49ers Kyle Shanahan gives vote of confidence to defensive coordinator

first_imgGREEN BAY, Wisc. — As guilty as the 49ers offense was for failing to get a first down on its final three series, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s unit couldn’t stop Aaron Rodgers from rallying for a 33-30, Packers victory.Afterward, coach Kyle Shanahan and cornerback Richard Sherman staunchly defended Saleh, whose become a hot-button topic among frustrated fans.Rodgers produced a game-tying touchdown pass with 1:55 remaining, then led the winning drive in the final 1:07 that led to Mason …last_img

Who’s In Control: Your Brain or You?

first_imgDo you have a self that controls your brain, or is thought a secretion of the brain, as Darwin claimed?  Do you use your brain, or does your brain operate you?  Who is in charge?  These are deep philosophical questions with a long history, that some people prefer to avoid, as in the common joke:What is matter?  Never mind.What is mind?  No matter.The answer is probably not an either-or proposition, because we know that physical changes in the brain, whether by drugs and injury, can have profound affects on the self – if there is one.  But there is also ample evidence that people can affect their physical brains through choice and will – just as a person can order her arm to rise against the pull of gravity.  Some recent findings suggest that opinions of neuroscientists (for a long time those most tending to physicalism) seem to be shifting back to belief in the existence of a determinative self.Memory flexibility:  Rats have brains, too, and while humans may not appreciate being compared to them, we might learn some things from the physical aspects of a rat brain.  For one thing, how the brain stores memory is a lot more complicated than the old computer storage model.  Science Daily reported on work at University of Minnesota that shows that “the phenomenon of memory replay is much more [sic] complex, cognitive process that may help an animal maintain its internal representation of the world, or its cognitive map.”    The hippocampus has long been known to be involved in memory recall.  Rather than just playing back a memory verbatim, the hippocampus provides flexible playback.  “It gives animals the ability to plan novel paths within their environment,” said A. David Redish of the U of Minnesota Medical School.  “This replay process may be an animal’s way of learning how the world is interconnected, so it can plan new routes or paths.”  That almost sounds like the rat is in the driver’s seat, not its brain.  The article spoke plainly about the rat’s “decision-making process.”  The brain was not just playing back a tape recording: “The rats were not just reviewing recent experience to move it to long-term memory,” Science Daily said.  “This is important because brain cognition and the human decision-making process are poorly understood.”  Someone might argue that computers have a decision-making process, too.  Yes—but those processes were programmed by intelligent design.  To claim that animals are capable of decision making while being physical products of evolution would beg the question about physicalism.Multisensory perception:  If physicalists want to say humans are only animals, they can’t say they are less equipped.  PhysOrg posted an interesting story that said psychologists are finding amazing perceptual abilities in humans thought to be mastered by animals alone.  The article begins with examples:Blind mountain bikers use echolocation to hear rocks in the trail.  A connoisseur sniffs out the world’s most expensive cup of coffee.  An artist whose sight disappeared as a young man paints and chooses his colors by touch.    New research in perceptual psychology and brain science is revealing that our senses pick up information about the world that we thought was only available to other species, Lawrence Rosenblum, professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, writes in a new book, “See What I’m Saying: The Extraordinary Powers of Our Five Senses” (Norton, 2010), published this month.Rosenblum has amassed many examples of people who have compensated for the loss of one sense by developing heightened sensitivity from the other senses, both singly and in combination.  “Brain-imaging and other tools have enabled researchers in the last decade to discover that the human brain is capable of changing its structure and organization – a process called neuroplasticity – as it is influenced by experience.”  Don’t be down on yourself.  You are highly skilled, Rosenblum says: “We all have an onboard sonar system and a type of absolute pitch; and we all can perceive speech from seeing and even touching faces,” he said.  Those abilities can be brought to sharpness by practice.Forget to remember?  Science Daily delved into the question of why we can remember some things instantly when exposed to a triggering sense, like a smell, but can’t remember other things when we try.  “Science still does not fully understand why” this happens.  Experiments by Kristina Kompus, a Swedish scientist seem to suggest that the instant recall and the slow search-and-retrieval mechanisms are controlled by different regions of the brain.  Her studies “also reveal that our long-term memory is more flexible that was previously believed.  There is not just one single neurological signaling path for reliving old memories but rather several paths that are anatomically separate.”Hormone assist:  PhysOrg added more thought to the story about testosterone (see 12/09/2009).  Subjects involved in a trading game were actually more rational and fair when they did not know they were given testosterone.  Since women given the hormone without knowledge behaved differently than those who knew, the effects of hormones are more complex than previously thought.    This raises questions about the uniqueness of the human mind.  How could such an experiment be done on animals?  How would they know what they were given?  How would they have certain expectations that a hormone would produce a certain kind of behavior?  The authors of an article in Nature noted, “biology seems to exert less control over human behavior [than in other animals].”Self-controlled rehab:  A man in Texas has had difficulties in work because of several traumatic brain injuries, like concussions from falling off a horse when he was young.  He felt discouraged about his prospects for work and living a normal life, PhysOrg said, till he realized at age 42 that he was not a prisoner of his brain injuries.  He heard about “brain plasticity – the concept that the brain can heal and learn at all ages.”  He realized that abilities he thought were gone could be re-learned.  “It was a relief,” he said.  “It helped me regain my self-esteem and self-confidence.  It gave me hope.”  The article then noted, “Neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to adapt and change through life, is gaining increased traction in medical circles.”  The author of a book on the subject, Dr. Norman Doidge, calls this “the most important change in our understanding of the brain in four hundred years.” “For the longest time our best and brightest neuroscientists thought of the brain as like a machine, with parts, each performing a single mental function in a single location,” he wrote in an e-mail from the University of Toronto (he also teaches at Columbia University).  “We thought its circuits were genetically hardwired, and formed, and finalized in childhood.”    This meant that doctors assumed they could do little to help those with mental limitations or brain damage, he says — because machines don’t grow new parts.  The new thinking changes that: “It means that many disorders that we thought can’t be treated have to be revisited.”A doctor told of a patient who suffered a massive stroke.  In five weeks he went from coma to paralysis to walking out of the hospital.  “The brain has the amazing ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections between brain cells,” he said.    Dr. Sandra Chapman is founder of the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas.  She remarked, “Our brain is one of the most modifiable parts of our whole body.”  Think about that.  It means that intentional thought for the brain might just be as important as exercise for the body.  She advises taking a “neck-up checkup” to find areas needing improvement: such as learning how to focus, learning how to reason, learning how to create.  These skills can be improved with targeted exercises.  For those of us getting older (100% of humans), it also means we don’t have to look ahead to hopeless decline, but can actually maintain or improve mental skills as we age.  “People in their 80s and 90s can do incredible things,” Chapman said.  “They may do them a little bit slower, but they can do them at a much deeper level.”    The article said “It’s possible that the connections that the brain makes may become even more profound with age.”  If so, do they just result in more profound secretions of the brain, or do they provide a self with better tools?The scientific brain:  Some experiments done at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research seem to show that humans are hard-wired to think scientifically.  Our brains are comfortable with predictable outcomes, but strain at unpredictable ones.  PhysOrg said, “This suggests that the brain’s main job, alike [sic] that of a scientist, is to generate hypotheses about what is going on in the outside world.”  Do we all have a little scientist in our head?  “At present the idea of the scientific brain is rapidly spreading through the neuroscience community and provides a novel approach to resolving how the most complex organ of the human body works,” the article ended.Control your cortex:  Scientists can observe brain waves that predict how someone will feel days after a marital spat.  But do the brain waves determine this, or are the waves a product of the spouse’s control?  Science Daily reported on work at Harvard reported in Biological Psychiatry that seemed to show that “brain activity – specifically in the region called the lateral prefrontal cortex – is a far better indicator” than common wisdom about not going to bed angry “of how someone will feel in the days following a fight with his or her partner.”  The more neural activity seen in the lateral prefrontal cortex, the more forgiving the partner was likely to be.  But what does that mean?    Dr. Christine Hooker “also found that those who had more activity in the lateral prefrontal cortex and greater emotional regulation after a fight displayed more cognitive control in laboratory tests, indicating a link between emotion regulation and broader cognitive control skills.”  So while the brain waves might serve as a predictor of those most vulnerable to emotional stress after a fight, it doesn’t mean the subject is a victim of her or his brain waves.  It could mean the opposite – that the moral traits a person has learned can be observed in brain waves, just like the choices one makes in a diet are visible in the waistline.  “Scientists believe that what we are looking at in the scanner has relevance to daily life, but obviously we don’t live our lives in a scanner,” noted Hooker.  Relevance is a commutative property.  She could have said, “Our daily lives have relevance to what we see in the scanner.”Train your brain:  According to Science Daily, we can choose to remodel our brains.  Researchers at the University of Goldsmiths London observed neuroplastic changes as a result of brainwave training.  They “demonstrated that half an hour of voluntary control of brain rhythms is sufficient to induce a lasting shift in cortical excitability and intracortical function.”  The article continued, “Remarkably, these after-effects are comparable in magnitude to those observed following interventions with artificial forms of brain stimulation involving magnetic or electrical pulses.”  It means that painful and risky physical interventions (drugs, electric shock, etc.) could be replaced with a more “natural way” to modulate cerebral plasticity through “inner control of one’s own brain activity”.  The finding has “important implications for future non-pharmacological therapies of the brain and calls for a serious re-examination and stronger backing of research on neurofeedback,” the article said.  Inner control; is that the same thing as self control?Advocates of intelligent design are most often philosophical dualists – those who accept a mental (or spiritual) reality in addition to a physical reality.  It appears these studies and others like them are giving them fodder for their case.  Denyse O’Leary, co-author of The Spiritual Brain, discussed some of these findings in a podcast for ID the Future.  For more news about the brain, see the 02/21/2010 entry.It’s nice to see secular neuroscientists entertaining thoughts again about the actual existence of a self that can control the body.  But there’s a shortcut to tipping the debate in favor of dualism.  Ask them, when they are thinking about the question, who is doing the thinking?  To be consistent in their physicalism, they would have to deny their own selves.  This would be a self-refuting position that would give the dualist interlocutor opportunity to call the debate.  Like Dr. Greg Bahnsen used to taunt his opponent, merely showing up at the debate proved his point.    Each of the stories above makes sense in the light of creation, and only in the light of creation (the top-down approach that assumes intelligent design), on two grounds: (1) the alternative is self-refuting, and (2) our uniform experience shows that decision-making entities (robots, software) are products of a mind.  It may not answer all the mysteries we have about the mind-body problem (e.g., what happens to the self when an aging person shows dementia, the differences between animal and human mental states, the interactions of soul and brain, what happens during sleep, why do we recall things when not concentrating on them, etc.), but it is a self-consistent framework in which to provide useful employment to the little scientist in your head.  Otherwise, what’s the point of the sign over the businessman’s desk? – “THINK.”(Visited 28 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

‘Papwa’ Sewgolum: little known great

first_imgBut for apartheid, South Africa could have had another world-beating golfer at the same time as Gary Player.Sewsunker “Papwa” Sewgolum, a South African of Indian origin, was a self-taught golfer who played the game with a back-handed grip, hands positioned the opposite way to the traditional grip. The unorthodox grip has another name – the Sewsunker grip – named after Sewgolum because he used it with such success.Born in 1930 to a blind mother, Sewgolum came from a modest background. During his early childhood years he did not attend school, and spent much of his time hitting golf balls on the beach with whatever branches he could find that resembled golf clubs.Later, to make ends meet, he became a caddie at the Beachwood Country Club.No ordinary caddieAlthough he was a better golfer than the men for whom he caddied, the racial laws of apartheid South Africa prevented him from demonstrating his prowess – even though, competing in non-white competition, he won the Natal Amateur at the age of 16.Sewgolum was “discovered” by a German, Graham Wulff, who lived in Howick in the Natal Midlands. Wulff was playing a round of golf with some colleagues one day when one of the men asked Sewgolum, who was caddying, which club he should use for an approach to the green. Sewgolum advised him to select either a six or seven iron.The man took his advice, but played a poor shot and took his frustration out on Sewgolum. Sewgolum didn’t take kindly to the abuse; he put the man’s bag down and began to walk away.Wulff called him back. He asked Sewgolum whether he would have used the same iron to reach the green. “Yes,” the caddie replied.He then placed a ball – something the caddies were strictly forbidden to do – and knocked his approach to within half a metre of the pin.‘Papwa’ Sewgolum in his prime (Photo: South African Airways Open)Dutch Open, Natal OpenWulff was impressed. So much so that in 1959 he took Sewgolum overseas to play in the British Open. He was also due to play in Germany, but crossed lines in planning meant he missed out on that opportunity.Wulff then took him to the Netherlands to compete in the 1960 Dutch Open. Sewgolum won the tournament, successfully defended it the following year, became a three-time winner of the title in 1963, and finished as runner-up in 1964.Back in South Africa, Sewgolum was only allowed to compete from 1963. He promptly won the Natal Open, defeating Harold Henning – and becoming the first person of colour to win a professional golf tournament in South Africa.Henning was no slouch – he won more than 50 tournaments in his professional career, including victories in the US and Europe, and teamed up with Gary Player to win the World Cup Invitational in 1965.Beating Gary PlayerAs for Player, he was on a roll in 1965. Besides the World Cup Invitational, he won the US Open Championships to complete golf’s Grand Slam of majors, took his third South African Open and fourth Australian Open, and notched up wins in the World Series, World Matchplay and NTL Challenge Cup.In the 1965 Natal Open, however, Player played second fiddle to Sewgolum.Sewgolum’s second Natal Open victory was overshadowed, however, by the happenings at the prize-giving ceremony afterwards. Rain was pelting down, which prevented the trophy being presented outdoors, as was the usual case, and the ceremonies were moved inside.The laws of the day were that Indian people were not allowed inside the Durban Country Club. An infraction of those laws could have resulted in the club losing its liquor licence.International outcryPhotographs of Sewgolum receiving his Natal Open trophy in the rain – while the club’s white patrons sat in comfort inside – flashed around the world, prompting an international outcry. A number of countries reacted by imposing sports sanctions on South Africa.In 1965, Sewgolum came within a whisker of winning the South African Open, losing out to Retief Waltman by a single shot.However, just when it seemed his career would take off, the apartheid government brought it to an appalling halt. In 1966 the government banned Sewgolum from all local tournaments, and by withdrawing his passport, prevented him from playing abroad – and, in effect, from making a living.Sewgolum died impoverished in 1978, not yet 50 years of age, from a heart attack.Belated recognitionIn 2004, Sewgolum was posthumously awarded the Order of Ikhamanga, South Africa’s highest honour for achievement in the performing arts and sport.Today, a golf course in Durban is named after him. The Papwa Sewgolum Municipal Golf Course is an 18-hole flat woodland course situated in the suburb of Reservoir Hills.In 2005, Wits University Press published Christopher Nicholson’s biography Papwa Sewgolum: From Pariah to Legend.A documentary film about his life, “Papwa: The Lost Dream of a South African Golfing Legend”, had its premiere in August 2005.Unveiling a memorial plaque in honour of Sewgolum earlier in 2005, Durban Country Club chairman Ray Lalouette described the 1965 Natal Open awards ceremony as “an ignominious debacle that must have been the source of much embarassment and humiliation for a fellow human being at a time when he should have been experiencing joy and jubilation.“No matter what the background, or the rules of the land, it must have been an experience that caused hurt and shame for him and his family.“It is therefore fitting and appropriate that I, as the current chairman, take this opportunity on behalf of the members of the Durban Country Club, to apologise to Mrs Suminthra Sewgolum and to Mr Sewgolum’s son, Rajen, and his family for the suffering you have endured as a result of that most unfortunate incident.“We have commissioned this plaque to serve as a permanent reminder to all those (and especially golfers) who walk this way, that ‘Papwa’ Sewgolum was a remarkable man.”Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? 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Your Goals and Your Effort

first_imgAs a young child, I went to Catholic Schools. When I reached my rebellious teenage years, my grades began to suffer. But at Catholic schools, you received two grades. The first was your letter grade, the mark that you achieved. The second grade was a number between 1 and 4. My grades consisted of a lot of C4’s. That meant that I got a C and put forth absolutely the lowest possible effort.I didn’t get in trouble for the C. I got in trouble for the 4. My mom would have taken a C1, that would have indicated an average score with the maximum effort. She would not accept a C4, even though I gave her plenty of them.If you are doing just enough to reach your activity quota, you aren’t working to your capacity. How does one know this? Because you are at—or just under— what someone else has required of you. That activity goal is not a goal you set for yourself. Instead, it is what someone else expects of you, likely determined by what is average, what is acceptable.If the activity quota would have been greater when you started, then you would already be doing more than you are now, provided you are the kind of person who does only what is expected of them, and no more. You’d also be producing the better results that would accompany greater effort.What someone else finds acceptable for you should not be what you find acceptable. That would be to accept too low a standard. Your standard should be your own. You should work to your potential.Your goals are your own. Your personal quota is not your company’s quota. It is what you determine you want for yourself. If you want greater income, then you can’t work to what is minimally acceptable performance. If you want to work to your full potential, you have to put forth the effort of which you are capable, not what someone else will accept from you.If you are honest with yourself about how you are doing, would you grade yourself a 1 for maximum effort, or would the score you give yourself indicate that you are coasting, doing just enough to get by?path Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Jamaica and China Sign Four Agreements

first_img The Jamaican Government, August 21, signed four agreements with the People’s Republic of China worth millions of dollars, as Prime Minster, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller continues her official trip to that country.Chief among them is an agreement with the China Exim Bank for a preferential loan for the Major Infrastructure Development Project (MIDP).The others are Letters of Agreement on economic and technical co-operation between both governments; Letters of exchange on the construction of infant schools by the Government of China for Jamaica; and Letters of exchange on the feasibility study, ‘Teaching Building of the Confucius Institute’, by the Government of China for Jamaica.The agreements were signed on behalf of the Jamaican Government by Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator the Hon. A.J. Nicholson at the Great Hall of the People in the Chinese capital, Beijing, minutes after a meeting between Mrs. Simpson Miller and her delegation and the President of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Xi Jinping.Under the MIDP, several hundred kilometres of roadway will be rehabilitated; bridges and retaining walls will be constructed or rehabilitated as well as the completion of sub-projects started under the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP). The project is slated to provide employment for thousands of Jamaicans.In the meantime, both countries signed an agreement with a view to further developing friendly relations and economic and technical co-operation between the two countries.Under this agreement, the Chinese government will provide grant aid in the amount of RMBY 100,000,000 or approximately US$16 million. This will be used for projects to be mutually agreed on through consultations between the two countries.“Detailed accounting procedures for the disbursement of funds concerning the implementation of the agreement shall be settled between the Accountant General’s Department of the Ministry of Finance and Planning of Jamaica and the China Development Bank,” the agreement states, adding that it shall remainin force until both governments have fulfilled all their obligations stipulated in the agreement.For another agreement, the Chinese government has agreed to dispatch a technical group to Jamaica for a feasibility study on the project – ‘Teaching Building of the Confucius Institute’ –  on the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies. If this is feasible, a specific supplementary agreement will be signed between both governments.“The cost, in the amount of RMBY500,000 for implementation of the mentioned feasibility, shall be disbursed from the grant aid stipulated in the Agreement on Economic Co-operation between the Government of China and the Government of Jamaica signed on February 1, 2005,”  the agreement states.“The Government of China shall designate an institution to issue a bill, in quadruplets, to settle accounts through the China Development Bank Corporation and the Accountant General’s Department of the Ministry of Finance and Planning of Jamaica,” it adds.The Prime Minister arrived in the People’s Republic of China on August 20 for a five-day official visit.Mrs. Simpson Miller is accompanied on the trip by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. A.J. Nicholson; Minister of Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill; Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, Onika Miller; Special Envoy and Chief Advisor to the Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Carlton Davis; and members of her security detail.The Prime Minister and her delegation are scheduled to meet with the leadership of important state institutions such as the China Export-Import Bank and the China Development Bank, as well as major firms currently doing business in Jamaica and those with strong investor interest.She is also slated to have discussions on development challenges associated with climate change and global warming and, in particular, those faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in implementing necessary climate adaptation mechanisms and recovering from the significant damage caused by natural disasters.The Prime Minister will participate in discussions regarding the role of the Group of 77 (G7) nations and China in the effective operation of the United Nations (UN) and multilateral systems to ensure that the voice and representation of emerging and developing countries are enhanced in the global political and economic frameworks.A small private sector delegation has also accompanied the Prime Minister to explore trade and investment opportunities with officials and business interests in China. They will attend a business forum on Friday, August 23. Both countries signed an agreement with a view to further economic and technical co-operation Story Highlights The Jamaican Government, August 21, signed four agreements with the People’s Republic of China worth millions of dollars Chief among them is an agreement with the China Exim Bank for a preferential loan for MIDPlast_img read more

Technical and Vocational Training Key to Economic Prospects – PM Holness

first_img The Government is set to focus primarily on Technical and Vocational Training this year.The announcement was made yesterday (Thursday April 5) by Prime Minister Andrew Holness.The move comes as Prime Minister Holness said technical and vocational training and competence are critically linked to the country’s growth.“The truth is that our education system now is a binding constraint on our growth prospects,” said Prime Minister Holness.The Prime Minister disclosed that Jamaica is lacking in sufficient trained labour while industries are growing at a faster rate which the country should supply.“Technical and vocational training areas will be of focus. We have already started by merging the National Youth Service (NYS) and the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL) merging those two with HEART TRUST NTA and that is an important and strategic move to create a truly national training organization to include and to provide services for those members of our population who are not attached to any institution of training,” said Prime Minister Holness.He noted that for the 2018/19 budget, Education received $101.6 billion compared to $98.9 billion last year.“We are making improvements but it is not happening as rapidly as we would like to see or as we would need to attain the economic growth and job creation successes that we would like,” said Mr. Holness.Mr. Holness further contends that there must be a shift to ensure Technical and Vocational apprenticeship.“We must garner, we must hone, take charge of and train those young people because they can immediately provide in a short period of time the labour force that we need to drive the new growth industries in our country,” said Prime Minister Holness.The Prime Minister was speaking at the Appreciation Function for former Principal of Spaldings High and Advisor to Prime Minister Holness, Alphansus Davis.In the meantime, Mr. Holness expressed his gratitude for the contribution made by Mr. Davis to the education sector.The Prime Minister charged the Member of Parliament, Richard Azan to write to the Minister of Education to formalize the request to rename Spaldings High in honour of Alphansus Davis.“I am a better person to have benefitted from the guidance and direction and fatherly advice of Alphansus Davis. He is a humble man, he is an honest man, he’s a caring man, he is a committed man, and he is truly a great Jamaican,” said Prime Minister Holness. “The truth is that our education system now is a binding constraint on our growth prospects,” said Prime Minister Holness. The move comes as Prime Minister Holness said technical and vocational training and competence are critically linked to the country’s growth. The Government is set to focus primarily on Technical and Vocational Training this year. Story Highlightslast_img read more