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Abolition of the ESA Work-Related Activity Component …

Posted: December 2, 2016 at 12:27 pm

The Welfare Reform and Act 2016 legislated for the abolition of the Work-Related Activity Component (WRAC)of ESA for new claimants from April 2017. Based on 2016-17 rates, this equates to a reduction of 29.05 a week for claimants in the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG). Alongside this, the Government announced “new funding for additional support to help claimants return to work”

ESA is an “income replacement” benefitfor people who have a health condition or disability which limits their ability to work. As of February 2016 there were around 2.4 million ESA claimants in Great Britain, including450,000 in the Work-Related Activity Group.

There are two forms of ESA:

Income-related ESA will be replaced by Universal Credit; contributory ESA will remain as a separate benefit. The Government currently expects the introduction of Universal Credit to be fully complete by 2022.

A person must undergo a Work Capability Assessment to be eligible for ESA. There are three possible outcomes of a Work Capability Assessment;

Following the assessment, successful ESA claimants receive a standard rate plus an additional amount.

The standard rate of ESA is currently 73.10 a week, plus either:

These additions are known as the Support Component and the Work-Related Activity Component, respectively.

In the Summer Budget 2015, it was announced that the Work-Related Activity Component paid to those in the WRAG would be abolished for new claims from April 2017. The equivalent element in Universal Credit will also be abolished. This will be a reduction of 29.05 a week (based on 2016-17 rates) and aligns the rate of payment with those claiming Jobseekers Allowance (2016-17 rate: 73.10 a week). Existing claimants will not be affected, while there will be protections for those who may move into the WRAG or Universal Credit equivalent from the Support Group.

The changes were introduced to remove the financial incentives that could otherwise discourage claimants from taking steps back to work. 640 million a year of savings were initially forecast by 2020-21; this was later revised to 450 million a year.

The changes were widely criticised by disabled charities. The idea that the WRAC incentivises claimants to not look for work has been particularly disputed.

The proposals were opposed by opposition parties. Amendments to retain the component (and equivalent in Universal Credit) were tabled and agreed at the Lords Report Stage of the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016. The Lords vote followed the publication ofa review initiated by Members of the House of Lords and supported by disability charities; the “Halving the Gap?” review. The review recommended that theGovernment should not proceed with the removal of the Work-Related ActivityComponent.

These amendmentswere overturned by the Commons. A further amendment requiring the Government to provide analysis of the impact of the changes before introducing them was also proposed by the Lords, and subsequently overturned by the Commons.

Alongside the changes to the WRAC was an announcement to provide new funding for additional support to help claimants return to work. The Government has since announced a series of measures and funding to deliver this, including;

60 million per year rising to 100 million per year for practical employment support, including an additional 15 million in 2017-18 directed at the local Jobcentre PlusFlexible Support Fund, to be set asidespecifically forthose with limited capability to work

Further detail of the additional employment support has been set out in the Government’s October 2016 Green Paper, Improving Lives. This was published instead of a previously announced White Paper.

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Nature Mysticism : Quotations, Links, Bibliography, Notes …

Posted: November 25, 2016 at 10:10 am

Nature Mysticism

Quotes Bibliography Links

Spirituality Walking Gardening Druids Cloud Hands Blog

Research by Michael P. Garofalo

Quotes

Nature Mysticism

“The road enters green mountains near evening’s dark; Beneath the white cherry trees, a Buddhist temple Whose priest doesn’t know what regret for spring’s passing means- Each stroke of his bell startles more blossoms into falling.” – Keijo Shurin

“Experiencing the present purely is being empty and hollow; you catch grace as a man fills his cup under a waterfall.”- Annie Dillard

“When we touch this domain, we are filled with the cosmic force of life itself, we sink our roots deep into the black soil and draw power and being up into ourselves. We know the energy of the numen and are saturated with power and being. We feel grounded, centered, in touch with the ancient and eternal rhythms of life. Power and passion well up like an artesian spring and creativity dances in celebration of life.”- David N. Elkins, The Sacred as Source of Personal Passion and Power

Mysticism – Quotes and Poems for Gardeners and Lovers of the Green Way

“There are sacred moments in life when we experience in rational and very direct ways that separation, the boundary between ourselvesand other people and between ourselves and Nature, is illusion. Oneness is reality. We can experience that stasis is illusory and that reality is continual flux and change on very subtle and also on gross levels of perception.- Charlene Spretnak

“And every stone and every star a tongue, And every gale of wind a curious song. The Heavens were an oracle, and spoke Divinity: the Earth did undertake The office of a priest; and I being dumb (Nothing besides was dumb) all things did come With voices and instructions…”- Thomas Traherne, Dumbness, 17th Century

“If not ignored, nature will cultivate in the gardener a sense of well-being and peace. The gardener may find deeper meaning in life by paying attention to the parables of the garden. Nature teaches quiet lessons to the gardener who chooses to live within the paradigm of the garden.” – Norman H. Hansen, The Worth of Gardening

“These blessed mountains are so compactly filled with God’s beauty,no petty personal hope or experience has room to be . . . . the wholebody seems to feel beauty when exposed to it as it feels the campfireor sunshine, entering not by the eyes alone, but equally through allone’s flesh like radiant heat, making a passionate ecstatic pleasure glow not explainable. One’s body then seems homogeneousthroughout, sound as a crystal.”- John Muir

Quotes and Poems for Gardeners and Lovers of the Green Way

“A monk asked Zhaozhou, “What is the living meaning of Zen?.” Zhaozhou said, “The oak tree in the courtyard.”- Case 37 from the Mumonkan (Wumenguan) Collection of Zen Koans The Oak Tree in the Courtyard

“Beyond its practical aspects, gardening – be it of the soil or soul – can lead us on a philosophical and spiritual exploration that is nothing less than a journey into the depths of our own sacredness and the sacredness of all beings. After all, there must be something more mystical beyond the garden gate, something that satisfies the soul’s attraction to beauty, peace, solace, and celebration.” – Christopher and Tricia McDowell, The Sanctuary Garden, 1998, p.13 Cortesia Sanctuary and Center

“When I would re-create myself, I seek the darkest wood, the thickest and most interminable and to the citizen, most dismal, swamp. I enter as a sacred place, a Sanctum sanctorum. There is the strength, the marrow, of Nature.”- Henry David Thoreau, Walking, 1851

Religion – Quotes and Poems for Gardeners and Lovers of the Green Way

“We invent nothing, truly. We borrow and re-create. We uncoverand discover. All has been given, as the mystics say. We haveonly to open our eyes and hearts, to become one with that which is.” – Henry Miller

“For the Eastern mystic, all things and events perceived by the senses are interrelated, connected and are but different aspects or manifestations of the same ultimate reality. Our tendency to divide the perceived world into individual and separate things and to experience ourselves as isolated egos in this world is seen as an illusion which comes from our measuring and categorizing mentally. It is called avidya, or ignorance, in Buddhist philosophy and is seen as the sate of a disturbed mind which has to be overcome: ‘When the mind is disturbed, the multiplicity of things is produced, but when the mind is quieted, the multiplicity of things disappears.’ Although the various schools of Eastern mysticism differ in many details, they all emphasize the basic unity of the universe which is the central feature of their teachings. The highest aim for their followers – whether they are Hindus, Buddhists or Taoists – is to become aware of the unity and mutual interdependence of all things, to transcend the notion of an isolated individual self and to identify themselves with the ultimate reality. The emergence of this awareness – known as ‘enlightenment’- is not only an intellectual act but is an experience which involves the whole person and is religious in its ultimate nature. For this reason, most Easter philosophies are essentially religious philosophies.”

– Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics, 25th Anniversary Edition, p. 24

“God does not die on that day when we cease to believe in a personaldeity, but we die when our lives cease to be illuminated by the steadyradiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyondall reasoning…. When the sense of the earth unites with the senseof one’s body, one becomes earth of the earth, a plant among plants,an animal born from the soil and fertilizing it. In this union, the bodyis confirmed in its pantheism.” – Dag Hammarskjold (1905-1961)

Spirituality – Quotes and Poems for Gardeners and Lovers of the Green Way

“Of course the Dharma-body of the Buddha was the hedge at the bottom of the garden. At the same time, and no less obviously, it was these flowers, it was anything that I – or rather the blessed Not-I – cared to look at.” – Aldous Huxley

“We will endeavour to shew how the aire and genious of Gardens operat upon humane spirits towards virtue and sancitie, I meane in a remote, preparatory and instrumentall working. How Caves, Grotts, Mounts, and irregular ornaments of Gardens do contribute to contemplative and philosophicall Enthusiasms; how Elysium, Antrum, Nemus, Paradysus, Hortus, Lucus, &c., signifie all of them rem sacram et divinam; for these expedients do influence the soule and spirits of man, and prepare them for converse with good Angells; besides which, they contribute to the lesse abstracted pleasures, phylosophy naturall and longevitie.”- John Evelyn in a letter to Sir Thomas Browne, 1657

“Sure as the most certain sure …. plumb in the uprights, well entreated, braced in the beams, Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical, I and this mystery we stand.

Clear and sweet is my soul …. and clear and sweet is all that is not my soul,

Lack one lacks both …. and the unseen is proved by the seen Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn.

To elaborate is no avail …. Learned and unlearned feel that it is so.”- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1855, Line 40-

“Flower in the crannied wall I pluck you out of the crannies I hold you here, root and all, in my hand. Little flower, but if I could understand, What you are, root and all, and all in all, I should know what God and man is.”- Alred Tennyson, Flower in the Crannied Wall

“What I know in my bones is that I forgot to take time to remember what I know. The world is holy. We are holy. All life is holy. Dailyprayers are delivered on the lips of breaking waves, thewhisperings of grasses, the shimmering of leaves.- Terry Tempest Williams

Trees – Quotes and Poems for Gardeners and Lovers of the Green Way

“The Tao exists in the crickets … in the grasses … in tiles and bricks … and in shit and piss.”- Chuang-tzu, The Roaring Stream: A New Zen Reader, p. 117

“In the assemblies of the enlightened ones there have been many cases of mastering the Way bringing forth the heart of plants and trees; this is what awakening the mind for enlightenment is like. The fifth patriarch of Zen was once a pine-planting wayfarer; Rinzai worked on planting cedars and pines on Mount Obaku. … Working with plants, trees, fences and walls, if they practice sincerely they will attain enlightenment.”- Dogen Zenji, Japanese Zen Buddhist Grand Master, Awakening the Unsurpassed Mind, #31

“A callused palm and dirty fingernails precede a Green Thumb. Complexity is closer to the Truth. Sitting in a garden and doing nothing is high art everywhere. Does a plum tree with no fruit have Buddha Nature? Whack!! The only Zen you’ll find flowering in the garden is the Zen you bring there each day. Dearly respect the lifestyle of worms. All enlightened beings are enchanted by water. Becoming invisible to oneself is one pure act of gardening. Priapus, lively and naughty, aroused and outlandish, is the Duende de el Jardin.Inside the gardener is the spirit of the garden outside. Gardening is a kind of deadheading – keeping us from going to seed. The joyful gardener is evidence of an incarnation. One purpose of a garden is to stop time. Leafing is the practice of seeds. Good weather all the week, but come the weekend the weather stinks. Springtime for birth, Summertime for growth; and all Seasons for dying. Ripening grapes in the summer sun – reason enough to plod ahead. Springtime flows in our veins. Beauty is the Mistress, the gardener Her salve. A soul is colored Spring green. When the Divine knocks, don’t send a prophet to the door. Winter does not turn into Summer; ash does not turn into firewood – on thechopping block of time. Fresh fruit from the tree – sweet summertime! Gardens are demanding pets. Shade was the first shelter. One spring and one summer to know life’s hope; one autumn and one winter to know life’s fate. Somehow, someway, everything gets eaten up, someday. Relax and be still around the bees. Paradise and shade are close relatives on a summer day. Absolutes squirm beneath realities. The spiders, grasshoppers, mantis, and moth larva are all back: the summer crowd has returned! To garden is to open your heart to the sky.”- Michael P. Garofalo, Pulling Onions

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Nature Mysticism : Quotations, Links, Bibliography, Notes …

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Obama Urged to Fire NSA Director

Posted: at 10:09 am

The heads of the Pentagon and the nations intelligence community have recommended to President Obama that the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, be removed.

The recommendation, delivered to the White House last month, was made by Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., according to several U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

Action has been delayed, some administration officials said, because relieving Rogers of his duties is tied to another controversial recommendation: to create separate chains of command at the NSA and the militarys cyberwarfare unit, a recommendation by Clapper and Carter that has been stalled because of other issues.

The news comes as Rogers is being considered by President-elect Donald Trump to be his nominee for director of national intelligence to replace Clapper as the official who oversees all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies. In a move apparently unprecedented for a military officer, Rogers, without notifying superiors, traveled to New York to meet with Trump on Thursday at Trump Tower. That caused consternation at senior levels of the administration, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal personnel matters.

The White House, Pentagon and Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment. The NSA did not respond to requests for comment. Carter has concerns with Rogerss performance, officials said. The driving force for Clapper, meanwhile, was the separation of leadership roles at the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command, and his stance that the NSA should be headed by a civilian.

In a speech before the National Press Club on July 16, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, said that the agency is increasingly involved in responding to cyberthreats. (C-SPAN)

[Trumps security picks signals intent to keep hard-line promises]

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, on Saturday sent Clapper and Carter a letter defending Rogers. I have been consistently impressed with his leadership and accomplishments, said Nunes, who is also a member of Trumps transition team. His professionalism, expertise and deckplate leadership have been remarkable during an extremely challenging period for NSA. I know other members of Congress hold him in similarly high esteem.

Nunes said he will call a hearing on the matter.

Rogers, 57, took the helm of the NSA and Cyber Command in April 2014 in the wake of revelations by a former intelligence contractor of broad surveillance activities that shook public confidence in the agency. The contractor, Edward Snowden, had secretly downloaded vast amounts of digital documents that he shared with a handful of journalists. His disclosures prompted debate over the proper scale of surveillance and led to some reforms.

But they also were a black eye for an agency that prides itself on having the most skilled hackers and cybersecurity professionals in government. Rogers was charged with making sure another insider breach never happened again.

Instead, in the past year and a half, officials have discovered two major compromises of sensitive hacking tools by personnel working at the NSAs premier hacking unit: the Tailored Access Operations (TAO). One involved a Booz Allen Hamilton contractor, Harold T. Martin III, who is accused of carrying out the largest theft of classified government material. Although some of his activity took place before Rogers arrived and at other agencies, some of it including the breach of some of the most sensitive tools continued on Rogerss watch, the officials said.

Martins alleged theft was discovered when some of the tools he is accused of stealing were mysteriously released online in August. They included computer code based on obscure software flaws that could be used to take control of firewalls and networks what one former TAO operator called the keys to the kingdom.

A federal contractor suspected in the leak of powerful National Security Agency hacking tools has been arrested and charged with stealing classified information from the U.S. government, according to court records and U.S. officials familiar with the case. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)

Martin, who moved from the NSA to a job in a Defense Department acquisitions agency last year, was arrested in August. The news broke last month.

[Government alleges NSA contractor stole astonishing quantity of classified material]

But there was a second, previously undisclosed breach of cybertools, discovered in the summer of 2015, which was also carried out by a TAO employee, one official said. That individual also has been arrested, but his case has not been made public. The individual is not thought to have shared the material with another country, the official said.

Rogers was put on notice by his two bosses Clapper and Carter that he had to get control of internal security and improve his leadership style. There have been persistent complaints from NSA personnel that Rogers is aloof, frequently absent and does not listen to staff input. The NSA is an intelligence agency but part of the Defense Department, hence the two overseers.

FBI agents investigating the Martin breach were appalled at how lax security was at the TAO, officials said. [Rogers] is a guy who has been at the helm of the NSA at the time of some of the most egregious security breaches, most recently Hal Martin, a senior administration official said. Clearly its a sprawling bureaucracy … but I think theres a compelling case that can be made that some of the safeguards that should have been put in place were either not fully put in place or not implemented properly.

At the same time, Rogers has not impressed Carter with his handling of U.S. Cyber Commands cyberoffensive against the Islamic State. Over the past year or so, the commands operations against the terrorist groups networks in Syria and Iraq have not borne much fruit, officials said. In the past month, military hackers have been successful at disrupting some Islamic State networks, but it was the first time they had done that, the officials said.

The expectation had been that Rogers would be replaced before the Nov. 8 election, but as part of an announcement about the change in leadership structure at the NSA and Cyber Command, a second administration official said.

It was going to be part of a full package, the official said. The idea was not for any kind of public firing. In any case, Rogerss term at the NSA and Cyber Command is due to end in the spring, officials said.

The president would then appoint an acting NSA director, enabling his successor to nominate their own person. But a key lawmaker, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, threatened to block any such nominee if the White House proceeded with the plan to split the leadership at the NSA and Cyber Command.

The rationale for splitting what is called the dual-hat arrangement is that the agencies missions are fundamentally different, that the nations cyberspies and military hackers should not be competing to use the same networks, and that the job of leading both organizations is too big for one person.

But McCain is concerned that placing Cyber Command under its own leadership will hinder its effectiveness, as it is highly dependent on the NSA for capabilities.

Meanwhile, in February, Rogers announced a major reorganization, which he called NSA21, at the NSA to better adapt to the digital age. He has merged the agencys spying and hacking arms with its computer-security division into one Directorate of Operations. That reorganization has only intensified the discontent that has marked Rogerss tenure at the agency, current and former officials said.

The morale is horrible, one former senior official said. Especially during a period of change, a leader needs to be present, the official said. Any leader knows that when you institute change, you have to be there. You have to help heal the wounds, be very active. He was not.

But Saxby Chambliss, a former Republican senator from Georgia who served on the Select Committee on Intelligence, said that he thinks highly of Rogers. When it comes to the world of cyber, theres nobody more capable than Mike Rogers in the military world today, he said.

Nonetheless, Rogers has seen other embarrassing network breaches on his watch. In 2013, Iranian hackers managed to penetrate the Navys unclassified network when Rogers was head of the 10th Fleet/Navy Cyber Command, the unit responsible for protecting the Navys networks. It took months to expel the attackers.

Rogers is a Navy cryptologist whose military career spans 35 years. He began his career as a surface-warfare officer in 1981. A Chicago native, he also has served as head of the Chairmans Action Group, an in-house Pentagon think tank to advise on policy and long-term issues, under the then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, and as director of intelligence at Pacific Command and then on the Joint Staff.

Read more:

Trumps security picks deepen Muslim worries about an anti-Islamic White House

Intelligence community is already feeling a sense of dread about Trump

Makeup helps women look more attractive: This employee dress memo went around Lt. Gen. Michael Flynns DIA

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Fiscal year – Wikipedia

Posted: November 23, 2016 at 10:04 pm

A fiscal year (or financial year, or sometimes budget year) is a period used for calculating annual (“yearly”) financial statements in businesses and other organizations all over the world. In many jurisdictions, regulatory laws regarding accounting and taxation require such reports once per twelve months, but do not require that the period reported on constitutes a calendar year (that is, 1 January to 31 December). Fiscal years vary between businesses and countries. The “fiscal year” may also refer to the year used for income tax reporting.

The ‘fiscal year end’ (FYE) is the date that marks the end of the fiscal year. Some companies choose to end their fiscal year such that it ends on the same day of the week each year, e.g. the day that is closest to a particular date (for example, the Friday closest to 31 December). Under such a system, some fiscal years will have 52 weeks and others 53 weeks. A major corporation that has adopted this approach is Cisco Systems.[1]

Nevertheless, the fiscal year is identical to the calendar year for about 65% of publicly traded companies in the United States and for a majority of large corporations in the UK[2] and elsewhere (with notable exceptions Australia, New Zealand and Japan).[3]

Many universities have a fiscal year which ends during the summer, both to align the fiscal year with the academic year (and, in some cases involving public universities, with the state government’s fiscal year), and because the school is normally less busy during the summer months. In the northern hemisphere this is July in one year to June in the next year. In the southern hemisphere this is January to December of a single calendar year.

Some media/communication based organizations use a broadcast calendar as the basis for their fiscal year.

The fiscal year is usually denoted by the year in which it ends, so United States of America federal government spending incurred on 14 November 2016 would belong to fiscal year 2017, operating on a fiscal calendar of OctoberSeptember.[4]

The NFL uses the term “league year,” which in effect forms the league’s fiscal year. By rule, the fiscal year begins at 4 PM EDT on 10 March of each calendar year. All financial reports are based on each fiscal year. However, the fiscal year is denoted in the NFL by the year where it starts, not where it ends, unlike most designations.

In some jurisdictions, particularly those that permit tax consolidation, companies that are part of a group of businesses must use nearly the same fiscal year (differences of up to three months are permitted in some jurisdictions, such as the U.S. and Japan), with consolidating entries to adjust for transactions between units with different fiscal years, so the same resources will not be counted more than once or not at all.[citation needed]

In Afghanistan, the fiscal year was recently changed from 1 Hamal – 29 Hoot (21 March – 20 March) to 1 Jadi – 30 Qaus (21 December – 20 December). The fiscal year runs with the Afghan calendar, thus resulting in difference of the Gregorian dates once in a four-year span.[citation needed]

In Australia, the fiscal year or, more commonly, “financial year”, starts on 1 July and ends on 30 June. For personal income tax after the financial year ends, individuals have until 31 October to lodge their return (unless they use a tax agent).[5] This fiscal year definition is used both for official purposes and by the overwhelming majority of private enterprises, but this is not legally mandated.[6] A company may, for example, opt for a financial year that always ends at the end of a week (and therefore is not exactly one calendar year in length), or opt for each financial year to end on a different date to match the reporting cycles of its foreign parent.

In Austria the fiscal year is the calendar year, January 1st – December 31st.

In Bangladesh, the fiscal year starts on 1 July and ends on 30 June.

In Belarus, the fiscal year starts on 1 January and ends on 31 December.

In Brazil, the fiscal year starts on 1 January and ends on 31 December. Citizens pay income tax (when needed) starting in May, but the form filling goes from March to April. All tax declarations must be done on-line using government written free software.[citation needed]

In Bulgaria, the fiscal year matches the calendar year both for personal income tax [7] and for corporate taxes.[8]

In Canada,[9] the government’s financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March (Example 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 for the current financial year).

For individuals in Canada, the fiscal year runs from 1 January to 31 December.

The fiscal year for all entities starts on 1 January and ends 31 December, consistent with the calendar year, to match the tax year, statutory year, and planning year.[citation needed]

In Colombia, the fiscal year starts 1 January ending on 31 December. Yearly taxes are due in the middle of March/April for corporations while citizens pay income tax (when needed) starting in August, ending in September, according to the last 2 digits of the national ID.[citation needed]

The fiscal year in Costa Rica spans from 1 October until 30 September. Taxpayers are required to pay the tributes before 15 December of each year.[citation needed]

In the Arab Republic of Egypt, the fiscal year starts on 1 July and concludes on 30 June.[citation needed]

The fiscal year matches the calendar year, and has since at least 1911.[10]

In the Hellenic Republic, the fiscal year starts on 1 January and concludes on 31 December.

In Hong Kong,[11] the government’s financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March (Example 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 for the current financial year).

In India, the government’s financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March midnight. Example: 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 for the financial year 20162017. It is also abbreviated as FY17.[12][13]

Companies following the Indian Depositary Receipt (IDR) are given freedom to choose their financial year. For example, Standard Chartered’s IDR follows the UK calendar despite being listed in India. Companies following Indian fiscal year get to know their economical health on 31 March of every Indian financial or fiscal year.

There was discussions by the newly formed NITI Aayog, in the month of July 2016,in a meeting organised by the PM Modi, that the next fiscal year may start from 1 January to 31 December after the end of the current five-year plan.[14]

In Iran, the fiscal year starts usually on March 21 (1st of Farvardin) and concludes on next year’s March 20 (29th of Esfand) in Solar Hijri calendar [15]

Ireland used the year ending 5 April until 2001 when it was changed, at the request of Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy, to match the calendar year (the 2001 tax year was nine months, from April to December)[citation needed]

Since 2002, it is aligned with the calendar year: 1 January to 31 December.[16]

In Israel the fiscal year is from 1 January until 31 December.[17]

In Italy the fiscal year was from 1 July to 30 June until 1965; now it is from 1 January until 31 December.[citation needed]

In Japan,[18] the government’s financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March. The fiscal year is represented by the calendar year in which the period begins, followed by the word nendo (); for example the fiscal year from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 is called 2016nendo.

Japan’s income tax year runs from 1 January to 31 December, but corporate tax is charged according to the corporation’s own annual period.[citation needed]

In Macau, the government’s financial year runs from 1 January to 31 December (Example 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016 for the current financial year).

In Mexico the fiscal year starts on January 1 and ends on December 31.

In Myanmar,[19] the fiscal year goes from 1 April to 31 March.

The fiscal year in Nepal starts from Shrawan 1 (4th month of Bikram calendar) and ends on Ashad 31 (3rd month of Bikram calendar). Shrawan 1 roughly falls on mid July.[20]

The New Zealand Government’s fiscal[21] and financial reporting[22] year begins on 1 July and concludes on 30 June[23] of the following year and applies to the budget. The company and personal financial year[24] begins on 1 April and finishes on 31 March and applies to company and personal income tax.

The Pakistan Government’s fiscal year starts on 1 July of the previous calendar year and concludes on 30 June. Private companies are free to observe their own accounting year, which may not be the same as Government of Pakistan’s fiscal year.[citation needed]

In Portugal the fiscal year starts on January 1 and ends on December 31.

The fiscal year matches the calendar year, and has since at least 1911.[10]

The fiscal year for the calculation of personal income taxes runs from 1 January to 31 December.[citation needed]

The fiscal year for the Government of Singapore and many government-linked corporations runs from 1 April to 31 March.[citation needed]

Corporations and organisations are permitted to select any date to mark the end of each fiscal year, as long as this date remains constant.[citation needed]

In South Africa the fiscal year for the Government of South Africa starts on 1 April and ends 31 March.[citation needed]

The year of assessment for individuals covers twelve months, beginning on 1 March and ending on the final day of February the following year. The Act also provides for certain classes of taxpayers to have a year of assessment ending on a day other than the last day of February. Companies are permitted to have a tax year ending on a date that coincides with their financial year. Many older companies still use a tax year that runs from 1 July to 30 June, inherited from the British system. A common practice for newer companies is to run their tax year from 1 March to the final day of February following, to synchronize with the tax year for individuals.[citation needed]

In South Korea(Republic of Korea) the fiscal year starts on 1 January and ends 31 December.[citation needed]

In Spain the fiscal year starts on 1 January and ends 31 December.[25]

The fiscal year for individuals runs from 1 January to 31 December.[26]

The fiscal year for an organisation is typically one of the following (cf. Swedish Wikipedia):

However, all calendar months are allowed. If an organisation wishes to change into a non-calendar year, permission from the Tax Authority is required.[27][28]

Under the Income Tax Act of Taiwan, the fiscal year commences on 1 January and ends on 31 December of each calendar year. However, an enterprise may elect to adopt a special fiscal year at the time it is established and can request approval from the tax authorities to change its fiscal year.[29]

The Thai government’s fiscal year (FY) begins on 1 October and ends on 30 September of the following year.[30] FY2015 dates from 1 October 2014 30 September 2015. The Thai government’s year for individual income tax is the calendar year (1 January 31 December)

In Ukraine, the fiscal year matches with the calendar year which starts on 1 January and ends 31 December.

In the United Arab Emirates, the fiscal year starts on 1 January and ends 31 December.[citation needed]

In the United Kingdom,[31] the financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March for the purposes of corporation tax[32] and government financial statements.[33] For the self-employed and others who pay personal tax the fiscal year starts on 6 April and ends on 5 April of the next calendar year.[34]

Although United Kingdom corporation tax is charged by reference to the government’s financial year, companies can adopt any year as their accounting year: if there is a change in tax rate, the taxable profit is apportioned to financial years on a time basis.[citation needed]

A number of major corporations that were once government-owned, such as BT Group and the National Grid, continue to use the government’s financial year, which ends on the last day of March, as they have found no reason to change since privatisation.[citation needed]

The 5 April year end for personal tax and benefits reflects the old ecclesiastical calendar, with New Year falling on 25 March (Lady Day), the difference being accounted for by the eleven days “missed out” when Great Britain converted from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar in 1752 (the British tax authorities, and landlords were unwilling to lose 11 days of tax and rent revenue, so under provision 6 (Times of Payment of Rents, Annuities, &c.) of the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750, the 17523 tax year was extended by 11 days). From 1753 until 1799, the tax year in Great Britain began on 5 April, which was the “old style” new year of 25 March. A 12th skipped Gregorian leap day in 1800 changed its start to 6 April. It was not changed when a 13th Julian leap day was skipped in 1900, so the start of the personal tax year in the United Kingdom is still 6 April.[35][36][37]

The United States federal government’s fiscal year is the 12-month period ending on 30 September of that year, having begun on 1 October of the previous calendar year. In particular, the identification of a fiscal year is the calendar year in which it ends; thus, the current fiscal year is 2017, often written as “FY2017” or “FY17”, which began on 1 October 2016 and which will end on 30 September 2017.

Prior to 1976, the fiscal year began on 1 July and ended on 30 June. The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 made the change to allow Congress more time to arrive at a budget each year, and provided for what is known as the “transitional quarter” from 1 July 1976 to 30 September 1976. An earlier shift in the federal government’s fiscal year was made in 1843, shifting the fiscal year from a calendar year to one starting on 1 July.[38]

For example, the United States government fiscal year for 2017 is:

State governments set their own fiscal year. It may or may not align with the federal calendar. For example, in California, the state’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30 each year.[39]

The tax year for a business is governed by the fiscal year it chooses. A business may choose any consistent fiscal year that it wants; however, for seasonal businesses such as farming and retail, a good account practice is to end the fiscal year shortly after the highest revenue time of year. Consequently, most large agriculture companies end their fiscal years after the harvest season, and most retailers end their fiscal years shortly after the Christmas shopping season.

The fiscal year for individuals and entities to report and pay income taxes is often known as the taxpayer’s tax year or taxable year. Taxpayers in many jurisdictions may choose their tax year.[40] In federal countries (e.g., United States, Canada, Switzerland), state/provincial/cantonal tax years must be the same as the federal year. Nearly all jurisdictions require that the tax year be 12 months or 52/53 weeks.[41] However, short years are permitted as the first year or when changing tax years.[42]

Most countries require all individuals to pay income tax based on the calendar year. Significant exceptions include:

Many jurisdictions require that the tax year conform to the taxpayer’s fiscal year for financial reporting. The United States is a notable exception: taxpayers may choose any tax year, but must keep books and records for such year.[41]

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Fiscal year – Wikipedia

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Buck Island – BVI, Caribbean – Private Islands for Sale

Posted: November 21, 2016 at 11:12 am

The Main House has 2 bedroom suites that can accommodate up to 4.

The Master Suite includes 1 bedroom with 2 large porches, a study with attached conference room, and a drawing room with porch.

The Two-Bedroom suite has a kitchen, sitting and dining area on the upper level, and the garage, wine cellar, and staff office.

The Two Guest Cottages accompany the infinity edge pool that overlooks the Sir Francis Drake Channel.

Other areas include a large family room, 4 half-baths, a dinette area, a computer/library room, a gallery, a butlers pantry, and laundry facilities. Beneath the main house is a workout/spa room with beautiful views.

The Boat House is stocked with kayaks, lazer sail boats, dinghies, land & water recreational equipment, snorkel gear, life jackets/vests, and other water sports equipment.

There are several areas throughout the property that have covered and uncovered sitting areas.

On the island you will find a wide variety of thriving flora such as cactuses and wild flowers, as well as a range of land and sea birds including hawks, cranes, herons and hummingbirds. Even more abundant are the beautiful coral reefs and marine life that populate the surrounding waters.

A helipad is available on the island for guests arriving by private helicopters. Transport options to Buck Island are flexible and can be catered to your preference and convenience.

Year-round tradewinds average 15 mph bringing in clean and pure ionized air direct from West Africa

Temperatures vary little throughout the year

Average daily maxima: ~ 32 C (90 F) in the summer and 29 C (84 F) in the winter

Average daily minima: ~ 24 C (75 F) in the summer and 21 C (70 F) in the winter

Wettest months: September to November

Driest months: February to March

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Buck Island – BVI, Caribbean – Private Islands for Sale

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10 of The Worlds Most Bizarre Cults EListMania

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10 of The Worlds Most Bizarre Cults

Cults are eerie and carry weird practices which are not welcomed in the day to day routine of the average human being who lives a normal life. A cult can be extreme in nature with rituals that are beyond bizarre to say the least. The followers in certain cases have been known to pay the ultimate price by giving their lives for a belief fabricated by their charismatic ascetics and leaders. Heres a list of some of the worlds most bizarre cults.

The Ordo Templi Orientis(O.T.O), also known as the Order of the Temple of the East and Order of Oriental Templers, is a fraternal international and religious group which was created in the beginning of the 20th century. Aleister Crowley, an English author and a known Satanist occultist is one of the most renowned members of the order.

Initially the cult was anticipated to be modeled after and connected to Freemasonry, a form of a Gnostic Order, however, under the headship of Aleister Crowley; O.T.O has been documented around the Law of Thelma as its fundamental religious principal. This law is expressed as Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law and Love is the law, love under will. These laws for the cult were promulgated in 1904 with the dictation of The Book of the Law.

The O.T.O is well known for practicing Black Magic. The creepy cult is branded to include sexual rituals that are both heterosexual and homosexual in nature. Many of the practices that O.T.O teaches are related to magical orders which enlighten the system of Masonic style of sexual magic. However, the O.T.O still restricts access to its inner secrets. The controversial book, Secret Rituals of the O.T.O, was withdrawn from print by the publisher after receiving a threat of legal action by the O.T.O. Nevertheless, as there has been a growing interest in the writings of Aleister Crowley, his work has been reprinted due to which various new societies have come into existence and have modeled themselves as the new generation of O.T.O.

The Aghori or Aghouri is a Hindu cult that is considered to have split off from the Kapalika order in the fourteenth century AD. Many Hindus condemn the Aghorias non-Hindu due to their cannibalistic rituals. The streets of northern Indian cities are littered with followers of this cult carrying a kapala, which is a cup made from a skull! These bizarre people will eat anything from rotten food to animal faeces. In order to achieve the highest citadel of enlightenment, the Aghori will perform horrendously crude rituals. The finality of their rituals is attained from eating the decaying flesh of a human.

According to Hindu mythology and practiced beliefs, everything emanates from Brahman”. Therefore, there is no evil. The Aghori believe everything to be god itself and to abandon anything would be equivalent of abandoning god. This is the bizarre philosophy followed by the Aghori Babas.

The roots of the Aghori date back to ancient times. An Aghori ascetic who went by the name of Kinaram is responsible for the present-day rituals and beliefs of the cult. Since the Aghori worship lord Shiva with all their fervor, they believe that Kinaram was a reincarnation of lord Shiva.

The Aghori cult dwells on cremation grounds, daubing themselves with the ashes of the corpses and eating from a cranial begging bowl or a kapala. Many Aghori opt to roam around baring all. This is their representation of their detachment from the ways of life that normal people abide by. A strong belief which surrounds them is that by doing so they are above and beyond the normal worldly emotions of human beings.

Ralism is a UFO cult that was formed in 1974 by Claude Vorilhon. The cult is famous for believing that all life on Earth was formed in scientific labs by species of extraterrestrials. Members of this species materialized into the human form when having personal contacts with the humans that they created. They believe that these species were mistaken for angels, cherubim or gods. The cult fervently believes in scientifically advanced humanoid extraterrestrials known by our archaic ancestors as Elohim (meaning: those who came from the sky).

Ralism has been described as the largest UFO religion in the world. Ralism mainly focuses on the social ideology of sexual self-determination, individualism and humanitarianism. Some of the women, who are members of this cult, are strong advocates of refinement and erotic sensualistic activities. They participate in groups within such as Raels Girls and the Order of Angels.

Furthermore, the Ralians believe that the Elohim will visit the Earth authoritatively when more than half of the worlds population is peaceful and come to know about them. They also believe that this has been foretold in nearly all the religious texts as the predicted Age of Apocalypse or Revelation.

From time to time extremely bizarre and weird cults are born. One baffling insertion in the list of bizarre cults is the Sect of the Gadget Hackwrench. The members of this cult believe in a Disney cartoon that is Gadget Hackwrenchfrom the famous the Disney’s Rescue Ranger TV show,as being a divine being. She is considered to be the most untouched and perfect sibling of the great god on Earth. The members of the Gadget Hackwrench cult fervently believe that she is some sort of a goddess. They consider her to be firm, adorable and sanguine and that her degree of technical knowledge is practically unachievable for any existing mortal being. These are just a few of the testimonies of the sect followers.

What is completely bizarre is the fact that this hero or goddess that they believe in is a Disney cartoon. The members of the cult burn candles around a poster size image of the cartoon and chant to her to grant their wishes.

The philosophy of this cult revolves around the fact that it is a combination of every religion possible on the planet. The supposed scetic of the cult is Saint Germain. The founders Guy and Edna Ballard likened themselves to the Illuminati. Guy Ballard had supposedly met this Saint while on a trip to the Mount Shasta in California. It is believed that this cult was based on the premise of destroying the individuality of people. What makes it so creepy is the fact that this cult tries to manipulate the human mind into believing that one has the ability to become a millionaire over night only by using the power of the mind. In other words, proclaiming every follower to be a demigod himself. In the earlier part of the 20th century, the cult had more than a million followers. The followers were made to believe that Ballard was taken to a mystical place while on his trip to California and that his spirit went to a different realm, the realm of Saint Germain. Saint Germain is the main character of worship for the followers. His myths are strikingly hard to swallow. The reason for holding him in such high esteem was due to the fact that the founders claimed he was a direct descendant of Will-I-Am-Shaker-Spear (William Shakespeare), Rasputin and Merlin.

The Body of Christ is a diminutive authoritarian group that focuses on direct revelation and not the Bible for its direction. As of late this cult has been in the news as two children have died pointlessly. Samuel, the ten month old baby of the founders son, Jacques, died of malnutrition. The little baby was not fed, because the cult believed that they were going to get a sign from God to feed him. The other child who died was Jeremiah, son of Rebecca Corneau. The baby died shortly after the mother gave birth. The reason for the death of the baby has been attributed to the lack of medical care provided.

Ten years ago, Dennis Mingo a former member of the cult, left the group. He gave a diary to the police in which he described the deaths of the two babies in depth. Regardless of the effort the police has put into finding the bodies of the children, they have remained to be unsuccessful.

The cult denounces the seven systems of a conventional society. These primarily, include: education, government, banking, religion, medicine, science and entertainment. The members of the group have consistently denied any cooperation with civil and governmental authorities. They have also refused any forms of legal counsel. They have constantly been refusing to assert their primary constitutional right against self-incrimination. This bizarre cult expects that the world will soon erupt in outrageous violence and turmoil, and that they alone will be the sole survivors of the disaster that they predict.

This Japanese cult was created by Hogen Fukunaga. It is often referred to as the foot reading cult, as the founder of this cult believed that he could make a diagnosis by examining peoples feet. The group was created in 1987 after a supposed spiritual event where Fukunaga declared that he was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and the Buddha.

The Ho Na Hana Sanpoygo cult had nearly 30,000 followers not so long ago. However, Fukunaga charged $900 for the foot readings and a widespread doubt arose that he used money to profit himself. He had been accused of bagging money from housewives which resulted in a massive disproof from the cults followers. Fukunaga had to pay over 200 million yen in damages to followers of the cult who had been swindled.

The Ho Na Hana Sanpoygo declared openly in court, to the people who stood against their practices that their only salvation was to go through the cults expensive training sessions and to buy lucky charms.

The Creativity Movement is a xenophobic and White-supremacist cult which advocates a religion known as the White Religion called Creativity. Though, in the contemporary sense, the cult is Anti-Christian, yet the Creativity Movement is a proxy of Positive Christianity. It is directed by elements of a pseudo-Christian racial mechanism. The cult also denies the Holocaust; it embraces racial neo-eugenics with a religious mission that is devoted to the survival, expansion and the advancement of the White Race completely.

The cult was founded as the Church of the Creator by Ben Klassen in 1973. In the summer of 1993, Klassen committed suicide. After the demise of its creator, Mathew F. Hale led the cult until his incarceration on 8th January, 2003 for scheming with an FBI informant Anthony Evola to murder a federal judge. On 22nd July, 2002, two of the cults followers were found guilty in a federal court of plotting to blow up Jewish and Black landmarks around the area of Boston. The prosecutors deemed this to be a scheme to spark a racial holy war by the cult.

A few of the 16 Commandments of Creativity include: It is our sacred goal to populate the lands of this earth with White people exclusively. Inferior colored races are our deadly enemies, and that the most dangerous of all is the Jewish race. Destroy and banish all Jewish thought and influence from society.

The Iglesia Maradoniana (Spanish for Maradonian Church) was founded by the fans of the retired Argentine footballer, Diego Maradona. The members of this cult believe Maradona to have been the best player of all time. On 30th October 1998, this cult was formed. The day also commemorated the 30th birthday of the athlete. The group held its first official meeting in the year 2001. Today, they reportedly have more than 80,000 members from 60 countries around the globe.

The formation of this cult can be viewed as a type of syncretism. Unlike other normal fan clubs, this cult has many rituals like naming their children Diego to literally worshipping him. Arguably the best footballer to have lived, he is officially a god in Argentina. The passion for the group between its different members is what glues them together. Supporters of the Maradonian Church, allegedly from all corners of the world, count the years since Maradonas birth in 1960. It is very popular amid the followers of this cult and also amongst other football fans, the use of neo-Tetragrammaton D10S as one of the names of Maradona. D10S is a portmanteau word which blends 10 (diez in Spanish), Maradonas shirt number and dios, the Spanish word for god. The cult has its own commandments, one of which states, Spread news of Dieogos miracles and apart from naming your son Diego, it is a commandment as well to change your middle name to Diego.

The cargo cult is primarily a religious practice and has had numerous followers over the years. The term cargo is aimed at obtaining the advancements in technology used in foreign cultures. The cargo cults are bizarre because they believe that the technological advancement man has made over the years is actually their property left to them by their ancestors. So your laptop basically belongs to one of the followers of the cargo cult. These cults thrived in the southwestern Pacific and New Guinea. A substantial increase in the followers came during World War II. Immense logistic support and manpower would throng these islands and hence their beliefs turned into reality. Once the war ended, the ascetics of the cult ordered building of false landing sites and military equipment, so as to keep the gods interested in sending goods their way. The most publicized and prolonged cult is that of John Frum. It started well before the war and still thrives in Tannu, a small Island of Vanuata.

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Professional Development | Robotics Academy

Posted: October 25, 2016 at 7:41 am

The Robotics Academy is a world leader in robotics education and trains teacher internationally. To learn more about our online, face to face, or onsite training, scroll down to see all the available training sessions.

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September 29th November 3rd, 2016[ENDED] Thursdays,6 8pm EST (3 5pm PST)[ENDED] Instructor: Vu

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September 26th October 31st, 2016[ENDED] Mondays,6 8pm EST (3 5pm PST)[ENDED] Instructor: Jesse

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September 28th November 2nd, 2016[ENDED] Wednesday, 6 8pm EST (3 5pm PST)[ENDED] Instructor: Heath

The Robotics Academys qualified trainers can come to your site and offer classes for groups of teachers from September through May. Robotics Academy are not typically available to train during the summer. Cost for training begins at $2000/day plus expenses. Please send an email to training@rec.ri.cmu.edu to discuss your schools training needs.

All training is conducted at the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) in Pittsburgh, PA. The NREC is part of the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute, a world-renowned robotics organization, where youll be surrounded by real-world robot research and commercialization.

On-site training takes you through four and a half days of training and also includes:

Hands-on training using provided hardware and software Robotics Academy Certification for Graduates Certificate of Completion for Graduates ACT 48 Credits (for PA Teachers) Tour of the National Robotics Engineering Center Lunch!

You also can take advantage of Pittsburghs attractions, from world-class museums and entertainment, to shopping, excursions sports, and more.

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The Robotics Academys qualified trainers can come to your site and offer classes for groups of teachers from September through May. Robotics Academy are not typically available to train during the summer. Cost for training begins at $2000/day plus expenses. Please send an email to training@rec.ri.cmu.edu to discuss your schools training needs.

Enjoy the convenience of taking Robotics Academy courses without leaving your own computer workstation.

Enjoy these benefits with Online Training:

Assisted training using provided hardware and software Screen sharing amongst the class Networking opportunities with other professional educators Robotics Academy Certification for Graduates

The Professional Development courses provide teachers and coaches with a solid foundation for robot programming in the respective languages, and experience in troubleshooting common student mistakes. It also focuses on identifying and extracting academic value from the naturally occurring STEM situations encountered in robotics explorations.

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September 29th November 3rd, 2016[ENDED] Thursdays,6 8pm EST (3 5pm PST)[ENDED] Instructor: Vu

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September 26th October 31st, 2016[ENDED] Mondays,6 8pm EST (3 5pm PST)[ENDED] Instructor: Jesse

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September 28th November 2nd, 2016[ENDED] Wednesday, 6 8pm EST (3 5pm PST)[ENDED] Instructor: Heath

We will not be offering classes for less than 8 registrants in an online class.If a class does not have enough registrants, we will ask if you would like to join a different session if one is available. We will not send out software or hardware until there are enough registrants in the class.

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ROBOTC | Robotics Academy

Posted: at 7:41 am

Online Professional Development Courses Start this February!

Online Professional Development Courses Start this February! We are excited to announce our latest online training schedule! Classes start in February and you can enjoy the convenience of taking Robotics Academy courses without leaving your own computer workstation! Register for a class here! Benefits of Robotics Academy Online Training Courses:

The latest chapter within the VEX CORTEX Video Trainer Curriculum is now available Competition Programming!Located in the Engineering Section,this chapterincludes lessons designed to help students prepare their programs for a VEX Competition. Some of the lessons youll learn within this chapter includes: Creating a Competition Legal Program with the

The latest chapter within our VEX CORTEX Video Trainer Curriculum is now available Using the LCD!Located in the Sensing section, this chaptercovers how to configure and implement the LCD as a useful tool in your program. Some of the lessons youll learn within this chapter includes: Three steps to

We are excited to share our latest chapter available within our VEX CORTEX Video Trainer Curriculum Gyro Sensor!Located in the Sensing section, this chapter will allow you toto turn the robot by measurements of degrees. Some of the lessons youll learn within this chapter includes: How the Gyro Sensor

We are excited to announce our Fallonline training schedulethatstarts in September! The Robotics Academy is a world leader in robotics education and trains teacher internationally. Enjoy the convenience of taking Robotics Academy courses without leaving your own computer workstation. Robotics Academy online training includes: Online access to supplemental lessons from

We are excited to share our latest chapter available within out VEX CORTEX Video Trainer Curriculum Integrated Encoders! Located in the Movement section, this chapter will allow you to increase movement accuracy and automatic movement corrections. Some of the lessons youll learn within this chapter includes: Introduction to the

Our Robotics Summer of Learning (RSOL) opens today! This summer, students have the opportunity to learn how to program virtual robots using a FREE copy of Robot Virtual Worldswhere they can program VEX IQor LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3virtual robots.All RSOL courses are self-paced with e-mail support available at rsol@cs2n.org. Sign

We are proud to announce the return of our Robotics Summer of Learning program!This summer, students have the opportunity to learn how to program robots, earn a programming certificate and badges, and play with cool software for FREE!We will provide all of the software and training materials at no cost

Our on-site (in Pittsburgh, PA) and online Summer Professional Development classes for VEX CORTEX, VEX IQ, and LEGO MINDSTORMS are filling up quickly. Register todayto make sure you get into your preferred course (listed below!) Highlights of the Robotics Academy Training: Acquire new skills with technology and new ways to

My name is Ringo Dingrando and I teach Robotics and Physics at International School Manila in the Philippines. For the past three years, high school students have been inquiring into how to program using ROBOTC and how to use their programming skills to build robots, often with VEX hardware. In

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Cloning/Embryonic Stem Cells – National Human Genome Research …

Posted: October 4, 2016 at 1:28 pm

Cloning/Embryonic Stem Cells

The term cloning is used by scientists to describe many different processes that involve making duplicates of biological material. In most cases, isolated genes or cells are duplicated for scientific study, and no new animal results. The experiment that led to the cloning of Dolly the sheep in 1997 was different: It used a cloning technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer and resulted in an animal that was a genetic twin — although delayed in time — of an adult sheep. This technique can also be used to produce an embryo from which cells called embryonic stem (ES) cells could be extracted to use in research into potential therapies for a wide variety of diseases.

Thus, in the past five years, much of the scientific and ethical debate about somatic cell nuclear transfer has focused on its two potential applications: 1) for reproductive purposes, i.e., to produce a child, or 2) for producing a source of ES cells for research.

The technique of transferring a nucleus from a somatic cell into an egg that produced Dolly was an extension of experiments that had been ongoing for over 40 years. In the simplest terms, the technique used to produce Dolly the sheep – somatic cell nuclear transplantation cloning – involves removing the nucleus of an egg and replacing it with the diploid nucleus of a somatic cell. Unlike sexual reproduction, during which a new organism is formed when the genetic material of the egg and sperm fuse, in nuclear transplantation cloning there is a single genetic “parent.” This technique also differs from previous cloning techniques because it does not involve an existing embryo. Dolly is different because she is not genetically unique; when born she was genetically identical to an existing six-year-old ewe. Although the birth of Dolly was lauded as a success, in fact, the procedure has not been perfected and it is not yet clear whether Dolly will remain healthy or whether she is already experiencing subtle problems that might lead to serious diseases. Thus, the prospect of applying this technique in humans is troubling for scientific and safety reasons in addition to a variety of ethical reasons related to our ideas about the natural ordering of family and successive generations.

Several important concerns remain about the science and safety of nuclear transfer cloning using adult cells as the source of nuclei. To date, five mammalian species — sheep, cattle, pigs, goats, and mice — have been used extensively in reproductive cloning studies. Data from these experiments illustrate the problems involved. Typically, very few cloning attempts are successful. Many cloned animals die in utero, even at late stages or soon after birth, and those that survive frequently exhibit severe birth defects. In addition, female animals carrying cloned fetuses may face serious risks, including death from cloning-related complications.

An additional concern focuses on whether cellular aging will affect the ability of somatic cell nuclei to program normal development. As somatic cells divide they progressively age, and there is normally a defined number of cell divisions that can occur before senescence. Thus, the health effects for the resulting liveborn, having been created with an “aged” nucleus, are unknown. Recently it was reported that Dolly has arthritis, although it is not yet clear whether the five-and-a-half-year-old sheep is suffering from the condition as a result of the cloning process. And, scientists in Tokyo have shown that cloned mice die significantly earlier than those that are naturally conceived, raising an additional concern that the mutations that accumulate in somatic cells might affect nuclear transfer efficiency and lead to cancer and other diseases in offspring. Researchers working with clones of a Holstein cow say genetic programming errors may explain why so many cloned animals die, either as fetuses or newborns.

The announcement of Dolly sparked widespread speculation about a human child being created using somatic cell nuclear transfer. Much of the perceived fear that greeted this announcement centered on the misperception that a child or many children could be produced who would be identical to an already existing person. This fear is based on the idea of “genetic determinism” — that genes alone determine all aspects of an individual — and reflects the belief that a person’s genes bear a simple relationship to the physical and psychological traits that compose that individual. Although genes play an essential role in the formation of physical and behavioral characteristics, each individual is, in fact, the result of a complex interaction between his or her genes and the environment within which he or she develops. Nonetheless, many of the concerns about cloning have focused on issues related to “playing God,” interfering with the natural order of life, and somehow robbing a future individual of the right to a unique identity.

Several groups have concluded that reproductive cloning of human beings creates ethical and scientific risks that society should not tolerate. In 1997, the National Bioethics Advisory Commission recommended that it was morally unacceptable to attempt to create a child using somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning and suggested that a moratorium be imposed until safety of this technique could be assessed. The commission also cautioned against preempting the use of cloning technology for purposes unrelated to producing a liveborn child.

Similarly, in 2001 the National Academy of Sciences issued a report stating that the United States should ban human reproductive cloning aimed at creating a child because experience with reproductive cloning in animals suggests that the process would be dangerous for the woman, the fetus, and the newborn, and would likely fail. The report recommended that the proposed ban on human cloning should be reviewed within five years, but that it should be reconsidered “only if a new scientific review indicates that the procedures are likely to be safe and effective, and if a broad national dialogue on societal, religious and ethical issues suggests that reconsideration is warranted.” The panel concluded that the scientific and medical considerations that justify a ban on human reproductive cloning at this time do not apply to nuclear transplantation to produce stem cells. Several other scientific and medical groups also have stated their opposition to the use of cloning for the purpose of producing a child.

The cloning debate was reopened with a new twist late in 1998, when two scientific reports were published regarding the successful isolation of human stem cells. Stem cells are unique and essential cells found in animals that are capable of continually reproducing themselves and renewing tissue throughout an individual organism’s life. ES cells are the most versatile of all stem cells because they are less differentiated, or committed, to a particular function than adult stem cells. These cells have offered hope of new cures to debilitating and even fatal illness. Recent studies in mice and other animals have shown that ES cells can reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in mouse models, and work in other animal models and disease areas seems promising.

In the 1998 reports, ES cells were derived from in vitro embryos six to seven days old destined to be discarded by couples undergoing infertility treatments, and embryonic germ (EG) cells were obtained from cadaveric fetal tissue following elective abortion. A third report, appearing in the New York Times, claimed that a Massachusetts biotechnology company had fused a human cell with an enucleated cow egg, creating a hybrid clone that failed to progress beyond an early stage of development. This announcement served as a reminder that ES cells also could be derived from embryos created through somatic cell nuclear transfer, or cloning. In fact, several scientists believed that deriving ES cells in this manner is the most promising approach to developing treatments because the condition of in vitro fertilization (IVF) embryos stored over time is questionable and this type of cloning could overcome graft-host responses if resulting therapies were developed from the recipient’s own DNA.

For those who believe that the embryo has the moral status of a person from the moment of conception, research or any other activity that would destroy it is wrong. For those who believe the human embryo deserves some measure of respect, but disagree that the respect due should equal that given to a fully formed human, it could be considered immoral not to use embryos that would otherwise be destroyed to develop potential cures for disease affecting millions of people. An additional concern related to public policy is whether federal funds should be used for research that some Americans find unethical.

Since 1996, Congress has prohibited researchers from using federal funds for human embryo research. In 1999, DHHS announced that it intended to fund research on human ES cells derived from embryos remaining after infertility treatments. This decision was based on an interpretation “that human embryonic stem cells are not a human embryo within the statutory definition” because “the cells do not have the capacity to develop into a human being even if transferred to the uterus, thus their destruction in the course of research would not constitute the destruction of an embryo.” DHHS did not intend to fund research using stem cells derived from embryos created through cloning, although such efforts would be legal in the private sector.

In July 2001, the House of Representatives voted 265 to 162 to make any human cloning a criminal offense, including cloning to create an embryo for derivation of stem cells rather than to produce a child. In August 2002, President Bush, contending with a DHHS decision made during the Clinton administration, stated in a prime-time television address that federal support would be provided for research using a limited number of stem cell colonies already in existence (derived from leftover IVF embryos). Current bills before Congress would ban all forms of cloning outright, prohibit cloning for reproductive purposes, and impose a moratorium on cloning to derive stem cells for research, or prohibit cloning for reproductive purposes while allowing cloning for therapeutic purposes to go forward. As of late June, the Senate has taken no action. President Bush’s Bioethics Council is expected to recommend the prohibition of reproductive cloning and a moratorium on therapeutic cloning later this summer.

Prepared by Kathi E. Hanna, M.S., Ph.D., Science and Health Policy Consultant

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Psychedelia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: September 2, 2016 at 5:54 am

Psychedelia is a name given to the subculture of people, originating in the 1960s, who often use psychedelic drugs such as LSD, mescaline and peyote. The term is also used to describe a style of psychedelic artwork and psychedelic music. Psychedelic art and music typically try to recreate or reflect the experience of altered consciousness. Psychedelic art uses highly distorted and surreal visuals, bright colors and full spectrums and animation (including cartoons) to evoke and convey to a viewer or listener the artist’s experience while using such drugs, or to enhance the experience of a user of these drugs. Psychedelic music uses distorted electric guitar, Indian music elements such as the sitar, electronic effects, sound effects and reverberation, and elaborate studio effects, such as playing tapes backwards or panning the music from one side to another. The term “psychedelic” is derived from the Ancient Greek words psych (, “mind”) and dloun (, “to make visible, to reveal”),[1] translating to “mind-revealing”.

A psychedelic experience is characterized by the striking perception of aspects of one’s mind previously unknown, or by the creative exuberance of the mind liberated from its ostensibly ordinary fetters. Psychedelic states are an array of experiences including changes of perception such as hallucinations, synesthesia, altered states of awareness or focused consciousness, variation in thought patterns, trance or hypnotic states, mystical states, and other mind alterations. These processes can lead some people to experience changes in mental operation defining their self-identity (whether in momentary acuity or chronic development) different enough from their previous normal state that it can excite feelings of newly formed understanding such as revelation, enlightenment, confusion, and psychosis.

Psychedelic states may be elicited by various techniques, such as meditation, sensory stimulation[2] or deprivation, and most commonly by the use of psychedelic substances. When these psychoactive substances are used for religious, shamanic, or spiritual purposes, they are termed entheogens.

The term was first coined as a noun in 1956 by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond as an alternative descriptor for hallucinogenic drugs in the context of psychedelic psychotherapy.[3] Seeking a name for the experience induced by LSD, Osmond contacted Aldous Huxley, a personal acquaintance and advocate for the therapeutic use of the substance. Huxley coined the term “phanerothyme,” from the Greek terms for “manifest” () and “spirit” (). In a letter to Osmond, he wrote:

To make this mundane world sublime, Take half a gram of phanerothyme

To which Osmond responded:

To fathom Hell or soar angelic, Just take a pinch of psychedelic[4]

It was on this term that Osmond eventually settled, because it was “clear, euphonious and uncontaminated by other associations.”[5] This mongrel spelling of the word ‘psychodelic’ was loathed by American ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes, but championed by Timothy Leary, who thought it sounded better.[6] Due to the expanded use of the term “psychedelic” in pop culture and a perceived incorrect verbal formulation, Carl A.P. Ruck, Jeremy Bigwood, Danny Staples, Jonathan Ott, and R. Gordon Wasson proposed the term “entheogen” to describe the religious or spiritual experience produced by such substances.[7]

Timothy Leary was a well-known proponent of the use of psychedelics, as was Aldous Huxley. However, both advanced widely different opinions on the broad use of psychedelics by state and civil society. Leary promulgated the idea of such substances as a panacea, while Huxley suggested that only the cultural and intellectual elite should partake of entheogens systematically.

In the mid-1960s the use of psychedelic drugs became widespread in modern Western culture, particularly in the United States and Britain. The movement is credited to Michael Hollingshead who arrived in America from London in 1965. He was sent to the U.S. by other members of the psychedelic movement to get their ideas exposure.[8] The Summer of Love of 1967 and the resultant popularization of the hippie culture to the mainstream popularized psychedelia in the minds of popular culture, where it remained dominant through the 1970s. Resurgences of the style are common in the modern era.

The impact of psychedelic drugs on western culture in the 1960s led to semantic drift in the use of the word “psychedelic”, and it is now frequently used to describe anything with abstract decoration of multiple bright colours, similar to those seen in drug-induced hallucinations. In objection to this new meaning, and to what some[who?] consider pejorative meanings of other synonyms such as “hallucinogen” and “psychotomimetic”, the term “entheogen” was proposed and is seeing increasing use. However, many consider the term “entheogen” best reserved for religious and spiritual usage, such as certain Native American churches do with the peyote sacrament, and “psychedelic” left to describe those who are using these drugs for recreation, psychotherapy, physical healing, or creative problem solving. In science, hallucinogen remains the standard term.[9]

Psychedelic artists use highly distorted visuals, cartoons, and bright colors and full spectrums to evoke a sense of altered consciousness. Many artists in the late 1960s and early 1970s attempted to illustrate the psychedelic experience in paintings, drawings, illustrations, and other forms of graphic design.

The counterculture folk music scene frequently used psychedelic designs on posters during the Summer of Love, leading to a popularization of the style. The work of Robert Crumb and others doing posters for hippie bands, such as Big Brother and the Holding Company, spawned interest in the artwork among their followers. Peter Max’s psychedelic poster designs helped popularize brightly colored spectrums widely, especially among college students.

One example of this experimentation is seen in Mati Klarwein’s painting Annunciation, which was used as the cover art for Santana’s Abraxas (1970). The cover of Pink Floyd’s album A Saucerful of Secrets (1968) is also of this type.

The Beatles’ album cover for The Magical Mystery Tour album has features common in psychedelic art, such as a wide color palette and surreal visuals.

Examples frequently recur in the modern era. The cover of Oasis’ album, Dig Out Your Soul (2008), has a psychedelic album cover, with a slightly muted color scheme.[10] In the modern era, computer graphics may be used to produce psychedelic effects for artwork.

The fashion for psychedelic drugs gave its name to the style of psychedelia, a term describing a category of rock music known as psychedelic rock, as well as visual art, fashion, and culture that is associated originally with the high 1960s, hippies, and the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, California.[11] It often used new recording techniques and effects while drawing on Eastern sources such as the ragas and drones of Indian music.

One of the first uses of the word in the music scene of this time was in the 1964 recording of “Hesitation Blues” by folk group the Holy Modal Rounders.[12] The term was introduced to rock music and popularized by the 13th Floor Elevators 1966 album The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators.[12] Psychedelia truly took off in 1967 with the Summer of Love and, although associated with San Francisco, the style soon spread across the US, and worldwide.[13]

The counterculture of the 1960s had a strong influence on the popular culture of the early 1970s. It later became linked to a style of electronic dance music, or rave music, commonly known as psychedelic trance.

A psychedelic festival is a gathering that promotes psychedelic music and art in an effort to unite participants in a communal psychedelic experience.[14] Psychedelic festivals have been described as “temporary communities reproduced via personal and collective acts of transgression…through the routine expenditure of excess energy, and through self-sacrifice in acts of abandonment involving ecstatic dancing often fuelled by chemical cocktails.”[14] These festivals often emphasize the ideals of peace, love, unity, and respect.[14] Notable psychedelic festivals include the biennial Boom Festival in Portugal,[14] as well as Nevada’s Burning Man[15] and California’s Symbiosis Gathering in the United States.[16]

In recent years there has been a resurgence in interest in psychedelic research and a growing number of conferences now take place across the globe.[citation needed] The psychedelic research charity Breaking Convention have hosted one of the worlds largest since 2011. A biennial conference in London, UK, Breaking Convention: a multidisciplinary conference on psychedelic consciousness[17] is a multidisciplinary conference on psychedelic consciousness. In the US MAPS held their first Psychedelic Science conference,[18] devoted specifically to research of psychedelics in scientific and medical fields, in 2013.

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Psychedelia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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