For the record

first_imgA Nov. 6 article on accident reduction incorrectly reported that Garen Petrossian is 39. In fact, he is 37. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Walking Fish Gets Good Mileage

first_img The book hit bookstores January 15.  In addition, Shubin gave special lectures to the public at Chicago’s Field Museum, where he works as provost. In 2006 (04/06/2006), 05/03/2006), Neil Shubin of the University of Chicago announced his missing link: Tiktaalik, a fish with wrist bones that he claimed were transitional between fish and four-footed creatures, or tetrapods.  Since then he has taken his fish on the road and is getting good mileage for evolution.     Tiktaalik shows up right off the bat as evidence for evolution in Chapter One of the newly-revised National Academy of Sciences booklet, Science, Evolution and Creationism.  It was given a prominent place in the PBS film Judgment Day (11/14/2007) last November.  Now, Shubin is promoting his new book that takes Tiktaalik all the way on the road to humans.  This is clear from the title, Your Inner Fish: A Journey Through the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body.  Despite the amount of arbitrary inference that must be asserted to connect a fish fossil with a lineage outside its class (see 10/20/2006) commentary, Shubin has made his pet fish the centerpiece of a vast ancestor’s tale covering billions of years.     Donald Johanson, discoverer of the austrolopithecine fossil he named Lucy, was delighted.  “I was hooked from the first chapter,” he said, according to press release from Shubin’s campus.  “Creationists will want this book banned because it presents irrefutable evidence for a transitional creature that set the stage for the journey from sea to land.  This engaging book combines the excitement of discovery with the rigors of great scholarship to provide a convincing case of evolution from fish to man.”     The theme of the book is mentioned in the press release.  Shubin writes, “The best road maps to human bodies lie in the bodies of other animals.  The reason is that the bodies of these creatures are often simpler versions of ours.”  The book mentions similarities in limbs, teeth, head, ears and eyes between humans and other animals.     Yet similarities have never been controversial, even to creationists.  Asserting that they came about through an evolutionary process of descent with modification by an unguided natural process assumes what needs to be proved.  Though the book recounts the “epic expedition to arctic wastelands” where Shubin’s team found the fossil, only scientific evidence that can be adduced to establish the claim of common ancestry is germane to the argument that these similarities evolved, rather than were created.     Nevertheless, “In 2006, the public was overwhelmed with news on the discovery of Tiktaalik roseae, a fossil ‘fishapod’ that represents the transition between fish and four-legged animals, known as tetrapods,” the press release continues.  Shubin seemed to take his fishapod on a very long walk of faith when he mixed the uncontroversial observation of similarity with the Darwinist assumption of unguided common descent over billions of years: Ancient fish bones can be a path to knowledge about who we are and how we got that way.  We are not separate from the rest of the living world; we are part of it down to our bones and even our genes….    I can imagine few things more beautiful or intellectually profound than finding the basis for our humanity, and remedies for many of the ills we suffer, nestled inside some of the most humble creatures that have ever lived on our planet. Again, even creationists acknowledge the similarities Shubin mentions.  Our common traits, including a universal DNA code, bilateral symmetry, similar genes that code for similar traits, even susceptibility to diseases, could have different explanations than Darwinian common ancestry.  Creationists would say they point to a single Creator who designed all life according to a plan for living on a shared biosphere.  Creationists also celebrate man’s connectedness to the world and all of life.  Your Inner Fish begs the question that Darwin had the only explanation for the data.  Since there are other species of fish that exhibit walking behavior, (e.g., mudskippers, walking sharks), and the previous missing link Coelacanth had bony fins but did not use them for walking, the insertion of Tiktaalik as a definitive missing link in an evolutionary timeline seems arbitrary.     Shubin found an inner human in his fish.  Carl Zimmer, in a book review in Nature,1 said that Shubin went so far as to propose stories about the evolution of hiccups and hangovers: The simple, passionate writing may turn more than a few high-school students into aspiring biologists.  And it covers a lot of ground.  Shubin inspects our eyeballs, noses and hands to demonstrate how much we have in common with other animals.  He notes how networks of genes for simple traits can expand and diversify until they build new complex structures such as heads.  Also, that hangovers explain how our ears evolved from sensory cells on the surface of fish.  He investigates the hiccup, the result of a tortuous nervous system. 1.  Carl Zimmer, “Twenty-first-century anatomy lesson,” Nature 451, 245 (17 January 2008) | doi:10.1038/451245a. Shubin’s broad-brush conclusions, extrapolated from a few bits and pieces of bone, go wildly beyond any justified scientific inference.  It is one thing to examine similarities between species in a lab in the present.  It is quite another to tie them together into a speculative historical sequence that is unobservable and non-repeatable.  Moreover, the conclusions rest on dating methods that assume the very evolutionary story Shubin describes so passionately.  In science, empiricism is king.  Simple, passionate writing, while admirable in rhetoric or theater, is not a substitute for observability, testability and repeatability in scientific work.     Creationists are not book banners; good grief.  Does Johanson forget what the Darwin Party did to Of Pandas and People?  The radical Darwiniacs didn’t even want students in Pennsylvania to even know the book existed in the library.  Talk about banning books.  Creationists want the public to do more reading, not less, and learn more about evolutionary theory than he, Shubin and the NAS are revealing.  Go ahead; read up about your inner fishie.  Munch on some goldfish crackers while you’re at it, so you can experience your inner fish as you read.  Then wake up, grow up and read books with more philosophical substance.  (Suggestions)     A little bit of data morphed into a grand, sweeping tale – this is propaganda, not science.  It would be like a Stalinist pointing to a pitchfork as evidence for the class struggle in history that requires the state to take over the property of the bourgeousie and move the peasants to the collective farms.  Support the Five-Year Plan!  Is that the only interpretation of the pitchfork?  Send the capitalists to Siberia!  Come now.  Neither Shubin, the NAS nor Johanson have any justification for drawing such broad conclusions from the bits and pieces of data they exhibit, by any standard of logical inference that can withstand critical scrutiny.  It was instructive that the press release said that the “public was overwhelmed with news on the discovery of Tiktaalik”.  Does this sound like overwhelming evidence, or an overwhelming marketing campaign?  The news media were all primed for the unveiling, and pushed out the most shameless hyperboles imaginable (review them at 04/06/2006).     You can evolve the word diorama from data by mutating the t (truth) into m (misinterpretation), adding r (recklessness), and rigging the io (input-output, as in GIGO).  But because the diorama is the goal, it would be a rigged form of evolution using a twisted form of intelligent design.  Don’t be dazzled by the diorama in the Shubin commercial.  Look at the data and ask if other dioramas fit the very same observations just as well or better.  The only way Tiktaalik got such good mileage was with a lot of pedaling (and peddling) by its salespeople.(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

When harvest is delayed, fall tillage is too

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest It’s no secret that the 2017 harvest season is behind schedule. For many farmers, that means fall tillage is behind schedule as well. For this week’s DuPont Pioneer Field Report, Seneca, Crawford and Wyandot County’s Territory Manager Derek Hunker tells the Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins that it may take a hard freeze to get tillage back on schedule.last_img

U.S. Towns Race for Conservation Supremacy

first_imgDifferent towns, different approachesThere’s no single path to a $5 million jackpot, as a story recently posted by Minnesota Public Radio goes to show.The report contrasts two communities: Fargo, North Dakota, a city of about 116,000 (host of this month’s “North of Normal Frostival”), and Duluth, Minnesota, with a population of about 86,000 roughly 250 miles to the east. Both are in one of the coldest regions of the country, with the average number of heating degree days topping 8,500 annually.In Duluth, specialists like Mike Braun are going house-to-house and fixing seemingly minor problems, such as drafty windows and inefficient lighting, on the theory it will all add up to significant savings.Braun told Minnesota Public Radio that one day’s worth of air-sealing can cut leakage by as much as 20%. Swapping incandescent light bulbs with LEDs can reduce electricity consumption by two-thirds.“Little things in aggregate will make a huge difference,” said Bret Pence, director of Community Programs for Ecolibrium3, a nonprofit doing weatherization work in town. “If everyone replaced one incandescent light with an LED light, we would be on our way to winning that competition.”One challenge is sinking energy prices, which make people think conservation isn’t important. Another is how to improve energy efficiency in the homes of people who don’t have much money to spare. Some poor families that don’t qualify for energy assistance from the state may spend as much as 40% of their income on utilities, Pence said. When it’s tough to put food on the table, replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs isn’t going to happen.Ecolibrium3 hopes to work on 50 homes this year. Fifty small and midsized towns across the country are going head-to-head in a competition with a big payday: $5 million for the town coming up with the best energy-saving strategy.The 50 communities are semi-finalists for the Georgetown University Energy Prize, first announced in 2014 and now midway through a crucial two-year period in which energy consumption is being watched. The winner will be announced sometime in 2017.The contest was open to any of the 8,892 communities in the country whose population ranges from 5,000 to 250,000, a pool which prize organizers say includes about 65% of the U.S. population.In order to get to semi-finalist status, according to rules posted at the Energy Prize site, each community had to develop a long-term efficiency plan. They’re now in the process of showing how effective the plans are in reducing electricity and gas consumption by residential and municipal users (consumption by industrial and commercial users aren’t included, nor are other forms of energy, like gasoline or diesel).A year from now, judges will begin poring over the results and then select a group of finalists. The winner will be selected from that list on the basis of how much energy the community saved and other factors, including a final report that each town must submit.Towns and cities still in the running are spread widely across the country. California has the highest number — eight, including Berkeley and Palo Alto — while a number of states have no semifinalists. That list includes New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas, New York, Idaho, Maine, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and a few others.No one will be taking any long vacations on the prize money. The winner will have to spend the money on energy-efficiency programs that reward the community as a whole. Energy savings through gamesFargo, the radio report says, is hoping to win with a combination of social engagement and education, plus a game to get people excited about saving energy.“Behavior, buildings, and policies are the three tracks along which everything is working,” says Malina Srivastava, a North Dakota State University assistant professor of architecture who helped design an online game in which schools and neighborhoods can compete.Srivastava and other developers created an evil character called Waste-a-Watt, based on drawings by school children. The object at each level of the game, which is to be launched at the end of the month, is to capture Waste-a-Watt and plant a tree.“We’re asking people to learn, become aware,” Srivastava said. “We’re asking people to act on their own homes to save cost and then we’re asking people to invite their friends and family to join the effort.”As part of the effort, Srivastava’s students at North Dakota State are to design and build a Passivhaus home on a Habitat for Humanity budget.Mike Williams, a Fargo city commissioner and energy conservation advocate, said Fargo cut energy use by more than $3 million in the first six months of the competition.last_img read more

NRC must for Bengal: BJP leader

first_imgA exercise to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be conducted in West Bengal if the BJP comes to power in the State, party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said here on Saturday. “The NRC will definitely be conducted in Bengal if the BJP comes to power here as it is also facing severe infiltration issues,” Mr. Vijayvargiya told presspersons at the BJP State headquarters. He said the exercise was required not only in West Bengal but also in all metro cities in the country.‘Backing infiltrators’He criticised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for opposing the NRC update in Assam, and accused her of “siding with infiltrators” for the sake of votes.“I want to ask Mamata Banerjee why she is siding with infiltrators. Unfortunately some people are more concerned about indulging in appeasement policies and vote bank politics than the progress of the nation. The prime example of such mentality is Ms. Banerjee,” Mr. Vijayvargiya said.He accused the Chief Minister of double standards on the infiltration issue. As an MP, she flung papers at the Speaker’s podium after an adjournment motion over Bangladeshi infiltration into West Bengal was rejected in the Lok Sabha on August 5, 2005.“What happened in the past 13 years that you [Ms. Banerjee] have made a u-turn and is siding with the infiltrators,” he asked.BJP State president Dilip Ghosh told The Hindu that an NRC exercise was “necessary” in West Bengal as more than one crore infiltrators resided in the State. “Earlier the Communist Party of India(Marxist) used the infiltrators [for political mileage] and now Mamata Banerjee is using them,” he said. TMC protestsThe Trinamool Congress organised a State-wide protest against the detention and alleged assault of a delegation of party MPs and MLAs at the Silchar airport by the Assam police. Senior party leaders led marches against the Centre. Minister Subrata Mukherjee said the protests would continue on Sunday.last_img read more

Punjab sees increase in farm fires this month

first_imgFarmers continue to burn stubble despite banVolume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9Live00:0001:1501:15  There has been a spike in agricultural fires — a phenomenon that’s known to worsen air pollution — in Punjab in September, significantly more than in the same month last year.Krunesh Garg, member-secretary, Punjab Pollution Control Board, said there were 107 fires from September 24-26. In 2018 there were only 11 fires during the same period. However, in 2016 and 2017 there were 106 and 150 fires respectively from September 27-30.Mr. Garg said last year’s numbers were unusually low because paddy harvesting was delayed due to the persistence of the monsoon. “Last year, the onset of monsoon was late and it persisted well into October. This year, harvesting of basmati varieties of rice has already begun, hence the apparent rise in September,” he said.Agricultural fires, in which farmers set fire to their fields after harvesting paddy, tend to begin around late September and peak around the last week of October by which time farmers have harvested most of their paddy. There were 80,879 fire incidents detected during the paddy harvesting season in 2016, 43,660 in 2017 and about 40,000 in 2018. “There was a 10% reduction last year from 2017 and we expect around the same reduction this year,” Mr. Garg said. Watch | Farmers continue to burn stubble despite bancenter_img Punjab’s fires tend to worsen Delhi’s pollution as particulate matter floats into the city, affecting the already polluted winter air.The Centre and Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh had — over several meetings last year — declared a “zero tolerance” policy on stubble burning by farmers which, according to various studies, contributes anywhere from 17% to 78% to the particulate matter emission load in Delhi during winter.Last year, the Union Agriculture Ministry earmarked ₹591 crore for disbursal to Punjab, Haryana and U.P. to help farmers access machines that collect or plough the stubble back into the soil.A senior official in the Union Agriculture Ministry said in spite of subsidies, the implements were “expensive” for the farmers and thus it was cheaper for them to set chaff ablaze.(With inputs fromPriscilla Jebaraj)last_img read more

Parents Urged to Protect Girls through HPV Vaccine

first_img The Health Ministry is imploring parents and guardians to protect their daughters against cervical cancer by allowing them to be inoculated with the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Story Highlights The most common cancers in Jamaica are prostate, lung and colorectal in men; and breast, cervical and colorectal cancers in women. Prostate and breast cancers are the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that HPV vaccines be included in national immunization programmes as a core strategy for primary prevention against cervical cancer.WHO states that HPV vaccination for girls ages nine to 14 is the most cost effective public health measure against cervical cancer.Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Jamaica and the ninth leading cause of death worldwide.The most common cancers in Jamaica are prostate, lung and colorectal in men; and breast, cervical and colorectal cancers in women. Prostate and breast cancers are the leading cause of cancer-related deaths.center_img The Health Ministry is imploring parents and guardians to protect their daughters against cervical cancer by allowing them to be inoculated with the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.Come Monday (October 2), the Ministry will begin offering the vaccine to girls in grade seven, free of cost.The initiative falls under a $100 million school-based programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.The move is a proactive measure by the Government to protect girls against cervical cancer, which takes the lives of hundreds of women in the country per year and hundreds of thousands more worldwide.Speaking at a HPV media sensitization forum at the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Mona Campus on September 29, Health Minister,  Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton said 22,500 girls will be targeted under the initiative, noting that two doses will be given six months apart for full protection.He said the vaccine is not mandatory and assured the public that the programme is not a trial and error process.“It is a tried and proven approach that is intended to make our population healthier as it relates to the risk of cervical cancer. I am confident that we are doing the right thing. I am confident that Jamaica needs this, our young girls, our young women; I am confident that it is the right step towards dealing with the risk that is at hand,” he said.He informed that over 200 million doses of the vaccine has been applied to patients worldwide, adding that more than 70 countries, including more than 20 in Latin America and the Caribbean have already introduced the HPV vaccine.Minister Tufton said the initiative is a proactive move by the Government, pointing out that 392 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in Jamaica each year while 185 women die from the disease annually, primarily between the ages of 40 and 64. He said the vaccine is not mandatory and assured the public that the programme is not a trial and error process.last_img read more

Historic day in Nova Scotia first Mikmaq woman appointed to bench

first_imgTrina Roache APTN National NewsIt was an historic day for the Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia.For the first time, a Mi’kmaq woman has been appointed to the bench.The Mi’kmaq say this is a huge step toward diversity in the justice system.troache@aptn.calast_img