New Local Link timetable and bus shelters lauched in Inishowen

first_imgThe installation of new Local Link bus shelters in Buncrana was discussed in a meeting at the Public Service Center, Carndonagh on Wednesday last.Members from the Donegal County Council, bus operators, Local Link Donegal and council engineering staff gathered to discuss the new shelters.It was also announced that going forward all public and private transport will only be stopping at these identified stops as and from the Monday 26th August 2019.Local Link also launched a transport booklet of all Local Link services both scheduled and demand-responsive for the Inishowen area. These transport services are all now running and further information can be found on the Local Link Donegal Facebook page or visit www.lcoallinkdonegal.ieCopies of the booklet can be got in most public places.New Local Link timetable and bus shelters lauched in Inishowen was last modified: August 21st, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare 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

Biological Designs Worth Imitating

first_imgTaking that lesson to heart, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are using the decellularized husks of plants such as parsley, vanilla and orchids to form three-dimensional scaffolds that can then be primed and seeded with human stem cells to optimize their growth in the lab dish and, ultimately, create novel biomedical implants.DNA computers are coming along, says Live Science. Tia Ghose writes, “Computers of the Future May Be Minuscule Molecular Machines.” Inspired by DNA’s longevity and extreme storage density, scientists have already encoded the entire works of Shakespeare in the genetic molecules (see article at Evolution News and hear it on ID the Future). Now that biology has shown the way to efficient data storage, engineers at DARPA are looking at other molecules that could encode in new ways beyond silicon’s 1’s and 0’s and DNA’s A-C-T-G system, using orientation, size and color to represent additional bits of information.Power plants. Bio-engineers have been trying to replicate photosynthesis for years, but still seem to have a long way to go. Science Daily says that a Japanese team has uncovered another part of the mechanism the plant uses to break down water, “marking another step towards the potential development of artificial photosynthesis.”Algae petrol. Imagine how much better it would be to create fuel from an abundant, renewable resource: algae. The Japanese are looking at this green gold: “Microalgae can grow with light, water, carbon dioxide and a small amount of minerals, and their cells divide quickly, meaning that they can be harvested faster than land-based biomasses,” Science Daily says. “Algae can also be harvested all year round, potentially offering a more stable energy supply.”Sperm therapy. To get ingredients to a female with cancerous tumors, why not imitate one of nature’s best delivery systems? Phys.org reports that German scientists are developing steerable sperm to do just that. They coax the expert swimming cells into little iron helmets, then steer them where they want them to swim. There are problems with the concept, though; how to shed the helmets after delivery, “And then there is the problem of obtaining the sperm.” There will undoubtedly be volunteers.Borrowing from nature is an age-old theme in science.Improving on nature? An article on Phys.org claims that a new technology is “better than nature” – “artificial biofilm increases energy production in microbial fuel cells.” Well, ‘better’ is relative to the function at hand. If biofilms were meant to generate electricity, the researchers at University of Bayreuth could boast. By combining a gel substance with the bacteria, the scientists got more electrical output than previous attempts with the bacteria alone.The following six papers are more technical for those interested.Bio-inspired Murray materials for mass transfer and activity (Nature Communications). Scientists build on nature’s hierarchical designs for applications needing to move mass. Why? “Natural systems and their hierarchical organization are not only optimized and designed for durability but also have the capability to adapt to their external environment, to undergo self-repair, and to perform many highly complex functions.”Reproducing the hierarchy of disorder for Morpho-inspired, broad-angle color reflection (Nature Scientific Reports). The brilliant blue Morpho butterfly returns to the biomimetics stage in the paper. Praise for the design gets mixed with long-age credulity in the opening sentences: “Intricate structures create structural colors that can remain brilliant after millions of years of fossilization. One of the most well-known examples is the butterflies of genus Morpho whose bright, blue wings grace many famous collections, and are reported to be visible even from low-flying aircrafts [sic].”Structural features and lipid binding domain of tubulin on biomimetic mitochondrial membranes (PNAS). Tubulin is not just a protein component of the cytoskeleton; it is also “a highly unexpected component of mitochondrial membranes involved in regulation of membrane permeability,” this paper says. The authors are studying its interaction with membrane proteins, knowing this will be “important for the structure-inspired design of tubulin-targeting agents.”A living mesoscopic cellular automaton made of skin scales (Nature). Theoretical cellular automata, famously conceived by John von Neumann, are realized in—of all things—lizard skin. Nature (that is, biology, not the journal) had it first. But does Nature‘s evolutionary reference compute?Here we show that in ocellated lizards a quasi-hexagonal lattice of skin scales, rather than individual chromatophore cells, establishes a green and black labyrinthine pattern of skin colour. We analysed time series of lizard scale colour dynamics over four years of their development and demonstrate that this pattern is produced by a cellular automaton (a grid of elements whose states are iterated according to a set of rules based on the states of neighbouring elements) that dynamically computes the colour states of individual mesoscopic skin scales to produce the corresponding macroscopic colour pattern. Using numerical simulations and mathematical derivation, we identify how a discrete von Neumann cellular automaton emerges from a continuous Turing reaction–diffusion system. Skin thickness variation generated by three-dimensional morphogenesis of skin scales causes the underlying reaction–diffusion dynamics to separate into microscopic and mesoscopic spatial scales, the latter generating a cellular automaton. Our study indicates that cellular automata are not merely abstract computational systems, but can directly correspond to processes generated by biological evolution.Biomimetic supercontainers for size-selective electrochemical sensing of molecular ions (Nature Scientific Reports). This paper describes how “the unique structure of spherical viruses” is  inspiring the construction of nano-containers for storage and sensing applications.Biomimetic catalytic transformation of toxic α-oxoaldehydes to high-value chiral α-hydroxythioesters using artificial glyoxalase I (Nature Communications). This paper describes attempts to mimic enzymes for maintaining handedness in pharmaceuticals. Once again, the authors tip the hat to Darwin: “Nature has evolved a wealth of proteins called enzymes that catalyse the chemical reactions necessary to sustain all life on Earth.” How nature “evolved” these capabilities is never explained.Show these articles to those who think Darwin owns science and intelligent design is religion. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If anything, the religion in these instances is Darwinism, taking it on faith that “nature” works miracles, achieving what our best scientists and engineers are struggling to imitate.Parents: get your kid a Science Fair award! Find a natural design he or she can imitate and learn about, coming up with a useful application. It will be sure to turn the judge’s heads. (Just don’t use the forbidden phrase “intelligent design” in a public school. We don’t want your kid to get Expelled.) Borrowing from nature is an age-old theme in science. Form and function go hand-in-hand in the natural world and the structures created by plants and animals are only rarely improved on by humans. If these designs are so good that intelligent minds want to mimic them, who can believe they emerged by chance?Falcon aircraft: With eyes like lasers, wings for speed, and talons for capture, a peregrine falcon swoops down unerringly for its prey at speeds approaching 200mph—even in high winds. No wonder Phys.org reports that “research work on how falcons fly is inspiring new technologies for aircraft that could contribute to their safety in the air, aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.” But even after over a century of flight design, human engineers probably won’t get close to the falcon’s abilities for another two decades. The article includes this infographic from BAE systems:The article ends with this remark by a specialist in air flow control in military aircraft: “Bio-inspiration is not a new concept; many technologies that we use every day are increasingly inspired by animals and nature.”Cheetah robot.  “University of Twente researcher Geert Folkertsma has developed a prototype cheetah robot,” Science Daily reports. “Folkertsma has dedicated four years of research and development to constructing a scaled-down robotic version of the fastest land animal in the world, with a view to replicating its movements.” To try to replicate the cat’s movements, the PhD student “studied extensive video footage of cheetahs,” the article says.Honeybee cleaners. The life of a honeybee seems like it would be a messy job: getting covered with pollen dust all the day long, even in the eyes. And yet they keep their hairs neat and clean. How? The spacing of the hairs seems to be a key, says Phys.org. The Bioneers at Georgia Tech are onto the case. They found that bees also come equipped with cleaning tools and the training to use them.“Bees have a preprogrammed cleaning routine that doesn’t vary,” said Marguerite Matherne, a Ph.D. student in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. “Even if they’re not very dirty in the first place, bees always swipe their eyes a dozen times, six times per leg. The first swipe is the most efficient, and they never have to brush the same area of the eye twice.”A mechanical engineer at the school says, “Our findings may also be used to create mechanical designs that help keep micro and nanostructured surfaces clean.”Honeybee robot eyes: Speaking of honeybees, Science Daily says, “Honey bees have sharper eyesight than we thought.” They didn’t specify who “we” is, but they quickly inspire the reader with details about how scientists at the University of Adelaide are applying the new knowledge to the design of sharper eyes for robots. “Bees have much better vision than was previously known, offering new insights into the lives of honey bees, and new opportunities for translating this knowledge into fields such as robot vision, outlines a new study.”Fern batteries. Storing energy from solar cells is a major challenge. You can’t charge the cells at night, so how do you maintain the day’s energy collection? Scientists at RMIT University (Australia) are looking to Americans for answers – to American fern plants, that is – for “bio-inspired” answers to fast charging. The secret is in fractals: subdivisions of subdivisions of subdivisions in the leaves of the western swordfern. “Our electrode is based on these fractal shapes – which are self-replicating, like the mini structures within snowflakes – and we’ve used this naturally-efficient design to improve solar energy storage at a nano level,” they say. The fern-mimic electrode could “boost the capacity of existing integrable storage technologies by 3000 per cent. Watch for it in smartphones, laptops, cars, and buildings.Seaweed superconductors. Speaking of energy storage, ditch the graphite. Cease the lithium-ion pollution. There’s a greener way: use seaweed, say American scientists. Phys.org explains that when chelated, seaweed takes on an egg-box structure that magnifies the energy storage potential of batteries. “Testing showed that the seaweed-derived material had a large reversible capacity of 625 milliampere hours per gram (mAhg-1), which is considerably more than the 372 mAhg-1 capacity of traditional graphite anodes for lithium-ion batteries,” the article says. This could double the range of electric cars, while exploiting a cheap, renewable resource.Bat sonar. Echolocation in a certain species of bat seems to get enhanced when they wiggle their noses and ears. The evidence seems clear; bats have “extraordinary accuracy” at finding what they need in the dark. Virginia Tech engineers have taken notice, wondering if that could improve man-made sonar systems. The techs built a model with the new wiggle technique and found that it improved signal to noise by a factor of 100 to 1000. “Bat echolocation is one of nature’s remarkable achievements in navigation,” the article on Phys.org says, making this interesting admission: “That suggests that bolstering sensor capability by using a dynamic, mobile emitter and receiver should be translatable to engineered systems less complex than real bats, improving the navigation of autonomous drones and the accuracy of devices for speech recognition.”For Bat Appreciation Day (April 17), National Geographic posted “16 Incredible Pictures Show the Beauty of Bats.”Parsley scaffolds. Getting stem cells to grow where you want them is a challenge. Phys.org explains how some scientists are succeeding with plant materials. In the process, the scientists make a good statement about the value of living models:center_img (Visited 242 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Wiser Driver promises safer taxis

first_imgThe Wiser Driver Campaign aims to improve communication between commuters, taxi associations, drivers and owners. (Image: SA Transport)An effort to bridge the communication divide between commuters, drivers, taxi associations and owners is being made by two young men from KwaZulu-Natal.Durban entrepreneurs Brian Mbambo and Zethembiso Msomi run a non-profit organisation called Give Life Projects. It seeks to innovate the way South African communities work. The pair also run a software development shop called Fish Information.Give Life Projects has pioneered a mobile service available to every taxi commuter, called Wiser Driver. By dialling 1204577#, commuters now have a voice and are invited to speak about their commuting experiences with full assurances that the right owner of the vehicle will receive their concerns.Msomi told Redbull Amaphiko: “The platform we have created to give a voice to the commuters comes at a cost. Primarily, the bigger challenge is awareness. The taxi industry, particularly the drivers, have been stereotyped to behave in a manner that endangers commuters or other road users.“While some cases are true, this is not the entire picture of the driving community. Also, taxi owners themselves are usually unaware of what happens in their taxis while they are in operation. This project has allowed us insight into their lives and they are genuinely concerned for their commuters as they provide the bread they get to place on their tables.”Taxi owners, like their customers, the commuters, are not currently in a position to receive concerns and comments in a timely manner.Wiser Driver offers commuters road safety education and information, such as the importance of wearing seatbelts. It can also be used to report bad behaviour or excellent service from drivers. It is currently available in English and isiZulu to commuters in Durban and surrounding areas. Standard USSD charges apply for usage.WISER DRIVER ORIGINSFor the 15th annual Durban Business Fair in 2013, Msomi and Mbambo developed a mobile competition system that was the catalyst for Wiser Driver.Msomi explained: “For that project, we created a web application that was used to register and automatically enter into the competition the visitors and exhibitors that attended/participated in the Business Fair.“After that success, Give Life Projects championed a tavern campaign in 2013 in partnership with the KZN Liquor Authority and Brandhouse. In this campaign, tavern owners were given first aid training, fire awareness training, first aid kits and fire extinguishers. As a means of collecting data on the success and progress of the initiative, we asked tavern owners to give us feedback via USSD with the names of people they have assisted in their taverns.”USSD is Unstructured Supplementary Service Data. It is used by GSM mobile phones to communicate with the service provider’s computers. In essence, it is used for browsing, prepaid callback service, mobile-money services, location-based content services, menu-based information services, and as part of configuring the phone on the network.TAXI ASSOCIATION PARTNERSWiser Driver has partnered with 16 taxi associations in Durban and should a user report any issues, the problem is immediately communicated to the owner of the taxi in question as well as the taxi association under which the taxi operates.Internal disciplinary policies of the taxi owner’s operation and taxi association come into play after the report is made.“We wanted to introduce an independent system of accountability for taxi drivers and a degree of transparency by facilitating communication between commuters and taxi owners,” Msomi said.“Aside from taxi owners, drivers and associations, other players that work with this sector have also given us a great reception as well. The likes of these are our partners, namely: CMH DatCenter Durban, Miami Towlines and Jacks Tyres.”The significant challenge was creating an application that could be accessible from any mobile device. That challenge was met, and roll out has been smooth.“The challenge remains now to bring this application to the attention of as many people as possible in order to establish a new standard in the taxi industry,” Mbambo said. “We share our project in order to cultivate ambassadors who will help us help the owners be more responsible and more concerned and act accordingly when commuters communicate their concerns to them.”SUCCESS STORYSoon after its launch, Wiser Driver received its first reports from a commuter, commenting about a taxi driver.“We received our first negative report from a commuter about a particular driver who was speeding excessively. The owner of that taxi was very quick in addressing the issue with his driver,” Msomi said.“After observing the data that we had collected from the system, we then held a series of feedback sessions with our stakeholders. As unconventional as this seems, the thinking behind it is to decrease the chances of that particular taxi being involved in or causing an accident. By chance, they said the taxi was also in need of a good set of tyres .Together with our partners, Jacks Tyres and CMH DatCenter Durban, we announced a pre-emptive measure action plan where we gave a brand-new set of tyres to the taxi.”The other participating taxi owners were given wheel alignment vouchers, courtesy of Jacks Tyres and CMH DatCenter Durban.last_img read more

Tax Deductions for Filmmakers and Videographers

first_imgMake tax season a little less painful with these tax deductions for filmmakers and videographers. It will likely save you money!Before we begin: We’re not Certified Public Accountants, so be sure to consult a CPA to find out exactly what tax write-offs work best for you. Let’s kick this off with two pieces of very important advice…Keep Immaculate RecordsKeep your records in order and set aside a percentage of every dollar you earn for self-employment tax. I’ve found that utilizing assets such as Square to send invoices and run credit cards really helps me keep my records tight. Then I tie Quickbooks to my bank account to consolidate all of my records into one place. At the end of the year, all I have to do it send the Quickbooks documentation to my CPA so she can prepare my taxes for filing. Speaking of CPAs…Hire a Certified Public AccountantYou’re going to need help navigating the ins and outs of what can be deducted and what can’t. Hiring a CPA will help you save some money in the long run.Image from ShutterstockDeductions for Filmmakers and VideographersAs we explore these possible tax deductions for filmmakers and videographers, keep in mind that you could end up audited. Be sure that you can justify your deductions. That point is going to come up a lot as we move forward. Now let’s look at some easy ways that deductions can save you some money.1. Small ItemsAny small item that you spend money on for daily production tasks is something you can deduct. Tool kits, dry erase boards and markers, gaffer tape, etc. These are all things you can deduct. You just have to be able to justify the purchase and its use in your daily business.2. All Computer Related ItemsIf you purchased a new computer this year, it’s deductible – with some conditions. If you use that new computer solely for work, then you can claim the entire purchase price, but only by using a Section 179 Deduction. If you’re using the computer for business and personal, that changes how much of the purchase price you can deduct. Your CPA will be able to give you a more concrete idea of what those numbers are.It’s not just hardware that can be deducted; software is eligible too. Your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription is a great example of software that’s deductible. Just make sure you give your transaction invoices to your CPA in Quickbooks or physical form.Image from Scott Prokop / Shutterstock.com3. Film & Video Production EquipmentEvery piece of equipment that you purchase for your work is a deduction during tax season. Did you purchase a new camera this year? That’s a deduction. Did you go to B&H Photo and purchase new lenses for that camera? Maybe a penguin case? ND filters? Those are deductions. Or maybe you purchased new sound equipment from Sweetwater? Deduction. Even batteries, memory cards, tripods, sliders, and stabilizers are deductible as long as they are being justifiably used for your business.4. Digital and Print ResearchAs filmmakers and videographers, we are constantly consuming content in order to stay on top of what is going on in our industry. Because of this you might be justified in deducting the whole cost or a portion of the cost of Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, cable service, movie tickets, industry books, periodicals, and smart phone apps. Again, you have to be able to justify these expenses as something you need for your work. Your CPA will be able to give you a concrete answer on whether you can apply these expenses as deductions.Image from Shutterstock5. Dining and EntertainmentTo deduct dining and entertainment expenses, you need to be able to justify how they relate to your business. More than likely you wont be able to claim the entire amount. When dining with clients or colleagues, I usually claim around 50% of the cost. I’ll also deduct the cost of a wrap party for my crew after filming has concluded. Screenings and premiere costs are also deductible. All of these things can be seen as the cost of doing business. Here’s what the IRS has to say on the matter.6. Online PresenceAll of us need some sort of online presence in order to build our business. Because building this online presence is so crucial to earning a living, you should look at deducting the cost of this presence. Things that could apply here are cloud storage costs (Onedrive, Google Drive, Dropbox), yearly website domain and hosting costs, and online membership costs such as IMDB Pro. Even the costs of website design and development are deductible.Image from Shutterstock 7. Travel Expenses and ConferencesExpenses you incur while doing business outside of your home might fall into the travel expenses category. Whether you’re driving for five hours or your taking a flight across the country for a film shoot, these are all deductible expenses. Be sure and keep records of everything including rental cars, taxi rides, and hotels. If you paid for the travel of your crew, add that cost as well. Additionally, if you’re attending a conference like NAB or SXSW, you can deduct the attendance costs, as they directly pertain to your work. For more information on travel expense and conference deductions head over to the IRS Website.8. Business Startup ExpensesKeep track of all the costs that you pay out to start your business such as incorporation fees, lawyer fees, and copyright/trademark filing fees. You can even deduct the payments made to your CPA or financial advisor. Also check out Caron Beesley‘s Startup Cost Tax Deductions article on the SBA.gov blog.Image from Shutterstock9. Printed Self MarketingIn addition to your online marketing, you’ll likely want to purchase printed media like business cards, flyers, or brochures. These costs are deductible as well. In fact, business cards were #4 on the Bloomberg Business list of 25 Unsung Tax Deductions.10. Home Office ExpensesHome offices and editing rooms are loaded with potential deductions, including the actual space you use. Other likely deductions: desks, chairs, lamps, pens, printers, printer paper, ink cartridges, staples, etc. You get the idea. These may seem like small insignificant purchases, but they add up quickly. The IRS has an entire page dedicated to the ins and outs of home office deductions.Image from ShutterstockWhat We’ve Learned About Tax DeductionsDeductions aren’t too hard to decipher, as long as they are legal and pertain to your business. With that in mind, the most important take-aways are: Keep immaculate records and hire a CPA. Talk to other filmmakers that you know – chances are one of them has a CPA that they can recommend.Are you a seasoned filmmaker or videographer? Do you know of additional deduction options not listed in our roundup? Let us know in the comments below.last_img read more

Kashmir boogies to winter’s warmth

first_imgIt’s chilly around the Dal lake on Saturday afternoon, but a cruise-houseboat with an open-air theatre sets off to generate warmth with live music and enthusiastic youngsters.In a bid to reclaim lost social spaces and nose-diving tourism, the Jammu & Kashmir tourism department has started ‘Valley Weekends’, an initiative to infuse new life into the otherwise dull weekends in the conflict-ridden Valley.“The open-air houseboat will be like an open-air theatre. People will perform every weekend. The idea is to revitalise social spaces and defeat the notions that winters are dull in the Valley. And the fact is youngsters want to come out and experience things,” said Sarmad Hafeez, secretary, tourism. The initiative involves heritage walks, ethnic food festivals and music shows across the Valley. “Tourists can now relish hareesa, a local winter meat dish served in breakfast, at a new joint started at Boulevard on Saturday. The idea is to expose tourists to local flavours and also the flavours of the different seasons. Autumn and winter seasons are equally enjoyable in Kashmir as summers,” said Mr. Hafeez.Protests dent tourism Street protests and militant violence in the past two years dented the tourism sector in Kashmir, with the peak season in 2017 witnessing “an 80% slump”. The weekend festivals, offering experiences and a host of entertainment activities, are aimed at reviving tourist footfalls. Mountain biking, canoeing and rowing will now be a weekend fixture.“‘Valley Weekends’ will help keep youth engaged with the activities and make Kashmir a lively place for tourists,” said director, tourism, Mahmood A. Shah.He said “it will send a positive message across the globe that Kashmir is a safe and a tourist-friendly place”.last_img read more