces of flip-flop rubber.Mfalme was part of a joint project between UniquEco, the Nairobi-based Coastal and Marine Secretariat of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, and the World Society for the Protection of Animals. Its mission was to generate greater understanding of whaling and its impact on whales and their habitats, as well as awareness of marine pollution and its effects on ecosystems. Kenya is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission, the body that regulates the whaling industry.It is expected that Mfalme will find a permanent home in London’s Natural History Museum as a statement from African communities against global pollution and whaling.Twiga (Swahili, meaning “giraffe”) was created by UniquEco, working with the International Trade Centre, to raise awareness around recycling. Also constructed from flip-flops glued over a metal frame, Twiga has travelled to Rome, Geneva and Paris as an ambassador for recycling.The creature was the star of the show at the 2008 Rome Fashion Week and was displayed in 2008 at the World Trade Organisation and at the World Export Development Forum in Switzerland. It stood at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, the Swiss offices of the United Nations, until January 2009.Rewarding innovationThe World Challenge 08 is a global competition that recognises and rewards projects or small businesses from around the world that show innovation at grassroots level. The two main partners are BBC World News and Newsweek, in association with Shell.In 2008 South Africa’s Heiveld Co-operative made it onto the list of finalists, with its organic rooibos tea initiative that pays local farmers a fair price for the product and then markets and exports the popular beverage to growing markets abroad.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at [email protected] storiesAn infusion of innovationAfrica: fast factsUseful linksUniquEcoClimate Neutral Network – United Nations Environmental ProgrammeMarula StudiosBBC World Challenge 08Flip Flotsam – the movieNew Partnership for Africa’s DevelopmentWorld Society for the Protection of AnimalsWorld Society for the Protection of Animals – Facebook pageInternational Trade Centrelast_img read more

One chance to save sharks

first_imgThe spotted ragged-tooth shark is also known as the grey nurse shark. (Image: Wikimedia) Grant Smith and his uncle Trevor Krull used to run a shark tourism operation in Protea Banks, KwaZulu-Natal, a few years ago.They regularly took local and international scuba divers out on deep sea shark dives and became well-acquainted with the Zambezi and spotted ragged-tooth sharks that lived among the rocky reefs, naming the regulars and welcoming the raggies back from their winter stay in the Eastern Cape.Diving with sharks brought a sense of close interaction with nature, which Smith likens to viewing a lion in a game park from the safety of a vehicle. It is “something very special” to see how animals approach each other under water or to have a large predator swimming straight up to you, he says.However, back on land he often had to witness fishermen cutting out the jaws of the sharks he knew so intimately. Appalled and distressed by this practice, Smith and Krull decided to start Sharklife, a not-for-profit organisation that actively addresses the exploitation of sharks and ocean fisheries in South African waters.Healthy and diverseSmith says there is little scientific data on the shark life in South African seas, but anecdotal evidence paints a healthy and diverse picture.However, he says there is no legislation in place to prevent the hunting to near extinction of unprotected shark species, such as the large ragged-tooth sharks and stocky Zambezi or bull sharks, as recreational fishing permits currently allow fishermen to kill up to 10 different sharks a day.He says the organisation would like to see legislation in place that prevents the same occurrence as in Australia where “everybody wanted to kill a raggie in the eighties”, leaving only a couple of hundred ragged-tooth sharks to live and breed in their national waters – a number too low to achieve any replacement of the tens of thousands that were lost.“You can’t make this mistake,” says Smith. “We only have one shot at saving them.”One of Sharklife’s most pressing projects is the protection of pregnant ragged-tooth sharks (Carcharias taurus) in KwaZulu-Natal’s Isimangaliso Wetland Park, formerly the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park. This famous area was South Africa’s first World Heritage Site, and here pregnant females relax in the warm water from December to March during their gestation period.Smith says the ragged-tooth sharks are at risk at this point as the killing of a female implies the killing of her pups too, while the birth of young raggies has to be sustained to ensure a stable shark population. The ragged-tooth shark is listed as vulnerable on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.The protection of these sharks is also important for marine tourism in the area, which sees 66 000 to 100 000 deep sea dives per year in Sodwana Bay, located within Isimangaliso. Divers come here from all over the world to mingle with raggies and other sharks.Smith feels it is a “glaring oversight” that the pregnant raggies can legally be hunted in the bay at a rate of one shark per day, but he says the Isimangaliso Park Authority has recently committed to the drafting of new regulations to protect these animals.Sharklife will continue to canvass for the new regulations until they are signed into law.While there has been a massive increase in global awareness of sharks over the last five to six years, Sharklife also runs education programmes aimed mainly at divers, to raise their level of knowledge and understanding of sharks. Next year the organisation is planning to launch e-learning courses aimed at the overseas market.Shark diving in South AfricaSouth Africa has an established and successful shark diving industry. The country’s white shark diving is rated the best in the world, it is among the top three destinations for tiger shark diving, and ragged-tooth shark diving, available in the Cape as well as KwaZulu-Natal’s Aliwal Shoal, Protea Banks and Sodwana Bay, is among the best anywhere.Protea Banks is rated as one of the top shark dive sites in the world, especially for the serious adventure seeker, while Aliwal Shoal features in the top 10 general dive sites in the world and Sodwana Bay offers a large variety of marine life and ocean topography. South Africa’s coelacanth population, a fish species once feared extinct, is located off Sodwana Bay’s shore.Further south, approximately 100 000 white shark cage dives take place every year in locations around Gansbaai, a coastal resort near Hermanus in the Western Cape, and in False Bay near Cape Town. Divers pay R1 000 (US$145) for the thrill of one dive amongst the marine predators.White sharks are fully protected around the South African coast because of their high ecotourism value. Tiger sharks are protected in Aliwal Shoal and bring in R11-million ($1.6-million) a year for the tourism industry. Ragged-tooth and Zambezi sharks are only protected along seven kilometres of seas in Aliwal Shoal.Smith says there is growing interest in shark diving in South Africa from adventurers around the world. This is due to the country’s diverse shark life, its geographic accessibility, and the consistency of shark sightings in our national waters.Shark diving not only serves the tourism industry, but also contributes to conservation since it helps to teach people about sharks and their behaviour.As Smith says, “It changes people’s perceptions of sharks from ominous to magnificent.”Sharklife is supported by its members whose monthly membership fee of R25 ($3.6) helps with the organisation’s operations. More information, and the organisation’s bank details for potential donors, are available on the website.last_img read more

MySQL Vs. MariaDB: Power Plays By Expanding Communities

first_imgbrian proffitt Tags:#MariaDB#MySQL#Oracle Related Posts David Axmark and Monty WideniusMariaDB, the open source fork of the popular MySQL relational database, is slowly but surely making inroads in the MySQL user base by building a stronger community. Clear evidence of that comes with the report from The Register today that Google is assigning a full-time engineer to the MariaDB Foundation. But Oracle is responding with its own plans to diversify its own MySQL developer community.In itself, Google sending a single developer to MariaDB might not seem like big news, but it points to a growing trend for MariaDB in its battle against predecessor MySQL. MySQL has become increasingly isolated as an open source project since the open-source database was acquired by Oracle when the software giant purchased Sun Microsystems.“Isolated,” in this case, points to the growing perception that Oracle does not accept many outside contributions for the MySQL database, which is dual-licensed under the GNU General Public License for developers and a commercial license for customers. The GPL is key here: any project that forks away from MySQL and makes code changes to improve upon the original MySQL code is required to publish the source code for those changes somewhere, presumably for the benefit of the MySQL team.This is the very heart of free software “copyleft” development: it ensures that improvements can be shared among many related projects. But critics such as Monty Widenius  the original creator of MySQL and the newer MariaDB project, maintain that Oracle is deliberately keeping the number of accepted contributions low. There is no rule in the GPL, after all, that says code changes have to be accepted by the parent project.The effect of such policies, critics charge, is that as forked versions of MySQL like MariaDB are changed, it is increasingly difficult to maintain compatibility with MySQL. While some forked projects in the open source world don’t give a flying fig about compatibility  MariaDB most certainly does—otherwise, it would not be able to be a one-to-one replacement for existing MySQL databases.This is why Widenius and his MariaDB team are geared up about Google’s participation: they believe that strength in diversity will make MariaDB a better project and one not controlled solely by a single commercial entity. Indeed, the Register article speculates that this is why Google is coming on board: their own Cloud SQL product is based on MySQL, and therefore has its destiny tied to the whims of Oracle. Getting more involved with MariaDB is a good piece of insurance, should Oracle get squirrelly.SkySQL CEO Patrik Sallner gave The Reg his theory on why he thinks Google is joining in. ‘There are quite a few companies not financially sponsoring the Foundation but [which] are providing resources, because they see the value of being part of the community. That’s another thing we learned from MySQL, to make sure there are enough contributors. At MySQL there were not that many externally,’ he said.‘None, none,’ Widenus [sic] chipped in during our conversation.Did Oracle Pick Up The Clue Phone?Widenius may have gotten ahead of himself with that statement to the Register, as Oracle may be wising up to the fact that if it wants to keep interest going in MySQL as an open source project, it has better start opening the shell a little. As recently as last month, MySQL Community Manager Dave Stokes made a public call for external contributors for MySQL.Stokes’ request was met with some derision, with complaints about his mentioned requirement for contributors to sign the Oracle Contributors Agreement. Such agreements can rankle those in the open source development community, since they usually mean giving up license control and even intellectual property rights for submitted code to the project host.Former MySQL Community Manager Giuseppe Maxia came to Oracle’s defense a few days later.“I may not like it, but licensing was still a consistent part of the business when I left Oracle, and I assume it still is. Since this “feature” helps paying the developers that create open source software, I believe it is a reasonable trade-off.“Besides, also MontyProgram asks the same thing, and so does Apache and Canonical,” Maxia wrote.Maxia also cited that in his experience, contributing to MySQL code is more difficult than other projects, due to the intricacy of the database’s source code itself.If Oracle’s call to action has the intended effect, it should increase the diversity of the MySQL community, and perhaps allay ongoing fears that Oracle will always dominate the destiny of MySQL and can’t be trusted.But that won’t stop the MariaDB team from using the “more open than MySQL” tactic to win over business customers and their developers. Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo…center_img Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now IT + Project Management: A Love Affairlast_img read more

Gays parade their pride in Delhi’s heart

first_imgTheir faces were unmasked.And the pride was stronger than ever.The third edition of the gay pride parade – the first after consensual homosexual relationships were decriminalised in the country – in the Capital on Sunday was an unusual display of confidence by the lesbian-gaybisexual-transgender (LGTB) community.Clad in rainbow colours and dancing to the sound of drums, the gathering marched from Barakhamba Road to Jantar Mantar in Central Delhi with a different inclination.This time, they were celebrating their sexuality as against the previous years when they marched to assert their rights and protest against the criminalisation of samesex relationship.In July, last year, the Delhi High Court passed a landmark judgment revoking the controversial Section 377 of the Indian penal code that criminalised same-sex relationship.”I do not know or care about how social acceptance has changed after the high court verdict. But yes, I have changed. I feel more confident and I know that I am not doing anything wrong since the law of the land does not have a problem with it,” said Pooja (18), a student who wished to be identified just by her first name.”The judgment was a clarion call and asserted what we have been fighting for years now. But, I am a little disappointed by the turnout at the parade. I expected more to turn up to celebrate the anniversary,” said Vineet Trikha (30), a communication trainee who was there at the parade.The strongest evidence of the (slow but sure) change in the attitude of society towards the LGTB community was the presence of family members at the parade.advertisementWhile some made a proud proclamation of their support to their homosexual members of the family, others chose to stay on the sidelines and do the same tacitly.”My grandson is gay and he has the right to live his life the way he wants. I am an educated woman and I absolutely have no problem with it,” said Rani Sharma (65), who accompanied her grandson Sambhav Kumar Sharma to the parade and sported a placard making proud proclamation of his sexuality.”There was an initial shock. But he is a good boy and we have eventually come to accept this. Though our relatives still don’t know, I am here to support my child and his participation in the parade. I wasn’t here last year and I’ve come at my wife’s behest,” said a 45-year-old father on condition of anonymity.last_img read more

Munaf Patel is spinning the ball these days: Roberts

first_imgWest Indian fast bowling legend Andy Roberts is baffled as to why young Indian pacers suddenly lose speed after showing early promise and start “spinning the ball”, pointing out Munaf Patel as the most recent example.India pacer Munaf Patel has lost speed according to legendry West Indian fast bowler Andy Roberts. AP”When Munaf Patel came here in 2006, he had some pace,” said Roberts wryly, “Now he is spinning the ball.”Roberts was speaking from his experience of having worked with Irfan Pathan briefly during the 2006 tour by the Indians after the then coach Greg Chappell requested him to look at the left-arm seamer’s problems.”You have to remember this happens only once they make it to international stage. Maybe they are better off without these coaches.”These coaches turn you into line-and-length bowler. Not what you naturally are. These boys then lose their ability.”Roberts, who picked up 202 wickets from 47 Tests at 25.61 average, is hailed as the father of fearsome West Indian fast bowlers of 70s and 80s. He certainly is not impressed by the fast bowling in world cricket presently.”Shaun Tait throws his arm. Dale Steyn, whom I like, also occasionally throws his arm. Less said about the West Indian pacemen the better. The likes of Kemar Roach, Jerome Taylor and Fidel Edwards are not running in fast enough at the batsmen,” he said.”They saw Curtly Ambrose run in smoothly and ping the ball. But he could do it because he was so very strong. Others must run in hard in their run-ups.advertisement”There are two ways to bowl fast. Either you steam in or you have a lot of strength to bowl even if you are relaxed in your run-up,” Roberts explained.Roberts is dismissive of the notion that today’s cricketers play a great volume of cricket.”Too much cricket? They play mostly Twenty20s and one-dayers. It’s 4 or 10 overs a match.”He also sought to correct the notion that reverse swing almost exclusively was the preserve of the Pakistani bowlers in the 90s.”We began the reverse swing. When Pakistanis came here in 1977 they were surprised to see us do it. It’s no rocket science, you keep the ball polished on one side and it would reverse swing. For it to happen, the other side must have a bit of moisture on it.Inevitably, Roberts is asked to compare who he thought was better between Sachin Tendulkar and Sunny Gavaskar.”Sachin is one of the game’s greats. No questions about it. However, you judge a batsman on how he handled the best of pacemen and best of spinners of his era.”In the 70s, West Indies had the quick ones. England had a very good spinner in Derek Underwood. And Sunny always did well against them.”Nobody was said to have a more deceptive bouncer than Roberts in the game. Gavaskar has mentioned he had two bouncers — one a slower one with which he set a batsman up and the other a quicker one which a batter could only see as a blur.”You can’t bowl 95 mph all the time and hope a batsman would surrender. They get used to it after a while. You need to vary the pace, the angle, the seam or swing,” Roberts said.”I could bowl everything: seam, swing, pace, slower one, bouncer, cutters, everything.”Asked to pick the favourite batsman and fast bowlers of his era, Roberts said, “Viv Richards to me was the best player of short-pitched bowling ever.”I liked Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson, Malcolm Marshall. Imran (Khan) was a great bowler but he wasn’t an out-and-out fast bowler. Same was the case with Richard Hadlee.”Like most of his era, Roberts can’t see the revival of West Indian cricket any soon.”The top brass needs a kick in the back side. Presently our cricket is flat on its back. The board at one time had 18 directors.”I was once told by a director that I could become a coach if I had a level 2 or 3 coaching certificate. The same man asked me to come to Trinidad and give a lecture on fast bowling in his academy. The knowledge is with me. But I can’t be going around asking for work,” he said.- With inputs from PTIlast_img read more