Govt to set up Lands Commission to address anomalies with communal lands

first_imgpresident David Granger announced that his Government will establish a Lands Commission which will be tasked with rectifying the existing anomalies, and resolve the controversies surrounding thousands of hectares of communal lands across the country.President David Granger delivering the keynote address at the Fourth Annual State of the African Guyanese Forum held at Critchlow Labour CollegeHe was at the time addressing a large gathering at the Fourth Annual State of the African Guyanese Forum held at the Critchlow Labour College on Sunday. The forum, which was organised by the Cuffy250 Committee, was held under the theme, “African Guyanese self-realisation: Challenges for the next 50 years.The President said that these communal villages are the cradles of the free economy and of local democracy as a whole. He called on the Cuffy250 Committee to pay closer attention to what is happening at the level of the villages.Creating opportunities to foster the growth of village economies is one of the five objectives which he outlined as part of Guyana’s plan of action for the United Nations-designated International Decade for People of African Descent.“We have to walk on two legs, not only looking at the economy but also looking at the way those villages are governed. The villages were the homes of our households, homes of our schools, homes of our churches, homes of our farms… So the plan of action which I ask you to contemplate today should aim at revitalising village economies,” President Granger said.The Head of State pointed out that twenty months of the ‘International Decade’ have already elapsed and as such, there needs to be, now, an organisation and a plan to ensure the implementation of the programme. The main objective of the ‘International Year’ was to raise awareness of the challenges facing People of African descent with the view of fostering discussions that could generate proposals for solutions to tackle these challenges.He assured that his Government will work with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which represent people of African descent in fulfilling the objectives of the decade, another of which includes education.The President said that education remains the way out of poverty and inequality. He pointed out that while the right to free primary education is protected under the Constitution, it does not prevent more than 4000 Guyanese children from dropping-out of school each year.“Just as our illiterate foreparents 178 years ago, saw the benefits of education, we their educated descendants, can do no better than to ensure that every single child goes to school and stay in school… This is what the boats, bicycles, and buses programme is all about. It is about getting children to school and keeping them in school,” the Head of State said.Achieving equality and eliminating ethnic discrimination is another objective which the President said Guyanese should endeavour to fulfil: “Discrimination against anyone promotes insecurity and social exclusion and that could lead to disorder.”He also spoke about employment and said that the government is aware of the plight faced by many school-leavers to find jobs.“The Plan of Action must aim at reducing the high incidence of unemployment in the economy and aim at creating an entrepreneurship programme to assist young Guyanese to establish and manage their businesses,” he said.“August 2016 obliges us not only to look back at the contributions of those who helped to build Guyana but also to look forward to the type of country we wish to bequeath to our children and grandchildren. All Guyanese are entitled to share equitably in the patrimony of this great country,” the President said.He called on African-Guyanese organisations to get more involved and consult among themselves so that the main objectives of the International Decade for People of African Descent as well as other specific measurable targets, can be achieved.The Cuffy250 Committee is made up of a group of Guyanese in the United States and Guyana who came together in 2013 to observe the 250th anniversary of the Berbice Revolt, led by Cuffy against the slave system. It is dedicated to encouraging socioeconomic and cultural revitalisation within the African-Guyanese community and the fostering of ethnic and racial equality in Guyana.last_img read more

These Feet Were Made for Walking (and Running)

first_imgWe usually walk or run.  When walking, we roll from heel to arch to toe and rock our arms back and forth.  When running, we bounce up and down slightly while pumping our arms.  Did you know that many other gaits are possible?  Why do we use only two?  A team of specialists in bio-robotics at Cornell decided to apply a mathematical model to human foot travel.  Like true scientists, they asked questions about the obvious:Why do people not walk or even run with a smooth level gait, like a waiter holding two cups brim-full of boiling coffee?  Why do people select walking and running from the other possibilities?  We address such questions by modelling a person as a machine describable with the equations of newtonian mechanics.  The basic approximations are: first, that humans have compact bodies and light legs; second, that gait choice is based on energy optimization; and third, that energy cost is proportional to muscle work.  We use a simplification of previous models, perhaps the simplest mechanical model that is capable of exhibiting a broad range of gaits that includes walking and running.  Although the model is a mechanical abstraction that is not physically realizable, it is subject to the laws of physics.  Because of its simplicity, the model is amenable to interpretation.  It can also be studied with exhaustive and accurate simulation experiments, far beyond what is possible with human subjects.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)So, putting the model in the computer and cranking out the equations, they discovered that these two gaits are the most energy efficient for beings our size and shape.  Their only mention of evolution referred to the fact that, in their model, running did not require elastic spring energy: “human ancestors could have started to run before the modern human long Achilles tendon was fully evolved.”  Their derivations were published in Nature.11Srinivasan and Ruina, “Computer optimization of a minimal biped model discovers walking and running,” Nature 439, 72-75 (5 January 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature04113.That statement merely assumes evolution, again – the mortal sin of Darwinists.  “Before the Achilles tendon was fully evolved,” right.  Since evolution is already a fact to these dogmatists, it must make perfect sense.  After all, running in circles in a big enough squirrel cage provides the illusion of making progress down a straight track.    Human bodies can be treated like physical objects and described according to physical laws.  Drop yours out a window and you will accelerate at thirty-two feet per second squared till reaching terminal velocity.  The crater you formed can be measured, and the force you generated on impact can be calculated.  The mechanics of running can be described, quantified, and modeled (see 11/18/2004).  This is all wonderful and useful, but says nothing about how humans, and these mechanical abilities, arose.  Nor does it say how we should use them.  Newton needed to look elsewhere for those laws: Walk circumspectly; do not run in vain.(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Desire, Satisfaction, Food, and Homes

first_imgDr. David Kessler, former head of the FDA, has written a book, The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, in which he identifies some of the reasons why we crave food that unhealthy and are practically helpless to resist.In a recent New York Times articleand on TV talk show appearances, Kessler points out that purveyors have been carefully engineering the eating “experience” to provide us with food that stimulates multiple senses simultaneously. This in turn stimulates our brains and brings our eating experiences to what he calls the “bliss point,” where the perfect combination of fat, sugar, and salt provides total satisfaction. He says chain restaurants such as Chilis create “hyperpalatable food that requires little chewing and goes down easily.”In one interview, he discusses other experiential products such as cigarettes which have been engineered to deliver nicotine in conjunction with other stimuli, including the ritual of opening a cigarette pack, lighting it, and using smoke and heat to deliver this potent drug, creating another “bliss point” for the user.So what does this have to do with green building?We all have our weaknesses. Personally, mine is food. I eat reasonably well, but there are some things that I know are bad that I just can’t resist. (Go ahead, try driving past Dunkin’ Donuts and not thinking about them!) Smoking, drinking, and some other bad habits I can easily resist.But when it comes to unhealthy, and inefficient homes, we have a much larger problem. Most of us are aware of how unhealthy some of our personal habits are, but the general public still does not understand the problems with our housing industry and what it means for a house to be healthy and efficient, or, for the sake of this discussion, green. On top of that, the housing industry— builders, remodelers, designers, magazines, and manufacturers—have helped to create buildings that satisfy our cravings but are not healthy for us in the long term. High-end appliances, granite counters, high ceilings, and oversized “starter castles”—the list goes on—fill our primal needs and bring us to our “bliss point” while being inefficient, unhealthy, and not durable. We are satisfied in the short term, but just as bad eating habits through life lead to poor health in our later years, deficient buildings are helping lead us to a damaged ecosystem, exhausted resources, higher living costs, and, in many cases, occupant health problems due to unhealthy building practices.So what do we do?Kessler argues that we have and must continue to go through “perceptual shifts” to change our behavior. Through a combination of regulations and antismoking marketing, many people now find cigarettes distasteful and smoking has declined among much of the population. If the American Clean Energy and Security Act is passed, the required high-performance buildings will be the first step.Our industry is working hard to create demand in the marketplace for green homes. e need to continue this effort, working against the individual’s personal “bliss points,” making people want and appreciate more efficient, more durable homes that are good for them in the long term rather than only satisfying personal, and unhealthy, cravings.last_img read more

Protest outside Berhampur discom hdqrs

first_imgActivists of the Bijuli Karmachari Milita Manch (BKMM) have started an indefinite dharna in front of the Southco headquarters in Berhampur to protest against the alleged anti-labour policies of the power distribution company involved in electricity distribution in south Odisha districts.The BKMM comprises both serving and retired employees of the power sector. Acting president of the organisation, Panchanan Jena, who is leading the protesters, said it was high time that the Odisha government realised that privatisation of the power sector had been a failure leading to exploitation of both consumers and workers.“During the time of privatisation in 1999, Southco had 2,69,000 electricity consumers, 73 sub-stations of 33/11 kV capacity and 4,400 employees. Now the number of electricity consumers has risen to 15 lakh in south Odisha with more than 150 sub-stations of 33/11 kV capacity. But the number of employees in the power distribution sector in the region has remained almost the same,” said Mr. Jena. Number of consumersWith the increase in the number of consumers, the total number of employees with Southco should have been around 20,000 for proper service, he added.At present, Southco is managing through outsourcing which is leading to exploitation of the work force, said CITU leader Yudhisthir Behera, who also took part in the protest demonstration. In stead of using more trained field staff, Southco is only appointing managerial executives. Most of the field staffs are temporary employees who do not get basic labour rights prescribed by law. The majority of these temporary workers serve under outsourced firms and are ill paid. Although the government has decided to regularise temporary employees after six years of service, this is not being done by Southco, said Mr. Jena.Protesters demanded equal pay for workers serving Southco directly or under outsourced companies. They want all temporary workers to be regularised and provided all facilities recommended by labour laws. These temporary workers face injury and death during repair and maintenance of the power distribution system but are allegedly not compensated properly. The BKMM has demanded ₹20 lakh compensation for the families of workers who die in the line of duty and ₹5 lakh for workers who become invalid due to serious injury.No power distribution company can provide proper service unless it has trained manpower and Southco should realise that, said Mr. Jena. According to him, by neglecting the workforce, Southco was also exploiting its power consumers, mostly those in the rural areas.last_img read more