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Innovative plant disease detection

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A tool that may enable farmers to instantaneously detect plant diseases in the field is being developed by a team of researchers from North Carolina State University. Here’s how it works.

Disease signatures
When plants “breathe,” they release volatile organic compounds, better known as VOCs. However, when a plant is sick, the composition of those VOCs changes. Each disease causes different changes in the VOCs emitted during plant respiration. This means that it’s possible to associate VOC changes to specific diseases, an idea that led researchers to develop a device that can analyze plant VOCs and identify disease.

Portable disease detector
Currently, plant disease detection relies on molecular tests that take hours to perform. These tests have to be run in a laboratory setting, adding transport time to an already slow process. In contrast, the VOC device developed by researchers plugs into a smartphone and can analyze the VOCs released by a plant suspected of being sick on the spot. The whole process takes a mere 15 minutes.

For now, the detector can differentiate between 10 plants VOCs and effectively diagnose four diseases. This is a promising development that could provide farmers with an affordable and fast way to detect plant diseases before they harm crop yields.


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No crystal ball needed: Close calls predict the (dangerous) future

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“Sweat the details” sounds like something an engineer or an accountant would do. But sweating the details is paramount when it comes to safe working conditions.

Little things can add up to something big. A small hazard will be multiplied by the number of people exposed to it and multiplied again by how long it remains before being corrected.

In fact, even straightforward injury numbers don’t necessarily mean that working conditions are safe.

Suppose a company has zero injuries — is it safe? Safety expert Don Groover wrote in Safety and Health Magazine that a lack of injuries could be more about luck than safety. Exposure and initiative are the keys to a safe workplace. Suppose an observer stands on the ground, watching a worker on a high platform. The worker is using a hammer, and, by chance, the hammer falls. But it misses the observer on the ground. Were there zero injuries that day? Yes. Was the worksite safe? No. You could say the observer was safety-conscious because he might have moved to avoid the hammer. Or you might say that it was luck that the hammer fell at the wrong angle. But over time, if nothing changes, the exposures create problems.

Front Royal Virginia

A new hazard can appear anytime, anywhere, and affect almost any job. That’s the time to get it reported and documented. All safety is protected by investigating everyday incidents and correcting minor hazards that could occur on any given day.

Sometimes, people think that a potentially hazardous condition is just normal and expected on the job. Instead, they should be particular about their area. They shouldn’t put up with things like grease on the floor or a wobbly step.

Be watchful. Find the leaking hydraulic hose, missing screws on stairs and railings, missing equipment guards, and empty fire extinguishers.

Watch for missing lights that make it hard to see and damaged signs that are hard to read. Ensure that chemicals are stored correctly and that eye wash units work.

When you discover that something isn’t right, report it right away. For every condition that is made safe, an injury is less likely to occur, says the National Safety Council.

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Become An Action Taker To Live Your Dream Life

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You’re a dreamer, but sometimes you don’t take action. Why not? Is it because you are afraid to fail? Maybe you feel you’re too old to start a new project. Or maybe you don’t want to mess up your current career.

Many people want to become successful, but they don’t know how to get started. You may feel like you’re stuck in a rut, but there’s always a way to break free. The only thing holding you back from being successful is your mindset. If you want to take action and follow your dreams, then it’s time to stop talking about it and start doing it!

Success is not a destination. It’s a journey.
If you want to take your life and career to the next level, it’s important to have a mindset that is focused on action rather than talk. Have you ever noticed that people who dream big and set goals seem to be able to achieve more than those who are content with doing what they think they should be doing?

Dreams are all well and good, but how do you turn them into reality? We’ll explore some simple yet powerful techniques for turning your dreams into action.


Take Small Steps Towards Your Goals
Many people set big goals for themselves but never actually act towards accomplishing them. They might put something on their bucket list and leave it at that.
You need to ensure you’re always taking small steps toward achieving your bigger goals. That means you have to put in more effort than you normally would.

If you want to succeed in anything, you need to embrace your dreams. You’re not going to accomplish anything if you don’t believe in your dreams or goals.

If you can’t act toward your dreams, they’re just pipe dreams to you. The fact is, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a trip to the moon to say you did. If you want to accomplish something big, then you need to take baby steps toward that.

Small, everyday actions can help you achieve your dreams faster than you ever could by just sitting back and watching your goals unfold before your eyes. It might be easy to say you want to get out of debt, but that’s much easier said than done.

You can actually go to your bank and request a lower credit card rate, or you can find a job and start working. You can even get your family on board with your dreams and get them to pitch in on your dream project.

Start with something small and get it going, and then you’ll have something that you can look forward to accomplishing. You might also find that you need a little help along the way, so you can work towards it with friends and loved ones as you build your business.

As you can see, you’re only going to get anywhere if you do something, and you only get to do anything if you take action. If you’re not progressing, you might want to reevaluate your situation and goals.

Mindset Drives Action
Your mindset determines the level of energy you have to put into a task, project, or goal you’re trying to accomplish. If you’re constantly negative, your energy levels will be very low, leading to poor results.

On the other hand, if you’re positive and upbeat, you’ll be able to tap into a lot of your energy to progress toward your goals. When you’re positive, you’re also able to see the obstacles in front of you as something that you will have to overcome, making them less intimidating.

One of the biggest problems people face is that they allow the obstacles and challenges that get in their way to becoming so large that they can’t be conquered. Instead, you should embrace them and learn from them.

Embrace failure as a way to learn how to avoid it in the future. The fact is, you won’t succeed if you don’t fail, and there are a lot of things that you can learn from failing.
For example, you can use failure as a means to improve yourself, and that’s what you should do.

You might think that failure is a bad thing, but if you can see the positive lessons you can draw from it, you’re more likely to succeed going forward. Even if you’ve failed in the past, you still have a lot to learn from, and you can apply that knowledge to avoid repeating the same mistake.

So the next time you feel like failure is inevitable, look at it as positive. It’s the only way to grow as a person and the only way you’ll be able to get through any challenge you’re facing.

You might be thinking that this mindset is one that only succeeds people have. The truth is, it’s not reserved for just those that are successful; it’s for everyone willing to take action on their dreams.

Successful people are not necessarily people who are all about action. They’re about the journey, not just the destination. It’s important that you realize that you can do a lot more than get where you want to go, even if that means a lot more work and struggle.

You can achieve more than you ever imagined. You can become the best version of yourself. You can make the most out of your life and even live your dreams.

If you’re truly passionate about what you want to do, you will find a way to make it happen. If you’re really driven and persistent, then you’ll succeed. If you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get what you want, you’ll succeed.

Don’t wait for someone else to make it happen. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you you can succeed. Just think about it and be sure about it.

If you’re ready to take your life to the next level, you need to start taking action. If you’re doing the things you need to do to achieve your goals, then you’re setting yourself up for success.

If you’re making some changes that you’re committed to, then you’re setting yourself up for success. If you’re doing what you’ve got to do to get where you want to be, then you’re doing the right things.

You might be scared, but you need to be scared. You might hesitate to jump into your dreams, but you must. You might be skeptical, but you need to be. There’s a reason why you’re where you are, and there’s a reason why you’re in the position you’re in.

It’s not luck, and it’s not good timing. It’s you. It’s your commitment. It’s your desire. It’s your persistence. It’s your will. You’re making it happen. It’s your dreams that are coming true.

Take the next step. Take the leap. Make your dream a reality. Don’t let anything hold you back. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be doubtful.

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AI-generated images test copyright laws; disrupting the art world

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Last year was huge for artificial intelligence as software giants like Microsoft and Adobe pushed generative AI tools to market, and new cash-flush AI startups flooded the scene.

Within a few months, anyone with an internet connection could use AI tools like Midjourney or Dall-E to create images from verbal prompts. These tools use machine learning algorithms to sort through large numbers of existing images to generate unique images to fit user prompts.

The resulting flood of AI-created images alarmed artists who wished to protect their ownership rights and livelihoods and raised urgent questions about authorship and intellectual property. Who owns the work that a machine creates? And how can human creators protect their work from being swept up into machine learning algorithms?

According to IP Watchdog, the United States Copyright Office (USCO) is now siding with humans. The USCO denied registration of an AI-generated image in early 2022, citing the Human Authorship requirement of the Copyright Act, which states that copyrighted work must be created with “substantial human involvement.”


In October last year, the USCO reversed a registration it had issued for a graphic novel that had previously made headlines as the first known instance of successful registration of AI-generated work. In a statement, the USCO explained that it would not knowingly issue registrations to works generated solely by AI and machines.

In the future, copyright laws must be updated to reflect degrees of human involvement, according to the Verge. AI companies will likely find ways to ensure their AI models cannot facilitate copyright infringement.

Artificial art? AI disrupting the art world

Could the next Picasso be a robot? AI-generated art has been around for some years, but most of the generated work was rudimentary and not worthy of the public’s adoration. Now? Artificial intelligence is crafting beautiful images on the fly, and interest in such art has exploded, with some artworks winning awards and causing concern among human artists.

Currently, much of the art generated by artificial intelligence still relies on images and artwork initially created by humans. You might head to an AI-generating tool and type in some keywords. The AI program will analyze data from other already-created images and create artwork based on that data set. From there, many programs allow humans to step in and use a variety of tools to modify and remix the art.

Given the increasingly blurred line between human and machine, perhaps ‘cyborg art’ is a more apt descriptor. In 2021, Jason M. Allen won an art award at the Colorado State Fair with his surreal work “Theatre D’opera Spatial,” wowing audiences and drawing the ire of other artists. Allen noted that he broke no rules, though many felt he took unfair shortcuts.

The concept of artificial intelligence platforms developing full sentience has been a mainstay in science fiction for many years. Often, that intelligence goes on to destroy the world or conquer humanity. Who knows — if AI ever does gain full sentience, maybe it’ll pick up a paintbrush instead.

 

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Does your business have a DEI policy?

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You may be familiar with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as a social justice matter, but did you know this type of policy can contribute to your company’s bottom line? Here’s what you should know.

What’s involved
A DEI policy evaluates a culture, workplace, school, or other settings where groups of people come together. Diversity refers to the variety of people and perspectives within a group. Equity involves the effort to ensure processes are fair and impartial. Inclusion pertains to the sense of belonging members may or may not feel.

The goal of DEI policies is to remove any barriers to success individuals may experience while celebrating the differences that make an organization more creative and resilient.

Why it’s important
There are several reasons why organizations are incorporating DEI policies into their business model.


• Corporate values. Many employers are morally obligated to provide an equitable and welcoming workplace to people of any race, age, gender, or ability.

• Improved innovation. Companies must be agile to remain relevant in today’s competitive business climate. The more diverse your team is, the more perspectives you can draw from.

• Desirable work conditions. Organizations must be competitive, not only in their business offerings but also in their appeal to potential employees. An inclusive work culture is more inviting to top-tier talent.

You don’t have to be a large organization to incorporate DEI measures in your workplace. Talk to a DEI or human resource consultant in your area to learn how to make your workplace more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

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Five tips to gain recognition at work

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Workers nationwide say they feel unappreciated at work. In fact, according to Inc. magazine, more than 60 percent of workers feel unappreciated on the job.

But there are ways to make yourself and your work shine.

1. Be positive and approachable. Accept assignments with a confident smile, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Greet others cheerfully. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Stay out of the gossip mill. Show others that you value your company and your job.

2. Stay organized. Keep your obligations and deadlines top of mind. Keep your desk tidy.


3. If you want greater responsibility, talk to your boss. Summarize what you have achieved in the past and explain why you think you could contribute more.

4. Lift others up. Your colleagues are more likely to recognize your work when you notice and appreciate theirs.

5. Take the initiative. Offer possible solutions to problems when you see them — don’t wait for your boss to assign a task.

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CEOs fear recession in the near future

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No matter the day, week, or year, if you check out business headlines, there’s a good chance that you’ll read that the sky is falling. Thing is, one day, the doomsayers will eventually get it right. With 90 percent of chief executive officers predicting a recession, their fears may seem plausible.

Consulting firm KPMG conducted a survey quizzing 40 leaders at major American companies regarding their outlook. The results are that 91 percent of CEOs believe that a recession will occur within the next 12 months. Worse yet, many fear the economy may take a long time to recover.

Unemployment goes up in a recession because there is a decline in trade and business activity.

Unfortunately, such dour sentiments may morph into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Roughly half of the CEOs reported that they were planning layoffs. If business leaders move to position their organizations for a recession, such as instituting layoffs or reducing investments, it could create a drag on the economy. This, in turn, could generate a self-sustaining feedback loop with a souring economy forcing companies to take even more drastic measures.


There’s some good news, however. Many business leaders believe their company is now better positioned to deal with an economic contraction. Further, many company leaders hold a positive long-term view.

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:

@AHIER

Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Avery-Hess Realty, Marilyn King

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Card My Yard

CBM Mortgage, Michelle Napier

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Independent Business Alliance

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Fussell Florist

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

Habitat for Humanity

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

Mountain View Music

National Media Services

Natural Results Chiropractic Clinic

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Shenandoah Shores Management Group

St. Luke Community Clinic

Strites Doughnuts

Studio Verde

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Vetbuilder.com

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

Warren County Democratic Committee

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warren County DSS Job Development

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

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Upcoming Events

Feb
7
Tue
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 7 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
Feb
8
Wed
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 8 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Feb 8 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Feb
9
Thu
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 9 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
Feb
10
Fri
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 10 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
Feb
11
Sat
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 11 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
Feb
12
Sun
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 12 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
11:30 am Galentine’s Brunch & Market @ Vibrissa Beer
Galentine’s Brunch & Market @ Vibrissa Beer
Feb 12 @ 11:30 am – 5:00 pm
Galentine's Brunch & Market @ Vibrissa Beer
Come Celebrate Friendship & Treat Yourself! Only 30 tickets available and they will go quickly. Tickets include: A Beautiful Brunch at Vibrissa Beer! Two tickets to a Mimosa Bar at Vibrissa! A Silent Auction at[...]
Feb
13
Mon
8:00 am Chocolate Crawl
Chocolate Crawl
Feb 13 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Chocolate Crawl
The Front Royal Chocolate Crawl is back for its 3rd year, and it is BIGGER than ever. With over 20 businesses on our list, you’re guaranteed to find something amazing (to purchase) and meet some[...]
12:00 pm Valentine Tea @ The Vine & Leaf
Valentine Tea @ The Vine & Leaf
Feb 13 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Valentine Tea @ The Vine & Leaf
Please join us for tea and dainties on Monday, February 13th, at either 12 noon or 2pm! The event will be held at the Vine & Leaf (477 South Street, Suite F), with guest speaker[...]