first_img× LIP SYNC BATTLE — Henry Harris Community School enjoyed their very own Lip Sync Battle. Each month the seventh and eighth grade teachers hold an activity for students who have exemplified good behavior and academic success.last_img

first_imgNoyes Named Acting Commissioner of Housing and Community AffairsMONTPELIER, Vt. – The former Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development has been named the acting Commissioner of Housing and Community Affairs.William Noyes will take charge of the department when acting Commissioner Molly Dugan steps down later this month, according to Commerce and Community Development Secretary Kevin Dorn.Dugan, who has been deputy housing commissioner since 2006, has been filling the top slot since former housing commissioner John Hall stepped down this spring.”Bill’s experience within our agency will serve him well in his new role,” said Dorn, whose agency includes both the housing and economic development departments. “He is familiar with the people and the issues and will be able to hit the ground running.”Noyes, 58, of Barre, joined the Department of Economic Development in June 2006 after serving nine years as second in command at the Vermont National Guard under former Adjutant General Martha Rainville.Prior to that, Noyes spent more than 20 years working in the private sector, including managing two radio stations, WSNO-AM and WORK-FM, before joining the Guard full time.”I’m looking forward to working with the staff at Housing and Community Affairs,” Noyes said. “The Community Development Program, Division of Community Planning and Revitalization, and Division for Historic Preservation are all outstanding teams and make valuable contributions to our state.”The Department of Housing and Community Affairs administers programs related to housing; the Downtown and Community Development Block Grant programs; and planning and historic preservation.”Together, we will continue to provide services that will help strengthen Vermont’s downtowns and village centers and build vibrant communities,” Noyes said.Dugan, who worked for the Vermont League of Cities and Towns before joining the agency in 2001, was head of the Vermont Community Development Program before being promoted to DHCA Deputy Commissioner. She is leaving state government to pursue another opportunity.last_img read more

first_imgAllan Sloan is an editor-at-large reporting about business and finance for ProPublica. Read his recent story on pension bonds, “When Wall Street Offers Free Money, Watch Out.“Researcher Derek Kravitz contributed to this report. By Allan Sloan, ProPublicaThis story was co-published with the Washington Post.Wealth, jobs and pay inequality are big political issues this presidential primary season, and they’re bound to become bigger once the parties pick their nominees. In the plethora of plans candidates tout for tackling these problems, one favored tool stands out: the federal tax code.But trying to legislate corporate behavior and economic fairness — however you define fairness — through the tax system is a lot trickier than it sounds.Consider the supposed solution to an equality and social-justice issue debated six elections ago — a law designed to limit how much companies could deduct from their taxable income for lush pay packages to high-paid executives.In 1992, as now, key electoral issues included inequality and the spectacle of American jobs moving overseas — underscored by a gaping disparity between executives making multiple millions and ordinary workers with stagnant wages.The idea was to give companies a tax incentive to rein in executive pay or just shame them into it. But a new study done for ProPublica and The Washington Post by S&P Global Market Intelligence shows that the law has had little effect. In fact, the titans of American industry and commerce shrugged off the statute and moved to pay top executives way more than the deductibility limit.Bill Clinton, the not-yet-a-household-name Arkansas governor, proposed limiting deductions for what he called “excessive executive pay” during his first presidential campaign in the early 1990s. The concept had kicked around Washington for several years and was one of the planks that helped him win the Democratic nomination and deny George H.W. Bush a second term. In 1992, Bush had vetoed a budget bill containing a provision to limit how much companies could deduct for high-paid people.Clinton’s victory and a Democratic Congress resulted in a tax law change that limited companies’ deductions for executives’ compensation to $1 million per executive per year. That’s the amount that Clinton proposed for chief executives in “Putting People First,” a campaign book that he co-authored with Al Gore.The compensation deduction limit, known to tax techies as Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code, was adopted in a 1993 bill that also increased taxes on higher-income Social Security recipients and reduced deductions for business meals.The legislation, however, was stuffed with loopholes. It covered only companies with publicly traded stock; it applied to only five (and since 2007, four) “named executive officers” who aren’t necessarily the highest-paid; and it exempted “performance-based” compensation, including stock options, and huge bonuses based on easily attained goals, allowing unlimited deductions for them.Section 162(m) fulfilled a campaign promise. But, in hindsight, it’s clear that it has had little or no influence on corporate behavior. Says Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), a leading congressional tax maven: “Regardless of how you feel about limiting compensation through the tax code, the current law is like a gnat on an elephant in accomplishing its goal. It’s easy to swataway, and that’s exactly what many companies do.”We decided to see whether that was accurate.Our study looked at the history of executive compensation for the 40 members of today’s “Nifty Fifty” — the 50 companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index with the highest stock market value — that also reported executive compensation information for 1992, the year before the pay-deductibility limits took effect.To compare apples to apples, we eliminated the 10 members of the Nifty Fifty, including Facebook and Alphabet (Google’s parent company), that weren’t publicly traded back then or didn’t exist.In 1992, only 35 percent of the people in our study — executives whose income was reported in companies’ proxy statements — had more than $1 million of income in the categories subject to deductibility limits. (Those are salaries, bonuses and restricted stock that vests over time.) But in 2014, the last year for which corporate salary income is available, the number had risen to 95 percent.(Read our complete methodology.)Given inflation, it’s no surprise that more top execs would breach the $1 million cap. But the numbers also showed something completely unintuitive.From 1992 to 2014, compensation per executive in the limited-deductibility categories rose more rapidly — by about 650 percent, to $8.2 million from $1.1 million — than compensation in categories such as stock options and incentive pay that aren’t subject to deductibility limits. The latter rose by about 350 percent, to $4.4 million from $970,000.“That’s powerful,” Steven Balsam, a leading academic expert on executive compensation practices, said when told what our study showed. Balsam is a professor at Temple University’s Fox School of Business who published a 2012 study on the deduction cap for the Economic Policy Institute. “At best, 162(m) has had a marginal effect,” he said. “It hasn’t had a major impact.”Some of the companies with the most notable increases in compensation subject to the limit include Allergan (to $77.4 million from $378,000), Cisco (to $75.2 million from $1.1 million), Oracle (to $119.4 million from $4.9 million) and Walmart (to $55.4 million from $2.9 million).What happened? It turns out that losing deductibility isn’t all that big a deal to companies — we estimated the effect of lost deductibility on corporate profits at only about 0.2 percent in 2010 for the companies in Balsam’s study. And there’s no reason to think those numbers have changed much.(The 0.2 percent figure is based on Balsam’s estimate that the 7,248 companies in his study paid an extra $2.5 billion of federal tax because of lost deductibility in 2010, and on S&P Global Market Intelligence’s calculation that the 7,722 firms in its slightly larger database had $1.153 trillion in after-tax profits that year.)“Decisions on the pay mix are not guided by the deductibility factor,” said Steven Seelig, executive compensation counsel for Willis Towers Watson, a big consulting firm. “Compensation committees are certainly mindful of the tax rules and meet the deductibility rules when they can. But the decision on the pay mix that’s appropriate is guided by their companies’ unique circumstances.”One of the reasons that the deductibility limit has been so ineffectual is that it was watered down from what was originally proposed.According to coverage by Tax Notes, which tracked the progress of 162(m) in great detail, the intellectual godfather of the legislation was then-Rep. Martin Sabo, a Minnesota Democrat.Sabo, who represented Minneapolis and some of its suburbs, said in an interview that his goal had been to reduce economic inequality. “My proposal was trying to send a message,” he said. “This was a sort of symbolic thing because I felt that those at the top should care about the bottom.” He had pushed for deductibility limits in the 1992 tax bill that Bush vetoed.But what became Section 162(m) a year later wasn’t Sabo’s original concept. “What I proposed was that you couldn’t take a tax deduction if the compensation exceeded 25 times the compensation of the lowest-paid employees,” he said.That idea began life as the Income Disparities Act of 1991. Because it applied to all employees, not just top officers, the legislation would have had a sweeping impact across corporate America. How did it morph into something that affected only a few executives at publicly traded companies?“I don’t know,” Sabo said.A hint of what happened comes from former congressman Tom Downey. The New York Democrat was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and was involved with Sabo’s 1991 legislation, but he left Congress before 162(m) became law.“There are all sorts of things I did to try to get rich people to pay more in taxes, and none of it worked,” Downey said. All sorts of people were upset by Sabo’s proposal, Downey said, and major attacks “came from my friends in Hollywood.”It’s doubtful that anything resembling Sabo’s proposal would have been adopted. What Clinton proposed in “Putting People First” — a $1 million cap — was a simpler and easier sell.“This is an example of a law that’s so watered down it’s meaningless. It’s still on the books, but it has no value,” said Graef “Bud” Crystal, a compensation consultant and critic of excessive executive pay. “It should be put out of its misery.”Crystal had a 1991 phone conversation with Clinton about limiting deductions for executive compensation that was widely publicized at the time. Crystal said he told Clinton that the proposal not only wouldn’t hold down executive pay, but would hurt shareholders by increasing the after-tax cost of CEO pay packages.Crystal said that when people told Clinton that the legislation was so diminished it would have no effect, “he said, ‘Bud Crystal made me do it.’” Actually, Crystal said, “I told him just the opposite.”What does Clinton think of how ineffectual his legislation has been? That’s a mystery. The former president was campaigning in New Hampshire for his wife, and his spokesman declined to respond to a list of detailed questions.On the campaign trail these days, Republicans say that eliminating the corporate income tax (Sen. Ted Cruz) or cutting it sharply (Donald Trump) will set off a hiring boom. Democrats say that jacking up tax rates (Sen. Bernie Sanders) or changing capital gains rules (Hillary Clinton) will reduce the advantages that rich people enjoy over the rest of the populace.It’s impossible to know whether any of these ideas will become law. But based on history, it’s a safe bet that if they do, they are not likely to produce the results their proponents predict. Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York center_img ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.last_img read more

first_imgJOHNSON CITY (WBNG) – On Saturday at Johnson City High School, parents came together to honor the lacrosse seniors. Saturday would have been the lacrosse game between Johnson City and Maine-Endwell, which is one of the biggest games on the spring sports calendar. The Johnson City girl’s team has four seniors while the boys have eleven. Despite not being able to have one last season, two seniors say it feels good to still be honored. “Like” Jacob Seus on Facebook and “Follow” him on Twitter. Every senior lacrosse player who would have participated in the season had a sign honoring their accomplishments. The signs were placed by the turf at the high school. “Everybody in the community is always coming together, and it is great to see at all the games. You see all the people in the stands cheering you on, and it’s just great to see, and it’s a great feeling,” said senior Jake Carpenter. “All of the parents and everyone in the community is always supporting us and that’s the biggest thing,” said senior Andrew Hammer.last_img read more

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

first_imgWhat do evolutionists do when data bring surprises to their claims?  They find new ways for evolution to work magic.  See if these stories illustrate that or not.Plant-animal partnership:  One could hardly find two groups of organisms more disparate than plants and animals, but an article on PhysOrg claims that both groups hit on the same evolutionary solution to a problem independently.  The subtitle emphasized the disparity, saying, “Despite their divergent evolutionary history, membrane-bound kinase receptors in animals and plants rely on similar regulatory mechanisms to control their activity.”  To arrive at this solution, “plants took an evolutionary path different from their animal cousins,” the article continued.    How to explain that in evolutionary terms?  “There seem to be only so many ways to build a robust signaling system,” Dr. Joanne Chory of Howard Hughes Medical Institute, “and plants and animals have hit upon the same mechanisms.”  Odd; there seem to be a lot of evolutionary solutions to many other common problems.  Conservation and convergence are contrary to predictions of Darwin’s branching tree of life, but evolutionists routinely invoke those terms within evolutionary theory, not as a falsification of it.Tooth loophole:  What is the truth about the tooth in frogs?  Most frogs lack teeth on the lower jaw, but a strange tree frog in the Andes named Gastrotheca guentheri has teeth on both upper and lower jaws – the only known frog species so equipped.  The headline on the BBC News announced, “Frogs re-evolved lost lower teeth.”    How to explain that in evolutionary terms?  Dr. John Wiens of Stony Brook University published his explanation in the journal Evolution: “I combined data from fossils and DNA sequences with new statistical methods and showed that frogs lost their teeth on the lower jaw more than 230 million years ago, but that they re-appeared in G. guentheri within the past 20 million years.”    This would have to mean that genes for lower teeth sat dormant in frogs for 210 million years.  If they served no purpose, though, why would natural selection retain them?  “The reappearance of these lower teeth after such a long time fuels debate about whether complex traits are lost in evolution or if they can resurface,” reporter Ella Davies wrote.  Is this a kind of resurrection miracle?“The loss of mandibular teeth in the ancestor of modern frogs and their re-appearance in G. guentheri provides very strong evidence for the controversial idea that complex anatomical traits that are evolutionarily lost can re-evolve, even after being absent for hundreds of millions of years,” Dr Wiens says….   What G. guentheri did was to put teeth back on the lower jaw, rather than having to re-evolve all the mechanisms for making teeth ‘from scratch’,” says Dr Wiens.While efficient for the frog, it seems to contradict the notion that natural selection continually sifts out the bad and adds up the good.  210 million years is a long time to keep genes around that don’t do anything.  But Dr. Wiens was not done with his evolutionary magic tricks:“This ‘loophole’ may apply to many other cases when traits appear to re-evolve, such as in the re-evolution of lost fingers and toes in lizards,” Dr Wiens tells the BBC.    According to Dr Wiens, this theory could be applied to other recent studies that have suggested the re-evolution of lost traits.    In the last decade, scientists have identified and debated several attributes that have apparently “re-evolved” over time including stick insect’s wings, coiling in limpet shells, larval stages of salamanders and lost digits in lizards.Update 02/10/2011:  National Geographic News reported the story, saying “The discovery challenges a ‘cornerstone’ of evolutionary thinking, according to experts.”  After some argument over whether lost organs can never re-evolve (Dollo’s Law), the article admitted scientists cannot explain this by neo-Darwinism:With that in mind, natural selection—the process by which favorable traits become more common over time within a species—is “not enough to explain” why the marsupial tree frog regained its lower teeth.    “I can confidently say that we don’t know,” [Gunter] Wagner [Yale U] said.  “It’s an extremely interesting question.”Who’s your daddy?  Now that the orang-utan genome has been deciphered, evolutionists are saying that parts of the human genome are more closely related to orang-utans than to chimpanzees (see Science Daily).  The BBC News, reported that the orang-utan genome “evolved slowly,” while another article on Science Daily claimed that the orang genome is simultaneously “More Diverse Than Human’s, Remarkably Stable Through the Ages.”    How to explain that in evolutionary terms?  It seems the only way is to make evolution run fast and slow, both genetically and phenotypically: “That doesn’t mean the species itself has evolved more slowly,” said Devin Locke (Washington University), of the orang-utan genome, “but that this particular mechanism of genome evolution has been proceeding at a lower rate.  Humans and chimps, in sharp contrast, have experienced an acceleration in this form of evolution over the past 5 million years or so.”Carnation race:  Why would evolution’s mechanisms not follow predictable natural laws?  PhysOrg announced that carnations “show the fastest known diversification rate in plants,” at the same time some of their neighbors in similar habitats do not.  The short article tried to explain “the most rapid rate ever reported in plants or terrestrial vertebrates” as a function of arid conditions, “suggesting a link between climate and biodiversity,” but then one would expect all organisms in the Pleistocene to respond similarly in evolutionary terms.  Clearly the “living fossil” species, and many other stable organisms, have not.  What in tarnation made the carnation go on a diversity kick?Evolutionists are clearly having to juggle a confusing jumble of data.  Science Daily put forth a new theory about intron evolution, trying to bring order out of that seeming chaos, while PhysOrg tried to weave evolution and ecology into a curious feedback loop.  Thomas Schoener (UC Davis) looked at the oscillating beak sizes of Galapagos finches, and said, “If ecology affects evolution (long supported) and evolution affects ecology (becoming increasingly supported), then what?  The transformed ecology might affect evolution, and so on, back and forth in a feedback loop.”    This will certainly confuse cause and effect inferences, to say nothing of making evolutionary trends unpredictable.  A “major research effort” will be needed to find this out, he said.  But if evolution, ecology and environment are all interconnected, evolutionary theory will have a difficult time with this three-body problem being able to predict what will happen.  With apologies to Arthur C. Clarke, any sufficiently convoluted evolutionary theory is indistinguishable from magic.Has there ever been a more vacuous theory than Darwinism?  Evolution is fast except when it is slow, chaotic except when it is stable, divergent except when it is convergent, a driver except when it is driven, selfish except when it is altruistic, exorbitant except when it is thrifty, accelerating at the same time it is pushing on the brakes, dependent on the climate except when it’s not, mechanistic except when it is random.  There is no observation that cannot be incorporated into this hodgepodge of explanation, rendering it little more than a flexible, dynamic, evolving, adjusting, backpedaling, ad hoc narrative.  But we MUST teach it as FACT in the schools! (Re-read 01/29/1011 now).(Visited 21 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_imgHuman ExoskeletonA mind-controlled robotic “exoskeleton” is helping a man with paralysis walk again (New Scientist). Here’s an inspiring story about engineers trying to help a man walk who became paralyzed four years ago in a fall. He can almost control a new exoskeleton suit with his thoughts! Implants in his brain known to be involved with movement allow him to “think” of how he wants to move, and the device responds. Practice with simulators is giving Thibault hope of regaining independent movement.It’s an amazing breakthrough, but has a long way to go. For now, the scientists monitor his movements as he tries the device while suspended in a harness for safety.A paralysed man has been able to walk again using an exoskeleton suit he controls with his mind. Although it doesn’t yet let him walk independently – the suit is suspended from an overhead harness to stop him from falling – the advance represents the first steps down the road to this goal.The take-home message of the article is just how difficult it is to think of everything involved in successful walking. Those of us not handicapped take for granted even the most simple motions, but the engineers are struggling to get the robotic device to know how to do simple things like turning a wrist or reaching out and touching an object. The device needs to be able to control eight directions of motion simultaneously, and needs to be recalibrated periodically. So far, Thibauld has learned the thoughts to start and stop the walking system, which moves his legs similar to walking. The video clip in the article says, “But while this is a promising demonstration, there is still a long way to go.”Imitating Other Natural DesignsDetailed picture reveals how tooth enamel is strong enough to last a lifetime (Phys.org). Tooth enamel is the hardest mineral in the human body, but is not repaired, like bone. For many people, it can last a lifetime. Intrigued by its durability, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studied its structure at the nanoscale.“We apply huge pressure on tooth enamel every time we chew, hundreds of times a day,” says Pupa Gilbert, professor of physics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “Tooth enamel is unique in that it has to last our entire lifetime. How does it prevent catastrophic failure?“They determined that the enamel crystals are composed of bundles of rods, but the rods are not parallel to adjacent rods. That’s apparently the secret: cracks starting to propagate will not traverse an interface if it is at a slight angle. As it turns out, the angle between adjacent rods is just in the right range for optimum resistance to crack propagation. They built a model and used a computer to find that out. Although they don’t mention applications for this discovery, it wouldn’t be hard for materials scientists to take note and think of how to use that secret for stronger ceramics.Multibioinspired slippery surfaces with wettable bump arrays for droplets pumping (PNAS). Here’s a case of “multi-bioinspired” engineering. Both plants and animals gave these scientists ideas about how to create more “wettable” surfaces that bead water off without absorbing it.Efficient droplet manipulation has been widely studied and used in various applications, including water treatment, chemical and biological analysis, etc. However, most of the approaches for droplet manipulation still face many challenges such as external energy dependence, single-directional droplets handling, and nonrecyclability. In this study, inspired by the features and strategies of Namib desert beetles, Nepenthes pitcher plants, and emergent aquatic plants, we present a multibioinspired slippery surface for efficient droplet manipulation by combining bottom-up colloidal self-assembly, top-down photolithography, and microstructured mold replication. It has been demonstrated that the prepared surface could well address these challenges and behave well in conducting multiplexed tasks including droplet capturing, pumping, and collecting.A filament fit for space—silk is proven to thrive in outer space temperatures (Phys.org). Silkworms and spiders are two unrelated classes of animals that make silk. Silk has been prized since ancient times for clothing and art, but now it’s suiting up for space. Unlike other polymer-based fibers, natural silk does not become brittle at low temperatures. In fact, it can survive intact down to -200° C, scientists at Oxford University found. That’s because its fibers are slippage-resistant and crack-resistant at the nanoscale. And it doesn’t need human help to enjoy a bright future in space:The discovery is pushing boundaries because it studied a material in the conceptually difficult and technologically challenging area that not only spans the micron and nano-scales but also has to be studied at temperatures well below any deep-freezer. The size of scales studied range from the micron size of the fibre to the sub-micron size of a filament bundle to the nano-scale of the fibrils and last but not least to the level supra-molecular structures and single molecules. Against the backdrop of cutting edge science and futuristic applications it is worth remembering that silk is not only 100% a biological fibre but also an agricultural product with millennia of R&D.Spider silk: A malleable protein provides reinforcement (Science Daily). Speaking of silk, German researchers looked further into the nature of spider silk that makes it so tough while remaining flexible.Why are the lightweight silk threads of web spiders tougher than most other materials? Scientists from the Universities of Würzburg and Mainz teamed up to find answers to this question. They were able to show that the natural amino acid methionine provides plasticity to a protein domain, which is a constitutive part of spider silk. This plasticity increases the strength of bonding between the individual domains substantially. The scientists have published their findings in the current issue of Nature Communications.The finding makes progress in understanding spider silk, but scientists are still far behind mimicking its qualities, even though manufacturers are marketing lookalikes. The “marvellous [sic] material with many applications” may get better with the understanding of methionine’s role in providing flexibility. “The unique combination of toughness and elasticity makes it highly attractive for industry,” the article says. “Whether in aviation, textile industry or medicine, potential applications of this outstanding material are numerous.”Bioinspired supramolecular nanosheets of zinc chlorophyll assemblies (Nature Scientific Reports). An organism doesn’t have to be large to promote biomimetics. Lowly bacteria inspired scientists to write this paper: photosynthetic bacteria, to be specific.Two-dimensional sheet-like supramolecules have attracted much attention from the viewpoints of their potential application as functional (nano)materials due to unique physical and chemical properties. One of the supramolecular sheet-like nanostructures in nature is visible in the self-assemblies of bacteriochlorophyll-c–f pigments inside chlorosomes, which are major components in the antenna systems of photosynthetic green bacteria…. The kinetically and thermodynamically formed self-assemblies had particle-like and sheet-like supramolecular nanostructures, respectively. The resulting nanosheets of biomimetic chlorosomal J-aggregates had flat surfaces and well-ordered supramolecular structures. The artificial sheet-like nanomaterial mimicking chlorosomal bacteriochlorophyll-c–f J-aggregates was first constructed by the model molecule, and is potentially useful for various applications including artificial light-harvesting antennas and photosyntheses.Louisiana hopes to fight coast erosion by mimicking nature (Phys.org). One might call this a case of geomimetics instead of biomimetics. The scientists in Lousiana, trying to prevent further erosion of soil along the state’s coastline, realize that human techniques of dredging aren’t working. How is sediment resupplied naturally? Well, it does involve plant life as well as river flow.Engineers hope to remake some eroded marshes by cutting into the levees and siphoning off sediment-rich water that can be channeled into coastal basins. When the sediment settles out of the water, it will slowly accrue into soil.“The fundamental problem in coastal Louisiana is that lack of sediment, and so we’re trying to mimic the way Mother Nature would have delivered that sediment to our coast in the past,” said Bren Haase, who leads the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.Without the marsh grass and willow trees, the sediment would likely erode away. Plants are, therefore, an essential part of the coastal recovery effort. Oyster fishermen, with their livelihoods at stake, are watching the progress eagerly. (Visited 214 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Scientists are inspired by nature’s designs, why? Maybe it’s because they are designed.last_img read more

first_img2 May 2014 The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) opens its central Results Operation Centre at the Tshwane Events Centre in Pretoria on Thursday. More than 25.3-million people have registered to vote in the country’s fifth democratic elections on 7 May – a 9.5% increase in registered voters compared to the 2009 polls – and the centre will serve as both as the organising hub of the election as well as the IEC’s temporary headquarters before, during and immediately after the election. “Since the first elections managed by the Electoral Commission in 1999, the Results and Operations Centre has been set up each election as a vibrant meeting point for political parties, the media, observer missions from other parts of the world and many other stakeholders in the period immediately before and after the election,” IEC chairperson Pansy Tlakula said at Thursday’s opening. “As an operations or nerve centre, the facility enables us not only to monitor and coordinate operations nationally but also to field and process queries as they arise. The technology behind the Centre also allows us to provide designated workstations for political representatives and members of the media so that they can monitor results in real time from their allocated booths.” There are 10 Results Operation Centres across the country where the results will stream in at the conclusion of voting until the official results are declared. These results will come in from the 22 363 voting stations that have been set up by the IEC across the country. “We are ready to capture the results and give South Africans the final result when the poll is done as we have done in the past,” Tlakula said. IEC deputy chairperson Terry Tselane said the results centre was “fundamentally about transparency … This year we have more than 31 media houses represented at the centre including 11 radio stations and international television stations”. Source: SAnews.govlast_img read more

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The confidential crop survey from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will be arriving in your mailbox soon and it’s very important to take the time to complete it. Anthony Bush farms in Mt. Gilead and is on the board of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). He says the number of farmers completing the survey has been declining in recent years and, as he tells the Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins, that is bad news for farmers. Find out more about the survey at www.ncga.com/nasslast_img

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now There is too much anti-phone sentiment in the world of social media. Social selling is good. But the telephone is better. Here are nine reasons you need to pick up the telephone today.Your emails have gone unanswered. They have gone unanswered, haven’t they? Many of them have been filtered out by spam filters, and more have been filtered out by your dream client’s priorities. If you are serious about a meeting, you will change your approach.You get the advantage of dialogue. When you pick up the phone and call, you have the opportunity to engage in a dialogue. Your dream client is still likely to refuse your request for a meeting, but you will be there to describe your sales call value proposition and give yourself a fighting chance.You will differentiate yourself. Many of your competitors have bought the big lie that you can’t use the telephone, that you can’t interrupt your dream client. If you are game enough to make a call, you will pull yourself out of the pack.You are choosing a more effective medium. The phone is the third most effective medium for serious communications. But you use the phone to get to the two more powerful mediums, a face-to-face meeting or a video conference.You become known. You can’t see or hear the person on the other side of an email. But a person on the telephone is real. You hear their voice. They introduce themselves, and you know their name. If you call more than once, you become known.You have real value to create. If you’ve targeted your dream clients, you are picking up the phone because you have the ability and the desire to help. The difference between being persistent and being a nuisance is your ability to create value. It’s okay to call if you intend to create value.You need a better pipeline. If your pipeline isn’t what it should be, if it doesn’t have enough opportunities for you to reach your goals, then what you’re doing isn’t working. The telephone is still the most effective way to reach people to schedule appointments. Your pipeline will improve when you pick up the telephone.The phone is part of a campaign. Picking up the phone doesn’t mean that you don’t also use every other possible means of prospecting. You still need to use the social selling tools, just like you still need to ask for referrals. The phone is one of the many means you are going to use to communicate with your dream clients.Your fear of the phone is unfounded. No one has ever died from making a phone call. No one has even been seriously injured. Occasionally, you will run across someone under enough stress and in such a foul state that they might hang up on you. If you are compassionate, you’ll know that their state has nothing to do with you.last_img read more