Friendlies key for O’Neill

first_img His time with the players is limited enough as it is and with the possibility of just three more get togethers before the next batch of competitive fixtures, the trip to Adana takes on plenty of importance. “Games like this are essential,” he said. “The next date is in March and after that there is possibly an opportunity at the end of May with teams preparing for Brazil, we’ll look at options there, so these games are invaluable. “Three friendly games amounts to about nine days with the players, I think that puts into perspective the challenge we face. “I understand some of the clubs have difficulties with them but for us to be able to build and develop a team we have to be able to have all of these fixtures. “It can be difficult at times because you don’t always get the ideal scenario or the ideal fixture but I’d rather come and play the likes of Turkey – a difficult game with an edge to it – than a less meaningful friendly.” Despite the value placed on the clash by O’Neill, Northern Ireland will not be able to call on a full-strength side for the match, with absentees reaching double figures. Chris Brunt, Craig Cathcart, Jamie Ward and Shane Ferguson are among the injured, while Gareth McAuley (personal reasons) and Kyle Lafferty, who is due to become a father for the second time, are also unavailable. The eyes of the football world may be on the likes of Portugal and France this week but Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill insists clubs must recognise the importance of friendlies too. Press Association That leaves O’Neill carrying a skeletal 17-man squad, just about acceptable for a friendly but hardly a precedent he would want to repeat. “That’s what we have to choose from. The reality is the next couple of players to be called into the squad would be from League Two,” O’Neill admitted. “Before you look at that level of football, without being disrespectful, you’re essentially looking at a possible squad of about 27 players. “That’s where we are, we have 11 players unavailable to us for one reason or another. “Going forward into the campaign we cannot have that level of unavailability if we’re to have a fighting chance in whatever group we’re in.” One player who has arrived to boost O’Neill’s numbers scene is 27-year-old Jonny Steele. The New York Red Bulls midfielder is set to win his first cap on Friday having scrapped his way to the top in the most unlikely way imaginable. Steele, who played indoor football in the United States to make ends meet before his Major League Soccer breakthrough, will get the chance to stake his claim for further recognition after impressing O’Neill with his determination. “Jonny is a late developer and the path he’s taken to where he is now is not the traditional path,” said the former Shamrock Rovers boss. “He’s played indoor soccer in the States, gone on a season-to-season basis having to make his living, so it’s nice for him to get his opportunity to be part of an international squad on the back of what has been a very good season. “He’s playing in a league which is highly regarded now and for one of the biggest clubs in that league. “He plays with some big name players (including Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill) albeit probably not in their prime. “This last year there has been a real maturity in his game, and in himself, and it’s good to get a chance to work with him first hand.” While some of European football’s top talent – including Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – take part in the World Cup play-offs O’Neill’s men will be contesting a lower-key date in Turkey. With neither side having qualified for a place in Brazil and the Euro 2016 campaign not kicking off until next September it is the kind of fixture that may be greeted with groans by club managers, but O’Neill sees it as a crucial part of his planning. last_img read more

Planetary Eruptions

first_imgEruptions can come in two types: literal and figurative.  Some planetary bodies are literally erupting.  Others are causing figurative eruptions in theories.  Here are some recent news stories about planets, moons, comets and other objects circling our sun and other stars.  There hasn’t been much news from Mercury or Venus this month, so we’ll start on the home planet and work outward. Earth volcanoes:  Earth is busting out all over.  You can watch the fireworks going on at Mt. Etna on this BBC News video clip.  Live Science has a video of the hottest, deepest volcano on earth, found underwater near Fiji.  New Scientist resurrected the “heretical” view that the dinosaurs were killed by lava, not a meteor; two giant blobs of mantle that erupted onto the surface. One geologist remarked, “This will be controversial – it flies in the face of much of the research from the last 30 years.”  Wynne Perry at Live Science (see MSNBC) entertained the entertaining question, “Did a methane burp clear the way for the dinosaurs?”  Over at Science Daily, the idea was presented that much of earth’s surface was formed from ancient flood basalts, “giant lava eruptions that coat large swaths of land or ocean floor” periodically.  Incidentally, geologists are not sure where Earth’s internal heat comes from, especially since Japan’s KamLAND antineutrino detector came up short (see Science Daily).  “One thing we can say with near certainty is that radioactive decay alone is not enough to account for Earth’s heat energy,” remarked Stuart Freedman of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.  “Whether the rest is primordial heat or comes from some other source is an unanswered question.” Moon volcanoes:  A region of volcanism was found on the back side of the moon.  Most of the volcanic evidence, the maria, is on the near side, but in the middle of the cratered regions on the far side, reported PhysOrg, “a small volcanic province created by the upwelling of silicic magma” was reported by remote sensing of chemical clues by the Lunar Prospector.  “The unusual location of the province and the surprising composition of the lava that formed it offer tantalizing clues to the Moon’s thermal history.” Mars volcanoes:  A Texas geologist is pouring lava on hopes for life on Mars by resurrecting a “heretical”  view that most of Martian history was created by lava, not water.  According to PhysOrg, David Leverington (Texas Tech) argues that slippery, low-viscosity lavas mimicked the action of water, carving the channels and basins that so tantalize astrobiologists. “If Leverington is right, the odds of life on Mars plummet to near zero,” because Mars would have been bone dry most of its history.  “But that’s a big ‘if’,” the article cautioned. Arguments on both sides of the debate were presented.  JPL’s next Mars rover Curiosity, scheduled for launch this fall, has a target for its August 2012 landing: Gale Crater, which is thought to have had liquid water in the past (Live Science).  Mission scientists, who love to look for water with visions of life, are probably hoping Leverington is wrong. Vesta geology: JPL’s DAWN spacecraft arrived in orbit at the giant asteroid Vesta on July 17.  It’s too early for science results, but the BBC News posted some of the best early images of the colorful, crater-packed surface.  Jupiter moon mysteries:  Live Science posted a review of “The Greatest Mysteries of Jupiter’s Moons” by Adam Hadhazy.  He presented the traditional tidal-flexing model of Io’s volcanism, but then admitted that tidal forces alone “might not account for all this oomph.”  The Juno spacecraft, readying for its launch in August, may make Io a prime target for study.  News media like PhysOrg and the Los Angeles Times have been exaggerating its capabilities as if one mission could “find the recipe for planet-making.” Titan volcanoes:  Out at the Saturn system, the source of Titan’s atmosphere is still a puzzle.  New Scientist said that planetologists are still unsure whether material has erupted onto the giant moon’s surface and replenished the methane which otherwise would be gone within 15 million years (a third of 1% the assumed age of the moon).  The article by Jeff Hecht reviews the findings and mysteries of this major enigmatic body of the solar system. Enceladus showers:  Saturn is feeling the eruptions from its little geysering moon Enceladus.  That surprising announcement came from the news room of the Herschel Space Observatory, a mission of the European Space Agency.  “Enceladus rains water onto Saturn,” PhysOrg said; New Scientist headlined, “Moon-showers give Saturn an aquatic belt.”  The infrared instrument on the orbiting telescope was able to detect the water and estimate that 5 percent of the eruptive water vapor (250 kg per second) “falls on Saturn where it collects to form a ring extending five times the width of the planet.”  This process is “unique to Saturn,” PhysOrg said.  The water belt extends out 10 Saturn radii and is one Saturn radius thick.  What happens to the other 95 percent?  “Although most of the water from Enceladus is lost into space, freezes on the rings or perhaps falls onto Saturn’s other moons, the small fraction that does fall into the planet is sufficient to explain the water observed in its upper atmosphere.” Pluto moon:  The Pluto system has added a child: Hubble discovered another small moon, bringing the family to four moons and a parent “dwarf planet” as Pluto is now labeled (PhysOrg).  Space.com quoted Alan Stern, principal investigator of the New Horizons spacecraft slated to swing by Pluto in July 2015. “This is a whole new kind of planet,” he said.  “It’s going to blow our doors off.”  One door ready to be blown is the dynamical problem of how such a small body could have four objects in orbit around it for billions of years. Comet eruptions:  A “theory eruption” has taken place regarding comets.  Sample returns and remote sensing has established that some cometary material formed at high temperatures, contrary to decades of assumptions.  PhysOrg presented work by European researchers who came up with a model employing “photophoresis,” that assumes material from the hottest parts of the inner solar system got cooked sunny side up.  The difference in temperature on the two sides of a particle leads to migration, they say, conveying the cooked material outward by sunlight pressure, where it became incorporated into comets.  “This novel physical explanation could account for the position of certain dust rings observed in protoplanetary disks and thus shed light on the conditions of planet formation,” they said.  Whether the model works if the grains rotate was not clear from the article.  Comet Hartley 2 is a real-world comet that made the news on PhysOrg.  Its tail includes particles as large as golf balls. Extrasolar planets:  Space.com is dabbling in the occult.  Its article, “How to keep lonely planets snug: just add dark matter” calls on mysterious unknown stuff to warm up lonely exoplanets wandering through the darkness of space.  Neither isolated planets nor dark matter have ever been observed, but the author quoted an astrobiologist who went even further into speculation, imagining life on such worlds subsisting off the internal heat from imaginary dark matter interactions with the imaginary planets. On his blog The Procrustean, physicist Rob Sheldon told a personal story of his friend’s quest to measure the solar wind.  It led to the Genesis mission, which found that the oxygen isotope ratios differ between the solar wind and earth, leading to the conclusion that Laplace, inventor of the nebular hypothesis, was wrong – not only in his physics, but his metaphysics (compared to Newton’s).  Tied into the discussion was Cornelius Hunter’s recent philosophical entry on his blog Darwin’s God about Laplace, Kant, Darwin, and god-of-the gaps hypotheses. We are very fortunate to live in an age of exceptional discoveries in astronomy.  We are less fortunate to live in a time of incorrigible materialism, when our science representatives spend reckless drafts on the bank of time to a point where we face an international debt crisis that is unlikely to be paid back, even with higher taxing of credulity.(Visited 47 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Nicholas Hlobo: art as dialogue

first_img10 November 2008Nicholas Hlobo, winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Arts 2009, is gaining an international reputation for his experimental use of materials to “create conversations” around issues of masculinity, gender, race and ethnicity.Hlobo is showcased on the Michael Stevenson Gallery website, where he explains his relationship with the material he uses: “I always find that the material tends to dominate the entire process. My ideas evolve in unexpected ways as the material helps me discover new things.“The start usually seems like trying to roll a rock as large as a double-decker bus, and by the completion of the work I go, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I went through that and came back sane’.”In 2007 Hlobo exhibited Umdodo at the Aardklop National Arts Festival in Potchefstroom. During the same year he took Umakadenethwa engenadyasi to the Galeria Extraspazio in Rome and idiom[s] to the Savannah College of Art Design in Georgia, USA.In 2008, he exhibited at the Boston ICA as part of the Momentum Series, and his work is included in the third Guangzhou Triennial in China, which runs until 9 November. His exhibition Flow was on at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, and Home Lands – Land Marks was on at Haunch of Venison in London. Kwatsityw’iziko was also on at the Michael Stevenson Gallery in Cape Town.Hlobo has also exhibited with various other artists, some of his more recent group exhibitions being Skin-to-skin at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg and .za: giovane arte dal Sudafrica at the Palazzo delle Papesse in Siena, Italy.In 2006 he won the Tollman Award for Visual Art.Hlobo chooses his material strategically, and often challenges stereotypes of sexual identity through his work.In an interview with Sue Williamson, he explained: “Through my works I attempt to create conversations that explore certain issues within my culture as a South African.“The conversations become a way of questioning people’s perceptions around issues of masculinity, gender, race and ethnicity.”The annual Standard bank Young Artist Awards were started in 1981 by the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, with Standard Bank coming on board as a sponsor in 1984.The awards, seen as one of the most prestigious of their kind in the country, honour young South African artists who have not yet gained widespread national exposure or acclaim, but who are making a significant mark in their field.The awards recognize and actively promote the talent of these young artists, providing them with financial support and a platform for experimentation. Winners receive a cash prize and financial support for their participation on the main programme of the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown.Source: National Arts Festival, Grahamstownlast_img read more

Long 2017 crop year not yet over

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest It has been a very long planting season, which set the stage for a long 2017 for Zach Profit and his family on their Van Wert County farm.“I’m 29 and in my short career, 2017 was the most challenging spring I have ever been a part of, my dad said so too. It was a year of small windows. We got a lot of 3- and 4-inch rains early. Then we got 6 to 7 inches in 24 hours when the crops were very small. It was devastating. We finally finished planting the first week of June. This was the most replanting we ever had. We had places replanted two and three times. Our insurance agent said it was the most replanting he had ever seen. Once we got the crops in and established, they were all over the place in development and the field work all ran together,” Profit said. “We got started planting the last couple weeks of April and then finally parked the planters in the first week of June. Then we went right into wheat harvest, then fungicide application, and then late season nitrogen applications with Y-Drops right into installing drainage tile, right into harvest. It was quite a year. My brother and I have little kids at home and it was a long year for our wives. This was the year that our wives didn’t see much of us because we were busy from planting through harvest, and it’s not over yet.”The Van Wert area has had multiple challenging years in a row.“They each had their own set of challenges. We had good years in ‘13 and ‘14 then we had flood, drought, flood. In ‘15 there were places around here that had 30 inches of rain in June and early July. We couldn’t finish sidedressing because we were so wet for so long. As the year went on things were in bad shape and the corn yields were terrible,” Profit said. “In 2016 we got off to a decent start but then a good drought settled in mid summer and the corn never recovered. The corn was below average but the beans were pretty good because of some late rains.”Hopes were high for a good year of production in 2017 as planting season got started, but heavy rains quickly watered them down. The abundant moisture early in the season made systematic tile important on many Ohio farms this season.“Tile was pretty critical this year. You could have drawn a lot of tile maps by hand. You could still see the waves in the crops from the combine this fall — it was unbelievable. After two bad years in this area, a lot of guys wanted to make sure to do everything right this spring, but just getting the crops out was a titanic effort. And that was just the first time,” Profit said. “But the replanting paid off. The places where we replanted yielded better than where we didn’t. We wish we would have replanted more.”Like the planting season, a great stretch of weather allowed for an incredible harvest window in October, but the window abruptly shut when persistent late October and early November rains halted harvest progress.“We have had some good dry windows this fall but had to deal with some small rains and this last big storm that went through on Nov. 5 put the brakes on harvest. Right at the farm we got an inch and a half and further north they got 3 to 4 inches,” Profit said on Nov. 7. “We started with soybeans then switched to corn. We finished soybeans before Halloween now we have half of our corn done and it looks like we might be able to get back in the fields soon. We feel like we did get lucky where our farm is. We missed some rains early and got some rains in the summer. We were cool and dry for quite a bit of August, but before that we caught some rains that others did not. Soybeans will be average to below average in the upper 50s — around 58. Corn has been all over the place and we are around a 200-bushel average, which is pretty excellent and above average.”last_img read more