Double Trouble for Cosmology

first_img(Visited 20 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Two developments are converging to threaten the standard big bang model of the universe’s origin.Out of the blue: An unexpected finding from two teams of observational astronomers threatens a major pillar of cosmology: the idea that heavy elements are cooked inside stars, and that these heavy elements enrich galactic dust clouds that accrete into stars and planets. This has been textbook orthodoxy since the days of Fred Hoyle. Now, astronomers are finding that the heavy elements are not getting distributed inside the galaxies, but outside—in the thin dark halos surrounding the galaxies. Nature could hardly keep its composure about this surprise:It emerges that most of the elements heavier than helium are not found in galaxies, where they can be mixed into future stars and planets. Instead, these elements largely reside far from galaxies in ionized gas and dust particles….All of the elements on which life is based (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron and so on) are formed in stars and in the explosive stellar deaths known as supernovae. Therefore, it seems reasonable to expect that they will be found where the stars and supernovae are located — in galaxies. However, studies by Shull et al. and Peek et al. have now revealed that the vast majority of these ‘metals’, as astronomers call all elements not produced in the Big Bang, reside far from the galaxies in which they were born, in the form of both ionized gas and complex molecules.Writer Molly S. Peeples recounts the hoary tradition among astronomers who grew complacent with the tidy picture of heavy elements (“metals”) increasing in galaxies as supernovas continually pop off.  But what if the heavy elements aren’t in the galaxies where they are needed for planets?  This could have drastic implications for astrobiology.Admittedly, the new measurements that locate heavy elements far outside in the halo are hard to make. But the implications are staggering:The combined results of these two studies point to a tantalizing conclusion: most of the elements constituting life are not found in galaxies, where they can be incorporated into future stars and planetary systems; instead, they are predominantly distributed thousands to millions of light years away from galaxies. Although it has been known, or strongly suspected, for decades that galaxies do not contain most of the metals that they have produced, it has been only in recent years that astronomers have been able to systematically locate, quantify and characterize this material outside galaxies.“Tantalizing” may be her euphemism for “shocking.” Look at her use the word “astounding” next, then watch as she connects the dots about earth’s privileged position in the universe:It is astounding that most of the potential building blocks of life are found so far from their birthplaces, and that so much of it can survive the trip out of galaxies as complex molecules. As our understanding of intergalactic space in the local Universe increases, so does what this vast expanse of rarefied gas tells us about galaxies — and about just how rare and precious our own place in the cosmos is.The implications in this article can hardly be overstated, if the observations hold up to further confirmation.  This is potentially another “everything you know is wrong” episode for secular astronomers and astrobiologists.Out of the black:  As if that were not enough, another admission came out of Nature this week: it’s crunch time for dark matter. All the searches for WIMPs (the “pet theory” of what dark matter is, “weakly interacting massive particles”) have turned up empty. If the upgraded Large Hadron Collider doesn’t find them when it goes online in March, cosmologists will have no explanation for the mysterious unknown stuff they have been claiming for years makes up 85% of unobservable reality. Dark matter will become little more than a placeholder for ignorance, a kind of occult material invented to keep the standard big bang model from falling apart.“But the string of disappointments means that some theorists are already beginning to back away from WIMPs and look at alternatives,” Davide Castelvecchi writes about cosmologists looking at weird “heavy neutrinos” and theoretical “axions” as they wimp out. But as cartoonist Sidney Harris famously showed, a mathematical derivation becomes suspect when the analyst has to insert the phrase, “then a miracle happens.” Already, one cosmologist is using that word to describe popular dark matter theory as “the WIMP miracle” that “does have a theoretical nicety to it.” Many a “nice” theory has crumbled under the hammer of empirical reality.Misguided theists, including some well-meaning Christians, insist that we must mold our interpretations of the Bible to current scientific understanding. That would be a great idea — if they had understanding. Who wants to yoke up with these losers? That’s not to criticize their observations, and the training it takes to be able to make them. We’re talking about their “understanding” of how the universe got the way it is. Look at what they call understanding— reliance on mysterious unknown stuff, faith that humans are insignificant, and admissions every once in awhile that “everything you know is wrong.” Well, Carl Sagan is wrong, according to Nature: the writer concluded that we need to appreciate “just how rare and precious our own place in the cosmos is.” Sagan, and more recently Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson, have pounded their pulpits about how humans are specks that really “suck” (see video clip on ENV).If they want to remain suckers, we won’t stand in their way.  Meanwhile, some of us who respect observational science will praise God for His handiwork.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,” Solomon said, “and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths”— including your scientific research.  Read how physicist Sir David Brewster gained understanding with that outlook.last_img read more

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MWeb launches cloud storage service

first_img24 June 2011 “We are always looking for ways to benefit our customers’ overall Internet experience and encourage them to explore the Internet by taking advantage of our value added services,” said Kasu. “Store-It is a no frills, easy to use solution and another innovative product that we are proud to put into our stable.” Using online platforms such as photo sharing social network, Flickr is a perfect example of cloud computing as well as the recent online gaming craze, Farmville which is accessed through Facebook. SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material Stored on local servers South African internet service provider MWeb has announced the launch of Store-It, a file hosting service that enables both individuals and business owners to store and access files online using cloud computing technology. Store-It also has paid-for upgrade options of 45GB and 95GB for those customers needing for online storage space.center_img Taking its consumers’ requirements for a cloud-based file sharing service into consideration, MWeb has decided to offer 5-gigabyets (GB) of free space on Store-It to its customers. “Many consumers aren’t aware that they use cloud services daily,” Nathier Kasu, head of digital at MWeb, said in a statement this week. According to MWeb, Store-It is an alternative, cheaper and safer solution to using hardware such as flash drives or external hard drives to store and save files. Users will have complete control of their data which is stored locally on MWeb’s servers. The main feature of Store-It is that it’s in “the cloud”, so you can access it from any connected device from any location. According to MWeb, this allows customers to securely store their documents, as well as almost 100 000 photographs or more than 1 200 mp3 format music files. Also, since all data is stored on local servers, it allows for faster retrieval times than offshore-based foreign solutions.last_img read more

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New law to tackle BEE ‘fronting’

first_img4 April 2012 The recently gazetted Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Amendment Bill will put in place strict measures to tackle “fronting” by companies, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.“What we are doing is defining it much more closely in the Bill so that there is a specific statutory offence of fronting,” Davies told reporters in Pretoria on Tuesday.Fronting is when companies pretend to be compliant with the Act by placing black peoples in positions that would make them seem as if they either owned the company, or were at a level to make decisions in the company.“Now that would be fraud, because you are trying to do that because you want to get a regulatory benefit, or present yourself as something that you are not, and that is fraud.”Davies was speaking after a presidential BBBEE advisory meeting which reviewed the progress of the Act and the codes of good practice.He said a commissioner would be assigned to solely focus on fronting. The commissioner would receive and investigate cases of fronting, correct the situation and, in extreme cases, he would have the authority to prosecute those involved.“The problem is we haven’t got provisions in place to catch fronting … ordinary law enforcement officers don’t have the capacity to go and investigate transactions of that nature to see where fronting is taking place.”Currently, those found guilty of the practice can be charged with fraud and face imprisonment.“So we are introducing a BEE commissioner who will be charged with looking into the matter,” Davies said.Davies said the objective was to provide ways to measure the degree to which an individual was involved in empowerment.Council sub-committee chairman Sandile Zungu said they were focusing on fronting because it infringed on human dignity.“If we are to build a society based on justice then fronting has no place in our society.”Zungu said the practice had reached the stage of “aggressive fronting”.The minister said the amendments to the Bill would ensure that black economic empowerment contributed to the creation of real entrepreneurs in South Africa.“It opens up new opportunities for black business people who are active players in the economy, and are not passive shareholders in somebody else’s business.”Sapalast_img read more

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Here’s to you, South Africa

first_imgBy Anne Taylor25 April 2014Brand South Africa has launched a new campaign in celebration of South Africa’s 20 years of democracy. Remembering where we come from is important if we are to celebrate where we are. And the ads – which will flight across TVs, radios, laptops and mobiles this weekend, achieve just that.With the headline, “Here’s to you, South Africa”, the ads are a toast to South Africa’s achievements. “Here’s to 20 years of inspiring achievements and many more to come.”“We have overcome so much and come so far, it is time to celebrate the miracle of South Africa. We can be proud to be South Africans. We are confident in the future we are building, and are constantly amazed at what we have achieved.” – Wendy Tlou, Brand South Africa’s director of strategic marketingThe campaign aims to generate pride and love – and what else could you feel when you see two students, sitting on a bench, marked “Europeans Only”? Europeans? Seriously?! On a bench in a public place? I’m especially grateful that it is not something my children would  recognise. When I tell them that there was once a time when white South Africans referred to themselves as “Europeans”, we all shake our heads at the madness of it all. When I tell them that once, there were different benches for people with different skin colours, they don’t even believe me. Thank God for that. Thank God we live in a different country – one that is nothing like it was two decades ago.The past is truly a different country. And who would want to live there anyway?Read more about the campaign’s launch on SouthAfrica.info: Advert celebrates 20 years ‘with pride, wonder’last_img read more

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DTN 2019 Digital Yield Tour – NE, SD

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Katie DehlingerDTN Farm Business EditorMOUNT JULIET, Tenn. (DTN) — Considering the wet spring that plagued Nebraska and South Dakota this year, corn and soybean yields are holding their own, but growers say average yields conceal a wide variation of crop conditions.The DTN/Progressive Farmer 2019 Digital Yield Tour, powered by Gro Intelligence, is an in-depth look at how this year’s corn and soybean crop is progressing using Gro’s real-time yield maps, which are generated with satellite imagery, rainfall data, temperature maps and other public data.On Tuesday, all of Gro’s estimates for corn and soybeans in South Dakota and Nebraska were lower than USDA’s yield estimates from Monday’s Crop Production report.Gro’s models for corn show a statewide average of 182 bushels per acre in Nebraska and 149 bpa in South Dakota. USDA pegged those states at 186 bpa and 157 bpa, respectively.Gro forecasts Nebraska soybean growers will harvest 56 bpa compared to USDA’s 58 bpa estimate, while South Dakota farmers will harvest 37 bpa compared to USDA’s 45 bpa estimate.You can see specific comparisons in these charts:Nebraska: https://app.gro-intelligence.com/…South Dakota: https://app.gro-intelligence.com/…Gro’s yield estimates on a county and state level update on a daily basis, so the numbers at publication time may be slightly different than what you find on the Gro website.DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist Bryce Anderson said the growing season in both states got off to a difficult start. In South Dakota, it was the ninth coldest season on record and the fourth wettest in 125 years of record keeping.“The state’s producers have been stymied by this calamitous start to the season. Estimates of corn prevented planted acreage show South Dakota with more than 2.8 million acres that were left unplanted because of the cold-and-wet pattern, and associated flooding,” he said.In Nebraska, the storms have lined up one after another, and all but the southwestern corner of the state has had above-normal, and in some cases significantly above-normal, precipitation. As a result, the crop is highly variable, with some areas benefiting from cool temperatures and ample moisture and others suffering from the same conditions.NEBRASKAGro Intelligence’s yield maps show average corn yields ranging from a low of 118 bpa in Grant County to a high of 211 bpa in Hamilton County. Those two counties have very different growing conditions, with Grant County located in the more arid western part of the state and Hamilton County in the land of center pivot irrigation. You can see the county level map of Nebraska here: https://app.gro-intelligence.com/….With a statewide average of 181 bpa, Nebraska has one of the highest average yields of the 10 states included in DTN’s Digital Yield Tour, and it’s only 11 bpa shy of last year’s bin-busting 192 bpa.Gro’s yield estimates incorporate another set of maps, known as the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), which use satellite imagery to show how abnormally dry or lush an area is, using a 10-year average “greenness” index. Those maps show areas that suffered from the excessively wet spring, but much of the damage tracks along the Platte River and Missouri River valleys.You can find that map here: https://app.gro-intelligence.com/….“It’s impressive how the eastern one-third of the state has a vegetation index that is either average to below, with many indications of prevented planting,” Anderson said. “In southern Nebraska, it appears that we are seeing the impact of extremely heavy rain in July that caused extensive flooding. Central Nebraska shows the effect of a lot of rain in midsummer, with the NDVI value indicating above-normal vegetation conditions.”Randy Uhrmacher farms in Adams and Webster counties in south-central Nebraska, where Gro forecasts corn yields of 199 bpa and 165 bpa, respectively.“Those seem about right considering the storm damage,” he said, adding that Adams County is primarily irrigated ground while Webster is mostly dryland. There are also more drowned-out spots and areas of poor germination in Webster County this year.Uhrmacher said this spring’s storms were spotty, and it seemed like he always had a dry field somewhere to plant, so while he wrapped up corn planting in late April and soybean planting in mid-May, there were farmers that planted up until around June 10.Gro pegs the average Nebraska soybean yield at 56 bpa, 3 bushels below NASS’ final estimate last year. Yields range from a low of 39 bpa in Hooker County to a high of 69 bpa in Phelps County.Uhrmacher said the early planted soybeans are podded well, and he’s happy with how they look. He hopes that some of his irrigated soybeans will yield 80 bpa.But he adds that late-planted soybeans are struggling.“There are probably more train wrecks out there than normal,” he said. “The good stuff is there, but it didn’t take much to mess it up.”SOUTH DAKOTAGro Intelligence forecasts South Dakota corn yields will be lower than last year at 149 bpa. Gro’s final yield estimate for South Dakota last year, at 153 bpa, was lower than USDA’s, at 160 bpa.Like Nebraska, the range of county yields is wide, but that also reflects different soils and growing conditions in the state. The highest corn yield estimate is 172 bpa in Union County in the state’s far southeastern corner while the lowest estimate is 59 bpa in Shannon County in the state’s southwest. You can view county level yields here: https://app.gro-intelligence.com/….South Dakota led the country in prevented planting acreage this year with a total of 3.86 million acres, 2.8 million of which were corn and 850,000 of which were soybeans. Those acres show up strongly in GRO’s NDVI map, with a heavy concentration in the southeastern corner of the state.Tregg Cronin, who farms in Potter County, said fall crops in his region look outstanding given the tough start to the growing season. He disputes Gro’s forecast of 101 bpa for his county, adding that he thinks 90% of the fields will yield more than that.His farm usually stretches corn planting over a comparatively wide window. So his earliest-planted corn went in 10 days to two weeks behind normal, while his latest-planted corn was only five to six days late.They decided to stop planting corn on May 31. They still had soybean and sunflower seeding left to complete, and chose to only have two late-planted crops rather than three.“Believe it or not, our earliest corn is not light years ahead,” he said. Soil temperatures were on the lower side and the corn took a while longer to germinate than later-planted corn. Then July temperatures were lower than average, and without a hot-and-dry spell to slow it down, the corn grew quickly.On Tuesday, Gro’s models estimate South Dakota’s average soybean yield at 40 bpa, down from last year’s 45 bpa. Todd County has the highest average yield at 51 bpa while Pennington has the lowest at 25 bpa.As with corn, Cronin thinks Gro’s models underestimated yield potential by pegging Potter County yields at 34 bpa. He said the beans are bigger and bushier than normal, and he thinks 50 bpa is achievable. And because of the cool, wet weather, they’re considering applying fungicide. “We just don’t normally get enough moisture to have concerns,” he said.On Wednesday, the digital “tour” will turn its focus to Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. If you’d like your yield observations to be included in future stories, email DTN using the contact information below.ABOUT THE TOURThe DTN/Progressive Farmer 2019 Digital Yield Tour, powered by Gro Intelligence, takes place Aug. 13-16 and provides an in-depth look at how the year’s corn and soybean crops are progressing. Each day, we’ll feature crop condition and yield information from various states, which include links to the Gro yield prediction maps for those states. Yield summaries are viewable at the county level.The “tour” starts in the west, with the first day’s articles focusing on Kansas and Missouri and Nebraska and South Dakota. On Aug. 14, the tour will explore yield estimates from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. On Aug. 15, we will move into the Eastern Corn Belt — Illinois, Indiana and Ohio — before publishing a final look at Gro’s overall national yield predictions for the 2019 corn and soybean crops on Aug. 16. Readers should note that the Gro yield visuals are continually updated, while the DTN feature articles are based on the company’s yield estimate at the time the article was written. Numbers quoted in the articles may be different than those on the Gro website depending on when viewed.To see all the tour articles and related DTN stories about the 2019 crop, visit our tour site at: https://spotlights.dtnpf.com/….About Gro Intelligence: The New York-based company is focused on creating data analytics for the agriculture industry. Gro builds proprietary crop models that use satellite imagery, soil conditions, weather and other crop and environmental data to produce crop health and yield prediction numbers and visuals.To learn more about Gro, go here: https://www.gro-intelligence.com/….To read the research white paper on their modeling system, go here and select to “Download the corn yield model paper”: https://gro-intelligence.com/….Katie Dehlinger can be reached at [email protected] her on Twitter @KatieD_DTN(AG/ES)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Java Language Begins Going Open Source

first_imgFormtek | Orion products have been developed primarily using the Java language, so it is of interest to us whenever there are any changes that occur to the Java language. There has been a lot of agitation over the last few years for Sun to open up Java, and in particular, there have been calls to make Java Open Source.  Sun has been accused of hijacking the Java brand for their own commercial gain.Near the end of October at the Oracle OpenWorld show Jonathan Schwartz,  Sun CEO, announced that within 90 days that Java would be made open source.   The holdup has been that Sun needed to work out the details of which Open Source license they would adopt.  Well, on Monday, Sun Microsystems announced that the Java SE and Java ME source code would be made available using the GPL version 2 license.Since Monday, Sun has made the javac compiler and HotSpot virtual machine available as Open Source under the GPL2 license.  Sun expects that during first quarter 2007 all of Java SE 6 will become available as Open Source.  Schwartz has said that they’ve wanted to Open Source Java for some time, but the thing holding them back has been making sure that all source is compliant with the license.  They need to be able to validate the origin of every line of source.Sun has already identified three library components within Java that are problematic:  font rasterization, graphics rasterization, and color matching algorithms.  Sun will provide these items intially as compiled binaries with the hope that the open source community will be able to create alternatives of these with source code for later releases.Sun has also announced their desire to shift from the Open Source license (Sun’s own license known as CDDL) they now use on Solaris is GPL2.  It will be interesting to see the reaction from both Sun-bashers and also from developers and users that have tended to avoid any type of Open Source product based on the GPL license.last_img read more

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iContact Offers Free Email Marketing Service for Small Businesses

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#biz#Software Guides Related Posts While much of the focus in online marketing has been on social media over the last few years, there’s still something to be said for the value of good, old fashioned email. Marketing via email can be highly effective, but smaller companies don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles offered by most email marketing service providers.In an effort to attract more small business and nonprofit customers, email and social marketing platform iContact is now offering a free version of their service.In doing so, the company takes aim at their biggest competitor, Constant Contact, whose pricing plans start at $15 per month. iContact has long offered several paid pricing options based on the number of email subscribers, starting at $10 per month. With this move to a freemium model, they’re offering organizations with 500 or fewer subscribers access to the service for free. Free subscribers will also be limited to 20 design templates (paid subscribers get over 500), lower sending priority and no phone support (only email and chat). For many smaller organizations on a shoe string budget, these concessions will be well worth it. Of course, if your email marketing efforts are successful, it won’t be long before you exceed 500 subscribers and thus will have to start paying. Then again, there are worse problems for a small business to have. If your business hasn’t gotten started in email marketing yet or you’re the market for a new provider, you can give the new iContact free account a shot. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market john paul titlowlast_img read more

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BCCI anti-corruption unit quashes Sreesanth’s discrimination claims

first_imgNeeraj Kumar, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit Chief, has rejected S. Sreesanth’s allegations of discrimination against the governing body.Pacer Sreesanth, who has been banned over match-fixing, had claimed earlier that the BCCI has separate rules for him and he is being singled out.Talking to ANI, Kumar said, “I don’t think there is any discrimination. Even the other banned players are also not playing international cricket. If they are playing at some local level where the BCCI doesn’t come into picture, we are not aware of it.”He further said, “Sreesanth can plead that he is innocent, but according to us he is guilty. He can contest the charges as a citizen and it’s under judicial process so I can’t comment.”Sreesanth was banned by the BCCI for his alleged role in the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing in 2013.A single-judge bench of the Kerala High Court had earlier passed an order that the bowler’s life-ban be lifted but a division bench of the Kerala High Court upheld the life-time ban imposed by the BCCI on Sreesanth.Furthermore, Kumar claimed that the corruption has been up-rooted from top-level cricket.”I believe that corruption at the higher levels of tier ‘A’ games has completely died down,” he said.”We have noticed corruption at lower levels of cricket, like T20 leagues. We have taken action in collaboration with the police. For instance, at Jaipur we have arrested 20 people for corruption. Similarly, several other corrupt leagues were disrupted,” he added.advertisementWhen asked about how to limit betting, he said, “Betting is a different issue, it is punishable under gambling act. Most of the while it is not detected as it is very rampant.”Noting that fixing is a threat to cricket, Kumar said, “If the game is going on and some people are batting in the backdrop, it doesn’t affect the integrity of the game, but if they try to fix the outcome of the game by compromising with players then it is something we should take notice of.”last_img read more

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Minister Says Leaders Must Focus More on Productivity and Human Development

first_img Speaking at the opening of an Organisation Development Transformation Conference today (May 21), at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston, Mr. Shaw said low productivity and human underdevelopment have caused Jamaica’s economy to suffer from growth the nation could have achieved in years gone by. Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, is calling on leaders in the public and private sectors to focus more on productivity and human development for growth in the economy. Story Highlights “Productivity is an issue we have to confront more directly and in a more focused way. Jamaica’s productivity has steadily declined over the years. Labour productivity growth in Jamaica has been low as far back as the 1990s,” the Minister pointed out. Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, is calling on leaders in the public and private sectors to focus more on productivity and human development for growth in the economy.Speaking at the opening of an Organisation Development Transformation Conference today (May 21), at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston, Mr. Shaw said low productivity and human underdevelopment have caused Jamaica’s economy to suffer from growth the nation could have achieved in years gone by.“Productivity is an issue we have to confront more directly and in a more focused way. Jamaica’s productivity has steadily declined over the years. Labour productivity growth in Jamaica has been low as far back as the 1990s,” the Minister pointed out.“Our greatest crisis is not crime, not the murder rate, and those are crises. Our greatest crisis is human underdevelopment. That is our single greatest crisis, and that manifests itself in low productivity levels,” he added.The Minister said that labour productivity, which is the real value of what is produced in the economy, continues to decline, noting that it was higher in previous years.“In the 1960s, our economic growth was among the highest in the world. We were averaging six per cent a year and our productivity levels were among the highest in the world as well. These are directly interrelated issues – productivity and economic growth. They go hand in hand,” Mr. Shaw emphasised.He said that previous achievements in Jamaica, with regard to the economy, inspired Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore to come to Jamaica in 1964.“He wanted to know what we were doing here. In 1971, the Jamaican economy grew by 12 per cent. We have a lot of catching up to do,” the Minister said.The two-day conference, hosted by the Caribbean Centre for Organisation Development Excellence Limited (CARI-CODE) and the Caribbean Organisation Development Network (CODN), is being held under the theme ‘OD – 2.0 Rise to Meet Opportunities of the Decade’.last_img read more

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