Energy Recap: A Look At Surging Oil Prices

In this edition, we highlight articles on the play between energy/the economy/technology, Blueknight Energy Partners, and $80 oil, as well as ask for your take on the energy sector. If you’d like to contribute to the energy conversation on Seeking Alpha, you can leave a comment below or submit your own article.

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Almost all species on Earth today came into being at about the same time, scientific study declares

What David Thaler of the University of Basel in Switzerland said about a scientific study he co-authored — and that was just published by journal Human Evolution — underscores how shocking his findings were even to him.

“This conclusion is very surprising,” he told Agence France-Presse, “and I fought against it as hard as I could.”

What’s so surprising?

Thaler and his co-author Mark Stoeckle of the Rockefeller University in New York discovered that nine out of 10 species on Earth today, including humans, came into being at roughly the same time — 100,000 to 200,000 years ago, AFP reported.

In other words, 90 percent of animal life — genetically speaking — is about the same age, the outlet noted.

Furthermore, the pair’s study turns on its head the long-held notion that species with large populations spread over the globe — again, humans, for example — will become more genetically diverse over time, AFP said.

But Stoeckle told the outlet that’s not the case, noting that animal genetic diversity is generally “about the same.”

It’s all in DNA ‘barcodes’

The scientists analyzed DNA “barcodes” across 100,000 species and found a sign that showed almost all animals emerged about the same time as humans, AFP reported.

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What they saw was a lack of variation in so-called “neutral” mutations, which are the slight changes in DNA across generations that neither help nor hurt an individual’s chances of survival.

In other words, they were irrelevant in terms of the natural and sexual drivers of evolution.

How similar or not these “neutral” mutations are to each other is like tree rings — they reveal the approximate age of a species.

Which brings us back to our question: why did the overwhelming majority of species in existence today emerge at about the same time?

Some theories are offered (but not the one you’re probably thinking)

Jesse Ausubel, director of the Program for the Human Environment at the Rockefeller University, told AFP that environmental trauma is one possibility.

“Viruses, ice ages, successful new competitors, loss of prey — all these may cause periods when the population of an animal drops sharply,” he told the outlet in reference to the study. “In these periods, it is easier for a genetic innovation to sweep the population and contribute to the emergence of a new species.”

Stoeckle offered to AFP that “the simplest interpretation is that life is always evolving. It is more likely that — at all times in evolution — the animals alive at that point arose relatively recently.”

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In this view, a species only lasts a certain amount of time before it either evolves into something new or goes extinct.

And yet — another unexpected finding from the study — species have very clear genetic boundaries, and there’s nothing much in between.

“If individuals are stars, then species are galaxies,” said Thaler. “They are compact clusters in the vastness of empty sequence space.”

The absence of “in-between” species is something that also perplexed Darwin, he said.

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Enabling Cryptocurrency Transactions Key to Going Mainstream

He and many others believe that the decentralized technology of cryptocurrency has potential far exceeding the label of digital currency and will contribute to solving global social, political and economic problems. Of four key factors Antonopoulos …

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“EU must be able to contribute to peaceful solution of Karabakh conflict”

The European Union must be able to contribute to a peaceful solution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Javanshir Feyziyev, co-chair of the EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee said in an interview with EURACTIV. “As the biggest political power of the continent, the EU must be able to contribute to a peaceful solution of the conflict.

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Punjab can emerge as land of opportunities with private Investments : ASSOCHAM Chandigarh,09.05.12:Leading…

Punjab can emerge as land of opportunities with private
Investments : ASSOCHAM
Chandigarh,09.05.12:Leading industry body ASSOCHAM has proposed 30-point growth strategy to the new Government of Punjab with a view to give thrust to the small scale enterprises and food processing sector and achieve double digit growth in the decade.

The ASSOCHAM delegation comprising Mr. Ravi Wig, Chairman, ASSOCHAM Punjab Development Council, Mr. Ashok Khanna, Chairman, ASSOCHAM National Council on Environment & Safety and TQM and Mr. D.S. Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM met Mr. Prakash Singh Badal today and suggested setting up of industiral clusters in Punjab for small and medium enterprises involved in food processing, handicrafts, renewable energy and information technology to generate three lakh direct and indirect jobs over the next three years and help inclusive growth.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to assist in establishing clusters of small and medium enterprises in two districts of potential states across the country.

The strategy paper on all-round Punjab development is a ready-reckoner for investors, the Centre and state governments to make it as one of the most attractive investment destinations in India with double digit SGDP growth, said Mr. Wig. The chamber has also set up a dedicated Foundation for Development of Micro Industries and Clusterisation to promote micro, small and medium enterprises.

They said Punjab should rejuvenate agriculture, create manufacturing hubs and accelerate growth in services sector to emerge as land of opportunities. The agenda of new state government should be to prioritise building social and physical infrastructure and define role of all stakeholders and cover short-term and long-term goals to ensure speedy development.

The state may not have enough finances to develop infrastructure on its own which builds a good case for public private partnership (PPP) type of initiatives involving multilateral institutions like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. “The challenge before state government is to address the issue from a holistic perspective keeping in balance between agriculture and industry,” said Mr Rawat.

To encourage effective distribution of agro-commodities, initiatives should be taken to create hub-and-spoke model under which districts and towns identified act as a hub and villages surrounding them act as spokes. This will ensure efficient distribution, reduce transportation costs, increase competition and real price discovery, benefiting the farmers.

Farmers need technology upgradation, logistic support, market intelligence and should be able to compete in international markets. The industry looks forward to stable, transparent and responsive state government so that more investments can pour in, he said.

“We would also like the state government to promote irrigation, rural connectivity, health, education and non-farm rural activities. With rich natural resources and traditional industries, however, the state holds enormous unrealised growth potential,” said Mr. Khanna.

At the same time, industries clusters can be created for micro, small and medium enterprises to ensure common facilities, thus reducing operating costs and increasing competitiveness and skill development around that sector.

The state government must facilitate contract farming by attracting investments from the private sector. Irrigation systems can be improved by employing modern technologies which are a must to boost productivity.

Special economic zones (SEZs) can be created with organic farms for herbal and medicinal plantation. A definite roadmap needs to be drafted to improve storage facilities, transport infrastructure and marketing network so that food processing industries can develop value-added products for domestic and foreign markets.

Industry-specific SEZs for information technology, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, textiles, gems and jewellery besides manufacturing of sports goods also hold potential for growth and employment generation, said ASSOCHAM.

State-level development finance institutes like erstwhile industrial development corporations should be revived to support long-term financial needs of small and medium enterprises. Developing strategic business services like IT, IT-enabled services, finance and insurance can be catalysts of growth and enhance the share of services in gross state domestic product (GSDP).

The private sector can contribute by promoting such projects to provide industry-relevant skills to rural youth. ASSOCHAM also called for creating an enabling policy framework to rejuvenate economic activity in the state.

The state government should spell out a clear land acquisition policy with sufficient room for buyers and sellers to negotiate directly with minimal government role for attracting fresh investments from the private sector.


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Sweden’s Moderates Open to Sweden Democrats Immigration Deal

Sweden’s centre-right Moderate Party has said it would be willing to bring the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats into a cross-party agreement on immigration.

Party leader Ulf Kristersson told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper that it was important that all parties in the Swedish parliament could contribute.

“I don’t intend to shut out any parties,” he said. “Let everyone who wants to discuss this take part in the conversation.”

Kristersson’s willingness to invite the Sweden Democrats into cross-party talks marks an important moment for the populist party, long a pariah in Swedish politics because of its historic neo-Nazi links.

The Sweden Democrats are expected to increase their vote share significantly in September, leaving the Moderate Party a difficult decision over to what extent it would be willing to form a government with the party’s passive or active support.

“This is a completely reasonable proposal,” the Sweden Democrats’ party leader Jimmie Åkesson told DN after the invitation. “Talking more is crucial.”

Kristersson’s comments came after the first party leaders’ debate in the run-up to this September’s election, in which he agreed with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on the need for a cross-party agreement on immigration.

“I am prepared to stretch out a hand in this and say ‘let’s get together and sit ourselves down and create a broad parliamentary agreement on a better refugee policy,’” Kristersson said, adding that political disagreement had “paralysed” Swedish migration politics.

After the debate, Löfven said that he also supported the idea of a cross-party deal.

“Yes, I think so. We owe it to the Swedish people to be able to show that we can have a long-term sustainable migration policy,” he said, but rejected Kristersson’s proposal to bring the Sweden Democrats into the talks.

“SD is not on the table. They don’t actually want to stand up for the right to claim asylum. That says it all,” he said. “But otherwise, I think that it [the agreement] should be as broad as possible, because then it will be more stable.”

Åkesson was seen by viewers as the best performer in Sunday’s leader’s debate, according to an opinion poll carried out for Swedish broadcaster SVT by Novus, an opinion research firm.

According to the poll, Åkesson came out top on two of the four policy areas covered, Migration and Law and Order. Ulf Kristersson performed second best, coming top in the voters’ poll on Jobs and Welfare.

The Green Party’s Isabella Lövin came out top on the Environment. Stefan Löfven was seen by viewers as the weakest performer, coming in third place in Jobs and Welfare, the issues where his Social Democrat party is traditionally strongest.

The post Sweden’s Moderates Open to Sweden Democrats Immigration Deal appeared first on American Renaissance.

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