first_imgTwitterJapan and Singapore have been crowned as countries with the most powerful passports, according to a study by Henley and Partners. The passports of the two Asian countries allow visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 189 countries.This information comes from the Henley Passport Index, a list compiled by Henley and Partners, a global citizenship and residence advisory firm. They had rated countries across the world depending on how many countries the passport holders of the country have access to without needing to get a visa before travel.The list saw Singapore and Japan in the lead while Afghanistan came last with passport holders having access to just 25 countries without obtaining a prior visa. Giving a shock to the two superpowers, the United States and the United Kingdom have occupied the sixth position, the lowest score they have held since 2014.In the last quarter, South Korea held the top spot but was bumped to the second position, which it shares with Finland and German. The three passports allow visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 187 countries.Italy, Luxembourg, and Denmark occupy the third position with free access to 186 locations, followed by Spain. France and Sweden, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 185 destinations.In the fifth place, Austria, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Switzerland allow free travel with 184 points.Along with the US and the UK, Belgium, Canada Norway, Greece and Norway share sixth place with a score of 183.”With a few notable exceptions, the latest rankings from the Henley Passport Index show that countries around the world increasingly view visa-openness as crucial to economic and social progress,” Dr Christian H Kaelin, the chairman of Henley & Partners and the creator of the passport index, was quoted as saying by Independent.He added, “However, this latest unique research appears to confirm something that many of us already knew intuitively: that increased visa-openness benefits the entire global community, and not just the strongest countries.”last_img read more

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first_img As delegates checked in at the Student Activities Center on the University of Houston campus for the Green Party convention, you could almost hear chants for Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. Netra Halperin was a DNC delegate in Philadelphia, but she’s in Houston as a self-proclaimed refugee from the Democratic Party following Sanders defeat.Halperin says, “I organized in collaboration with the Jill Stein (Green Party presumptive nominee) campaign that Bernie Sanders delegates held up Jill Stein signs when Hillary accepted her nomination.”Houston Public Media’s Coverage of Election 2016Several delegates said they feel Clinton stole the Democratic Nomination and they’re looking for a viable alternative. The question is, Is the Green Party a practical option? Chris, a Sanders campaign volunteer from Florida is not so sure.“Is the Green Party willing to assume power? I don’t think that they can represent that they could assume power, if they win the Presidency,” he says.The concern for those that supported Sanders is that Green Party lacks the infrastructure necessary to compete nationally. Jack Wagner is a “green” politician from California. He thinks a success starts on the local level.“It really gets back to empowering individuals to pursue offices that are good fits for them, get elected and the more we can do that with people who happen to be “green” the stronger the Green Party will become,” he says.David Wager is the treasurer of the Harris County Green Party. He hopes the party can build interest for candidates here in Houston.“It behooves us to try and build that local infrastructure and have some candidates that meet peoples’ needs in different communities around town,” Wager says.While there have been Green Party candidates elected to local and state office, the party is still looking for its first candidate to federal office. Listen Share To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: X 00:00 /01:12last_img read more

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first_imgRev. Jamal BryantSigns have emerged that suggest Pastor Jamal H. Bryant, a Baltimore fixture and pastor of the Empowerment Temple Church in West Baltimore, may be considering making a run for Rep. Elijah Cummings’ congressional seat.When asked if Bryant was mounting a campaign for the Cummings seat, which has been occupied by the Maryland’ 7th Congressional District representative since 1996, Nicole Kirby, a spokeswoman for Bryant, said, “I can neither confirm nor deny Jamal is running” for office.Cummings himself is the subject of speculation that he will run for Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s Maryland seat now that she is retiring. Cummings hired Ashley Martens, who is known for her Senate fundraising skills, is a possible signal that he will run for higher office. Cummings did not respond to a request for comment.Bryant is a frequent fixture on television and during the April Baltimore uprising, was often seen leading protests. He gave the eulogy at Freddie Gray’s funeral in April and was very visible last summer in Ferguson, Mo, where he was arrested demonstrating against police brutality following the shooting death of Michael Brown.last_img read more

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first_imgCave of Crystals, Naica, Mexico. Image credit: Skylar Because growing a giant crystal in a laboratory creates difficulties because of the timescale required, they were unable to make an accurate guess as to the age of these crystals. However, thanks to a team of researchers from Spain and Japan and a new analytical technique, the age and the growth rate of these crystals has been determined and they have been a long time in the making. As much as 1 million years in the making. The researchers study has been published in the September 12 online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.The new technique utilizes a beam of white light aimed at the crystal to determine its properties. Scientists determined that the gypsum crystalized within the cave at temperatures between 54 and 58 degrees Celsius, or 129 to 136 degrees Fahrenheit. By submersing the crystal in mineral rich water, similar to what would have flowed in the cave before it was drained in 1975, the researchers discovered that the slowest growth would have occurred when the cave was 55 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, the crystals would have taken 990,000 years to form with a diameter of 1 meter. By increasing the temperature in the cave by one degree, or 56 degrees Celsius, the same size crystal could have formed in a little less than half the time, or around 500,000 years. This possible growth rate would work out to around a billionth of a meter of growth per day and is the slowest growth rate that has ever been measured. More information: Ultraslow growth rates of giant gypsum crystals, PNAS, Published online before print September 12, 2011, doi:10.1073/pnas.1105233108AbstractMineralogical processes taking place close to equilibrium, or with very slow kinetics, are difficult to quantify precisely. The determination of ultraslow dissolution/precipitation rates would reveal characteristic timing associated with these processes that are important at geological scale. We have designed an advanced high-resolution white-beam phase-shift interferometry microscope to measure growth rates of crystals at very low supersaturation values. To test this technique, we have selected the giant gypsum crystals of Naica ore mines in Chihuahua, Mexico, a challenging subject in mineral formation. They are thought to form by a self-feeding mechanism driven by solution-mediated anhydrite-gypsum phase transition, and therefore they must be the result of an extremely slow crystallization process close to equilibrium. To calculate the formation time of these crystals we have measured the growth rates of the {010} face of gypsum growing from current Naica waters at different temperatures. The slowest measurable growth rate was found at 55 °C, 1.4 ± 0.2 × 10-5 nm/s, the slowest directly measured normal growth rate for any crystal growth process. At higher temperatures, growth rates increase exponentially because of decreasing gypsum solubility and higher kinetic coefficient. At 50 °C neither growth nor dissolution was observed indicating that growth of giant crystals of gypsum occurred at Naica between 58 °C (gypsum/anhydrite transition temperature) and the current temperature of Naica waters, confirming formation temperatures determined from fluid inclusion studies. Our results demonstrate the usefulness of applying advanced optical techniques in laboratory experiments to gain a better understanding of crystal growth processes occurring at a geological timescale. Paving the Way for Crystal Growth This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen Play Time course of the surface morphology of the {010} face of a gypsum crystal in contact with Milli-Q water at room temperature (22.5 C). Movie: PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1105233108 After determining that these crystals could very well be close to a million years old, the researchers are now hoping to look for microscopic liquid pockets within the crystals in the hopes of finding possible microorganisms inside. © 2011 PhysOrg.com Explore further Citation: Slowest crystal growth ever measured (2011, September 13) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-09-slowest-crystal-growth.html (PhysOrg.com) — Deep within a silver and lead mine in Naica, Mexico, scientists discovered what is now known as Cueva de los Cristales, or Cave of Crystals, close to a decade ago. The gypsum crystals found in this cave measure as long as 11 meters (36 feet) and as thick as 1 meter (3 feet). While these crystals are beautiful and reminiscent of a Superman film, they have had scientists stumped since their discovery. The question was just how long these crystals had been growing in order to become this large.last_img read more

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