The Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics (IOP) selected an experienced group of individuals for resident fellowships this fall. The announcement was made June 24.The resident fellows include Dennis Archer, mayor, Detroit, Mich. (1994-2001), president, National League of Cities (2000-01), and president, American Bar Association (2003-04); Susan Milligan, national political reporter, The Boston Globe; Michèle Pierre-Louis, prime minister of Haiti (2008-09); Ophir Pines-Paz, Israel’s minister of interior (2005), minister of science, culture, and sport (2006), and Knesset member (1996-2010); Margaret Spellings, U.S. secretary of education (2005-09); and John Timoney, former Miami, Fla., chief of police, Philadelphia, Pa., police commissioner, and New York City first deputy commissioner.“Inspiring interactions with top public sector leaders is a key reason student engagement in the field continues to grow,” said IOP Director Bill Purcell. “This fellows class is an ideal group of leaders who can help turn interest in public service into a career and commitment to making a difference.”Over the course of an academic semester, resident fellows interact with students, participate in the intellectual life of the Harvard community, and lead weekly study groups on a range of topics.For more information, visit the IOP Web site.
“[Thank God], based on our supervision, 100 percent of public transportation passengers wore face masks.”Anies said that although the number of people commuting using personal vehicles was higher than the relatively low number of people using public transportation, he acknowledged that there were still passenger pileups, especially at Transjakarta stations, as workers returned to their office.The odd-even traffic policy will not be in place during the transition period, he added.“If there is no circular or notice from the governor regarding the implementation of the odd-even policy, then there is no such [rule],” he said, adding that the policy would be implemented if it became necessary to once again limit the number of people traveling throughout the capital. Read also: 50 days of Indonesia’s partial lockdown. Is it enough for the ‘new normal’?Anies decided on Thursday to extend Jakarta’s large-scale social restriction (PSBB) period to the end of June while easing measures for several sectors.The first 14-day PSBB period, also known as partial lockdown, was implemented on April 10 and effectively closed down schools and places of worship while restricting people’s movements and encouraging companies to allow their employees to work from home. The PSBB has been extended three times.As of Sunday, Jakarta has reported 7,946 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 537 deaths linked to the disease.Meanwhile, commuters have also packed train stations across Jakarta and its satellite cities as they head to their respective workplaces for the first time since the work-from-home policy was issued over two months ago.Dozens of Instagram users posted a series of photos showing long lines at train stations in Bogor and Bekasi in West Java.Despite the high-spirited return to a typical workday in Jakarta, however, some commuters have also taken to social media to express concerns over their safety as crowded stations and trains could potentially lead to a new wave of COVID-19 infections.PT Kereta Commuter Indonesia (KCI) spokesperson Anne Purba said the company recorded 150,000 commuters using its services on Monday morning, up from 80,000 recorded per day on average during the PSBB period.In anticipation of a significant increase in passengers, the company resumed normal operations with 935 trips per day.Anne emphasized that KCI had complied with a Transportation Ministry’s regulation that limited the number of passengers on each train to 35 to 40 percent of total capacity.“We are now able to serve 74 passengers per train, whereas during the PSBB period, we could have 60 passengers per train,” Anne said in a statement.KCI will continue to implement strict health protocols, such as conducting temperature checks and ensuring physical distancing among passengers, during the transition to a new normal, she added.Read also: Greater Jakarta in dark about ‘new normal’ commuteTransportation Ministry spokesperson Budi Rahardjo said the government would once again provide five transit buses for commuter-line passengers headed for Jakarta from Bogor between 5 a.m. to 6 a.m., with a 15-minute headway.The free service, which transfers commuters from Bogor Station to Dukuh Atas Station in South Jakarta, will be limited to 25 people per bus in compliance with prevailing COVID-19 protocols.Amid the hullabaloo surrounding people’s return to work, Transportation Study Institute (INSTRAN) executive director Deddy Herlambang urged the public to maintain a safe physical distance during their commute, underlining that it was crucial to minimize the risks of COVID-19 infection.However, he acknowledged this would be a challenge considering Jakartans’ habit of forcing themselves into packed trains during rush hour, for example.“Passengers often argue after being reminded [to keep a safe distance] because they feel that they have the same rights as [other public transportation users],” he said, suggesting that more officers be deployed at stations to ensure that passengers maintain a safe physical distance between one another.A survey conducted by the LaporCOVID-19 community reportedly revealed that Jakarta was not ready to transition into a new normal, citing low-risk perception of the disease among residents, which could lead to a spike in transmission.Topics : The sight of busy roads, crowded bus shelters and train stations that have long defined capital Jakarta as a business hub returned with a vengeance on Monday, which marked the reopening of several sectors, including offices, as the city transitions to a “new normal”.Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said he had received reports of increased traffic and long lines at several shelters of city-owned bus service Transjakarta from the administration’s field inspections on Monday morning.“The outbreak in Jakarta is not yet over, but today marks a period of transition in which several sectors are allowed to resume their activities,” he told reporters at the Kendal tunnel in Central Jakarta while conducting his morning inspection.
AT GUYANA NATIONAL STADIUM: Guyana Jaguars, leading Trinidad and Tobago Red Force by 58 on first innings, reached 244 for four at the close on the third day of their sixth-round match yesterday. Scores: JAGUARS 237 (Vishaul Singh 104 not out, Veerasammy Permaul 47, Leon Johnson 23; Marlon Richards 3-41, Rayad Emrit 3-44, Jon-Russ Jagessar 3-59) and 244 for four (Leon Johnson 111 not out, Tagenarine Chanderpaul 42, Anthony Bramble 39 not out; Jon-Russ Jagessar 4-67). RED FORCE 179 (Yannic Cariah 68, Jason Mohammed 30, Evin Lewis 26; Veerasammy Permaul 5-65, Devendra Bishoo 3-48). VOCANOES IN TROUBLE NORTH SOUND, Antigua (CMC): Off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall grabbed his first-ever 10-wicket haul in first-class cricket to inspire Leeward Islands Hurricanes to an 85-run victory over Jamaica Scorpions and their first win of the Regional first-class championship here yesterday. Starting the final day of their sixth-round clash on 58 for two in search of 366 for victory, Scorpions were dismissed for 280 – undermined by Cornwall – who claimed seven for 131 to end with match figures of 12 for 205. Barbadian right-hander Kirk Edwards converted his overnight 28 into a top score of 93, while tail-ender Sheldon Cottrell got 39 and Carlton Baugh Jr, 25, but the task of scoring 308 on the final day proved too much for the visitors. Hurricanes had lost all five of their previous outings this season to languish at the bottom of the six-team standings. However, they broke out of their slump in style, taking wickets at regular intervals throughout the day to ensure that there was no way back for Scorpions. Edwards seemed to be steering Scorpions to safety when he anchored a series of small partnerships. He struck 13 fours and three sixes in an innings spanning 142 deliveries and 189 minutes before he was sixth out. He extended his overnight third-wicket stand with AndrÈ McCarthy to 41 before Cornwall grabbed his first wicket of the morning, trapping McCarthy lbw for 22 after 35 balls at the crease. Edwards then put on 38 with Test batsman Jermaine Blackwood, who made 21, and added another 47 for the fifth wicket with Antiguan Devon Thomas, who got 15. Unbeaten on 78 at the break, Edwards combined with Baugh afterwards to add 22 for the sixth wicket and looked set for his 10th first-class hundred when he edged Cornwall to slip at 189 for six. Cornwall then pulled off a fine return catch three balls later to remove David Bernard Jr, with no runs added to the score, as the death knell sounded for Scorpions. With hope dwindling quickly, Cottrell threw his bat around for three fours and three sixes in a 47-ball cameo, which unnerved Hurricanes, as he and Nikita Miller (15 not out) put on 34 for the last wicket. Fittingly, Cornwall took the final wicket to hand Scorpions their third defeat of the season. AT KENSINGTON OVAL: Windward Islands Volcanoes, trailing Barbados Pride by 200 runs on first innings, were 134 for seven in their second innings at the close on the penultimate day of their sixth-round match yesterday. Scores: VOLCANOES 250 (AndrÈ Fletcher 84, Kavem Hodge 53, Shane Shillingford 28; Miguel Cummings 5-47, Sulieman Benn 3-65) and 134 for seven (Keddy Lesporis 29, Johnson Charles 25, Andre Fletcher 25; Roston Chase 3-19, Sulieman Benn 2-38). PRIDE 450 for five decl. (Shai Hope 162, Kraigg Brathwaite 117, Roston Chase 40 not out, Kyle Corbin 38, Carlos Brathwaite 27; Johnson Charls 2-51, Shane Shillingford 2-131). JAGUARS IN COMMAND
Click here if you’re having trouble viewing the videos below on a mobile device.No sooner had former 49ers safety Eric Reid found a taker for his services this season than he began to complain he was being targeted by the NFL’s drug-testing gendarmes.By Reid’s count, he was tested seven times in 11 weeks. “That has to be statistically impossible,” he said. “I’m not a mathematician, but there’s no way that’s right.” (The NFL tests for banned drugs because it has never been able to otherwise …
(Visited 334 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 This entry continues yesterday’s news about scientific integrity.Replication CrisisReplication failures in psychology not due to differences in study populations (Nature). Psychologists cannot just blame their replication failures on differences in the study groups. “Half of 28 attempted replications failed even under near-ideal conditions.”Researcher discusses the the science replication crisis (Phys.org). “If there’s a central tenet that unites all of the sciences, it’s probably that scientists should approach discovery without bias and with a healthy dose of skepticism,” this article begins. “The idea is that the best way to reach the truth is to allow the facts to lead where they will, even if it’s not where you intended to go.” Sounds like a great idea. When do they start?The Call for OpennessTime to break academic publishing’s stranglehold on research (New Scientist). Publishers have a vested interest in their power to decide what gets communicated as science. “Science journals are laughing all the way to the bank, locking the results of publicly funded research behind exorbitant paywalls,” this article complains. “A campaign to make content free must succeed.”Scientific impact increases when researchers publish in open access and international collaboration (PLoS One). This journal may have a bias, since it is an open-access publication. One can read it and check their conclusions against the data.No more first authors, no more last authors (Nature). Scientists desire to be first authors, so that their papers can be cited by their names, as in ‘Adams et al.’ Often, too, the last author is the most prestigious one in the group. In the day of increasing collaboration, this practice does more harm than good.Funders flesh out details of Europe’s bold open-access plan (Nature). If Europe’s ‘Plan S’ catches on, it will bring sunshine into science, allowing all the stakeholders – including the public – to see the research. Understandably, the journals behind paywalls stand to lose money big time. This article is fair, but is quick to point out problems the plan might create. See also Science Magazine‘s take on this development.Related SubjectsWhy academia reminds me of my childhood cult (Nature). In its daily briefing, Nature noted a piece in the Washington Post about Andrew Marzoni, who ‘blew off’ a pseudo-Christian cult in his childhood only to find similar methods of mind control in academia. “No one says it aloud, but every graduate student knows: This is the price you pay for a chance to enter the sanctum of the tenure track. Follow the leader, or prepare to teach high school.”Should All Nobel Prizes Be Canceled for a Year? (Live Science). Prizes are shiny objects the media loves, but they take eyes off of what science should be about: a search for truth. The quest for a prize can corrupt motives, and prizes often leave out worthy individuals. Since the rules only allow three winners per category, group discoveries suffer. And what about the other sciences that the Nobel Committee left out? Why should a few political leftists in Sweden be the determiners of who has made a “worthy” discovery? These are a few reasons to ask whether Nobel Prizes should not just be canceled for a year, but forever.The Moral Machine Experiment (Nature). Researchers in this paper claim to have made progress in defining morality policies for artificial intelligence, particularly moral dilemmas that autonomous vehicles will face. Obviously, “moral” cannot be defined by the scientific method. These authors truck their assumptions about morality into their work.Scientists struggle with confusing journal guidelines (Nature). Even if a scientist wants to do the right thing, how can he or she know what it is? This is especially a problem for researchers who do not speak English.To dispel myths, redirect the belief, study says (Medical Xpress). The very title of this article should raise red flags. Who granted scientists the right to decide how to change other people’s beliefs, especially when they have issues of integrity and fake science themselves? Falling for bad scientific ideas is undoubtedly a problem for many people lacking discernment, but when scientists become arbiters of effective methods for changing people, their methods could feed dictatorial regimes who want to enforce conformity.Science knowledge shifted along religious, political affiliations (Phys.org). Two social scientists at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln find that biases are hard to eradicate from research. Another sociologist says, “”Scientists hope that science is apolitical,” she said. “But we take in and code information based on our perspectives – including political ideology and religious beliefs.”First law of leadership: be human first, scientist second (Nature). Alison Antes gives social advice to researchers about building relationships in the lab. But to an evolutionist, what does it mean to “be human” if not to use cutthroat tactics for survival? She borrows Christian ethics, like “model desired behavior,” without attribution to the Apostle Paul, who said, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things” (Philippians 4:9). Her article does illustrate, however, that science is done by humans who need to build character.Rogue science strikes again: the case of the first gene-edited babies (G. Owen Schaefer, The Conversation). The media are abuzz with ethical judgments about a Chinese researcher’s claim to have edit the genes of two baby girls. Boardman and O’Neill, one a geneticist and the other a social scientist, weigh in on the subject in another piece on The Conversation. The development opens up a huge can of worms, all admit, and many say further research of this type should be outlawed.Shock greets claim of CRISPR-edited babies (Science Magazine).Can scientists use gene editing for disease prevention but not human enhancement? (Phys.org).Editorial: The (somewhat obvious) ethical problems with creating gene-edited babies (The Times Editorial Board via Phys.org)Notice that science cannot be neutral here. Science “can” do things that it “should not” do. Read Wesley J. Smith’s comments on this development at Evolution News.One thing Big Science needs to do is get out of politics. We have collected a large number of new examples of political bias in scientific papers and articles that we will be sharing soon. Today’s entry provides foundation for questioning Big Science’s ability to be unbiased.Scientist, research thyself.Recommended Resource: J. P. Moreland’s new book Scientism and Secularism: Learning to Respond to a Dangerous Ideology puts into print many of Moreland’s ideas on philosophy of science (his PhD specialization), extending them since his 1999 book Christianity and the Nature of Science. Hear an interview about the book on ID the Future. He defines scientism, and shows three major reasons it is indefensible as a philosophy or way of knowing. When interviewer Michael Keas (PhD in history of science) says that historians and philosophers need to work together, Moreland gives the following response that is worth sounding throughout the churches of America.We really have to alert the public. Youth leaders, our Christian school teachers, parents that are raising their kids, we need to alert them to the fact that scientism is really at the bottom of the turmoil we’re facing at culture. Barna did a study recently and found that the six reasons that people are leaving Christianity for atheism are all intellectual reasons, and a couple of them deal with the inability of the church to help believers know how to relate their theology and their Biblical beliefs to science – and science trumps! And so we have retreated to “faith,” and the culture has become morally relativistic because the major things about religion and politics and ethics can’t be known scientifically. So what scientism has done is funded relativism in culture and blind faith commitments in Christianity. And that isn’t sustaining people when they get out of our youth groups and go to college or go into the workforce and meet thoughtful, intelligent unbelievers who will say things like, “Well, prove it– you can’t prove Christianity scientifically, so I don’t have to listen to you.” They don’t know what to say. And so my book is an attempt to do what you’re calling us to do, and that is to work together with our Christian leaders and parents to give them a tool they can learn about themselves and teach our kids and inoculate them responsibly so that they’re not sucked into a culture of scientism.When you tie these thoughts into what you have just read above in Nature and Science about Big Science’s own admissions of bias and unreliability, we should ask: why should anyone bow to the false idol of scientism? Integrity is the foundation of trust for any claim by any person in any field, not appeal to some “method” that scientists self-righteously assert protects them from error.How leading experts can be fooled.Another helpful resource is Jerry Bergman’s recent book Evolution’s Blunders, Frauds and Forgeries (2017). When you learn about how leading scientists fell for fraudulent claims in the past (like Piltdown Man and much more), you begin to realize that scientists are just as prone to error as anyone, especially when their Darwinian ideology motivates their research.[What Piltdown hoaxes are floating about these days, to be exposed some future day? We can suggest several candidates.]
3 November 2011The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, and the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Rosemary, arrived in South Africa on Wednesday afternoon for a four-day visit at the personal invitation of President Jacob Zuma.The Prince was greeted by a military guard of honour – and a stunning amber sunset – as he touched down under blue skies at Waterkloof Air Force Base near Pretoria on Wednesday.His Royal Highness was met on arrival by British High Commissioner in South Africa Nicola Brewer, who introduced him to South African Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and South Africa’s Chief of State Protocol Vusi Bruce KolwaneThe Duchess arrived separately in Johannesburg on Wednesday morning. Together, the royal couple will attend engagements in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Kwazulu-Natal and Cape Town before leaving after a church service on Sunday.The royal tour will go to townships, community programmes, a nature reserve and sustainability projects, giving special attention to sustainability issues in the run-up to the UN Climate Change Conference taking place in Durban from 28 November.It will also focus on the issues of trade and investment, jobs and development, education and disadvantaged youth, and shared heritage and conservation of traditional livelihoods and wildlife, particularly the work of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Prince Charles recently became president of WWF UK.The Prince will not be meeting President Jacob Zuma, who is attending the G20 Summit in Cannes, France.The Prince of Wales visited South Africa in 1997 when he introduced his son, Prince Harry, to southern Africa. His last official visit to Tanzania was in 1984.This is the Duchess of Cornwall’s first official visit to southern Africa, though she has visited privately. She has never visited Tanzania.SAinfo reporter BuaNews
A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Tags:#Facebook#Google#Microsoft#web mike melanson According to Craddock, the response to the feature has been good since it was first announced last September. “Since announcing the availability of Facebook chat in Messenger worldwide two weeks ago, nearly 2.5 more million people connected their Facebook accounts to Windows Live, bringing the total to over 20 million customers,” writes Craddock. “And with three out of four Hotmail customers using Facebook, we expect that many more people will want to take advantage of this feature, now that it’s available from your Hotmail inbox.”If you’re a Hotmail user and haven’t yet tried out the feature, all you need to do is connect your Facebook account to Windows Live and check the box for “Chat with my Facebook friends in Messenger.” Hotmail may have three times as many users as Twitter, but it’s looking for something that may not be as easily quantifiable – the cool factor of Google’s Gmail. That’s something that Microsoft has been working on for a while now, with a full redesign of its email client last year. Today, the company announced that it’s adding another bit of cool to its 350 million member email system – full chatting capabilities with Facebook’s 600 million member network worldwide.Microsoft first announced Facebook chat in Hotmail as a part of a number of updates last September, but the feature was only activated in the U.S., U.K., France, Brazil, Germany, and Russia. Today, the company announced that it would be available worldwide, wherever both Hotmail and Facebook were accessible. Hotmail program manager Dick Craddock the company’s little brother syndrome when it comes to Gmail in the announcement. “While Gmail beat us to bringing their own chat into the inbox,” writes Craddock, “we have now gone a step further and brought both our own chat and Facebook chat into your inbox.” Take that Gmail. Being serious, though, most integrations like this have one exciting thing in common – they’re good for the end-user. The feature lets users on both ends – those logged into Facebook and those on Hotmail – communicate seamlessly with each other. Gmail only has Gtalk and no Facebook. Related Posts The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification
Flooding potential will be limited to a few placesBecause of the river’s densely developed flood plain, it will only be allowed out of its straitjacket in a few places to flood again. I walked by one of those sites — a 42-acre Union Pacific Railroad property called Taylor Yard. The city is negotiating to buy the land, and one day the river could resume a semblance of its natural rhythm there, according to Erin Jones, an Army Corps biologist.“They’ll bring the site down to the same grade as the river,” says Jones. “The river will be allowed to meander and create new habitat — marshland, riffles, and pools. It’s one of the larger sites where we can actually do restoration to more natural habitats and natural hydrology.” After serving as a rail yard for decades, the site will likely need hazardous waste cleanup first, Jones says.Parker says she would love to see more of the river’s concrete removed and banks covered with native vegetation. This would provide significantly more ecosystem function, such as wildlife habitat, natural water cleaning, carbon sequestration, and nutrient recycling.Other cities are doing more complete “living river” restoration. The city of Napa, California, for example, has a history of devastating floods. But in the Napa Valley — where some land sells for $300,000 an acre — some vineyards are pitching in as part of an effort to help return a 4.5-mile stretch of the floodplain to its natural condition. This includes restoring oxbows and marshes so that floodwaters can be absorbed naturally during spates, rather than flooding the city of Napa.The Glendale Narrows won’t be the end of the L.A. River restoration. A group of government and non-profit groups are meeting to see how the lower 20 miles of river might be restored. This is a heavily urbanized stretch, running largely through low-income Latino neighborhoods, with just 3% consisting of parks, farms, or other open space. Remarkably, though, some small patches of wetlands there remain intact. Any work on this stretch is at least a decade off.No matter how the Los Angeles River is restored, thinking about the river differently and embracing its presence — rather than dismissing it as a drainage ditch — is a teachable moment for Southern California. Even a partially restored river will provide an escape from Los Angeles’ overwhelming urbanism and will perform some important ecological functions.“There’s something magical about coming to a place and seeing so many varieties of life,” says Parker. “The river provides that.” RELATED ARTICLES Undamming Rivers Could Make Room for PVThe Uncertain Future of Phoenix and Las VegasCalifornia’s Real Water CrisisFloating Solar: A Win-Win for Drought-Stricken LakesHow Much Water Does it Take to Turn on a Light Bulb?The 10 Most Important Water Stories in 2014 Now, however, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, partnering with the City of Los Angeles and conservation groups, is poised to launch the largest coordinated restoration effort of the Los Angeles River to date. The Corps recently completed a plan to remove three miles of river-killing concrete and enhance an 11-mile run through the Elysian Valley, a stretch called the Glendale Narrows. The Corps has asked Congress for $380 million to carry out the restoration effort, which will be combined with roughly $1 billion from the city.Congressional funding is expected to be approved soon, helping launch a project that could take two decades or more to complete. But fundamental questions about bringing the L.A. River back to life remain: What, exactly, should this resurrected river be? And just what kind of natural bang will Angelenos and other Americans get for their billion-plus dollars? A new ecosystem type, not a “restoration”But restoring a river that is dynamic and free-flowing remains a far-off, even impossible, dream for many urban areas. Rivers often flood, and while that may be hard on people and the things they build, it’s great for biodiversity. During a flood, mineralized nutrients and organic material are suspended in the river and groundwater, nourishing an array of biodiversity. And flooding continually creates a patchwork of diverse habitats, also promoting species diversity.Questions about what the Los Angeles River could become may find answers in the Glendale Narrows, where some elements of naturalness will be reintroduced.This is what the proposed restoration of wetlands would look like at the junction of the L.A. River and the Verdugo Wash waterway. [Photo credit: City of Los Angeles.]“It’s a new ecosystem type,” says Parker. “That’s why we don’t call it restoration. We call it habitat enhancement.” The Corps plan would recreate 719 acres of wetlands, remove three miles of concrete to create new riparian habitat, and re-establish a confluence with a stream called Verdugo Wash.On a recent walk along the “river” in the Glendale Narrows, it became clear how oddly unnatural it really is. Unlike the original L.A. River, today’s river now has substantial year-round flow, thanks to a water treatment plant that recycles sewage outflow from 800,000 homes in the San Fernando Valley and releases 23 million gallons a day into the channel. Torrents in the rainy season wash tainted urban runoff into the stream.This 11-mile stretch is one of the only places that defied the Army Corps’ Depression-era efforts at control. The bottom of the river was so soft that the concrete would not stick. As a result, this section of river is a purling, cobble- and rock-studded waterway with swimming mallards, blue herons, and cormorants atop boulders drying their outstretched wings. Both banks, though, form a massive concrete trough.Still, nature finds a way. It turns out that water sheeting over the concrete grows algae that are an important foraging habitat for shorebirds. Indeed, on the day I visited, a black-necked stilt was working these hard bottom shallows. Bird habitat is a prime objectiveWithin this 11-mile section is a 2.5-mile stretch where the Nature Conservancy, in collaboration with the Army Corps and the local community, will begin its work in the next couple of years. The Nature Conservancy has created a baseline of ecological conditions to measure the changes its work might bring, and the group is growing native plants needed for restoration in Griffiths Park.Historical ecology — the study of old photos, maps, and diary accounts — will provide a sense of what the river once looked like, including the wildlife and plant species present. This will help guide restoration. “It gives you a sense of options for the future,” Parker says.One major element of the Nature Conservancy project is the restoration of bird habitat. At one time, the Los Angeles River was characterized by perennial and seasonal wetlands, seeps, springs, swamps, riparian forests, and mud and alkali flats. “The reason L.A. was founded where it was is because it was an ecologically rich area,” Parker says. “There were grizzly bears, deer, mountain lions, and a lot of birds.”More than 300 species of birds still visit what’s left of the river, flying between fragments of habitat.Two endangered species, the Southwestern willow flycatcher and the least Bell’s vireo, will benefit from the removal of a towering invasive plant from Asia known as giant reed (Arundo donax). It has taken over much of the riverbanks, and birds can’t nest in it. The arundo will be replaced with native plants, including several species of willow, sedge, and wild rye.“This is one of the places where birds can make a comeback,” says Parker. “You need a bundle of different habitats.”As habitat improves, the Nature Conservancy may consider reintroducing native amphibian or fish species that have disappeared. But there are some ecological functions that a revitalized L.A. River simply won’t be able to accommodate. The steelhead that once spawned here, for example, won’t be swimming up from the ocean at the mouth of the river at Long Beach anytime soon. Though they are endangered and badly in need of reproduction, the temperature of the water is too warm, and there are too many barriers. Jim Robbins is a journalist based in Helena, Montana, who has written for a number of publications. This post was originally published at Yale environment 360. Complete restoration is not possibleThis will not be the original L.A. River; trying to restore some semblance of naturalness to such a waterway faces major limitations. The river is no longer connected to groundwater and can’t be until toxic waste from a number of U.S. Defense Department facilities in the region — including the Santa Susana Field Station, a former rocket engine test center — are cleaned up. And the many places a living Los Angeles River would go, flooding and changing course, are now filled with roads, houses, and commercial buildings.“We’re not going to be able to buy up or relocate people,” says Jill Sourial, the Nature Conservancy’s urban conservation director in Los Angeles.With full restoration out of the picture, a different tangle of philosophical and practical questions remain. How far do you go to create a natural environment in a city? Is it enough just to make a concrete drainage ditch prettier? How much of the project should focus on removing concrete and creating some semblance of a functioning riverine ecosystem? And in a city with an estimated 47,000 homeless people (including many who live on islands in the L.A. River), gang problems, and a range of environmental threats — from wildfires to toxic waste sites — is the expense of $100 million per river-mile a wise use of taxpayer dollars?Los Angeles is far from the only place addressing these kinds of issues. Many urban areas in the U.S. and around the world have realized that returning at least some nature to cities is vital, whether for green infrastructure that handles storm runoff, making cities cooler with trees and green space as the climate warms, or simply because more and more people live in urban areas and increasingly want more nature in their lives.Seoul, the South Korean capital, answered the call of nature in 2005 by finishing the removal of a major highway from atop a three-mile stream called the Cheonggyecheon, which flows through the heart of the city. Europe’s Isar River — which flows from the Austrian Alps and through Munich, Germany, and has many similarities to the L. A. River — has had some five miles of similarly channeled river “naturalized”; the Isar now is a major attraction in Munich and is one of the leading models for Southern California’s restoration efforts.In the U.S., the three rivers that flow through Milwaukee and into Lake Michigan — the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic — are being revitalized. And sliver by green sliver, pieces of New York City’s Bronx River — once one of the most blighted waterways in the country — are coming back. By JIM ROBBINSIn its natural state, before it was channeled and lined with concrete, the 51-mile-long Los Angeles River was often little more than a trickle for nine months of the year. During the rainy season, however, the small braided stream would turn into a powerful, churning river. It behaved like a dropped firehose, wildly lashing the Los Angeles valley, scouring gravel and soil across a seven-mile-wide floodplain, and carving a new course with every deluge. When the waters receded, a mosaic of fertile marshes, ponds, and other wetlands remained.“It was a big, flashy, dynamic river system,” says Sophie Parker, a biologist with the Nature Conservancy.But such flash flooding wouldn’t do for a booming city, so in 1938, after a devastating torrent, a project to tame the Los Angeles River with a concrete straitjacket got underway. Since then, nearly the entire river has been funneled through a hard channel that allows no flooding. The city turned its back on the ditch, and public access to it was prohibited.Over the past several decades, conservation organizations and neighborhood groups in the United States’ second-largest city have worked to recreate some semblance of nature along the waterway. Collaborating with city officials, these organizations have restored some small creeks and planted native trees and shrubs in new parks. But the work has been done piecemeal.
Political analysts see a strong undercurrent against the incumbent Manohar Lal Khattar-led government in Haryana working against the ruling BJP, yielding it a figure way below the halfway mark in the 90-member State Assembly. The party was left red-faced after eight of its 12 Ministers excluding the Chief Minister lost the election.“Anti-incumbency did play a role. There was surely an undercurrent against the government, which has been reflected in the loss of sitting Ministers,” said Ashutosh Kumar, professor of political science at Panjab University. He said the BJP needs to realise that in the long run, it needs to take local issues and local governance into consideration. “How long would national issues or the popularity of its national leader help? The defeat of the Cabinet Ministers shows the Khattar government in poor light,” said Mr. Kumar.Vijay Chauhan, assistant professor at the Department of Political Science at Dyal Singh College in Karnal, also attested to the election results proving that there was an anti-incumbency factor at work. “Local issues, economic issues and caste calculations played a major role in comparison to national issues such as nationalism and national security in this election,” he said.Mr. Chauhan said the ruling party also failed to polarise the electorate along Jat and non-Jat lines having given 20 tickets to candidates from the community despite largely being tagged as a non-Jat party. BJP rebelsHe also pointed out that as many as five of the seven Independent candidates who have won are BJP rebels. “This shows that the BJP’s ticket distribution process had some faults. In the 2014 election, the party made a virtual clean sweep in north Haryana’s 27 Assembly seats but this time it failed to retain its position in the region,” said Mr. Chauhan.
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