Germany now more attractive to employers

first_img Comments are closed. Germany now more attractive to employersOn 2 Dec 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Germany has amended laws on protection against unfair dismissal and onfixed-term work, which should make it more attractive and affordable to employpeople in the country. Under current law, protection against unfair dismissal is only available forstaff who work in organisations with more than five employees, and who havebeen employed with the same employer for at least six months. From 1 January, the ‘five-employees limit’ will be modified and up to fivefixed-term employees, whose employment starts after 1 January 2004, will notcount towards the limit. This means employers that currently employ five workers will be able toemploy more without the law on unfair dismissal being applicable. Alternatively, they could appoint six fixed-term staff who work no more than30 hours a week, 10 who work no more than 20 hours a week, or a combination –as long as they are fixed-term and the threshold total of five full-time staffis not exceeded. Other changes mean that when employers terminate employment for operationalreasons (similar to redundancy), they will be able to offer a ‘statutorycompensation payment’ if the employee decides not to file a complaint forunfair dismissal. This statutory compensation payment is equal to a half-monthly gross salaryper year of employment. It is then up to the worker to decide whether to takecourt action, bearing in mind that if the dismissal is held to be justified,they might leave the court empty handed. Martin Fischer, of the German British Chamber, said: “The new rules inconnection with the termination of employment will make consequences ofredundancy more predictable. The additional costs caused by judicialproceedings will now be saved in many cases,” he said. www.germanbritishchamber.co.uk Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

JERSEY CITY BRIEFS

first_imgBilly Bisogno withdraws from council raceSix weeks before the Nov. 7 municipal election, and probably too late to take his name off the ballot, Michael “Billy” Bisogno has dropped out of the race to become Jersey City’s Downtown council member, hoping to succeed Candice Osborne.The 35-year-old actor and LGBT activist was one of six candidates in the Ward E council race and could have become the first openly gay person elected to the nine-member City Council.According to local media reports, Bisogno said his new role as executive director of Hudson Pride Connections Center made dropping out of the race necessary. Bisogno said, “I would rather do one job well than do two adequately.”Bisogno has thrown his support behind Nick Grillo, a funeral director and the only Jersey City native running for the Downtown council seat. The other candidates are attorneys Rebecca Symes, Madeleine Giansanti Cag, and Jake Hudnut, and James Solomon, who teaches politics and public policy at New Jersey City University and Hudson County Community College.County election officials began sending mail-in ballots to voters on Friday and have said it’s unlikely the county will pay to redesign the ballot to remove someone’s name.Mayor Steven Fulop has said he will not endorse a Ward E candidate unless there’s a runoff after the first round of balloting.Stabbing leaves one dead, another injuredPolice are investigating the stabbing death of one person and injuries to another near the intersection of Claremont Avenue and Martin Luther King Drive on Wednesday, according to media reports. The injured victim remained in stable condition as of Wednesday afternoon at Jersey City Medical Center. Both victims are males, said to be in their late teens or early 20s.Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said the department’s Homicide Unit is investigating the fatal stabbing.Kushner’s revised One Journal Square unanimously approvedThe city Planning Board on Tuesday unanimously approved revised plans for the Kushner Company’s $800 million, twin tower project proposed for a plot of land adjacent to the Journal Square PATH station. According to local media reports, the board members expressed eagerness to see the project go forward after years of delays and unfulfilled promises by the city to redevelop the tract.Donald Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser Jared Kushner was the CEO of Kushner Properties, who left that position after Trump’s inauguration in January. Last spring the project was the center of controversy when Kusher’s sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer, reportedly attempted to lure foreign investors to the project with promises of assistance in getting them American visas. That followed other obstacles to the project’s progress, including a major investor dropping out, the expiration of a critical state tax break, and the Fulop administration’s decision not to support an array of city subsidies the developers wanted.Revisions to the project, which will stand 758 feet when completed, include two 56-story towers on top of a 10-story podium housing 1,512 residential units plus retail office space. Stack urges contributions to hurricane victimsState Sen. Brian Stack has issued a call for donations to the Red Cross to aid victims of the devastating hurricanes in Puerto Rico and Mexico.Stack, who is also mayor of Union City, called the Red Cross a “reputable organization” and said he has witnessed their “honorable” work at the local level. He said, “Our region has many residents with both friends and family in these nations.” To donate to the Red Cross, check www.Redcross.org or call (1-800-733-2767). Hudson County CASA is seeking volunteersLearn how to become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer and help foster children find safe and permanent homes. The next information session will be held at the Hudson County Courthouse, 595 Newark Ave. Rm. 901 on Tuesday, Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m. Hudson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a non-profit organization committed to advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children. CASA works through trained community volunteers to ensure that needed services and assistance are made available to children while helping to move them toward safe and permanent homes. Hudson County CASA volunteers are everyday people who make a direct impact in foster children’s lives. They are trusted, dedicated adults who seek to improve children’s well-being. CASA volunteers get to know their assigned child and his or her circumstances and provide valuable information to the court. Judges rely on the volunteers’ recommendations to make the best decisions about the children’s futures.For further information, visit www.hudsoncountycasa.org.AARP Commends Gov. Christie, local legislators for telemedicine lawsIn a statement from AARP New Jersey State President Dave Mollen, the American Association of Retired Persons applauded Gov. Christopher Christie for enacting into law S291/A1464, bi-partisan legislation authorizing health care providers in New Jersey to deliver health care services through the use of telehealth and telemedicine.Mollen said the new law “moves the state in the right direction and allows telehealth and telemedicine to become an accessible, affordable option for millions of New Jersey residents.” His statement also commended Assemblyman Raj Mukherji and his fellow bill sponsors for championing the legislation. Do you have a story you want to get onto paper, or get published? Local novelist offers one-shot classDo you have a piece of writing, or an idea for a piece of writing (memoir, novel, essay, script), and you need feedback on it or ideas on how to get it published? Now you can learn how, right in your own back yard. Local novelist (and Reporter editor) Caren Lissner, whose book was made into the Netflix movie Carrie Pilby, is running a one-shot writing and publishing class at Little City Books in Hoboken. The 90-minute workshop will run on the evening of Nov. 2, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. It will include suggestions on how to take the next steps into writing or getting published. The class is open to all stages, ages, and genres – from memoirs to fiction to scripts. The store is five blocks from the Hoboken train station.Participants who’ve written their story, essay, poem, novel excerpt, or screenplay can bring 1 to 5 double-spaced pages, or those who just want to participate in discussion (auditors) can come and sit in. But space is limited, so register using the link below or check the events page of littlecitybooks.com. There is a nominal cost of $25 for those bringing work for critique, and $20 for auditors who just want to observe or discuss.Lissner’s funny first novel, “Carrie Pilby,” was just turned into a comedy movie starring Nathan Lane, currently on Netflix. She has also published articles, essays, and satire in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Harper’s, and National Lampoon.Lissner has run publishing/writing seminars for adults and teens at the Secaucus Library, in other libraries and bookstores, and as part of a Scholastic Inc. program in Westchester County. Find out more at carenlissner.com.To register as a contributor, click on http://www.littlecitybooks.com/get-it-out-reader. For further questions, contact Lissner via her website, carenlissner.com.Gubernatorial candidates voice support for Puerto Rico hurricane reliefThe two leading gubernatorial candidates have come together to voice support of a statewide charity designed to raise funds for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico.“New Jersey for Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief” is sponsored and spearheaded by the Puerto Rican Congress of New Jersey and leaders of New Jersey’s half-million-strong Puerto Rican community to rally behind friends and family on the island suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and former Ambassador Phil Murphy both urged New Jerseyans to support the relief fund. Visit nj4pr.org. Donations are now being accepted through the site. Supporters can also call 1-833-NJ-HELPS. October is breast cancer awareness monthThe Urban League of Hudson County and Hoboken family planning are offering free breast exams and on-site mammograms for uninsured and under-insured women. The exams will be conducted at 253 MLK Drive, Jersey City, on Saturday, Oct. 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration is required, so call (201) 963-0300. There are age and financial restrictions. last_img read more

First you see, then you see again

first_img 12Johnston Gate, the first, largest, and most lavishly constructed entrance to Harvard Yard, arches over the Littauer Building. 4Students tread the paths of Harvard Yard to classrooms atop the Memorial Hall tower. 15Scholars enter gateways to the Yard in the spirit of the inscription under the bust of James Walker, past president and overseers of Harvard College: “Learn where is wisdom, where is strength, where is understanding; that thou mayest know also where is length of days, and life, where is the light of the eyes and peace.” 3Portraits and sculptures of historic Harvard leaders mingle in the Faculty Room of University Hall. LeBaron Russell Briggs, who served as dean of Harvard College and president of Radcliffe, is eclipsed in the light of the window, while Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, Phillips Professor of Astronomy, is caught in a contemplative gaze at the night sky. 13A solitary runner gazes across Harvard Stadium as he climbs and descends the steps. 14The underbelly of Harvard Stadium forms a kaleidoscope, an abstraction of steps and stairs. 1Maple leaves colored in crimson flow through the John Harvard Statue. 10Charles Eliot’s sycamore trees, which have lined the Charles River since 1897, enhance the Weeks Footbridge. 7Emily Koch ’20 merges with her own painting crafted for her Visual and Environmental Studies class, VES 24, taught by Matt Saunders in the Carpenter Center.center_img 11The River Houses, punctuated by the Eliot House Tower, ripple along the Charles. 8Fallen oak leaves overlay the shadows and bricks along Houghton Library. 2With more than 50 miles of shelves and more than 3 million volumes, the stacks of Widener Library are brimming with books. 9The tower of Memorial Church adorns its own entrance. The church, built in 1932, was dedicated on Armistice Day to honor the men and women of Harvard who died in WWI. 6Ornate gilding enhances pages of the Gutenberg Bible on display in the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library. 5Immersed in her studies, Tina Huang ’18 prepares for a final examination in mathematics. Life on a university campus is a continuous stream of intersections. Students from different backgrounds connect, scholars from divergent fields of study collaborate, ideas and concepts collide.Photographically, double exposures allow the playful intersection of shapes and forms. Through an in-camera technique (there is no postproduction work here), two separate frames construct a singular moment.See Harvard anew through a collection of double-exposure images, where iconic elements — bridges, towers, and gates — overlap and converge in surprising ways.last_img read more

Carroll hoping to impress Hodgson

first_imgAndy Carroll hopes his club record move to West Ham will help him cement a place in the England squad ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The 24-year-old finalised what is understood to have been a £15.5million deal, plus a further £2million in add-ons, from Liverpool after passing a medical on Tuesday night. Carroll, whose six-year deal could be extended by a further two, scored seven times in 24 league appearances while on loan at Upton Park last season. Much of his stay in east London was hampered by injuries, with a heel problem ruling the frontman out of contention for the end-of-season friendlies against the Republic of Ireland at Wembley and Brazil at the Maracana. However, Carroll feels if all goes well for him at the Irons next season then he should be very much in Roy Hodgson’s plans once again as the Three Lions battle to qualify for the World Cup. “I just want to keep fit now, keep scoring goals and performing week in and week out for West Ham, if I do that here, play well and keep fit, then hopefully I will get in the England team,” Carroll told West Ham TV. Wednesday’s confirmation brings to an end a largely disappointing spell of the centre-forward’s career at Anfield, where he never really made a major impact following a high-profile £35million transfer from Newcastle on deadline day in January 2011. Now, though, the striker is fully focused on helping West Ham build on a creditable 10th place last season as he and his team-mates prepare for their opening game of the season, at home to promoted npower Championship winners Cardiff. Carroll is in no doubt he has signed for a club going places, with West Ham set to take up tenancy in the revamped 54,000-seater Olympic Stadium for the start of the 2016/2017 campaign. He said: “Getting promoted the season before last, then finishing where we did – we did great, and it can only get better for us. The way the club is being run, obviously getting the new stadium and everything like that, it is only going up, and that is what I want to be a part of.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

JWOF Annual Empowerment Conference & Scholarship Luncheon on March 17.

first_imgThe Hon Mrs. Justice Zaila Rowena McCalla, OJ, Chief Justice of Jamaica will be the keynote speaker for the fourth Annual Jamaican Women of Florida Women’s Empowerment Conference & Scholarship Luncheon to be held on Saturday March 17th, 2018, at Jungle Island in Miami, Florida.Chief Justice McCalla joins a notable list of empowering women who have graced the JWOF conference stage sharing the hills and valleys of their climb to such prestigious positions. Stellar legal careerThe Chief Justice’s stellar legal career commenced in 1976 with her admission to the Jamaican Bar, followed by service as a Clerk of Court, Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Senior Resident Magistrate, Puisne Judge and Judge of Court of Appeal, before being appointed Jamaica’s first female Chief Justice in June 2007.  She also has the distinguished honor of being appointed an Honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple Inn in London, England, in recognition of her contribution to the law in Jamaica. Panelist Davina Bennett     The Conference has a distinguished line up of powerful Jamaican women speakers including panelist, Miss Jamaica Universe 2017, and second runner-up at the Miss Universe Pageant, Davina Bennett.  Miss Bennett became the talk of the night on the international stage for wearing an Afro while representing the trail blazing spirit that Jamaican Women of Florida embodies.   The one-day event will begin at 9:00 a.m. and wraps up at 4:00 p.m. Scheduled events will include a panel of mentors, a silent auction, a day long shopping gallery with unique items, a signature to JWOF events. For the last five years, Jamaican Women of Florida, a group of professional women have continued to impart knowledge, mentoring and paving the way for the next generation through a variety of support programs, scholarship fundraisers, and charitable events. The annual conference highlights the culmination of support for upcoming powerful young women.Visit Jamaican Women of Florida’s website at https://www.jamaicanwomenofflorida.com/ or call  (561) 320-1391 for tickets or  more information. You can also visit us on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/JWOFlorida/.last_img read more

Kansas State’s new era begins with Chris Klieman’s player-first approach to coaching

first_imgIf they were up there and didn’t knock on his door, he told them, they might have a problem.MORE: Big 12 predictions for 2019 season“Well, I’ll tell you what, that is different,” K-State quarterback Skylar Thompson said in July at Big 12 Media Days. “It’s different as far as just feeling comfortable enough to speak to Coach Klieman.”That’s not to say players didn’t feel as comfortable strolling upstairs and chatting up Bill Snyder — well, actually, yes it is.“It’s definitely changed a lot,” said defensive end Wyatt Hubert.From Klieman’s open-door policy to the playlist he pipes in during practice — it features a lot less Frank Sinatra and a little more Lil’ Wayne — so many things are different in the time he has taken over for Snyder.“A lot different than what it was before,” Hubert said. “A lot more modernized.”Snyder, 79, retired this offseason, his legacy as secure as the name that graces the top of the press box on the Wildcats’ home field: “Bill Snyder Family Stadium.” He engineered arguably the greatest reclamation project in the 150-year history of college football.When Snyder first arrived in Manhattan from Iowa, the Wildcats were the worst major college football program in the country. They were on a 27-game winless streak, having endured 17 losing seasons in an 18-year span. By his fifth season, K-State went 9-2-1 and ranked 20th in the final AP Top 25. In his ninth year, the ‘Cats were 11-1 and finished No. 8. In 1998, a decade after Snyder’s arrival, K-State came within inches of playing for a national championship, a shocking double-overtime loss to Texas A&M costing them a berth in the BCS national championship game. Since then, an estimated $165 million has been poured into the football facilities, which were renamed after the Snyder family in 2005. His teams went on to seven 11-win seasons, four Big 12 North Division crowns and two Big 12 championships.That’s quite a legacy for Klieman to replace — but he has his own championship pedigreeMORE: Big 12 coaches: It’s patience, not shortcuts, that creates winning cultureAs a defensive assistant (2011-13) and head coach (2014-18) at North Dakota State, Klieman was a part of seven FCS national championships in eight years — the last four as head coach. He has the third-highest NCAA winning percentage of all time, and since 2014 ranks No. 1 among all Division I head coaches in wins (69) and winning percentage (.920).Like Sinatra, Snyder did things his way at Kansas State: button-down, business-like, old-school. Klieman has already put his own stamp on the program simply by being more flexible.“I’m a player’s coach,” Klieman said at Big 12 Media Days. “I want to build relationships with guys. I want to challenge guys. I want to have guys know that I care for them, know that I love them, because then it’s easier to challenge them. Easier to hold them accountable.”Klieman, 51, said he developed that approach from Terry Allen, his coach and mentor at Northern Iowa. Allen, who has been retired since 2014 after tough stints at Missouri State and Kansas, recently caught up with Klieman on the golf course.“I was with him last weekend and it’s like we can still joke,” Klieman said in Arlington. “He’s the guy I played for, but we can joke and have a good time. This business is hard enough as it is.”Klieman’s edict that players touch base with him when they’re in the facility isn’t just for show — and it isn’t just about football.“I do feel like I can text him at night, whatever, ‘Hey, you want to meet tomorrow?’ Stuff like that,” said defensive tackle Trey Dishon. “Or just go up and knock on the door and sit down and talk family, not so much about football. It’s very positive.”Thompson noted that Snyder’s program was built on hard work and attention to detail. In that vein, things have been very much the same in eight months under Klieman.“But, we have more freedom as players to kind of voice our opinion and have a say in what we want to do,” Thompson said. “And he’s open to it a lot more. Coach Snyder was kind of like, ‘This is the way we’re doing it and we’re gonna do it this way.’”MORE: Ranking Big 12 coaches ahead of 2019 seasonKlieman emphasized that he doesn’t know how things were before he stepped into the Flint Hills, and he’s only doing things the way he knows how. So why does he think it’s important to create personal bonds that don’t necessarily equate to touchdowns or turnovers?“I just want them around us,” Klieman said. “They have such a great impact on everything. Not just what happens on Saturday, but what happens during your whole week, what happens in recruiting, what happens on our campus. “I want those guys to know that it’s comfortable up in our office. I want those guys to get to know our (coaches’) families. I want to get to know their families. I just want to get to know as much as I can about them. I don’t want this to be a two-year relationship. I’m hoping this is a 30- or 40-year relationship with them.” It’s a week into training camp and the season is only 22 days away, so everybody is feeling more comfortable now. But Klieman said it has taken time for players to open up to him and the staff.“It’s been a process. No question about that,” Klieman said. “I don’t want to take anything away from what Coach (Snyder) did. The discipline is something you have to have. He built an unbelievable program with great success. For us, we’re trying to give ‘em a little bit of leash, but by the same respect, you’d better do what you’re supposed to do and act like you’re supposed to act and do what’s right.“But no, there’s no question. Where sometimes I’m like, ‘Guys, it’s OK to do this’ and they’re like, ‘But we just haven’t done that for years.’ There’s some things they’ll know really bother me, and some things, they’ll know if that’s not gonna impact a win for us, then I’m OK with it.” ARLINGTON, Texas — When Chris Klieman first arrived at Kansas State, he immediately reached out to his new players and let them know he’d be doing things a bit differently.Foremost: Wildcat players would be encouraged — expected, even — to drop by Klieman’s office on the fourth floor of the Vanier Family Football Complex from time to time, even if for no particular reason.last_img read more

Held to conference low, Fajardo happy to see teammates hit their mark

first_imgSea turtle trapped in net freed in Legazpi City After drawing first blood in the best-of-7 series, Fajardo admits that he expects another tough outing come Sunday for Game 2, still at Smart Araneta Coliseum.“I anticipate that they’ll defend me harder, so we have to make our adjustments also. We’ll go back to practice and focus on our gameplan again,” he said.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next The difference with Fajardo and other big men, though, is that he is willing to share the rock and let his other teammates shine.“I know I have to immediately find my open teammates,” said Fajardo, who collected seven rebounds, three assists, and two blocks in the win.Ginebra’s defense freed up a lot of shooters for San Miguel as it cashed in on its open looks and went 16-of-34 from downtown.Though it’s a known fact that Fajardo, too, can hit it up from distance, he said that he’s not tempted in anyway to take his game to the outside.“No,” he said when asked if he also feels the urge to shoot a three. “That’s not my strength and I’m willing to give that role to our shooters.”ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Helpless Slaughter trying to shake off frustration as he completes recovery UK plans Brexit celebrations but warns businesses may suffer Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano GALLERY: Barangay Ginebra back as PBA Governors’ Cup kings It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Fajardo was even the first to commend teammates like Arwind Santos, who led San Miguel with 23 points and eight rebounds, and Von Pessumal, who got a career-high 18 markers, for stepping up and taking the scoring cudgels for the defending three-time all-Filipino conference champions.“Credit goes to my teammates because they played well. Everyone stepped up like Arwind and Von. Both of them played really well,” he said.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkWithout Greg Slaughter to match Fajardo down low, Ginebra took extra measures and threw bodies like Prince Caperal and Raymond Aguilar to the reigning four-time PBA MVP in an attempt to stymie the Cebuano giant.“They played really good defense on me. When I get the ball, they quickly put a double-team on me,” said Fajardo, expecting to continue getting a tough draw in the games to come. View comments Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netJune Mar Fajardo isn’t losing sleep after being limited to a conference-low nine points in San Miguel’s 102-90 Game 1 win over Ginebra on Friday.“It’s no problem with me,” he said in Filipino after the Beermen gained a 1-0 series lead in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup. “The important thing is we win. We are not competing on who scores the most.”ADVERTISEMENT Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player awardlast_img read more

Canadian natural gas export concerns

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A new report says Canada’s natural gas exports will continue to decline over the next few years with no sign of a return to the highs of the past decade.The Canadian Energy Research Institute says exports will drop largely because of the steep increase in cheaper natural gas production in the United States where Canada has traditionally exported its gas.Yesterday’s report said the US, already the world’s largest gas producer, could become a net exporter of gas by next year and is set to increase gas production by 72% over the next 20 years.- Advertisement -The Institute says in Western Canada, which accounts for the vast majority of Canadian natural gas production, as low prices weigh on production, pipeline exports will drop to as low as one billion cubic feet per day in 2020, before rebounding to three billion cubic feet by 2037.The drop in Western Canadian exports is on top of an already steep drop from a high of about 11 billion cubic feet per day in 2006 to an estimated four billion cubic feet per day this year.The Institute also says Eastern Canada will see a production drop because of a combination of high costs and the fracking bans in Quebec and New Brunswick.Advertisement Despite the drop in exports, the study notes Canada could still be a net exporter of natural gas in 20 years, and exports could total six billion cubic feet per day by 2037, especially if some of the proposed liquefied natural gas projects go ahead.The study assumes LNG exports of about four billion cubic feet per day starting around 2021, but notes again no projects have yet received final approval to start construction.Total Canadian production is expected to increase from 14.4 billion cubic feet per day in 2015 to 21 billion cubic feet per day over the next 20 years, with an increase in domestic consumption part of that growth.last_img read more

How Valid Is Computerized Dinosaur Reconstruction?

first_imgCan you reconstruct a dinosaur on a computer?  Of course you can.  The question is how accurate it reflects something no one has ever seen.  Live Science told about Peter Falkingham at the University of Manchester who is using “genetic algorithms” and simulating evolution to figure out how dinosaurs walked.    A dinosaur’s gait doesn’t just jump out of the bones.  Even if you have a whole skeleton, there’s a lot of uncertainty if you don’t know where the muscles attached and how long they were.  Falkingham models different attachment points in his computer and sees if they allow the animal to walk.  “Initial attempts to randomly decipher which pattern of muscle activation works best result almost always in the animal falling on its face,” he explained to Live Science.  Assuming falling headlong was not their normal behavior, Falkingham let the algorithms “evolve” such that a computerized T. rex, for instance, could enjoy a good life.  The genetic algorithms employed “can alter themselves and evolve, and so run pattern after pattern until they get improvements,” reporter Charles Q. Choi explained.  Both scientist and reporter think they are simulating evolution: Eventually, they evolve a pattern of muscle activation with a stable gait and the dinosaur can walk, run, chase or graze, Falkingham said.  Assuming natural selection evolves the best possible solution as well, the modeled animal should move similar to its now extinct counterpart.  Indeed, they have achieved similar top speeds and gaits with computer versions of humans, emus and ostriches as in reality.Combining the computer model with data from dinosaur tracks can help present a unified picture of dinosaur life – as long as one takes into account the difficulties in interpreting tracks:The problem with tracks is that they can be very hard to interpret, as the number of variables involved with how tracks form “is staggering,” Falkingham explained.  “Is the sediment made of tiny clay particles that stick together, or larger sand particles that roll over?  What is the water content, which can help particles stick together, but if you put in too much, it pushes particles apart?  What is the strength, elasticity and compressibility of the soil?  And what happens when you have layers of sediment?  The impressions left behind at lower layers can be very different from the ones left on the surface.”    Physically recreating each potential scenario with a real box of mud is extraordinarily time-consuming and difficult to repeat accurately, so this is where computer simulation comes in.Running hundreds of simulations with supercomputers produces workable solutions – and surprises.  Falkingham discovered another dubious assumption about tracks made by webbed feet: Sometimes the experiments can throw up unexpected results.  Falkingham added.  For instance, when he was once simulating wet, sloppy mud to see how an extinct bird walked – findings that could shed light on how birds evolved from dinosaurs – once the result was a webbed footprint, even though the foot itself was not webbed.  The virtual soil had been pushed up between the toes, before collapsing into a platform-like structure that, in a fossil track, could be interpreted as the impression left by a webbed foot.    The soft parts of animals, such as webbing, only rarely gets preserved as fossil, so much of the evidence for the evolutionary history of webbed-footed-birds comes from tracks, Falkingham said.  These results call for careful reinterpretation of webbed footprints.Falkingham is working next on modeling four-footed dinosaurs.  Readers can make their own assessments of the scientific validity of virtual dinosaurs walking on virtual soil in a virtual world.Computer simulations confer degrees of probability – not certainty – on their conclusions.  Presumably, the model gains credibility points if it can accurately simulate the stride and tracks of a living bird or animal.  Even so, the problem of underdetermination of theories by data always leaves room for possibilities that a working model contains flaws that cancel each other out, or were rigged to guarantee the result a theory needed.  These and other problems mean that models cannot be extrapolated carelessly into unknown cases.    Falkingham and Choi won Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week not for trying to understand dinosaur physics, but for “Assuming natural selection evolves the best possible solution” for anything, and for assuming their findings “could shed light on how birds evolved from dinosaurs.”  Any scientist who assumes that chance plus natural law could find a solution to anything is not thinking straight.  They might just as well assume that chance and natural law evolved the supercomputer that ran their genetic algorithms.  That’s artificial (intelligently-designed) selection, not natural selection.  Waltzing over assumptions is a sure way to fall on one’s face in logical mud.(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Bad Things Come to Those Who Wait

first_imgYou are competing to win a deal and things have gone well. At some point, you find out that you aren’t the only one pursuing this particular company, that they are also engaged with a competitor. As time has passed, your prospect has gotten much quieter. They used to call and email you questions, but you haven’t had a question in weeks. You used to have meetings, the last one being over a month ago. Without warning, your prospect goes dark.You may have been told to wait, that your dream client was still working through things on their end. You may have received emails thanking you for following up and asking for your patience. You may worry that acting will cause you to lose the deal you are working on. The greater risk isn’t asking; it’s waiting.If given the choice between doing nothing and losing, or taking action and potentially losing, the right decision is to act.You don’t want to call again because you have been told that your client will get back to you. You don’t want to go over your primary contact’s head, engaging the executive sponsor that brought you into the deal. You don’t want to have someone from your leadership team reach out to their leadership team. You don’t want to get real and have the tough conversation because you are afraid you are going to find out you are losing the deal. But when you avoid taking action, you are likely increasing the odds that you lose the deal.If you were positioned to win, another phone call should not cause your client to go another direction. If you’re not positioned to win, doing nothing isn’t going to improve things for you.Bad things come to those who wait, things like being notified that you lost, being notified that your prospective client decided to kill the initiative, or that your dream client is going in another direction. If you are going to lose, don’t lose without even trying to win. Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Nowlast_img read more