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Prep Basketball Special Feature Part Two: Triumph through Tribulations

first_imgArcata >> In continuing our two part feature on the Arcata High School girls basketball team, today we tell the story of junior forward Kaylie McCracken who, along with senior co-captains Vanessa Holland and Ashley Quigley, has helped Arcata to a fifth-consecutive league title. McCracken is the ‘ying’ to Holland and Quigley’s ‘yang.’ The 5-foot-10 junior has provided a steady inside presence to compliment Arcata’s outstanding perimeter players. McCracken is a workhorse that’s often called …last_img read more

The bell that rings when the vote is called

first_imgTim CohenIt’s only days now before South Africa’s fourth democratic election, and political campaigns are in full swing. The atmosphere is highly charged but the campaigns are, thankfully, generally festive. It’s an interesting election, with new candidates, new parties surrounded by big news events and, for many, a host of new choices.Yet behind the posters, the arguments, the manifestoes and the speeches, there still remains a trace of an emotional backdrop that resonates at a deeper level in South African politics. It’s the quiet undercurrent of a painful past that surfaces only occasionally and only in moments of reflection amid the general atmosphere of campaign pandemonium.It’s difficult to tell how many people still hear this deep bell, but for a certain generation of South Africans, elections are not only a time for decision making and pondering the future, but also a time of recollection and, perhaps, a time when we scratch the scars of hurtful memories.For this generation, voting is sometimes less about the present or the future than a kind of testimonial. On one level, it matters much less who you vote for than the fact that you are voting.  It’s a curious experience, somewhat like casting a proxy vote on behalf of all of the people you remember who will never do so.I have always considered myself a fortunate member of the transition generation; my personal scars are thankfully slight. In truth, compared to many of the calamities and tragedies of world history, South Africa’s democratic struggle does not rank fantastically high in the extent of its personal devastation.But yet, there is practically no-one in South Africa who does not know someone or who was not themselves scarred emotionally or physically, either as victim or perpetrator, in the process of achieving democracy. So voting takes on this dual role – a political declaration of choice and also act of remembrance and tribute.Whenever I vote my mind still involuntarily wanders toward a handful of people – some of whom in truth I did not actually know very well. These little snatches of memory gradually expand from snapshots into short scenes. And from there, it’s a short step into a bewildering set of reminiscences, some gentle, some harsh.Some of the victims of my transition movie are now fairly well-known, like the photographer Ken Oosterbroek who was shot on assignment during the 1994 election campaign in, we think, township crossfire. I remember waking up staring into his face after a fabulously drunken party. I remember his ordinary decency as a person and his extraordinary ambition as a photographer.Some have all but faded from my storyboard. For reasons I don’t clearly understand, I wondered recently about an old university acquaintance, Jackie Quinn. I remember her as an incredibly forceful person, filled with the transcendent self-belief that many left-wing leaders had at the time. As a peripheral activist in Durban in late 1980s, I was the victim of her scorn for my remaining traces of liberal false consciousness and general lack of dedication to the cause.She was shot in Lesotho in 1985 along with nine other people, including her boyfriend Leon Meyer, in a South African Defence Force (SADF) raid. The government weirdly denied involvement in the raid at the time, despite admitting to a dozen or so others that took place during those years.The raid was led, we learned much later, by notorious Vlakplaas commander Eugene de Kock. At the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), de Kock first claimed Jackie was not a target and that Leon was the only intended victim. But she apparently answered the door and tried to grab the gun of one of the raiders, so they shot her, and then entered the house and shot Leon as he tried to load his gun.There were two terribly sad things about the raid. First, the group of nine were betrayed by one of their collective friends and, second, Leon and Jackie’s one-year-old child Phoenix was in the house at the time of the killings, and was left parentless.Some memories fade, some don’t. One part of my transition movie that remains crystal clear involves a former flatmate Michael Hamlyn. He too was killed in a SADF raid, this time in Gaborone, Botswana.We had a strange and not very enduring acquaintance. We were two oddities, both redheads; I was an arts student, and he a maths student, of all things for a politically conscious person to be.Even though we shared a flat as students with one other person, we bickered like children. I was for participating in student and civic politics; he thought this trivial, irrelevant, mundane, and almost embarrassing. He was right, but what else was there to do?He played an electric guitar badly, and despite a taste in music that was just appalling, he played it constantly and very loud. His thought patterns were erratic and staccato, and reflected his actions and even his speech.But he was also truly brilliant – a top maths student and a musician in the Durban Chamber Orchestra. The loud music was a way of blotting out the static in his overactive brain, I later surmised. Eventually, the constant arguments became too much and the three of us went our different ways.In truth, we were lost. The currents of South Africa society at that stage were running too strongly and our capacity to influence them as young, white university students was hopelessly small. I gave up and got a job in the real world. Mike ran away to sleepy Gaborone, erratic as always, where in June 1985 soldiers entered his house in a poor suburb outside the town and machine-gunned him in his bed as he slept. He was one of nine who died in the operation.This was an official raid, acknowledged at the time. It was called Operation Plecksy, and was unusual because it was one of the few in which the perpetrators asked for amnesty from the TRC. Through that process, we now know a little of what happened.The TRC report said this about the raid: “The raid was not a success either in military or public relations terms. According to the amnesty application of Anton Pretorius, so-called ‘deep cover’ agents of the Soweto Intelligence Unit had identified four primary targets as those ‘responsible for planning and execution of terror onslaught’. They were Mr Tim Williams, Mr Riaz Saloojee (aka Calvin Khan), Mr Patrick Ricketts and Mr Christian Pepani (aka Jeff). None were hit.“After the raid, according to Pretorius, three of these deep-cover agents – identified only as R103, RS 276 and RS 283 – were recalled to Lusaka where one was said to have been shot almost on arrival while the other two (including at least one woman) were tortured and killed at Quatro camp.“So negative was the general reaction to the raid that an elaborate propaganda exercise had to be mounted to justify the operation. This was orchestrated by Craig Williamson and included the planting of stories in newspapers like The Citizen and Sunday Times under such headlines as ‘The Guns of Gaborone’. In a discussion with the Commission, Eugene de Kock stated that some of the weapons displayed as captured in the raid were in fact borrowed from him by Williamson.”One of the other people killed in the raid was a prominent artist Thami Mnyele. Apparently, the raiders killed him and then stole a couple of his paintings. What a weird thing to do.So now, when I vote, I wonder about those paintings. What was on them? What happened to them? And I wonder about Mike, about our arguments, about our choices, about what might have been. At these times, he is very much alive in my thoughts, even though he is dead to the world. He is both life and symbol – an example that so many South Africans share the deep bell that rings when the vote is called.Tim Cohen is a freelance journalist writing for a variety of South African publications. He is currently contracted as a columnist to The Weekender and Business Day, where he has worked for most of his career. He was the 2004 Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year.last_img read more

What Apple’s Jony Ive Can Learn From Facebook Home

first_imgRelated Posts brian s hall Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology (See also: Why Apple Really, Really Needs To Kill It With iOS 7)At yesterday’s Home launch, Mark Zuckerberg oh-so-delicately suggested that iOS — iPhone’s operating system — is looking a bit out-of-touch these days: Instead of our phones being designed around apps first, what if we flip that around? What if our phones were designed around people first?Indeed, Home’s innovative system-wide presentation and highly visual user experience may even serve as a guide to Apple design guru Jonathan Ive. Facebook Home effectively takes over a device’s lock screen, populating it in real-time with the user’s Newsfeed, photo stream and Facebook-sanctioned notifications. Updates from the user’s Facebook contacts, or a Facebook message, for example, are revealed instantly no matter what app is active through the clever use of “chat heads.”Chat heads also supports texting and messaging from within another (non-Facebook) app. Facebook Home’s notifications include the individual’s profile picture and can be displayed in a card-like fashion. These are visually appealing features which are not available in the iPhone. Here’s Zuckerberg belaboring the point yesterday:We’re not building a phone, and we’re not building an OS — we’re building an experience that’s deeper than any other app.Apple Is Playing Catch-UpYou have to assume that Ive and Apple’s iOS design team are poring over every detail Zuckerberg and company revealed yesterday. Earlier this week, Apple bloggers such as Mark Gurman, M.G. Siegler, Rene Richie and John Gruber discussed ways Apple might update iOS on the discussion site Branch. Consider these snippets from their public conversation: Apple should use WWDC to introduce and explain new functionality… and improve iOS inter-app communication. Admit that some things sucked/sucks. (Design chief Jony) Ive’s work is apparently making many people really happy, but will also apparently make rich-texture-loving designers sad.Ive getting his hands on the UI might alter the consumer-facing bullet points, but probably not the API’s that were planned.Ive is pushing a more “flat design” that is starker and simpler, according to developers who have spoken to Apple employees but didn’t have further details. Overall, they expect any changes to be pretty conservative.There is clearly an opportunity for Apple to maintain its closed platform while still supporting greater inter-app communications, more robust developer access to the lock-screen, multi-modal personal communications, and the effective integration of data and contacts across apps, just like Home.While iPhone hardware has clearly evolved, a 2008 iPhone user would feel immediately at home with iOS in 2013. There is good in such stability – and it is a testament to how much Apple got right, and how far ahead of the competition it was upon launch. However, as our smartphones do more and play a larger role in people’s lives, Apple cannot stand still – nor be perceived as standing still.Images screencapped from the Facebook Home live event What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Facebook Home, which Facebook has described both as “a new way to turn your Android phone into a great, living, social phone” and “the best version of Facebook there is,” won’t be available on Apple’s iPhone anytime soon, if ever. Does Apple care?Probably not, although it should. More than an app, though not quite a operating system, Facebook Home delivers a highly visual, system-wide presentation of real-time social data that also makes innovative use of touch-based gestures. In the process, it makes iOS look, well, dated.Jony Ive, call your office.Why Apple Shouldn’t Worry About HomeIn the short term, Apple has relatively little to fear. Tech blogger and Apple enthusiast Dan Frommer, for instance, argues that Apple retains a “big lead in hardware and OS quality, apps, media, and customer service” — and that as a result, we shouldn’t expect to see iPhone users bolt to Facebook phones, at least not yet. Instead, he figures Facebook Home will likely appeal to buyers of low-end Android devices.(See also: Facebook Home: A Slick Interface & A Big Challenge)Mobile analyst Benedict Evans told me:The barriers to switching between platforms are pretty large: a slightly easier way to access Facebook Messenger won’t be enough to make people make the switch. That’s particularly the case for iPhone, which has a 70-80% repurchase intention rate.Similarly, from Asymco analyst Horace Dediu:In the phone business there are three things which define a product’s volume: distribution, distribution and distribution. Home is a more ambitious version of an app (designed to extract more from the user) and so it is more constrained in all three areas. It needs “permission” from device makers, platform vendors and operators in order to proliferate. End user installation is an option but it’s not likely to drive large volumes.(See also: Facebook Home Could Be A Pain, Unless You Really Love Facebook)Dediu’s quick analysis of Home leads him to believe that it could drive up to 10 million units a year. That’s not nothing, of course, but still a pittance compared to the approximately 48 million iPhones Apple sold just last quarter.Why Apple Should Worry About HomeHome, however, could have a significant long-term impact on iPhone’s app-centric user interface. This might be to Apple’s benefit. Tags:#Android#Apple#Facebook#iPhone last_img read more

J&K IPS officer gets rare public support

first_imgIn a rare gesture in trouble-torn Kashmir valley, people rallied in support of IPS officer Basant Kumar Rath following his transfer by the administration, in the wake of his online spat with newly-elected Mayor Junaid Azim Mattu.Mr. Rath, who has earned plaudits for streamlining the traffic system in Jammu and Kashmir in less than one year of being appointed as Inspector General of Police (Traffic), was shunted out on Tuesday and replaced by 1997-batch IPS officer Alok Kumar. He has been attached with the office of Commandant General of Home Guards.“Dear officer, Basant Rath, we salute you for being an honest and dedicated officer. Love you always and you’ll always stay in our heart and our blessings are always with you. We are going to miss you sir. May God bless you,” wrote Mohsin Ahmed on Twitter, one of his legions of fans. Mr. Rath trended on several social media platforms in the Valley after the transfer.Hailing from Odisha, Mr. Rath, who studied sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, cleared the UPSC examination in 2000 and made it to the IPS. He earned himself a following in Kashmir, a place where a significant section of youth is angry against security forces and engages in frequent street battles. His pro-people measures, accessibility to the commoners and punishing the ‘rich brats’ saw Mr. Rath emerge as a rare cop whom the locals would gladly approach to get selfies clicked with. However, last week, Mr. Rath took on Mr. Mattu over his remarks at his maiden conference as Mayor that wetlands in Srinagar were not of much use if the city did not have proper infrastructure for expansion, triggering an online face-off between the two.‘Madhav behind move’National Conference leader and former Srinagar Mayor Salman Ali Sagar alleged that the current incumbent used his newly-found affection for the BJP and its general secretary Ram Madhav to get Mr. Rath transferred.last_img read more

25,000 evacuated in Kolhapur, Sangli

first_imgWhile the flood situation due to discharge of excess water from dams improved in Pune city, it remained extremely grim in urban and rural pockets of Kolhapur and Sangli districts in on Tuesday where continuing showers completely threw life and communications out of gear.Authorities said an estimated 25,000 people stranded in Sangli, Kolhapur and Satara were evacuated by locals and disaster management teams, including those of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).Milk supply to these districts will be hit as the Kolhapur District Milk Cooperative, known as Gokul, has decided to shut supply operations on Wednesday in view of the adverse rain and water-logging situation.People in low-lying areas were taken out in boats and shifted to schools run by the civic bodies of these districts even as water began flooding urban pockets of Kolhapur and Sangli. Schools and colleges in these districts remained shut on Tuesday and are likely to remain closed on Wednesday too.Power supply to more than 85,000 consumers in Kolhapur was temporarily suspended as a precautionary measure, said officials from the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDCL).Residents of Gaganbawda, Panhala and Karvir tehsils in Kolhapur were hit hard by the rains.More than 105 earthen dams and other water systems in Kolhapur, including canals, have been submerged by the rising river water levels, while more than 20 bridges in Sangli have gone under water. With the swollen Panchganaga river flowing well above the danger mark at 51 feet, residents and authorities in Kolhapur fear a repeat, or worse, of the 1989 and 2005 floods.Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil in a statement said, “I appeal to the residents of Kolhapur not to panic and cooperate with the district administration in their rescue efforts… NDRF teams are trying to move people to safe zones. A Navy team and an Army column of 80 personnel with four boats are on their way.” He said the situation in Kolhapur was worse than in 1989.“In 2005, the Panchanganga touched 53.5 feet mark. Going by the present situation, it could well exceed that figure…with communications with other districts severed, Sangli and Kolhapur could face an acute milk and fuel crisis if this situation persists for the next 48 hours,” advocate Amit Shinde, a resident of Sangli district, told The Hindu.While water from dams paralysed traffic on national and state highways and internal roads, Kolhapur was completely cut-off from Pune, Bengaluru and the Konkan region.Inter-district trains like those connecting Sangli with Karad (in Satara) were suspended as rail tracks were flooded.Meanwhile, Satara district authorities said the discharge from Koyna dam was increased to 1,19,777 cusecs (cubic foot per second) late in the afternoon, leading to heavy flooding in several talukas.A team of around 25 NDRF jawans was involved in rescue operations alongwith district authorities, especially in the Patan and Karad talukas of Satara.In contrast, the situation seemed slightly better for residents in Pune city, as discharges from major dams were considerably reduced on Tuesday.P.B. Shelar, executive engineer of the Khadakwasla irrigation division, told The Hindu that discharge from the had been brought down to 18,491 cusecs by late afternoon from 45,000 cusecs.Discharge from the Mulshi and Pavana dams too were reduced, easing the flood-like situation in the city’s low-lying areas.On Monday, rising levels of the Mula River had led to some connecting bridges between Pune and the Pimpri-Chinchwad being temporarily shut. However, with the water levels going down today, traffic police opened up six bridges in the Aundh-Baner area.Meanwhile, Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram declared a holiday on Wednesday for schools and educational establishments in Bhor, Velhe, Maval and Mulshi talukas of Pune district.last_img read more