Krishna and Arjuna in digital yug

first_imgArjuna – (Takes his eyes off the laptop monitor, looks up to relax the neck muscles and then at his watch) Oh my God! (Lord Krishna pops up in the screen).Krishna – Why did you call me, my son?Arjuna – What? I…. called…? When? Oh my God!Krishna – Look, you are calling again!Arjuna – Oh! You mean that! It is just a manner of speaking. I say so very often to express not only surprise but also happiness, sadness…Krishna – What is it this time?Arjuna – Not really frustration, just pressure of work.Krishna – What is that urgent work, if I may ask so?Arjuna – You belong to Dvapar Yug, right? This is the computer age. How can I make you understand my work?Krishna – You mean I am outdated. I have more advanced software than what you know. You are a descendant of a tiny cell of primordial protoplasm, which I created three and a half billion years ago. With the help of built-in software, it is evolving by itself into so many forms methodically without the need of any upgrade patch. You cannot make one like that.Arjuna – Oh yes I should not have asked that question! I thought that science and religion are opposed to each other.Krishna – That is not true. Vedic scriptures are woven with scientific concepts. They appear to be mere hymns of worship, but they have huge scientific treasure in them. A verse in Rig-Veda, तथा च स्मर्यते योजनानां सहस्त्रं द्वे द्वे शते द्वे च योजने एकेन निमिषार्धेन क्रममाणं नमोऽस्तु ते॥ indicates the speed of light and Tulsidas has indicated the distance of the Sun from the earth in his Hanuman Chalisa, जुग सहस्र जोजन पर भानु, लील्यो ताहि मधुर फल जानू || NASA has confirmed their validity. There is a unique verse In Rig Veda; if you read normally, it is a salutation to Lord Vishnu. When you read from right to left, it is a salutation to Lord Shiva. If you do the parsing of words differently it gives you the value of pi up to 32 decimals.Arjuna – Wow!  I’m amazed!Krishna – You might have seen in thousand-year-old Navagraha shrines. The sun is in the centre and the other planets are around him facing different directions meaning that they are spinning around on their axes and orbiting at the same time around the sun (heliocentric model of the solar system). You can see the principles of astronomy sculpted in stone in the Sun temple Konark, the Virupaksha Temple in Hampi. (Karnataka) and also in ancient observatories in Delhi Jaipur Ujjain and Varanasi.Arjuna – Is there a single book from which I can learn about what you are saying?Krishna – You can read the book ‘Pride of India.’ That will give you complete information. You can find similar excerpts in “Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science–from the Babylonians to the Maya” by Dick Teresi.Arjuna – Let me note down. I will read when the time permits.Krishna – read and share! There is a lot beyond these books. It is not possible to give everything in one place. Year after year, archaeological excavations being carried out around the world come out with new evidence of your ancient history. You can analyze, why the earth is called bhugol in Hindi and Sanskrit. Gol indicates the spherical shape of the earth. So, this information is as old as the languages themselves. The Iron Pillar of Delhi is standing there 1600 years without rusting in spite of pollution and rains, indicating the superiority of the technology at that time.Arjuna – I have seen that, yes.Krishna – There are many twin stars in the sky. Among them Arundhati (Alcor) and Vashistha (Mizar) are unique. In other pairs one star is stationary and other revolves around it, while Arundhati and Vashishtha revolve around each other in synchrony. Your forefathers adored that as a symbol of an ideal couple with marital fulfilment and loyalty. In marriages, the priest points out this constellation to the couple to follow as a role model in their life.Arjuna – (looks at the ceiling) Yes I too looked up, but I did not know its significance.Krishna –You have a big computer in your head; do you agree?Arjuna – Yes.Krishna – If that doesn’t work well, you can’t sit in front of this man-made computer. Isn’t it so?Arjuna – Yes.Krishna – Very good! What is worrying you now?Arjuna – We are developing software. The company wants to release it next week. Life is tough these days. Why?Krishna – Do not question, why and why not! Try to improve it with your skill.Arjuna – Sometimes things are unclear. I am clueless.Krishna – Things keep changing continuously. Today is actually tomorrow of yesterday and it will be a thing of the past tomorrow. If you keep questioning, you will not get an answer. You must keep pace with change.Arjuna – Uncertainty is the cause of all problems.Krishna – Unpredictability adds spice to your life. Adversity brings wisdom. You must learn to master them or else you will be a slave. It is your choice.Arjuna – Sometimes, even after completing the task successfully, there is no appreciation if not done on time.Krishna – कालो हि दुरतिक्रमः | Time is insurmountable. It is awake and keeps ticking. So you have to work like a clock. You people study all branches of management, but the management of time depends on the management of your mind. If the mind is not trained well, you cannot manage the others. The scriptures teach this first. सिंहवत्सर्ववेगेन पतन्त्यर्थे किलार्थिनः॥ You must cast yourself on the task with all possible speed, like a lion.​Arjuna – How to work with enthusiasm during a crisis?Krishna – In addition to intelligence quotient, perseverance and vision, you need emotional quotient also to accomplish the task efficiently.Arjuna – Do you like the way, we live these days?Krishna – Yes. If you are unsuccessful and sad, you ask me why. If you succeed, you rush to the 5-star hotels. Further, you are the only creation of mine that is interfering with the very process of evolution and creating problems for the creator. I am very much upset about that. Ultimately you are the loser.Arjuna – What is the best way to a good quality living?Krishna – Think well before doing anything! If you get an affirmative answer for why then only do it. If it is not needed, then don’t do it. Don’t do anything just because everyone is doing it. Learn to live for yourself! Evaluate the past with no regrets! Focus on the present. Face the future without fear!Arjuna – There are sufferings all around.Krishna – This is not my making; it is a man-made disaster.Arjuna – I am not referring to this pandemic. Even otherwise good people are also suffering. Why?Krishna – That is a process of refinement; gold and diamond have to go through that before becoming a finish the product. They will not be disappointed; will succeed in the test.Arjuna – Does everyone need to experience it? Can’t live without such obstacles?Krishna – Yes. Experience is the best teacher. First I test people and then teach. These are meaningful. Like ‘speed breakers’. These teach many important lessons such as mental strength, endurance, and courage.Arjuna – Well. I got new motivation and energy now. Your unexpected visit is a blessing. I got confidence and hope. Thank you so much! Namaste!last_img read more

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Erika Jayne to Make Broadway Debut as Roxie Hart in Chicago

first_img Erika Jayne Chicago Related Shows View Comments The long-running hit revival of Chicago will welcome Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Erika Jayne in the role of Roxie Hart beginning on January 6, 2020. Jayne will remain with the production for a 12-week limited engagement through March 29.Chicago will mark Jayne’s Broadway debut. She is an acclaimed pop artist who has raked in nine #1s on the U.S. Billboard dance chart. On top of that, she is a New York Times bestselling author and fan-favorite star of Bravo’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.Based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, Chicago features a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Ebb. The production features direction by Walter Bobbie, musical direction by Rob Fisher and choreography by Ann Reinking in the style of Fosse.Chicago is the longest-running revival on Broadway and the longest-running American musical.center_img Erika Jayne(Photo: Nikko LaMere) Star Files from $49.50last_img read more

In partisan vote, House panel passes budget plan

first_imgby Anne Galloway The House Appropriations Committee approved a $1.3 billion fiscal year 2013 General Fund budget Monday evening on a 7-4 vote along party lines.Democrats lauded the Big Bill as a fiscally responsible plan; Republican members rejected the expenditure proposal because they said it accelerates state spending.Representative Martha Heath. Photo by Josh Larkin/VTD.Representative Martha Heath, chair of Appropriations, is proud of the work of committee members who try to reach consensus on tricky details of the money bill. She pointed to the $16 million set aside in reserves as evidence that the budget prepares the state for future uncertainties with regard to federal funding and possible revenue downgrades. Last year, the put about $10.88 million in reserve for changes in revenues, and the state spent about $7 million of the total.Heath is unhappy with the partisan split.‘I am disappointed in the vote,’ Heath said. ‘I think we did a good job. I think we have room for the future. I understand my definition of planning for the future and can be different from others’ definition of planning for the future.’The General Fund budget pays for the state’s government operations from the prisons and preschool subsidies to game wardens and social workers. The governor submits the original budget proposal after asking each department in state government to make an appropriation request. The House and Senate then each take up the Big Bill and tweak the administration’s proposal.The governor’s budget and the House proposal are just $7 million apart, with lawmakers budgeting the slightly higher amount. The biggest factor is the $5.1 million in set-asides for federal cuts. In addition, the governor wanted to reduce Temporary Assistance for Needy Families by $927,000, but it turns out the plan to count Social Security payments to individuals as part of the program formula was illegal. There were $700,000 in other changes due to Medicaid costs going down and debt service bonding going up.Total spending would increase by 5.8 percent in 2013, if the measure is approved. In 2012, General Fund spending went up by 6.1 percent; in 2011, the total was 6.9 percent above 2010 expenditures.The state would have an operating deficit of $8.73 million.The budget includes a number of new/reinstated positions. A breakdown of just how many and how they are classified was not made available.The budget-writers set aside $75 million in reserves, but several members of the GOP felt the spending bill didn’t go far enough to protect taxpayers from future economic uncertainties, including recent revenue downgrades totaling $14 million, federal cuts to state programs, further reductions to the Low-Income Heating Assistance Program that could run between $6 million and $12 million, and a mistake in the corporate tax economic forecast calculation that reduces revenues by about $5.8 million this year and next.All of these factors caused Rep. Joe Acinapura, R-Brandon, who has over the last few years voted with the Democrats on the budget, to reject the 2013 plan. He could accept the revenue downgrades, the corporate tax mistake and the fact that the federal government will likely take a bite out of state programs, but Acinapura couldn’t abide the idea of increasing state spending by 5.8 percent. What bothers him most is the way the Joint Fiscal Office plans for budget increases. JFO typically projects a 3 percent or 3.5 percent bump in expenditures when, Acinapura says, spending goes up by at least 5 percent annually.The projected budget gap for fiscal year 2014, for example, is $22.3 million, he says, when it could be at least $26 million higher, if JFO’s base spending increase estimate was 5 percent, not 3 percent. JFO estimates show a $39 million base rate growth at 3 percent.‘So next year, we’re going to have to find more money by raising taxes or cutting dramatically,’ Acinapura says.The 2014 budget projects $83.2 million in tax revenue growth. The estimated expenditures for that year include $45.5 million in one-time budget fixes carried over from 2013.Steve Klein, chief of JFO, explained to lawmakers that the percentage increase in this year’s budget would have been 2 percent lower but for a change in the enhanced Medicaid match increase of $20.5 million, additional state pension contributions for teachers and state workers of $13.6 million and a shift in $6 million toward the tobacco fund.‘You’re not just paying for growth in spending,’ Klein said. ‘You’re also paying for things like federal FMAP declines.’Heath said Vermont’s Medicaid match has increased because the state’s unemployment rate has dropped.‘The FMAP can swing both ways, it’s a calculation done every year, one that doesn’t have anything to do with what’s happening in Washington, it has to do with how well we’re doing.’The Big Bill goes on notice tomorrow, portions of it will be read by each member of the committee on Wednesday and it will be taken up by the House for second reading on Thursday.Other details:Appropriations has put $2.1 million into the budget for the working landscape bill, which promotes agricultural and rural economic development.The Legislature’s budget goes down by $500,000. That’s because lawmakers went home in 17 weeks last year instead of the 18 it budgeted for and it looks like they’ll leave early again this year. A week costs the state about $250,000.Other direct applications and revisons in the budget includes a $80,000 reduction from the Sargent at Arms office, $25,000 from Legislative Council, $25,000 from the Agency of Agriculture, $900,000 from the Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration and $2.7 million in new funding from the Attorney General Office’s mortgage settlement windfall.The committee’s wish list for cuts that could be restored in the budget when it reaches Senate Appropriations includes: $22,000 for agricultural fairs, $100,000 for conservation districts; $33,000 for Vermont Legal Aid (leads to equivalent cut in federal funds), $165,000 to lift a cap on dental services for Medicaid patients (comes with $208,000 federal match) March 20, 2012last_img read more

Imaging the brain at multiple size scales: New technique can reveal subcellular details

first_imgShare on Facebook Email MIT researchers have developed a new technique for imaging brain tissue at multiple scales, allowing them to peer at molecules within cells or take a wider view of the long-range connections between neurons.This technique, known as magnified analysis of proteome (MAP), should help scientists in their ongoing efforts to chart the connectivity and functions of neurons in the human brain, says Kwanghun Chung, the Samuel A. Goldblith Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, and a member of MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) and Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.“We use a chemical process to make the whole brain size-adjustable, while preserving pretty much everything. We preserve the proteome (the collection of proteins found in a biological sample), we preserve nanoscopic details, and we also preserve brain-wide connectivity,” says Chung, the senior author of a paper describing the method in the July 25 issue of Nature Biotechnology. Share The researchers also showed that the technique is applicable to other organs such as the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys.The paper’s lead authors are postdoc Taeyun Ku, graduate student Justin Swaney, and visiting scholar Jeong-Yoon Park.Multiscale imagingThe new MAP technique builds on a tissue transformation method known as CLARITY, which Chung developed as a postdoc at Stanford University. CLARITY preserves cells and molecules in brain tissue and makes them transparent so the molecules inside the cell can be imaged in 3-D. In the new study, Chung sought a way to image the brain at multiple scales, within the same tissue sample.“There is no effective technology that allows you to obtain this multilevel detail, from brain region connectivity all the way down to subcellular details, plus molecular information,” he says.To achieve that, the researchers developed a method to reversibly expand tissue samples in a way that preserves nearly all of the proteins within the cells. Those proteins can then be labeled with fluorescent molecules and imaged.The technique relies on flooding the brain tissue with acrylamide polymers, which can form a dense gel. In this case, the gel is 10 times denser than the one used for the CLARITY technique, which gives the sample much more stability. This stability allows the researchers to denature and dissociate the proteins inside the cells without destroying the structural integrity of the tissue sample.Before denaturing the proteins, the researchers attach them to the gel using formaldehyde, as Chung did in the CLARITY method. Once the proteins are attached and denatured, the gel expands the tissue sample to four or five times its original size.“It is reversible and you can do it many times,” Chung says. “You can then use off-the-shelf molecular markers like antibodies to label and visualize the distribution of all these preserved biomolecules.”There are hundreds of thousands of commercially available antibodies that can be used to fluorescently tag specific proteins. In this study, the researchers imaged neuronal structures such as axons and synapses by labeling proteins found in those structures, and they also labeled proteins that allow them to distinguish neurons from glial cells.“We can use these antibodies to visualize any target structures or molecules,” Chung says. “We can visualize different neuron types and their projections to see their connectivity. We can also visualize signaling molecules or functionally important proteins.”High resolutionOnce the tissue is expanded, the researchers can use any of several common microscopes to obtain images with a resolution as high as 60 nanometers — much better than the usual 200 to 250-nanometer limit of light microscopes, which are constrained by the wavelength of visible light. The researchers also demonstrated that this approach works with relatively large tissue samples, up to 2 millimeters thick.“This is, as far as I know, the first demonstration of super-resolution proteomic imaging of millimeter-scale samples,” Chung says.Currently, efforts to map the connections of the human brain rely on electron microscopy, but Chung and colleagues demonstrated that the higher-resolution MAP imaging technique can trace those connections more accurately.Chung’s lab is now working on speeding up the imaging and the image processing, which is challenging because there is so much data generated from imaging the expanded tissue samples.“It’s already easier than other techniques because the process is really simple and you can use off-the-shelf molecular markers, but we are trying to make it even simpler,” Chung says.center_img Share on Twitter Pinterest LinkedInlast_img read more

Georgia man says deputy shot his dog, ordered him to behead it

first_img A man says a sheriff’s office investigator ordered him to cut the head off his dog after it attacked a neighbor.The beheading took place in rural Crawford County, Georgia, after the dog lunged at the deputy and was fatally shot, according to a news release obtained by CBS affiliate WMAZ-TV.Joe Goodwin, the owner of the black-and-white pitbull mix named Big Boy, told WMAZ-TV that deputies gave him two options — take the dog’s body intact to a veterinarian for rabies testing, or cut off the head so the brain could be tested.But deputies wouldn’t let Goodwin leave his property, Goodwin said.Video that Goodwin posted to Facebook appears to show him getting into an argument with deputies before ultimately cutting off the head. A deputy can be heard making the request for Goodwin to behead the dog. Investigators search for possible animal abuse suspect in North Fort Myers Published: December 5, 2017 12:50 PM EST SHARE Recommended LINK: Read the full story Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. Outpouring of anger after dolphin in Naples found with fatal gunshot MACON, Ga. Georgia man says deputy shot his dog, ordered him to behead it last_img read more

Karelian Trains gets go-ahead

first_imgCONTRACTS were due to be signed by the end of October formally establishing Karelian Trains, a joint venture of RZD and VR which will operate international passenger services between Helsinki and St Petersburg.The company will have a charter capital of €1m, according to RZD Vice-President Mikhail Akulov, and each parent company will hold 50% of the shares.Registered in Helsinki, Karelian Trains will manage the operations and lease rolling stock belonging to VR and RZD. Services are now expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2009, using tilting dual-system electric trains capable of 220 km/h which will cut the current journey time between the cities by around 2 h to 3½ h. Each seven-car trainset will be able to carry 300 passengers, with one business class coach, five second class coaches and a restaurant car with a smoking compartment.last_img read more

Argo Sports Weekly – March 21

first_imgPrint Friendly Version We had a jam-packed edition of Argo Sports Weekly this week. #UWFTennis head coach Derrick Racine talks about his team’s season this far, Andrew Hancock recaps a week at the NCAA Championships with #UWFSwimDive, #UWFWGolf senior Paloma Vaccaro takes us through her school-record 65 at the Bama Beach Bash last weekend, and #UWFSoftball head coach Melissa Paul talks about her team’s season. #GoArgoslast_img

Guest column: Could resurgent Cowboys upset league’s best Saints in Texas-sized showdown?

first_imgAaron S. LeeMake no mistake, the New Orleans Saints are the best team in the National Football League this season to date. With an unequalled 10-game win streak, which began on Week 2 following what can now only be seen as a shocking loss to NFC South rival Tampa Bay in the season opener, an argument could be made to anoint quarterback Drew Brees with the league MVP crown — now!Not even almighty Los Angeles, who are also 10-1, were able to stand toe-to-toe with the Saints four weeks ago. This was the same Rams team that would go on to hand AFC upstart Kansas City (9-2) just its second loss of the season in that thrilling shootout Monday last. Only Houston (7-3) comes close to the current Saints’ hot streak with seven consecutive wins — also an impressive task considering the Texans dropped their first three games.With New Orleans blitzing the league in what appears to be a second serious Super Bowl run, can anyone stand in their way of securing the highly coveted home field advantage in the playoffs come January?With three division games remaining, including two with Carolina (6-5), a rematch with Tampa Bay (4-7) and an interconference matchup at home versus a formidable Pittsburgh Steelers squad (7-3), the one game that could catch New Orleans napping could be this Thursday’s border battle with the resurgent Dallas Cowboys (6-5), who have won three straight and now have a share of the NFC East lead with Washington (6-5), whom they soundly defeated on Thanksgiving Day.The Dallas trio of quarterback Dak Prescott, tailback Ezekiel Elliott and newly acquired wide receiver Amari Cooper already has the Cowboy faithful heralding the ‘second coming’ of the triplets. And while this latest rendition has yet to come close to the accomplishments of Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant, let alone hall-of-famers and three-time Super Bowl winners Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin, they do have people taking notice.While Prescott went a respectable 22 of 31 for 289 yards and two touchdowns against the Redskins, along with one rushing TD as well, the jury is still out on the Haughton native as he seemingly still struggles — at least with head coach Jason Garrett’s offensive scheme — to get the ball downfield. Prescott shortchanged Dallas receivers on two certain touchdown passes due to underthrown balls. Despite recording scoring passes of 40 and 90 yards, 80 percent of that yardage came off the back — and legs — of Cooper, who turned short yardage into big scoring gains with blazing run-after-catch separation skills. Cooper enjoyed a breakout performance with an eight-reception, 180-yard, two-touchdown drubbing of ‘Skins secondary.While some questioned the Cowboys decision to give up next year’s first round draft choice for the still-young 24-year-old Alabama Crimson Tide standout, Cooper’s presence precisely coincides with the team’s current three-game win streak to move into division-leading playoff contention.Perhaps the biggest reason to attribute the Cowboys season turnaround from an underachieving 3-5, is the voracious appetite of Elliott, who has been fed the ball on average of 22 times per game over the last three weeks for a staggering total of 394 yards and three touchdowns, not including one by air.The 23-year-old Buckeye has amassed 1,074 yards on 217 carries for an average of 4.9 yards per touch, and the Cowboys have won five of the six regular season games in which he’s rushed for more than 100 yards — only losing to Seattle (6-5) in Week 3 after a 127-yard effort.However, the Cowboys fifth best rushing offense will be tested by the Saints league leading rush defense — which has allowed just 73.2 yards per game. Or is it the other way around? After all, the Saints are currently tops in the NFL scoring 37 points per game. Meaning their opponents often forgo the run early in an effort to play catch-up.The Saints did hold Rams running back Todd Gurley II, who only trails Elliott in season yardage with 1,043, to just 68 yards on 13 carries. But again, the Rams were forced to abandon the ground game after finding themselves trailing 35-17 at the half.Like Dallas, New Orleans possesses a solid running attack with the one-two combo of Alvin Kamara (706 yards) and Mark Ingram II (440 yards). However the Cowboys rush defense is currently ranked fourth overall (93.6 ypg).With a potential stalemate on the ground, this game will most probably be won in the air.The pass-happy Saints are sixth in the NFL at tossing the football thanks to all-time leading passer Drew Brees (73,580 yards), who is enjoying a quarterback rating of 127.3 with 3,135 yards and 29 touchdowns. The Cowboys are 12th on pass defense giving up 237.5 yards and 15 touchdowns per game compared to the Saints, who are 30th overall (285.7 yards, 21 touchdowns).This might play perfectly in the increasingly confident hands of Prescott and his new favourite target, especially if the Saints have their sights more stringently set on revenge the following week in Tampa.— Aaron S. Lee is an international sports journalist for Eurosport, contributor for WGNO-ABC 26 in New Orleans and a graduate of Minden High School.Perfect-Dating.comAre You Ready to Meet Cool Guys in Tung Chung?|SponsoredSponsoredUndoTheTopFiveVPNThe Secret Netflix Doesn’t Want You To Know To Unblock RestrictionsTheTopFiveVPN|SponsoredSponsoredUndoAspireAbove.comRemember Abby from NCIS? Take A Deep Breath Before You See How She Looks|SponsoredSponsoredUndoNews gadgetThis watch takes the whole country by storm! it’s price? Ridiculous!News gadget|SponsoredSponsoredUndoTheTopFiveVPNThe Trick Netflix Doesn’t Want You To Know To Unlock RestrictionsTheTopFiveVPN|SponsoredSponsoredUndoCelebsland.com9 Celebrity Before-And-After Plastic Surgery|SponsoredSponsoredUndolast_img read more tracks commodities, links supply chains to deforestation risk

first_imgLaunched in 2016, Trase is an innovative Internet tool, available to anyone, which tracks commodities supply chains in detail from source to market, and can also connect those chains to environmental harm, including deforestation. Until the advent of Trase, knowledge of supply chains was sketchy and difficult to obtain.The Trase Yearbook 2018 is the first in an annual series of reports on countries and companies trading in such commodities as soy, sugarcane and maize, which also assesses the deforestation risk associated with those crops, making it a vital tool for environmentalists, governments, investors and other interested parties.The Yearbook shows that in 2016 the Brazilian soy supply chain was dominated by just six key players – Bunge, Cargill, ADM, COFCO, Louis Dreyfus and Amaggi – accounting for 57 percent of soy exported. In the past ten years, these six firms were also associated with more than 65 percent of the total deforestation in Brazil.Trase shows that zero-deforestation commitments (ZDCs) have so far not resulted in greatly reduced deforestation risk for the commodities companies and countries making them. Between 2006 and 2016, soy traders with ZDCs, as compared to non-committed firms, were associated with similar levels of deforestation risk. Aerial view of new Cerrado forest clearing. Roughly half the deforestation occurring in the Cerrado is legal, say analysts, highlighting the need for legislation to protect this biome – important for its biodiversity, aquifers and carbon storage. Image by Rhett A. Butler / MongabayA handful of companies account for half of South American exports of major commodities – including soy, palm oil, cane sugar and cocoa – according to a new report by the Stockholm Environment Institute and Global Canopy. Soy production has expanded rapidly in Brazil, where exports are dominated by just six companies, with the majority of those exports feeding the ever-expanding Chinese demand for the oily bean.The Trase Yearbook 2018 is the first in an annual series of reports tracking countries and companies involved in the trade of commodities such as soy, sugarcane, and maize, and assessing the deforestation risk associated with those crops, using data collated as part of the Transparency for Sustainable Economies (Trase) platform.While the report itself is making news, so is Trase – a relatively new tool developed jointly by international non-profit organization (NGO) Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and Global Canopy to improve transparency in supply chains globally. Until the advent of Trase, the tracking of commodities by investors, environmentalists, economists, journalists, consumers and other interested parties was largely hit and miss. With Trase a commodities supply chain can often be identified with a couple mouse clicks.Linking commodities to deforestationSignificantly, Trase offers “the first [ever] systematic accounting of the total deforestation risk associated with downstream buyers [for a particular] commodity that’s driving deforestation,” says Toby Gardner, Senior Research Fellow at SEI who heads the new platform.Prior to Trase, publicly available data on supply chains was limited to national-level statistics, allowing only crude analyses that often failed to identify the companies involved.“Trase has made an enormous contribution to increase transparency in value chains and more specifically in soy in Brazil,” says Luis Fernando Guedes Pinto, Manager of Agricultural Certification at Imaflora, an NGO based in São Paulo, Brazil. “It is a revolutionary and useful tool for all actors involved in the trade of commodities.”Trase was launched in 2016 and uses market research data on key commodities such as soy to track supply chains from the municipalities where the crops are produced, all the way to their international export.Gardner hopes that the projects’ online visualizations and open-access data will “simplify what is an immensely complex picture into a very simple message,” for governments, companies, environmental NGOs and activists to act upon.Cerrado soy feeds a booming global soy protein market. The Trase 2018 Yearbook tracks the Brazilian soy supply chain in detail, from producers to export. Image by Flávia MilhoranceThe challenge of tracing soy Soy production has expanded rapidly in South America in the last decade to meet growing market demand in Europe and Asia, largely for use as animal feed. Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay now provide almost half the world’s soy, up from just 3 percent in 1975. Brazil is expected to overtake the United States as the world’s largest soybean producer this year, with Brazil expected to produce 117 million tons.Commodities like soy are challenging to trace thoroughly along an entire supply chain because beans from many farms are typically trucked, bulked and aggregated at large centralized storage and sorting facilities. “There is no such thing as traceability of a [single] soy bean,” says Gardner. For this reason, even commodities companies themselves often do not have full knowledge of their own supply chain sources.To overcome this deficiency, Trase stiches together multiple datasets to identify “the most likely supply chain connections between a particular buyer and a particular landscape of production,” says Gardner. This estimation allows for the identification of landscape level effects, such as deforestation, which can then be more accurately allocated to specific traders.Pinto warns that the strength of any particular Trase analysis depends on the availability of data. Gardner agrees, noting that Trase has performed particularly well for Brazil, where detailed data purchased from private market research companies could be combined with freely available data in government repositories and self-declared by companies.As Trase expands its detailed analyses to other countries and commodities, analysts are encountering less complete datasets. Supply chains, they note, are more difficult to trace when commodities are exported not as raw crops, but as processed products. Argentina, for example, exports 80 percent of its soy as soy cake or oil.“I think a lot of people would be shocked [to learn] that the accessibility of many of the datasets we use was much greater in Brazil than for many European Union countries,” Gardner says. In the EU, import and customs data for individual shipments is not available in the public domain.Tracking the global soy trade Although more than 1,000 companies exported soy from Brazil between 2005 and 2016, only a handful have commanded a significant share of the market. The Trase data shows that in 2016 it was dominated by just six key players – Bunge, Cargill, ADM, COFCO, Louis Dreyfus and Amaggi – which together accounted for 57 percent of soy exported. Over the last decade, these six companies have also been associated with more than 65 percent of the total deforestation in Brazil. None of the six companies responded to Mongabay’s requests for comment.The dominance of so few very large companies “helps in pinpointing and targeting where the action is needed,” says Gardner, but “you’re dealing with a small number of incredibly powerful players,” which are unlikely to improve sustainability in their supply chains without governmental pressure and/or consumer willingness to pay a premium for that sustainability.However, knowing the six principal soy traders linked to the bulk of deforestation could aid environmental NGOs in better targeting their campaigns as they try to implement a voluntary Soy Manifesto in Brazil’s Cerrado biome and maintain the Amazon Soy Moratorium.One of the largest drivers of soy expansion across South America has been demand from China, with exports increasing 300 percent in the last decade, the Yearbook reports. China has increased their imports of Brazilian soy at the expense of exports from the U.S., Pinto says, which could have major ramifications for the future of sustainability in soy production. President Trump’s trade war with China could exacerbate shifts in soy trade patterns from the U.S. to Brazil. “We do not know the risks and sustainability consequences of these market battles,” says Pinto.However, analysts do estimate that half of the total deforestation risk in Brazil during 2016 came as a result of soy exported to China. In addition, although the EU imports a smaller volume of soy from Brazil, its trade imposes a relatively higher level of deforestation risk per hectare harvested when compared to China, because a greater percentage of EU imported soy comes from regions of high deforestation risk.Soy production was historically seen as a major threat to the Amazon rainforest. However, largely thanks to the success of the Amazon Soy Moratorium, most soy production and soy-associated deforestation now occurs outside the Amazon rainforest, particularly in the Cerrado savannah biome, which lies east and south of the Amazon basin.“The Cerrado is the biggest frontier of soy expansion in the world,” says Gardner.Spotlight on the CerradoThe voluntary Amazon Soy Moratorium – negotiated between the soy industry, the Brazilian government and civil society organizations led by Greenpeace – originated in 2006. The traders pledged not to purchase soy grown on land in the Brazilian Amazon deforested after July 2006. Although the moratorium has been criticized for driving agricultural expansion into less well-protected habitats, such as the Cerrado, Gardner says that this was probably a geographical shift that was already in motion when the Moratorium was devised.“It was really no skin off the industry’s nose to sign the soy moratorium because the Cerrado is a much better place to expand soy anyway,” as the land there is typically flatter and more suited to mechanized industrial agribusiness practices, and with better infrastructure.Brazil’s latest agricultural frontier is centered in Matopiba, a portion of the Cerrado covering 730,000 square kilometers (281 855 square miles), and spread across 337 municipalities in the neighboring Brazilian states of Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí and Bahia. Over 75 percent of Cerrado native vegetation cleared between 2006 and 2016 was in the Matopiba region, with soy production there soaring by 310 percent between 2001 and 2017. The reason for the rapid expansion is profit: the Matopiba soy crop boasted an estimated value of R $20 billion (US $5.3 billion) in 2015.While Cerrado soy expansion has been linked to higher incomes and reduced poverty and illiteracy, the region has also experienced a rise in child mortality, increased conflicts between agribusiness and traditional communities over water and land, and an exodus of rural people to urban slums seeking jobs.It is more challenging to assess and track deforestation in the Cerrado, which unlike the Amazon, is made up of a patchwork of dense vegetation and savannah. However, Trase estimates that in the Brazilian Cerrado, 20 percent of the total area in soy production in 2015 was covered in native vegetation as of the year 2000. Roughly half the deforestation occurring in the Cerrado is legal, say analysts, highlighting the need for legislation to protect this important ecosystem.Protecting the Cerrado is “fundamental not only for [limiting] greenhouse gas emissions, but for water and biodiversity conservation,” says Pinto.A protest by the Rainforest Action Network against Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge and Cargill at the Chicago Board of Trade. Despite Zero Deforestation Commitments made by transnational commodities companies, critics say that major traders have not done near enough to eliminate deforestation from their soy supply chains. Photo credit: Rainforest Action Network on / CC BY-NCDeforestation commitments vs. ground truthingCommodity trader commitments to reduce deforestation in recent years indicate an increased awareness by companies of the need to improve supply chain sustainability.Five major traders – Bunge, Cargill, ADM, Amaggi, and Louis Dreyfus (LDC) – have now made commitments to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains according to Gardner, with soy giant LDC the most recent to do so. In addition, large fines imposed by the Brazilian government on commodities traders guilty of buying from soy producers causing Cerrado deforestation could be a game changer.However, the regional distribution of these commitments has been very uneven. For example, less than half of soy exported from the Cerrado biome in 2016 was covered by a zero-deforestation commitment (ZDC). The Cerrado Manifesto, which was developed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Greenpeace in 2017 and calls for voluntarily pledges to stop clearing Cerrado native vegetation, has received more than 70 signatories so far, but none have come from major soy traders.Also, these voluntary declarations to remove soy from company supply chains are far from being effectively implemented on the ground. So far, zero-deforestation commitments have not manifested in substantially reduced deforestation risk for those companies and countries that have made them. Between 2006 and 2016, soy traders with ZDCs were associated with similar levels of deforestation risk as compared to non-committed companies, according to the Yearbook.“It’s not yet the case that those companies that have made commitments are showing much lower levels of deforestation risk,” reports Gardner.Similarly at the national level, EU countries that are signatories to the 2015 Amsterdam Declaration, which aims to eliminate deforestation from agricultural supply chains, are associated with similar levels of deforestation risk as other EU nations.Trase hopes to provide a baseline to track future progress towards ZDCs and other sustainability commitments to evaluate whether these strategies are effective.New legislation, such as France’s Duty of Vigilance Law, shows the role importing governments can play. Implemented in 2017, the law requires companies with more than 5,000 employees to evaluate the social and environmental impacts of their supply chains around the world. “That’s unprecedented for a country to impose that requirement on its private sector,” says Gardner.Pinto points out that existing definitions of sustainability also come up short. “Many companies, and even a few NGOs, consider deforestation-free soy as sustainable. This is a terrible mistake and a bad message for society,” he says. While the soy moratorium prohibits deforestation in the Amazon biome, as well as child labor and slave labor, he explains “sustainable soy would be linked not only to avoiding bad practices, but [also to implementing] good social, agronomic and environmental practices.”Enhancing commodities trading transparencyGardner sees a combination of government action, NGO campaign pressure and consumer choice as paving the way to increased transparency and sustainability, with Trase providing an accessible way for stakeholders to understand and explore commodity supply chains, and measure progress.“We can now see in simple graphics the volume of soy traded either by company, municipality or country importer,” says Pinto. “This level of transparency allows governments, NGOs, retailers and the financial sector to have a wide and comprehensive understanding of the global trade flow.”Significantly, there is no real need to continue deforestation in Brazil in order to meet the growing demand for commodities like soy, sources told Mongabay. According to report published in March by MightyEarth, and NGO, 650 million hectares (2.5 million square miles) of previously cleared land in Latin America could be used to grow soy.Gardner explains: “It’s not necessarily that the brakes need to be put on soy production. [Instead] the growth of the industry needs to be directed to areas that have already been cleared and degraded.” However, the current political climate in Brazil encourages more deforestation, not less. “Clearing forest and land is cheaper and makes more sense [under current federal policies] than converting pasture to crops,” says Pinto.Through a concerted effort – by turning degraded pasturelands to croplands, and by adopting improved productivity techniques – Brazil could satisfy global demand for soy without cutting down a single tree.Soy is ubiquitous in thousands of products, with consumer demand driving soaring soy expansion in the Brazilian Cerrado, leading to a dramatic loss of native vegetation there. Most consumers have little awareness of what products contain soy, no less the tropical deforestation its production is causing. Photo on Visual HuntClarification: This article was updated to note that Trase is a partnership between the Stockholm Environment Institute and Global Canopy.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Glenn Scherer Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Agriculture, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon Soy, Conservation Technology, Controversial, Corporate Social Responsibility, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Politics, Featured, Forests, Global Trade, Green, Industrial Agriculture, Land Use Change, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Saving The Amazon, Soy, Supply Chain, Technology, Threats To The Amazon, Trade, Tropical Deforestation, Tropical Forests, Wildtech last_img read more