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Ramadan still barred by US government

first_imgAn American court has upheld Oxford don Tariq Ramadan’s exclusion from the United States, marking another defeat in the Muslim academic’s fight to enter the country.Judge Paul A. Crotty adjudicated that Professor Ramadan should be denied entry to the US on the grounds of donations he made between 1998 and 2002 to a Swiss charity that provides aid to Palastinians, which the U.S government claims was supporting terrorist groups. In a statement Ramadan’s attorney Jameel Jaffer claimed the verdict was “a very sad thing…both legally wrong and deeply unjust”. He said his client was excluded “not because of his actions, but because of his ideas”. Ramadan, Professor of Islamic Studies at St. Antony’s College, advocates the formation of a new European Islamic identity that embraces Western culture. Jaffer accused the court of having followed the government’s decision, “without any evidence at all”. Matt Gosho, Press Officer of the US-Embassy in London, said, “Professor Ramadan was excluded on the basis of donations he made to an organization supporting known terrorist groups in direct violation of our immigration statute.”The organisation was blacklisted by the U.S government in 2003 due to potential violations of the Patriot Act. Crotty ruled that laws enacted in 2005 should be applied retroactively to donations made before the organisation was blacklisted.Gosho continued, “The US Government does not bar, or seek to bar, foreign scholars from visiting, speaking, teaching or publishing in the United States, regardless of those scholars’ political views.“In point of fact, there are thousands of such scholars are teaching, lecturing and speaking on campuses and in think tanks all over the United States. The U.S. Government, through the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security, actively supports their presence in the America by facilitating their visas applications and entry into the United States. A scholar’s (or student’s, or businessperson’s, or tourist’s) political views are never a factor in determining that persons eligibility for entry into the U.S.” by Sophie Luebbertlast_img read more

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Tix Now On Sale for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton on B’way

first_img View Comments Hamilton Star Files from $149.00 Tickets are now available for the Great White Way transfer of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s much-buzzed about Hamilton. The tuner will begin previews on July 13 and officially open on August 6 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The show is currently playing off-Broadway at The Public Theater through May 3.Directed by Thomas Kail and featuring a book, music and lyrics by Miranda, Hamilton is inspired by the book Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. The new musical follows the scrappy young immigrant who forever changed America, from bastard orphan to Washington’s right hand man, rebel to war hero, loving husband caught in the country’s first sex scandal to Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy.In addition to Miranda, the cast includes Jonathan Groff as King George, Christopher Jackson as George Washington, Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr, Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton, Anthony Ramos as John Laurens/Phillip Hamilton, Daveed Diggs as Marquis De Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson and Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler. All but Groff are confirmed for the Broadway incarnation. Related Shows Lin-Manuel Mirandalast_img read more

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Broadway Court Cases: Rebecca’s Will Reach Trial & More

first_imgThree crimes involving Broadway productions or Broadway alums have made headlines this past week. Here is what we know so far in each of the three cases.Rebecca Proceeds to TrialThe Rebecca saga continues as the suit against press agent Marc Thibodeau proceeds to trial, according to Deadline. The New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division affirmed the Manhattan Supreme Court’s ruling that Thibodeau was in breach of contract by sending an email under an alias that caused an investor to withdraw $2.25 million from the production.While the new decision states that the May 2015 Supreme Court decision ruled correctly in favor of the show’s producers Ben Sprecher and Louise Forlenza regarding Thibodeau’s contract breach (because the press agent was hired to facilitate the production), the appellate panel also affirmed that issues of fact remain in the allegations of his defamation and interference.On August 19, the Facebook page for Rebecca announced: “After successfully winning both of our court cases, we are now finally in a position to move forward with our production.” While the court did rule in favor of the production, the trial for their allegations is not expected to begin until this fall. No details about a forthcoming Broadway bow have been set.Agent Arrested Over Alleged Kathleen Battle Play with Lupita Nyong’o Rolan Scahill, a former theater agent, has been arrested and arraigned on charges of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, Grand Larceny and Scheme to Defraud, according to the New York County District Attorney’s Office. Scahill is alleged to have raised $165,000 from seven potential investors for a project he referred to as The KB Project, a play based on the life of soprano Kathleen Battle and her tempestuous relationship with the Metropolitan Opera.Scahill is accused of falsely claiming he had received Battle’s life rights and that Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o—who received a Tony nomination earlier this year for her Broadway debut in Eclipsed—was attached to star. He also reportedly claimed to have booked the Booth Theatre for the show and secured a deal with Netflix to film a performance. All parties involved in these alleged deals say they were never contacted by Scahill.The prosecution states that the raised funds were used for stock investments, personal credit card payments, rent and various food, alcohol and entertainment purchases.Broadway Dancer Marcus Bellamy Charged with MurderMarcus Bellamy, a former Broadway dancer who appeared in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and Tarzan, has reportedly confessed to murdering his partner Bernardo Almonte.According to NY Daily News, Bellamy wrote a Facebook post stating “I did it for love. I did it because I love you. He told me love and hate are the same emotion” shortly after beating and strangling Almonte. Bellamy then alerted a neighbor to his crime and was arrested shortly after.Bellamy appeared in a Gotta Dance feature for Broadway.com during his time in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark in 2012. View Commentslast_img read more

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DDTV: DONEGAL GIRLS GET READY FOR ALL-IRELAND FINAL BID

first_imghttps://www.youtube.com/audio?video_referrer=watch&v=qRkSMgjtoaIDONEGAL’S U14 girls footballers go into an All-Ireland final this afternoon – against all the odds.Favourites Tipperary are the opposition on a bumpy pitch at Ballymahon, Co Longford, at 4pm. But Greg Harkin’s girls are expected to come out fighting in a bid for all-Ireland glory.A short video of the last six months is above.Click play to watch and enjoy.Said Greg: “We’ve had a great year; but it’s not about today. It’s about the past six months and the effort put in by everyone, particularly the girls and their parents and super coaches including Liam Skelly, Gabrielle Gallagher, Sean Connaughton, Maura McCrudden and Aine Reilly. “We have a wonderful group of players and we’re ready for anything.“We’ve had the most amazing back-up from clubs and parents; we’ll give our all and see what happens. The video probably sums it up.”As someone once said in 2012……Believe DDTV: DONEGAL GIRLS GET READY FOR ALL-IRELAND FINAL BID was last modified: July 4th, 2015 by John2Share 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) Tags:ChairmandonegalFootballGirlsU14’slast_img read more

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Live updates: 49ers dominate Browns on Monday night, win 31-3

first_imgFollow along Monday at 5:15 p.m. for in-game insights and analysis when the 3-0 49ers take on the Cleveland Browns in a nationally televised showdown in Santa Clara. GAME ESSENTIALS: 49ers (3-0) vs. Cleveland (2-2) at Levi’s Stadium on Monday at 5:15 p.m. (PT)TV: ESPN, ABC-TV (Ch. 7), Joe Tessitore (play-by-play), Booger McFarland (analyst), Lisa Salters (reporter).ODDS: 49ers -5 (opened at 49ers -4). OVER/UNDER: 47.5 (opened at 47). SERIES: Browns lead 12-7. LAST …last_img

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Fatty Acid Synthesis: A Machine with “High Degree ofArchitectural Complexity”

first_imgAs Bruce Alberts said in 1998, the biology of the future was going to be the study of molecular machines: “the entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines.”1  One of those machines is like a mini-factory in itself.  It’s called fatty acid synthase (FAS).  Three Yale researchers just published the most detailed description of this machine in the journal Cell.2  (cf. last year’s headline, 03/06/2006).  They remarked that its most striking feature is the “high degree of architectural complexity” – some 48 active sites, complete with moving parts, in a particle 27 billionths of a meter high and 23 billionths of a meter wide.    Despite our aversion to fat, fatty acids are essential to life.  It’s when fat production goes awry that you can become fat.  The authors explain:Fatty acids are key components of the cell, and their synthesis is essential for all organisms except archaea.  They are major constituents of cellular membranes and are used for posttranslational protein modifications that are functionally important.  Saturated fatty acids are the main stores of chemical energy in organisms.  Deregulation of fatty acid synthesis affects many cellular functions and may result in aberrant mitosis, cancer, and obesity.The chemical steps for building fatty acids appear in the simplest cells and remain essentially unchanged up to the most complex organisms, although the machinery differs widely between plants, animals and bacteria.  In plants, for instance, the steps are performed by separate enzymes.  In animals, a two-part machine does the work.  Which organism has one of the most elaborate fatty-acid machines of all?  The surprising answer: fungi.  The researchers imaged the fatty acid synthase enzymes of yeast and, despite their academic restraint, were clearly excited as the details came into focus:Perhaps the most striking feature of fungal FAS is its high degree of architectural complexity, in which 48 functional centers exist in a single … particle.  Detailed structural information is essential for delineating how this complex particle coordinates the reactions involved in many steps of synthesis of fatty acids…. The six alpha subunits form a central wheel in the assembly, and the beta subunits form domes on the top and bottom of the wheel, creating six reaction chambers within which each ACP can reach the six active sites through surprisingly modest movements.  This structure now provides a complete framework for understanding the structural basis of this macromolecular machine’s important function.Calling it an “elegant mechanism,” they proudly unveiled a new model that tells the secret inside: a swinging arm delivers parts to eight different reaction centers in a precise sequence.    Their dazzling color diagrams are, unfortunately, copyrighted inside a technical journal, but a Google image search shows one reasonable facsimile of the overall shape at a Swiss website: click here.  Some of the protein parts provide structural support for the delicate moving parts inside.  Taking the structure apart, it looks something like a wagon wheel with tetrahedron-shaped hubcaps above and below.  Picture a horizontal wagon wheel with three spokes, bisecting the equator of the structure.  Now put the hubcaps over the top and bottom axles.  The interior gets divided up into six compartments (“reaction chambers”) where the magic takes place.    In each reaction chamber, eight active sites are positioned on the walls at widely separated angles from the center.  Spaced nearly equidistant between them all is a pivot point, and attached to it by a hinge is a lever arm.  This lever arm, called ACP, is just the right length to reach all of the reaction sites.  From a tunnel on the exterior, the first component arrives and is fastened to the ACP arm (priming).  The arm then swings over to another active site to pick up the next part, then cycles through the next six reaction sites that each do their part to add ingredients to the growing fatty acid chain (elongation).  The machine cycles through the elongation step multiple times, adding carbons to the growing fatty acid.  When the chain reaches its proper length (16-18 carbons, depending on the fatty acid needed), it is sent to a final active site that stops the cycle (termination) and delivers the product through an exit channel to the cytoplasm.    The ACP hinged arm, then, is the key to the system.  Imagine a life-size automated factory with a roughly spherical interior.  Its task is to build a chain of parts in a precise order.  The first ingredient comes through a shaft and is attached to the robotic arm in the center.  The arm then follows a pre-programmed sequence that holds out the product to eight different machines on the walls that add their part to the product.  The final operation of the arm delivers the product to an exit channel.  In a cell, though, how does this arm actually move?  The answer: electricity.    Yes, folks, yeast cells contain actual electrical machines.  Don’t visualize wires of flowing current; instead, picture active sites with concentrations of positive and negative charges in precise amounts.  How does the lever arm use this electrical system?  Owing to the specific kinds of amino acids used, each active site has a net positive charge, while the ACP lever arm has a negative charge.  Each time a part is added to the product, it changes the overall charge distribution and makes the arm swing over to the next position.  Thus, a blind structure made out of amino acids follows a cyclic pattern that builds up a specific product molecule one carbon at a time, and automatically delivers it when complete.  After delivery, the system is automatically reset for the next round.  Clearly, the precision of charge on each active site is critical to the function of the machine.3, 4    Now that we have described one reaction chamber, step back and see that the yeast FAS machine has six such chambers working independently and simultaneously.  Another surprise is that the lever arm inside must be activated from the outside during assembly of the machine by a structure (PPT) on the exterior wall before it can work.  There’s a reason for this, too:The crystal structure of yeast FAS reveals that this large, macromolecular assembly functions as a six-chambered reactor for fatty acid synthesis.  Each of the six chambers functions independently and has in its chamber wall all of the catalytic units required for fatty acid priming, elongation, and termination, while one substrate-shuttling component, ACP, is located inside each chamber and functions like a swinging arm.  Surprisingly, however, the step at which the reactor is activated must occur before the complete assembly of the particle since the PPT domain that attaches the pantetheine arm to ACP lies outside the assembly, inaccessible to ACP that lies inside.  Remarkably, the architectural complexity of the FAS particle results in the simplicity of the reaction mechanisms for fatty acid synthesis in fungi.Maybe the activation step is a quality-control step, to ensure the system doesn’t cause trouble in the cytoplasm before the machinery is completely assembled.    The authors did not mention how fast the synthesis takes place.  But if it’s anything like the other machinery in the cell, you can bet the FAS machine cranks out its products swiftly and efficiently, and life goes on, one molecule at a time.  Baking a cake with yeast will never seem the same again.1See 01/09/2002 for citation.2Lomakin, Xiong and Steitz, “The Crystal Structure of Yeast Fatty Acid Synthase, a Cellular Machine with Eight Active Sites Working Together,” Cell, Volume 129, Issue 2, 20 April 2007, Pages 319-332.3In addition to electrical charges, some amino acids have side chains that attract or repel water.  These hydrophilic and hydrophobic side chains also contribute to the force fields that cause the conformational changes in the enzyme.4The diagrams in the paper show the details of each active site.  To the uninitiated, enzyme models appear like random balls of putty stuck together, but humans should not impose their propensity for straight lines and angles on the world of molecules.  The shape and folds of the structure are critical to the function because they control the charge distribution in the vicinity.  The active sites are recessed within tunnels.  The ACP lever arm tip is guided by charge into these tunnels where ingredients are “snapped on” to the molecule through precise chemical reactions.  Each reaction changes the charge distribution, leading to the next stage of the cycle.Reading this paper was almost a transcendent experience.  To imagine this level of precision and master-controlled processing on a level this small, cannot help but induce a profound sense of wonder and awe.  Here, all this time, this machine has been helping to keep living things functioning and we didn’t even know the details till now.  How would such revelations have affected the history of ideas?    The authors did not say a peep about evolution except to note five times that certain parts are “conserved” (unevolved).  They also assumed evolution (without evidence) in one astonishing reaction to the fact that certain folds in the protein parts of this machine are unique in nature: listen – “They consequentially represent new folds and may have evolved independently to tether and orient the multiple active centers of fungal FAS for efficient catalysis.”  OK, everyone, a collective rotten-tomato toss for that enlightened suggestion.    Remember that origin-of-life researchers are stumbling and fumbling trying to get even single amino acids to form (04/04/2007), let alone get them to join up in useful, functioning chains (see online book).    The fatty acids are useless without the amino acids, and vice versa (09/03/2004).  Even if some kind of metabolic cycle were to be envisioned under semi-realistic conditions, how did this elaborate machine, composed of amino acids with precise charge distributions, arise?  It’s not just the machine, it’s the blueprints and construction process that must be explained.  What blind process led to the precise placement of active sites that process their inputs in a programmed sequence?  What put them into a structure with shared walls where six reaction chambers can work independently?  All this complexity, involving thousands of precision amino acids in FAS (2.6 million atomic mass units) has to be coded in DNA, then built by the formidably complex translation process, then assembled together in the right order, or FAS won’t work.  But the storage, retrieval, translation and construction systems all need the fatty acids, too, or they won’t work.    We are witnessing an interdependent system of mind-boggling complexity that defies any explanation besides intelligent design.  Yes, Bruce Alberts, “as it turns out, we can walk and we can talk because the chemistry that makes life possible is much more elaborate and sophisticated than anything we students had ever considered.”  We have tended to “vastly underestimate the sophistication of many of these remarkable devices.”    Yeast.  Who could have ever imagined this simple little blob possessed a high degree of architectural complexity and robotic technology.  Many questions remain.  Why do plants and animals have different mechanisms, but the same chemical steps?  Why do fungi, of all things, have the most elaborate architectures?  Are the other architectures equally complex in their own ways?  What other factories regulate this one, and how does this factory regulate other downstream systems?  We have much more to learn about fatty acid synthesis, but the “biology of the future” – design biology – is shedding far more light than Darwin’s myths ever did.  The fact that life functions so well, from yeast to human, should spur us on to uncover the design principles that make it all come together as a finely tuned system, in a finely tuned world, in a finely tuned universe.(Visited 31 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Working on Fire: saving lives, changing lives

first_imgThe WoF personnel showcasing their firefighting skills (Image: WoF)South Africa’s Working on Fire (Wof) firefighting programme not only saves lives and billions of rands in property every year, it also changes for the better the lives of the ex-prisoners and once-destitute people who fight the fires.A Department of Environmental Affairs initiative, WoF is the only full-time professional veld- and forest-fire fighting service in the world. It was set up in 2003 to reduce poverty and develop skills by employing people to manage fires and other environmental issues such as invasive alien plant control.Today WoF employs more than 5 000 young men and women who have been fully trained as veld and forest firefighters, stationed at more than 200 bases throughout South Africa.“We continue to receive letters of appreciation from various landowners who have all expressed their gratitude and thanks to our fire fighters and aerial resources for their hard work in having in many instances saved lives, property and also the environment,” Trevor Abrahams, MD of WoF, says on the project’s website. According to Abrahams, in 2014 South Africa experienced its worst fire season in seven years.Each of the programme’s bases, under the direction of a base manager, is manned by a team of 25 qualified people, called a hotshot crew. The crews use hand tools to fight fires, but can call on aerial support should the fire danger escalate.A third of the firefighters are womenRecruited from marginalised communities and trained in fire awareness and education, prevention and fire suppression skills, young men and women form veld and forest firefighting ground crews to help stop the scourge of wildfire that costs the South African economy billions of rands annually.The firefighters are 85% youth and 29% women – the highest level of female participation in any comparable fire service in the world.One of the spinoffs of WoF is to restore the dignity of young people by helping them earn a living.Nosmanga Nthibane, a formerly unemployed 26-year-old, is one. “When I finished school I fell pregnant and did not get the chance to further my studies,” she said. “So it took me seven years to get a job.”The programme also gives troubled people second chances.Lehlohonolo Majela, a 31-year-old fire-fighter based at the UKhahlamba Base in the Eastern Cape, said the programme totally changed his life for the better by helping him overcome alcoholism.“Alcohol was everything to me,” he said. “Joining WoF as a fire fighter changed my life and I got new friends who motivated me and showed me different sides of life. I did not understand their lifestyle. I had been drinking for a long time so I realised that I had to change my life.”Lucas Molelekoa Bakamela, from Bultfontein in the Free State, is a former gangster who has also been rehabilitated by the programme.“I was arrested in 2011 because of violent activities with other gangs in the area and for also stabbing my girlfriend,” he said.He was in custody for nine months until his girlfriend withdrew the charges. When was released he got a job, but was still running with gangs. He then applied for work at WoF, and his life changed.“Here I met people with purpose in life and they were able build me and remove the mind of wickedness that was in me,” he said. “I like Working on Fire because it changed my life and it also helped me to work with people from different cultures.”last_img read more

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Quality wheat adds value every step of the way

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest There is no doubt that wheat has benefits in a crop rotation, but in recent years profitability, quality issues, added workload, and other factors have diminished wheat acres in Ohio. Adding to the frustration with wheat has been the dockage at the elevator.Adam Kirian in Hancock County accepts that it can be a frustrating crop sometimes, but still appreciates the importance of wheat in his rotation for the great value it brings to his farm.“You have to think about the fact that wheat is closer to going directly to the consumer when we take it out of the field as compared to corn and soybeans. It is going to be turned into a food product right away. That is what it is for. You have to understand what they are looking for as a food product. Wheat has turned into the redheaded stepchild of the three crops and it hasn’t gotten the treatment it needs to be a viable option. When you see $5 or $6 corn, it can make you go away from something like that, but we have livestock so we need the straw and the manure acres,” Kirian said. “When you are busy planting corn and soybeans, it is easy to forget about the other crop you have out there, but if wheat is something you are going to raise then you have to give it more attention. As the testing for wheat has changed and what they look for in terms of quality has changed, we have had to step up the way we manage wheat as well and pay more attention to it. We have tried to get a little more intense in our management of wheat and the way we go about producing it.”Adam Kirian in Hancock County feels that wheat is still a valuable part of his farm.Harvesting high quality wheat starts with planting in the fall.“We look more at the varieties to avoid head scab and fungicide applications. We have selected earlier bean varieties so we can get the wheat out earlier,” he said. “We are working with split nitrogen applications and try come back in with foliar at some point. In warm, humid conditions you have to stay on top of things. Last year, as it got warmer and wetter, we started hearing horror stories and we knew stuff was starting to sprout and it was frustrating. But the elevators have to do what needs to be done to get a good end product to their end users. We are fortunate to have Mennel Milling right here in Fostoria and if I can get them a good quality product I can take it directly to them and get a premium for it.”When the wheat gets to the elevator, it is subjected to increasing scrutiny as end users are facing more requirements in terms of food safety and quality, said Chad Rosebrook, with Legacy Farmers Cooperative. It all starts with getting a good, representative sample from each load with standardized sampling techniques.“When the load first comes to the elevator, it obviously gets probed and a sample is collected from everyChad Rosebrook, with Legacy Farmers Cooperative, works closely with farmers to help maintain high quality wheat.load. From that sample we go through and test it for various quality factors. We look at moisture, test weight, dockage and all of that. One of the factors that is becoming more of a sticking point for elevators is vomitoxin. That is very important to the elevator because the level of vomitoxin in the wheat greatly affects the markets that are available to us to sell the wheat,” Rosebrook said. “It is not fun for the elevator to dock a guy for vomitoxin in his wheat, but vomitoxin does greatly reduce the markets that we have available. The amount of vomitoxin can make it only useable for feed and that wheat is worth less. We can’t sell it to millers who use it for flour and human consumption.”At the elevator, the samples are divided into smaller 1,000-gram samples. These are tested for dockage, moisture and test weight. A clean sample is ground for the vomitoxin test — 20 grams of the ground sample are mixed in solution of 100 milliliters of distilled water. A sample from the solution is tested with a test strip to get the vomitoxin reading.At a mill, there are even more tests, said Diane Gannon, a milling industry consultant.“The samples are processed in the grain receiving laboratory. There they are evaluated for their suitability for milling in terms of physical characteristics and food safety so the grain can be milled properly, efficiently and so the mills are getting their money’s worth out of that grain. The food safety testing is becoming more prevalent and that is what often slows things down. Technologies, though, have advanced so much that the tests can be done at the same time labs are processing samples for regular grading factors, so it now takes minutes for completion rather than a half an hour like it used to,” Gannon said. “For wheat, the bulk density or test weight measures the density of that grain. In a flourmill, the pipe can only hold so much volume and if the grain is heavier, the mill will be more efficient in their production. They can get more flour out of a bushel of grain if it is denser. Moisture, of course, is important for grain storage. You don’t want it to become sour in the bins if you are going to hold onto it, so keeping it below 14% is crucial for storage, but also allows the millers to add sufficient water (tempering) during their process, which allows efficient separation of the wheat into flour, and milling byproducts.“Damage, shrunken and broken and dockage are physical characteristics of importance in milling, as the miller has to clean these kernels away from the sound grain in order to mill the grain for flour. Of course there are bugs that love grain and the inspection labs are looking for those too. At a mill they are closer to the food chain and are a little more fussy about those things verses a grain elevator that has more opportunity to do a little blending and have other outlets for that grain.”In addition to these tests, mills also often use a falling number test.“A falling number test is a measure that heats and thickens water and flour in a paste in a test tube. If you have ever tried to make gravy in a pan with flour and water and it doesn’t thicken when you stir it and heat it, it is because the grain for the flour had started to sprout and the seed started to eat the starch. The starch is what thickens your gravy. Falling number measures in seconds how long it takes a rod to fall from the top to the bottom of a test tube. If it is a high number like 350 seconds, that is a sound number measurement for wheat. If it is below 250 seconds, that means the grain has probably started to sprout,” Gannon said. “The ideal falling number depends on how you are going to use the flour. If I were going to make a cookie, completely sound grain may not be as important and the flour may have a lower (250 – 350) specification for falling number levels, versus another operation producing bread or gravy mix, or a soup, which requires completely sound grain relating to sprout. It is difficult in the grain grading process at the inspection laboratory, because it may appear completely sound to the naked eye, however the chemistry which breaks down the starch during the sprouting process may already be occurring but not visible — hence the need for the falling number test. These differences in end product use for wheat is why it is important at the grain elevator level to separate it so that it can be directed it to the right market.”Everyone along the supply chain admits that the limits of testing consistency can be an issue.“We are looking at all of the things that contribute to testing variability and error. Sampling is one of the critical parts of this, along with sample preparation. You have different tests and you have the people involved. Those variables all contribute to the accuracy of the tests and introduce the potential for error,” Gannon said. “There is a range of accuracy and precision. The more testing repeats you run on a single sample, it tends to produce a more accurate result.”But, while waiting in line at the elevator, farmers typically have little interest in taking the time for more tests. Additionally, vomitoxin levels can be extremely variable within different areas of the field and the amount on just one wheat grain can make a large difference in the sample test representing the entire load or field.Farmers get frustrated with vomitoxin, but so do the samplers, testers, elevators, millers, and end users every step of the way. A tough year for wheat quality is a challenge for every part of the process.“I am very proud of our grain handling systems as they are doing a better job testing and separating grain based on quality and functionality for the end users. Without the success of all of those people working together it just makes growing wheat in our area more difficult,” Gannon said. “These efforts are crucial to sustaining wheat production in our area, which is vital for some major food producers, here in Ohio. The export market is actually way less tolerant than what our domestic market is, because of the costs around transportation. It is important that we are carefully testing our grain so we can put our best foot forward in the export market.”This also is important to keeping wheat as a sustainable crop in Ohio. Tim Norden, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Federal Grain Inspection Service, is really emphasizing the importance of improving the consistency of testing wheat quality.“We look at vomitoxin testing and falling number testing that both affect the value of wheat. Users of that wheat want it to meet regulatory standards of 1 part per million vomitoxin or less in food and millers and bakers like to see a falling number around 300 or greater typically. We want to minimize the variation. We want to have the most accurate results possible all along the chain so grain can travel from a country elevator, to a terminal elevator, then maybe to a train or barge destined for export,” Norden said. “Internationally, there are regulatory agencies testing that grain to make sure it meets the regulations of their country and contract specifications. It is very important to use procedures that are standardized. We talk a lot about the sampling, the preparation of the sample, and the actual analysis. It is very important to follow standardized procedures so we can get a consistent answer all along the value chain.”Problem wheat is a problem every step of the way, but conversely, high quality wheat adds value with every step, starting with the farm.last_img read more

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Hassled shooters get down to practice

first_imgWhen they arrived in the Capital on Saturday night from Pune, little did Indian pistol and rifle shooters know that it was going to be a long night for them. After suffering a six-hour delay due to mismanagement by the Games Organising Committee, they finally got to the Games Village and slept, which delayed their planned practice session at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges by a few hours.Finally, the shooters, accompanied by chief national coach Sunny Thomas and Stanislav Lapidus, the foreign coach for rifle shooters, reached the range at around 1: 30pm and got down to the business of acclimatising to the conditions.While Gagan Narang practised for his first event out of the six where he’ll be competing – the 10m air rifle – pistol ace Samaresh Jung warmed up for his 25m standard pistol event.Hariom Singh, who clinched an Olympic quota place for India by finishing sixth in 50m prone rifle at the World Championships in Munich last month, had a light practice session as well.”My ammunition, which my rifle has been attuned to, will arrive tomorrow. So today I had a short session with the ammunition that the organisers are providing here,” Singh told MAIL TODAY . On his part, coach Thomas said he will favour lighter sessions hereon. ” We had very good sessions in Pune and the shooters were given a heavy workload.But now, the workload will be reduced – maximum three hours per day – which will be enough to get a feel of the range,” Thomas told Mail Today . Speaking about the perception that shooting would be India’s biggest medal- winner at the Games, Thomas said: “We won 27 medals in Melbourne (2006), while in Manchester (2002), we had won 24.advertisementTo move from 27 to even 28 will be a very tough task because we have almost come to the maximum we can get out of the Games. Shooting is a sport where you can’t predict because it can depend on your mental condition, the environment etc.We are the reigning champions and on top of that, we are competing on home soil. So that is adding to the tension and the pressure.” However, Thomas said he had full confidence in the team members, who were all in good form at the camp.”Our air rifle team is a dream team because on the one hand you have an Olympic champion (Abhinav Bindra) and on the other, you have the world record holder (Gagan Narang).Abhinav took a break – which he needed – and now he’s coming back into form very well and everyone else is in good form.”In shotgun, we have another dream team in double trap – one senior world record holder (147 out of 150) in Ronjan Sodhi and the junior world record holder in Asher Noria (146).What else can you hope for? Obviously you can look to fine-tune everything before the competitions, but I’m not one who will look for shortcomings everywhere. I am teaching all our shooters to keep a positive frame of mind.”last_img read more

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Top seed Somdev Devvarman enters quarter-finals

first_imgtop seed Somdev Devvarman breezed into the men’s singles quarterfinals with a thumping 6-0 6-1 win over unseeded Sri Lankan Amresh Jayawickreme in the second round of the tennis competition of the Commonwealth Games.It was not more than a stroll in the park for Somdev as he mowed down the unranked Jayawickreme in just 41 minutes.The Lankan hardly posed a challenge to Somdev and surrendered without any fight. He lost points even when he was in advantageous position in few of the games.He was up 40-0 in the first game but could not pocket it, committing far too many unforced errors, to hand Somdev a break.The India wrapped up the opening set in just 20 minutes.The Sri Lankan, however, managed to hold on to his serve in the first game of the second set to prevent a whitewash.Somdev will next take on the winner of the match between Scotland’s Colin Fleming and Rubin Statham of New Zealand.With PTI inputslast_img read more