Syntrus Achmea, State Street Global Advisors, NN Investment Partners, AXA Investment Managers, EFAMA, EY, Vontobel Asset ManagementSyntrus Achmea – Hein Brand and Fieke van der Lecq have been appointed members of the pension provider and asset manager’s supervisory board. Van der Lecq is currently professor of pension markets at the Erasmus School of Economics in Rotterdam, as well as chair of the supervisory boards of the Pensioenfonds Robeco and Pensioenfonds Zoetwaren, the industry-wide scheme for confectioners in the Netherlands. Brand was chief executive at ING Real Estate Finance from 2001 to 2008, and prior to that was head of global credit restructuring. State Street Global Advisors – Greg Ehret has been named president. He has been with the company for more than 20 years, overseeing areas including the firm’s ETF business. His new role will see him in charge of SSGA’s client-facing activities. NN Investment Partners – Ivan Nikolov has joined the convertible bonds team as senior portfolio manager. Based in London, he joins from Aberdeen Asset Management and has worked at KNG Securities and Pine River Capital Management. AXA Investment Managers – Sailesh Lad and Olga Fedotova have joined the fixed income emerging markets team. Fedotova, who will be head of emerging market (EM) credit, will join from UniCredit in August. She has previously headed up HSBC’s EM corporate credit team and worked at ING Bank. Lad joins as senior portfolio manager from Ignis Asset Management, and has previously worked at Henderson Global Investors, BlueBay Asset Management and Moore Capital Management.EFAMA – Alexander Schindler has been appointed president of the European Fund and Asset Management Asssociation. Schindler is also an executive board member at German asset manager Union Investment. He will serve a two-year term with William Nott, chief executive of M&G Securities, acting as vice. Schindler replaces Christian Dargnat, who has been president since 2013. Nott has been on the EFAMA board for six years.EY – Karina Brookes as joined the UK’s consultancy arm in a senior role within the pensions covenant advisory team. She joins after spending 15 years with rival PwC, latterly as a director in the pensions credit advisory team.Vontobel Asset Management – Ludovic Colin has been appointed to the Swiss asset manager’s fixed income team as a portfolio manager and foreign exchange and interest rate specialist. Colin will take responsibility for Vontobel’s bond global aggregate fund as a deputy portfolio manager. He joins from the London office of Goldman Sachs where he was a multi-asset macro specialist, and previously worked for Amundi, under its previous guise of Credit Agricole Asset Management.
Chelsea legend Didier Drogba has taken the MLS by storm, netting a hat-trick in his first start for the Montreal Impact this weekend.The Impact beat Chicago Fire 4-3 on Saturday night, and the Ivorian opened his account in the first half, levelling things for his side to make the score 1-1.The Fire took the lead again before the half-time whistle, but Montreal managed to fight back and went into the break at 2-2.Drogba came to the rescue again in the second half after his side had conceded another strike, drilling home the equaliser with a shot from near the edge of the area.He completed his hat-trick in the 65th minute: his initial volley was saved by the goalkeeper, but the former Chelsea striker reacted quickest as he ran in to head the ball over the line with the keeper still grounded.His third strike completed a perfect hat-trick – his goals were scored with the right foot, the left foot and his head, respectively. –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySports
A home was ransacked during a burglary in the Gleneely area of Inishowen last week.Gardaí are investigating the incident at Foxwood, which is thought to have occurred between the 18th (Thursday) at 11am and the 20th (Saturday) at midday.The burglar(s) forced open the rear PVC door to enter the house. “The house was ransacked,” a garda spokesperson said.“Nothing was taken from the property but whoever was involved seemed to have carried out quite a search of the property before leaving.”Gardaí are urging anyone who saw anything untoward in the Foxwood area over the course of those few days to contact Buncrana Garda Station on 074-9320540.House ransacked in Inishowen burglary was last modified: July 24th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
Dark matter has been a staple in cosmological theories for decades. One of the initial reasons was that galaxy rotation curves could not be explained without it. Another was that galaxy clusters, to be held together over long ages, needed more “stuff” to bind them. Finally, Big Bang cosmologists invoke copious amounts of dark matter and (more recently) dark energy to make their models work. What the dark matter is has remained an unanswered question. If it were normal “baryonic” matter we would see it, and it would not be “dark” (i.e., undetectable by current methods). On the scale of galaxies, a paper in the Astrophysical Journal has undermined some of the justification for dark matter. Brownstein and Moffat found a way to account for galaxy rotation curves without it1 (see also summary on EurekAlert). On the cosmological scale, two other papers show that dark matter and dark energy are not simple parameters to model. An American-Israeli team writing in Astrophysical Journal2 put constraints on cosmological simulations of dark matter halos and showed the picture is complex: “the clear separation of the evolution of an individual halo into series of quiescent and violent phases explains the inability to fit its entire evolution by simple scaling relations, in agreement with previous studies,” they wrote. A news story in Science3 described some of the ruckus over dark energy’s role in the cosmos. Specifically, astronomers are arguing about using gamma-ray bursts as a “standard candle” to infer the history of dark energy in cosmological theories. See also the reprint on EurekAlert of a report from New Scientist that said, “the result stressed how little we know about dark energy and the need for different approaches.”1J. R. Brownstein and J. W. Moffat, “Galaxy Rotation Curves without Nonbaryonic Dark Matter,” Astrophysical Journal 636:721-741, 2006 January 10, 2006.2Romano-Diaz et al., “Constrained Cosmological Simulations of Dark Matter Halos,” Astrophysical Journal 637:L000, 2006 February 1, 2006.3Robert Irion, “Astronomers Push and Pull Over Dark Energy’s Role in Cosmos,” Science 20 January 2006: Vol. 311. no. 5759, p. 316, DOI: 10.1126/science.311.5759.316.In the history of science, practitioners sometimes invoked “imponderable substances” in their theories. These included phlogiston, caloric, wound salve, ether, electricity, magnetism, and animal magnetism. Some of these substances went the way of the dodo, others became staples of science. So far, it appears that cosmologists are in the dark about dark matter (put “dark matter” in the search box above and see). It will be interesting to see how future astronomers look back on this period. Till established, theories built on dark matter should be treated like phlogiston theory or The Force. Duct tape is like The Force. It has a dark side, a light side, and it holds the universe together – at least as well as dark matter.(Visited 29 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Most of us know that our ears involve three domains: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. We learned in school how the eardrum transmits the sound to tiny bones that transmit it to fluid in the cochlea, which stimulates hair cells that send the impulses down the auditory nerve to the brain. What happens after that? Scientists know surprisingly little, reported Andrew J. Kinga and Jan W. H. Schnupp in Current Biology,1 but are beginning to find out. “Research on the auditory cortex is at an exciting stage,” they said as they shared some of the current knowledge about how the brain hears sound. The article mentions nothing about the origin of hearing by evolution or design. It begins, though with this accolade for the sensitivity and complexity of the system:Recognizing other people, animals or objects by the sound they make is something that most of us take for granted. In fact, this ability relies on a series of rich and complex processes that begin when sounds are transduced into electrical signals by the exquisitely sensitive hair cell receptors that lie inside the cochlea of the inner ear. These messages are then encoded as volleys of action potentials by the axons of the vestibulo-cochlear nerve and transmitted via a complex chain of nuclei in the brainstem, midbrain and thalamus towards the auditory cortex (Figure 1A),* where the interpretation and recognition of sounds is thought to take place. Compared to other sensory systems, in which information reaches the cortex more directly, auditory signals are heavily pre-processed by the time they arrive at the cortex, and, in many animal species, this subcortical processing can mediate quite complex auditory tasks. *A diagram of the auditory cortex regions in the brains of rhesus monkey and catThe pre-processing is so extensive, in fact, that they “wonder what is left for the auditory cortex to do.” Quite a lot is the answer. We get clues from studies of people with brain damage to the auditory cortex, which can result in “severe hearing loss, at least temporarily, and an inability to recognize complex sounds or to pinpoint sound source locations,” they continue. “Auditory cortex thus plays a crucial role in hearing, but how it does this is still very poorly understood.” One thing is known: each sense “maps” the incoming information onto the brain:A common feature of the primary cortical areas in different sensory systems is that they contain topographic representations or maps of the appropriate receptor surface. Thus, neighbouring neurons in the primary visual cortex (V1) receive inputs from adjacent parts of the retina in the eye, which results in the presence of a map of the visual world across the surface of the cortex. Similarly, each region of the skin is represented in a different part of the primary somatosensory cortex (S1), producing a cortical map of the body surface. The same principle applies in the auditory system, except that hair cells located at different points along the length of the cochlea are tuned to different sound frequencies rather than to different locations in space. The topographically organized projection from the thalamus to the primary auditory cortex (A1) therefore gives rise to a ‘tonotopic’ map of sound frequency.These cortical regions for different senses appear so similar, in fact, it raises the question of whether one could substitute for the other. To some degree, in fact, this appears to be the case. Experiments with “rewiring” ferret brains showed that the auditory cortex could, after a fashion, “see” what was coming through the eyes. We all know how the deaf can read Braille, and some blind people have been given devices that allow them to “see” through their skin. Then there is the phenomenon called synesthesia, in which some people “taste” color or “smell” sound. We each experience some of these mixed cues while falling asleep or dreaming. The parts are not completely interchangeable, however. The visual cortex appears optimally organized for sensing motion, while the auditory cortex appears to work as “linear filters of the acoustic stimulus,” detecting edges of frequencies instead of edges of moving objects. The auditory neurons are more than simple filters. Kinga and Schnupp describe how they can adapt to the circumstances:A number of studies have now shown that the response properties of A1 neurons can change over different time scales, indicating that they are sensitive to the context in which stimuli are presented. This plasticity allows the filter properties of the neurons to be rapidly retuned according to the stimuli that have occurred previously and the task that is being performed. These findings have important consequences for the way in which combinations of different sounds are represented in the cortex and argue against the presence within A1 of an invariant representation of the physical features of sound sources.They next describe how portions of the auditory cortex seem to respond to specific properties of sound, like the controls on an oscilloscope: “response threshold, dynamic range and shape of response-level functions, sharpness of frequency tuning, sensitivity to frequency modulation, and the type of binaural interaction exhibited by the neurons” (i.e., differences in the data coming from the left and right ears). This information is mapped onto the brain. Sounds of a certain frequency, for instance, might form an “isofrequency contour” with intensity orthogonal to it. It’s more complex than that, though: “more recent studies have characterized the interactions between the ears in more detail and shown that they are organized into smaller clusters, rather than continuous bands of neurons with similar properties.” Another aspect of the brain’s interpretation of sound is “division of labor.” Researchers have found areas outside the auditory cortex involved in the perception of pitch, and other areas involved in processing spatial orientation of sound. These areas are not distinct, however, and some overlapping of function occurs; “it is possible that this segregation of function relates more to differences in how information is processed than to clear categorical distinctions in what is processed there.” Another interesting finding involves the two-way communication of the brain and the ear. Sound is not just dropped off at the brain’s doorstep like a postal package. The brain talks back to the ear and tells it what to focus on. Surprisingly, the brain replies more than it listens:As in other sensory systems, the auditory thalamus receives a massive descending projection, with four times more inputs arising from the cortex than from the ascending pathways. Cortical neurons also innervate the midbrain as well as various targets in the brainstem, nuclei that do not have direct access to the cortex, indicating that their influence on subcortical processing is likely to be very pervasive.Thus, auditory inputs, after processing by the brain, set off a massive response of signals to the ears and other parts of the body. Think of how your body responds to a loud sound like a gunshot. You might start breathing faster, your head will turn, and your adrenaline may flow – all before you even consciously take any action. That’s what these “corticofugal” signals trigger. But they might also send messages back to the ears to filter out unwanted information. The constant hum of a motor, for instance, or the sound of a passing train – while detected by the ears – is effectively shut off by the brain that has learned that these inputs are uninteresting during work or sleep:These findings have led to the suggestion that corticofugal axons may be involved in selectively filtering information in the midbrain and thalamus, which may enable us to pay particular attention to certain aspects of our auditory environment while ignoring others. This, in turn, would lead to an enhanced representation of stimuli that are frequently encountered or of particular significance, and could trigger longer-term, use-dependent plasticity.That last sentence indicates we can train our ears to hear things. Hope, perhaps, for the tone-deaf? Or for husbands who don’t pay attention? Practice makes perfect – maybe even perfect pitch. In closing, Kinga and Schnupp remark that these are exciting times for research on the brain and hearing. Scientists continue to watch what happens to different parts of the brain when selected auditory “probes” are used.A better understanding of the transformations that take place from the thalamus to the cortex and between different cortical fields will shed light on the extent to which the processing of biologically important information is parsed into parallel functional streams. At the same time, elucidating the functions and mechanisms of action of the many descending corticofugal projections will provide insights into both the dynamic coding of information throughout the auditory pathway and the role of the cortex itself. Finally, a complete description of how the auditory cortex works also has to take into account how inputs from other sensory modalities – now known to be widespread in the temporal lobe – as well as cognitive factors, such as attention and memory, influence the activity of its neurons.1Andrew J. Kinga and Jan W. H. Schnupp, “Primer: The auditory cortex,” Current Biology, Volume 17, Issue 7, 3 April 2007, pages R236-R239.Philosophers have a field day with information like this. Are we really hearing what is “out there” in the world? We say that we “hear” a Beethoven symphony, but in reality, there is catgut scraping on horse hair, vibrations of air columns in tubes, impacts of cotton on stretched plastic or metal on metal, and other physical activity generating pressure waves in gas (the air). By the time the eardrum has sympathetically vibrated and sent these pressure waves through the bones and fluids and nerves, a great deal of preprocessing has occurred. Then, the brain is effectively shutting out what it doesn’t care to hear, either consciously or by habit. A “trained ear” is going to hear much more out of the performance than someone unfamiliar with the nuances of music. Similarly, what do we know about things heard in conversation? We cannot get “outside our head” to truly connect with someone else’s thoughts and feelings. My thought has to be modulated through a voice and tongue (with feedback from my ears modulating the pitch and intensity of my words) to set up pressure waves, which your ear picks up and manipulates before your auditory cortex sends it to your conscious mind – and vice versa. We all know people who tune in and tune out of a conversation or lecture. We find ourselves doing it, too. We joke about things going “in one ear and out the other.” The amusing line sums up the problem: “I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” This filtering and processing happens in all our senses, individually and in concert. To what extent, then, can we know anything outside of our minds as it “really is”? Interesting questions – with no simple answers. It’s what leads some philosophers to become solipsists (“only I exist”) and others to become realists, trusting that our senses provide reliable representations of reality, while other philosophers camp on a variety of positions in between. We know how realistic dreams can seem, complete with sounds, sights and physiological responses. Exercise: try proving that you are not just a brain in a vat, with someone sending you impulses from an elaborate program called “This is your life.” Enough of that. Assuming a degree of realism and trustworthiness of our senses, we are at the threshold of understanding the mental processes involved in hearing. As if the ears themselves were not remarkable enough, what the brain does after receiving the nerve impulses remains a vast uncharted territory. We have just the first glimpses of what is going on in the black box. All that these two authors have described, though, still involves the physical – the midbrain, the auditory cortex, the thalamus. Above that is an additional layer we call “consciousness” (as if giving it a name confers understanding). How these layers upon layers of complexity interact to give us a life that is simultaneously physical, mental, emotional and spiritual is a puzzle whose sophistication is underscored by each attempt to tease out the details. This is irreducible complexity to the extreme. That is why we think it is essential to be reminded daily of the details under the hood of life. Every time someone comes along claiming that something as elaborate as hearing emerged out of deaf chemicals by mistake, through long processes of purposeless, directionless, disinterested collisions of matter, you can ask some probing questions. Hold up a head-shaped rock next to his head, and ask him what’s the difference in response when pressure waves impinge on the two shapes? Read this article to him. If he refuses to listen, you can say to the rock, he who has ears to hear, let him hear.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
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By @JulianTFA at Sunshine Coast Stadium, QueenslandIt was a light, bright Sunshine Coast Stadium that set the stage and tone for the business end of the 2016 Harvey Norman NYC tournament; with titles on the line and tight finishes the order of the day. A flat fast track on field one through seven set up a Super Saturday of freestyling Touch Football and finals hopes and dreams delivered and dashed.In the first semi-final of the day in front a packed stadium, it was the NSW Development girlsâ€™ team that opened their account early against the South-Queensland Sharks booking their place in the final with an emphatic 4-1 win. In the other match a dominant QSST rolled on and over the Brisbane Cobras 11-3 setting up an Origin finale, youth style. Ahead of the mid-afternoon â€˜NSW Devâ€™ v QSST grand final, coach in the blue corner, Barry Gibson was calm and quietly confident of his girlsâ€™ prospects going into the decider.â€œLook, they (QSST) will be a massive hurdle, but we are going to give everything weâ€™ve got,â€ he said in a relaxed frame, post team recovery. â€œWeâ€™ve got a good game plan and structures and the girls are all buying into that. â€œThere are a few niggles in the group but we have 15 girls who desperately want to win. They are very excited and are all enjoying themselves which is what itâ€™s all about. From the moment Maddison Higgins-Ashby crossed early for NSW Development, they looked assured and ready to go another step further into this competition. The Origin like finale promises to be a beauty with both teams primed for a stellar finish. Over on field two, Gibsonâ€™s fellow national Under 17â€™s coach (boys), Jason Boyd too was quietly confident but expecting a tough grand final rematch from last year. His QSST lads primed too for the big one against Central Queensland Bulls (A). â€œVery pleased actually just the way they finished off the game (against the South Queensland Sharks),â€ Boyd said following the 12-6 win over the Sharks.â€œWe layed down some good structure in our defence and pushed on with our attack which was good,â€ he added.â€œThey run the play book really well and can elaborate on that when need be.â€With just a few hours till the finals (3.20pm girls/4.20pm boys), Boyd wasnâ€™t getting himself or his team ahead of themsleves on the cusp of a repeat victory and national youth honours. â€œYou can never be too confident. It will be a classic rematch and another great final. They have some great youth coming through and are building form strength-to-strength.â€In the other semi-final encounter CQ Bulls (A) overcame a spirited NSWCHS 11-5 to cement their spot in the grand final replay.Watch out for the sibling rivalry as the brothersâ€™ Moore go at it in the final: Blake of the QSST variety and Aaron for the CQ Bulls. There will be no love lost nor quarter gained as the respecitive number sixes see just who is the best of breed and claims bragging rights in the Moore household of Rockhampton. Tune in for all the action to the TFA livestreaming channel, visit us online and join the conversation – follow us on facebook, twitter, instagram nd snapchat