Norway’s largest municipal pension fund Oslo Pensjonsforsiking (OPF) produced a 2.8% value-adjusted return on customer funds in the first three months of this year.This was driven by gains from infrastructure and equities, which generated 8.1% and 7.0% respectively. All asset classes produced positive returns, the fund reported.The Q1 portfolio return compared to a 0.3% return in first quarter of 2016.Åmund Lunde, OPF’s chief executive, said: “It is quite possible to create a good return for customers – also in the form of defined benefit pensions, but it requires good solidity and long-term management.” OPF said in its interim report that in 2016, it had finished a three-year build up of reserves to provide for lower mortality rates, having put aside NOK246m (€26.3m) in that period.The conclusion of this provisioning process had improved results in the pensions insurance division by NOK20-21m each quarter in a year-on-year comparison.The company’s solvency capital rose 4% in absolute terms in the first quarter, but ticked lower as a ratio to 482% in the first quarter from 490% at the end of 2016, after the capital requirement increased by 6% since the end of last year.Total group assets increased to NOK85.8bn at the end of March.Sweden’s AMF warns on interest rate impactIn other Nordic news, Sweden’s second largest pension fund AMF posted a 2.5% return in the first quarter on the back of buoyancy in domestic and foreign equity markets.In the same period last year, AMF’s investments lost 0.7%.Javiera Ragnartz, CIO at AMF, said: “The period was marked by improved growth in the world economy and good economic development at home, which contributed to strong development for Swedish as well as foreign equities.“At the same time, low interest rates continue to pose challenges because uncertainty about long-term economic development persists, and there are a number of political risks which could affect the markets in the future.”AMF’s solvency ratio dipped to 193% at the end of March from 199% at the end of December.The group’s total assets under management rose to SEK582bn (€60.4bn) from SEK563bn at the end of December.
Elite England Golf amateurs – led by women’s number one, Alex Peters – will tee off tomorrow in the WPGA International Challenge on the Ladies European Tour Access Series (LETAS). The Challenge, which is the only LETAS event in the UK, is supported by England Golf and will take place at Stoke by Nayland Hotel Golf and Spa, on the Suffolk/Essex border, from September 26-28. Invitations went to leading amateurs on the England Golf women’s order of merit, sponsored by Lorrin Golf. They will play in an international field which will include Alison Nicholas, Europe’s winning captain at the 2011 Solheim Cup and a past US Open champion. The England Golf players are: Alex Peters (Notts Ladies’, Image © Leaderboard Photography), Gabriella Cowley (Brocket Hall), Rachael Goodall (Heswall), Emma Tayler (Saunton), Charlotte Thompson (Channels), Amber Ratcliffe (Royal Cromer), Kerry Smith (Waterlooville), Lucy Goddard (Mid Herts), Chelsea Masters (Highwoods, Bexhill), Poppy Finlay (Vicars Cross), Chloe Rogers (Braintree), Samantha Giles (St Mellion), Inci Mehmet (Wentworth), Gemma Clews (Delamere Forest), Abbey Gittings (Walmley), Sophie Powell (Stockport), Bethan Popel (Long Ashton). Follow their progress at www.letaccess.com 25 Sep 2013 Amateurs head to LETAS event
Jamari Sweet set a single-season record for touchdown receptions, quarterback Alex Adams threw 5 touchdown passes and fished with half-a-dozen total scores, and College of the Redwoods football finished off its 2019 campaign with a 56-17 win over visiting San Jose City College, Saturday afternoon at the Redwood Bowl.Sweet entered Saturday’s contest one shy of the Redwoods single-season touchdown reception record of 11.The sophomore hauled in three of them in the win, setting a new record of …
What happens when the purveyors of knowledge admit they are unreliable?Editors of the leading Big Science journals, Science and Nature, continue to wring their hands over rampant scientific misconduct. Conflicts of interest, sloppy work, fudging data, plagiarism, non-reproducible results and plain old dishonesty (“fake science”) are just some of the problems they admit to. Paradoxically, industry is more alarmed about reproducibility than academia is, Nature says this week. Notice how academic scientists engage in “questionable practices.”Despite the advent of important new therapeutics, the number of innovative treatments reaching the patient is disappointingly low. To help rectify this, industry is investing in drug-discovery alliances with peers and academic groups, and in precision medicine. It sees high standards of research quality as the route to the most promising drug candidates and to maximum return on investment.By contrast, academic scientists may be reluctant to devote extra time and effort to confirming research results in case they fail. That would put paid to publication in high-impact journals, damage career opportunities and curtail further funding. Evidence of questionable practices such as selective publishing and cherry-picking of data indicates that rigour is not always a high priority.Aren’t those things supposed to be the highest priority? Isn’t the scientific method supposed to be the most dispassionate, disinterested, truth-seeking approach to knowledge? It seems that science is deserving of a similar statement Gandhi allegedly said about Western civilization: “I think it would be a good idea.” Without integrity, science is nothing. You can’t get integrity by the scientific method.The Science of ScienceThe AAAS flagship journal Science recently had a special section devoted to scientific integrity. This wouldn’t have been necessary had not serious flaws been worrying the editors. The article titles are instructive:Research on research (Martin Enserik, Science). It seems like a return to the “science wars” of the 1960s. The efforts below may sound promising, but who will watch the watchers?Given the billions of dollars the world invests in science each year, it’s surprising how few researchers study science itself. But their number is growing rapidly, driven in part by the realization that science isn’t always the rigorous, objective search for knowledge it is supposed to be. Editors of medical journals, embarrassed by the quality of the papers they were publishing, began to turn the lens of science on their own profession decades ago, creating a new field now called “journalology.” More recently, psychologists have taken the lead, plagued by existential doubts after many results proved irreproducible. Other fields are following suit, and metaresearch, or research on research, is now blossoming as a scientific field of its own.Journals under the microscope (Jennifer Couzin-Frankel, Science). This article mentions “threats to the scientific enterprise, such as reproducibility, fake peer review, and predatory journals.”The metawars (Jop de Vrieze, Science). Scientists don’t like being scrutinized. They expect to be trusted just because they are scientists. A meta-analysis is an “analysis of analyses” like a report card on grading methods. John Ioannidis is one such meta-researcher, whose findings about bias and malpractice have been widely reported. Has it helped? “Meta-analyses were supposed to end scientific debates,” de Vrieze writes. “Often, they only cause more controversy.” What is the situation after years of meta-analysis? Stalemate. Hostility. Resistance to change. Scientists continue to balk at calls for transparency that meta-researchers say is essential for improvement.The Truth Squad (Erik Stokstad, Science). Some “metaresearchers” (those researching research) are stepping on toes. Stokstad tells incidents where integrity investigators are getting rough with perpetrators of fake science, but perpetrators are resisting the bad report cards. Young scientists who report malpractice often suffer. “At the current pace, it’s going to be 2100 before things are really different,” said one researcher into non-reproducibility in psychological studies who felt the backlash of furious institutions that were exposed with bad grades.A recipe for rigor (Kai Kupferschmidt, Science). This article promises “a simple strategy to avoid bias” that is “rapidly catching on,” called pre-registration.Preregistration, in its simplest form, is a one-page document answering basic questions such as: What question will be studied? What is the hypothesis? What data will be collected, and how will they be analyzed? In its most rigorous form, a “registered report,” researchers write an entire paper, minus the results and discussion, and submit it for peer review at a journal, which decides whether to accept it in principle. After the work is completed, reviewers simply check whether the researchers stuck to their own recipe; if so, the paper is published, regardless of what the data show.Simple enough, but scientists are pushing back against this corrective policy. And journal editors don’t like publishing negative results; they want flashy discoveries. Some researchers don’t want to be confined to a hypothesis, thinking they can’t discover things in advance of experiments. One standout comment deserves focus: “A lot of scientists are more like lawyers than detectives. They have a theory and they are trying to use the evidence to support it.” The danger of confirmation bias and sophistry is evident.Toward a more scientific science (Policy Forum, Science). This implies that what we have now is an insufficiently scientific science. This forum opines on various subjects, and acknowledges sources of bias, but never addresses the underlying fact that without integrity, all research is worthless.French science behemoth launches research-integrity office (Nature). Protecting whistleblowers is one of the goals of France’s new office of research integrity. Great; who will give them their report card?Science learns from its mistakes, too (Phys.org). Like the French, the Germans are working on repairs. Their goal is to “do everything possible to maintain social trust in science.” One way to do that is to report negative results, which are not as popular, but are important to contribute to a complete scientific picture.This entry will be continued tomorrow. —Ed. (Visited 404 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
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Supporters of the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) have been venting their anger on social media platforms over the party’s decision to extend support to the BJP to form government in Haryana. The supporters, mostly youth, have been posting angry messages and videos accusing JJP leader Dushyant Chautala of “betrayal” and “going back on his words”.Tiktok videosThe supporters uploaded videos on Tiktok, a social media video app, burning the flags and bands of the party. They accused Mr. Chautala, the former Hisar MP, of betraying the mandate to the party which, they claimed, was against the BJP.The JJP, formed after a split in the Indian National Lok Dal in December last, won 10 seats to emerge as a kingmaker in the State following a fractured mandate, with both the BJP and the Congress falling short of the majority mark in the 90-member Assembly. The party had extended support to the BJP based on a Common Minimum Programme which includes 75% reservation to local youth in jobs in Haryana and increase in old-age pension.The core vote bank of JJP comprises the Jats, a dominant caste in Haryana, who are believed to have voted against the BJP accusing it of caste-based politics targeted against them. Around 20 people, mostly Jat youth, had died in police firing in 2016 during the BJP rule, further pitting the community against the party.A large majority of Jats in rural areas are also engaged in farming and the farmers’ distress has been a major issue this election. The farming community has been angry with the BJP allegedly for failing to implement the Swaminathan Commission report.The messages on social media platforms comprised videos of Mr. Chautala at various political meetings attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP. The supporters also shared an old video of Mr. Chautala’s grandmother from a hospital bed accusing him of betraying her husband Om Prakash Chautala for his political ambitions. Some party cadres vowed not to support the party ever again. A few others said that they could accept the JJP supporting the Congress, but not the BJP. Congress Communication Chief Randeep Singh Surjewala also tweeted a video of Mr. Chautala’s mother and Badhra MLA Naina Singh saying that the JJP would never tie up with the BJP.
Where do Dabo and the defending champs come in?Dabo Swinney and Steve Spurrier have traded barbs over the years, given the rivalry between Clemson and South Carolina, but as you’ll see below, they have nothing but respect for each other off of the field. Tuesday, Swinney, the day after it was announced that Spurrier would be retiring as head coach of the Gamecocks, had some heartfelt words for his adversary. Swinney told reporters during his weekly press conference that Spurrier is “one of the best to ever walk the sideline.” Check it out, via TigerNet.com:Spurrier certainly made his mark on college football. It’s great to see that even his biggest rivals recognize it.[TigerNet.com]
NEW YORK, N.Y. – A New York judge says Jay-Z must answer questions from the Securities and Exchange Commission in a financial probe by the regulator.Lawyers for the SEC and Jay-Z settled on May 15 for a deposition Tuesday after U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe (GAHR’-duh-fee) said Jay-Z can’t dodge the questions any longer.Jay-Z has argued that his testimony is not that important to the SEC’s probe of the Iconix Brand Group. Jay-Z, who was not in court, sold his apparel brand to Iconix in 2007. He also says he’s too busy getting ready for a worldwide tour starting next month.Gardephe said the SEC has shown that Jay-Z’s testimony about the sale of his company and his participation in meetings, phone calls and emails are relevant to the probe into Iconix.
HONOLULU, Hawaii – Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano may be disrupting life in paradise with its bursts of ash and bright-orange lava, but it also has scientists wide-eyed, eager to advance what’s known about volcanoes.The good news is: Volcanoes reveal secrets when they’re rumbling, which means Kilauea is producing a bonanza of information.While scientists monitored Big Island lava flows in 1955 and 1960, equipment then was far less sophisticated. Given new technology, they can now gather and study an unprecedented volume of data.“Geophysical monitoring techniques that have come online in the last 20 years have now been deployed at Kilauea,” said George Bergantz, professor of earth and space sciences at the University of Washington. “We have this remarkable opportunity … to see many more scales of behaviour both preceding and during this current volcanic crisis.”Starting May 3, Kilauea has fountained lava and flung ash and rocks from its summit, destroying hundreds of homes, closing key highways and prompting health warnings. Kilauea is one of five volcanos that form the Big Island, and is a “shield” volcano — built up over time as lava flows layer on top of layer.Technically speaking, it has been continuously erupting since 1983. But the recent combination of earthquakes shaking the ground, steam-driven explosions at the top, and lava creeping into a new area some 12 miles (20 kilometres) from the summit represents a departure from its behaviour over the past 35 years, said Erik Klemetti, a volcanologist at Ohio’s Denison University.What’s happening now is a bit more like the Kilauea of nearly a century ago. In 1924, steam explosions at the summit lasted for more than two weeks.Scientists are looking into what caused the change and whether this shift in the volcano’s magma plumbing system will become the new normal.Radar allows researchers to measure the height of ash plumes shooting from the summit, even when they occur at night. Plume heights are an effect of how much heat energy is released and the explosion’s intensity.“It’s one of the key factors that dictates how far ash will be dispersed,” said Charles Mandeville, volcano hazards co-ordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey. The other is where the winds are blowing. Such knowledge is useful in alerting the public.Scientists can also monitor where gas is emerging, as well as determine its composition and volume. They can even measure the subtle rise and fall of the ground over a broad area and time — down to seconds — which suggests when and where magma is pooling underground.Discovering variations or correlations between past and present activity provides more clues on what’s happening. It also helps scientists understand past lava flows, anticipate what could occur next, and pinpoint signs or patterns before an eruption.“You’re sort of zeroing in on finer and finer levels of detail into how the volcano works,” said Michael Poland, a U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist. “The more stuff you put on the volcano to make measurements, the more you realize there’s stuff going on that you never knew.”Better technology has also meant U.S. Geological Survey scientists have been able to accurately forecast Kilauea’s behaviour as it sputters over Puna, the island’s most affected district.“They’ve been spot on,” said Janine Krippner, a volcanologist at Concord University in West Virginia. “It’s incredible — they’re looking at things happening below the surface, using the monitoring equipment that they have, the knowledge they have of past eruptions, and have been able to get people to not be in a deadly area.”This is unfortunately not always possible, as nature can be unpredictable. On June 3, Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire sent a mixture of hot gas, rock and other material racing down its slopes and inundating the valley, killing nearly 100 people.Krippner compared the Guatemala eruption to opening a can of soda after shaking it vigorously. Volcanic gas underneath created bubbles that expanded, increasing pressure that blew magma apart when it reached the surface, spewing cooled lava rocks ranging from the size of sand grains to boulders.Explosions can be bigger, or occur differently, than expected, and that presents a learning opportunity for scientists, who work on computer models to map out areas that may be at higher risk in the future. “Looking at the footage afterward, we can start to tease out how these things actually work,” Krippner said, as it’s often too dangerous for experts to physically get close to an eruption.Volcanic eruptions happen fairly regularly — as many as 60 occur worldwide each year — but many are in isolated areas, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.After Kilauea’s 1924 summit explosions, the volcano entered a decade of piddly rumblings, followed by 18 years of silence. Experts say Kilauea may be heading toward years — even decades — of little or no activity.For now, volcanologists feel a “tremendous amount of responsibility” to learn as much as possible from the volcano, Poland said. Its latest activity has destroyed about 400 homes — including about 280 over the last several days — and displaced thousands of residents. Lava from Kilauea has also downed power lines and knifed across highways.“It’s coming at a great cost in terms of impact on the lives and livelihoods of so many people — we owe it to the people of Puna to make sure that we learn the lessons the volcano is teaching us,” Poland said.___Ritter reported from New York.___Follow AP’s complete coverage of the Hawaii volcano here: https://apnews.com/tag/Kilauea
MOSCOW – Budweiser has a boat on the Moscow River and a disco. Coke set up an interactive sculpture-video installation in Gorky Park and entertained 5,000 guests during the monthlong tournament. Visa built a campaign around former Sweden star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.Business went on at the World Cup without the presence of the United States, although the tournament’s visibility decreased across America.“The absence of the U.S. team here doesn’t change what we’re doing,” said Ricardo Fort, The Coca-Cola Co.’s head of global sponsorships. “The real value is based on how broad our programs are implemented. We have over 180 countries doing work.”FIFA said after the group stage that of 2.6 million tickets sold, U.S. residents bought about 97,000 on FIFA’s website and from its ticketing centres, second only to host Russia’s 1.1 million. The U.S. was second to host Brazil in 2014, but the American total was around 200,000 that year.“We were all disappointed when the U.S. team didn’t qualify,” said Brian Perkins, vice-president of global marketing for Budweiser at Anheuser-Busch InBev. “But two-thirds of the sales of Budweiser globally are sold outside of the U.S., so actually the bigger part of the business is international, and that’s where all the growth is coming from as well. It really didn’t change much at all.”World Cup advertising increased sharply in the U.S. during the past few tournaments. Nike used a 70 1/2-foot advertising board near New York’s Penn Station and its store windows to attract attention.Plans for U.S. marketing changed last October when the U.S. lost at Trinidad and Tobago, ending a string of seven straight World Cup appearances dating to 1990.“Since Team USA will not be competing, we don’t have much going on,” Nike spokesman Ilana Finley said in an email.Past World Cups contributed to soccer’s growth in the U.S., both at Major League Soccer and at the youth level. The four matches involving the American team in 2014 were seen by 10 million to 18 million viewers on ESPN and generated what then-U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati called “water-cooler talk.” That opportunity was lost in this four-year cycle.Fox, which holds U.S. English-language television rights, had been projecting four of 64 matches involving the American team.“We had to pivot quickly,” Fox Sports senior vice-president of ad sales Mike Petruzzi said.While viewers declined from the 2014 tournament in Brazil, the level is up from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when the U.S. games are factored out.“You are naturally going to have more people paying attention back home when your country is in the tournament, but there has still been a ton of interest in the World Cup in the United States,” current USSF president Carlos Cordeiro said in an email. “That clearly shows how the game has grown over the years.”Visa is using the World Cup to expand the use of near field communication contactless payment technology and brought Ibrahimovic, now with MLS’s LA Galaxy, to Russia for the tournament’s first week for promotion.“Some of the biggest amount of spending that we’re seeing in Russia is coming from American fans who travel to Russia to see the World Cup in person,” said Chris Curtin, Visa’s chief brand and innovation marketing officer.Visa’s data backed up an impression the percentage of fans from Europe was lower than at past World Cups. Part of the cause may be tension between Russia and western European nations that followed Russia’s invasion of Crimea and military intervention in Ukraine, and accusations by Britain that Russia was behind the poisoning of a former spy living in England.Through the semifinals, $12 million was charged inside the stadiums to Visa cards issued to cardholders in Russia, followed by those issued in the U.S. ($3 million), Mexico ($1.5 million), China ($1.1 million), Argentina ($700,000), Peru ($560,000), England ($550,000), Brazil ($500,000), Colombia ($420,000) and Australia ($400,000).France was 13th at $230,000 heading into Sunday’s final against Croatia.FIFA has seven top-level partners in Adidas, Coca-Cola, Gazprom, Hyundai, Qatar Airways, Visa and Wanda Group, plus five second-level sponsors: Anheuser-Busch, Hisense, McDonald’s, Mengniu Dairy and Vivo.Hisense, Mengniu, Vivo and Wanda are all Chinese companies, a sign of that nation’s increasing influence in soccer despite the lack of success of its national team.Among the official FIFA group, Adidas, Anheuser-Busch, Coke and McDonald’s purchased about 20 per cent of Fox’s advertising inventory and sponsorships, and Hisense sponsored clock wraps, billboards and graphics, according to Petruzzi. They were joined by tech companies Amazon, Apple and Google.Coke, Sprint and Volkswagen advertised on U.S. Spanish-language coverage on NBC Universal’s Telemundo network.Four years from now, the World Cup will be in Qatar, which like Moscow will also be seven hours ahead of Eastern time. The change will be the timing, Nov. 21-Dec. 18, a tournament shortened from 32 days to 28.“Fourth quarter has got a lot of rating points already with college football, NFL, so it’s going to be very interesting how we approach it,” Petruzzi said. “The holiday stuff will be great, but I also get cautious about fourth quarter because there’s so many rating points out there.”___More AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/WorldCup