The return of the American robin to back yards across the country is a lovely sign of coming spring. But the little songbird with the orange-red breast and bright blue eggs has some not-so-lovely relatives: the crocodile and the alligator.The connection was made during a riveting lecture, “What Art Thou, Little Bird? Developmental Mechanisms for the Origin and Evolution of Birds” by Arkhat Abzhanov, associate professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, on Jan. 31 at the Harvard Museum of Natural History’s Geological Lecture Hall.The talk, introduced by Jane Pickering, executive director of the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, kicked off the five-part series “Evolution Matters,” made possible by a gift from Drs. Herman and Joan Suit.Abzhanov is an expert in cranio-facial evolutionary development, and a pioneer in the field of evolutionary developmental biology (“evo-devo”). He’s been interested in birds since childhood, and Nature named his work on beak development one of the top evolutionary discoveries of the last decade. Abzhanov began his talk by pointing out that humans have long observed and portrayed birds in everything from prehistoric cave paintings to religions, fairy tales, and computer games.But what makes a bird?The taxonomic group Archosauria, Abzhanov explained, includes dinosaurs, crocodiles, and birds.Abzhanov said birds’ feathers evolved from scales, and their wings evolved from the five-fingered hands and agile wrists of early reptiles. Birds’ beaks are used variously — to catch fish, shrimp, and bugs; to crack open nuts; to make nests — with shapes and sizes that depend on the bird, and its evolution.Beaks, along with wings and the ability to fly, Abzhanov said, make birds extremely successful and diverse. There are 29 orders and 10,000 species, making it the largest group of land vertebrates.In Abzhanov’s research, after identifying the molecules that control the shape the beak takes (long and good for drinking nectar, for example, or short and strong and good for cracking nuts), using the chicken embryo, he successfully made molecular changes that forced the expression of particular genes. Through that manipulation, Abzhanov was able to make a chicken’s beak grow much bigger.“When and how the molecules are used determine the bird,” he explained.Abzhanov showed a slide with an image of an alligator embryo, which looked strikingly similar to the image of a chicken embryo next to it.And while it’s been 75 million years since birds lost their teeth, to this day mutant chickens will grow teeth — teeth that bear a close resemblance to their ancient and remarkably close relative, the alligator.“I think [birds] developed gradually, step by step and piecemeal,”Abzhanov said.Abzhanov noted that fossils tell of some birdlike dinosaurs with plumage that didn’t fly; the Tyrannosaurus rex, he said, probably had big fluffy feathers as a juvenile. And as the audience gasped, chuckled, and murmured over the idea, the lecture ended.“Evolution Matters” continues at the Harvard Museum of Natural History at 6 p.m. Feb. 12 with “Looking for Signs of Evolution: Bees, Butterflies, and Bacteria.”
This year’s student body president and vice president election will proceed very similarly to last year’s election in terms of rules and regulations, vice president of elections Katie Hennessy said. All changes made to the election process this year were made to the Constitution of the student government by Student Senate, by recommendation of the Department of Internal Affairs. The Judicial Council implemented those changes for the first time during this election cycle. The only major change involved write-in candidates, Hennessy said. Write-in nominations have technically always been allowed, but the old web-based voting system did not allow students to actually vote for them during the elections. “We haven’t had any write-in candidates,” Hennessy said. “It was something that was allowed for, but we didn’t have means to make it actually happen. If someone said they wanted to [vote for a write-in candidate], we would have had a lot of issues.” This year, the Judicial Council switched to a different server and ticket ballot that would enable students to write in a candidate’s name if necessary. The Judicial Council also made changes to how write-in candidates are approved, Hennessy said. The major effect of the new regulations posits that write-in nominations must be approved at least four calendar days prior to the election. Outside of those changes to write-in candidates, Hennessy said today’s election will function similarly to last year’s. The Council announced six election tickets Jan. 28, and campaigning began the following day at 11 a.m. “There are not many restrictions on campaigning other than certain rules regarding where they place posters, et cetera,” Hennessy said. Additionally, Hennessy said she and the election committee must approve any campaign-related poster, website or social media post prior to publication. Rule violations have delayed election results in the past. The student body presidential and vice presidential debate took place Monday night in LaFortune Student Center, where each ticket outlined its primary goals for a prospective student government administration. Voting will take place today from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through an email sent out by the Judicial Council, but Hennessy said the results are not likely to be finalized immediately. “With six tickets we will likely have a run-off election since, in order not to, someone has to win a majority,” she said. In the case of a runoff, the two tickets with the highest number of votes would participate in a debate Sunday night, Hennessy said, and the runoff election would take place Monday. The voting process would be the same Monday as it is today. The high number of tickets running in this year’s election likely resulted from last year’s atypical single-ticket race, Hennessy said. “We tried to do whatever we could to publicize the running to get more tickets,” she said. “Last year, a lot of people were upset about it … so I think more people were interested in [running] now.” Contact Mel Flanagan at email@example.com
Several prominent area business organizations have joined forces to create a new alliance, the Business Alliance for a Clean Lake (BACL), first announced in January 2010. The BACL will bring their member organizations to the Statehouse on Friday, February 19th, to meet with legislators and introduce them to the issues the BACL supports. They will be in the Statehouse cafeteria from 7:45 to 9:30. A brochure describing their program will be available.Founding members of the BACL are: Franklin County Industrial Development Corporation Franklin County Regional Chamber of Commerce Friends of Northern Lake Champlain Lake Champlain Islands Chamber of Commerce Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of CommerceParticipating organizations:- Addison County Chamber of Commerce- Burlington International Airport- Burlington Business Association- Church Street Marketplace Commission- Farmers’ Watershed Alliance- Franklin County Board of Realtors- Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation- St. Albans Area Watershed Association- Vermont Convention BureauMission Statement of Business Alliance for a Clean Lake: Lake Champlain is an incomparable natural, social and economic resource. The Mission of BACL is to support efforts to clean the lake, to prevent further man-made impacts that would reduce its safe and enjoyable use, and to protect the Lake for the future of our economy and for future generations.
By Dialogo June 05, 2009 BOGOTA, 04 June, 2009 (AFP)-On Thursday, the Colombian Navy reported that during the course of this week, Colombian authorities have confiscated five submarines used for drug trafficking. According to a press release, one of the last two vessels that were found was under construction. The vessels were discovered on Wednesday in an area of a stream located in the Sanquianga National Park on the Pacific Coast. A third vessel was found on Wednesday in this sector of Nariño department (in the Southwest) and the other two vessels were found in the Gulf of Urabá (in the Northwest), according to the report, which estimated the cost of each of the submersibles at 1.6 million dollars each. In operations conducted with the support of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Intelligence Service, 1,528 kilos of cocaine chlorhydrate, a speedboat, weapons, munitions and communication equipment were seized. The report indicated that “the approximate value of the material that was seized and destroyed amounts to $42 million (USD)”, and it points out that each vessel has the space capacity to transport between 8 to 10 tons of drugs. The report stated that “the drug trafficking organizations use these devices in order to transport large quantities of drugs from storage facilities located in Colombia, to the coasts of Central American countries. According to the Navy, the submersibles that have been found up to now-some 44 of them-are capable of traveling some 1,000 to 2,000 miles, which is equivalent to one to two week trips. According to the United Nations, Colombia produces some 600 tons of cocaine each year, which represents 60% of the worldwide supply.
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Topics : The secretary of the coordinating economic minister, Susiwijono Moegiarso, said in Jakarta on Tuesday that the new stimulus package would ease procedures to import raw materials from countries outside China and procedures to export wood-related products.Earlier on Wednesday, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo called on government officials to respond to the global dynamics, asking officials to relax import procedures.“Supply from China has been disrupted and thus we need to relax [procedures]. If not, prices will skyrocket and this will drive inflation,” Jokowi said.Read also: World Bank unveils $12b aid package to combat coronavirus“It is all the same for exports as we need to supply other countries,” he said. “Procedures must be relaxed and simplified. But first we need to pay attention to sufficiency of raw materials.”Bank Indonesia projected weakening economic activities in tourism, exports and imports to drag down the country’s economic growth to 4.9 percent in the first quarter before picking up in subsequent quarters.BI Governor Perry Warjiyo said COVID-19 had hurt businesses engaged in trade as well as tourism-related industries in February, which would likely continue but bottom out in March.“Recovery is likely to take place in the next six months after bottoming out in February and March,” Perry briefed media leaders at the central bank in Jakarta.Fitch Ratings director of sovereign ratings Thomas Rookmaaker said the outbreak could cause a short-term deterioration of revenue performance through its effects on economic activity.Read also: Businesses call for transparent action in handling novel coronavirus”The self-imposed fiscal deficit ceiling of 3 percent of GDP would limit the government’s capacity to materially relax fiscal policy,” Rookmaaker told The Jakarta Post over email interview.Rookmaaker said that any deterioration in fiscal metrics as a result of the virus would likely be short-lived. “We forecast a fiscal deficit of 2.2 percent of GDP in 2020 and expect the debt-to-GDP ratio to rise only marginally in the next few years.” The government is working to finalize eight measures that will be incorporated in a second stimulus package aimed at easing rules for exports and imports as supply chains continue to be disrupted by the spread of COVID-19, Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto said on Wednesday.The stimulus, he said, would be bigger than the first one.“Trade easing will be expanded to keep the momentum of boosting exports,” Airlangga said in Jakarta. “We are also working to relax the income tax and import duty to boost production.” The measure follows the unveiling of a Rp 10.3 trillion (US$725 million) stimulus package last week to support consumer spending and tourism.Read also: BI expects Q1 economic growth to drop to 4.9% as virus hurts tourism, tradeAirlangga said the second stimulus package would be worth more than Rp 10 trillion, adding that the government would announce the new stimulus package soon to help support trade. “Several export-import licenses will be removed given the current circumstances.”Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said in Jakarta on Monday that the government would ease import requirements of raw materials for local manufacturers as the disruption of the supply chain from China due to COVID-19 had begun to affect the country’s manufacturing sector.
Construction has started on the first stage of a $125 million dual tower community centred around the city’s iconic SkyNeedle.He said SkyNeedle Apartments were positioned at the heart of South Brisbane, with connectivity to the Brisbane CBD and Southbank.A cafe during stage two will be incorporated at the base of the SkyNeedle, becoming a standout feature enhanced by water features.An exclusive residents’ recreational space will include a resort-style pool, barbecue pavilions and seating areas. Mr Pradella said next year marked the 30-year milestone since SkyNeedle made its debut at Expo 88 and expected the first tower to be completed by late 2018. Developer Pradella has started construction on the first stage of a $125 million dual tower community centred around the city’s iconic SkyNeedle.Brisbane hairdresser Stefan Ackerie bought the structure in the 80s, later selling it to developer Pradella Group in 2015.More from newsCrowd expected as mega estate goes under the hammer7 Aug 2020Hard work, resourcefulness and $17k bring old Ipswich home back to life20 Apr 2020Pradella director Kim Pradella and Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk launched the start of construction on the ‘legacy landmark’, with more than 70 per cent of apartments in the first tower selling for a total of $38 million.Mr Pradella said the first tower included one and two-bedroom units, however a few buyers had opted to amalgamate apartments to create a larger property with a customised floorplan. He said the apartments were designed to be as iconic as their namesake and was Brisbane’s next step in its emergence as a ‘new world city’.“These residences will really be next level in terms of their accessibility and amenity,” Mr Pradella said.“The SkyNeedle makes this community immediately identifiable not only for locals but also visitors. “It is the wow factor that sets this development apart from all others across the city.” Kim Pradella and Lord Mayor Graham Quirk at the SkyNeedle construction site.A BRISBANE icon known for once lighting up the city skyline will get a facelift as part of a new development that has just kicked off.Incorporating the refurbished SkyNeedle as part of South Brisbane’s $125 million dual tower SkyNeedle Aparment project, the first tower will comprise 110 of the total 237 apartments.SkyNeedle, an 88 metre pillar, was a key feature of Brisbane’s World Expo in 1988, and remains a prominent marker on the city skyline.
Cassandra Ranee Hummel, 31, of Moores Hill passed away Thursday April 28, at Dearborn County Hospital at Lawrenceburg. She was born Wednesday February 6, 1985 the daughter of Joseph and Phyllis (Fugate) Hummel. She loved giving hugs, playing with her dog Toto, and making people laugh. She loved her music and toys, and enjoyed holding babies.Cassandra is survived by parents, Phyllis (Bob) Crosthwaite of Moores Hill, father Joseph (Sherry) Hummel of Moores Hill, brothers Anthony Hummel of Dillsboro and Joshua Crosthwaite of Milford, Ohio, sisters: Theresa Ollman of Milan, Amber Gabbard, and Amber Elder both of Moores Hill. She was preceded in death by Paternal Grandparents: William J. (Rosella) Hummel; Maternal Grandparents: Jasper and Mary Fugate. Step Maternal Grandmother: Mattie Florence, one brother: James Hummel.Funeral services will be Monday May 2, 2016, 1PM at Sibbett-Moore Funeral Home with Pastor Steven O’Brien of the Dillsboro Baptist Church officiating. Burial will be in Forest Hill Cemetery at Moores Hill. Visitation will be 3-5 Sunday at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to Riley Hospital for Kids through the funeral home. Sibbett-Moore Funeral Home entrusted with arrangements, 16717 Manchester St, PO Box 156, Moores Hill, In., 47032, (812)744-3280. Go to www.sibbettmoore.com to leave an online condolence message for the family.
Batesville, In. — Crews from Cincinnati-based Paul H. Rohe Company return to the Merkel Road project in Batesville next week, weather permitting. Last year, the project was stymied by poor weather conditions, utility conflicts and unforeseen conditions.Mayor Mike Bettice explains the crews will be working on storm sewer infrastructure until June. Widening and other construction will continue through the summer.When the project is complete it will allow improved access to one of the only type structures along I-74 between Indianapolis and Cincinnati.The shell building is about 54,000-square-feet and can be expandable up to 200,000-square-feet. Additionally, the site has ample parking capacity for trucks, trailers and cars.