first_imgI can make it shine, drinking that Dar-wineAnytime night or dayOnly trouble is, gee whizI’m dreamin’ my data away When I feel lazy in the labI need a plot line that’s pre-fabI grab old Darwin then all I have to do isDrea-ea-ea-ea-eam It’s difficult to believe any other vaunted science than cosmology would be so rife with fact-free speculation.  Well, maybe paleoanthropology, too.The Saga of Stone ToolsIn an article on Live Science, the stone tools were mere props for the real story: a speculative wandering among possibilities.  This can be seen by distilling the key words into a seamless stream of consciousness:Did Rise of Ancient Human Ancestor Lead to New Stone Tools?… the emergence of an ancient human ancestor …  the finding suggests an ancient tool-making technique may have arisen with the evolution of the new species…. “We think it might be related to the change of species.” …  emerged … probably used … scientists believed … but proving that was tricky … colleagues, however, have found Aucheulean tools that are indistinguishable in age from those found in Kenya, suggesting the symmetric hand axes were widespread in the region … increasing the likelihood … That the timing of this tool-making emerges at the same time as Homo erectus is intriguing, and allows for the possibility that the tools were made by this ancient lineage … But while the new study is suggestive that Homo erectus made these tools, it’s not a smoking gun…. It’s tempting to say … and that’s very difficult to prove.The only tangible facts in this saga consist of a bag of scraping rocks gathered from disparate areas dated by fallible humans who didn’t see when and where they were made by whom.The Running Man“Run for your life!” the hominid shrieked to his hairy companion dropping from the tree.  “It’s the only way to evolve!”  A slightly more academic version of this short story was told in Live Science, in “How Running For Our Lives May Have Made Humans Smarter.”  The operative phrase is “may have,” which implies its converse, “may not have”.  The article continues the stream-of-consciousness dreamland scenario of suggestion, emergence and possibility:Could athletic prowess be linked to the size of our brains? Some new research suggests that exercise-loving mice have larger midbrains then their more mellow counterparts.Scientists now think that the ability to run far and fast helped us evolve both physically and mentally. For evidence, look to the common house mouse.It appears that the childhood storybook tale of City Mouse and Country Mouse has evolved (or emerged into) The Couch Potato Dufus and the Precocious Athlete.  But since the article promised “evidence,” it’s worth looking for evidence of the evidence.  Here it is: Mice on treadmills, bred for both their propensity and abilities on treadmill wheels were found to have slightly larger midbrains—”But the overall size of their brains did not vary significantly.”  This is a long way removed from the hypothesis at issue.  After all, mice are mice, and men are men, whether or not they operate treadmills.  Furthermore, the hypothesis sounds like a case of artificial selection, not Darwinism.  But it provided enough putative “evidence” to start the tale: Whether the mice evolved larger midbrains because they exercised, or exercised because they had bigger brains, remains to be determined. In the classic comedy sketch, “The 2,000-Year-Old Man,” Mel Brooks, playing the title character, said the main form of transportation long ago “was mostly fear.” “You’d hear an animal growling and you’d go two miles in a minute,” he said. That was probably true, at least in spirit.And so the Lamarckian story ran, based on a comedy sketch.  It’s frankly hard to know where the comedy sketch left off:In 2004, Daniel Lieberman of Harvard University and Dennis Bramble at the University of Utah suggested that one of the reasons humans survived and evolved is that they learned to run faster and further. That allowed them, like Mel Brooks’ character, to get away from predators, and they also could walk farther so they could track down animals and bring food home.Those who could run faster and walk farther reproduced more than those who could not, they wrote, so humans evolved endurance. Our legs grew longer, toes shortened; we lost hair, and gained more complex middle ears for balance.Where, exactly, was the linkage between running farther and reproducing more?  While we’re imagining things, one could imagine the lazy guy in the cave having sex, while the distance runner is miles away. Other than that, the story is Lamarckian.  Learning how to run faster like Mel Brooks won’t make a bit of difference if the trait isn’t in the sperm.Back to the stream of consciousness:Another thing Garland and his team were trying to test is a theory called mosaic evolution. As animals evolve, do certain areas of their bodies change independently of what happens to the rest of the body, or does the whole body generally evolve simultaneously? … [time out for more mice on treadmills] … “They love going on the wheels and excel in both motivation and abilities,” said Garland … seems to support the mosaic evolution concept … For whatever reason … [a bystander] calls Garland’s work “an amazing step forward” … Garland’s next experiment, however, is to see whether it is the exercise that is increasing the midbrain in mice instead of the opposite. He thinks using MRIs and questionnaires with living humans could test to see if the same things are true of human joggers.The question was, “How Running For Our Lives May Have Made Humans Smarter.”  Well, the answer is, Yes, it may have.  But then again, an equally valid answer in storytelling is, No, it may not have.This gets so tiring.  Today’s evolutionists think they have done their job if something (anything) “suggests” that an unobservable event “may have” made us hairless rocket scientists with opposable thumbs and complex middle ears.  Evolution is the mother of invention.  Need shorter toes?  Got it.  Can’t keep your balance while running?  Semicircular canals coming right up.  Need opposable thumb for flaking rocks?  Oh, they just emerged right on time!  The storytellers weave effortlessly between Lamarckism and Darwinism, sipping their Darwine and plucking tantalizing speculations from thin air. Ah, science.  Ain’t it wonderful?  We can watch our mice on the treadmill and dream, dream, dream.The dream is a lie.  One thing these unaccountable, reckless charlatans know with absolute certainty: criticisms of their speculations must be lied about, expelled and silenced (read previous entry).  Hearing them would ruin all the fun.Dream, by the Evolutionary BrothersDrea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dreamDrea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dreamWhen I want to get a grantI tell a tale, though data’s scant,Whenever I want funds, all I have to do isDrea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dreamcenter_img With critics gone, the media’s mineThey’re always there to make me shineWhenever I want fame, all I have to do isDrea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dreamDrea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dream[fade out](Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_imgNo need to feel insignificant in a lonely universe. You are loaded with great equipment for an exciting life.Grab a cup of coffee: How common, how simple; gripping a cup or other object. Do you realize what that involves? Ask any robot designer who tries to program a machine to do it. Researchers at Brown University studied how the brain plans for gripping an object. It kept them pretty busy. They found that “the brain can formulate different grips on the same object or the same grip on different objects.”Eye coordination: You’re not a cyclops. You have two eyes, but how does the brain put the two inputs together, so that you see a single unified image? Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison looked into that, and found that three visual centers in the brain work to unify the visual field. See details in the UWM press release.Stable view: “Without us being aware of it, our eyes constantly perform tiny corrections of their viewing direction,” a press release from the University of Tubingen begins. Seeking to understand these movements, called saccades (and tinier movements called microsaccades), “They have discovered a direct link between tiny eye movements and the focusing of attention needed to perceive our visual environment.” There’s a purpose in these seemingly-negligible microsaccades that go on unconsciously and automatically. “This mechanism allows our brain to ‘keep an eye out’ even when our eyes are busy, keeping tabs on the environment, warning of danger, and thus allowing our active perception to rapidly re-focus on anything that might happen.”Twitter for cells: Like the chatter on the internet, your body’s cells talk to one another in a multitude of ways. That’s the subject of an interesting article on Medical Xpress that shows how intercellular communication provides division of labor,  signaling, and functional coordination.Brain’s got rhythm: Consider your brain’s challenge. “The human brain has 86 billion or so neurons all trying to talk to each other in this incredibly messy, noisy and electrochemical soup,” a lead researcher from Berkeley says in Science Daily. The brain’s rhythmic waves and periodic synchronizations, like downbeats, help “brain networks quickly come together and break apart as needed.” The Duke Ellington reference in the title is clever: “It don’t mean a thing if the brain ain’t got that swing.”4-D Organization: Speaking of rhythm, we all keep sync with rhythmic cycles of day and night, seasons and years. Researchers publishing in PNAS tried to decipher the “4-D nucleome,” how our genetic code acts in time. Looking at the human genome as a dynamical system, they “interrogated the dynamical relationship between genome architecture (structure) and gene expression (function) and its impact on phenotype,” and found some interesting patterns:Using genome-wide intragene and intergene contact maps, we identified gene networks with high potential for coregulation and colocalization, consistent with expression via transcription factories. In an intriguing example, we found periodic movements of circadian genes in three dimensions that entrained with expression.Bone repair: Aren’t you glad bones can heal? This doesn’t just happen. It took planning and design for there to be bone progenitor cells ready to fix things, and protocols to get them working. A paper in PNAS shows that there are layers of readiness in the system. “Our results indicate that the skeletal progenitor population is functionally stratified, containing distinct subsets responsible for growth, regeneration, and repair. Furthermore, our findings suggest that injury-induced changes to the skeletal stem and progenitor microenvironments could activate these cells and enhance their regenerative potential.”More than a sperm donor: Sexual reproduction is a couples thing. Both sexes contribute to one another and the next generation in unique, crucial ways. One might think a male just contributes his sperm and is done with it, but there’s more to semen than sperm. New Scientist reports that “Semen has controlling power over female genes and behaviour.”Tongue update: Time to rewrite the textbooks on taste. “That neat and tidy map of tastes on the tongue you learned in school is all wrong,” Medical Xpress says. But is anything in biology simple when you look at it in detail? “Indeed, results from a number of experiments indicate that all areas of the mouth containing taste buds – including several parts of the tongue, the soft palate (on the roof of your mouth) and the throat – are sensitive to all taste qualities.”Readers of the Pentateuch can’t fail to be impressed with God’s anger at grumblers. These news items show why. It’s a crime to be thankless for the gifts we have been given. Look at any one of these magnificent wonders in the human body; how could anyone fail to be astonished at the level of creative genius behind them? He made it for you, so that you could have a rich, fulfilling life with endless pleasures of taste, sight, and relationships. Even if some of your systems are broken, the majority of your body and brain are functioning beautifully if you are reading this or hearing it. If you are a grumbler, stop it! Be thankful for what you have been given.One of our goals here at CEH is to grow your appreciation for your body, the living things on our planet, the earth, and the universe, so that we all become more humble and thankful before God. If anyone should be thankful, it should be us, with all that science has revealed about the details. Yet this is a proud, stubborn, arrogant generation—just like in the days of Noah. There will be a stern warning given in the last days to grumblers. Revelation 14 predicts a mighty angel delivering this message to all those who remain in rebellion against their Maker: “Fear God, and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and the springs of water” (Revelation 14:7). That’s a command. Don’t put off obedience till it’s too late. (Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_img10 June 2013 An early childhood development centre and teacher training facility in Johannesburg, designed and built by US student volunteers in partnership with South African engineers and contractors, has been named “best small project” in Engineering News-Record’s (ENR’s) inaugural Global Best Projects competition. The winners, selected by an independent jury of industry leaders in design and construction, were announced during ENR’s Global Construction Summit in New York on Friday night. Engineering News-Record is a leading construction industry publication owned by US company McGraw Hill Construction. The “Schoolhouse South Africa” project, along with London’s “The Shard” project (winner in the “best large project category”), were singled out by the judges as “particularly innovative examples of global design and construction, excelling in all judging criteria and demonstrating the past year’s best achievement in worldwide project excellence”. Opened in 2011, the schoolhouse has become an integral part of its neighborhood in Cosmo City, Johannesburg, showcasing the use of innovative building systems in low-income communities. The project was led by a group of architecture students from Cornell University, in partnership with Johannesburg-based non-profit organisation Education Africa, whose architecture programme encourages student organisations to design and build low-cost pre-schools within impoverished communities. Student-led organisation Cornell University Sustainable Design took on the project, encouraging its members to work side by side with local community members in Johannesburg. “It was very important to formulate a common vision, because everyone had a stake in it,” said project director Barry Beagen. “That common vision was the same with the suppliers, contractors and our partners as well, because we knew this project wasn’t just about the volunteers coming and going.” The project team included Johannesburg-based engineers and contractors PD Solutions, as well as the City of Johannesburg and South African early childhood development organisation Play-With-A-Purpose. The building’s structure was formed using earth-filled polypropylene bags placed inside EcoBeam frames, an extremely low-cost system which increased the building’s thermal mass while eliminating the need for active heating or cooling systems. “By filling the bags with soil excavated during the foundation-laying process, we reduced waste and transportation while transforming residual matter into a high-performing and resilient wall system,” said Cornell team member Daniel Lu. A reinforced concrete ring beam was placed atop columns integrated into the wall system to increase interior spans and prolong the building’s useful life. Clerestory windows and child-height portal windows eliminated the need for electric lighting. “This project shows us all that beauty doesn’t need to be expensive, and challenges aren’t always led by very experienced professionals,” said one judge. “I am proud of our industry when I see the next generation leading the way.” SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

first_imgRelentless showers continued to pound Pune, Satara and Sangli districts in western Maharashtra, and Nashik in north Maharashtra throughout Sunday. District authorities evacuated more than 2,000 persons from inundated areas. Ten-year-old Kunal Ajay Dodke was killed and his younger sister injured after a wall of their house caved in on Sunday morning in Lonavala, around 70 km from Pune. The police said heavy rain might have triggered the wall collapse.In what is thought to be another rain-related accident, one person drowned while another was feared dead in Satara after their car plunged into a waterfall near Koyna dam late on Saturday. According to the Satara police, the two people were travelling to Kamargaon when the driver lost control of the car. The driver has been identified as Satara resident Nitin Shelar, while rescue teams are searching for the other occupant of the car.Schools closed todayPune city and district were battered by near-continuous rain since Saturday evening through the better part of Sunday.Pune Collector Nawal Kishore Ram declared a holiday for all schools in the district on Monday, taking into account the grim forecast for the next 48 hours, making use of powers recently bestowed by the State Education Department on district collectors to declare school holidays in case of a disaster or emergency.“Going by the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) forecast of heavy rain in the forthcoming days and in wake of the continuous rainfall that commenced since Saturday in the Maval, Mulshi, Bhor, Velha and Junnar talukas of Pune among other areas, we have decided to declare a holiday for school-going students to preclude any untoward incident,” Mr. Ram said. In Pune city, with over 41,000 cusecs (cubic foot per second) of water released from the Khadakwasla into Mutha river, the Bhide bridge was submerged and there were traffic snarls at several points in the city. The relentless downpour especially threw the commute awry in Pimpri-Chinchwad and Wakad areas, after over 35,000 cusecs discharged from Mulshi dam flooded Sanghvi and Wakad.Discharge from the Khadakwasla dam inundated low-lying areas in Balewadi, Baner, Aundh, Yerwada, Sinhgad Road and Bopodi.Rescue teams moved more than 300 families dwelling in low-lying of the city to safer zones owing to the discharge of massive quantities of water from the Khadakwasla, Pavana, Mulshi and other dams. Several people were trapped in residential areas in Pimpri and Sanghvi after their homes were flooded. More than 50 residents of old Sanghvi were successfully rescued by the fire department and local police in the morning. Following the discharge of water from Mulshi dam, the district administration issued stern warnings to deter monsoon picnickers. Seven members of a family stranded at a house in the water-logged Kamshet area were also rescued by a team of the NDRF, said authorities. Karad, Sangli on alertThe rain has led to the four major dams in Pune district — Khadakwasla, Panshet, Varasgaon and Temghar — to fill up to more than 90% of their cumulative storage capacity of 29.15 TMC.With the Pavana dam swelling to capacity owing to continuous rain in the past week, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation scrapped the water rationing it had enforced throughout the summer.Pune and Satara are expected to receive heavy showers for the next 48 hours, IMD officials said. With the steep increase in the discharge of water (more than 50,000 cusecs) from the Koyna dam, a high alert has been sounded for Karad (in Satara) and Sangli cities.Discharge of 20,000 cusecs from the Chandoli dam in Sangli led to flooding in nearby villages, while in adjacent Kolhapur district, heavy rains disrupted communications between several villages in the district. Nashik inundated The Nashik District Collector, too, has declared a holiday for schools and colleges on Monday.With the Godavari river in spate and the continuing release of water from the Gangapur dam, parts of the district, including the holy spots of Trimbakeshwar and Panchavati, were completely deluged, making them out of bounds for tourists.River waters reached up to the neck of the Dutondya Maruti, a statue of Hanuman, in Panchavati, and even entered the Trimbakeshwar temple as showers continued to lash Nashik city and the talukas of Igatpuri, Trimbakeshwar, Peint, Surgana and Dindori.According to authorities, the Trimbakeshwar tehsil had received more than 300 mm rain till Sunday morning while Nashik city received 84 mm rain. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement center_img Mumbai: August 04, 2019: River Godavari is in full flow and flooded amny areas in Nashik on Sunday. Photo: Special Arrangementlast_img read more

first_imgSports bodies and how they fareBCCI: The cricket body has posted a record threefold increase in revenues despite match-fixing.IOA: The Afro-Asian Games, Suresh Kalmadi’s pet project, is indefinitely postponed.AIFF: The already unpopular football federation’s Bengal unit has gone on strike for higher salaries.SAI: Swimming champion Khazan Singh has blamed the,Sports bodies and how they fareBCCI: The cricket body has posted a record threefold increase in revenues despite match-fixing.IOA: The Afro-Asian Games, Suresh Kalmadi’s pet project, is indefinitely postponed.AIFF: The already unpopular football federation’s Bengal unit has gone on strike for higher salaries.SAI: Swimming champion Khazan Singh has blamed the body for “dooming Indian sport”.last_img read more