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Effectively Protecting Liberia’s Borders

first_imgShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Who should know better than Defense Minister Brownie Samukai that Liberia’s borders are NOT secure, especially as we witness the final draw down of the United Nations Military in Liberia (UNMIL) forces? The Defense Minister is UNMIL’s closest government collaborator in Liberia.  UNMIL is a military force.  And who is in charge of the military in Liberia? Defense Minister Samukai. So when he speaks about military and security incapacity, everyone should listen.Our Presidential Correspondent, William Harmon, quoted Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai as saying last week that the security apparatus of Liberia “is not prepared to take charge of protecting the nation’s territorial integrity and people as the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) gradually takes its exit from the country.”We consider this a very serious warning.The Defense Minister said his concern stemmed from the porous state of the Liberian borders being manned by ill-equipped immigration and police officers who he said could not defend themselves in case of any eventuality.Speaking at the turning over ceremony of two small arms and light weapons making machines donated by the European Commission (EC) and other partners to the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiCSA), Minister Samukai, in a keynote address, told the nation, “If we do not provide those capacities to the security agencies, it would limit our ability to carry on the kind of confident actions that one would expect from law enforcement agencies.He explained that there were immigration officers currently assigned at very porous borders in areas prone to conflict doing their jobs totally unarmed.”We have police officers from the PSU —and in some cases the Emergency Response Unit (ERU), “who are responding to security situations at those borders without weapons; it is not advisable for this situation to continue.”Minister Samukai noted that as Liberians consider the development of their country, they need to consider the fact that, “Security officers that we all rely on for protection cannot protect themselves when they are challenged.”The question is, how long will it take for this government to heed the call of our Soldiers, Police and Immigration Officers for appropriate arms, communication and transportation equipment?The needs of these vital personnel at our borders are nothing new. Since the incipience of this administration, and long before, these security officers–Police, Immigration and Army–have been complaining about the lack of logistical equipment and facilities to empower them properly to execute their assignments.  Their problems are not strange to the government.  These personnel have over many years complained about the lack of equipment, including communications, transportation and arms to do their work; and as long as they complain, nothing happens.No one has to ask why these military paramilitary personnel need these supplies.  Nearly two years ago when armed Ivorian rebels attacked their government posts on their side of the border and fled into Liberia, the Ivorian government immediately blamed the incursions on Liberian soldiers, until it became clear that Liberians had absolutely nothing to do with the problem.  Liberia was forced to close the border with Côte d’Ivoire for more than a year.  Most recently again, the same thing happened, and that government again blamed Liberia.There is another very serious problem: immigration. Does this government not know that thousands of foreign nationals cross our border each month and eventually consider themselves as Liberians? This is a very serious security risk. The problem is that so long as our border security personnel are not equipped, so long will they be exposed to cross-border insecurity, so long will other nations blame Liberia for cross-border troubles; so long will Liberia be threatened by foreign incursions and unwanted aliens that will threaten our internal security and exacerbate our immigration problems.We call on the Liberian government, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in particular and her finance people to provide the financial resources to equip our border personnel with the necessary equipment and other logistics in order to effectively man our borders.  We should not wait for a major crisis before we take the necessary action.We have enough experience to realize that this business of emergency reaction to crises will not do.  That certainly is not the way an old independent republic–the oldest on the block–should behave.last_img read more

Kokoya Millennium Village Education Projects: High Hopes Dashed

first_imgJ. Keith Gboe, Vice Principal for Operations at the Quoikapor Elementary and Junior High School in Kokoya District, Upper Bong, was upbeat and overwhelmed with joy when he was informed in 2007 that the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) was spearheading a Kokoya Millennium Village Project (KMVP) that would ensure that the Quoikapor School is raised to modern standards.Gboe’s high hopes have been squashed, as there are no signs that Quoikapor Elementary and Junior High School will be any better since the KMVP has proven a project deferred, if not failed.The rural school Vice Principal divulged that in 2005, the REVOP, an NGO, built Quoikapor School with subvention from the UNDP. The school, he said, lacked the needed facilities for smooth academic operation. “But because of our love and passion for preparing the children of Quoikapor and adjacent villages to be future leaders, we decided to make do with the little facilities available”, Gboe explained.He further asserted that “When UNDP came back in 2008 with the ambitious plan of upgrading the standard of the school and its teaching staff, we were more than thankful and certainly believed that a new day was dawning in the academic history of the Quoikapor School; behold we were wrong.”Gboe, like Martha Daniels, Registrar of Tugbablee Elementary School, Michael Nyean, Instructor at the U-LAH Elementary and Junior High School and Morris Laykpdoe, Vice Principal for Administration at the Weseh Gardea Elementary and Junior High School in Botota, are all disappointed over the non-implementation of the attractive promises made by the UNDP-led Millennium Village project in the area of education.In separate interviews with the Daily Observer, the three rural school instructors recounted numerous stories of poor learning environment and lack of incentives and sufficient teaching staff in the three schools listed as the main schools to be upscale and upgraded under the Millennium Village project.These schools were slated to have been the pilot for the model of the quality of schools that are expected to be built in the follow-up Millennium Villages across the country. Daily Observer later established that these promises were more or less a mirage and bluff as much as they were deceptive and far from what is now obtaining at those schools five years after the project was launched.In its ambitious proposal and project blue print, the UNDP-KMVP inserted under Objective three that in order to ensure full primary school attendance, it will need the following programs: School meal program, School teacher housing construction, School Supplies and equipment and secondary school education.According to the proposal, these program were expected to be rolled out over a five year period with a total cost of US$60,400 in year one; year two US$29,600; year three 4, 500, US$17,000 and US$11,000 respectively.With that funding, the project would have constructed and rehabilitated primary schools, eliminate school fees for primary schools, recruit and train teachers, provide school meals for students, provide computer literacy program for students and construct vocational schools in Kokoya District.By these interventions, the project promised to have transformed the learning environment of the school going age children of Kokoya Districts for the better and ignites a trickledown effect on the lives of the people and the micro economy of Kokoya District.    But five years after the wacky implementation of the project, instructional staff at the three targeted schools  have told the Daily Observer that all the promises were practically not met and appears to be a mirage and a scam that have not been achieved in any sense of the word.Daily Observer investigation established that at all of the three schools, there are no libraries, no laboratories, no training opportunities for teachers, and no supplies of school equipment. A further search revealed that there are no secondary school scholarship programs and no vocational school facilities constructed by the KMVP as projected in the proposal.A cursory glance at the physical structures of U-LAH, Quoikapor and Botota schools in Kokoya Districts speaks of schools far in the back woods of the deep forest that lack all of the facilities that are appropriate for primary education and the preparation of a  student population that is  basically from rural poor family that can barely make ends meet on a daily basis.Tugbahblee elementary school that was tipped to be turned into an educational oasis in the deep forest of Kokoya, has 320 students, six teachers and constructed in 2006. In spite of the attractive line up in the KMVP proposal, the        Registrar, Martha Daniel, revealed that the school has no feeding program, and the students sit on pieces of cut rubber trees stumps as a result of the lack of benches.The female registrar further asserted that, at the school, “there is no library, no reading room and some of the six grade students have not seen a computer since their academic sojourn. They have not seen a microscope nor do they have the appropriate stationery to facilitate learning. There is no computer program, no electricity power by solar panels and the hopes of the students’ remains in limbo”.A youth activist, Samuel Blackie, described the situation in Kokoya as a fickle, saying, “what is obtaining at Tugbahblee and what is inserted in the proposal are diametrically opposed and there is a need to let the entire world know the hoax in the KMVP.”The stories at the Wesseh Gardea Elementary and Junior High School in   Botota and the Quoikapor Elementary and Junior High School are no different.  The two schools, like U-LAH, selected as model of what all schools in the districts were supposed to be, following in line with the KMVP concept, shared commonality in the lacked of libraries, laboratories, internet facilitates, school feeding programs and score of hapless students and an underpaid teaching staff.In fact, the Daily Observer team noticed that there are no drinking water facilities at both Botota and Quopikapor. At Quoikapor for example, the Vice Principal for Instructions, J. Keith Gboe did not mince words in asserting that, there is no latrine , no play ground, no reading room and the 249 students may go through junior high school without known how a desktop computer looks like.Gboe, sounded downbeat, when he intoned that there are only five teachers and although they were made to understand that they would have operated a night section, the lack of electricity, power by solar panel, has inhibited the running of a night adult literacy section since 2008.It was the Vice Principal for Administration at the Wesseh Elementary and Junior High School in Botota, Morris Laykpdoe who expressed the frustration of the citizenry of Kokoya District when he  narrated how contrary to the project blue print, not a single vocational school has been built in the entire Kokoya District.The now disappointed rural instructor said, he and the District authorities do not know  of a single student who has been given academic scholarship under the KMVP high sounding program for transitioning students from Kokoya rural  school system to the high school in the urban setting.A youth activist in Quoikapor, a border town with Nimba county, Peterson Toby, expressed his indignation over the apparent failure of the implementation of the Computer Literacy program propose in the project. “Since they promised to have introduced training in the three schools as a pilot project, they have not brought in one computer or a mouse”.As for the construction of a teaching staff quarters at the three schools, the Develop0ment Superintendent of Kokoya Statutory District, Theophilus N. Mulbah, said, after the project was taken over by the Ministry Of Internal Affairs in 2013, The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) embarked on the project of building a staff quarter for the Wesseh  Gardea Elementary and Junior High school in Botota.However, Vice Principal Laykpdoe of the Wesseh  Gardea school in Botota was quick to point to the Daily Observer that what is being described as a staff quarters is a four bed room house.It can be recalled that in the blue print of the project it was proposed under Objective three that the project will construct and rehabilitate primary schools in the District and eliminate school fees for primary school for all children in the village; provides meals  for students with locally produced and nutritional balance foods.In its ambitious overtone, the project KMVP promised to eliminate gender disparity in school attendance, promote computer literacy, provide secondary school going students from Kokoya with scholarship and establish vocational education by building polytechnic and other vocational institution.But five years after these lofty promises were embedded in the proposal, what the Daily Observer team uncovered in Kokoya can best be described as a mirage. There is no sign of a vocational schools in the offing and the views of our character interviewees supra on the myriad of failed in the area of education seems to be hard to counter. Stay Tune.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Over 500 vendors, minibus operators to be relocated

first_imgStabroek WharfOver 500 vendors, minibus operators to be relocatedPlans are moving apace to determine the best strategy to have hundreds of vendors and minibus operators in the Stabroek Wharf area relocated to facilitate construction on the wharf.A section of the Stabroek WharfA meeting was held on Wednesday between Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) members and representatives from the Finance and Public Infrastructure Ministry. This is according to Georgetown Mayor Patricia Chase Green.Commenting on the meeting, Mayor Chase Green stated that its purpose was to bring Councillors up to date with plans for the Stabroek Wharf, on which construction was expected to begin in early 2018.“We were written by the Ministry of Infrastructure, saying to us that they will be starting to do construction of the Stabroek Market wharf in the first quarter of 2018. And they’re asking us to relocate all of those vendors,” she said.She noted that there were 318 stalls on the wharf, while on the southern side of the Market 200 persons plied their trade. She stated that immediately outside the Stabroek Market, there were more vendors as well.“So, we have to start identifying areas that can house those people when construction on that wharf begins; because they are going to be using that entire area to store the material for heavy trucks to be going in there. So, you couldn’t have vending anywhere.”“We also have to look at the relocation of all those minibuses. And so they’re asking us to start now. And that’s what (Wednesday’s) meeting was about. Because our Councillors expressed concern about what is going to happen.”“While the consultations would have started, we would have heard that most likely the vendors would not go back there, but who made that decision?” Chase Green queried. “We didn’t make that decision. So, we have to consult more as to the way forward.”When contacted on Friday, a representative of the Public Infrastructure Ministry noted that while the Ministry would be doing infrastructural works, responsibility for the vendors rested with the Mayor and City Council.The Wharf has been in a state of deterioration for some time, with vendors expressing fear for their safety on several occasions.Sections of the Wharf caved in during September 2014 and March 2015. In June, Town Clerk Royston King had declared that the Mayor and City Council had solicited assistance from the Public Infrastructure Ministry.The modernised, new Wharf plans were designed by Civil Engineer Kabila Hollingsworth. The design includes a two-storey building with a terrace and stelling. Some $400 million is expected to be spent on the Wharf.last_img read more

Wenger receives hero’s welcome in Liberia

first_img0Shares0000Arsene Wenger in Liberia. PHOTO/BBCLONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 23 – Crowds of excited Arsenal fans have welcomed Arsène Wenger as he arrived in Liberia ahead of an awards ceremony where he will be given the country’s highest honour.The former Arsenal manager was Liberian President George Weah’s first European football coach and brought him to Monaco in 1988. President Weah went on to become the only African to win Fifa World Player of the Year.He was greeted at the international airport in Harbel, 52km (32 miles) from Liberia’s capital Monrovia, by the country’s minister of youth and sports, Zoegar Wilson. Photo/BBCWenger will be inducted into the country’s Order of Distinction on 24 August and be given the title of Knight Grand Commander of the Humane Order of African Redemption.He was greeted at the international airport in Harbel, 52km (32 miles) from Liberia’s capital Monrovia, by the country’s minister of youth and sports, Zoegar Wilson.Wenger told the media that he had come to the country to visit George and was not aware of any honour.Liberia residents welcoming Wenger. Photo/BBCHe previously expressed his admiration for Mr Weah in an interview with the BBC.“I remember when I saw him the first time at Monaco, coming in a bit lost, not knowing anybody, not being rated by anybody as a player and becoming the best player in the world in 1995 and today becoming the president of his country,” Wenger said.“The life of this guy is a real film. It is unbelievable. It can make a fantastic film.”Not everyone has been as excited about his arrival.Arsene Wenger set to be honoured by Liberian President George Weah. Photo/BBCSome Liberians say that the honour should not have been given to an individual for what they had done for the president personally, according to the BBC’s Jonathan Paye-Layleh in Monrovia.On a Liberian morning radio show, called 50-50, some of the listeners who called in said Mr Weah should have honoured the Liberian coaches who trained him before he caught the eye of the international community.Liberia’s Information Minister Eugene Nagbe told the BBC the award was not only about Weah’s personal connection with Wenger, but was a way to recognize that the Frenchman had “contributed to sports in Africa and has given many Africans opportunities”.Wenger coached 16 African players at Arsenal, including Ivory Coast’s Kolo Toure, Cameroon defender Lauren and Nigerian Nwankwo Kanu.-BY BBC-0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Aston Villa news: Di Matteo warns of ‘consequences’ if players step out of line

first_imgNew Aston Villa boss Roberto Di Matteo has warned the club’s bad boys they must stay in line.The Italian is ready to tackle the indiscipline which blighted Villa’s awful campaign last season.Villa were relegated from the Premier League with just three wins as a series of off-field incidents compounded their woes.Gabby Agbonlahor was suspended by the club after being pictured partying in London after their relegation while Jack Grealish was banished from the first team for clubbing in Manchester following a 4-0 defeat to Everton in November.Brad Guzan and Joleon Lescott also angered fans for playing a game involving chewing gum while substitutes during Villa’s 1-1 FA Cup draw with Sky Bet League Two side Wycombe.Di Matteo, who was officially unveiled on Wednesday, said: “We are going to have our rules, our code of conduct and if someone steps outside there are certainly going to be consequences.“I will have discussions with all the players, not just one or two. That’s the way I manage. At the end of the day there are rules people have to obey.“I have had very difficult dressing rooms in the past and have always been able to sort them out and make them work together.“If you have children, you probably know that every child you have to treat differently. It is the same, you have 25 individuals and everyone responds differently.”Lescott, Micah Richards and Leandro Bacuna were all jeered by their own fans during a poisonous end to the season but Di Matteo believes they can repair that broken relationship. He added: “If there is a willingness from each side there can be a future but you are going back to the past again and it’s something I don’t really want to judge too much because I wasn’t here.” Roberto Di Matteo was appointed Aston Villa boss earlier this month 1last_img read more

FIANNA FAIL COUNCILLOR ‘TO QUIT PARTY’ OVER ELECTION DECISION

first_imgSOURCES close to Fianna Fail councillor Brendan Byrne say he will quit the party after it decided not to field a candidate in the Presidential election.He is expected to make an announcement ‘in the next few days’ according to close friends.If he does quit – and the former Mayor has confirmed he is ‘considering my future in Fianna Fail’ – it would be a major blow to the party. He was director of elections in the general election in Donegal South West where a two candidate strategy backfired with Mary Coughlan and Brian O Domhnaill failing to land a seat.Instead independent Thomas Pringle won out.A close friend of Byrne told donegaldaily.com: “Brendan is very unhappy with Micheal Martin and Eamon O’ Cuiv and their decision not to field a candidate for the party. He can’t stay in a party that is being so defeatist.”FIANNA FAIL COUNCILLOR ‘TO QUIT PARTY’ OVER ELECTION DECISION was last modified: September 2nd, 2011 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Fields of dreams

first_imgThankfully, the golf course was never built. That was once the plan for the fallow fields of Pierce College’s once important agriculture programs, to help the Woodland Hills campus bring in revenue and get out of its $1 million debt. At the time, it seemed reasonable. Few people were interested in the college’s role in the historically agricultural area, and even enrollment was down. But if the golf course plan had panned out then, the lush and lucrative farms that sit there now and provide education and fresh produce for its west San Fernando Valley neighbors never would have been. And neither would the many other community-enhancing elements of the college’s $10 million project to fully revitalize the farm. In addition to the pumpkin patch and horse stables there now, the plan for the Agricultural Education Center includes a farmers market, equestrian center, u-pick fields, trout-fishing lake and vineyards among other things. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 And all of this is a testament to the strong leadership and vision of former Pierce president Darroch “Rocky” Young, who now, not surprisingly, heads the entire community college district, and of his successor Tom Oliver. They listened to the community and came up with a plan the benefited both the campus and the neighbors. Young and Oliver realized that no matter the value of the land, things like open space, community education and being a good neighbor are priceless. That kind of thinking is rare in Los Angeles. And because of that the West Valley community owes a thanks to the visionaries who made it possible. last_img read more

FIVE DONEGAL TEENS AWARDED FOROIGE LEADERSHIP CERTS AT INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

first_imgDonegal Teenagers Keelin Mulhearn, Anita Robinson, Ciara Crawford, Katie Hoad and Paddy Gillespie.Five Donegal teenagers have graduated from a programme designed to inspire them to become great leaders.Keelin Mulhearn and Paddy Gillespie from Ballyshannon, Anita Robinson from Glenfin, Ciara Crawford from Frosses and Katie Hoad from Inver were joined by more than 300 other young people from across Ireland and around the world during a recent graduation ceremony to mark the end of the 5th annual Foróige Albert Schweitzer Leadership for Life International Youth Conference.The leadership programme and annual conference is run by Foróige in partnership with ICCUSA, the Irish Chamber of Commerce – United States of America. The programme is open to teenagers in every country and the conference was attended by young delegates from the USA, Palestine, South Korea, Northern Ireland, India, Nigeria and Kenya.As part of the week-long conference, inspirational lectures were given by Olympic boxing silver medallist Kenneth Egan as well as the Irish head of internet giant PayPal Louise Phelan.The programme also includes workshops on team building, critical thinking and communication skills and peer discussions on matters of global importance.Hollywood star Matt McCoy acts as the ongoing ambassador to the leadership programme and mentored the young delegates during the conference. Matt McCoy has most recently featured in some of the USA’s biggest shows The Mentalist and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, though he is probably best known for starring in two ‘Police Academy’ films, ‘L.A. Confidential’ and ‘The Hand that Rocks the Cradle’. Speaking at the launch, Matt said:“This is the fifth year I’ve been back in Ireland for the conference and I must admit, this has been the best yet. The young people attending have gained skills to become true leaders of their own lives, of their communities, of businesses, of causes and of countries.“They have the drive and passion to make the world around them a better place. It really is inspirational and I’m delighted to be in the front row witnessing the first steps in the journey of our next generation of world leaders.”Foróige Chief Executive Seán Campbell said: “Now more than ever, we need to help young people cultivate the skills and qualities they need to become great leaders.“Young people who take part in the conference look at themselves differently, they see that they have the power to stand up and be counted as citizens of the world. Not only that, they see that they have the capability and the talents to make the world around them a better one, not just for themselves but for generations to come. It’s a hugely positive experience and one that Foróige is extremely proud of.” The young people must complete three modules in order to fully graduate from the programme. At the end of the conference, the 300 delegates received certificates for completing various stages of the programme.The conference comes after the recent publication of an independent study into the Foróige Albert Schweitzer Leadership for Life Programme which found that teenagers who actively engage in leadership training manifest key skills including social skills, self-control, confidence, assertiveness and a sense of achievement.The study, conducted by Dr. Sue Redmond at NUI Galway and overseen by Professor Mark Brennan from Penn State University, USA, was conducted over an 18 month period amongst 400 young people who participated in the Foróige Albert Schweitzer Leadership for Life Progamme.The study also found that an increase in female representation in leadership roles throughout society, including business, politics and public service, is needed. FIVE DONEGAL TEENS AWARDED FOROIGE LEADERSHIP CERTS AT INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE was last modified: August 18th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:awardsdonegalforoigelast_img read more

Evolutionary Explanations Assume Evolution Explains

first_imgThe facility with which some evolutionary biologists appeal to almost magical powers of evolution to explain anything and everything is revealed in some recent science articles.  Whatever needs explaining is due to evolution – evidence or not.  These four examples can be considered representative of the genre.The evolution of shopping:  Both PhysOrg and Science Daily reported that shopping strategies of men and women show “evolution at work in the mall.”  After describing that men are better at orienteering but women at fine distinctions, the University of Michigan’s press release explained, “From an evolutionary perspective, it all harkens back to the skills that women used for gathering plant foods and the skills that men used for hunting meat.  The contrast emerges because of the different foraging strategies for hunting and gathering used throughout human evolution.”  No mention of which gene was mutated at what time, or why chimpanzees don’t shop like humans do.  Oblivious to those explanatory details, both news sources announced, “Male and female shopping styles are in our genes – and we can look to evolution for the reason.”The secret of long ape life:  PhysOrg and Science Daily again offered “the” scientific explanation for why we outlive chimpanzees: evolution.  “The difference, explains USC Davis School of Gerontology Professor Caleb Finch, is that as humans evolved genes that enabled them to better adjust to levels of infection and inflammation and to the high cholesterol levels of their meat rich diets” [sic; the sentence fragment is in both articles].  Evolution was stated in active verbs: “humans evolved” this or that.On the origin of human-caused species:  Don’t feed the birds if you don’t want to change their evolution.  New Scientist joined Science Daily and PhysOrg in warning us we may be altering our feathered friends’ evolution by feeding them.  “Our study documents the profound impact of human activities on the evolutionary trajectories of species,” said Martin Schaefer of the University of Freiburg.  “It shows that we are influencing the fate not only of rare and endangered species, but also of the common ones that surround our daily lives.”    Strangely, the articles did not say whether this is a good thing or not.  The tone of alarm suggests we humans are to blame for it.  But if humans are part of the evolutionary saga, as assumed above, why would this be of any concern at all?  Maybe Schaefer is being dispassionate about it.  One thing did make him excited, though: “This is a nice example of the speed of evolution,” he added.  “It is something that we can see with our own eyes if we only look closely enough.  It doesn’t have to take millions of years.”    The birds being studied, though, are both blackcaps, with all the same organs and capabilities.  Any classification of them as separate species will depend on one’s definition of species.  It is evident no new genetic information was produced by an evolutionary process.Abominable mystery, chapter 150:  Every once in awhile, science reporters like to give a progress report on Darwin’s “abominable mystery,” the origin of flowering plants (angiosperms).  Science Daily and PhysOrg continued the tradition, announcing triumphantly, “Today a study in Ecology Letters reveals the evolutionary trigger which led to early flowering plants gaining a major competitive advantage over rival species, leading to their subsequent boom and abundance.”  A careful look for the trigger, however, only turned up a model.  The model shows that increasing the density of leaf veins would have increased the efficiency of hydraulics, and presumably, allowed more photosynthesis.  “Their results revealed that an evolutionary transformation in the plumbing of angiosperm leaves pushed photosynthetic capacity to new heights,” the article claimed ecstatically.    But why didn’t that just make gymnosperms survive better?  Where did the distinctive seeds, flowers and leaves of angiosperms come from?  The assumption is that once a gymnosperm got a lucky mutation to increase vein density, evolution would take care of all the rest.  Meanwhile, gymnosperms seem to be doing just fine, growing taller than any angiosperm despite (by insinuation) having inferior hydraulics, outliving their better-veined descendants by thousands of years (sequoias, bristlecones), even surviving blizzard conditions at timberline that would quickly destroy garden tomato plants.The fact that no alternative explanations were presented for any of these phenomena gives the impression that the evolutionary explanation is the only scientific one. The only abominable mystery here is why people are still gullible to accept this explanatory drivel from the Darwinists.  This is what happens when storytelling is baptized into science, and alternative paradigms are outlawed.  It’s time to clean house.    The Climategate scandal is fascinating to witness just for its lessons about the history of science.  Here was another reigning consensus, protected from criticism, its skeptics ridiculed and marginalized for years.  Now, as some embarrassing facts have emerged from its protected enclave (little things like destroying evidence, altering computer code, keeping critics from being heard), spin doctors are madly at work to protect the consensus – the broadcast media by ignoring the scandal, the journals by attacking critics as morons and saying the “unfortunate incident” does nothing to change the fact of human-caused global warming.  Nature was dripping with indignation in its Editorial this week.  It called the skeptics “denialists” and angrily called them members of a fringe who will not change the “fact” of human-caused global warming (even though they said the human-caused part only exists in models, which, by definition, can be tweaked to produce desired outcomes).  On Saturday, the BBC News said the UN (the same UN that institutionalized one of the biggest scandals in history; see 05/12/2008 commentary) is defending the scandalized science, and UK Prime Minister is calling skeptics flat earthers.  Most of the Big-Science-Big-Government conglomerates are pushing even harder for their planned political decisions at Copenhagen as if the scandal is a mere kerfuffle that will soon blow over and can be safely ignored.    Almost all the criticisms – and they are loud and widespread – are coming from outside the establishment.  The Climategate story is unfolding as we write.  Whatever happens is sure to be instructive.  This could be the biggest scientific scandal of a lifetime (outside of Darwinism), and the biggest contest between the public and Big Science in decades.  If you see how this all works, you understand how the Darwin consensus maintains its grip on institutional science and the media – and what will be required to dislodge it.  Remember how the Darwinists acted when their career-destroying antics were exposed in the movie Expelled?  Not only did they show no shame, they blamed the whistleblowers!  They continued expelling with even more intensity.  The truthless are the ruthless.    Nothing will change unless citizens rise up and demand it.  The crooks are like deadbeat defendants who lost in court but refuse to pay damages, requiring the plaintiff to work overtime trying to collect – only much worse.  The perpetrators are going off to Copenhagen to try to make decisions that will negatively affect the livelihoods of billions of people on the basis that man-caused global warming is science – when the perpetrators should have resigned in shame already and the paradigm should have collapsed by now.  Can you believe it?  A myth resulting in the imposition of world government and the loss of your freedoms?  It sounds unthinkable, but it is a very real possibility.  At the very least, leaders should halt the summit and call for an extensive independent review of the situation in the wake of the Climategate revelations.    Don’t think for a minute this is about science.  It’s about power, and who has the right to “manufacture” knowledge – to produce the world view that determines how we will live our lives, who will be Keeper of the Myths of the culture, and who is allowed to hold the reins.(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Now’s a Good Time to Replace Your Heating System

first_imgIf your heating system is old and inefficient, now is a great time to replace it with a new, high-efficiency model. There are eight months remaining to take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit that’s available for installing energy-efficient gas- or oil-fired furnaces and boilers, as well as air-source heat pumps.The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a key part of the federal economic stimulus program, extended a 30% federal tax credit for certain home energy upgrades through 2010. The tax credit covers both the equipment and installation cost and is capped at $1,500. In other words, you can get the full 30% tax credit for a system costing up to $5,000.To achieve the tax credit, the system has to achieve a specified level of energy efficiency. Natural gas and propane furnaces must have annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings of 95% or higher. Oil furnaces as well as natural gas, propane, or oil boilers must have AFUE ratings of 90% or higher. (A furnace heats air, which is distributed through warm-air ducts and registers, while a boiler heats water, which is distributed through baseboard or wall radiators.)Be aware that these are really stringent standards; not all manufacturers offer eligible products. Very few oil-fired boilers or furnaces meet the 90% AFUE threshold, and 95% is pretty rigorous for gas furnaces.Air-source heat pumps, must meet specific requirements for HSPF, EER, and SEER (all specific measures of energy performance). Standard (packaged) air-source heat pumps must achieve the following: HSPF≥8.0, EER ≥ 12.0, and SEER ≥ 14.0. “Ductless mini-split” systems, which are growing rapidly in popularity, must achieve somewhat higher performance: HSPF ≥ 8.5, EER ≥ 12.5, and SEER ≥ 15.0.To earn the federal tax credit for one of these systems, the installation has to be completed by December 31, 2010. You have to use IRS Form 5695 and also provide a “Manufacturer’s Certification Statement” certifying that the furnace, boiler, or heat pump qualifies for the tax credit. This statement should be available from the installer or manufacturer.This tax credit–unlike the solar and ground-source heat pump tax credits–only applies to a home that you own and that serves as your principal residence. The residence can be a house, mobile home, manufactured home, co-op apartment, or condominium. You cannot take advantage of this tax credit for heating system replacement on a second home or rental property.Tax credits are much better than deductions, because they directly reduce the taxes you are paying, rather than reducing your taxable income. If you are in a 25% tax bracket, for example, a $1,500 tax credit is comparable to a deduction of $6,000. Only one $1,500 tax credit can be earned for energy efficiency improvements, so if you already took advantage of this tax credit on your 2009 taxes, you are ineligible.While you will earn a tax credit, the real benefit from replacing an inefficient heating system with a new, more efficient one, will be the energy savings that result. If you’re spending $2,000 per year on heat today using a gas furnace with a 78% AFUE efficiency, and you replace it with a 95% AFUE model, you should save about $360/year on fuel (calculated using BuildingGreen’s Fuel Cost Calculator). If the cost of the new furnace was $5,000 ($3,500 after the tax credit), the simple “return on investment” is 10.3%–not a bad return, compared with what you would earn with that money sitting in the bank!The bottom line: if your current heating system is getting old or is inefficient, this summer is a great time to replace it. Contact your heating contractor and/or other suppliers about eligible products.A great resource for information on both federal and state incentives for efficiency and renewable energy is the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE).I invite you to share comments on this blog.Alex Wilson is the executive editor of Environmental Building News and founder of BuildingGreen, LLC. To keep up with his latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feeds.last_img read more