Annual Indigenous Heritage Month Race Walk set for Sunday

first_imgOn Sunday September 9, 2018 race walkers from all around the country are invited to the annual Cavaliers Sports and Tour Club 10k Indigenous Heritage Month Race walk around the outer circuit of the East Ruimveldt Community Center beginning at 06:30h.The 10k Indigenous Heritage Month Race walk is being held as part of the Clubs 14th Race Walk month of activities, it is being held under the theme “Developing and Expanding the sport race Walking in a Green Guyana.” The top three finishers in the male and female seniors and juniorsAnthony Vasconcellas (left) receiving the winning prizecategories, juniors, veterans and the differently abled categories will receive attractive prizes for their efforts. The activities that have been planned for the entire month were launched on Sunday September 2, 2018 with the beginning of the Clarence D. Kirton Memorial Back to School 10k Juniors race-walk that was held at the same venue. Anthony Vasconcellas who copped first price ahead of Brandon Solomon who took second place and Joshua Abel who placed third and Jerry Burnett rounding things off coming in at fourth position.The prizes for the event were donated by Dr. Mark Kirton and Dr. Verman Bedessee CEO of Bedessee Imports INC USA and chairman of the Guyana Hemp Industries.last_img read more

Widow files claim against city

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card “He has a wife and two small children,” said Deirdre Frank, the family’s attorney. “They’ve had a very difficult time coping, especially during the holidays.” Frank said the incident, which occurred in the 13800 block of Princeton Avenue, was the result of poor support shoring up the trench. The plans and review were inadequate and the work lacked proper oversight and inspection, according to the claim. Angie Valencia-Martinez, (805) 583-7604 angie.valencia@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The widow of a Ventura County man buried alive when a portion of a 17-foot-deep trench collapsed at a construction site in Moorpark has filed a $10 million claim against the city. Horacio Barajas, 34, an employee of Brandt Construction, was digging a trench last May 31 for a sewer line to the county’s system when the dirt caved in on him. Barajas, who was living in Port Hueneme with his family at the time, was still alive when rescue crews reached him, but died a short time later. The cause of death was asphyxiation. His widow, Monica Barajas, 32, filed the claim Nov. 23. A claim is generally a precursor to a lawsuit, and the City Council is being asked to reject the claim at tonight’s meeting. City officials declined to comment. last_img read more

Everton flop tipped to leave club in coming days

first_img 1 However, the Spaniard struggled to adapt to life in England and he was loaned to Sevilla in January.Sandro is keen to leave Everton again and, according to La Voz de Galicia, Celta Vigo are interested in him.The Spanish club are looking to bring in a striker this week before the transfer window closes in Spain.Sandro is on their shortlist and they are hoping to tie up a loan deal for him in the coming days. Celta Vigo are tracking Everton striker Sandro Ramirez, according to reports in Spain.The 23-year-old moved to Goodison Park last summer from Magala after the Toffees activated his £5.2m release clause.center_img Sandro Ramirez has failed to make an impact at Goodison Park last_img

TRACTOR RUN IN MEMORY OF DONEGAL TEENAGER KILLED IN TRAGIC CAR ACCIDENT

first_imgFEATURES: A Tractor run and Charity Auction Presentation night has been organised to celebrate the memory of Shane Brolly – who tragically lost his life in a road traffic accident.Shane Brolly who tragically lost his life in June 2013.Shane tragically lost his life when the car he was a passenger in crashed on the Glenfin Road, just outside Ballybofey in June, 2013. However, friends and family of the popular teenager have organised a number of events and initiatives over the years in memory of his life.They organised a sky dive in 2013 – and last year held a hugely successful tractor run with ALL proceeds going to the wonderful service provided by the Donegal to Galway cancer bus service.This year organisers have gone one better, they’ve retained the tractor run, but they’ve also arranged a charity auction presentation night with music by The Whistlin’ Donkeys!The event takes place on Sunday, October 25th at The Villa Rose Hotel. Tickets are €10 and ALL money raised on the night will go to the Donegal to Galway cancer bus service. TRACTOR RUN IN MEMORY OF DONEGAL TEENAGER KILLED IN TRAGIC CAR ACCIDENT was last modified: October 15th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare 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:FeaturesmemorialnewsNoticesShane Brollylast_img read more

Teenager caught speeding in crowded area on St Patrick’s Day

first_imgA teenager has been warned he must complete the prosocial driver’s course if he stands any chance of keeping his licence, a Judge has warned.Owen Kelly, 18, of Lower Illies, Buncrana, was charged with dangerous driving at the Cockhill Road on March 18, last, when he appeared before Buncrana District Court. He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, a conviction for which would lead to an automatic driving ban, in Buncrana Court last Thursday.However, after hearing evidence Judge Paul Kelly said he would give Kelly an opportunity to keep his licence by completing the prosocial drivers course before the next District Court sitting.Garda Inspector Seamus McGonigle told the court that Gardaí were on routine patrol in Buncrana Town on St. Patrick’s Night when they saw a red Skoda car driving at speed.He said there were a large number of people and pedestrians in the town for St. Patrick’s Night so the Gardaí followed the car onto the Cockhill Road.“The guards failed to indicate Mr. Kelly’s speed but they say that they were travelling at 100km per hour in the 50km per hour zone and they failed to keep up with him,” Insp. McGonigle told the court.However when Mr. Kelly got stuck behind traffic further up the Cockhill Road the Gardaí were able to stop him.“He said he was unaware of the speed limit in that area and could not give a reason for his speed,” the Garda Inspector said.Defence solicitor Frank Dorrian said there was no element of a chase involved as his young client was unaware the guards were behind him.“He did accelerate on the Cockhill Road as the road was clear but he didn’t try to overtake anyone,” Mr. Dorrian said.“He is very young and I know the Sergeant was worried that there were a lot of people about on St. Patrick’s Night but he wasn’t trying to show off or anything.”Mr. Dorrian said Kelly was ‘very polite to the Gardaí’ and admitted he didn’t know that he was driving in a 50km per hour zone.The defence solicitor said his client had previously worked on a farm in rural Australia and hoped to return as soon as possible as there are no employment opportunities for him in Inishowen.Judge Kelly told the court that there is a prosocial driving course this month in Donegal Town and if Mr. Kelly completed this, and paid €200 towards the cost of the course he would reduce the charge from dangerous to careless driving and allow the Buncrana man to keep his licence.He remanded the case until June 13, excusing the Buncrana man on the next occasion if he had returned to Australia, on the basis that he completed the prosocial course.Teenager caught speeding in crowded area on St Patrick’s Day was last modified: May 15th, 2019 by StephenShare 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)last_img read more

QPR v Middlesbrough: match preview, team news, facts and figures

first_imgMiddlesbrough needed a 93rd-minute penalty to beat QPR in November.Kick-off: 7.45pm, Friday 1 April 2016Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)Match in a nutshell: Rangers, who have picked up 10 points in their last five matches, host a Middlesbrough side who will move second in the table if they avoid defeat.Five key battles: Including Nedum Onuoha v Stewart DowningInjuries and suspensionsQPRRuled out: Paul Konchesky (calf).MIDDLESBROUGHRuled out: Damia Abella (knee). Possible line-upsQPR: Smithies; Onuoha, Hill, Angella, Perch; Henry, Faurlin; Phillips, Chery, Hoilett; Polter. Subs from: Ingram, Lumley, Kpekawa, Hall, Tozser, Diakite, Gladwin, Luongo, Petrasso, El Khayati, Mackie, Washington.Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos; Nsue, Ayala, Gibson, Friend; Clayton, Leadbitter; Adomah, Ramirez, Downing; Rhodes. Subs from: Agazzi, De Laet, Fry, Kalas, De Pena, Forshaw, De Sart, Stuani, Kike Sola, Nugent. Vital statisticsForm guide – last five league matchesQPR total: D W W L W (10 points)Home: W W W L W (12 points)Middlesbrough total: W L L W L (6 points)Away: L L L W D (4 points)Top scorers – all competitionsQPR: Austin 10; Chery 8; Phillips 7, Polter 7; Hoilett 6; Emmanuel-Thomas 5; Onuoha 3; Angella 1, Fer 1, Hill 1, Tozser 1.Middlesbrough: Stuani 12; Adomah 7, Nugent 7; Fabbrini 5; Kike 4; Downing 3, Leadbitter 3, Ramirez 3; Ayala 2, Nsue 2; Clayton 1, Forshaw 1, Friend 1, Reach 1, Rhodes 1, Wildschut 1.Last five meetings20 November 2015: Middlesbrough 1 QPR 022 March 2014: Middlesbrough 1 QPR 328 September 2013: QPR 2 Middlesbrough 026 February 2011: Middlesbrough 0 QPR 311 September 2010: QPR 3 Middlesbrough 0QPR 4 wins, Middlesbrough 1 win, 0 drawsSee also:QPR fans encouraged by Washington’s international goalQPR confirm Gladwin’s return for run-inSunderland friendly helped Middlesbrough prepare for QPR, says KarankaMiddlesbrough ‘have to be careful’ at QPR – AdomahQPR v Middlesbrough line-ups: key duo return, Hoilett and Robinson on bench, one Boro changeFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Raiders need Carr running smoothly for brutal stretch ahead

first_imgGoing forward, the Raiders can’t afford six such … OAKLAND — It looked promising at the outset.Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr was in command, taking the Raiders 65 yards on their first possession for a 28-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson, then directing a 74-yard six play drive to make it 10-0. He even passed Ken Stabler as having the most career passing yardage in franchise history.And then?Punt, punt, punt, punt, interception, interception . . . Chiefs 28, Raiders 10.last_img

How Bambi Gave Rise to Moby Dick

first_imgThe title of this entry, in Kipling Just-So Story format, is only slightly modified from an article from The Guardian, titled, “How Bambi evolved into Moby-Dick.”  This is not a joke; check on the link and see.    The article is about the latest fossil claimed to be ancestral to whales.  Hans Thewissen (Northeastern Ohio College of Medicine) has spent many years trying to trace an evolutionary path to whales from artiodactyls (even-toed ungulates, a group of mammals including deer, cattle, sheep, goats, giraffes, pigs, and camels).  This was the subject of a chapter in the PBS Evolution series, “Great Transformations,” in 2001 (see review on ReviewEvolution.com).  Thewissen’s latest candidate missing link is a raccoon-size deer-like fossil animal found in Kashmir; the discovery and analysis was published in Nature.1  The Guardian was ebullient in its certainty that this is the link:The landmark finding represents a long-sought ‘missing link’ in the 10m-year [10 million year] journey that saw ancient land mammals evolve into modern cetaceans, a group that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises.”    Scientists have long known that whales are mammals whose ancient ancestors walked on land, but only in the past 15 years have they unearthed fossils that shed light on the creatures’ dramatic evolutionary history.  The latest discovery, named Indohyus, is the first whale ancestor known to have lived on land.On what basis did Thewissen and his team think this fossil had anything to do with whales?  The teeth are “similar to those of aquatic animals,” and the bones suggest a heavy stance like that of hippos.  The bones around the inner ear look similar to those of cetaceans, the article claims.  That’s about all the data this article mentioned, yet the certainty that this represents the missing link continued:The evolutionary path of the whale is one of the most extraordinary on record.  In less than 10m years, the whale’s ancestors completely transformed as they shifted from a four-legged life on land to a life in the ocean.    The first whales, Pakicetidae, emerged around 50m years ago and resembled land mammals rather than the giant marine creatures of today.  These evolved into large, powerful coastal whales, or Ambulocetidae, that had big feet and strong tails.  Later, whales lost their hind limbs and hair and developed powerful tail fins and flippers.One difficulty is that this fossil “overturns a previous assumption that the ancestors of whales were already carnivores before they left land for a life beneath the waves.”  Being a herbivore, what was it doing in the water?  Thewissen thinks it was acting like the modern mouse deer of Africa, which escapes from eagles by diving under the water for up to four minutes.    To reinforce the missing-link message of Indohyus, the article stuck it to the creationists:Fred Spoor, an anthropologist at University College London, said the significance of the latest find was comparable to Archaeopteryx, the first fossils to show a clear transition between dinosaurs and birds.  “For years cetaceans were used by creationists to support their views because for a long time the most primitive whales known had bodies that looked like modern whales, so there seemed to be this enormous gap in evolution.  But since the early 1990s, there’s been a rapid succession of fossils from India and Pakistan that beautifully fill that gap,” he said.    “The tables are turned now because we have fossils that show that dramatic transition step by step.  Cetaceans are almost the only group that has made such a rapid change from a land environment to an aquatic one.  “Unlike sealions and seals, which still spend some time on land, cetaceans are completely committed to the water now, and it had an enormous effect on their physiology.  They had to change everything.”This last sentence, they had to change everything, makes it sound as if the whales directed their mutations with the goal of becoming aquatic – that is most certainly not what the evolutionists mean.  Such language, however, blurs the way the Darwinian mechanism is supposed to work.  Individual members of Indohyus or cetaceans could not possibly know or care what was happening to them.  Evolution works on the genes in large populations over a long, drawn-out process involving mutations selection pressures without any goal in mind – certainly not in the minds of any individual animals.  No amount of individual striving gets passed on to the offspring – that would be Lamarckism.    The article ends with the “more work to do” theme, but includes more purpose-driven language on the part of the whales:Thewissen’s group will next study Indohyus further to learn more about its diet and habitat.  One critical change that occurred when whales took to the water involved its sense of balance and orientation.  In land mammals, this is governed by a vestibulary system in the inner ear, but whales had to adapt to moving in three dimensions, driving the evolution of a more complex system.    “This fossil completes the picture in terms of the whales’ evolution, but what’s next is to look at these other evolutionary adaptations,” said Thewissen.So the frame of the puzzle is done, and now it’s just a matter of filling in the middle.  Is that what the original paper said?  In the journals, scientists tend to be more reserved in their announcements than in the popular press.  It’s interesting that for a discovery this “dramatic” there was no review article accompanying the paper.    The abstract says that Indohyus was a “sister group” to the whales.  This means it was not on the path to whalehood, but both had a common ancestor.  Claims that whale evolution is “documented” and “strongly supported” continue in the paper, but the opening paragraph leads one to suspect that a single fossil species like Indohyus cannot be expected to solve all the problems:Phylogenetic analyses of molecular data on extant animals strongly support the notion that hippopotamids are the closest relatives of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises).  In spite of this, it is unlikely that the two groups are closely related when extant and extinct artiodactyls are analysed, for the simple reason that cetaceans originated about 50 million years (Myr) ago in south Asia, whereas the family Hippopotamidae is only 15 Myr old, and the first hippopotamids to be recorded in Asia are only 6 Myr old.  However, analyses of fossil clades have not resolved the issue of cetacean relations.  Proposed sister groups ranged from the entire artiodactyl order, to the extinct early ungulates mesonychians, to an anthracotheroid clade (which included hippopotamids), to weakly supporting hippopotamids (to the exclusion of anthracotheres.Indohyus is an Eocene artiodactyl in a group Raoellidae, which previously had no linkage to the whale line.  Thewissen et al are therefore making a radical new hypothesis.  “This has profound implications for the character transformations near the origin of cetaceans and the cladistic definition of Cetacea, and identifies the habitat in which whales originated,” they say.  “Taken together, our findings lead us to propose a new hypothesis for the origin of whales.”    New hypotheses, however, tend to create as many problems as they solve, because old assumptions get discarded.  Evolutionists have already been claiming for years that the whale evolution story is strongly supported with other fossils.  How can a specimen from a small, extinct deer-like animal wedge its way into an existing story?  It becomes necessary to juggle things around:To investigate the importance of raoellids in cetacean phylogeny, we excluded raoellids from our initial phylogenetic analysis of artiodactyls plus cetaceans.  Our data set differed from previous analyses by the addition of several archaic anthracotheres, and some corrected scores for pakicetid cetaceans.  This analysis found stronger support for hippopotamid�cetacean sister-group relations than the previous analysis, consistent with molecular studies.  However, the base of the artiodactyl cladogram is poorly resolved (see Supplementary Information for details on phylogenetic runs).This is how phylogenetic analysis is really done.  Assumptions are made, and some earlier associations get tossed by the wayside in an effort to achieve a desired amount of “consistency.”  So Thewissen and team changed the recipe and got some new flavors:In a second cladistic analysis (Fig. 2), we added the raoellids Khirtharia and Indohyus as well as several archaic ungulate groups (condylarths) and found that raoellids and cetaceans are sister groups and that they are the basal node in the Cetacea/Artiodactyla clade, consistent with some previous analyses that used different character sets.  Our analysis is the first to show that raoellids are the sister group to cetaceans, resolving the biogeographic conundrum and closing the temporal gap between cetaceans and their sister.  Relations between most artiodactyl families higher in the tree are poorly resolved, and our data lack implications for the relations between these families.  Our analysis strongly argues that raoellids and cetaceans are more closely related to each other than either is to hippopotamids.This is a human line of argument – not a single, clear, uncontroversial picture emerging inescapably from the data.  Everything is inference: trying to find a pathway through scattered data points, after first assuming a pathway exists.  The reader should not picture a straight line from Indohyus to Blue Whale.  The human researchers are picking their way through a data forest with a goal in mind.  The forest is not leading them on a single yellow brick road.    Indohyus, for instance, has a thickening around its middle ear that was thought diagnostic of cetaceans.  What does this mean?  The paper presents two possibilities: either Indohyus was similar to whales, or this trait can no longer be thought characteristic of whales.  As with Tiktaalik, the data present mosaics of traits that require human judgment about what goes with what clade, and which clades are closer or farther apart.    In the paper, the team considered various groupings, but made decisions based on their own preferences: e.g., regarding one alternative tree, they said, “We do not prefer this classification because it causes instability by significantly altering the traditional content of both Artiodactyla and Cetacea.”  The team sought the most “parsimonious” tree of descent – but parsimony is a human value, not a whale value.  Not even all humans will agree what constitutes parsimony.    The team acknowledged that cetaceans and raoellids possess some synapomorphies (derived traits shared by terminal groups), but then said, “None of these features characterize all modern and extinct cetaceans; the dental characters, for instance, cannot be scored in toothless mysticetes.  In addition, all of these characters are found in some mammals unrelated to cetaceans.”  There are multiple ways to interpret the data, therefore.  The synapomorphies might indicate relationship – or, they could overthrow assumptions about which traits are diagnostic of which clades.  Clearly, this team did not attach any significance to the similarities that didn’t fit a deer-to-whale lineage.  “We attach particular importance to two character complexes that characterize basal cetaceans,” they said, but that assumes what needs to be proved (circular reasoning).    The team attached great importance to the teeth.  But Indohyus, they said, was a herbivore, and whales are carnivores; how much about relationship can be inferred from teeth of groups with very different dietary habits and behaviors?  What kind of tree would have resulted had they attached particular importance to other traits?  One can imagine other evolutionary paleontologists having their own assumptions, preferences, methodologies, and arriving at very different conclusions.     Other traits were mentioned that do not help the story of whale evolution.  The team noticed that the leg bones showed osteoporosis, which they interpreted as meaning that Indohyus was stable in the water – but not a swimmer: “We interpret the limb osteosclerosis of Indohyus to be related to bottom walking and not to slow swimming, because the limbs are gracile and not modified into paddles.”  Other mammals, however, like beaver and otters and sea lions, show more modifications for aquatic lifestyle than this creature, and no one lumps them into a whale phylogeny.  So even if the oxygen or carbon isotopic ratios in the tooth enamel show a probability the creature lived a good part of its time in the water, how much can this tell us about its evolutionary path?  As a matter of fact, the team decided the diet of Indohyus was significantly different than whale diet.    So here is the long and short about this creature:Indohyus was a small, stocky artiodactyl, roughly the size of the raccoon Procyon lotor (Fig. 5).  It was not an adept swimmer; instead it waded in shallow water, with its heavy bones providing ballast to keep its feet anchored.  Indohyus may have fed on land, although a specialized aquatic diet is also possible.Whales do not use their bones as ballast to stay anchored to the bottom.  They do not eat vegetables.  They do not walk on four feet.  By what kind of convoluted reasoning can a raccoon-size deer be considered ancestral to dolphins and blue whales?    Even if it spent more time in water than the modern mouse deer, many mammals are accustomed to water: moose, bears, water buffalo, and of course otter and beaver – why are they not in the race to become whale ancestor?  The researchers even admitted that “The great evolutionary change that occurred at the origin of cetaceans is thus not the adoption of an aquatic lifestyle.”  They pinned all their inference on diet: “Here we propose that dietary change was the event that defined cetacean origins,” they said – but that is a radically new proposal from what they said before, because Indohyus eats plants, and whales don’t.  By all measures, it seems this new creature is even further removed from whale ancestry than the last candidate.    Their ending paragraph summarized the just-so story of how Bambi evolved into Moby Dick:Our working hypothesis for the origin of whales is that raoellid ancestors, although herbivores or omnivores on land, took to fresh water in times of danger.  Aquatic habits were increased in Indohyus (as suggested by osteosclerosis and oxygen isotopes), although it did not necessarily have an aquatic diet (as suggested by carbon isotopes).  Cetaceans originated from an Indohyus-like ancestor and switched to a diet of aquatic prey.  Significant changes in the morphology of the teeth, the oral skeleton and the sense organs made cetaceans different from their ancestors and unique among mammals.This is, as they themselves said, only a “working hypothesis” at best.  Compare that with the triumphal announcements in the The Register quoted at the beginning of this entry: “The tables are turned now [against the creationists] because we have fossils that show that dramatic transition step by step.”Update 12/26/2007: Science Now reported on the Thewissen claim, but ended with an alternative: “Another analysis, in press at Cladistics, suggests that an extinct group of carnivorous mammals, called mesonychids, were more closely related to cetaceans.”  Mesonychids looked less like Bambi and more like the Big Bad Wolf.  The only similarity seems to be that they were equidistant from Moby Dick.1.  Thewissen, Cooper, Clementz, Bajpai and Tiwari, “Whales originated from aquatic artiodactyls in the Eocene epoch of India,” Nature 450, 1190-1194 (20 December 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06343.Will evolutionists actually tell lies to push their beliefs?  Yes—you saw it right here.  Fred Spoor told you that Archaeopteryx represents a clear transition between dinosaurs and birds, when he knows full well it appeared too late in his own evolutionary timeline to be a missing link (10/24/2005).  The big lie in the Nature article, and in the popular press, was to portray this fossil discovery as a great victory for evolution, and a step-by-step sequence showing the whole ancestry.  It is no more victory than picking up a spent lottery ticket on the dusty ground and thinking it is a missing link to riches.    Philosophers of science could have some good banter about the logic of discovery – whether they discovered something true to nature in the data, or imposed their own experiences and preferences on the data.  Clearly, this team decided to pick and choose a few traits from a fossil they preferred over other problematical ones, and from these to weave a whale of a just-so story with which to dupe the public and shoot the creationists.  Well, their shot only hurt as much as a blast of bad breath in the face, that’s all.  You know what to expect from National Geographic, and you got it: “Whales Evolved from Tiny Deerlike Mammals, Study Says.”  The bigger the whopper, the better; have it your way, NG (10/24/2004).  Not to be left behind in the Whopper Olympics, the BBC News trumpeted, “Whale ‘missing link’ discovered.”    This is the mess of things that Charlie Darwin left in his wake when he allowed the magicians and storytellers into the once noble halls of science (12/22/2003 commentary).  It’s time to clear house and clean up.  Send the whole lot of them back to school to learn some history and philosophy and ethics, and make them sign a commitment to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  That would solve most of the problems in the contentious creation-evolution debate.    Bambi to Moby Dick—incredible.  PhD scientists actually believe that?  They want that taught in the schools?  We need a new word that means to laugh and cry at the same time, because this whale of a tale deserves a whopping blubberfest.  Maybe the word howl will do.  Perhaps this is why the humpback whales are howling.(Visited 47 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Mind Matters

first_imgThe conundrum of how reasoning could have emerged by an undirected evolutionary process persists.  Atheists and materialists are convinced that natural selection is up to the task, while theists strongly disagree and use human rationality as evidence for creation by an intelligent source (usually God).  Perhaps a few recent findings can illuminate on the options.Smarter than your average bear:  PhysOrg reported on work by psychologists and computer scientists at University of Georgia that concluded: “New research shows people are better at strategic reasoning than was thought.”  Experiments with video games of strategy apparently showed that recursive reasoning – the ability to foresee an opponent’s moves and plan accordingly – is well-established in the human mind.  “This so-called recursive reasoning ability in humans has been thought to be somewhat limited,” the article began, “But now, in just-published research led by a psychologist at the University of Georgia, it appears that people can engage in much higher levels of recursive reasoning than was previously thought.”  In fact “they do it fairly easily and automatically” according to the head of the Georgia Decision Lab at UGA.  No attempt was made to explain how evolution produced this ability.Smart vegetarians:  Toss out the image of cavemen ripping meat with their teeth over the fire.  “Stone Age humans liked their burgers in a bun,” an article on New Scientist announced.  What this implies is that human ancestors alleged to have lived 30,000 years ago had the smarts to grind flour.  Researchers at the Italian Institute of Prehistory and Early History in Florence examined grindstones in Italy, Russia and the Czech Republic, looking for signs of plant material – and found evidence of flour making, “a complex process involving harvesting roots, then drying, grinding and finally cooking them to make them digestible.”  That takes foresight, learning from experience, and well thought out procedures.  “The reason Palaeolithic humans were thought to have lived solely on wild meat, says [Anna] Revedin, is that previous plant evidence was washed away by overzealous archaeologists as they cleaned the tools at dig sites.”  She claimed hers was the “first time anybody has tried to find vegetable material on” the grindstones.Smart jewelers:  A debate over the chic of Neanderthal jewelry is going on, according to New Scientist.  An Oxford team claims that Neanderthal ornaments were really made by modern humans.  Another researcher at University of Bordeaux, though, disagrees, still thinking that other sites show sophistication in Neanderthal taste.  Reporter Michael Marshall perpetuated a stereotype by concluding whimsically, “I would suggest settling the debate with the enthusiastic use of hefty stone clubs, but that would be positively Neanderthal.”Smarter than paleoanthropologists:  500,000 years ago, human ancestors like Heidelberg Man were supposed to be emerging from the fog of animal instincts.  New Scientist reported that a fossil specimen found in Spain with a distorted pelvis indicates that the 45-year-old hunter-gatherer would have been too hunchbacked and in pain to support himself.  The researchers at the University of Madrid argue that this shows his compatriots cared for him, even though he had no way to help contribute to the survival of the fittest; “it implies a level of social support, and that he was valued by his contemporaries.”  Were values and charity already well-developed half a million years ago in the evolutionary timeline?Smarter than the herd:  Are humans just lemmings who will follow the herd over a cliff?  There’s no doubt that crowd behavior has a certain attraction for many people, but that can apparently be switched off by the force of will, according to an article on PhysOrg.  An Oxford team performed a study of Facebook behavior (a good place to look for herd instinct).  How much did users react to social influence about whether online apps became flops or hits?  “Users only appear to be influenced by the choices of other users above a certain level of popularity, and at that point popularity drives future popularity,” the article said, supporting the herd mentality, but it’s not always so simple.  The data for the study contained no information on individuals, for one thing, and as a researcher cautioned, “we simply don’t know whether this marks an important difference between offline and online behavior, or whether more detailed and comprehensive data from offline contexts will identify similar collective behaviour in settings that do not involve online environments.”Smarter than computers:  Another study on CAPTCHA (see 09/14/2008) has appeared.  The basis of this technology to discern human identity on computers (Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart) is the human gift of pattern recognition.  We can read cursive handwriting, even when messy – a task that gives a computer headaches.  Researchers at the University of Buffalo are trying to extend CAPTCHA to biometric signals such as hand gestures that could be used to activate devices in smart rooms, elderly living facilities, airports and other transportation venues.Smarter than philosophers:  Heavy-duty thinkers may want to analyze and critique a new theory of rationality by Philip N. Johnson-Laird published in PNAS, who said in his introduction, “The theory predicts systematic errors in our reasoning, and the evidence corroborates this prediction.  Yet, our ability to use counterexamples to refute invalid inferences provides a foundation for rationality.  On this account, reasoning is a simulation of the world fleshed out with our knowledge, not a formal rearrangement of the logical skeletons of sentences.”  That may leave a number of questions begging in the shadows.Smart about mental health:  The mind-body problem is aggravated by the recognition of mental illness and mental decline with age.  An article on Live Science may encourage those growing older (who isn’t?) to get off the couch and take a hike.  A study at the University of Pittsburgh suggests that the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease could be delayed, maybe for months or years, by walking about a mile a day.  In the end, though, we all know that gray matter that did so much thinking and reasoning during our lives is destined to turn to dust.  What then?Thinking about smartness:  What makes humans so special?  Robert Sapolsky, neurobiologist and primatologist at Stanford, shared his thoughts on Live Science.  Is it just quantity of neurons over quality?  After all, “Animals may share characteristics with humans such as politically motivated aggression, empathy and culture, but humans take them to a level without parallel among animals,” reporter Jeremy Hsu said, describing Sapolsky’s views.  Do we just have more of the same?    It can’t be, if an article at PhysOrg draws the right metaphor: “Neurons cast votes to guide decision-making.”  According to neurobiologists at Vanderbilt University, “our brain accumulates evidence when faced with a choice and triggers an action once that evidence reaches a tipping point.”  Yet the experiments were done with monkeys, which humans would like to believe do not have reasoning minds like our own.  This is one of many experiments trying to draw links between “psychological processes and what neurons are doing.”  But then, if a better analogy is a logic circuit, who programmed the circuitry?    Sapolsky is not worried about neurobiology reducing our humanness to mechanistic stuff.  For one thing, even if it could, “explaining everything in purely mechanistic terms would not diminish our appreciation of classical music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach or the sight of a leaping gazelle.”  For another, “Every time neuroscience comes up with an answer, it’s attached to 10 new questions, and nine of them are better than the original,” Sapolsky said.  Maybe just thinking about thinking helps answer the question.Filmmaker Luis Nieto claims that “A well-trained monkey could do my job.”  Interviewed for New Scientist, Nieto explained why he made Capucine, a documentary shot by capuchin monkeys.  His experience led him to believe that creativity is just an illusion; it is free association, an ability innate to primates.  Monkeys have consciousness, they have sophisticated relationships with humans, and even excel at morality: “With Capucine I learned something about animals: they never lie.”  Since his job could be done by a well-trained monkey, he thinks “Maybe film-makers will soon compete for jobs against monkeys.”  That may have to wait till they invent cameras, projectors, editing equipment, sound stages, theaters, agents, directors, critics, award ceremonies and paparazzi.This food for thought is delivered fresh by Creation-Evolution Headlines, which encourages you to think critically about each claim, evaluate the evidence, use your power of choice, exhibit honesty, and thereby prove that materialism is hopelessly incapable of explaining what you just did.  For if truth and honesty are not illusions, but really exist, which must be true to carry on this discussion, they refer to things that are timeless and universal – things in the conceptual realm that, expressed in language with semantics or meaning (which, according to our uniform experience always have an intelligent cause), can be rationally inferred to have an intelligent cause that is likewise timeless and universal.  Or, more succinctly, in the beginning was the Word (John 1:1-14).(Visited 25 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

All students fail Class X exam in Hisar school

first_imgAll students of a government girls’ school in Hisar district of Haryana have failed to clear their Class X examination this year. A total of 24 girls from the school in Kabrel village appeared for the exam but failed to score pass marks, said a State Education Department official. It was the only school to have fared so badly, he said. The Haryana Board of School Education, Bhiwani, declared the result last month.The villagers of Kabrel have held the State government and the Education Department responsible for the poor result. “On the one hand, the government is laying so much emphasis on ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’ programme, and on the other hand, the authorities have done nothing to solve the problem of shortage of staff in the school,” a villager said.Staff shortageThe village panchayat members met the district administration officials several times demanding more teachers in the school but the administration failed to fullfil their demands, he claimed. The school had no teachers for Sanskrit, Hindi, science and mathematics in the last academic session, said Dharam Singh, the village head. “The students complained several times, but to no avail,” he said.There are no teachers for various subjects in the school for the last four years, said a village elderly. The post of the headmaster is lying vacant for the last four years, said a teacher of the school. He said out of 24 girls who failed in the exam, 15 have taken re-admission in the school. District Education Officer B S Sehrawat could not be contacted for a comment.last_img read more