Innovation: a catalyst for growth and prosperity

first_imgAs South Africa joins the discussion on improving the state of the world at the WEF meeting in Davos, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, CEO of the National Research Foundation, argues that education and innovation are the most important routes to growing South Africa’s economy.A portion of the Karoo Array Telescope, a precursor for South Africa’s massive country-spanning Square Kilometre Telescope project. (Image: Brand South Africa)Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, CEO of the National Research FoundationSouth Africa is currently taking part in the World Economic Forum annual meeting in the Swiss village of Davos. WEF is uniquely placed to offer the country a chance to position itself and communicate its value proposition to international decision makers. Importantly, Davos gives the South African delegation an opportunity to learn from other countries and from the many research reports WEF produces. One such report is the 2014-2015 Global Competitiveness Report, which indicated that South Africa’s international ranking had dropped by three points from 53 to 56. The four major contributors to the drop are declines in market efficiency for goods and services (28 to 32), financial market development (3 to 7), technological readiness (62 to 66), and innovation (39 to 43).While all four areas are important, from my vantage point the drop in innovation is particularly relevant. Far from being a parochial interest of researchers and innovators, innovation has to be a societal concern. From this century onwards, innovation capability will determine the relative wealth of nations and is the future gold for South Africa. In short, innovation is a catalyst for development.This point is, appropriately, made in the National Development Plan, which states “South Africa’s prospects for improved competitiveness and economic growth rely, to a great degree, on science and technology … innovation derived from science and technology and knowledge creation is the primary driver of technological growth and driver of higher living standards.”Even though the report records a drop in South Africa’s innovation, it notes improvement in the quality of our research institutions. This is borne out by the 2013 National Advisory Council on Innovation’s report on South African science and technology, which showed that the country’s research system was performing better than all of the other Brics countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – and sometimes better than Japan, the UK and US, as rated by a range of research-effectiveness measures.South Africa’s drop in innovation, according to WEF, largely due to slides in private sector spending on R&D, university-industry collaboration in R&D, and Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) patents applications. This means we must explore why business is not investing in R&D, despite the existing tax incentive.We must also encourage more collaboration between universities and industry. South African universities have rich research talent that can be used to support the private sector.One, if not the major, hindrance to us unleashing the power of innovation is our basic education. Innovation requires large numbers of intelligent and highly skilled tinkerers who can change the course of events, either through small backyard operations or through focused private sector investment. All countries that have rapidly grown their economies – South Korea being a prime example – did so by improving the quality and reach of their primary and secondary education.Poor education at school level affects the number and quality of those who can gain tertiary qualifications and university acceptance. It also determines the level of job complexity that a South African matriculant can handle, as opposed to someone with and equivalent qualification from another country.The answers to our basic education challenges lie not in more money but in a societal commitment. Learners must commit themselves to doing what it takes to master the material. Teachers must commit to showing up at school and using every minute to teach the material and ensure the learners master it. Government must commit to providing the necessary resources, on time, and the facilities necessary for education. As a society, we must commit to giving each learner the best possible opportunities for success.In addition, the country must develop high-end skills necessary to sustain a future knowledge economy. This not only means steering students towards science, technology, engineering and mathematics from school to postgraduate level, but also supporting those who want to pursue PhDs, which are critical for high-end research capabilities as well as for training a new generations of researchers.This year’s WEF will give South Africa an opportunity to learn from the successes of other countries, investigate ways these successes can be customised and implemented locally, and start a national commitment towards improving our innovation landscape in support of the National Development Plan.last_img read more

Forum unpacks nation’s trade and investment

first_imgThe value of South African investment into Africa is important for development, but is often overlooked. (Image: Brand South Africa)30 August 2016South Africa remained the biggest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) from investors outside Africa; this could be attributed to the strength of the rule of law, robust banking system and the best infrastructure network on the continent.These sentiments were expressed in the Trade and Investment plenary session of the Brand South Africa Nation Brand Forum. The forum is a gathering of the government, business and civil society with the objective of defining an inspiring narrative that can be used by all stakeholders when marketing South Africa internationally. It was launched by Brand South Africa on 24 August 2016.It is a proactive marketing programme that will be a flagship initiative for Brand South Africa and will be used to promote a positive nation brand image and reputation.More importantly for South Africa’s relationship with Africa, the country was the largest direct investor into Africa, participants in the plenary said. This was commonly overlooked when the country interacted with the rest of the continent.Delegates raised the idea that the government needed to manage the flow of information between stakeholders better. To build a stronger nation brand South African investors needed the government and media to tell the story of South Africa driving African revitalisation.If, as the plenary suggested, Africa was reminded that South African investment was responsible for the creation of 50 000 jobs on the continent, it would go a long way towards leading the perception of South Africa in Africa. This narrative would help to improve the positioning of the country in Africa and strengthen the country brand.The government was halfway there, participants said. Policy had made doing business in and with South Africa simpler. Twinned with a robust financial and banking system, the country remained a sought-after FDI destination.While the reality of its importance in the trade and investment sphere in Africa was not in doubt, Brand South Africa had a perception problem. It was one that only collaboration and co-operation between the government and the private sector could overcome. As long as both sectors sang from the same hymn sheet, the country could easily change the way the country was viewed in Africa.The plenary delegates’ preoccupation with the country’s standing in Africa stemmed from the belief that trade between African countries was the best way to ensure continued continental economic growth. For that to happen, Africa needed to remind Africa that it was its best trade partners.“Africa needs to be in control of access to African markets,” pointed out a delegate in the breakaway session. For that to happen, African nations needed to trust that investment led to beneficiation. The shortcut to building that trust would be for South Africa to build a strong nation brand built on the work it did already.last_img read more

A Spring field update

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest As planting enters the latter stages across Ohio, farmers now turn their attention to pest and disease issues. As Beck’s Hybrids Alex Johnson tells The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins, cutworms may be coming to Ohio corn fields, along with bean-leaf beetles in young soybean fields and head scab in wheat.last_img

One Time in Bandcamp: Challenging MySpace Music

first_img9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… Tags:#music#web 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Bill Tancer, Hitwise GM of Global Research recently wrote about MySpace’s departure as a top traffic generator for entertainment and music sites. Says Tancer, “MySpace was the most significant contributor of traffic to entertainment – multimedia sites providing over 35% of traffic to the category…that percentage now hovers below 10%.”And then on a related note, Wired’s Eliot Van Buskirk profiled SoundCloud as MySpace’s biggest music threat. While no one is arguing that MySpace has lost its grip as one of the leading music and entertainment destination traffic generators, I disagree with Van Buskirk’s choice in SoundCloud as the great equalizer. Due to the service’s ease-of-use and speed, SoundCloud is indeed one of the best file collaboration and music sharing sites. Quite simply, the site does everything right except help indie artists monetize. Meanwhile sites like Mix Match Music and Bandcamp provide solutions for bands to share AND monetize their products. In particular, Bandcamp’s execution is extremely elegant. As with MySpace, musicians upload their cover art, track listings, liner notes, lyrics and audio files. But Bandcamp adds four additional key features:1. File Conversions: The site converts a single uploaded file into eight different formats to meet device and music player requirements.2. Monetization: Bandcamp allows musicians to price their tracks and albums as they see fit. There is even the option to let fans decide prices on a sliding scale.3. Sharing Tools: The service provides embeddable player widgets for Facebook, MySpace and a variety of 3rd party blogs.4. Analytics: Perhaps most importantly, site analytics measure popular songs, track links and locate where files have been embedded. This means that musicians can search out their best advocates even if they’re miles (and sites) apart.While SoundCloud is definitely a fantastic tool for collaboration and remixing, it’s the storefront-style tools like Bandcamp that will either eat or be eaten by MySpace Music. We’ll just have to see where the major artists choose to flock in the coming months. CORRECTION: Earlier the writer described SoundCloud as a P2P site. SoundCloud is not structurally based on a peer-to-peer network of nodes. Instead the company considers itself a “Flickr for audio”. Related Posts center_img 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout dana oshiro 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

DDoS Attacks As Social Protest

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Anonymous#ddos#hackers#privacy#security adam popescu Related Posts A new petition, organized by Anonymous, has been sent to the White House with the hopes of legitimizing DDoS attacks – those hacker-led techno-onslaughts that shut down Web sites.The petition basically asks that distributed denial of service, or DDoS attacks, be designated as legitimate forms of protest. This is quite a stretch considering the amount of damage these attacks do (just ask the Federal government, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and a host of others). And the petition authors want those jailed for DDoS immediately released and their records cleared.Fat chance, right?The writers of the petition say DDoS attacks are the “equivalent of repeatedly hitting the refresh button on a webpage… Instead of a group of people standing outside a building to occupy the area, they are having their computer occupy a website to slow (or deny) service of that particular website for a short time.”The petition needs 25,000 signatures by February 6 in order to trigger a White House response (as of Monday night, there were 5,420 signatories). Anything less than the required amount, and the White House can treat this like spam and junk it. While it’s not likely to be effective, launching a petition like this in the wake of the death of Aaron Swartz and the wave of newfound support for hacktivists, may be the best possible timing for the petition to gain supporters (another online petition entitled “Reform the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act” also attempts to catch the rising support for hactivism). Still, that doesn’t mean it’s going to get real traction. A glass-half-empty look at the petition could classify it as a naive, tongue-in-cheek attempt from the black hat world to justify their activities – likely doomed to failure. Chance Of Snow In Hell Today“There is no way in hell the White House will ever legalize DDoS,” said activist and Australian journalist Asher Wolf. Wolf believes the petition comes from the Anonymous Collective. Attempts at contacting Anonymous were not returned at time of publication. But this issue may not be as morally black-and-white as one mightl make it. Security expert Dan Kaminsky says that while he wouldn’t sign the petition, he thinks the attempt is far from silly or naive. Kaminsky indicated that while the petition may be misguided, the idea of creating legitimate forms of online protest in the heavily guarded online world are needed.“People are going to figure out how protest works in a system that has gotten very good at suppressing protest,” Kaminsky said. “I see where they’re coming from… I understand the desire.”The fundamental problem with DDoS, Kaminsky added, is the numbers disparity between those who perform the DDoS attacks and those targeted. Usually the culprits are small groups of people targeting large numbers of computers. So while many computers are affected, in terms of manpower the numbers of actual participants are low. Kaminsky believes that’s what makes DDoS a lesser form of protest than say physical people in the streets.  “What makes protest work is the visible human investment,” he said. “Five people in Guy Fawkes masks protesting Scientology makes an impact. Who cares how many computers are involved, they don’t have opinions… One hundred thousand people protesting is very different from making 100,000 computers [shut down].”Not All About Social ChangeJust when you’re ready to change your mind about the hacker collective and believe they’re about to bring the world positive change, they go and do something that would make even their staunchest supporter say: “Huh?”Last night, Anonymous took credit for hacking into several news organizations’ websites, including the Los Angeles Times, Slate and Vanity Fair – all to wish a very special happy birthday to a fellow hacker. One step forward, two steps back.How Will Anonymous And Friends Be Treated?While this petition will not likely make it to the White House’s to-do list, it reflects a sense of the growing power of Anonymous and similar groups. These organizations looking for new ways to expand power and be taken seriously in this fast-evolving online landscape.In the last few years, the Anonymous movement has gone from small hacker cells to mainstream in-person gatherings the world over, with thousands donning masks and pounding the pavement. If they can translate that sheer human power to the Web, they may become much more powerful. If and when that happens, governments may being to treat with them the way they do foreign principalities – or terrorists. Photo Courtesy Of Shutterstockcenter_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

Filmmaking 101: Making a Video From the Ground Up

first_imgRefresh your skills and take a minute to remember why you got into filmmaking with these all-inclusive tutorials on capturing images.Cover image via guruXOX.Every video you see in this post comes from our new Shutterstock Tutorial YouTube channel, where we’re offering easy-to-follow introductions to things like camera movements; the philosophies behind those camera movements; and when and how to capture a particular moving, still, or sweeping shot.Understanding how your camera works is as important as learning how to tell an interesting story. So let’s start at the beginning. We’ll take a look at how to set your camera and lens before you actually start rolling.Understanding the IrisLet’s talk about the f-stop. This term refers to the aperture or iris inside your lens. It determines how much light can reaches your camera’s sensor.So how can you measure it for yourself and determine the right f-stop? Remember the scale of your f-stops like this: the higher the f-stop (a f16 or f22, for example), the less light will hit the sensor, creating a darker image. So, a lower f-stop will yield a brighter image with a shallow depth of field.Which reminds me, lets talk about depth of field. The depth of field you set determines how much your camera can keep in focus, and you control this with the f-stop. So, a lower f-stop like f2.8 will create a very shallow depth of field that can usually only keep a small area in focus. The higher the aperture, the “deeper” the depth of field.Understanding Shutter SpeedShutter speed is a measurement of time — specifically how long the shutter stays open when capturing an image. You’ll see it as a fraction of a second or a number of full seconds. So if your shutter speed is 1/250, this means that your shutter was open for one two-hundred fiftieth of a second. Super fast.However, videographers can understand the shutter speed in terms of a door opening or wheel spinning, letting light in for a certain amount of time. To quote Todd Blankenship:“Shutter angle is a measurement system that has stuck around from the film-camera days. There was a circular shutter that would constantly spin in front of the film emulsion. The shutter angle is a measurement (in terms of degrees) of how much of that circle is left open for the duration of the rotation.”This is but one of the many ways you can determine how your image will look in relation to how much light reaches the sensor.Understanding ISOThe ISO can be a bit tricky, especially since the ISO settings you use to properly expose your shot change from camera to camera.You can think of adjusting the ISO as adjusting the signal you get from the “photosites” on the sensor that measure blue, green, and red colors. So when you increase the ISO, you increase the camera’s sensitivity to light. Some cameras can produce a clear image in very dark situations, while other cameras yield noisy, grainy, unusable images under the same circumstances.So, it really depends on your camera’s capabilities. I always watch test videos on YouTube and check out camera reviews before purchasing a camera. It’s a good way to see what your camera can do without forking over your savings in advance.Once you have your camera set and the lighting is just right, here are some camera moves and techniques to consider.Pan, Tilt, and ZoomLet’s start with the pan. The pan moves the camera along a horizontal plane. Usually, you’ll perform this movement on a tripod. You can find this type of shot in the work of famous directors like Wes Anderson or Stanley Kubrick. You can use it comedically or for dramatic reveals — either way, it’s just a method of directing the audience’s attention.The tilt is basically the same idea, but instead of moving along a horizontal plane, you move the camera along a vertical plane. Think of this as a movement from point A and point B. A good rule of thumb is to catch your subject in focus at point B, so that when the camera stops moving, you don’t have to refocus.Zooming is pretty self-explanatory, but there are ways you can pull off a perfect zoom, meaning your image is in focus exactly when you need it to be. For tricks like putting tape on your lens as a focus marker, check out these articles:The Death and Rebirth of the ZoomUnderstanding Zoom Lenses and How to Use Them Properly Close-Ups and WidesMastering the close-up can take time, but these shots can be absolutely crucial to the plot if you’re filming a narrative piece. This is when we get up-close-and-personal with the characters. Getting this shot requires a shallow depth of field, which directs your audience’s attention to exactly what you want them to see — usually a character’s eyes or mouth. Outside of narrative film, the close-up will come in handy if you’re ever shooting product photography.The wide shot is a little more versatile. This all-encompassing shot is perfect for many different scenes and scenarios, like a walk-and-talk, a conversation, a landscape, or an action scene. Wide lenses are usually anything from 15mm to 35mm. Most of your image will be in focus, so choose your locations and surroundings carefully.7 Standard Filmmaking Shots Every Cinematographer Must KnowHow to Frame a Wide Shot Like a MasterHow to Shoot Close-Up Shots like Sergio Leone Tracking and Dolly ShotsNow, let’s look at moving the entire camera rig. Tracks and dollies are the end-all-be-all if you want to add a cinematic look to your video. It’s a smooth, sweeping, controlled movement that even the best in the business have trouble mastering from time to time. What is a tracking shot? It’s simple: follow your subject on a horizontal plane from a manageable distance while keeping the subject in focus.There are dozens upon dozens of ways to pull it off. Even Oscar-winning cinematography maestros like Emmanuel Lubezki pull out all the stops to get the shot. Here are a couple of cheap ways you can do so on your own if you don’t have a crew.The 5 Most Powerful Camera Movements in Cinema History5 Ways to Use a Gimbal to Capture Cinematic Footagecenter_img Using a JibThis shot requires a specific piece of gear. It might not be the easiest rig to build yourself, but we can still take a look at what the shots tell us from a narrative standpoint. For instance, moving the jib from ground level to over your characters as they walk is a good introductory shot that also reveals the location to your audience.The jib is also versatile enough to get overhead shots, low shots, shots from the ground looking up, etc. The possibilities are endless.5 Amazing Tripod Camera MovesThe Filmmakers Guide to Using the Establishing ShotFrame a High Angle Shot like a ProSo, you have all your masterfully captured footage. What next? Well, you’re going to need to edit the project, and you have options.Choosing the Right Editing ProgramIf you’re just getting into editing, there are three main programs to consider, and each offers a different user experience. Whether you can only afford a monthly subscription or a hefty one-time fee, these programs have everything you need. Adobe Premiere Pro is the primary option for anybody serious about video work. Final Cut Pro X has had its fair share of problems in the past, but Apple has been making strides lately to right their wrongs. We’ll see if a life-changing update is on the way.DaVinci Resolve is the unsung hero, in my opinion. There’s a free version you can download, and honestly, it’s awesome. Before I made the video above, I hadn’t really used this program very much, but it offers some pretty outstanding features — as well as a user-friendly interface.As far as working with the NLE’s we’ll get to that down the road, but this should be enough to get you started on an illustrious filmmaking career, and if you’re already a pro, I hope this trip down memory lane was a good refresher.Looking for more video tutorials? Check these out.Best Lenses for Gimbal CinematographyCreate Seamless Transitions with the Whip PanVideo Tutorial: How to Use a Vehicle as a Dolly SystemTutorial: How You Can Travel the World Making VideosUnderstanding Keyframe Interpolation in Adobe After Effectslast_img read more

Attacks on Dalits spark tension in western Uttar Pradesh

first_imgTension simmered in Meerut and Muzaffarnagar towns of western Uttar Pradesh after two incidents of atrocities on Dalits in the last two days. Eight people, including a pregnant Dalit woman, were injured when Gujjars attacked Dalits in Mawana area of Meerut on Wednesday.Gujjars fired over 22 rounds and beat up Dalits in a clash at Meeva village over a dispute on right of way. The attack on the Dalit family in Meerut came even while caste tensions were simmering in the nearby town of Muzaffarnagar. Dalit youth Vipin Kumar was badly beaten up by Hindutva activists who alleged that he had insulted Hindu gods. They forced Mr. Kumar to say “Jai Shri Ram” and hail other Hindu godslast_img read more

CLT20: Injured Rohit Sharma to miss the league, Pollard frontrunner to lead MI

first_imgIndian batsman Rohit Sharma. Photo: APStar batsman Rohit Sharma’s finger fracture is not only a blow to the Indian team but a big setback for Mumbai Indians as well, who will be playing in the qualifiers of the Champions League T20 starting September 13, in Raipur.With Rohit sustaining a fractured middle finger during the second ODI against England at Cardiff, it is unlikely that he will play any part during MI’s qualifying round matches in Raipur, which kicks off with a match against Lahore Lions.As of now, dashing West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard looks a likely candidate to lead the popular T20 franchise.”While Pollard is an automatic choice in the MI set-up, his success as the captain having led the Barbados Tridents to title triumph in the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League (CPL) will go in his favour. But Harbhajan should also be sounded out,” a source in the know of things told PTI today.Among the senior players, there is Harbhajan Singh, under whom Mumbai Indians won the Champions League T20 in 2012 but according to reliable sources is not too keen on leading the side. Harbhajan, who is fighting to make a comeback is more interested in performing well for the Mukesh Ambani-owned team.Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga is also one of the senior players in the side and had also led Sri Lanka to ICC World T20 triumph after being handed over the captaincy mid-way due to sudden dip in Dinesh Chandimal’s form.Aussie great Michael Hussey’s place in the playing XI is not assured, which can be a reason that he won’t be considered for the hot-seat.advertisementIf fit and available, the four first-choice overseas players are likely to be Lendl Simons, Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson and Lasith Malinga.The MI will certainly be seeking a replacement for the injured Rohit, who incidentally also sustained a finger fracture during 2011 tour of England.Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Pragyan Ojha, Praveen Kumar, Aditya Tare, Jalaj Saxena, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Gopal, Michael Hussey, Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson, Lasith Malinga, Marchant de Lange, Lendl Simmons.last_img read more