Diving deep when it’s wet outside

first_imgThe magical kelp forest exhibit at Cape Town’s Two Oceans Aquarium. Image: Two Oceans Aquarium By Lorraine Kearney11 June 2014The cold and wet weather has finally settled over the peninsula, and Capetonians have bedded down for their annual hibernation. In summer, the days are gloriously long, and families eat dinner after eight, children stay up til after nine – because the sun hasn’t set yet.But come winter, with its short, wet and cold days, and the town catches up on its zzzz’s. Dinner by 6.30pm, in bed before eight, and the drive to school in the morning is in the dark. Seaside towns are always dreary in the rain.But for those few hours of daylight, finding fun when it is pouring outside heads the list of important things to do in my family. Top draw is the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront – and it never gets tired.First stop has always got to be the giant spider crabs, where we spend ages trying to spy the faces of the samurai warriors on their bellies.Legend tells of a great Japanese sea battle, in which a young emperor, seeing that his army was defeated, threw himself into the water with his samurai warriors. The emperor and his soldiers turned into crabs and have been wandering the floor of the ocean ever since.Spider crabs are the largest crustaceans in the world; males grow to about 1m in length with a 4m leg stretch. They live about 400m under water that is pretty cool – between 11°C and 14°C. Very little is known about giant spider crabs. It is virtually impossible to determine their age and we do not know when they reach sexual maturity. They have to moult when they grow, shuffling off their old exo-skeletons. This is a complicated and potentially life-threatening process which can take up to two days. A crab can become entrapped in its old shell and die, but even if the moult is successful, the sheer effort is sometimes so exhausting, that the crab dies soon afterwards.Other favourite stops are the touch and feel tidal pools and the microscope displays. But really, the highlight every time is the penguins – they are irresistible, waddling around in their tuxedos. Check when you arrive to make sure you get there for feeding time. You’ll be glad you did.And if you’re game, you can even go scuba diving with the ragged tooth sharks – without a cage.After strolling around the aquarium, we highly recommend the short trip to the V&A Market on the Wharf. There’s a whole world of food on offer, from Hungarian street food to fried chicken, vegetarian curries to cakes and muffins, really good coffee to freshly juiced fruit and veggie drinks. It’s open every day except Christmas and New Year’s, meaning you can always get something delicious to eat.Outside the market – for that gap in the rain when fresh air is needed – is Nobel Square. Four larger-than-life bronzed statues stand in a row, all of them South African Nobel Peace Prize laureates: Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela. Home happy and tired; job done.Read more about what to do in Cape Town on SouthAfrica.infolast_img read more

OSU Agronomy Field Days

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest See the Agronomic Crop Team’s calendar for more information: https://agcrops.osu.edu/events/calendar/. Manure Science Review on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017 at the Stoller Brothers & Sons farm in Paulding County. Learn how to use manure nutrients to improve crop yields and protect water quality, get the latest on regulations and staying safe, plus more. See field demonstrations on applying manure, subsurface tile drainage, and more. For program and registration details, https://ocamm.osu.edu/sites/ocamm/files/imce/Events/MSR_2017_FLYER.pdf. Southwest Ohio Corn Growers and Fayette County Agronomy Field Day – Fayette Co. August 15, 2017, 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. The event is free to attend at the Fayette County Farm, 2770 State Route 38 NE, Washington Court House, OH 43160. Contact: Ken Ford at 937 378-6716 or ford.70@osu.edu. For more information see the website: fayette.osu.edu. Several speakers will be heard throughout the day including: keynote Speaker Sonny Perdue Secretary of Agriculture (yet to be confirmed), a follow-up for 2018 Farm Bill Listening Session, corn ear rot diagnostic demonstration, using on-farm research to make adaptive nitrogen decisions, cover crops for pollinators, and many other activities will be available throughout the day. A Crop Walk for looking at corn disease (Champaign County) is Aug 15, 2017, 5 p.m. Contact Amanda Douridas at 937 484-1526 or by email douridas.9@osu.edu. Join Pierce Paul as he identifies corn diseases and discusses management strategies. This event will take place in a corn field in Champaign County to be identified the week before. Leave your name and contact information with the Champaign County Extension Office to be notified when the location is set or in the event it is cancelled due to weather. Precision Ag Day: Nutrient Application (Champaign County) Aug 17, 2017, 8 a.m., cost is $5 and the location is Bauer Stoves and Fireplaces, 3548 OH-54, Urbana, OH 43078. Register by August 10. Contact Amanda Douridas at 937 484-1526 or by email douridas.9@osu.edu. Learn about the latest in nutrient management and application technology from the industry’s leading experts. Fertilizer certification will be offered to those who still need to complete the training. The Precision Ag Field Day is in Hardin County, Aug 23, 2017, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The registration deadline is Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at http://go.osu.edu/hardinprecisionagday.This will be held at Kellogg Farms, 17392 Township Road 50, Forest, OH 45843. Presenters from Ohio State University Extension, USDA, ODA, Farm Bureau, and private industry will be on the program, which will offer 3 Hours of Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training credit. Certified Crop Adviser credits are also planned.last_img read more

10 months agoPellegrini says West Ham must build on victory at Southampton

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Pellegrini says West Ham must build on victory at Southamptonby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWest Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini says they must build on victory at Southampton.The hosts had taken the lead through Nathan Redmond, but Felipe Anderson stole the show with a quick-fire double that earned his side three points and movement into the top half of the table.“I’m happy,” Pellegrini said. “When you start with zero points in 12 then it’s always difficult to recover your position in this way. “In this moment, we are in the top ten. We will continue fighting and improving and, with 27 points, in the second round, we continue improving with our winning mentality, and we try to finish the season as near the top of the table as we can.”He continued: “I thought we played a very good game. From the first minute, we had the intention of winning the game and I thought we were very balanced in the whole game. “We worked most parts of the game in our opponent’s side and we defended very well. They didn’t have many options. “The important thing [when Southampton scored] is we continued to play in the same way, draw the game immediately, and then we scored the winning goal.” last_img read more

a day ago​Dele Alli insists Spurs players behind Pochettino

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say ​Dele Alli insists Spurs players behind Pochettinoby Freddie Taylora day agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham star Dele Alli believes that everyone at the club is firmly behind their manager Mauricio Pochettino.Spurs are struggling for confidence and form, especially in the Premier League.It has seen them slip in the top four race and prompted talks about Pochettino’s future at the club. But Alli insists every one of Spurs’ players is behind the Argentine coach.He told reporters: “Yeah, 1,000 per cent [players are behind Pochettino].”A lot of us would not be where we are now if it was not for him. All we can do is thank him.”We have always trusted him 100 per cent and we are going to keep doing that. We are a team.”When things are not going our way, it is easy for people to try and get at the manager but we need to look at ourselves as players.”We’re doing that and we are going to keep working hard.” last_img read more

Re-Building Confidence Critical – Finance Minister

first_img Steadfast commitment to implementation, and re-building confidence in the economy, are two factors deemed necessary for the success of Jamaica’s current economic programme and the country’s performance, under the new International Monetary Fund (IMF) US$932.3 million four-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF).Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, and Head of the IMF’s Mission Team to Jamaica, Jan Kees Martijn, highlighted these factors, while addressing Thursday’s (August 22) joint media briefing at the Ministry’s offices in Kingston, where details of the country’s first quarterly performance review under the EFF (April to June),  were outlined.In his remarks, Dr. Phillips said Jamaica’s future under the programme “really depends on us – the country”.“There are many who did not believe that we would have concluded a programme (with the IMF) and, indeed, they were pleasantly surprised and satisfied with Jamaica’s fulfillment, not only of the prior conditions. I think we need to emphasize that they (prior conditions) were not easily achieved, but they were achieved with the sacrifice and contribution of stakeholders from all sectors in the country,” he said.In terms of confidence in the economy, Dr. Phillips acknowledged that this “will take time to build.” While noting that “we are seeing signs of it already” he stated that “we are also seeing that there are those who remain to be convinced.”“I don’t think that we will convince them by a lot of talk, necessarily. I think we will convince them as we proceed with implementation,” the Minister said.Dr. Phillips said having recently concluded a series of discussions with holders of Jamaican government bonds in North America and in Europe, “I can say that we are seeing the slow but steady and significant re-building of this confidence, certainly, in the international community.”He added, however, that the economic programme will require sustained implementation over future quarters in order to sustain a build-up in confidence.The Finance Minister emphasized that this effort will also require that a more comprehensive communications endeavour be undertaken, both locally and internationally, to facilitate better understanding by persons of the programme’s rationale, while enabling them to take advantage of anticipated benefits.“The successful conclusion of this first review will add to that level of confidence. So, what we have to do is sustain our commitment to the path and not lose heart or become overwhelmed by the immediate painful difficulties which we face,” Dr. Phillips said.Meanwhile, Mr. Martijn noted that Jamaica’s current economic challenges did not occur, nor will they be solved overnight.“The reason we have a four-year programme is because we know that there is a whole series of reforms in many areas…to be implemented. So, ongoing implementation (is important),” he said.Mr. Martijn also noted that the Jamaican economy’s performance is being carefully analyzed.“Investors are looking at the country. That return of confidence is…absolutely critical. The two are, of course, related, because with steadfast implementation, we believe that confidence will return and at that stage, the benefits of these (economic) reforms would become truly apparent,” he said. In terms of confidence in the economy, Dr. Phillips acknowledged that this “will take time to build.” Jamaican economy’s performance is being carefully analyzed The economic programme will require sustained implementation over future quarters Story Highlightslast_img read more

Burns and blindness Very nasty giant hogweed plant spreading in Canada

first_imgIt can cause third-degree burns and even permanent blindness – and it’s spreading.Giant hogweed is cutting a wider swath in B.C. and Ontario, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada is urging people across the country to document sightings of the­ towering, three-metre green plant with large umbels of white flowers.Dan Kraus, a biologist with the conservancy, said the invasive Asian species likely arrived in Canada in the 1940s and can now be found in areas of the Atlantic provinces and Quebec, and has been spreading in southern Ontario and southern B.C.“Nobody’s really sure when it arrived here. It was probably introduced as an ornamental plant and it is starting to slowly spread,” said Kraus from Guelph, Ont.“It’s possible people are moving it from garden to garden. They see it in their aunt’s garden and they think it’s this wonderful plant, and they’re collecting seeds and moving it to another location, which is something we definitely don’t want people to do.”In 2015, five children in England were reportedly burned in two separate incidents after coming into contact with giant hogweed in public parks.Often mistaken for the similar-looking cow parsnip, it can be seen growing in gardens, along roadsides, in ditches and on the shores of rivers and streams. Its clear sap can cause blistering third-degree burns and even permanent blindness if it touches the body and is then exposed to the sun, through a phototoxic reaction.“It’s very nasty. It can cause huge water blisters — almost like boils — that erupt on your skin,” said Todd Boland, a research horticulturist at Memorial University’s Botanical Garden in St. John’s, N.L.“It may be the next day before you start to see the effects. That’s the funny thing about this. It’s not like it’s an instant thing. It takes awhile and you have to have repeated exposure to the sun.”But simply touching the plant is not dangerous, Boland stressed. It’s the sap that is problematic and washing your body and clothes after exposure can prevent the phototoxic reaction.“If you get it in your eye, it can lead to permanent blindness, but that’s pretty rare. You’d be hard-pressed to get it in your eye unless you were rolling around in the plant,” said Boland, adding that giant hogweed can be found in the St. John’s area.The plant has prompted communities across Canada to issue warnings to residents in recent years.Guelph, Ont., has been dealing with giant hogweed for about two years and although it is now contained in two locations, eradicating the plant has proven difficult.“In 2015 we removed some plants from one location and the next year we returned to the site and there were no plants, but this year we returned to find plants,” said Timea Filer, an urban forester with the city. “So there appears to be a seed bank and we’ll have to monitor it continually.”Kraus said there is also a concern about a loss of native biodiversity, as giant hogweed is an aggressive plant that can outcompete native plants and spread — especially when it grows near waterways and its seeds are carried downstream. One plant can produce thousands of seeds and they can stay in the ground for years before germinating.The conservancy is asking people to document sightings of the invasive plant through apps such as iNaturalist, which helps scientists understand how the plants are spreading and identifies areas in which they need to be eradicated, he said.“We also want to make people aware that they may have a plant in their garden which at some point could spread into a natural area and impact on biodiversity… or have public health impacts,” said Kraus.“Ideally you want to keep invasive plants out, but the next best thing is to detect them early and to remove them before they take over large areas.”Kraus said Canadians who spot giant hogweed should contact local parks officials.Follow (at)AlyThomson on Twitter.last_img read more

Can This New Crop Of Players Erase Englands Underachieving Past

Tottenham HotspurPremier League7.60 4Uruguay0.832+1.17 UnderachieversExpectedActualDifference 5Mexico0.520-0.52 Southgate’s plan seems to be to put the players from these teams into a compatible lineup before re-creating their off-the-ball tactics. As I noted in my Group G preview, of all the teams to qualify for the World Cup, England ranks third in breaking up an opponent’s possession before it completes three passes, behind only Germany and Spain.England’s famed problem has been getting its generational talents to click together. For once, the big teams in the Premier League are kindred spirits tactically, and this will have an impact on the national team’s ability to leverage the players provided by those clubs.Young attackersEngland is fielding an extremely young side in Russia, with an average age of 26 — only Nigeria is younger. And England’s average of 19 caps per player makes it the most inexperienced side in the competition.2Tied with Tunisia. But while they may be relatively new to the international stage, these youngsters are by no means immature in terms of elite soccer. England’s attack, in particular, is filled to the brim with talent just ready to peak. England features cohorts from aggressive-pressing clubsThe 10 big five European club teams best at pressuring opponents, 2017-18 2Netherlands0.670-0.67 4Russia0.600-0.60 Cups won Cups won 2Germany2.044+1.96 1Hungary0.920-0.92 1Brazil3.015+1.99 5Argentina1.442+0.56 Manchester CityPremier League6.71 sec. Hamburger SVBundesliga8.22 Nonetheless, the team that will face Tunisia on Monday is new and exciting. Gone are the mainstays from the past three World Cups, players like Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. Because of the players’ age and inexperience, this team is free of the weight of expectation — despite having the seventh best pre-tournament chance of taking the trophy home, according to FiveThirtyEight predictions. And for the neutral fan, too, England has a lot to offer.Tactical coherencePep Guardiola — the current manager of Manchester City, which became the first team in history to break the 100-point mark in the Premier League — has had an indirect hand in the past two World Cup-winning teams. In the final against the Netherlands in 2010, eight players featured on the pitch for Spain had been coached by Guardiola in his time at Barcelona. When Mario Götze broke Argentinian hearts in 2014, he was one of seven German players in the final to have played under the Catalan manager that season at Bayern Munich.This is likely to be less about Guardiola specifically, despite his brilliance, and more about his indirect influence on the tactical coherence of a national team. With him at the helm of the country’s best side, his players would naturally get national team starts; the ability of those players to click when on the pitch together meant that they had more coherent tactics than other teams stacked with good players. Indeed, Italy, which won the 2006 World Cup with a quintessentially Italian style of football, featured a spine of five Juventus players in the final.With only four Manchester City players on the squad, manager Gareth Southgate will pay homage to Guardiola’s team in style more than in personnel. Man City midfielders David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne are playing for Spain and Belgium respectively, but Southgate will try to replicate them by using Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli as “free eights” in the midfield. England has six more players total from Tottenham, managed by Mauricio Pochettino, and Liverpool, managed by Jürgen Klopp. These teams, like City, press the opposition extremely aggressively out of possession, with all three in the top 10 in Europe’s biggest competitions this season in terms of how quickly they shut down their opponents: Tottenham’s Harry Kane, for example, is one of the best goal-scoring strikers in the world at the tender age of 24. Somewhat terrifyingly, he is still improving: He was even better at getting off quality shots this season than he was the year before. The expected goals per 90 minutes from his shots in the Premier League rose from 0.45 in 2016-17 to 0.75 this year.Dele Alli, 22, will support Kane for their country as he does for their club. His 2017-18 season was marred for some by the idea that it was a regression compared with the year before. What really happened, though, was that he got fewer chances but created more. He also experienced a downturn in chance conversion, from scoring 44 percent more than might be expected based on chance quality in 2016-17 to underachieving it by 12 percent this season. All that made people forget that Alli is one of the brightest under-23 talents in the world. And nobody — apart from maybe Denmark’s Christian Eriksen — is better at supplying Kane.Man City’s Raheem Sterling may have made recent headlines for getting a rifle tattooed on his leg, but the more important of his designs is the one on his arm of a young boy, wearing England’s No. 10 shirt, looking up at Wembley Stadium, the home of English football. He’s my player to watch for Group G because of his electric ability to both get and create chances, coming off the back of an incredibly productive league season with 18 goals and 11 assists. And he’s only 23.Dark horses?The biggest problem for England in terms of being a dark horse in Russia is its likely post-group opposition. The English have a good shot of making the quarterfinal (58 percent when the tourney began) but will probably have to face Germany or Brazil at that point, depending on whether England finishes above Belgium in their group. Winning a matchup against one of those powerhouses is a long shot, though anything can happen in a World Cup.England has an exciting team of young stars, playing at stylistically compatible clubs, and a manager who seems tactically savvy despite his relative inexperience. Even if they don’t manage to bring home the trophy this summer, the future looks bright for The Three Lions for the first time in a generation.Neil Paine contributed research.Check out our latest World Cup predictions. OverachieversExpectedActualDifference Expected goals1388 Goals3528 Bayern MunichBundesliga7.51 England’s youth movementRanks of Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling in key offensive statistics in the English Premier League, 2017-18 teamleagueAvg. Opponent Possession Duration *Among attackers with at least 850 minutes playedSource: Football Whispers Borussia DortmundBundesliga7.91 LiverpoolPremier League7.92 EibarLa Liga7.23 Rank per 90 minutes* The big five leagues are the Premier League (England), Bundesliga (Germany), Ligue 1 (France), La Liga (Spain) and Serie A (Italy).Source: Football Whispers Assists93158 Expected assists76127 3England1.621-0.62 There is an uncharacteristic air of hope this year surrounding an uncharacteristic England team. To be an England supporter is to inherit a contradictory combination of utter nihilism and raging anger, expecting nothing and everything at the same time. English players have developed an unfortunate reputation: They will wilt under the brightest lights, typified by the inability to hold their nerve during penalty shootouts.But the perception of mental weakness between generations is, to some extent, a consequence of the spread-out nature of international tournaments. The World Cup is rare and unpredictable: Germany, the defending champion, had just a 13 percent chance of winning in Russia going into the tournament, according to FiveThirtyEight’s model, and even Brazil, the favorite, had less than a 20 percent chance.Using pre-tournament Elo ratings going back to 1930, we can construct a logistic regression to look at how many World Cup trophies each country might have expected based on team strength, the competition format and whether the country was hosting.1Historically, having a home advantage makes a big difference, so the model adjusts for the advantage that comes with hosting responsibility.Brazil, Germany and Italy have roughly a pair of trophies each more than the model’s predictions based on their strength before the tournament, which illustrates that the World Cup is hardly a tale of who the favorite is going in.England has underachieved, winning a solitary trophy relative to 1.62 expected World Cups. By our measure, only Hungary, which was one of the world’s best in the 1950s, and the three-time runner-up Netherlands have seen a bigger discrepancy. English supporters born after 1966 are justified in feeling a tad underwhelmed by the team’s performances on the world stage, but it could be worse — of the underachievers, England is the only team to actually have managed a win at all. England should have more trophiesTop five under- and overachievers by actual World Cups won vs. expected Successful dribbles666831 MarseilleLigue 18.15 RomaSerie A8.36 3Italy2.144+1.86 Based on a logistic regression that uses each team’s pre-World Cup ELO rating, accounting for host country and size of field. Germany’s history includes West Germany, while Russia’s includes the Soviet Union.Source: EloRATINGS.NET RB LeipzigBundesliga7.88 StatisticHarry KaneDele AlliRaheem Sterling read more

Football Michigan offense starts with the run game

OSU junior defensive end Tyquan Lewis (59) takes his position during their game on Nov. 19, 2016 at Spartan Stadium. The Buckeyes won 17-16. Credit: Mason Swires | Assistant Photo EditorMichigan played its first game of the season without redshirt sophomore quarterback Wilton Speight last week, and if they proved one thing in their 20-10 victory over Indiana, it’s that its offense now relies almost solely on the shoulders of senior running back De’Veon Smith.Even if the injured Speight does return against Ohio State, Smith will still likely be considered the most crucial part of the Michigan offense.The senior running back set a career-high with 158 rushing yards in last Saturday’s victory over the Hoosiers and accounted for both of Michigan’s touchdowns.This trend is not something that has been entirely alien to their offense, however. Of the 60 touchdowns scored this season by the Maize and Blue, 39 have come on the ground while only 17 have come through the air and two have come on defensive plays. Smith is responsible for 10 of those rushing touchdowns.But this style of rushing offense is a bit different from one that the Buckeyes have faced in other games this year. The Wolverines run with a pro-style offense, meaning they rely heavily on the play of the offensive line and count on their quarterbacks being styled more to pass than to run.The play of the running backs is different than that of most other college-style offenses, but junior linebacker Chris Worley knows exactly what to expect out of the running backs.“It’s not going to be guys trying to run around you,” Worley said. “It’s going to be guys trying to run through your face.”OSU redshirt junior cornerback Gareon Conley said in this game, the defense will have to focus more on stopping Smith and the rushing offense than their air attack.“They don’t throw the ball as much because they run the ball a lot,” Conley said. “But we’ll be forced to stop the run and play the pass whenever it comes.”Facing a run-heavy offense, the Buckeyes should feel confident about their chances in slowing down Smith given how their defense has played against the run this year. OSU ranks 18th in fewest rush yards allowed per game and has only allowed four touchdowns to be scored on the ground, tied for second among FBS teams. They have also only allowed opponents to average 3.39 yards per carry, good for 18th fewest among FBS schools. For redshirt junior defensive end Tyquan Lewis, that ability to plug up the run comes down to more than just preparation, it rests on the defensive line’s mentality.“It doesn’t really matter to me, because every team has their scheme with what they’re going to do,” Lewis said. “At the end of the day, it’s about who’s going to put their hand in the dirt and just going. You can play whatever formation you want to play, we’re going to play whatever defense we have to to dominate.”In Michigan’s 14-13 loss two weeks ago to Iowa, Speight suffered a broken collarbone on his left side. Filling in for the redshirt sophomore was redshirt junior quarterback John O’Korn, a transfer from the University of Houston. O’Korn failed to deliver much as he finished the game with only seven completed passes in 16 attempts for a total of 59 yards. He was also only capable of running for 19 yards on six rush attempts.For a time, it appeared O’Korn was headed towards his second career start in a Wolverine uniform as many early reports indicated Speight was unable to play for the remainder of the regular season. However, Speight has not officially been ruled out and now rumors emerge that he could still be Saturday’s starting quarterback.The signal caller at the beginning of the season, Speight had given the Wolverines a starting quarterback with the ability to provide the team with a strong air attack. He had completed 160 of his 257 attempted passes for a 62.3 percent completion rate, thrown for 2,156 yards and had 15 touchdown passes to only four interceptions. Lewis acknowledges that while it isn’t easy to prepare when such an important position remains a question mark, the team will be prepared by Saturday to face whomever is behind center.“It could be rough depending on if one’s a runner or not,” Lewis said. “They have a really solid foundation with what they’re going to do: run the ball, throw when necessary.” read more

Advice on Building a Social Network from CIO

first_imgI found a great article posted on the Syndicom Web site from CIO magazine on how to develop an online community. Here are four points I pulled out that relate to content publishers: 1. Design for EvolutionBecause communities of practice are organic, designing them is more a matter of shepherding their evolution than creating them from scratch. As the community grows, new members bring new interests and may pull the focus of the community in different directions.2. Open a Dialog Between Inside and Outside Effective community design is built on the collective experience of community members. Only an insider can appreciate the issues at the heart of the domain, the knowledge that is important to share, the challenges his field faces, and the latent potential in emerging ideas and techniques. Only an insider can know who the real players are and their relationships. Good community design requires an understanding of the community’s potential to develop and steward knowledge, but it often takes an outside perspective to help members see the possibilities3. Invite Different Levels of ParticipationPeople participate in communities for different reasons. We commonly see three main levels of community participation. The first is a small core group of people who actively participate in discussions. As the community matures, this core group takes on much of the community’s leadership. But this group is usually rather small, only 10 percent to 15 percent of the whole community. At the next level outside this core is the active group. These members attend meetings regularly and participate occasionally in the community forums, but without the regularity or intensity of the core group. The active group is also quite small, another 15 percent to 20 percent of the community. A large portion of community members are peripheral and rarely participate. Instead, they keep to the sidelines, watching the interaction of the core and active members4. Focus on ValueValue is key to community life because participation in most communities is voluntary. But the full value of a community is often not apparent when it is first formed. Moreover, the source of value often changes during the life of the community. Communities need to create events, activities and relationships that help their potential value emerge and enable them to discover new ways to harvest it rather than attempting to determine their expected value in advance. For more great articles on creating a social network, see the Syndicom resources page.last_img read more

Army Leaders Highlight Readiness Shortfall Need for BRAC Round

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR Fiscal constraints have forced the Army to focus on near-term readiness, putting its future capability at great risk, the service’s top civilian and military officials told lawmakers Wednesday.“We’re mortgaging our future readiness because we have to ensure success in today’s battles,” said acting Army Secretary Patrick Murphy.Murphy and Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee that readiness is their top priority as the Army shrinks its active-duty end-strength from 490,000 to 450,000 while fulfilling the requirements of combatant commanders around the globe, reported Army Times.The Army entered 2016 with 482,264 soldiers on active duty, leaving the force about 7,000 soldiers from reaching its goal of 475,000 troops by this coming October. The newly released FY 2017 budget calls for the service’s end strength to drop to 460,000 by Oct. 1, 2017.To free up more resources for training, the witnesses urged Congress to authorize a new round of base closures.“Let us manage your investments,” Murphy said. The service spends at least $500 million annually on excess or underutilized facilities, according to the written testimony Murphy and Milley submitted.“In short, smaller investments in Army installations without the ability to reduce excess infrastructure jeopardizes our ability to ensure long-term readiness. To continue the efficient use of resources, the Army requests congressional authority to consolidate or close excess infrastructure,” the testimony stated.Milley told one committee member that retaining 480,000 soldiers in the active force, 350,000 in the Guard and 205,000 in the Reserve would help the Army better meet its readiness goals, but he emphasized the importance of providing the necessary funding to maintain the extra troops’ proficiency in combat operations.“The short answer would be sure, I think that having increased numbers would help out with readiness, but if, and only if, we had the money to support that,” Milley said.last_img read more