Five things we learnt in July

first_img Wales have a lot riding on Samson LeeJuly saw some huge positives emanating from the Wales camp. The extreme conditioning programme has been hugely successful and the coaching staff seem genuinely happy with the progress of the squad – but the one area of concern remains Samson Lee. It is testament to the Welsh staff that he is even anywhere near the required fitness levels given his injury, yet Warren Gatland’s admission that Lee is still “touch and go” is a problem.Whilst Wales don’t have the strength of the All Blacks or South Africa, in the majority of positions there is enough depth to make Wales competitive come September. That is not the case at tighthead and an awful weight of burden rests on Samson Lee’s young shoulders – shoulders that are admittedly powerful enough to underpin a subsiding three-storey Georgian town house. Without the impressive Lee, the Welsh scrum will be forced to rely on Aaron Jarvis, newbie Tomas Francis and Scott Andrews – with just 21 Test caps between them. A meagre amount when considering the challenge ahead.The naivety of Quade CooperJuly saw the England squad being given a guide to sensible social media usage during the Rugby World Cup (a mandatory for all teams participating in the competition). The 24-point guide could easily have featured a few case studies on bad practice from Quade Cooper – his Twitter blast last week being a fine example. To move or not to move: Taulupe Faletau on the attack against Ireland. Photo: Getty ImagesBy allowing all of the Premiership teams two ‘wildcards’ each season, whereby those wildcard signings wouldn’t face sanctions if they were released outside of the international window, those clubs would have a big advantage when signing marquee players. This may seem like suicidal advice for a Welshman to be advising the English Premiership on how to poach more players – but it seems like a common sense approach with few drawbacks. I need to wrap up this article quickly, before angry Welsh hordes, armed with pitchforks, set fire to my house.For the latest Rugby World subscription offers, click here. Misbehaving Wallabies, innovative All Blacks and the importance of Samson Lee for Wales are all topics addressed in this July review Split position: England want to play Sam Burgess in midfield not the back row. Photo: Getty ImagesIt is not as if the debate is even focused on whether Burgess is a 12 or a 13, a wing or a full-back, or a six or an eight; for Bath and England to still be haggling over whether he is a forward or a back is calamitous. Made even more ridiculous when you consider that the Rugby World Cup is kicking off in a matter of weeks.With the warm-ups against France just days away this time should be spent refining and honing defensive lines and attacking patterns, not reacquainting a player with a position he hasn’t played for months. No matter how many times this situation is explained, it is still spectacularly strange.All Blacks continue to innovateWhilst July saw northern hemisphere Test teams involved in hardcore fitness regimes, it was the All Blacks who once again showed the world why they are still far and away the team to beat come September. Richie McCaw’s exquisitely simple lineout move, which enabled the All Blacks to beat the Springboks at Ellis Park, was a reminder that strength of muscle is nowhere near as powerful as strength of mind.Over the line: Richie McCaw scores the key try against South Africa. Photo: Getty ImagesIn truth this isn’t the first time that the Springboks have been undone with this exact move, Samoa also did it in 2013, but it once again illustrates that speed of thought can undo even the fastest of lineout pods. Whilst some of the biggest lumps in rugby and arguably the finest lineout in the world geared up to defend a catch and maul on their five-metre line, the All Blacks had other ideas. Instead they threw short, soft and flat straight to an unmarked McCaw who carried straight over the line.We’ve seen plenty of pictures of flexed-up northern hemisphere players dragging tractor tyres across fields this summer, let’s hope fitness doesn’t take precedence over finesse.A more flexible Premiership could corner the marketJuly saw Taulupe Faletau’s move to Bath falter. The awkward, yet vitally important, issue of international release being the sticking point. Without full release the WRU won’t sanction the move and with full release Bath potentially face penalties from Premiership Rugby. Yet whilst Premiership Rugby’s stance on international release is laudable, and a reflection of the strength of their league, a simple relaxing of their release rule would provide them with a significant commercial advantage. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS However, Cooper’s finest social media faux pas remains his decision to wear a Toulon shirt, whilst having his picture taken with Mourad Boudjellal, when there were obviously doubts remaining over his desire to complete the move. Wearing the jersey and shaking the hand of the owner is rugby’s equivalent of placing the ring on the bride’s finger. If three months later you decide to run off with a better proposition, your new bride may feel justified in cutting up your clothes and lobbing them out of the bedroom window. And if reports in the media are to be believed Boudjellal is already sharpening his scissors.If Cooper does make the plane to England in September, on landing Michael Cheika would be wise to grab Cooper’s phone and bung it straight in the Thames.Sam Burgess chaosJuly once again saw the Sam Burgess ‘issue’ come up as England confirmed that they view Burgess as a centre, not a back-row forward. There is of course the argument that England have never had any doubt over Burgess’s positon within the squad, but that is largely academic when his main employer thinks otherwise. Whether or not England believe Burgess is a centre is futile when he played the last few weeks of the season in the back row. Top prop: Samson Lee trains last week – but will he be fit for the World Cup? Photo: Huw Evans Agency last_img read more

Tons of acorns? It must be a mast year

first_img Please enter your comment! Support conservation and fish with NEW Florida specialty license plate Free webinar for job seekers on best interview answers, hosted by Goodwill June 11 You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address here Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply The Anatomy of Fear TAGSAcornsOak TreesThe Conversation Previous articleMayor Demings kicks off annual toy driveNext articleWhich businesses will close for Thanksgiving? Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR By Emily Moran, University of California, MercedIf you have oak trees in your neighborhood, perhaps you’ve noticed that some years the ground is carpeted with their acorns, and some years there are hardly any. Biologists call this pattern, in which all the oak trees for miles around make either lots of acorns or almost none, “masting.”A dipterocarp seed.kumakumalatte/Shutterstock.comIn New England, naturalists have declared this fall a mast year for oaks: All the trees are making tons of acorns all at the same time.Many other types of trees, from familiar North American species such as pines and hickories to the massive dipterocarps of Southeast Asian rainforests, show similar synchronization in seed production. But why and how do trees do it?Benefits of synchronized seedsEvery seed contains a packet of energy-rich starch to feed the baby tree that lies dormant inside. This makes them a tasty prize for all sorts of animals, from beetles to squirrels to wild boar.If trees coordinate their seed production, these seed-eating animals are likely to get full long before they eat all the seeds produced in a mast year, leaving the rest to sprout.For trees like oaks that depend on having their seeds carried away from the parent tree and buried by animals like squirrels, a mast year has an extra benefit. When there are lots of nuts, squirrels bury more of them instead of eating them immediately, spreading oaks across the landscape.Getting in syncIt’s still something of a mystery how trees synchronize their seed production to get these benefits, but several elements seem to be important.First, producing a big crop of seeds takes a lot of energy. Trees make their food through photosynthesis: using energy from the Sun to turn carbon dioxide into sugars and starch. There’s only so many resources to go around, though. Once trees make a big batch of seeds, they may need to switch back to making new leaves and wood for a while or take a year or two to replenish stored starches, before another mast.But how do individual trees decide when that mast year should be? Weather conditions appear to be important, especially spring weather. If there’s a cold snap that freezes the flowers of the tree – and yes, oaks do have flowers, they’re just extremely small – then the tree can’t produce many seeds the following fall.Harm to the tree’s flowers in spring doesn’t bode well for the acorn crop come fall.almgren/Shutterstock.comA drought during the summer could also kill developing seeds. Trees will often shut the pores in their leaves to save water, which also reduces their ability to take in carbon dioxide for photosynthesis.Because all the trees within a local area are experiencing essentially the same weather, these environmental cues can help coordinate their seed production, acting like a reset button they’ve all pushed at the same time.A third intriguing possibility that researchers are still investigating is that trees are “talking” to each other via chemical signals. Scientists know that when a plant is damaged by insects, it often releases chemicals into the air that signal to its other branches and to neighboring plants that they should turn on their defenses. Similar signals could potentially help trees coordinate seed production.Investigation of tree-to-tree communication is still in its infancy, however. For instance, ecologists recently found that chemicals released from the roots of the leafy vegetable mizuna can affect the flowering time of neighboring plants. While this sort of communication is unlikely to account for the rough synchronization of seed production over dozens or even hundreds of miles, it could be important for syncing up a local area.Lots of nuts are good news for the animals that eat them, and the animals who eat them.TessarTheTegu/Shutterstock.comMasting’s effects ripple through the food webWhatever the causes, masting has consequences that flow up and down the food chain.For instance, rodent populations often boom in response to high seed production. This, in turn, results in more food for rodent-eating predators like hawks and foxes; lower nesting success for songbirds, if rodents eat their eggs; and a potentially higher risk of transmission of diseases like hantavirus to people.If the low seed year that follows causes the rodent population to collapse, the effects are reversed.The seeds of masting trees have also historically been important for feeding human populations, either directly or as food for livestock. Acorns were a staple in the diet of Native Americans in California, with families carefully tending particular oaks and storing the nuts for winter. In Spain, the most prized form of ham still comes from pigs that roam through the oak forests, eating up to 20 pounds of acorns each day.Sometimes the ground seems paved in acorns.kurutanx/Shutterstock.comSo the next time you take an autumn walk, check out the ground under your local oak tree – you might just see the evidence of this amazing process.Emily Moran, Assistant Professor of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Merced. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.  Please enter your name here Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.last_img read more

Students Of Nirma University Write To Gujarat HC Seeking Reduction In College Fees

first_imgNews UpdatesStudents Of Nirma University Write To Gujarat HC Seeking Reduction In College Fees LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK24 July 2020 7:42 AMShare This – xStudents of the Nirma University, Ahmedabad have sent a letter petition to the Gujarat High Court urging it to stay the University’s notification dated July 1, 2020, demanding full fees from all students. “To demand full fees as previously demanded, which obviously includes numerous charges NOT being utilized in the online teaching is sheer arbitrary. Therefore, the move…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginStudents of the Nirma University, Ahmedabad have sent a letter petition to the Gujarat High Court urging it to stay the University’s notification dated July 1, 2020, demanding full fees from all students. “To demand full fees as previously demanded, which obviously includes numerous charges NOT being utilized in the online teaching is sheer arbitrary. Therefore, the move is manifestly arbitrary, illegal and thus unconstitutional being hit by Article 14 of the Constitution,” the students wrote. Through the impugned notification, the University administration had intimated that it will start online sessions for the current academic year from 6th July 2020. To facilitate the same, the students have been asked to submit their full fees by August 5, 2020. The students have argued that the impugned notification was issued without keeping into due consideration the “disproportionate impact” the lockdown has had on the livelihood of their families. It is stated that the University’s claim that online teaching will incur MORE cost is “illogical, irrational and manifestly arbitrary.” It is submitted, “the prevalent situation indubitably warrants from the university to arrange and provide for special considerations in these unprecedented times. Appropriate relaxations are a bare minimum threshold that the University should have ideally met without any external calling.” The students have pointed out that as per Rule 34A of Academic Regulations of the University, the academic fees has to be decided by the Director General in consultation with the Board of Governors. However, per the official website of the University, “the last meeting of the board was conducted on 28-09-2019. This proves that the university is unwilling to change its fee structure even in these uncertain times.” It is submitted that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted underlying “gaps” in the education regulatory system, including the higher bargaining power that educational institutions exercise over its students. “A fair balance would provide that if there is any reduction of cost, there should also be a proportionate reduction in the fees. If the benefit of reduction is not shifted to the students, it would lead to colleges earning beyond the standard set by the law and thus, would be considered illegal,” the students stressed. Reliance is placed on Modern Dental College v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2016 7 SCC 353, where the Supreme Court had held that a University cannot charge a fee that is beyond the purpose of fulfilling the object of education. The students have therefore urged the Court to ask the University to waive off a part of the fees being charged and accordingly refund the proportionate fee of those students who have already paid. Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more