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Former All Black Dylan Mika dead, aged 45

first_imgThe 45-year-old played two Tests for Samoa and then, following a three-year stand-down, seven for the All Blacks, including against South Africa at the 1999 World Cup.A statement released by Mika’s family on Tuesday says he passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, NZME reports.”Dylan was a very much-loved husband and father to Tracy and their daughter, Marley, and dearly loved son, brother, uncle, cousin and friend.”He was a hugely talented athlete, well-respected in the Samoan community and abroad, but just as importantly to his friends and family a warm, wonderful and caring man.”Gone far too soon at the age of just 45.”last_img

Mystery Shrouds Death of Indian

first_imgCHENNAI: The death of a sailor, who went missing from Liberian registered vessel MT Kingfisher, which was docked in Chennai Port, was mired in controversy as the ship was allowed to sail without any inquiry by Indian officials two days after the incident.Radhakrishnan T K, who was sailing on board MT Kingfisher, an oil tanker, went missing around 4.20 am on July 28 and his body was located at Royapuram the same evening. A First Information Report was filed by the police the next day but the crew in the ship were not questioned.The Chennai Port authorities and the Mercantile Marine Department (MMD) said they were not informed about the death when the ship departed from Chennai Port on July 30.As per the Merchant Shipping Act of 1958, Section 358, the death of any sailor should be reported. This incident is a blatant violation of Section 358, said Manoj Joy, Chaplain Sailors Society. Director General of Shipping (DGS) Deepak Shetty told Express that any death should be reported at the MMD based in Chennai and it is their duty to conduct the investigation.For his part, the recruiting agent of the ship and director of Seaarland Management Services, Mumbai, Capt Jairam, citing the rules, said that he had informed the DGS headquarters in Mumbai, and produced the letters that were duly acknowledged by the dispatch section. But why inform Mumbai when the incident happened in Chennai? Jairam claimed he went by the rule book. If the DGS, Mumbai failed to act, it is their fault, he argued. It was also learnt from the agent that the immigration department in Chennai Port, which is not tasked to conduct the inquiry, was informed by Inchcape Shipping Services based in Chennai. “The ship was docked right in front of the MMD office, yet the agent did not inform MMD,” said Joy.When Express contacted S Barik, principal officer of MMD, he said his office had not received any orders from the DGS to investigate the incident. “If the DGS asks us to conduct an enquiry, we will do so,” he said.The office of the DGS had in 2006 specified guidelines on how the enquiry should be conducted when a death is reported on a ship.“The irony is we don’t know who is responsible for letting the ship sail without conducting any enquiry over the death of the sailor,” said Joy. (Indian Express)International Transport Workers Federation inspector K Sreekumar has taken up the issue with the shipping company and MMD, and notified the ITF headquarters in London.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

How AI Is Teaching Gliders to Soar

first_img(Credit: Aerovista Luchtfotografie/Shutterstock)An adult albatross can spend days without ever touching the ground. Long wings that lock into place provide enormous amounts of lift. And a keen sense for thermals and air currents lets the birds soar with little energy expenditure. Sleeping, eating, drinking and bathing all take place on the wing, over the course of journeys that can span up to 10,000 miles.Entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg wish they could fly like an albatross. The Facebook founder’s Internet.org initiative aimed to deliver wireless internet to developing countries with high-flying drones that could stay aloft for months, beaming internet to rural areas. After disappointing drone flights, among other things, the project has since been scrapped. Google, too, seemed interested in developing long-lasting drones, acquiring Titan Aerospace in 2014, a maker of near-orbital drones that could serve as satellites.Conquering Wind-swept HeightsWhile Titan aerospace claimed its solar-powered craft could stay aloft for five years, the record so far stands at just under 26 days — far short of the albatross. Part of the problem is that solar-powered drones, the longest-lasting models currently in development, need heavy batteries that detract from efficiency. Birds like the albatross don’t stay on the wing for so long because they’re strong, but because they’re good at conserving energy.It’s a difficult thing to learn, though, because atmospheric conditions are complex and constantly changing, so much so that it’s nearly impossible to create a model for computers to use. That means a glider needs to react to changing conditions literally on the fly without having access to a model that might explain what those conditions mean.The researchers glider soaring autonomously. (Credit: Gautam Reddy and Jerome Wong-Ng)Now, a team led by a researcher from the University of California, San Diego, might have a way to bring a little of the albatross’ flying smarts to drones. They trained an autonomous fixed-wing drone using a machine learning algorithm that analyzed how reactions to various atmospheric conditions affected its flight. The drone could alter both its pitch (referring to the angle of the nose relative to the ground) and bank angle, and the software monitored the results. The results were published today in Nature.Modifications to its flight that helped the drone stay up were rewarded, and those that hurt it were penalized, helping the algorithm hone in the best strategies for flying over time. This strategy meant that no model was needed — just a memory of what seemed to help in a particular situation. After some practice, the researchers found that two things most affected the drones’ ability to stay up: The vertical wind acceleration and roll-wise torque (forces that roll the glider from one side to another). By tuning its responses to those variables, the researchers significantly improved the drones’ flying time.Though they only spent a maximum of 12 minutes aloft with this particular drone, the researchers say that their findings should offer some insight into how birds like the albatross use favorable wind currents to stay up for so long. Their algorithm might also help drones of the future fly for longer and do so more efficiently.last_img read more