Activity patterns of giant petrels, Macronectes spp., using different foraging strategies

first_imgWe studied foraging activity of giant petrels during the incubation period, by simultaneously deploying activity recorders and satellite transmitters on northern (Macronectes halli) and southern giant petrels (Macronectes giganteus) at Bird Island (South Georgia, Antarctica) between 29 October and 26 December 1998, Satellite tracking showed two types of trips: (1) coastal trips, all undertaken by male northern giant petrels, to the nearby South Georgia mainland, presumably foraging on seal and penguin carcasses on beaches, and (2) pelagic trips, foraging at sea for marine prey or potentially scavenging on distant archipelagos (e.g. South Sandwich, Falkland or South Orkney Islands). Activity recorder data were consistent with the types of trip defined by the satellite tracking data, with median wet activity (time spent at the sea surface) during pelagic trips being 41%, but only 14% on coastal trips. On pelagic trips, there was a significant negative correlation between the duration of wet periods and the speed of travel between satellite uplinks. Mean travelling speed between uplinks was greater during day than night for both types of trips, suggesting that giant petrels prefer to travel during daylight and are less active at night. The scarcity of wet periods during the night in giant petrels foraging to the South Georgia coast (median = 3%, range = 1-9 %) indicates that such birds spent almost all night on land. Likewise, the scarcity of wet periods at night for three birds foraging 700-1,000km south of Bird Island, where there is no land but abundant icebergs, suggests these birds were resting on the icebergs at night. In addition to the adaptations to scavenging on carrion, pelagic trips by giant petrels contain elements similar to those of albatrosses, indicating a complexity to giant petrel lifestyle hitherto unrecognised.last_img read more

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Oxford has highest number of top-earning staff

first_imgAndrew Hamilton, and his successor in the post, Louise Richardson, earned £433,000 in total during 2015-16, compared to the average pay, along with pension contributions, of academic staff at £56,156.In terms of annual pay, excluding pensions, the Oxford VC earned over eight times that of the average staff member, at a salary of £359,000 compared to the average pay of £40,676.UCU say that a two per cent increase in VC pay across the sector comes at the same time as a one per cent rise in the pay of all university staff. A report published last week by the University and Colleges Union (UCU) showed that Oxford has 451 staff members earning over £100,000, placing it above University College London and Cambridge as the biggest payer of the 21 UK universities which have more than 100 staff earning over the £100,000 threshold.This means that 451 staff earn at least 7.5 per cent of all 12,500 full-time staff at the University, at a time of falling wages and increasing work casualisation, according to UCU analysis.This comes as the study, titled ‘Transparency at the top?’, also reveals that Oxford’s discrepancy between the pay of its Vice-Chancellor and the average earnings of its academic staff is the fourth-highest of all higher education institutions, in terms of total remuneration. President of the Oxford UCU branch, Garrick Taylor, while welcoming the “restraint” showed in the Oxford VC’s decreasing expenses and travel, described it as “a concern that such a high number of senior post holders are earning over £100,000 which mean that at least 7.5 per cent of staff costs go to just 451 staff in a University of well over 12,500 [full time] staff.“This is at a time when the majority of staff are having their real terms pay repressed and the University are trying to reduce staff costs and are asking for voluntary redundancies.”Last week, Cherwell revealed that Oxford University has paid £735,988 to 106 former staff on voluntary redundancy settlements in the last five years.The university with the greatest discrepancy between the pay of its Vice-Chancellor and the average pay of its sta members was Southampton, where the VC earned £643,000 in 2015-16, while the average pay of its staff was £37,942. This means the former VC, Don Nutbeam, earned almost 19 times that of the average staff member.The figures show a six per cent decrease in the Oxford VC’s expenses on hotels and travel during the same period.In January, a Times Higher Education report revealed that the Oxford University VC was the third highest-paid at a Russell Group university.An Oxford University spokesperson told Cherwell: “Oxford is a global leader for research and teaching, and was recently ranked the number one university in the world by Times Higher Education. To maintain this strong position, we need to keep attracting exceptional minds, who are also highly sought-after by our international competitors. We recruit and retain the very best, and we reward their talent appropriately.”center_img Reacting to the findings of the report, UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt, said: “Those at the very top in our universities need to rein in the largesse that embarrasses the sector and the government needs to enforce proper scrutiny of their pay and perks.”“Telling staff that there is no money for pay rises while signing off golden goodbyes worth a quarter of a million pounds or handing out pay rises in excess of ten per cent to 23 university heads is quite outrageous.”She called for government intervention to regulate vice-chancellors’ spending. She said: “Unless the government finally steps in we believe many vice-chancellors will continue to spend public money and students’ fees with impunity. The huge disparities in the levels of pay and pay rises at the top expose the arbitrary nature of senior pay and perks in our universities.”last_img read more

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Torpidoed: winter rowing faces rules upheaval

first_imgResults from this year’s race will also not affect overall college rankings or determine the new head of the river. A number of crews have already withdrawn from Torpids, including Christ Church’s M1 boat, which finished in sixth place in 2019. Although Torpids has been cancelled in previous years, the decision not to let race results affect college rankings is the first action of its kind since the Second World War, during which crews were forced to amalgamate crews, and rankings from 1939 were carried over into 1945. The rule changes were decided during an extensive captains’ meeting attended by over 80 voting members of OURCs. OURCs were forced to change the rules for this year’s races as heavy rain and flooding have made conditions on the Isis dangerous. Joe Lord, OURCs secretary, told Cherwell:“I look forward to a week of fun and safe bumps racing, if the river allows.” In the end, the motion to change to “pseudo-torpids” was passed by 45 votes to 24. Oxford University Rowing Clubs (OURCs) has announced drastic changes to the structure of this year’s Torpids, the University’s winter rowing races. Changes mean that only crews from the top two divisions will be allowed to race. It marks a dramatic reduction from the six men’s divisions and five women’s divisions which would race normally. Currently the Isis stands at red flag, meaning that no crews may row on the river. Speaking to Cherwell, the vicecaptain of Oriel College women’s rowing said: “Disappointing that it is that Torpids will not be going ahead as usual, the vast majority of rowers realise that OURCs are working for the safety and benefit of everyone. Not all clubs are lucky enough to train off the Isis, and it ensures that only crews that are safe will race. I’m very proud of the work that Oriel women have put in, and looking forward to (hopefully) a great four days on the water, regardless of whether the results count or not.” Pembroke, with both their men’s and women’s boats currently second on the river, attempted to amend the motion so that results from the top 12 crews could affect college rankings, while pseudo-torpids would be run for the rest of the boats. The amendment failed by a sizeable majority. last_img read more

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Interview: New University Mental Health Taskforce launched

first_imgThe Student Wellbeing and Mental Health strategy was launched in October 2019 and plans to build on the £2.7 million spent on welfare services in 2018-19 and “embed wellbeing into all aspects of students’ university life, from learning and life skills to community, inclusion and support.” Hamnett also highlighted the overlap between those with involvement in the Mental Health Task Force and those who are making longer term decisions: “The idea is that the Task Force can benefit from their expertise and feedback to longer term strategy, even though its remit is quite short.” While the Mental Health Task Force has only been publicised recently, it has been planned since the long vacation. Tim Hitchens stated: “Over the summer it became clear that we had not only a significantly increased number of mental health challenges but also that we would have a record number of students at the university this term… In September, we felt that we ought to have a task force which for a limited period focussed on making sure that the university took policy decisions and focussed on moving resources”. He continued: “What we’re doing is bringing people together and offering recommendations to those organisations that do make the decisions”.  Both Hamnett and Hitchens highlighted the importance of welfare within colleges, with Hitchens noting the “enormous amount of expertise developed by the Peer Supporters and welfare officers in colleges who are often trained and supported by people from the Counselling Service”. However, they are also seeking to provide support for these students. Hitchens continued: “I would hope  that if you are someone in a college with responsibility for the mental health of your students, if you felt a little unsupported there should be an added layer of professional support to some of those people”. Hitchens also highlighted the Counselling Service’s website as a preventative resource, which has information ranging from articles about “how to survive alone in a room” to podcasts about the “challenges of COVID”. The University has also subscribed to Togetherall. Hamnett said that the service, originally known as Big White Wall “offers quite a lot of self-reflection and self-help resources, but is there to help you see if you have tipped over into needing a more focussed intervention, but also the advice on the challenges of living how we’re living right now”. Oxford University has launched a Mental Health Task Force to consider the “immediate needs” of students during the pandemic after observing an increase in demand for welfare services over the long vacation. The Task Force will work through until the end of January and bring together those from the NHS, the University’s Counselling and Disability Services, as well as representatives from colleges and students. Cherwell spoke to Gillian Hamnett, the Director of Student Welfare and Support Services across the University, and Sir Tim Hitchens, President of Wolfson College, who are leading the Mental Health Task Force. However, Hamnett stressed that this aim was not a move towards a universal University policy: “The Task Force can’t set colleges’ discipline policies but it can advise on specific issues where we think there might be mental health implications and say here are some things that we can take into account. We can’t get a particular college to change their policy or their approach. We need to be realistic about what we can influence and what we can’t.” Right now, many students are concerned for their mental health over the winter vacation, especially those who are staying in Oxford.  One of the Mental Health Task Force’s aims is to plan “for the mental health needs of students over the vacations”. Hamnett explained that “for students staying over the vacation we’re hoping to produce some specific information on what you can do to support yourself in a way that perhaps hasn’t always been clear in the past”. An additional sum of money will also ensure that the Counselling Service can provide greater provision over the vacation. Another of the Mental Health Task Force’s aims is advising “on the mental health impact and use of University policies including the Fitness to Study programme during the pandemic”. This does include disciplinary policies for those who are found to have breached any rules prompted by COVID-19.  One of the first steps taken by the Mental Health Task Force has been to provide £150,000 to reinforce the University’s Counselling Service over this term and £50,000 over the Christmas period. Hitchens described the tangible impact of this support: “The average waiting time for the service is about 8.9 days and we got to the period a few weeks ago where it was nearly 4 weeks… with more resources in the counseling service the waiting time for access which has been lengthening is steadying off and will shorten: that will be an immediate response”.  Speaking about the Fitness to Study framework, which determines “whether a student is fit to study or to return to study after a period of leave for medical, psychological, or emotional problems” and has been controversial for student suspensions, Hitchens said: “I know [it] has attracted a certain stigma that it is somehow something to do with discipline rather than health and wellbeing” but that he wished for the Fitness to Study process to “be more widely understood as not part of the disciplinary process but as a way in which we can support those students which, for a variety of reasons which could include mental health challenges, are not fit to study and support them through to the stage where they are”. Gillian Hamnett expanded on this, clarifying the link between this Task Force and the University’s previous actions regarding mental health: “The Mental Health Task Force complements the longer term strategic work of the Student Wellbeing and Mental Health strategy which was launched last year but that takes a much longer view”. last_img read more

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Acting State Health Commissioner approves $12.2 million Medowlands Hospital sale

first_imgSECAUCUS — Acting State Health Commissioner Christopher Rinn has approved the sale of Meadowlands Hospital to Long Island developer Yan Moshe, according to a letter sent to the hospital’s acting CFO Friday.In his letter, Rinn says he “evaluated” Moshe’s application and believes it is consistent with state standards.Rinn’s approval clears the final hurdle for transferring hospital ownership from MHA, LLC to NJMHMC. Moshe is principal owner of NJMHMC. Moshe said he plans on keeping the same number of services the hospital has currently, and improving on them in the future.Rinn also said in the letter that Moshe’s application “expresses its commitment to the continuity of services in Hudson County.” He noted that at a November meeting with the state health planning board, Moshe said that “the hospital has been a greatly underutilized asset and there’s much more that can be done to enable it to achieve its full potential.” At that same meeting, according to Rinn’s letter, Secaucus Town Administrator Gary Jeffas, on the town’s behalf, spoke positively of the application to purchase the hospital.At a public hearing regarding the sale in October, 12 of 13 people who spoke favored the application, helping sway Rinn’s decision, according to the letter.According to Rinn’s letter, Moshe will put up $5 million for the hospital’s $12.2 million purchase price. The remaining $7.2 million will come via loan.last_img read more

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A crisp take on the Med

first_imgCrisp manufacturer Darling Spuds has added a new flavour to its portfolio. In a bid to capture a taste of the Mediterranean, the sun-ripened tomato, green olive and oregano flavour joins its gluten-free crisps range.Darling Spuds’ range already includes: sour cream with a hint of Mexican chilli; sea salt and Modena vinegar; West Country cheddar; crush sea salt; and fire-roasted jalapeño peppers. All six flavours are available in 40g bags.The brand is an ’independent only’ offering and is sold in Budgens and Puccinos, as well as a number of delis and other independents. RRP: 65plast_img

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Greensky Bluegrass Kicks Off D.C. Run, Invites Fruition Members For Wood Brothers Cover [Setlist/Watch]

first_imgLast night, Greensky Bluegrass hit Washington, DC for the first of their three nights at the 9:30 Club with friends Fruition. Greensky certainly rose to the occasion, putting together a solid show that inevitably will get fans stoked for the next two nights. In honor of Groundhog’s Day and in keeping with tradition, the band opened with “Groundhog.”Moving into the second set, the band was fired up, busting out “Cold Feet” to kick things off after set break for a stacked second set. After “Can’t Stop Now,” which featured quotes from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream Speech,” the band began a cover of The Wood Brother’s “Luckiest Man.”  For this track, Mimi Naja and Jay Cobb Anderson of supporting band Fruition joined Greensky. Following this sit-in, Greensky busted out “Freeborn Man,” during which Michael Bont threw down an inspiring solo.The rest of the second set was a non-stop scorcher, which saw Mimi Naja return for “Worried About The Weather.” You can watch video of last night’s “Freeborn Man” below, courtesy of Troy Laur.You can see the setlist, courtesy of Lucas White, as well as a full gallery from Mark Raker below.Setlist: Greensky Bluegrass | 9:30 Club | Washington, DC | 2/2/2017Set 1: Groundhog (1) 》 Handle with Care, Depot Bay, Take Cover, Better Off, Reverend, Crying Holy Unto the Lord, While Waiting, All FourSet 2: Cold Feet, In Control > Can’t Stop Now (2), Luckiest Man (3)(4), Freeborn Man (5)(6) 》The Four, Wheel Hoss, Forget Everything (7), Worried About the Weather (8) 》Foxy Lady 》Worried about the WeatherE: Fixin’ to Ruin (9)Notes: (1) “Reuben’s Train” teases, (2) Martin Luther King “Dream” speech quotes, (3) With Jay Cobb Anderson and Mimi Naja, (4) “Say It Ain’t So” quotes, (5) Anders vocal mirror guitar during opening, (6) “Paint It Black” teases, (7) With Mimi Naja on harmony vocals, (8) “Dark Star’ teases, (9) Kevin Gregory on vibraslap Load remaining imageslast_img read more

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Demystifying machine learning

first_imgIn 1959, Arthur Samuel defined machine learning as a “field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.” No, wait – Did I just type “1959?”  Yes, true!Machine learning, which is a branch of artificial intelligence (AI), has been around a while, but the technology has made enormous strides since 1959.  The ability to learn without explicitly being programmed sounds like a mantra taken from a child-rearing manual from the 1950s. However, this concept has even greater potential today when we apply the technology to fraud prevention.Machine learning will still require the presence of humans to calibrate and confirm fraud, and to assist the model in learning from historical data.  But the promise of a faster and more accurate solution for fraud prevention has CO-OP very excited about the possibilities – which is why our company is becoming an early adopter of this technology. continue reading » 42SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Over 13,000 S. African health workers contract coronavirus

first_imgA combination of a recent spike in infections, staff shortages and a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) have been blamed for the infection increases.A recent report by South Africa’s National Institute for Occupational Health said hospital admissions of health workers were increasing weekly in line with the national trend of rising numbers of admissions.The data revealed that by July 12, some 2.6 percent of COVID-19 hospital admissions in South Africa were healthcare workers.Those infected included nurses, doctors, porters, administrators, paramedics and laboratory scientists.  Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told parliament earlier this month that “since the COVID-19 pandemic, PPE supply chains have become severely constrained”. WHO Africa chief Moeti said it was critical to ensure health workers “have the equipment, skills and information they need to keep themselves, their patients and colleagues safe”.Sub-Saharan Africa has recorded more than 750,000 coronavirus cases, including 15,000 deaths. Topics : Coronavirus has infected some 13,000 South African health workers and killed more than 100 of them, the health ministry said Thursday, as the virus takes a toll on frontline caregivers.South Africa holds the highest number of infections on the continent with 408,052 recorded cases and 5,940 deaths so far.It is also the world’s fifth worst-affected country in terms of diagnosed infections.center_img Health ministry spokesman Popo Maja told AFP that 13,174 health workers had become infected as of Tuesday, including 103 deaths and 6,394 people declared recovered.South Africa’s statistics were unveiled as the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that more than 10,000 health workers in 40 countries had been sickened by the virus.”The growth we are seeing in COVID-19 cases in Africa is placing an ever-greater strain on health services across the continent,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, at a news conference on Thursday. “This has very real consequences for the individuals who work in them, and there is no more sobering example of this than the rising number of health worker infections,” she said.last_img read more

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