TU students demonstrating with placards Students of the Engineering Department at the Tubman University in Maryland County are demanding qualified instructional staff and other basic instructional materials.The students told this newspaper via mobile phone that unidentified Philipino professors in the department are not conversant with their subject matter, adding that they don’t understand their style of teaching.The students are demanding that the school’s administration either change the professors or they will not return to their classes.“We don’t understand anything from these professors and their way of teaching is quite different as if to say they do not even hold degrees,” they said.The students also complained of lack of adequate computers to do research.“The computer lab on the campus cannot even host 20 students,” they said. “We are paying fees for the computer labs, but we are not getting the type of services we should be getting.”When contacted via mobile phone, the President of Tubman University, Dr. Edward L. Wonkeryor, confirmed the protest and said the administration is negotiating with the students to bring the situation under control.He said the students are demanding for a new engineering building, more and new computers in the laboratory as well as more qualified instructional staff.He said their demand is in place, though not the proper manner because the school has a policy, which tells them how to address their grievances.Dr. Wonkeryor, who said he just returned from a trip abroad, said he received the students’ complaint on October 17.He explained that the Philipino professors in question were hired during the administration of his predecessor, Dr. Elizabeth Rusell, adding that their contract is yet to expire, which he said cannot be done unilaterally.“We are bringing in 40 pieces of brand new computers and are also in the process of bringing additional professors so I am calling on the students to remain peaceful,” he said.Meanwhile, Dr. Wonkeryor praised the professors for their tireless efforts in the education of Liberians, especially at the Tubman University, but cautioned Liberian educators to take the opportunity and apply for courses the foreign professors are teaching.The Maryland County Administration, headed by Superintendent Betsy T. Kuoh-Toe made several interventions to quiet down the students to return to classes, but sources said all the efforts have been fruitless.Efforts to get Supt. Toe could not be materialized.Dr. Wonkeryor took over from Dr. Elizabeth Russell last year and he said his relationship with the student leadership has been very cordial since he took over.He said due to last year’s budget shortfall, the school could not restore most of the facilities the students are demanding for.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Arcata >> The Arcata Tigers improved to 10-0-1 on the season and remained unbeaten in the Humboldt-Del Norte League after shutting out the Fortuna Huskies 3-0 on Wednesday in Arcata.Nina Crossen scored on a 30-yard shot midway through the first half to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead they took into halftime.After the break, Faith Schneider-Reuter scored her 13th goal of the season to make it a 2-0 game. Bailey Cherms scored with approximately 10 minutes left to give Arcata the 3-0 shutout …
(Visited 628 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 He was highly regarded in his day, but the beliefs of Comte de Buffon seem comical now.Janet Browne is delighted to see a new translation of a 1778 book by French philosopher Comte de Buffon (full name: George-Louis Leclerc, le comte de Buffon, hereafter Buffon). Browne is the historian of science who wrote an eye-opening but richly-sourced biography of Darwin we have referred to repeatedly (Charles Darwin: The Power of Place, Princeton 2002). Her portrayal of Darwin failed to sufficiently exalt the bearded Buddha to the pantheon of Greatest Scientist Ever as Darwin lovers expected. Instead, she exposed him as a schemer surrounded by accomplices (the X-Club) who used “audacious skulduggery” to get his ideas adopted and criticisms quashed (3 March 2008), to the point where Darwin schemed to manipulate his disciples to worship him as a god. But with access to the largest number of original documents, she had to tell the truth as a historian.Now, Browne is relishing the translation of Buffon’s Les Époques De La Nature — (Epochs of Nature, or the story of the Earth, first published in 1778). It had only been available in French till now. First, some background on Buffon (1707-1788), as described in Janet Browne’s review of the translation, published by Current Biology:George-Louis Leclerc, le comte de Buffon (1707 – 1788)Born into the landed bourgeoisie during the ancien régime, Buffon was a self-made, dynamic and cosmopolitan intellectual who became one of Europe’s best-known natural philosophers of the Enlightenment period, rapidly ascending to the directorship of the Jardin du Roi and Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris. He was elevated to the aristocracy in 1772 and died in 1788, just before the [French] revolution began. Had he lived longer, Buffon might have lost his head to the guillotine, although natural history was regarded as useful knowledge by the revolutionaries, and figures such as Buffon’s student Jean-Baptise Lamarck were allowed to remain active as professors at the Jardin. Nevertheless, Buffon’s death from natural causes marked the end of an era in Enlightenment science. Knowledge became a very different enterprise as the 19th century dawned.Browne is no ally of creationism, nor opponent of Darwinism. She just tries to be honest with the history of important figures in the rise of science. Creationists generally look down on Buffon for his atheism and his push to “naturalize” all science. He was one of the first to postulate long ages. Additionally, Buffon was one of the first proponents of “positivism,” teaching that the rise of materialistic science as the culmination of a series of evolutionary stages in the history of mankind, with science triumphing over religious superstition in the final stage. Would the French Revolution or the world wars of the 20th century have shaken his faith? We can only surmise.Buffon’s Epochs of Nature dealt with the Earth’s history from its origins in the planetary system to the modern era, arranged in seven successive epochs or time periods. In creating the volume, Buffon produced one of the most influential geological books in European science. Of course, there had been authoritative histories of the Earth beforehand and much careful research performed. Yet Buffon presented a thoroughly ‘enlightened’ and scientific view of the Earth that ran against the general Christian orthodoxy of the biblical story and proposed a vastly expanded timeframe. He is noted as one of the first scholars to introduce evidence for a directional, developmental history of the Earth and for laying important foundations for what would become an evolutionary point of view.As she indicates, Buffon influenced many scholars to come, who began to embrace long ages and evolutionary ideas. The myth of progress blossomed in the Victorian age, as increasing numbers of scientists, starting with the geologists, jettisoned the Bible and looked to their own “enlightened” reason to explain the world around them. This all culminated in Darwin’s Origin in 1859. By Darwin’s death in 1882, few were the scientists remaining who did not optimistically embrace the core of Buffon’s “positivism” that trusted in unaided human reason’s power to explain everything without reference to Divine revelation.Now that the table is set, let’s see what Buffon actually believed. Remember, he was highly regarded in his day. He was a scientific “expert.” His influence was profound; “one of the most widely read authors of the day — a rival to Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Voltaire.” But with the hindsight of history, who would not chuckle at what he taught in this book? Without meaning to, Browne presents him as somewhat of a buffoon by today’s standards. She kills him with kindness in her review that lauds his influence on the history of thought. Here are some tidbits gleaned from the review:“His account was founded on the idea of successive epochs, each following the other from the dawn of time and possessing different organisms to match changing atmospheric and geological conditions.”“his section explaining the metaphorical links between the bible and actual Earth history is a masterpiece of inventive yet logical thinking.“To Buffon, “everything proceeded along entirely natural pathways, one geological change generating the conditions for the next to emerge, a secular process of development set into place at the beginning by some abstract, supernatural force.““Yet his Earth was exceedingly old, older than anyone previously had suggested: some 75,000 years from the beginning, and almost ‘blasphemously old’ in the words of the authors.”“Buffon explained that the Earth was once an intensely hot cloud of matter that had spun off from the sun.““As the planet cooled, the waters emerged and receded, landmasses took shape, and the first living beings were spontaneously generated in the highest latitudes, as those were the areas first to cool.”“animals diversified according to environmental conditions and colonized the vacant landmasses, proceeding from north to south.”Modern scientists might try to defend these views as initial baby steps in a framework to explain phenomena by natural means. And yet most of what this “expert” said is no longer believed today, even by the secular evolutionary geologists and biologists who are his philosophical heirs. The Earth spun off the sun as a hot cloud? Water “emerged” somehow? Where did it come from? (This is a major problem for planetary science to this day.) Life emerged by spontaneous generation? It started at the highest latitudes? It moved from north to south? And all this happened without design in 75,000 years? “Inventive thinking” is the best euphemistic praise one could give to such ideas.The take-home lesson from Browne’s review is that today’s scientists can have little confidence that their own expertise will be looked on favorably 240 years from now. Their books might even by decaying on the shelves of the Eloi.Ha! Just imagine. The planet spun off the sun as a hot cloud! Life arose spontaneously! Water “emerged”! The environment created animals! Inventive thinking! Stuff happens! Hey, wait a minute; except for enlarging Buffon’s 75,000 years by almost three orders of magnitude, they still believe similar types of buffoonery today.
Mathiba MolefeMasego “Maps” Maponyane says he wants to make lasting difference in the lives of as many people as he can. So much can be achieved through active citizenship, he adds. (Image: Mathiba Molefe)Maps Maponyane, the Play Your Part ambassador, entrepreneur, TV presenter and model, has set into motion an initiative to help promising students pay for their education and pursue their dreams.The Bursary Network was prompted by issues brought to light by the #FeesMustFall movement, which voices the concerns of students about the costs of education at South African universities.Many students find their road to success blocked by the cost of further education. It is this need that is at the heart of the crowd-funding initiative, which is involving the public and giving them an opportunity to make a telling difference.The network uses crowd-funding to raise the money needed for students to enrol at colleges and universities. People are encouraged to play their part and help South Africa’s youth fulfil their potential – in other words, contribute to the fund.“I think Bursary Network fits in very well with being a Play your Part ambassador because it’s a way that myself and a couple of my partners have decided to pick up whatever pieces we can and figure out a way that we can play our part in helping alleviate those issues,” Maponyane explains.HOW IT WORKSThrough the Bursary Network, students can appeal to the public for help. They upload their profiles to the website. Potential donors can then go through the list of students and choose to whom they want to donate.“What we’ve created is an opportunity for students who can’t get access to education because of funding,” says Maponyane.“It’s an opportunity for them to come on to the site, put up their profiles telling people who they are, where they’re from, what they want to study, where they want to go, how much money they need and what they’ll do with those studies afterwards.”To date, the Bursary Network has funded 10 students with the help of some 358 donors who have all contributed R100 or more.All the students registered on the site undergo background checks to ensure they are suitable beneficiaries and the money donated is paid directly to the institutions involved so the funds cannot be used for other purposes.The network uses crowd-funding to raise the money needed for students to enrol at colleges and universities. People are encouraged to play their part and help South Africa’s youth fulfil their potential – in other words, contribute to the fund. (Brand South Africa’s Tshepiso Malele (left) and Keineloe Phakathi (right) alongside Play Your Part ambassador Masego Maponyane.) GET INVOLVEDIf you would like to help these promising students chase down their dreams, visit the Bursary Network website and register to donate.The minimum donation is R100. You can track the progress in reaching the target and how your contributions are helping to change the lives of South African youth.PLAY YOUR PARTAre you playing your part to help improve the lives of those around you through business? Do you know of any business person who has gone out of their way to help improve South Africa and its people?If so, submit your story or video to our website and let us know what you are doing to improve the country for all.
The BJP exuded confidence on Wednesday that it would retain power in Rajasthan, where the party has set a target of achieving more than 180 seats in the Assembly elections due later this year.The president of the party’s State unit, Madan Lal Saini, said at a press conference here that the organisational tours of BJP chief Amit Shah to Rajasthan have infused a new energy among party workers; Mr. Shah will visit the State again to address the ‘Shakti Kendra Sammelan’ in Sikar and ‘SC Sammelan’ in Bikaner on Thursday.Mr. Saini said the party was geared up and prepared to work with full force to achieve the target of ‘180 plus’. The State has 200 Assembly seats.The State BJP chief also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a public rally in Ajmer on Saturday on the completion of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s ‘Gaurav Yatra’ which she had begun in August. Mr. Modi will also visit the Brahma temple in Pushkar, he said. “Nearly three lakh party workers will attend the historic rally in Ajmer,” Mr. Saini said, adding that the Prime Minister will guide party workers regarding the upcoming Assembly polls in the State.Ticket distributionMr. Saini said the party will consider new faces, youths and women in ticket distribution. “New faces should come (in politics). The party would give adequate representation to youths and women in tickets,” he said.“We will come to power again. Our workers are fully prepared and we work for the nation, not for any individual,” he said.The State BJP chief also said the party has so far not received resignation of any district president of the party. The BJP has decided that those holding the post of district president will have to resign if they want to contest elections.Mr. Saini claimed that the Chief Minister’s yatra has received a good response and since she was not able to cover the Bharatpur division she will later hold public dialogues there.
Senior leader of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and former Maharashtra minister Ganesh Naik is all set to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), adding to the growing list of leaders quitting the opposition and joining one of the two ruling coalition parties in the State. In a related development Kalidas Kolambkar, Congress MLA from Wadala constituency in Mumbai, also resigned from the party on Monday and is likely to join the Shiv Sena. NCP corporators from the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) held a meeting at the mayor’s bungalow on Monday and, according to sources, unanimously decided to join the BJP to bring development to Navi Mumbai. “All corporators agreed that it is important to be on the government’s side if you want to bring development in the region. They will be meeting Ganesh Naik on Tuesday to pursue him to join the BJP,” said an NCP leader from Navi Mumbai. Mr. Naik’s younger son Sandip is an MLA from Airoli and he along with his brother and former Thane MP Sanjiv Naik are likely to join the BJP. Sandip Naik on Sunday had rejected reports about his family joining the BJP and said that he will remain with the NCP. According to sources within the NCP, the Naik family is trying to create an impression that they are being forced to quit the NCP to join the BJP. “There have been attempts by the Naiks to quit NCP even in the past, but it was Sharad Pawar who stopped them then. Now, they want to create a scenario where they are being pressurised by party workers to join the BJP,” said a senior NCP leader. The Naik family single-handedly controls the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation and their defection would also mean that the entire civic body will be under direct control of the BJP. Ganesh Naik, known for his muscle and money power, lost the 2014 Assembly election from Belapur to BJP’s Manda Mhatre. Interestingly, Ms. Mhatre too had joined the BJP, days before the elections, after quitting the NCP. Open defiance After campaigning for the Shiv Sena candidate in the recent Lok Sabha polls, Mr. Kolambkar officially quit the Congress on Monday. He had put up banners thanking Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for solving the issues plaguing his constituency. Mumbai Congress working president Eknath Gaikwad was unavailable to comment on today’s development.A former Sena leader, Mr. Kolambkar had earlier quit the party along with former Chief Minister Narayan Rane to join the Congress. With Mr. Rane again quitting the Congress to form his own party, Mr. Kolambkar’s exit from the Congress was on the cards.
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