Category Archives: nwhtoyha

Remain Committed to Profession

first_imgThe president of the National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL), Rev. Ellen Fartu G. Varfley, has admonished   teachers and Educational workers across the country to remain committed to the teaching profession. They were also urged to exercise resilience in molding the minds of the country’s youths.Rev. Varfley noted that despite the stress and difficulties teachers in the country have endured, they still continue to play a meaningful role in helping to improve the country’s educational system.She reminded the teachers and educational workers that much more needs to be done to bring about total success in the educational system of Liberia, stressing that this can be achieved if only the teachers remain united and committed.It is sad, to note that while the educational system of Liberia was picking up, the country was hit by the deadly Ebola virus, which put a halt to all academic activities and claimed the lives of thousands of our citizens and foreigners, health workers and even NTAL  members, she said.    She admonished teachers and education workers not to be complacent in the face of the gradual slow down of the Ebola virus. It is not yet over, she warned, advising them to continue taking the preventive measures in order to save themelves from contracting the disease.“As we come to the close of this academic year 2014, I urged all of you to retrospect on the past,  where we came from, where we are today and where we want to be tomorrow. This can be achieved if we put aside our individual differences and make NTAL our common denominator,” Rev. Varfley added.Rev. Varfley made the call over the weekend during a year-end Representative Council meeting of the Association held at the National Headquarters on capitol Bye-pass adjacent the National Police Headquarters, in Monrovia.The Representative Council of the Association is the second highest decision making body comprising of NTAL local presidents from the country’s fifteen (15). It meets twice a year to review the activities of the association for the year and adopt new plans for the coming year.The NTAL boss also disclosed that in the face of the many challenges facing the Association, during the year 2014, the leadership was able to make some level of achievements.The NTAL president named the ongoing construction of the NTAL Headquarters project, the NTAL Credit Union deduction of shares and saving from members that registered with the Union, the establishment of the NTAL’s Anti-Ebola Task Force to buttress government’s fight against the Ebola virus and the placement of deleted teachers names’ back on government payroll.  This was a result of the dialogue conducted between the leadership of the Association and the National Government through the Ministry of Education.She commended all those institutions that responded to their request during the launching of the NTAL Anti- Ebola awareness Task Force.  These included the Canadian Teachers Federation (CTF), National Port Authority (NPA), Secure Risk Insurance Company and the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Saito to limit running for time being

first_img“With anything else, I can go full speed.” The injury is believed to be so minor that Saito won’t have any trouble being ready for the April 2 season opener at Milwaukee. Meanwhile, Saito laid to rest any rumors that he was considering retirement last winter after posting 24 saves in what officially was his rookie season. Saito made it clear after last year that he wanted a contract that paid him well in excess of the going rate for a second-year player, something the Dodgers were under no obligation to do. But out of a sense of fairness to a player who had been a four-time All-Star during his 14 seasons in Japan, the Dodgers did give Saito a deal that could pay him up to $1.3 million if he maxes out his performance bonuses by finishing 60 games. “I never thought about retiring,” said Saito, who if he had returned to Japan would have been prohibited from pitching for a professional club there because the Dodgers retained rights to him. “From the very beginning, I knew I wanted to re-sign with the Dodgers. I told my agent to get me a fair deal, but at no point did I ever even think about what I would do if I didn’t sign a contract. I wanted to sign here, and I never thought about the alternative.” Feeling fine Andy LaRoche, one of the organization’s top position prospects, reported early because he is coming off arthroscopic surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder after last season. But LaRoche said he is fully recovered now, and club officials will spend the spring evaluating whether he is ready to play third base every day in the majors. LaRoche, 23, believes he already knows the answer. “In my own head, obviously, I am ready,” he said. “I think every player believes that.” LaRoche has a chance to beat out incumbent Wilson Betemit for the job. But if he doesn’t, LaRoche will begin the season at Triple-A Las Vegas so he can continue to develop by playing regularly instead of riding the bench for long periods in the majors. First day Pitchers and catchers will hold their first workout of the spring this morning, but the routine will change slightly with the arrival of new trainer Stan Conte. Following the usual team meeting each morning, players will go to the Holman Stadium outfield just off the clubhouse for a stretching-and-warmup routine. In the past, players were required to trudge all the way to the back fields, about 200 yards away, for morning stretch. “It’s mostly logistics because the (stretching) program we’re going to have will require us to come back into the clubhouse afterward before starting our baseball activities,” manager Grady Little said. The brief intermission will give players a chance to change into their spikes after their stretching routine, which will require regular-soled shoes. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! VERO BEACH, Fla. – The Dodgers’ first significant player injury this year – the player is significant, but the injury isn’t – happened on the other side of the globe. A few weeks after signing a one-year, $1 million contract to remain with the club, closer Takashi Saito was jogging in his native Japan on Jan. 15 when his right calf gave out. Saito stopped running for four weeks, then tried again last week in Los Angeles. But when he did so, he felt a recurrence of the pain. Although it was less severe this time, Saito felt compelled to report the injury to the Dodgers’ medical staff. Until further notice, Saito will be held out of any spring-training drills involving running. But that is merely a precautionary measure. He is still cleared to throw off a mound, something half the team’s pitchers will do for the first time today. center_img “When it happened a second time, I really wanted to make sure I took care of it so I didn’t have to worry about it,” said Saito, with traveling secretary Scott Akasaki translating. “That’s why I told the trainers. They don’t want me to cover bases or take part in any (drill) that has to do with running. last_img read more

USC celebrates win over Cal

first_imgStewart drained four 3-pointers to give him 220 for his career, breaking the all-time USC mark of 218 held by Brandon Granville (1999-02). His record-breaking shot came at an opportune time, as Cal had drawn within five points with a little over 13 minutes remaining. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Then the players lifted senior walk-on Chris Penrose – who hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds – onto their shoulders and carried him off the court. USC’s 84-66 victory over California in its final home game displayed everything that has changed this year within the program – the attitude, the attendance and the atmosphere. LOS ANGELES – USC senior Lodrick Stewart led the student section at Galen Center in displaying the university’s trademark victory sign as the school’s fight song played. Teammates surrounded Stewart, some going into the aisles, as the capacity crowd paid tribute to one of the Trojans’ best seasons since the Pacific-10 Conference expanded to 10 teams in 1979. The players paid tribute back for the electric atmosphere that built all season and reached a crescendo Saturday. center_img “We said from day one, we’re not going to beg our people to come out,” said coach Tim Floyd after his team played in front of a sellout Galen Center-record crowd of 10,027. “You have to earn those things.” USC has done that with a team that has defied all expectations. The Trojans (21-8, 11-5) are guaranteed at least fourth place in the Pac-10, will take second if they win both games in Washington this week and can wrap up third with a win or Stanford loss in the final two games. This for a team that entered the season picked to finish sixth in the conference and starting freshmen at point guard and power forward. “We’re playing for seeding now,” Stewart said. “There’s not a doubt we’re going to the (NCAA) Tournament. I think we’re going now, and the coaches feel the same way.” USC’s 15-3 record at Galen Center is its best home mark since going 16-3 in 1961. last_img read more

Five things to know about Croatia

first_img0Shares0000Mario Mandzukic celebrates Croatia’s win against England in the World Cup semi-final in MoscowZAGREB, Croatia, July 12 – Despite the prodigious talent of Croatia’s players, few expected The Fiery Ones to reach the World Cup final — a feat not seen for such a small nation since Uruguay reached football’s pinnacle in 1950.Here are five things to know about the country that on Sunday could become the ninth to have that hallowed star embroidered above its national crest: – Sports incubator –The country of around four million people, which became independent in 1991, produces an impressive number of champions.Apart from footballers, its national handball team scooped a world champions title as well as Olympic gold twice, while the water polo squad were also crowned world champions.Its top basketball players, Drazen Petrovic, who died in 1993, and NBA star Toni Kukoc bounced Croatia into the sporting spotlight.Tennis legend Goran Ivanisevic and current star Marin Cilic, as well as high jump champion Blanka Vlasic, have also made names for themselves internationally.And although Croatia has practically no ski resorts unlike neighbouring Slovenia, it boasts Alpine ski champions such as the likes of sister and brother act Janica and Ivica Kostelic.Croatians have their own name for football, “nogomet”, derived from the word “noga” for leg, making theirs among only a handful of languages not to have borrowed a variant of the word “football”. In neighbouring Serbia, whose language is practically the same, the word is “fudbal”.– The ubiquitous tie –The French side may wish to contemplate the phrase of Norman Davies in his book “Europe – A History”: “At all events, people who deny the influence of Europe’s ‘smaller nations’ should remember that the Croats have the rest of us by the throat.”The British historian was referring to a tie or cravat — worn every day by millions upon millions of men worldwide — whose Croatian origin reaches far into the past and is linked to love and devotion.According to Croatians, for centuries women tied kerchiefs around their darlings’ necks as they set off to do battle in foreign wars.Notably, Croat mercenaries wore them as they fought on the side of King Louis XIV during the Thirty Years War in the 17th century.The humble tie was soon accepted as a fashion accessory by the powerful French court, including the king himself, later spreading to Britain and throughout the world.Its association with the Croat nation resulted in the word cravat.Today, Croatians celebrate Cravat Day on October 18.– The Dalmatians –While the origins of the tie may prove a surprise to the rest of Europe, the country has another export that is universally known and loved.Of Croatia’s seven native dog breeds, Dalmatians, with their distinctive brown or black spots and elegant bodies, have won global fame thanks to Walt Disney’s cartoon “101 Dalmatians”, first released in 1961.Originating from the coastal region of Dalmatia on the Adriatic Sea, these friendly dogs were first depicted in a number of paintings and church chronicles from the 16th to 18th centuries, before becoming sought-after domestic pets hundreds of years later.– Carnivorous currency –  Though a member of the European Union, Croatia is not in the eurozone. Its currency the kuna was adopted in 1994 during the independence war to replace the Croatian dinar, which was a successor to Yugoslav dinar.Kuna means marten, whose fur was used as the currency in the Middle Age and is depicted on the face of the coin.The choice stirred controversy as the kuna was also the currency used by the country’s pro-Nazi Ustasha regime during World War II.– 1,000 islands –Tourism accounts for 20 percent of Croatia’s gross domestic product, with some 18 million visitors each year, many attracted to the more than 1,000 islands and islets scattered in the Adriatic Sea.Other tourist draws include the Istria hinterland, the Velebit mountain, and the Krka and Plitvice national parks.Croatia is also the country of “prsut”, a prosciutto ham that became the first national product to obtain the label of controlled European origin.In addition, Istria is known for its truffles, while the local fish soup “gregada” has no reason to envy Marseille’s bouillabaisse.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

LYIT points fluctuate as CAO round two results out today

first_imgThe CAO have send out the second round of offers this morning to hopeful third-level students. More than 2,573 offers were made this morning; 1,470 for Level 8 courses and 1,103 Level 6/7 courses.Nationally, courses at third-level institutions have fallen by 5 to 10 points on average, giving students who missed out by 5 points on the first round a chance to get enrolled on their ideal course. At Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Level 8 courses have fluctuated since round one. Honours Batchelor’s degrees in Visual Communication and Graphic Design fell by 25 points, Health and Social Care fell by 15 points, and Psychiatric nursing decreased by 10 points. Business with a language shot up on the second round, going from 210 points to 270.For level 6 and 7 courses, Agricultural Technology fell from 220 to 165, Agriculture fell from 250 to 225, Early Childhood Care, Health and Education went from 190 to 160, and Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Science fell 15 points. Level 8 courses  Level 6 & 7 LYIT points fluctuate as CAO round two results out today was last modified: September 1st, 2016 by Elaine McCalligShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:CAOhigh pointslow pointsLYITPointsThird levellast_img read more

Raheem Sterling ‘verbally agrees’ new five-year contract at Man City

first_img Did Mahrez just accidentally reveal Fernandinho is leaving Man City this summer? Sterling has 48 goals in 151 appearances for the club 2 targets Latest Manchester City News What every Premier League club’s fans dream of this Christmas Kevin De Bruyne ‘loves Man City and wants to keep winning’, reveals father Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won BIG PRESENTS UP TOP shining Pep Guardiola gives Man City injury update and talks Christmas schedule “It’s well known we’re delighted with him and would like him to continue. My club knows my opinion and we share that. After that it is the club and the agent,” he said.Sterling has been capped 46 times by England and featured at two World Cups. Sterling had a blinder of a game during England’s Nations League win over Spain, scoring two goalscenter_img Sky Sports News understands the England winger’s representatives came to an agreement with City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain in the last few days and a deal is expected to be signed in the coming weeks.Sterling, 23, joined City from Liverpool in 2015 for £49million and has scored 48 goals in 151 appearances for the club.He enjoyed arguably the best campaign of his career in the 2017/18 season when he scored 23 goals in all competitions as City won the Premier League title with a record 100 points.In September, City boss Pep Guardiola stressed the importance of securing Sterling a new long-term contract. Where every Premier League club needs to strengthen in January LIVING THE DREAM Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars whoops PEP TALK REVEALED Raheem Sterling has “verbally agreed” a new five-year deal at Manchester City, according to reports.His contract had been due to expire in just over 18 months, which attracted interest from the likes of Real Madrid but now he will be tied to the Etihad Stadium until 2023. REVEALED Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? 2last_img read more

GREYHOUND RACING: TONIGHT’S LIFFORD CARD

first_imgThree first round heats of the A McLean Bookmakers 525 feature on tonight’s greyhound racing card at Lifford Stadium.There are 12 races down for decision. The runners are (first race 8.00pm):Race 1 (350 yards): 1, Ballougry Bound; 2, Cushie Willow; 3, Forward Fun; 4, Tarmac Ace; 5, Moss Bob; 6, Cloneen Dynamo. Race 2 Buy a Buster 350 (350 yards): 1, Final Drive; 2, White Zodiac; 3, Macsruso; 4, Mullrook Danaher; 5, Great Soprano; 6, Bardic Rose.Race 3 Booking Office 525 (525 yards): 1, Ballyhill Civic; 2, Tullna Island; 3, Bricken Rose; 4, Maybe Ted; 5, Maid of More; 6, Kilgrogan Theft.Race 4 Lifford €15 Special 350 (350 yards): 1, Bovally Mist; 2, Corrin Betty; 3, Gabby’s Mondays; 4, Tydon Marquis; 5, Myre Willow; 6, Lovely Myles.Race 5 “Like Us” on Facebook 525 (525 yards): 1, Counterfit; 2, Goodinthehood; 3, Quare Flame; 4, Shanmoyle Legend; 5, Castleroggy Lord; 6, Beraghill Monty. Race 6 Ultimate Dining Experience 750 (750 yards): 1, Raughlan Blaze; 2, Crossleigh Thyme; 3, Hanoras Dream; 4, Glenside Amber; 5, Corrina; 6, Canvas Picasso.Race 7 Lifford €10 Sizzler Deal 525 (525 yards): 1, Fridays Brett; 2, Tahina Sabrina; 3, Rocky Road; 4, Belindas Cruise; 5, Mongys Flyer; 6, Castleroggy Rust.Race 8 Christmas Party Nights 350 (350 yards): 1, Take Cover; 2, Whoop Whoop; 3, Imperial Tank; 4, Leosal; 5, Nosey Taz; 6, Castleroggy Keri.Race 9 A McLean Bookmakers 525 round one heat one (525 yards): 1, Westood Lee; 2, Tahina Kellie; 3, Helens Champ; 4, Bleu Paradise; 5, Natureofthetrade; 6, Hather Lock.Race 10 A McLean Bookmakers 525 round one heat two (525 yards): Farloe Pixie; 2, Gortkelly Turbo; 3, Rampant Razzle; 4, Kingsmill Aguero; 5, Smurfing Manx; 6, Aughduff Murt. Race 11 A McLean Bookmakers 525 heat one heat three (525 yards): 1, Thrill Me; 2, Turbine Tulip; 3, Hather Bonnie; 4, Mongys Girl; 5, Dartrey Snow; 6, Inontheact.Race 12 The Getting Out 525 Bumper Stakes (525 yards): 1, Golden Pearl; 2, Fridays Maybe; 3, Battle Born; 4, Gilti Aero; 5, Blackstone Maxx; 6, Do It Ruso.GREYHOUND RACING: TONIGHT’S LIFFORD CARD was last modified: September 4th, 2014 by johngerardShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:cardgreyhoundLiffordRacinglast_img read more

Half-time: West Ham 0 Chelsea 2

first_imgA Frank Lampard penalty and a crisp Oscar strike gave Chelsea a commanding lead at half-time at Upton Park.After a muted first 20 minutes, Lampard was gifted the opportunity to put the Blues in front when Hammers goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen sent Oscar sprawling.The England midfielder struck the spot-kick firmly down the middle for his first Premier League goal since August and his sixth for Chelsea against his former club.The goal arrived after a fairly nondescript first 20 minutes, with neither side stretching the other bar an Oscar effort which flew high and wide.Following his goal, Lampard had two other chances to double the lead, scuffing a shot straight at Jaaskelainen and then heading wide.Chelsea’s dominance in midfield paid dividends when Oscar exchanged passes with Eden Hazard and was afforded the space to run at the West Ham defence before drilling a shot into the bottom corner.A frustrated Sam Allardyce made two substitutions five minutes before the break, withdrawing Jack Collison and ex-Blues favourite Joe Cole to a chorus of boos, and bringing on Modibo Maiga and Mohamed Diame.Chelsea remained on top, however, and Jaaskelainen produced a fine save to keep out Samuel Eto’o’s effort.Chelsea (4-2-3-1):  Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Mikel, Ramires; Oscar, Lampard, Hazard; Eto’o.Subs: Cole, Essien, Mata, Schurrle, Ba, Willian, Schwarzer.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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Grassroots football alive and kicking

first_imgYoung footballers training on a dusty field near Mafikeng in the North West province. (Image: Bongani Nkosi)A few years ago, less than five to be precise, I was a village boy with an incalculable passion for playing football, or iDiski as we call it in South Africa’s black communities, and used to dribble with flair.I played on various fields around my home village of Tweefontein, located in the former KwaNdebele homeland in Mpumalanga province. All the fields were gravel, rough and dusty, and most of us played barefoot.In fact the fields have not changed, they are still not grassy, and there’s no sign they will change any time soon. But what has changed is that I no longer play football on them – I have moved to the city of Johannesburg, some 100km from my home.Memories of the days I used to model my playing style on Siyabonga Nomvethe, at that time a darting and goal-banging striker for my favourite team Kaizer Chiefs, came flooding back when I visited North West province recently.It’s the young footballers of Six Hundred, a district outside Mafikeng, who reminded me of the years which shaped me, the years during which many of us nurtured dreams of becoming top football stars like Benni McCarthy.It’s truly amazing how many youngsters in villages live for football during their school years, and yet so few go on to play professionally.As I drove into Six Hundred in the afternoon, the interest in football was unmistakable. Alongside fellow journalists and officials of the North West University Soccer Institute, we passed a number of pebbly fields buzzing with primary and secondary school boys – clear proof that grassroots football in South Africa is alive and kicking.Gateway to bigger thingsOur destination was the training session of local team ACS Savagers, which practise and play their home matches on the dusty field we visited. The field is right in the middle of the village and surrounded by some of the players’ homes.This is where Thabo Mosethle, a teacher at Letsatsing Science High School in Mafikeng, nurtures young football talent. “Players here are passionate, they want to go somewhere,” he said. “The passion for football is there in each and every village in Six Hundred.”He coaches more than 60 boys in different age groups. “I have many dreams for these boys,” Mosethle said. “One of them is to see some playing in major leagues, maybe the Vodacom League or NFD (National First Division) or PSL (Premier Soccer League).”One of his protégés will play for a Vodacom League side in Rustenburg this season, he said. “I’ll monitor his movements to see how he fares.” Rustenburg is also in North West, about 160km from Mafikeng.Mosethle, also a football mentor at Letsatsing, merged three teams from the village to form ACS Savagers. They used to compete against each other as Alfa FC, Cameroon FC and Swallows FC, hence the acronym ACS.They now play in the local league of the Mafikeng Local Football Association (Malfa). Successful performance under Malfa could be start of big things for ACS and the village.Being Malfa champions could promote them to a regional league, which is then promoted to the provincial Vodacom League.The Vodacom League is a gateway to the NFD league, whose victors go through to the elite PSL – where South African footballers make millions of rands annually.Mosethle does realise what needs to be done to achieve this, and gives his all to his team, including financial support. “I’m the owner, a sponsor, a coach and everything to this team,” he said with an excited expression on his face.‘You don’t know who’s watching’Football experts and students of the North West University Soccer Institute help ACS and other teams in surrounding villages with training, as part of their community outreach programme.“From day one our students go to communities to run coaching clinics,” said the institute’s director Johan Govea.Professional trainers at the university, such as Khulu Nsibanyoni, expose ACS players to different methods of playing football, Mosethle added.An ardent footballer himself, Mosethle is fully aware of the opportunities the institute could provide for his players. Three players he’s mentored, two from ACS and another from Letsatsing school, have already made it into the academy, which offers fully paid scholarships.“I always tell them: ‘you don’t know who’s watching you’. At least some of my players have got scholarships at the university,” Mosethle said.last_img read more

Brain implant helps blind rats navigate

first_imgBlind rodents on the run from knife-wielding farmers’ wives may never need to ask for directions again. Scientists have gifted navigational skills to blind rats by wiring them with a compass that sends electric signals to their brain when they’re facing north or south. The advance helps shed light on how the brain processes sensory information and could lead to new technologies to help blind people navigate.“This is an elegant paper and quite an accomplishment,” says neuroscientist Shinsuke Shimojo of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.To give the body the feeling of where you are in relationship to your environment—called an allocentric sense—your brain relies mostly on information from your eyes. Looking at a street corner in your neighborhood, you can probably quickly navigate back to your own house. Without vision, this becomes harder; blind individuals can rely on other senses—the smell of a nearby bakery or the sound of a passing train—but some locations lack these cues. Blind rats in a sterile maze, for instance, have trouble finding their way around even when they’ve been in the maze before.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Hiroaki Norimoto and Yuji Ikegaya of the University of Tokyo attached newly designed compass implants to the heads of blind rats to see if the rodents could learn to better navigate. When a rat’s head faced within 20° of due north, the implant sent electrical pulses to the left side of the visual cortex. When the animal’s head was south, the pulses were relayed to the right visual cortex.The rodents couldn’t feel the shocks like they would on the skin, Norimoto says, because the implant was directly stimulating brain activity. In human experiments, people whose visual cortex was electrically stimulated in this fashion reported that they saw a white dot. “Perhaps,” he conjectured, “our rats perceived that the positions of these white dots represented their head directions.”However the rodents experienced the new brain activity, they quickly learned to put it to use, the researchers report online today in Current Biology. Within only 4 days of getting the implant, blind rats were taking the correct path through a maze to find hidden food 80% of the time. When the compasses were removed, the animals lost their way again—suggesting that they hadn’t just memorized a route, but were using the directional information to navigate.Norimoto says the results demonstrate the brain’s impressive capacity for taking advantage of new sensory information. “I expect that humans can expand their senses through artificial sensors, including those that convey geomagnetism, ultraviolet rays, radioactive rays, humidity, pheromones, ultrasonic sound, or radio waves.” For now, he plans to keep studying direction—installing compasses in canes that give the user directional feedback, for example, could give blind people a better allocentric sense.Although Shimojo says the new device is a leap forward in neuroengineering, he questions whether the rats truly gained a new sense. “This could have been a different type of cued association or learning,” he says. The rats could have learned, for example, that if they got the north-facing signal they should turn right to find food, and they were facing south they should turn left. That’s different, Shimojo says, from knowing you need to go east and using the compass cues to find east. In either case, the rodents were indeed using the information from the implant, but exactly how that information was being processed by the brain could be different.last_img read more