Djokovic survives scare to reach quarter-finals

first_img Six-time champion Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova confirmed their quarter-final date with straight-set wins, ensuring a rematch between last year’s finalists. Williams, a 21-time major winner, had a 55-minute, 6-2, 6-1 win over Margarita Gasparyan to set up a big match against Sharapova, a player she has beaten in 18 of their 20 matches. Fifth-seeded Sharapova had a career-high 21 aces and hit 58 winners in her 7-5, 7-5 win over Belinda Bencic. Sharapova won consecutive matches against Williams in 2004, but has lost all 17 meetings since. It’s a statistic she tries to block from her mind. “I got myself into the quarter-final of a Grand Slam,” the 2008 Australian Open champion said. “There’s no reason I shouldn’t be looking to improve and to getting my game in a better position than any other previous round. It’s only going to be tougher, especially against Serena.” BIG MATCHUP Melbourne, Australia (AP):  Novak Djokovic was looking everywhere for answers, even in the crowd. The top player in tennis, who won 27 of a possible 28 Grand Slam matches in 2015, had the number 100 in the unforced errors column after his 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win over Gilles Simon at the Australian Open. The win secured his spot in the quarter-finals for the 27th consecutive major, equalling Jimmy Connors at No. 2 in that streak and trailing only Roger Federer’s record of 36. Yet Djokovic still thought it was a forgettable day. He was dissecting the match in an on-court interview yesterday when a burst of laughter from the crowd caught his attention. “Sorry, everybody is laughing. I just want to hear, what did you say?” Djokovic said, looking into the stands. The answer came back loud and clear: “No more drop shots”. “OK, thanks buddy,” Djokovic deadpanned. “I hate to say, but you are absolutely right. “I don’t think I’ve had any number close to 100,” he said. “In terms of the level that I’ve played, it’s the match to forget for me.” He hit 62 winners and won 100 of the 176 rallies of four shots or fewer, but only 48 of the 101 featuring nine shots or more. Federer watched Djokovic’s match, before going out to beat No. 15 David Goffin 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in a match that finished after midnight, and the error toll didn’t bring him any joy. Djokovic will next play No. 7 Kei Nishikori, who beat No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 with a more conventional style of game. Federer, a four-time champion in Australia, secured a quarter-final against No. 6 Tomas Berdych, a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 winner over Roberto Bautista Agut.last_img read more

A look at soil health in the farm bill

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Matt ReeseBill Richards has been concerned with the health of his soil for a long time.For more than 40 years, Richards and his family have used no-till to reduce costs and limit soil and nutrient runoff on their Pickaway County farm. Richards has also spent countless hours educating his fellow farmers about the importance of managing their land in a productive way while still protecting the environment. He served as the chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Soil Conservation Service from 1990 to 1993 as well.“In the late 1950s the agronomists were telling us there was no reason to till other than weed control. Ohio is the cradle of no-till because at Wooster we had Dr. [Glover] Triplett and Dr. [David] Van Doren who started the original no-till research. There was a group that got started and I was sort of the ring-leader, trying these things to make them work on a farm level,” Richards said. “It is a change. It is different management and a different culture. We have a culture carrying over from the plow of the old days where farms should look neat and clean and the soil should be turned over. We fell in love with big tractors and big horsepower. It is hard to get farmers to change, but when the prices get down near the variable costs of production, farmers are going to be looking for a way to produce more efficiently. When we started no-till, our mission was to save fuel and machinery costs — we had no idea about the soil improvement and the erosion reduction we’d see. We learned very quickly that with no-till we could spread over many more acres, but we haven’t progressed like we should. Other countries like Brazil, Argentina, Australia that do not have the price structure like we have here have adopted no-till at a much greater rate than we have here in the U.S.”For Richards and many others reducing and eliminating tillage has changed the way they farm and view the soil.“No-till has been a revolution in the way we farm and those using it long term are really benefitting. Then when you add cover crops you really can see the benefits. One of the problems is that we are not doing a good job of measuring those benefits. We have to be able to prove that we are really benefitting and lowering the risk of farming,” Richards said. “No-till is not the only conservation practice, but it is the easiest and the best and the fastest way to raise productivity and make row-crop production much more efficient. We have been taught that it is all about yield, but it is how much money you have left over at the end of the year that really counts. Some years for us, no-till has lost us money, but over time it has made up money. No-till farmers benefit long term and our tenants also really benefit from that soil improvement from no-till.”Today, no-till is seen as an important component of conservation and (maybe more importantly) improving soil health that is more often being considered in the ongoing 2018 Farm Bill discussions.“Back in the ’85 Farm Bill they tied conservation to agricultural payments for the farms. That got a great jump in no-till because no-till was the fastest easiest and most profitable way to meet those standards. That sort of slipped away,” Richards said. “That is something that will probably be looked at very carefully in this upcoming farm bill. There is going to be a big push to tie conservation to crop insurance and that will bring no-till to the front again.“What responsibility are we willing to accept in return for low-cost crop insurance? I think that is going to be one of the issues in the farm bill that will cause some discomfort in the countryside. I think we have the duty and moral responsibility to use the best conservation technology available to control erosion, improve soil and water quality and increase productivity in the production of food fiber and energy for the long term benefits of people all over the world.”Richards and others have speculated that soil health requirements for participation in the crop insurance program could be a future farm bill possibility. In the initial version of the 2018 Farm Bill released by the House Ag Committee in April the crop insurance program was virtually unchanged from the previous farm bill, though as more is learned about the complexities of measuring and improving soil health, there is greater likelihood that soil health will work its way into the farm bill.But what exactly is soil health? The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service defines it as: the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans. Every farmer knows that some soils are healthier than others but there is still plenty to learn about why and how.Jim Hoorman, an NRCS soil health specialist based in Ohio, outlined four key principles of improving soil health.“The first one is minimizing your soil disturbance. When you till the soil, you are burning up your organic matter and we have lost 50% of our organic matter in most of our soils. The second principle is to maximize the amount of live roots. You want to feed the microbes and we know that where we have live roots we will get 1,000 or 2,000 times more microbes,” Hoorman said. “The third principle is rotate your crops and maximize surface residue. You rotate crops to minimize problems with insects and diseases and you want to keep surface residue to protect the soil from erosion. You also want to increase your biodiversity above ground and below ground. The more species you have out there, the more soil life you will have and the healthier the soil system will be. Those are the key principles we are promoting at the Soil Health Division of the Natural Resource Conservation Service.”Improving soil health is certainly not an overnight process, Hoorman said.“Many times we have to crawl before we walk or run. A lot of these farms started with no-till and later added cover crops. The best place to start with cover crops is after wheat because you have several months for things to grow. Other great places to start are after a hay crop or maybe after some CRP ground. As guys go along they learn more about equipment, seeding rates and management,” Hoorman said. “It is also important to get cover crops out early by using shorter season corn and soybeans so you can get your cover crops planted, growing in the fall and get more roots.”More farmers are finding that healthier soils will ultimately produce better yields with fewer inputs, though there are often short-term yield sacrifices for long-term gains for improved soil health and farm profitability. This is one factor that makes the soil health advantages hard to quantify and more challenging to incorporate into federal farm programs.Jim Moseley, former U.S. Department of Agriculture deputy secretary, was on a panel with Richards and others at the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference in March and said he was hoping soil health would be a bigger part of the farm bill discussion this time around.“I have been kind of disappointed in the discussion of the farm bill in the last year and a half. It has been about maintaining the status quo,” Moseley said. “We have had an unprecedented amount of new information and enthusiasm beginning to come forth in this area of soil health. If you have this beginning to sweep across the landscape with farmers I guess I expected there would be something innovative that would come out of this legislation to move us forward a little bit and that just hasn’t happened.”One bit of soil health progress in terms of federal policy Moseley highlighted, however, could develop with the March 1 introduction of the Agriculture Data Act of 2018. The legislation would aggregate and anonymize the vast amount of farmer data that the U.S. Department of Agriculture already manages, making it accessible to land-grant university researchers while maintaining producer privacy. There will likely be a push to include a version of the Agricultural Data Act of 2018 in the next farm bill with one goal being to potentially develop future policy based on gaining a better understanding of the benefits of soil health.“The world of big data is sweeping across agriculture so we can make better decisions. That is in the private sector, but in the public sector it is difficult to access the wealth of data in the RMA, FSA and NASS. We have worked on this project for a year and a half there has been legislation introduced to collate and access the data so we can do a better job of giving answers to some tough questions,” Moseley said. “What is the linkage between the farmers doing good conservation practices related to their net profitability? Individuals are trying to make that correlation but their data sets are hard to come by. USDA holds real data. You can take the real data and synthesize it into a real solution. Once you get that then you can begin to develop policy around it.”And, beyond policy development, the lessons potentially learned through the research made possible through the Agricultural Data Act of 2018 could add credence and incentive at the farm level to focus on improving soil health outside of federal policy. Proof of profitability is a powerful incentive.“The No. 1 question about conservation from farmers is, ‘How is it going to help me with profitability?’ Big picture, there are three things that help with profitability and production: genetics, technology and the third leg to that soil for us to feed the growing population is soil health,” Moseley said. “Without soil health we have an unstable stool. If we are absent soil health we don’t get there.”last_img read more

Cloud Poll: Are APIs Serving as a Means for a New Form of Monopoly?

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… alex williams Tags:#cloud#Trends Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img This week at SXSW and in the weeks prior to the event, we’ve seen how APis are becoming ways for providers to wield a level of control that causes new concerns about how this technology can create a form of provider monopoly.It’s evident when you begin to explore services and the types of APIs that they use. In a recent post, we wrote about Food and Drink APIs. Of the services classified in this category on Programmable Web, more than 80% use Google’s Geolocation API.In a video interview we did at SXSW, SimpleGeo’s Matt Galligan discussed the issues that come with dominance. There becomes just one truth. That is also true of monopolies.At SXSW this past week, Twitter’s Ryan Sarver said that the company is discouraging providers from using the API to create clients based upon the service.Sure, API providers may do as they wish. They are the creators of the technology and enjoy certain rights that they set.But what happens when one service is dominant and wields that power accordingly? Is this a new form of a monopoly? Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

The Best Headphones for Film and Video (Under $100)

first_imgYou don’t have to break the bank to get quality headphones for monitoring audio on set or editing in post. Check out these solid and affordable options.Cover image by ronstik.For those of us who don’t live inside an Apple Pods commercial and don’t dance around on our daily commutes, headphones are largely a practical device for film and video professionals. When working on set or in post, having quality, dynamic, and noise-free headphones is simply a must. However, before you shell out hundreds of dollars, consider these more affordable options.Sony MDR7506Sony is one of the biggest names on our list, and it has a rich history of audio and sound design technology. The Sony MDR7506s are well known in the industry and used across the gamut of audio specialists for film, video, television, music, and radio. While not the top of the Sony line, the are a solid, lightweight option designed for comfort over long periods of use. Here are some technical details:9.8 foot cord1/4″ adapter includedFrequency response: 10 Hz to 20 kHzFoldable for storage and travelPrice: $130 on website (under $100 with affiliates)Sennheiser HD 280 ProSennheiser is truly a brand name that video professionals can trust. Perhaps best known for their microphones and recording devices, their headphone line is just as reliable. The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro is a high dynamic, modular designed headphone for audio engineers looking to work on the finest tunes. Like the Sony MDR7506s, the HD 280 Pros are collapsible and built for maximum flexibility for wear.Single-sided coiled cableUp to 32 dB noise attenuationFolding and rotating ear-cups for travel1/4″ adapter includedPrice: $99.95Audio-Technica ATH-M40xIf you’re looking online, the full title for this next option is the M-Series Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Professional Monitor Headphones. But believe me, these M40x pack quite an earful in post. Originally designed for studio recording and DJ monitoring and tracking/mixing, the M40xs are about as powerful as you’ll get for fine detail controls at this price point. Here are the rest of the specs:40mm drivers and rare-earth magnetsCopper-clad aluminum wire voice coils90-degree swiveling ear-cupsRemovable cablePrice: $99.00Shure SRH145For those looking for the ultimate bang for your buck, Shure’s low-price, high-quality offering is a solid beginner- to mid-level option. The Shure SRH145 are a full-range offering with solid noise isolation and dynamic range to monitor both on set or in post. Here are some more stats and figures:Adjustable closed-back on-ear cupsCollapsible for on-the-go filmmakingFixed, straight cableFrequency Range: 25 Hz to 18 kHz5 foot cablePrice: $39.00Beyerdynamic DT 240 PROFinally, one of our last recommended options, the beyerdynamic DT 240 PRO monitoring headphones. The DT 240 PRO delivers the professional quality monitoring and dynamic range that it promises. Like the other offerings at this price range, the DT 240 PRO isn’t going to blow you away with its acoustics, but it is going to give you solid studio-level performance, on-the-go comfort, and a professional dynamic range. Here are the rest of the details:Transducers to suit any studio or mobile applicationCompact over-ear designStrong isolation from background noiseMinimal sound leakage3-meter coiled cablePrice: $89.00For more audio gear, recording advice, and editing tricks, check out some of these articles.The Best Headphones for Video EditingThe Indie Filmmaker’s Guide to Recording Audio9 Things You Should Check Before Recording AudioAudio Tip: How to Get Good Sound on Every Budget5 Quick Tips: Mixing Audio for Film and Video Projectslast_img read more

Ohio State Now Has No. 1 2016 Class On Scout, Highest Commitment Star Ranking On Rivals

first_img247 Sports have Ohio State, Miami, and Florida State as top recruiting classes.247 Sports Ohio State Florida StateOhio State’s 2016 class is shaping up to be a great one. Austin Mack, a four-star wide receiver out of Indiana, committed to the Buckeyes today. With the 6-foot-1, 200-pound wideout’s commitment, Urban Meyer’s program now has what some consider to be the best class in the country for 2016. Ohio State has the No. 1 class in 2016 according to Scout. Ohio State moves back to No. 1 in @scoutrecruiting rankings with today’s pledge from Austin Mack #Buckeyes— Jeff Svoboda (@JeffSvoboda) June 7, 2015On Rivals.com, the Buckeyes have the No. 3 class, but have the highest average star ranking at 3.93. Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 11.19.24 AMRivals.comAnd on 247 Sports, the Buckeyes have the No. 2 class, trailing Florida State by a mere 1.61 points. This could be Meyer’s greatest class, ever.last_img read more

1,000 kg explosives haul: One of prime accused held in Odisha

first_imgKolkata: The Special Task Force (STF) of Kolkata Police arrested one of the prime accused in connection with the recovery of 1000 kgs of explosives from a matador that was intercepted at the northern slope of Tala bridge on BT Road under Chitpore police station on March 9.”We have arrested Mustafa Shiekh alias Bomb Mustafa from Odisha in connection with the case of explosive recovery, “a senior STF official said. Mustafa was produced at Bankshal court and was remanded to police custody till April 12. He was brought to Kolkata by the STF sleuths after the local court in Odisha had granted two days transit remand. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaA resident of Dantan in West Midnapore Mustafa is suspected to be the linkman in the case and the police was in the look out for him soon after the recovery. According to STF sources investigations in the case have identified one Sahoo in Odisha as the manufacturer of such explosives. Mustafa was the prime architect in establishing the link between Sahoo and the recipients of such staff in Bengal. It may be mentioned that the STF had arrested the driver and the helper of the vehicle that was carrying the explosive at the time of the haul. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayIt was coming from Balasore in Odisha and was headed towards North 24 Parganas. The explosive substance was primarily identified as ammonium nitrate and was carried in 27 pieces of gunny bags. Both the arrested duo. Indrajit Bhui (25) and Padmolochon Dey (31) were residents of Balasore in Odisha. Bhui was the driver of the vehicle while Dey was the khalashi. The sleuths later arrested one Rabiul Islam of North 24 Parganas who used to procure the explosive from Sahoo. The sleuths are not ruling out the involvement of Mustafa in the supply of explosive from Vijaynagar in Andhra Pradesh to Bengal. “We have taken him into custody and will grill him for further leads in the case,” an STF officer said.last_img read more

Facebook removes 687 pages, accounts linked to Congress IT Cell for ‘inauthentic behaviour’

first_imgNew Delhi: Social media giant Facebook Monday said it has removed 687 pages and accounts linked to individuals associated with an IT Cell of the Congress party as it cracks down on fake accounts and spam. These accounts, it said, were part of a coordinated networks and were removed not based on content or fake news but for “inauthentic behaviour” and for pushing spam. Besides, Facebook has also removed 103 pages, groups and accounts on its platform and Instagram for engaging in similar behaviour as part of a network that originated in Pakistan. Facebook Head of Cybersecurity Policy Nathaniel Gleicher told reporters that Facebook has removed 687 Facebook Pages and accounts – the majority of which had already been detected and suspended by its automated systems – that engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” in India and were linked to individuals associated with an IT Cell of the Indian National Congress (INC). “When we remove one of these networks, the reason we remove them is because of their coordinated inauthentic behaviour, that they are using network of fake accounts to conceal their identity….to mislead who’s behind them. That’s the basic reason for removal,” he told reporters. He asserted that the removal was not based on the content that was shared by these pages and groups. “We are constantly working to detect and stop coordinated inauthentic behaviour because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people. We’re taking down these pages and accounts based on their behaviour, not the content they posted,” he said. No immediate comments could be obtained from the Congress. Facebook, which has been facing flak globally for instances of user data breach, has been ramping up efforts to ensure that its platforms (that includes WhatsApp and Instagram) aren’t misused to spread misinformation, especially ahead of polls in India. It has recently started providing details of political ads on its platform in a bid to enhance transparency. It is also strengthening its team of fact checkers and deploying technology tools to flag fake news. With ensuing general elections, the Indian government had warned social media platforms of strong action if any attempt was made to influence the country’s electoral process through undesirable means. Talking about the steps taken post the removal, Gleicher said: “We have reached out to the INC to educate them about what we have seen and answer questions they have. We have also reached out to policy makers and government to ensure that they understand the types of behaviour we are seeing and what we are learning”. He explained that the page admins and account owners typically posted about local news and political issues, including topics like the upcoming elections, candidate views, the INC and criticism of political opponents including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “While the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our review found that it was connected to individuals associated with an INC IT Cell,” Gleicher said. In a blog post, Facebook – which has over 200 million users in India – said the pages and accounts removed had spent around USD 39,000 for ads on Facebook, paid for in Indian rupees. The first ad ran in August 2014 and the most recent ad ran in March 2019. Separately, Facebook has also removed 15 pages, groups and accounts for engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” on Facebook and Instagram that were linked to individuals associated with an Indian IT firm, Silver Touch. These account owners used a combination of authentic and fake accounts to share their content like local news and political events, including topics like the Indian government, the upcoming elections, the BJP and alleged misconduct of political opponents including the INC. These pages spent around USD 70,000 for ads on Facebook, paid for in Indian rupees. The first ad ran in June 2014 and the most recent ad ran in February 2019. Referring to the removal of pages linked to a network that originated in Pakistan, Gleicher said the individuals behind this activity used fake accounts to operate military fan pages, general Pakistani interest pages, Kashmir community pages, and hobby and news pages. “They also frequently posted about local and political news including topics like the Indian government, political leaders and military. Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found that it was linked to employees of the ISPR (Inter-Service Public Relations) of the Pakistani military,” he added. This network spent about USD 1,100 for ads on Facebook that was paid for in US dollars and Pakistani rupees. The first ad ran in May 2015 and the most recent ad ran in December 2018. In addition, the US-based company has removed 227 pages and 94 accounts in India for violating its policies against spam and misrepresentation. “These pages and accounts were engaging in behaviour that expressly violate our policies. This included using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names, impersonating someone else, posting links to malware, and posting massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and pages in order to drive traffic to websites they are affiliated with in order to make money,” Gleicher said. He added that unlike the takedowns for coordinated inauthentic behaviour, this activity was not part of one coordinated operation.last_img read more

Flipkart’s second data centre opens in Hyderabad

first_imgHyderabad: Online marketplace Flipkart on Monday opened its data centre in Hyderabad to strengthen its technology infrastructure. The new data centre, the second in the country and the first in Telangana, is a part of one of the largest private cloud deployments in the country and will help strengthen its growing marketplace e-commerce business, the company said. It is also expected to enhance the company’s ability to bring in more sellers and MSMEs to the platform and cater to more consumers in the country. This facility has been designed to be Tier-4 rated, most of the power consumed is fulfilled by renewable energy, and it is also one of the mostAenergy efficient data centres in India with a low overall PUE (power usage effectiveness). The data centre was inaugurated by Telangana’s Principal Secretary, Information Technology and Commerce, Jayesh Ranjan, along with Flipkart Group’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Rajneesh Kumar. The data centre has been built in partnership with CtrlS, whose CEO Sridhar Pinnapureddy was also present on the occasion. “In the growing e-commerce business of Flipkart, data centres plays a critical role in serving our sellers and customers better, as well as ensuring business continuity. Our new data centre at Hyderabad is a testimony of our investment in the ecosystem and the state. We are determined to continue growing the business and create a viable ecosystem for MSMEs, local manufacturers and in the process create quality local jobs,” Rajneesh Kumar said. Jayesh Ranjan said Telangana was the first state to come out with a dedicated policy on data centres. “Flipkart’s investment and commitment to the business will further strengthen Telangana as the first choice of IT and tech companies to not only scout for talent but for further strengthening their technology infrastructure establishments as well,” he said.last_img read more