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U2 and Apple collaborate on non-piratable 'interactive format for music'

Squiff (1658137) writes | 19 minutes ago


Squiff (1658137) writes "U2 and Apple are apparently collaborating on a new, “interactive format for music”, due to launch in “about 18 months”. Bono spoke to Time about a new tech scheme which “can’t be pirated” and will reimagine the role of album artwork. Link to Guardian[] avoids Time[] paywall.


Gold prices dip in Asia as investors keep focus on Fed

Anonymous Coward writes | 19 minutes ago


An anonymous reader writes "Gold continued to drop in early Asia on Friday with investors focused on the possibility of a Federal Reserve rate hike next year.On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, goldfutures for December delivery traded at $1,226.20 a troy ounce, down 0.06%, after hitting an overnight session low of $1,216.60 and off a high of $1,228.50.
Overnight, gold prices fell after investors digested the Federal Reserve’s Wednesday statement on interest rates and concluded that tighter monetary policy is drawing closer and usher in a strengthening trend for the dollar.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday said that it will likely close its monthly bond-buying program in October and suggested it will raise interest rates in 2015.
The Fed added interest rates will hover just above zero for a “considerable time,” but the U.S. central bank also suggested it could move to hike benchmark borrowing costs faster than anticipated once it decides to begin tightening."

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2006 Sports Cars Parade

Arifan Rahmat (3817881) writes | 21 minutes ago


Arifan Rahmat (3817881) writes "The year 2006 offers several new sports car designs — from exterior body parts to more defined interiors. One of the most sought after sports car to date is the efficient 2006 Saturn Ion — its enviable rust and dent proof body and added horsepower. With its extra size, it has the combination of the Quad Coupe and 2003 Sedan, restyled with smart modernism and small back entrance doors. The four-speed transmission was replaced by a five-speed automatic transmission. The price could vary from $12,000 to less than $20,000 per car. -"
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ObamaCare's Numbers Game

Anonymous Coward writes | 23 minutes ago


An anonymous reader writes "It seems the administration had been exaggerating the number of people enrolled in ObamaCare to the tune of about 700,000. We're shocked! Shocked!"
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Attraction in the World of Bats

Denomeara (3834843) writes | 24 minutes ago


Denomeara (3834843) writes "We spend much of our lives attempting to figure out the opposite sex in the hopes that it will lead to increased opportunities to attract a mate. But even when in a relationship, looking back to see how it all kicked off can still leave you scratching your head for answers. Understanding attraction and the rules (or lack of them) that govern it are complicated, but there is no shortage of purported help out there to be found in books, cinema and online. Midst the cloud of confusion, we sometimes forget that attraction is not unique to humans, but our instincts to attract a mate are seen throughout the animal kingdom, and scientists have recently figured out how one species of male bat is flying out from the crowd.

Bats are a nocturnal species, so they become active at night-time. To help orientate themselves and to find their prey in darkness they use echolocation which works by the generation of echoes that the bat then uses to orientate itself and to detect flying insects like moths and mosquitoes. Theses frequencies and pulses used by bats have been well studied, and the use of bat and sound detectors are regularly used by bat ecologists to establish which bat species occurs at a particular site, as the audio frequency that bats use to communicate cannot be heard by the human ear. But despite the large body of research that has gone into bat calls, there has been no investigation, until now, into the potential role of bat calls in the role of attraction or sexual selection.

The study, just published in Plos one and led by Sébastien Puechmaille, with affiliations at University College Dublin, the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany and the Tabachka Bat Research Station, Bulgaria sought to investigate the role of echolocation beyond the traditional ecological role in orientation and foraging. Puechmaille explains that acoustic components of a range of animal calls including birds, frogs, insects, deer and humans are used to attract a mate. Studies have shown that the components within the male call can be related to body size and condition which the female of the species then uses to help choose her mate. In red deer, the same species that can be seen in Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry, the females have been shown to prefer a low frequency call in male deer, which signals a larger body size representing good overall body condition. But as is the case in most species, the call or sound has more than one function, and sometimes the information held within each individual call is not always known. This makes bats a very interesting group of animals to study for this purpose as echolocation is used already known to be used for multiple purposes including orientation and foraging or hunting prey.

Peuchmaille and colleagues set about investigating if female bats selected mates based on the information held within the male bat call. They predicted that the higher pitch male frequency call conveyed information relating to high quality body condition, which would attract females as they were more likely to yield offspring with the highest probability of survival. In order to be test this theory, the males with the higher pitch frequency should have a higher reproductive success, and as a result, such males should have more relatives within their bat group or colony owing to their higher number of offspring.

The team selected a bat species called Rhinolophus mehelyi, a species of horseshoe bat that occurs in parts of Southern and Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The distribution of this bat is patchy, making it vulnerable to local extinctions. The species is declining, and according the IUCN, the population may have declined as much as 10% in places like Andalucía in the south of Spain, but elsewhere the decline has not been fully quantified. The preferred roosting site for this species is limestone caves, and while disturbance of cave sites and a lack of suitable underground hibernation sites might explain some factors involved in the population decline, it is largely unknown what is driving it. As a result of the vulnerable status, R. mehelyi is protected by the European Union under Annex II and IV of the EU Habitats and Species Directive.

The study site was located at two cave sites in Bulgaria. The peak frequencies of the bat calls were recorded for both sexes. The bats were also trapped and their body weights and lengths were recorded to inform a measure of their overall body condition. They also captured female bats for a behavioural study, where the bats were placed in a box and played male bat calls that had been sorted into either low or high frequency categories. The box had two compartments each containing a speaker where the different calls were played. When a bat landed in the compartment with either the low or the high frequency call that was recorded as their ‘preference’. Male bats were also tested to see if the response to the call was only seen in females, thus enabling the response to be linked to attraction. Finally, a genetic study was also conducted to test the final part of the theory that the male bats with the higher pitch frequency calls had in fact more relatives within the colony. Tests for relatedness were conducted amongst the male bats which was then compared with the pitch frequency data to test for a correlation.

The results showed that there was indeed a positive relationship between the pitch frequency of the bat call and the overall condition of the male bat i.e. higher pitch frequency calls were related to better overall body condition. The behavioural study also showed that female bats preferred the higher frequency pitch calls made by male bats, as they flew to that side of the box more often.The male bats showed no preference for either call indicating that the female choice was indeed linked to attraction. Finally, the genetic study also supported these results. In one of the cave sites, only about 3% of the overall colony of about 4,500 individuals. In this instance, there was no statistical support for the correlation between pitch and relatedness, but in the other site where 20% of the colony was sampled, and thus providing more statistical power for the test, male bats with higher pitch frequency calls did have more male relatives within the colony.

This species of horseshoe bat, R. mehelyi uses a higher frequency call than other horseshoe bats. However, the higher pitch results in a reduction of the distance that the bat can detect prey items using echolocation. It therefore seems like there might be a trade-off between the different functions using echolocation for differing purposes, and that the role of echolocation is more complex than simply being used for orientation and hunting but also extends into sexual selection, albeit with a cost. Puechmaille explains that this could be driven by evolution as this species of bat overlaps with another closely related horseshoe bat, and in order to distinguish itself from this similar species, the higher pitch male frequency call might have evolved for this purpose. The cause is still unresolved, but this study has shown that the evolution of echolocation could be driven by both natural selection and sexual selection, and this study has opened up a new area for additional studies in this species and others."

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The importance of charismatic leadership in an organization.

mantlemarketing (3829749) writes | 41 minutes ago


mantlemarketing (3829749) writes "Over the years, I have asked many of my clients if they could define the leadership skills required to make a leader more likely to inspire their teams. Over and over again, the notion of 'charisma' is cited as being a critical factor: the ability to speak with confidence and authority and to build relationships at all levels with skill.

If we dig a little deeper, a few core traits can be identified. Max Weber identified three different authority personas:

1. The Charismatic Leader

2. The Traditional Leader

3. The Rational Leader

What makes the charismatic leader different to the other two, according to Weber, is the importance of the leader's personality and character. Whilst character (or strength of character) is undeniably important for Traditional and Rational leader types, it is the main selling point of the charismatic leader.

The idea of 'character' being an important trait of a leader is a relatively new one. During the 1980s and 1990s (when leadership development came to the fore), the focus was on the skills that a leader needed to be successful. Not their personality. It would seem that this has changed in the last couple of decades.

It would appear that unlike other leadership styles, charismatic leaders rely more on the perception others have of them and the personal attributes they bring to the table.

In terms of leadership, on a worldwide scale, we rarely think bigger than the President of the United States of America. Think of all the Presidents you can remember and the main thing that has stuck with you long after they left office. Personality? Charisma? Or policy?

So what makes the Bill Clintons of this world so memorable? These leaders:

1. Are highly persuasive

2. Are skilled at story telling

3. Are adept at reading and using body language

4. Are very empathetic

5. Can adapt their approach to suit the audience

This leadership style above all others is the most effective in Politics. It gets the most public appeal and following as it connects with people on a personal level. How often have politicians not made election because they were 'boring' or 'uninspiring'?

So, what other attributes are typically associated with charismatic leaders? Conger & Kanungo defined:

1. have a vision and communicate it clearly; 2. showing sensitivity to the varying needs of your people; 3. sometimes acting unconventionally; 4. a 'fail fast' attitude towards risk taking; 5. responding quickly and appropriately to changing environmental factors.

Charismatic leaders and transformational leaders share many common traits. In fact, most leaders who preside over change in an organization (or country) must have charisma to achieve their ends. However, charismatic leaders don't necessarily care about ushering in change.

What makes charismatic leadership problematic is how easy it is to manipulate. The outcome of the leadership style is entirely dependent on the intentions of the leader and his or her values. If they genuinely want to improve the situation for the benefit of all, then positive outcomes will occur; if they are self serving, then the outcomes are less clear.

Let's not kid ourselves, there are plenty of examples of where charismatic leaders have lifted an organization and brought in positive change (Richard Branson anyone?).

Not every business needs a Bill Clinton leading from the front. In fact many companies simply do not need these types of leadership skills at all. Introverted leadership styles that focus on 'substance over style' often win. So maybe we shouldn't always focus on the charismatic guys (and gals).

Let's not ignore some of the negatives of charismatic leadership.

Imagine the scenario: the leader has such high levels of belief in his or herself that they ignore real issues or risks and are unwilling to accept that they need to learn (and therefore they don't). Their presence is so strong that succession planning becomes difficult.

To conclude, charismatic leaders can use their leadership skills to usher in great and positive change. But, for all its positive traits, in the wrong hands, charisma can also be a negative force acting against the longer-term benefits of the organization."

Does touchscreen spoil your e-reading?

purplie (610402) writes | about an hour ago


purplie (610402) writes "Amazon's new Kindle lineup now includes touchscreen models only. Even the low-end "basic" model has a touchscreen.

Am I the only reader who feared this? I enjoy holding my reader casually, carelessly, not having to worry about accidentally triggering a page turn, highlight, or dictionary lookup by just "holding it wrong". With a touchscreen, the necessity of holding it carefully is a distraction.

Wouldn't it make sense to include a software option to disable the touchscreen when it's not wanted?"

How to look for otters

Denomeara (3834843) writes | about an hour ago


Denomeara (3834843) writes "In the first of a new series of posts about “How to Look for Mammals”, I take a look at one of our semi aquatic species, the Eurasian otter. The Eurasian otter is distributed across Europe and into Eurasia, but it is absent and restricted to small isolated pockets in some European countries. However, the species is slowly starting to recover across Western Europe. Ireland is a stronghold for the otter, and marks the western most point of the otter’s distribution. It is thought that the Irish climate with lots of fresh water makes it an ideal habitat for the otter.

Otters are protected under Annex IV of the European Habitats Directive, making it illegal to interfere with an otter’s breeding or resting place. Ireland and other EU member countries are obliged to report on the national status of otters every few years, and this information is collected, analysed and reported on during the “National Otter Survey“. As otters are shy animals, they are difficult to directly observe, hence otter surveyors rely upon otter field signs to inform their presence or absence. The most recent Irish survey was published last year by Reid et al. where the Irish otter population was reported to be of ‘favourable‘ conservation status, despite a 23% population decrease reported between the 1980’s and 2005/2006. It is possible that previous studies had incorrectly reported a downward population trend due to the imperfect nature of the survey strategy. I discussed this in another post “Calling into question the accuracy of the ‘Standard Otter Survey’“.
Due to the imperfect nature of otter surveying I suggest the following: If you don’t spot signs of otters on your first outing, never presume this implies their absence as you may have visited after rain, might have overlooked their signs, or the width of the river and lack of obvious sprainting sites (otter poo places) might have simply impaired your ability to observe their clues. With these complications and inaccuracies in mind, the signs and clues I’ll discuss below are simply a guide and illustration of some of the tips and tricks that might increase your chances of spotting otter activity.
If I’m at a beach or cove, the first thing I look for is the presence of a stream or river. Otters that have been swimming in the sea have to wash the salt water from their fur, so the presence of fresh water on the coast is an important indicator that otters may be present. If there is a fresh water source at your site, this is the most likely place where spraints (otter poo) will be found. Otters mark their territory with spraints as a way to communicate and send messages to other otters. Otters use features in the landscape that stand out making structures like bridges key places to find spraints. If water levels are low, otter footprints may be seen beneath the bridge on sandy banks and ledges. Other places to search are rocks and boulders along the stream, especially ones that tend to crop out. If it catches your eye, it may also catch the otter’s attention. Bear in mind that tidal waters wash away otter activity, so otters also place spraints on higher points above the reach of the tidal waters."

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Ahrlac: Africa-made military plane takes flight

Anonymous Coward writes | about an hour ago


An anonymous reader writes "Paramount Group has unveiled a military aircraft it says was the first to be fully designed and developed on African soil. The Ahrlac is a manned alternative to unmanned aerial vehicles and, with its pod design, it can be used for anything from surveillance to combat."
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How FIFA Ultimate Team quietly became the jewel in EA Sports' crown

Anonymous Coward writes | 1 hour ago


An anonymous reader writes "The yearly FIFA football games continue to sell in droves, but if you're not a fan of the series, you might not realise why. Over the last five years, an experimental DLC add on called Ultimate Team, which lets gamers buy and trade virtual card packs of footballers to improve their squads in play, has been promoted from the lower leagues of EA's Champions League game series to one of the company's biggest money spinners ever — all while keeping hardcore players and even professional competitive gamers happy. A new feature charts the phenomenal rise and rise of Ultimate team, and posits some interesting questions. For instance, if much maligned EA can win fans over with in-app purchases in a paid game, how has Activision failed to with Call of Duty?"
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Know why tractors at New Holland can build your empire

NewHolland FiatIndia (3812181) writes | 1 hour ago


NewHolland FiatIndia (3812181) writes "Get Series TT tractors from New Holland India which is specially designed to suit the convenience of our esteemed clientele. The old engine had been changed into sloping engine hood which is added with side mounted exhaust to provide a clear view to the front. Its headlights are installed in such a way that you find it much easier to work in dark. All these things had been made together with great finish and harsh reliability of the tractor."
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Govt Pleaded Supreme Court To Spare 46 Coal Blocks,

businesswolf (3831193) writes | 1 hour ago


businesswolf (3831193) writes "The Centre, in a pragmatic move, told the Supreme Court that it may go ahead with cancelling all extant coal mine leases among the 218 blocks that are declared illegal by the court last week and that it was willing to re-auction them afresh. In addition to this, the government also pleaded the SC that it is given the discretion to deal with the aftermath of such a decision expeditiously."
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