EPA announces changes to dicamba registration

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is extending the registration of dicamba for two years for “over-the-top” use (application to growing plants) to control weeds in fields for cotton and soybean plants genetically engineered to resist dicamba. This action was informed by input from and extensive collaboration between EPA, state regulators, farmers, academic researchers, pesticide manufacturers, and other stakeholders.“EPA understands that dicamba is a valuable pest control tool for America’s farmers,” said Andrew Wheeler, EPA Acting Administrator. “By extending the registration for another two years with important new label updates that place additional restrictions on the product, we are providing certainty to all stakeholders for the upcoming growing season.”The following label changes were made to ensure that these products can continue to be used effectively while addressing potential concerns to surrounding crops and plants. Dicamba registration decisions for 2019-2020 growing seasonTwo-year registration (until Dec. 20, 2020)Only certified applicators may apply dicamba over the top (those working under the supervision of a certified applicator may no longer make applications)Prohibit over-the-top application of dicamba on soybeans 45 days after planting and cotton 60 days after plantingFor cotton, limit the number of over-the-top applications from 4 to 2 (soybeans remain at 2 OTT applications)Applications will be allowed only from 1 hour after sunrise to 2 hours before sunsetIn counties where endangered species may exist, the downwind buffer will remain at 110 feet and there will be a new 57-foot buffer around the other sides of the field (the 110-foot downwind buffer applies to all applications, not just in counties where endangered species may exist)Clarify training period for 2019 and beyond, ensuring consistency across all three productsEnhanced tank clean out instructions for the entire systemEnhanced label to improve applicator awareness on the impact of low pHs on the potential volatility of dicambaLabel clean up and consistency to improve compliance and enforceabilityThe registration for all dicamba products will automatically expire on Dec. 20, 2020, unless EPA further extends it.EPA has reviewed substantial amounts of new information and concluded that the continued registration of these dicamba products meets FIFRA’s registration standards. The Agency has also determined that extending these registrations with the new safety measures will not affect endangered species.“It is important that the EPA has decided to renew the registration of over-the-top use of this important weed control technology on dicamba-resistant cotton and soybeans, because it presents farmers with options,” said Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. “This represents the conclusion of a very thorough scientific review, in conjunction with stakeholders, involving site visits and careful consideration of facts. Producers who use this weed control method should review the label, understand why changes have been made, and ensure that all requirements of the label are met when the 2019 use season begins.”Learn more: https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/registration-dicamba-use-genetically-engineered-crops.last_img read more

Corn neutral, soybeans bearish in today’s USDA numbers

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Doug Tenney, Leist MercantileToday’s USDA report had corn production at 13.661 billion bushels, yield of 167.0, and ending stocks at 1.910 billion bushels. Soybean production was 3.550 billion bushels, yield was 46.9, and ending stocks of 475 million bushels.The market has been anticipating this report for weeks. Anticipation can be highly overrated. Yet, it can also be disappointing as the amount of time and energy spent is quickly forgotten once the report is released. Don’t be surprised to just move on.Will USDA finally get it right with corn acres and yield? However, with only 52% of the U.S. corn harvested shown on this week’s progress report, it means even less corn had been harvested when USDA compiled and field reports the beginning of November. Many anticipate the corn yield would decline in the last 20% to 40% of harvest. It could easily be the January 10, 2020 report to get a much better handle on corn yields when final 2019 production and yield are released.Corn has been under pressure in recent weeks due to shrinking export demand. This week it has made several new 30-day lows on the December CBOT contract. Improving weather in South America along with increased acres have combined as negatives for corn. U.S. weekly export sales have been disappointing with actual shipments light as well. Exports could be cut again today. Last month, U.S. corn exports were reduced 150 million bushels to 1.9 billion bushels. It follows a trend which has reduced exports multiple times from the May report when they were projected to be 2.275 billion bushels.Shortly after the report release, corn was 4 cents, soybeans were down 5 cents, and wheat was up 1 cent. Prior to the noon report, corn was down 2 cents, soybeans down 4 cents, and wheat down one cent.The U.S. and China trade talks continue to dominate the news. No one is thrilled with this reality but it is where we are. With the mid-November Chile APEC meeting cancelled, it means a new location must be secured for a trade signing to take place But, first the trade deal needs to be accomplished. The last two days there have been numerous news stories of the tariffs being removed in stages. For word buffs, the word of the day this week has been, “tranche,” defined as slice or portion. It has appeared in multiple news reports. Yesterday, there was even a report in which China denied the idea of slices, instead stating the translation had not been done properly.Trader estimates had the U.S. corn yield at 167.5, last month USDA had 168.4; corn production estimates were 13.643, USDA was 13.779 last month; and corn ending stocks estimates were 1.817 billion bushels, with USDA in October 1.929 billion bushels. Soybean trade estimates had the U.S. soybean yield at 46.6, last month USDA was 46.9; soybean production estimates from traders were 3.510 billion bushels, last month USDA was 3.550 billion bushels, and soybean ending stocks estimates were 428 million bushels, last month USDA was 460 million bushels.The funds have been short corn and long soybeans for many weeks. Their positions have increased both for corn and soybeans this week. It will take a major surprise for them to suddenly change.last_img read more

Smart Speakers Are Useful and Fun, but Don’t Let Them Reign as the Queen of All Knowledge

first_imgVince Lynch is CEO of IV.AI, a global AI company that helps businesses better connect with their customers. It processes 150 languages so all customers can be heard regardless of their origin. Clients include SMBs and larger companies such as Netflix, Toyota, Estée Lauder, Telefonica, and Capital One. When we were asked to help promote the “Resident Evil” film franchise for Sony Pictures a couple of years ago, we came up with the idea of altering the fictional artificial intelligence character (The Red Queen) into a real AI character — for which the fans could interact. It was a fun concept that was quite successful, but it created some serious challenges and reminded us how hard it is to build truly meaningful AI.Creating AI, including smart speakers like Alexa and smartphone assistants like Siri, is challenging. These devices offer a helpful utility function and are good for amusement, but they are created and trained by humans, which can introduce biases and a power dynamic that should be addressed.The Red Queen AIEngagement was what we were aiming for when we started on the Red Queen AI. We began by collecting all the scripts that had been created by the writers of the films in the series. We trained the AI to learn the character using natural language processing techniques and then generated new dialogue written entirely by the AI to see how it would work.The first few AI outputs were a nightmare. There wasn’t enough training data in the model, so the new AI version of the character was overly aggressive. We needed more data to soften the harsh villain character and enable it to work for a wider audience.The film character’s catchphrase was “You’re all going to die down here,” but the first version of the AI couldn’t quite get it right. It gave us some pretty funny results, including “You must die” and “Your death is here.” As you might imagine, it could be a bit heavy out of context and could have hindered our ability to reach a new audience that hadn’t seen the previous films.To add more training data and to make the AI smarter, we decided to tap into literature by authors like Charles Dickens and Shakespeare so the AI could learn from the more gentle communication styles of classic villains. Then, we added real conversations from police engagements with criminals to provide more realism and modern communication, as well as examples of people on psychoactive drugs recounting the things they saw, which ended up providing some rather creative dialogue.We trained and retrained, and finally settled on the AI’s output: “I’m not sure I’m done playing with you yet.” This statement would then appear more playful and not as murderous. Plus it worked for the context of the engagement, which allowed people back into the game.Everyone was happy with the end result, and the game was a hit. But it’s important to note that our decisions about which training data to use had biases. The decisions of the writers as to what made a good villain had biases. All of those biased slants can be OK when the aim is entertainment — but they should be approached with caution for more serious conversations managed by voice assistants, such as for healthcare, finances, and nutrition.The Challenges of AI AssistantsThe creators of AI assistants are often a small, homogenized group of people behind the curtain who decide what answers are true (or the most accurate) for billions of people. These arbitrary statements create a distorted view of reality that users of AI assistants might take as gospel.For instance, more than a year ago, Alexa was accused of a liberal bias. And last January, a video went viral when someone asked Google Home who Jesus was and the device couldn’t answer but could tell users who Buddha was. The company explained that it didn’t allow the device to answer the question because some answers come from the web, which might prompt a response a Christian would find disrespectful.As the use of smart speakers continues to climb, so do expectations. The number of smart speakers in U.S. homes increased 78% from December 2017 to December 2018 to a whopping 118.5 million, according to “The Smart Audio Report.” But users need to be mindful of the way the AI platforms work.Digital assistants have the potential to limit the scope of what products and platforms we use.After all, when one device (and, therefore, one company) owns the road to external knowledge, that company can act unethically in its own interest.For example, if I ask Siri to play a song by The Beatles, the device might automatically play the song from Apple Music instead of my Spotify library. Or I might ask Alexa to order AA batteries, and Alexa could happily order Amazon’s own brand.Combatting the Limited Scope of AI DevicesIn free markets, where competition is supposed to benefit consumers, these flaws can present significant obstacles. The companies that own the speakers could conceivably gain even more control over commerce than they already have.To combat this, users should be as transparent as possible with their requests to AI devices. “Play The Beatles on Spotify” or “Order the cheapest AA batteries,” for instance, are more thorough instructions. The more aware users are of how companies engage with them, the more they can enjoy the benefits of AI assistants while maintaining control of their environment.You can also ask an AI device to communicate with a specific company when you are buying items. For instance, Best Buy offers exclusive deals that you can only get when ordering through your smart speaker. You can also get updates on your orders, help with customer service needs, and updates on new releases.Users should remember that AI assistants are tools, and they need to think about how they manage them in order to have a good experience.And users should report responses if assistants make them feel uncomfortable so the makers of these devices and skills can improve the experience for everyone. Natural language processing requires a considered focus, as the potential benefits are just as significant as the liability of things going wrong.As for our natural language processing and the Red Queen, we discovered that some users were signing off at night with “Good night, Red Queen,” which means she clearly wasn’t too aggressive in the end. Follow the Puck A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Vince LynchCEO of IV.AI Tags:#AI#artificial intelligence#digital assistant#smart speakers AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storagelast_img read more

Citizenship Bill: Call to boycott R-Day

first_imgCivil society groups in the northeast have joined extremists in calling for a boycott of the Republic Day celebration in protest against the Citizenship Bill. The Bill, if passed in the Upper House of Parliament, would shorten the claim for Indian citizenship by non-Muslims who allegedly fled religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan till December 31, 2014.In a joint statement on Wednesday, the Coordination Committee, an umbrella organisation of six Manipur-based extremist groups, the United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent and the National Liberation Front of Twipra appealed to the people to shun the R-Day celebration.The Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland had issued a similar statement earlier.Claiming that the Centre staged a “legislative drama” of passing the Bill in the Lok Sabha on January 8, the outfits said the move to grant citizenship on the basis of religion was in keeping with the BJP’s “Hindutva agenda”.Organisations such as the Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur and the Mizoram-based NGO Coordination Committee, comprising five civil society and students’ groups, said they would boycott functions.Regional political parties such as the People’s Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM) have given a similar call besides deciding to hoist black flags at its offices. “We will also write to the Rajya Sabha Chairperson for ensuring the Bill’s passage is prevented,” PRISM president Vanlalruata said.In Assam, 30 organisations led by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) organised a rally on Wednesday to “shout out” the Bill. Leaders of various ethnic groups and intellectuals attended the rally and warned the Narendra Modi government of the fallout of enacting the Bill.AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi asked Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to “show some spine” and take a stand against the Bill for the sake of the indigenous people.“This is a dangerous bill, and people across the northeastern States need to come together to defeat it,” Samuel Jyrwa, president of North East Students’ Organisation, said.last_img read more

Hardik Pandya recalls his first meeting with Sachin Tendulkar: ‘Nearly dropped my plate’

first_imgHardik Pandya, who is currently playing his first Test at Galle against Sri Lanka, recalled that the first time he met Sachin Tendulkar, he was left completely starstruck.Pandya had a good debut outing in the Indian Premier League in 2015 with Mumbai Indians and in the first season itself he played a decisive innings of right-ball 21 against Chennai Super Kings to secure the victory for Mumbai, coming to bat when the team needed 30 runs from 2 overs.Overall, Pandya scored 112 runs from 9 matches that season, with 61 not out being his highest score.The all-rounder recalled his first day in the Mumbai Indians dressing room when he was eating and Sachin came up to him and greeted him.”I was eating and I suddenly heard a hi, he tapped me and greeted me. I turned around and look at him and the plate started slipping from my hands. I kept the plate aside and went into a corner and just kept looking at him while he greeted everyone. It took me 20-25 minutes to get out of that state,” Pandya said on ‘What the Duck’ with Vikram Sathaye.Pandya went on to say that even before he debuted for India in October 2016, Sachin had told him during his season IPL season that he will soon play for India.”As soon I went to him, he first said that you’re doing well. Then, he was like ‘I shouldn’t say this to you but I am doing so. The way you’re playing and the kind of potential and talent that you have, you’ll play for India in another one to one and a half years.advertisement”I called up Krunal and when my family came to know that Sachin sir had said that (will debut for India in a year or so) to me, the environment was such that it didn’t matter anymore if I would play for India or no,” Pandya said.The India all-rounder said that after Tendulkar had said that to him, he made his India debut just 5-6 months later.Pandya is an animated character on the field and just like his captain Virat Kohli, he wears his heart on the sleeve. When asked of his imfamous expression on the field, Pandya said that it just comes naturally to him.”That’s my personality, I can’t hide my expressions. Even when I am alone and something happens, it shows on my face. People think I am a drama queen, but it’s just natural to me,” Pandya told.The all-rounder got his first Test cap on July 26, 2017 for India’s first Test against Sri Lanka in the three-match series.He has impressed on his Test debut scoring a good half-century and picking up the wicket of Nuwan Pradeep in the first innings.last_img read more

Duke Of Cambridge Speaks On Illegal Wildlife Trade For Chinese Television

first_imgThe Duke of Cambridge has delivered a speech on Chinese television on the urgent work needed to combat the illegal wildlife trade.Prince William With Yao Ming, Bear Grylls and Sir David AttenboroughCredit/Copyright: DukeAndDuchessOfCambridge.orgHis Royal Highness’s speech, filmed at the Maughan Library at King’s College London, will air on CCTV1 – the station with the largest audience in China – as part of a series of programmes called Let’s Talk.The Duke is grateful to have this opportunity to explain how people around the world must work together to save some of the planet’s most critically endangered species before they are lost forever. His Royal Highness considers this issue an important test for his generation’s ability to solve the much more complex global challenges it will face in the decades to come.The Duke raised this issue with the President of China when they met in Bejing earlier this year and has been encouraged by China’s willingness to play its part in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade.Before filming his speech, in front of a studio-style audience of around 80 King’s College London students and guests, The Duke of Cambridge met other participants in the programme – Sir David Attenborough, Yao Ming and Bear Grylls.Also today, the Duke of Cambridge attended the signing of a memorandum to help rangers fight poaching in Africa.The Duke was present as the Leading Chinese firm Sanpower joined United for Wildlife to support rangers in the fight against poaching in Africa.The Royal Foundation, United For Wildlife, of whom The Duke is President, and Sanpower will work together in the fight against the poaching of iconic species including elephants, rhinoceros, big cats and pangolins in Africa and the trafficking of animal body parts across borders. The unprecedented rise in the illegal wildlife trade has caused the slaughter of tens of thousands of endangered animals – 20% of the African elephant population has been killed in the last three years alone.Source:DukeAndDuchessOfCambridge.orglast_img read more