Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Joe McHugh TD has welcomed the interim report by Bobby Kerr on future of post offices.Minister of State, Joe McHughThe Donegal TD is a member of the Business Development Group, headed by the Dragon’s Den star and established by the Minister for Communications Alex White to review the future of Irish post offices.“I would also like to acknowledge the very constructive and diligent manner in which Mr Kerr has ensured the group have conducted their work to date. “The future of post offices in rural Ireland including places like Donegal is a key priority for this Government. Through the work of this group, of which I have been an active participant, I believe that the long-term approach agreed in this report, focusing on financial services, social enterprise, public services and white labelling will lead to the survival of our post offices.“I have written to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, highlighting the valuable work the group is doing. It is imperative that this work is allowed to be carried out. The recommendations should be comprehensively reviewed before any other actions are taken regarding services that are provided to post offices.”MINISTER McHUGH WELCOMES INTERIM REPORT ON POST OFFICES was last modified: June 16th, 2015 by StephenShare 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) Tags:bobby kerrdonegalMinister Joe McHughpost offices
By looking at current dust and craters, cosmologists think they can hear the echoes of an impact that created the moon. Is that lunar, or looney?The news media were abuzz recently with claims, published by Science Magazine, that dust from the primordial impact that formed the moon has been discovered. The theoretical impacting body was even given its mythical name, “Theia,” in the title: “Identification of the giant impactor Theia in lunar rocks” (Herwartz, Pack, Friedrichs and Bischoff). Reporters took off like a rocket:Lunar rock chemistry supports big-smash theory (Nature News)Traces of another world found on the Moon (Pallab Ghosh in the BBC News)Part of infant Earth survived moon’s shocking birth (New Scientist)Lunar Rocks Are First Direct Evidence of Collision That Formed Moon: Lunar samples from Apollo landings confirm a long-held theory (National Geographic)The original paper, though, allowed for other interpretations from the data, which consists only of isotope ratios for oxygen-17. “An alternative explanation for the isotope difference between Earth and the Moon is that the Δ17O value of Earth was modified by late-accreting material (late veneer) after the formation of the Moon,” the authors say at the end of the paper, without discounting that possibility. Philosophers might add an infinite number of alternatives, due to the principle of underdetermination of theory by data. The best that can be said is that the ratios are “consistent” with the authors’ favored interpretation. Nature News did give voice to some critics of the claim; Dan Clery in a companion piece on Science Magazine also took note of the alternative scenario.Other Lunar NewsWhere have all the craters gone? The Geological Society of America (GSA) asked that question in relation to the noticeable difference in crater abundances between the earth and moon. The short answer is that earth erodes its craters through weather and active geological processes, but the moon does not. “If Earth weren’t so dynamic, its surface would be heavily cratered like the Moon or Mercury,” the GSA news story states. A corollary is that “craters on Earth cannot be used to understand Earth’s bombardment history.” Because the craters have mostly been eroded away (except for a few spectacular examples), determining the earth’s impact history will require indirect methods, such as looking for molten layers of rock blasted out by the impacts. The short article did not address the shortage of impact data and meteorites in the lower strata of the earth.How dry am I? Research from the University of Hawaii, reported by Science Daily, shows that the amount of water in lunar rocks varies from region to region. (The moon is still much more arid than earth, Science Magazine notes.) The origin of water on the moon was an Apollo surprise, the first article says: “When water was first discovered in lunar samples in 2008, it was very surprising because from the time Apollo astronauts brought lunar samples, scientists thought that the Moon contained virtually no water.” Its discovery sent astronomers scrambling to account for it. One of the benefits of the Giant Impact Hypothesis has been incorporating a source of water to the moon. Looking for it in Apollo samples is still quite new, though, and surprises are still forthcoming: “Our work is surprising because it shows that lunar formation and accretion were more complex than previously thought.” This is often code for “poorly understood.”Put another 60 million candles on the birthday cake: Whoops, moon’s age was wrong. Earth and moon just got back-dated by 60 million years, PhysOrg says. “From today, the Earth is around 60 million years older—and so is the Moon.” Reason? The crystal ball gets cloudy: “Looking back into ‘deep time’ it becomes more difficult to put a date on early Earth events.” The crystal from South Africa yielded a new answer that is now the truth until the next revision. So the earth-moon system aged 60 million years in one day. Most things age by one year per year.Unrequited love: Why is the moon leaving us? On Universe Today, in video and text, Fraser Cain weaves a sad tale about how the moon keeps moving farther from the earth. “We had a good run, us and the Moon,” he begins. “Grab your special edition NASA space tissues because today we’re embarking on a tale of orbital companionship, childhood sweethearts and heartache.” Because of tidal effects, the moon gets farther from us 1-2 cm per year, he says. Good thing he didn’t extrapolate that back in time, or he would have had a real problem explaining how emerging life and continents might have survived ravaging tides from a moon just 24,000 miles away (currently ten times that far, on average).How do you solve a problem like maria? A 55-year-old puzzle has been “solved,” Penn State News says: why does the moon have a light side and a dark side? The near side we see from earth has large, dark lava lakes called maria, whereas the farside is brighter and heavily cratered. It wasn’t till Soviet orbiter Luna 3 photographed the lunar farside in 1959 that the “Lunar Farside Highlands Problem” came to light. Now, “Penn State astrophysicists think they know why.” It’s related to the consensus theory of the moon’s formation by a Mars-sized impactor, the “Giant Impact Hypothesis.” Because the initial fragments were hot, and tidal locking was rapid due to the original proximity of the bodies, the near side of the primordial moon was kept hotter than the farside, due to the earth’s radiative heat. As a result, low-melting-point elements like calcium and aluminum preferentially accumulated on the farside. Combining with silicates, the crust thickened more on the farside compared to the near side. Later large impacts were able to punch though the thinner crust on the near side more than on the farside, forming the lava lakes we call maria. “When meteoroids struck the farside of the moon, in most cases the crust was too thick and no magmatic basalt welled up, creating the dark side of the moon with valleys, craters and highlands, but almost no maria.” It’s an interesting story, but the near side still seems to show more large impact basins than the farside. The press release does not say if the theorists considered the gravitational anomalies measured by lunar orbiters in their hypothesis. And if the consensus “Giant Impact Hypothesis” falls into disrepute, as some feel it has, this theory of the dichotomy will fall with it.How do you solve a problem like maria?How do you catch a stone and rain it down?How do you find a theory panacea?A flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown! Oh, how do you solve a problem like maria?How to sing Looney Tunes in your rock band? Many a thing we know we’d like to tell themMany a thing they ought to understandBut how do you make them stayAnd listen to all you sayHow do you keep their critics from being banned (Visited 20 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
South Africa’s 3 000 kilometres of coastline holds many treasures, unspoilt places hidden from mainstream tourists. Read more to discover the secret beaches all over the country.Noordhoek’s Long Beach is one of the secret beaches on the Cape Peninsula of South Africa. (Image: Noordhoek Tourism)Brand South Africa reporterWith a coastline of 3 000km, South Africa has enough beaches to accommodate thousands of sun lovers without ever getting crowded. The beaches near the larger coastal cities get most visitors, of course, and in high summer bathers might have to negotiate a tangle of tanned limbs to get from the sea to their towels.But there are dozens of other beaches along the country’s coastline where you can find space, privacy, soft sand and clear blue waves.Cape West CoastIf you want to avoid Cape Town’s main beaches, head up the west coast towards Namibia and you’ll find one spectacular seascape after another. The coastline has stunning wind-lashed scenery and may at times look dry and barren. But in spring the region’s world-famous wild flowers transform the area into a magic carpet of colour.The long white beaches and rocky outcrops provide some of the most private beaches, not to mention best surfing waves. Secret places to visit include Eland’s Bay, Paternoster, Lambert’s Bay and Yzerfontein.In summer you can enjoy fresh crayfish at reasonable prices in local eateries. As this side of South Africa is on the Atlantic Ocean, the water is a lot colder than in the warm Indian Ocean to the east. But that doesn’t stop swimmers from enjoying a bracing dip.Cape PeninsulaWhile the fashionable Cape Town beaches – particularly Camps Bay, Clifton and Llandudno – are overrun in summer, visitors can still find sandy solitude. Noordhoek’s Long Beach is a serene sweep of sand over 2km long, backed by beautiful fynbos- covered mountains.Sandy Bay, just next to Llandudno, is similarly isolated and lovely, as long as one doesn’t mind the nudists for which this beach is notorious.Blaauwberg offers the best views of Table Mountain and is long enough to avoid people, if that’s what you’re after. Or travel just a little way to the dune-fringed beauties of Betty’s Bay, Kleinmond and Pringle Bay.Cape East CoastEast of Cape Town, the coastline offers one sleepy seaside town after another, each with its own personality and beaches. Here the Indian Ocean laps the continent with its warm coastal currents. The further east you travel from Cape Town, the warmer the sea gets.Hermanus is a popular weekend and holiday spot, and the beaches can be crowded. But a five-minute drive out of the village takes you to the more peaceful Grotto Beach.Follow the coastline north and the gems of Gansbaai, Pearly Beach and Arniston beckon. Arniston, a restored fishing village, is particularly beautiful, and out of season is all but isolated.Eastern CapeThose allergic to crowds will want to avoid the seaside havens of Plettenberg Bay, Knysna and George in high season, but again there are beaches just out of town that offer space and scenery aplenty.Port Elizabeth and East London have places of historic interest as well as some good swimming spots. East London’s Gonubie Beach is one of the country’s prettiest, as yet unclaimed by hordes of beachgoers.Cape St Francis and Seaview Game Park, both near Port Elizabeth, are similarly untrammelled.The Wild CoastFormerly known as the Transkei, this is a breathtakingly beautiful region. It has many remote, rural locations offering unspoiled velvet-green hills and pristine beaches.Some parts are harder to access, but places with facilities include Mazeppa Bay, Coffee Bay, Hole-in-the-Wall, Trennerys, Mngazi and Presley Bay.Locals are friendly and hospitable and these are ideal holiday resorts for those wanting nothing more than a beach, a few good surfing waves and perhaps the odd fishing trip.Read more: Discover South Africa’s Wild CoastKwaZulu-NatalNestled between the Indian Ocean and the Drakensberg mountains, KwaZulu-Natal is hot, humid and subtropical. These are the best beaches for those who like to float in the sea for hours on end, and the mild temperatures in winter make it an all-year- round holiday destination.Durban’s beaches can leave one jostling for elbow room in season and nearby towns such as Southbroom and Ballito have recently exploded with holiday homes, but you don’t have to go far to avoid the crowds.On the north coast, near the Mozambique border, is the ecotourism paradise of Kosi Bay, a pristine estuary surrounded by lush marsh forest, mangrove, ferns and orchids. Take a walk between tanning sessions and you could spot a hippo, a crocodile or a loggerhead turtle.Nearby St Lucia, a protected nature reserve and one of South Africa’s seven World Heritage sites, has beautiful long beaches and lukewarm water.Other secret spots include Mtunzini, Zinkwazi and Blythedale. The south coast beaches aren’t quite as isolated, but small towns such as St Michaels, Hibberdene and Umkomaas are less inhabited, particularly in the mild winters.This is an edited version of an article first published by South African Tourism.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
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