Tag Archives: winston

The Great Fossil Enigma – Simon J. Knell


The Great Fossil Enigma

The Search for the Conodont Animal

Simon J. Knell

Genre: Science & Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: November 6, 2012

Publisher: Indiana University Press

Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC

A fascinating, comprehensive, accessible account of conodont fossils—one of paleontology’s greatest mysteries: “Deserves to be widely read and enjoyed” ( Priscum ).   Stephen Jay Gould borrowed from Winston Churchill when he described the eel-like conodont animal as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. The search for its identity confounded scientists for more than a century. Some thought it a slug, others a fish, a worm, a plant, even a primitive ancestor of ourselves. As the list of possibilities grew, an answer to the riddle never seemed any nearer. Would the animal that left behind the miniscule fossils known as conodonts ever be identified? Three times the creature was found, but each was quite different from the others. Were any of them really the one?   Simon J. Knell takes the reader on a journey through 150 years of scientific thinking, imagining, and arguing. Slowly the animal begins to reveal traces of itself: its lifestyle, its remarkable evolution, its witnessing of great catastrophes, its movements over the surface of the planet, and finally its anatomy. Today the conodont animal remains perhaps the most disputed creature in the zoological world.

Jump to original: 

The Great Fossil Enigma – Simon J. Knell

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, oven, PUR, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Great Fossil Enigma – Simon J. Knell

Fiji leads U.N. climate talks that warming kept it from hosting

On Wednesday, in Bonn, Germany, a delegation from the Pacific delivered a declaration to leaders who had assembled for the United Nations annual climate conference. Calling themselves “Pacific Climate Warriors,” the group collected more than 23,000 signatures from people all over the world demanding the pursuit of more ambitious targets than those set in the Paris Agreement.

“For more than two decades, negotiations have failed to deliver the action required to protect Pacific homes and livelihoods from dangerous climate change,” George Nacewa, from the South Pacific archipelago of Fiji, said in a statement released by the delegation.

But at this year’s Conference of Parties (COP), the 23rd round of negotiations and the second since the passing of the Paris Agreement, attendants from some of the most vulnerable places on earth are hopeful that their concerns will finally take center stage.

“This is a Pacific-led COP,” said Nacewa. “And we are here to ensure the world hears genuine voices from the Pacific.”

Although the climate talks are taking place in Germany’s capital, Fiji’s government is presiding over them, and its prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, is leading the agenda. Since Fiji is still recovering from Tropical Cyclone Winston, which devastated the country last year, Germany stepped in to provide facilities and help foot the huge costs that come with holding the conference. (France spent $197 million to host the climate talks in 2015.)

The unusual arrangement underscores the uneven power dynamic Fiji and other small island nations face: The countries that are already most affected by climate change, the ones that most need international action, are unable to actually host the forum — and truly illustrate the scope of the problem to the people responsible for acting on it.

“All over the world, vast numbers of people are suffering,” Bainimarama said in his opening speech. “Our job as leaders is to respond to that suffering with all means available to us.”

Tropical Cyclone Winston made landfall in Fiji as a Category 5 storm in February of last year. It killed 44 people and plundered more than 30,000 homes. Damage and loss from Winston amounted to 20 percent of the country’s GDP — more than $950 million dollars.

There’s a lot on the line for Bainimarama, whose country was recently ranked as having the 15th highest disaster risk, according to the World Risk Report. In addition to forecasts showing an increased frequency of severe storms — an issue also threatening islands, like Puerto Rico and Dominica in the Caribbean — Fiji has seen a rate of sea level increase nearly twice as high as the global average. Rising ocean water infiltrates fresh water supplies and damages farmland. A World Bank report forecasted that these factors will likely cause more than $50 million dollars — roughly four percent of GDP — of damages annually on Fiji’s main island alone. Residents of 64 Fijian villages are already leaving their homes because of encroaching tides, while 830 more settlements face relocation.

Despite all this, Fiji is faring better than some of its neighbors. And even as it loses land, the country is gaining climate refugees from other island nations. The government of Kiribati bought 6,000 acres in Fiji to prepare for a mass migration because its 33 coral atolls and reef islands could be completely submerged by 2100.

For the people of Fiji, Kiribati, and the rest of the Pacific, the international community’s willingness to curb the worst effects of climate change literally equates to their continued existence or total loss of cultures. So when Prime Minister Bainimarama told his fellow heads of state in his opening speech, “We must not fail our people,” attendants from the Pacific held out hope that perhaps the rest of the world would see climate change as they do — something that’s happening here and now, not a nightmare we still hope to avoid.

“This provides a very critical opportunity,” says Alfred Ralifo, climate policy manager for the South Pacific branch of the World Wildlife Fund, who lives in Fiji. “The role has amplified the voice of small island developing states at this COP and has brought to the forefront all the challenges and the needs that small island developing states face in terms of mitigation, adaptation, and ensuring that our needs are actually heard and prioritized as part of the agenda.”

Bainimarama has laid out Fiji’s vision for COP23, which includes capping the global average temperature at 1.5 degrees Celsuis above pre-industrial temperatures. Pledges by each signatory of the Paris Agreement — currently every nation in the world, though the United States plans to bow out — would only hold that rise to 3 degrees at best.

The Fijian prime minister also spearheaded an initiative to push for oceans to be an integral part of the U.N. climate talks by 2020. Oceans are only mentioned once in the Paris Agreement, but Bainimarama believes they should garner more attention because they play a critical role in regulating global temperatures by absorbing heat and carbon.

“Being a small island we have a lot of ocean resources,” says Ralifo, adding that the health of the world’s open seas has a disproportionate effect on his nation’s food and water security. “We feel that we cannot address global climate change without any action on oceans.”

Ralifo also says it is important for Fiji to push for increased financial support for small island states, not only for mitigation but also for adaptation to the effects of a warming climate. Leaders from vulnerable nations are also expected to bring up compensation for “loss and damage” — paid for by wealthier countries who emit more carbon and are most responsible for climate change.

“This COP should be about the people, not the profits of the polluters,” said the Pacific Climate Warrior George Nacewa. “Climate change is real and impacting us now. It’s imperative that we stand up for the Pacific.”

Jump to original: 

Fiji leads U.N. climate talks that warming kept it from hosting

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, GE, global climate change, Hipe, LAI, LG, ONA, PUR, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Fiji leads U.N. climate talks that warming kept it from hosting

Why the Duke Basketball Sexual-Assault Story Won’t Go Away Quickly

Mother Jones

The Duke University student newspaper reported today that a player recently dismissed from the school’s powerhouse men’s basketball team had been twice accused of sexual assault. Moreover, it found that athletic department officials, including Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski, knew about the allegations as early as last March but failed to act for months.

According to the Chronicle, two different women claimed that junior guard Rasheed Sulaimon had sexually assaulted them during the 2013-14 school year. In October 2013, a woman told classmates at a retreat that Sulaimon had assaulted her; at the same retreat in February 2014, another woman made a similar claim. The Chronicle reported that the team psychologist was made aware of the allegations in March 2014, and that several key members of the athletic department—including Krzyzewski, several assistant coaches, and athletic director Kevin White—found out shortly thereafter.

At a press conference, Krzyzewski declined to comment on the Chronicle article. But here are three reasons why this particular story won’t be going away anytime soon:

Slow response: Neither woman filed a complaint with the university or went to the local police in part due to “the fear of backlash from the Duke fan base,” according to the Chronicle. Nonetheless, the allegations reportedly were brought to the coaching staff shortly after the second incident was disclosed. According to the Chronicle, most Duke employees are required to report sexual assault; under Title IX, the university must investigate any such allegations. “Nothing happened after months and months of talking about the sexual assault allegations,” an anonymous source told the newspaper. “The University administration knew.”

It’s Duke, and Coach K: It has been nearly nine years since the Duke lacrosse rape case, which fell apart after months of intense scrutiny and media attention. Given the prominence of Krzyzewski and his program—he has the most wins of any Division I coach in history, and the Blue Devils are ranked No. 3 in the country—this story could gain a lot more traction as March Madness nears. Sulaimon was the first player Krzyzewski has dismissed in his 35 years at Duke; here’s how the coach described the decision in a January 29 press release: “Rasheed has been unable to consistently live up to the standards required to be a member of our program. It is a privilege to represent Duke University and with that privilege comes the responsibility to conduct oneself in a certain manner. After Rasheed repeatedly struggled to meet the necessary obligations, it became apparent that it was time to dismiss him from the program.”

It’s yet another sexual-assault accusation against a college athlete: The Sulaimon story comes just days after a former Louisville University basketball player was charged with rape and sodomy. On January 27, two former Vanderbilt University football players were convicted on multiple counts of sexual battery and aggravated rape, a case dissected in a Sports Illustrated feature last month. And in another highly publicized recent case, Jameis Winston, Florida State University’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and the likely No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL draft, was accused but never charged of raping a fellow student. (The school recently cleared Winston of violating its code of conduct.)

This post has been updated.

Read this article: 

Why the Duke Basketball Sexual-Assault Story Won’t Go Away Quickly

Posted in Anchor, FF, G & F, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, Radius, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Why the Duke Basketball Sexual-Assault Story Won’t Go Away Quickly

The NFL’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

Mother Jones

With the Super Bowl days away, the sports world’s hot-take artists have spent the past week toggling between the intrigue and idiocy of Deflategate to the press conference reticence of Seattle Seahawks star Marshawn Lynch. In some ways, it has been the perfect ending to a dreadful year for the NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell.

Famous for his “protect the shield” mantra and disciplinarian ways, Goodell has seen his reputation get battered throughout the controversy-filled 12 months since Super Bowl XLVIII. So, as Ballghazi rages on and the big game approaches, here’s a look back at the recent firestorms and missteps that made 2014 such a rotten year for the league and its commish:

Ray Rice: It was bad enough when the league initially suspended Rice, then the Baltimore Ravens’ star running back, for a paltry two games after his February arrest for assaulting his then-fiancée (now wife) at an Atlantic City casino. It got worse when the Ravens further bungled the situation. But when TMZ released security camera footage in September that actually showed Ray Rice punching Janay Rice, the league had to suspend him indefinitely—even as Goodell maintained that he had never before seen the video. (Numerous reports have made those claims seem laughable.) The NFL toughened its domestic-abuse policies, sure, and will air an ad during the Super Bowl to raise awareness. But the damage from the league’s initial inaction already has been done. As Tracy Treu, the wife of former Oakland Raiders center Adam Treu, told me back in September, “When you’re with an NFL team, the message to you is clear: Don’t fuck anything up for your partner, and don’t fuck anything up for the team.”

Adrian Peterson: Just days after the explosive Rice video was released, the Minnesota Vikings’ All-Pro running back was accused of hitting his four-year-old son with a switch and was indicted for reckless or negligent injury to a child. For a short time it looked like Peterson would be back on the field after missing just a week of work, but the Vikings quickly reversed course, and the NFL ultimately suspended him for the remainder of the season.

Greg Hardy/Jonathan Dwyer: Lost a bit in the Rice and Peterson headlines were the domestic-assault charges against Hardy, a Carolina Panthers defensive end, and Dwyer, an Arizona Cardinals running back. Hardy’s then-girlfriend, Nicole Holder, testified in July that Hardy had dragged her around his apartment, threw her on a futon covered in rifles, and then put his hands on her throat. “I was so scared I wanted to die,” she testified. Hardy was convicted; his appeal is set for February. (He took a paid leave of absence in September, in part to avoid a possible suspension.) Dwyer allegedly head-butted his wife and broke her nose in July. She reportedly went to police after seeing the Peterson news in September and fearing for her child’s safety. Dwyer was put on the reserve/non-football-injury list and pleaded not guilty to charges on Monday.

Concussions: The league’s ongoing concussion scandal may have peaked in 2013 with the airing of the Frontline documentary League of Denial, but the issue of player safety—indeed, the long-term viability of the game—isn’t going away anytime soon. In July, a federal judge preliminarily approved a settlement between the league and former players over concussion-related claims. Since then, more than 200 players have opted out of the settlement, objecting to the restrictions embedded in the deal. As ESPN the Magazine‘s Peter Keating wrote, “Fewer than 3,600 athletes, or about 17 percent of all retired players, will end up with some kind of illness that the settlement will compensate, according to forecasts by both sides in the case.” (The settlement is still awaiting final approval.) Next up: the Christmas release of Will Smith’s Concussion, a feature film based on a GQ profile of neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, one of the first physicians to fight the NFL on brain trauma.

Dan Snyder and the Washington Redacted: We’ve already covered many of the dumb things Snyder has said in recent months. Even after 50 US senators called on the Washington owner to change his team’s name, the team still managed to start something called the Original Americans Foundation and continue to be completely tone deaf on social media. The Native American-led protests against the name will continue into this weekend in Arizona.

Snyder: Nick Wass/AP; dunce cap: Stockbyte/Thinkstock. Illustration by Dave Gilson.

Cheerleading lawsuits: If you haven’t read my colleague Julia Lurie’s roundup of the many lawsuits brought by current and former cheerleaders against NFL teams, go do that now. Here’s an excerpt, about how different teams determine whether their cheerleaders are fit enough to perform:

The Jills allege being subjected to a weekly “jiggle test,” which consisted of doing jumping jacks while their stomachs, arms, legs, hips, and butts were scrutinized. (The Jills manual also instructs, “Never eat in uniform unless arrangements have been made in advance. Just say ‘Thanks so much for offering but no thank you’…NEVER say, ‘Oh, we’re not allowed to eat!'”) Ben-Gals are required to weigh in twice a week, and if they come in more than three pounds over their “goal weight,” they face penalties: extra conditioning after practice, benchings, probation, or dismissal from the team.

Aaron Hernandez trial: Hernandez, the former Patriots tight end who was arrested a year and a half ago for the shooting death of friend Odin Lloyd, is back in the news now that the jury has been selected and his murder case is set to start Thursday in Connecticut. Hernandez also has been charged with two more murder counts for a July 2012 double-murder in Massachusetts.

Anti-gay front offices: Linebacker Michael Sam came out as gay before the NFL Draft last February. No one knew for sure how it would play out—or what effect it would have on Sam’s draft status—but a Sports Illustrated story that anonymously quoted general managers and front-office types around the league wasn’t exactly welcoming. “I don’t think football is ready for an openly gay player just yet,” said one personnel assistant. “In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it’s still a man’s-man game.” Sam was drafted in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams but was cut just before the season began. (After latching on with the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad for a spell, he’s once again a free agent, albeit an engaged one.)

Jim Irsay: The Indianapolis Colts’ billionaire owner was charged with driving while intoxicated in October; he later admitted to having hydrocodone, oxycodone, and Xanax in his system. (Police said they found “numerous prescription medication bottles containing pills,” as well as $29,000 in cash, in Irsay’s car.) The NFL suspended the outspoken 55-year-old for six games and fined him $500,000.

Goodell’s salary: As of 2012, according to tax forms, the Commish was making $44.2 million a year. (Yes, the NFL is still a nonprofit.)

Not so super: While Super Bowl XLIX could break the TV ratings record, Mina Kimes reports in the latest ESPN the Magazine that the mayor of Glendale, Arizona—this year’s host site—told her, “I totally believe we will lose money on this.”

Jameis Winston on the horizon: If all of this weren’t enough, this spring’s NFL Draft will surely be all about Winston, the presumptive No. 1 pick and Heisman Award winner who was accused (but never charged) of rape as a Florida State freshman in 2012. Winston was recently cleared of violating FSU’s code of conduct, though a 2013 New York Times report alleged that “there was virtually no investigation at all, either by the police or the university,” after the allegations were made. The story isn’t going away anytime soon: Last week, Winston’s accuser went public in The Hunting Ground, a documentary on campus sexual assault that debuted Friday at the Sundance Film Festival.

This article is from: 

The NFL’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, Radius, Smith's, Ultima, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The NFL’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

40 Years of College Football’s Sexual-Assault Problem

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

In November, TMZ reported that a former Florida State University student had accused the school’s quarterback, Jameis Winston, of rape nearly a year ago. The accuser’s lawyer says that after she came forward the Tallahassee police tried to dissuade her from pressing charges, warning her that the city is “a big football town” that might not treat her warmly if she leveled these allegations. Indeed, since her charges became public, some Seminoles fans have floated conspiracy theories that a rival school or Heisman Trophy contender may have put the accuser up to it. Prosecutors, for their part, will hold a press conference on Thursday afternoon to announce whether they’ll go forward with the case.

Ultimately, Winston—whose DNA was found at the scene and who claims the sex was consensual—may not be charged. But the case has highlighted a disturbing and long-standing pattern in college football. At top football schools the sport is a major moneymaker, and many big-name universities (and law enforcement authorities in those jurisdictions) have too often shielded players accused of rape—even going so far as to smear and punish victims who speak out. Here’s a brief guide to college football’s sordid history of addressing sexual assault:

Continue Reading »


40 Years of College Football’s Sexual-Assault Problem

Posted in FF, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 40 Years of College Football’s Sexual-Assault Problem