Some cities plan special events to honor those killed on 9/11

first_img“I have a strong belief that between the fire personnel and fire families, there is such a broad base of union, that I believe it will never be forgotten,” Nuss said. According to representatives for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, there are no plans for an areawide remembrance. The Whittier Police Department plans to hold a moment of silence at each of the day’s three patrol briefings. (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Six years after Sept. 11, 2001, firefighters and others are coming together to remember those who were killed in the terrorist attacks in New York, as well as in the attacks on the Pentagon and those aboard Flight 93. While some area firefighters, police and cities will recognize the anniversary, most cities and schools did not plan services or moments of silence to mark the somber occasion. “We’re not having any ceremonial events,” said Julie Hererra, public relations representative for the city of Sante Fe Springs. “We’re just honoring Patriot Day, so all our flags will be flown at half-staff.” Montebello will stage a special service from 6-8 p.m. at Montebello City Park, 1300 Whittier Blvd. Local clergy will open with remarks and prayer, and everyone is invited to come and decorate a card in honor of loved ones who have served in the military or who are currently in the armed forces. Community Services Supervisor Rebecca Silva said the city has held an event on the anniversary each year. “We continue to be reminded about it,” Silva said. “It’s important to never forget those individuals that have fought for us in the line of duty.” The Los Angeles County Fire Department will conduct a department-wide moment of silence and remembrance for the almost 3,000 lives lost Sept. 11, 2001. A special ceremony will be held at City Hall in Los Angeles at 8:30 a.m., while all department personnel around L.A. County will gather around the flagpole at their station at 8:55 a.m., to lower the flag to half-mast and to observe a moment of silence. A call will go out to all personnel at 9 a.m., when the flag will be raised again. To La Habra Heights Capt. Craig Nuss, the event carries special significance because so many in the profession were lost. last_img read more

Nose Knows More than Math Pros Suppose

first_imgThe aroma of coffee, of a steak, of cherries – these smells are all composed of dozens if not hundreds of separate molecules, yet our brains immediately recognize them each as a coherent whole.  How does the nose and the brain process all this information?  This is the subject of an article in the Caltech magazine Engineering and Science1 by Gilles Laurent, Caltech professor and neurologist, who studies olfaction and also “how single neurons perform nonlinear operations such as multiplication.”    Unlike vision and hearing, our olfactory sense does not allow us to decompose a composite input into its constituents.  We perceive odors as single entities.  Studies on insects by Laurent and his students show that this is because individual receptors fire in patterns that are mapped like a code to a large number of unique sensors called Kenyon cells.  In insects, these cells reside in a part of the olfactory apparatus called the mushroom body (in vertebrates, it’s the olfactory cortex of the brain).  Each Kenyon cell gets a very unique set of inputs from the receptors, and thus a distinct, composite signal from a highly diverse set of inputs.  Laurent does the math to show the staggering number of possibilities for odor memory that this system permits:The locust has 800 projection neurons connecting to 50,000 Kenyon cells.  With such a large mismatch in numbers, how are these nerve-cell populations interconnected?  When Ron Jortner, a graduate student in my lab, recorded simultaneously from both projection neurons and individual Kenyon cells to assess the probability of connection between them he found, surprisingly, that the probability was about 0.5.  In other words, each Kenyon cell seems to connect on average to half of the input population, that is, to 400 projection neurons.  The number of ways in which 400 neurons can be selected out of 800—the number of possible connection patterns—is about 10240.  It’s an enormous number.  To put it in context, there are about 1010 seconds in a century, and there have been about 1019 seconds since the beginning of the universe.  With 10240 possible combinations of projection neurons to choose from—assuming random connectivity—almost every Kenyon cell is likely to sample a combination of inputs that is very different from that sampled by the other Kenyon cells.  Each cell will therefore gain a picture of the state of the projection neuron population very different from that gathered by any other Kenyon cell.  It follows that the responses of individual Kenyon cells will be very specific; a given cell should respond only to particular combinations of activated projection neurons, maximally different on average from those experienced by the other Kenyon cells.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Laurent noted at the beginning of the article that olfaction is a form of pattern recognition, and that “Brains solve pattern-recognition problems much better than any machine built today.”  His lab tries to figure out “how brains solve these problems.”  Most of the research by Laurent and his students is on insects, whose olfactory receptors are on their antennae.  A fruit fly has 1300 receptor neurons, with 60 different receptor types, but some moths might have several hundred thousand receptor neurons.  This gives them an amazing sensitivity to low concentrations of odors like pheromones.    A diagram and electron micrograph on p. 44 shows what receptor neurons look like.  They have dozens of cilia projecting into the nasal cavity.  The reason dogs have superior sensitivity to smells, he explains, is that their nasal cavity contains much more surface area where the receptors project from sponge-like tissue called turbinate bone.  Dogs have ten times as much turbinate bone as humans.  He provides a fragrant illustration: “In a medium-size dog,” he says, “the turbinates have a total surface area the size of a large pizza.  In humans, they’re the size of a large cookie.”  Each receptor neuron has a single sensitivity dictated by the order of the amino acids in its multi-folded receptor proteins.  The amino acid sequences of receptor proteins show areas of both high conservation and high variability between species.  They loop seven times through the cell membrane, providing pockets where the odor molecules bind.    Laurent describes something striking about how the receptor neurons map their inputs to ball-shaped structures called glomeruli (singular, glomerulus).  “In an amazing feat of organization during development,” a picture caption states, “each type of receptor neuron… sends its axon to the same glomerulus….”  He calls it a “surprise” that all the axons of the same receptor type (colored red in the diagram) converge so neatly to their exact counterparts.  “By implication,” he continues, “this means there are about as many glomeruli as there are receptor types.  And with the exception of the roundworm, this extraordinary organization is found in almost all the animal species that have so far been looked at.”    From the glomeruli, the information is passed on to a smaller group of nerve cells called projection neurons, which have no axons but connect with a dozen or more glomeruli.  “With 100,000 receptor neurons converging on just 800 projection neurons, what is being computed?” he asks.  Experiments show that the precise timing of firing creates a kind of code from the multiple inputs, a pulse pattern that can be mapped and analyzed.  He likens the result to the unique arrangement that billiard balls take after the player breaks them with the cue ball; two very similar initial setups, but with slightly different angles of attack, can produce initially similar but ultimately divergent patterns of balls on the table.  (The billiard game in the nose is super-fast.  He notes on p. 48, “This happens so quickly that the representations are optimally separated within 100 to 300 milliseconds.”)  As a result, differences between very similar smells can be amplified by the system.  “That’s basically what we think is taking place in the olfactory circuit,” he says.  “The remarkable thing is that this near-chaotic process is very sensitive to the input, but very reliable nevertheless.”    To recap, the receptor proteins in the cilia of the receptor neurons react to molecules in odors.  These neurons fire their axons to the glomeruli.  The glomeruli then pass their encoded information patterns to the projection neurons.  That noise-reduced information is passed in very unique ways to the tens of thousands of Kenyon cells, which have a near infinite way to respond to the myriad possible combinations of smells.  “Kenyon cells are so specific that they only recognize one, or at most a few, odors,” a caption explains on p. 51.  He summed it up earlier (p. 46): “In other words, each odor is defined by a certain combination of receptors; the code is combinatorial…. The perception of an odor must therefore result from the brain’s interpretation of combinatorial activity patterns.”  Why, though, do a large number of receptors map to few encoders, and then those few to a large number of interpreters?  There’s a reason for everything:It seems wasteful that hundreds of thousands of olfactory receptor neurons converge on their respective glomeruli in an amazingly precise way, but that this precision is then thrown away when seemingly disordered patterns of activation are generated in the projection neurons.  But there’s a good reason for it.  A system that amplifies small differences in signals runs the risk of also amplifying noise, in this case the noise coming from the receptors.  Noise fluctuations would make the output of the projection neurons unreliable: the averaging that results from this kind of convergent design is precisely one way to reduce such fluctuations.(p. 49; for more on the problem of noise reduction, see 12/20/2004 entry).  The sense of smell, obviously, is “quite complex.”  It involves many more receptor types than other senses, like vision, which uses only four types of photoreceptor.  How did the code in the nose, and all the apparatus in the circuitry, come about?  Early in the article he speculated briefly about this question, but his answer assumes a remarkable convergence rather than demonstrating the evolutionary steps:In parts of the looping receptor protein chain, the order in which the amino acids are strung together is so variable that some animals, such as the rat, have over 1,200 different receptor types.  On average, mammals have about 1,000 types, fish and birds between 100 and 200, round- worms (Caenorhabditis elegans) 1,000, and fruit flies 60.  Humans have only 600 different odorant receptor genes, but almost half of these are “pseudogenes” that no longer function, leaving us with only 350 receptor types in our nasal mucosa….    Interestingly, when the receptor genes of mammals, flies, and worms were compared, no sequence homology was found.  In other words, the genes had probably not evolved from a common ancestor: different types of animals had come up with their own particular (but related) designs for olfactory receptors independently throughout evolutionary history.  Such convergent evolution, as it’s called, happens a lot in biological systems.  The single-lens eye design, for example, has evolved independently at least eight times in the animal kingdom.How that happened is left as an exercise, but for Laurent, his job is in the here and now, studying the sensitive yet reliable olfactory computer: “Finding the rules of such nonlinear dynamical problems is one of our goals” (p. 49).  Concluding, he says, “Our research into olfaction is…giving some valuable insights into how such kinds of high-level synthetic representations arise from the organization and dynamics of neural circuits” (p. 51).  The nose shows that “Classifying and recognizing patterns is, after all, what our brains do best.”1Gilles Laurent, “Olfaction: A Window into the Brain,” Engineering and Science (LXVIII:1/2), [summer] 2005, pp. 43-51 (PDF).This article is a good companion to the next one (see 06/25/2005 entry).  The language is similar: circuitry, computation, communication, codes, signals, and information.  The lead-in photo shows a man with a very satisfied look savoring a cup of coffee, probably unaware that he is sensing a cocktail of two to three hundred compounds.  Did you have any idea how much computation and circuitry make that pleasant feeling possible?  We joke about our noses and don’t usually give them the same respect we pay the eye or ear, but each sense is more wonderful than we could possibly realize.    Werner Gitt, in his delightful book The Wonder of Man, elaborates on some wonders of our human sense of smell.  We have between 10 and 25 million receptor cells where the odor molecules fit with the proteins like a lock and key.  Each olfactory cell measures only 5 to 15 millionths of an inch.  Past these cells waft about 12 cubic meters of air per day, as we inhale and exhale 12,000 times.  Our olfactory sense is extremely sensitive, exceeding the capabilities of most technological measuring instruments.  We can detect one ten million millionth of a gram of mercaptan, for instance, and even distinguish between left- and right-handed forms of the same molecule.  Remarkable as that is, we all know how the animal kingdom relies even more heavily on the sense of smell, marking territory with scents, using scents for sexual attraction, and navigating by their noses.  A dog has 220 million receptor cells, tenfold more than we do; think of how dogs can be trained to sniff out bombs in luggage and people trapped under rubble or avalanches, or how bloodhounds can follow the footsteps of a crook all the way from the crime scene to his shoes.  Maybe it’s good we humans don’t have that TMI problem, but our olfactory sensitivity is nothing to sneeze at.  Smells enhance the taste and flavor of our food, color our world, and influence the way we think and act in many subtle ways.  They warn us of danger, or attract us to pleasurable sensations.  “Our memory for odours is astounding,” Gitt says; “nothing can stir up old memories better than a certain scent.”  The fresh air in a pine forest, the sunshine after the rain, the fragrance of a rose, the symphony of smells at a table of great food – how impoverished life would be without a sense of smell.  Thank God for your nose.    Laurent’s brief side trip into Fantasyland with Tinker Bell (see 03/11/2005 commentary) provided some comic relief for this intense and thought-provoking look at a system of mind-boggling complexity.  Did you enjoy the Fairy Godmother’s song, the Ballad of Convergent Evolution?Impossible!  for a random mutation to become a neural circuit;Impossible!  for an unguided process to produce a code so perfect.And four DNA bases will never produce Code Morses,Such fol-de-rol and fiddle-dee-dee of course is:Impossible!But the world is full of zanies and foolswho don’t believe in sensible rulesand won’t believe what sensible people say…and because these daft and dewey eyed dopeskeep building up impossible hopesimpossible things are happening every day!Nothing like a magic wand named Natural Selection to do impossible things.  Just wish… and believe.  While the Darwinists are wishing upon a star in Fantasyland, design scientists are turning Frontierland into Tomorrowland.(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Cape film boost for economy

first_img20 July 2007The Western Cape’s growing film industry contributed an estimated R3.5-billion to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the 2006/07 financial year, according to a study commissioned by the Cape Film Commission.Total turnover for the Western Cape film industry was estimated at R2.65-billion for the year, with about 77% (R2.03-billion) of this located in Cape Town.Barry Standish and Antony Boting from the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business carried out the study earlier this year.The study estimates that 30 long form productions, 600 commercials and 2 100 stills productions were made in the Western Cape in 2006/07.Long form productions, with a turnover of R1.12-billion, was the largest part of the industry, followed by commercials at R0.87-billion and stills at an estimated R0.66-billion. Inside of long form, feature films added R934.3-million and made-for-TV productions R181.3-million.Service commercials made up the largest part of the local commercials industry, with a turnover of R631.8-million in 2006/07, followed by local commercials (R162.5-million) and international commercials (R77.9-million).Creating jobsThe study estimates that the film industry created at least 6 058 full year job equivalents in the Western Cape, of which 1 841 were in long form, 2 459 in commercials and 1 758 in stills. It is estimated that about 4 638 (77%) of these direct jobs were in Cape Town.Estimates are that 2 501 “indirect jobs” were also created in the province through linkages to the film industry, 1 915 of which were in Cape Town.“In total, between 7.9 and 8.2 direct and indirect jobs are created in South Africa for every R1-million spend on production,” the study found.Knock-on effectCatering and accommodation had the most film-related indirect jobs, followed by business services, the general business sector, financial services, and machinery and equipment renting and leasing.The study also found that the film industry is an important contributor to “bed nights” in South Africa, with at least 313 576 bed nights generated throughout the country in 2006/07.Of these, at least 252 000 were generated in the Western Cape, represents 10.7% of the estimated total 2.36-million business bed nights in the province for the reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

EU vote on opt-out proposal a positive for biotech

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomes news of the European Parliament’s overwhelming rejection of a proposal that would allow individual European Union (EU) member states to opt-out of importing and using foods containing biotechnology for non-scientific reasons. The body voted 619-58 to approve a committee report recommending opposition to the controversial “opt-out” proposal.“This is a much-needed action today by the European Parliament. ASA has repeatedly called on the EU to make science-based decisions on the issue of biotechnology, and we are very happy to see the Europeans do so this morning. One of the unifying principles of the EU is to provide a single market, both within Europe and as a partner in in global commerce.  Enabling each of its 28 member states to go rogue on GMO acceptance, based on societal or political concerns, is hardly a unifying strategy for success,” said Wade Cowan, ASA president. “Soybean farmers welcome today’s news as we look to expand our European markets for animal feed, edible oils, biodiesel and biobased products. Europe is a top-five market for American soybeans, and we looking forward to further expanding our trade relationship. Moving forward, the Commission has been directed by the EU Parliament to come up with a new proposal. However, in our view, it would be more appropriate for the EU to use its own existing procedures to approve new biotech products rather than trying to come up with another approach. The Commission just needs to do its job by following its own regulations and procedures.”last_img read more

Madrid stunned by Leganes at home, eliminated from Copa

first_imgNEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting The elimination in the Copa quarterfinals was the latest setback for Madrid in what has been a disappointing season.It is fourth in the Spanish league, trailing leader Barcelona by 19 points with a game in hand, and its only realistic chance of a title the rest of the season will be in the Champions League, where it faces Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe Bernabeu crowd loudly jeered Madrid after the loss, with Zidane among those criticized the most after fielding second-stringers despite the big gap to Barcelona in La Liga.“We clearly failed,” Zidane said. “And I’m the one responsible for it.” Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Alaves forward Ruben Sobrino, who scored in both matches, missed the decisive penalty by sending the ball over the crossbar at Mendizorroza Stadium.Rodrigo, Santi Mina and Jose Luis Gaya all converted from the spot for the visitors, with their only miss coming from midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia after a save by goalkeeper Antonio Sivera. Alaves’ goals in the shootout were scored by Tomas Pina and Munir El Haddadi.El Haddadi put Alaves in front with a header into the top corner after a long cross by Rodrigo Ely in the 73rd, and Santi Mina equalized in a breakaway four minutes later after a making a run from near the halfway line.Sobrino netted the winner from close range following a free kick into the area. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Leganes’ players celebrate their victory against Real Madrid at the end of the Spanish Copa del Rey quarterfinal second leg soccer match between Real Madrid and Leganes at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. Leganes won 2-1. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)MADRID — Real Madrid followed its biggest win of the season with its most embarrassing defeat on Wednesday, and the pressure is back on for coach Zinedine Zidane and his players.After routing Deportivo La Coruna 7-1 to give fans a glimmer of hope after a series of poor results, Madrid crashed out of the Copa del Rey with a shock 2-1 loss to Leganes at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.ADVERTISEMENT San Miguel Beer still unscathed; Meralco defense junks KIA LATEST STORIEScenter_img Playing without Cristiano Ronaldo and other regular starters, Madrid was unable to defend its 1-0 win from the first leg, being eliminated on away goals after a 2-2 draw on aggregate.“We were not supposed to be eliminated like this after having won the first leg,” said Zidane, calling the defeat the worst moment of his coaching career with Madrid. “I’m upset. It’s a big disappointment. I know it’s a difficult night for the fans.”It’s the second consecutive year Madrid has been eliminated in the Copa quarterfinals, having lost to Celta Vigo last season.Leganes, based just south of Madrid, was playing in the last eight of the Copa for the first time in the team’s 89-year history.“The key was that we believed we could achieve this, even after the loss last week,” Leganes coach Asier Garitano said. “We played a great match and everything went well.”ADVERTISEMENT The visitors provided the bigger threat at the Bernabeu, opening the scoring with Javi Eraso’s curling shot into the top corner of the net. Eraso picked up the loose ball just outside the area after a bad exchange of passes between Madrid defenders Achraf Hakimi and Nacho Fernandez. Hakimi’s pass was too short and Fernandez couldn’t control the ball under pressure from Eraso.After being jeered at halftime, Madrid came back strongly after the break, with Karim Benzema scoring early with a close-range shot over the goalkeeper after a through ball by Lucas Vazquez. The goal ended Benzema’s six-match scoreless streak that dated back to November.However, Leganes stunned the home crowd again less than 10 minutes later, when Gabriel Pires scored with a header from a corner taken by Eraso.Benzema nearly scored an equalizer that would have allowed Madrid to advance in the 81st, but his shot from inside the area was saved by goalkeeper Nereo Champagne. The goalkeeper also stopped Sergio Ramos from scoring with a header in the 85th.Madrid, which won the Spanish Super Cup and the Club World Cup earlier this season, endured a three-match winless streak at home before trouncing Deportivo in Sunday’s league match.On Tuesday, Sevilla advanced to the semifinals after eliminating Atletico Madrid 5-2 on aggregate. Three-time defending champion Barcelona hosts city rival Espanyol on Thursday to try to overcome a 1-0 first-leg loss.WIN ON PENALTIESTwo penalty saves by goalkeeper Jaume Domenech helped Valencia defeat Alaves 3-2 in a shootout.A 2-1 win by Alaves in regulation time of the second leg evened the series at 3-3 on aggregate. Domenech then stopped shots by Alfonso Pedraza and forward Hernan Perez to send Valencia through to the last four for the second time in three seasons. Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH MOST READ Read Next John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding View commentslast_img read more

Match-fixing episode affected my game: Sachin Tendulkar

first_imgSachin Tendulkar has for the first time admitted that the match-fixing episodes in 1999-2000 had initially affected his game and the Indian team had to go through a difficult and painful phase as “spectators looked at us with suspicion”.Tendulkar said he was not in the right frame of mind during India’s disastrous tour of Australia where they were thrashed 0-3 in 1999-2000.”I can tell you that I was never approached by anyone, neither we had any discussions about the same in the team meeting,” Tendulkar told former South African Board President Dr Ali Bacher in an interview for Super Sport Channel.”I remember that there was a stage in 1999-2000 when it was very difficult as we were to play Australia. Before the series these things started making rounds. As a cricketer that’s the last thing I want.”You want your beloved game to be as clean as possible. I wanted the spectators to enjoy the contest and not look at us with suspicion. To play well, players need to be in right frame of mind and I can tell you that I was not in that frame of mind,” Tendulkar said, recollecting the disastrous series.The pain in his voice was evident as he gave the interview. “Every match you play and people pass on loose comments. This was really hurting me and the whole team,” said the maestro.Tendulkar felt that their historic 2-1 series win over Australia at home was the turning point. “I was sure that we needed to put up a very special performance against Aussies so that cricket lovers forget what has happened in the past and start enjoying the game again and move on. With grace of God we managed to do that.advertisement”We lost the first match at Mumbai. But in the next match at Kolkata we fought back from very bad position and won that match to level the series. Last match was even harder. At Chennai while chasing small total we lost eight wickets but won that Test match and series too.”I was happy for the fact we forced cricket lovers to forget about that bad chapter and start following cricket again.”Recollecting the horror days of match fixing, Bacher revealed that the South African Board was indeed approached by bookmakers.”We were directly approached by bookmakers to take their offer to the players through team meeting. Those were days when in couple of ICC meetings, I had raised this issue,” he said.With inputs from PTIlast_img read more