Land of Canaan accidentThe West Coast Demerara (WCD) resident who drove recklessly on Sunday last, causing the death 47-year-old Garfield McPherson, was on Tuesday remanded to prison.Twenty-eight-year-old Delon Dublin of Lot 70 Anna Catherina, WCD, denied that on May 6, 2018 at Land of Canaan, East Bank Demerara (EBD), he drove motorcar PRR 6380 dangerous to the public thereby causing the death of McPherson.On the day of the accident, Dublin was transporting two passengers; Diana McGarrell and McPherson to Georgetown.The defendant was reportedly proceeding at a fast rate in the northern direction when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a nearby trench.He, along with the two injured persons, were rushed to the Diamond Diagnostic Centre where McPherson succumbed to his injuries.Police Prosecutor Gordon Mansfield had no objections to bail being granted. However, Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan whom he appeared before remanded Dublin to prison. The case will continue on May 21.
DES MOINES, Iowa – Grand Blue Mile (GBM) officials from Wellmark and the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee announced the USA Track & Field 1 Mile Road Championships will be returning as part of the annual Grand Blue Mile in 2017 and 2018. The addition of the prestigious USA 1 Mile Road Championships further elevates the elite-level competition of Grand Blue Mile and is expected to attract several 2016 Olympians from across the country to vie for a national title and share of the $30,000 prize purse. The Grand Blue Mile also hosted the 2013 and 2014 USA 1 Mile Road Championships. “Now in its eighth running, the Grand Blue Mile continues to captivate the national track and field community, while providing an unparalleled Drake Relays experience for thousands of central Iowans,” said Blake Boldon, Drake Relays director. “We’re thankful to Wellmark for their visionary partnership in helping develop this special tradition.” · Matthew Centrowitz – Gold medalist in the 1500m and 2015 GBM Invitational Champion· Bernard Lagat – 5th place finish in the 5000m· Nathan Brannen – 10th place finish in the 5000m· Shannon Rowbury – 4th place finish in the 1500m· Kate Grace – 8th place finish in the 800m and 2013 USA 1 Mile Champion (Grand Blue Mile) Coming off the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the 2017 GBM has the potential to see several medalists and finalists return to Des Moines. A few of the 2016 Olympians who have participated in past GBMs include: In 2014, more than 25 American track and field stars competed for the national title at GBM. Leo Manzano, 2012 Olympic 1500m silver medalist, won the men’s championship with a time of 4:05.71. The women’s championship was captured by Heather Kampf, who set a course record of 4:32.62. She followed that performance with consecutive GBM Invitational Championship titles in 2015 and 2016, becoming the event’s first competitor to successfully three-peat. “We are honored to welcome back the USA 1 Mile Road Championships to the Midwest’s premier community street run,” said Chris Verlengia, Wellmark corporate sponsorship manager. “The Grand Blue Mile has gained notoriety over the past seven years as one of the best races in the nation because of its appeal to runners of all ages and abilities. Hosting these championships on the heels of USA Track & Field’s historic showing in Rio brings a national focus to the overall goal of Grand Blue Mile — encouraging healthy habits and empowering positive change.” Last year’s GBM drew more than 4,200 registrants who participated among the elite, competitive, recreational run/walk, and corporate team categories. The one-mile course loops through the streets of downtown Des Moines, finishing in Des Moines Western Gateway. Registration for the 2017 Grand Blue Mile, which takes place on April 25, opens in February. For more information on the Grand Blue Mile, visit www.GrandBlueMile.com. Print Friendly Version
It doesn’t take much to excite an evolutionary biologist. A little bit of microevolution that might be a stepping stone to macroevolution is all it takes. This story almost reads like a Good News – Bad News joke. The good news is that one gene that regulates the spines on one kind of fish has been found, that might provide a clue how a noticeable change between populations could evolve. The bad news is expressed in an opening statement by Neil Shubin and Randall Dahn in their summary of a scientific paper published in the April 15 issue of Nature1:Darwin’s lament that “Our ignorance of the laws of variation is profound” has described one of the persistent problems in evolutionary biology for the past 145 years. How does genetic variation – the raw material of evolution – arise within populations, and how does it evolve to make species anatomically and behaviourally distinct?To attempt an answer to these profound questions, Shubin and Dahn refer to a paper by Shapiro et al.2 in the same issue. Shapiro’s team found a gene in threespine sticklebacks that controls the size of their “stickles” or bony spines that grow out of the pelvic girdle on these fish. These spines are apparently defensive structures in the sea-going species, but are reduced in size in their freshwater cousins. Experiments with the gene show that it can reduce the size of these limbs. That leads to a counter-intuitive principle, according to Shubin and Dahn: “Surprisingly, some of the most significant novelties in the history of life are associated not with the evolution of new structures but with the loss or reduction of primitive ones.” As examples, they point to snakes and whales, who supposedly lost their legs. Some animals can jump, fly, or run better without their limbs, they claim. Similarly, freshwater stickleback fish might do better without their spines, either because there is insufficient calcium in the water to grow them, or predatory invertebrates might find them to be convenient handles. The gene the paper identified, Pitx1, is vital; in fact, “Pitx1 mutations in mice are often lethal, because they cause developmental abnormalities of the head, face and some glands.” This leads to another counter-intuitive principle: “How, then, could alterations in this gene be involved in limb reduction in living populations of stickleback fish? The answer is that the regulation of Pitx1 – not the protein encoded by the gene – has changed.” Specifically,Shapiro et al. found that the sequence of the protein-coding region of the Pitx1 gene is identical between the different populations of sticklebacks. But the gene’s expression pattern is altered markedly: the population with complete pelvic loss shows no Pitx1 expression in appendages but retains patterns of gene activity in other areas, such as the thymus, olfactory pits and caudal fins (Fig.2). This type of localized decrease in the activity of Pitx1 can result in pelvic-fin reduction without affecting other parts of the body.”Thus, a small microevolutionary change might lead to macroevolutionary effects: “Regulatory changes affect when and where a gene is active, not the actual product of the gene. So these types of changes are often involved in non-lethal and rapid morphological change, and are likely to be extraordinarily important components of evolutionary history.” They do not explain what kind of mutation changed the expression of this gene. Instead, Shubin and Dahn argue that stratigraphic evidence suggests this change took place in only 10,000 generations. They reason that “Extrapolating these results to other taxonomic groups leads to the conclusion that major morphological change can evolve rapidly through regulatory changes in a small number of genes.” Furthermore, Shapiro’s paper might demonstrate how parallel evolution could occur, and why “some evolutionary changes occur more readily than others.” Shubin and Dahn feel this finding might even lead to a general principle of macroevolutionary change. Their ending paragraph, however, casts only the faintest glimmer of hope on this 145-year-old problem:One of the central mysteries of evolutionary biology has been the relationship between microevolution and macroevolution. How can an understanding of the evolutionary mechanisms that act in populations today explain the types of variation that distinguish higher taxonomic groups, such as genera, families or even phyla? Can an understanding of population-level processes explain major evolutionary events such as the Cambrian explosion – the period around 550 million years ago when complex animal life took off? Perhaps so. Shapiro et al. might have discovered a smoking gun – a real example of a type of macroevolutionary change that is produced by genetic differences between populations.Other science news outlets quickly picked up on this story. The BBC News announced that “Scientists have discovered a genetic basis underlying the evolution of fewer limbs in animals,” and claimed that “Limb loss is implicated in a number of big steps in evolution.” Science Now reported that “researchers have found that a simple change of gene activity could make all the difference–a rare demonstration of how a small genetic change can make a relatively rapid impact on an organism.”1Neil H. Shubin and Randall D. Dahn, “Evolutionary biology: Lost and found,” Nature 428, 703 – 704 (15 April 2004); doi:10.1038/428703a.2Shapiro et al., “Genetic and developmental basis of evolutionary pelvic reduction in threespine sticklebacks,” Nature 428, 717 – 723 (15 April 2004); doi:10.1038/nature02415.We need a new category for stories like this. Is there a word for gaining an inch and conceding a mile, gaining one small hill but losing the war, spending one’s life savings on a slot machine and winning a dime? That’s the spirit of this story; it’s a Pyrrhic victory. Shubin and Dahn talk like they will soon be proud winners of millions of dollars from Nigeria, if they can just round up a little more money. Notice the big picture. Here we are, 145 years after Darwin started a revolution in biology that took over the intellectual world, and they admit right up front that Darwin’s own lament, “Our ignorance of the laws of variation is profound,” is still a “persistent problem” today. Even after we have sequenced the genomes of dozens of organisms and scoured the world for fossils, and garnered data beyond Charlie’s wildest dreams, evolutionary biologists are still singing the same blues. Then, after all their hype about what this stickleback tale might mean, they admit that “One of the central mysteries of evolutionary biology has been the relationship between microevolution and macroevolution.” Do you understand what they are telling us? Since Charlie wrote his “abominable volume” in 1859, we have been told that macroevolution is a scientific fact, yet were provided only microevolutionary observations and macroevolutionary tales, with no scientific connection between them. Evolutionists only assume the two are connected somehow. What if there is no connection? What if variation has limits, and the higher taxonomic groups have always been distinct and separate? He mentions the Cambrian explosion (see next headline), which would lead an unbiased observer to conclude that all the major animal body plans appeared abruptly on the earth without ancestors. Small variations within groups have undoubtedly occurred since then, but Shubin and Dahn’s incriminating admissions indicate that Darwinians have failed to demonstrate macroevolutionary change, and thus failed to demonstrate common ancestry of all living things. Notice how tiny their evidence is. They’re only talking about stickleback fish, for crying out loud, and for crying even louder, they’re talking about a loss of genetic information, and for screaming hysterically, they are talking about one gene that is identical between two populations, that if mutated, causes death! How on earth can an evolutionist find any hope in that? Picture a little boy at a waterfall, who has been convinced by a trickster that water flows upward. At the base of any waterfall there are droplets that bounce and splash up temporarily. The boy becomes fixated on those splashes, hoping against hope that his observations will, in time, demonstrate the truth of the theory he has been led to believe. All the while, the big picture demonstrates the exact opposite. Stories like this lead some non-evolutionists to ponder a future day when the culture will look back at 2004, incredulous that intelligent people could believe such things, and will laugh at the flimsy arguments used to support them. Like Søren Lovtrup wrote in Darwinism: Refutation of a Myth: “Micromutations do occur, but the theory that these alone can account for evolutionary change is either falsified, or else it is an unfalsifiable, hence metaphysical theory. I suppose that nobody will deny that it is a great misfortune if an entire branch of science becomes addicted to a false theory. But this is what has happened in biology: … I believe that one day the Darwinian myth will be ranked the greatest deceit in the history of science. When this happens many people will pose the question: How did this ever happen?” (Source: IDEA Club. Browse their large collection of quotations on Darwinism.)(Visited 38 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
The Hwang scandal (01/09/2006) has prompted a good deal of international soul searching about scientific ethics. (Now, it appears that Hwang also corrupted officials with monetary gifts; see New Scientist). Some journals are preaching ethics like an old time revival is in session. This raises an interesting question: what is the source of ethics? Despite widespread belief in the scientific establishment that ethics is a product of evolution, leading journals are calling for the old Judeo-Christian moral qualities of integrity, honesty, trustworthiness and virtue. For example, three bioethicists writing in Science1 (the journal victimized by Hwang’s deceit) recalled how the early chemist Robert Boyle (a staunch Christian) took steps to enforce honesty among his fellow scientists:In the 17th century, trust and integrity in science were central to the system of publication that we have inherited. For example, the scientific community had to decide which reports from explorers from distant parts of the globe were reliable. The issue also arose for the emerging experimental sciences, which Boyle and his colleagues at the Royal Society of London argued depended on actually witnessing the experimental events. Boyle created the precursor to the modern scientific publication to provide sufficient detail so that other scientists could replicate the experiments, thus adding witnesses to the experimental data. In cases where this was impractical, it would serve to produce sufficient information so that the readers were “virtual witnesses”. An important part of 17th-century scientific epistemology concerned establishing how one could tell that the reports were worth believing. This included information about the skill of purported “witnesses,” design of the author, internal consistency of the account given, and whether contradictory “testimony” existed in the scientific literature. Perhaps the most important protection was the integrity of the “informant,” Therefore, establishing the rules by which one was trustworthy (a “gentleman”) became critical. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)The word integrity appears 12 times in this short editorial. Though scientists today have inherited Boyle’s system of procedures to ensure trustworthiness, and though many institutions try to teach ethics, the authors deny that procedures can guarantee results without individual morality:Although some research universities now require that doctoral and postdoctoral students complete fairly elaborate courses in ethics, many more treat students to a sandbox morality lesson consisting of the admonition not to lie, cheat, or steal data. The courses may have little effect on future misconduct. The idea that research training, such as that required in the United States for some federally funded trainees and emphasized by the National Research Council report, in itself would have prevented fabrication on such a grand scale in South Korea strains credibility. Teachers must themselves be judged by the authorities in our institutions–not only for their ability to produce science, but also to be scientists of virtue and integrity. The ability to give testimony and to act as a witness can be modeled, and students should be allowed to exercise skills of discernment and skepticism about results that seem unlikely or behaviors that are worrisome without punishment. The lesson to be learned is that we need to do a better job of holding research institutions accountable for setting up systems and mentorship that will produce integrity in its scientists.Nature,2 similarly, after the extent of the scandal came to light, pounded its pulpit about the centrality of ethics: “Research ethics matter immensely to the health of the scientific enterprise,” an Editorial pronounced: “Anyone who thinks differently should seek employment in another sphere.” (What other spheres might be happy without ethics was left to the imagination.) This same editorial tried to draw a distinction between relative and absolute ethical violations: “Furthermore, the question of what constitutes an ethical transgression may vary between societies that elect to impose different rules, whereas scientific fraud knows no borders.” But can an evolutionary process yield universal standards of right and wrong? Both Nature and Science discussed their initiatives to shore up the trustworthiness of papers they publish by fortifying the peer review process and opening the “black box” to public scrutiny. These efforts, however praiseworthy, beg the question whether process can compensate for individual integrity.1Mildred K. Cho, Glenn McGee, David Magnus, “Lessons of the Stem Cell Scandal,” Science, 3 February 2006: Vol. 311. no. 5761, pp. 614 – 615, DOI: 10.1126/science.1124948.2Editorial, “Ethics and Fraud,” Nature 439, 117-118 (12 January 2006) | doi:10.1038/439117a.You can’t get blood out of a turnip, and you can’t get ethics out of evolution. A simplistic evolutionary ethic is that whatever aids fitness is good. This was the polluted fountain from which eugenics, social Darwinism, radical capitalism, nazism and communism sprung. A less progressive evolutionary ethic is that whatever aids survival is good. But a more reasoned analysis leads one to understand that ethics is utterly meaningless in Darwin’s world. The word “good” does not even exist in the Darwin Dictionary. Evolution is what evolution does. The detached, dispassionate scientist watches a society kill itself through treachery and self-interest, and merely takes notes without any hint of judgment. That is why even survival is not “good” or “bad” in an evolving, materialistic universe. It may make you feel bad that a nation of terrorists swamps your alabaster city, or that a fellow scientist got rich by plagiarizing your work through bribery and fraud, but feelings are mere neurophysical responses to certain stimuli. We must realize this when listening to the sermons of the Big Science revivalists; they are speaking nonsense to claim that integrity is good, or scientific progress is good, or fraud is bad. Don’t let them borrow words from the Bible. It is cheating to say cheating is a sin when you don’t believe sin exists. To be consistent, an evolutionist would have to say, even if the whole planet destroyed itself, so what? No big deal. Things happen. Now think even deeper. All such words like fraud, misconduct, punishment, trust, integrity, virtue, and honesty are words describing true moral categories. Evolutionists try to construe these words as artifacts of social evolution. They employ game theory (02/10/2004, 09/05/2003) to describe means by which populations reward cooperators and punish non-cooperators. They think that these natural means bypass the need for moral categories and yield systems of ethics that mimic the Judeo-Christian values and produce religion (see 02/02/2006 story). Why, then, did Nature, which frequently publishes such ideas, say that “scientific fraud knows no borders”? This is a statement assuming absolute morality. Surely a consistent evolutionist could conceive of a population where completely different “ethical standards” might have emerged. But if not, if they claim that moral absolutes familiar to us are inevitable by a process of evolution, then they have ascribed these moral qualities to matter, as if they were like constants of physics. We could then ask anthropic questions, like what fine-tuned the moral constants to produce a universe in which honesty emerged as a universally-acknowledged virtue? Secular scientists get worked up over ethics when serious lapses occur that threaten their trustworthiness. Their speculations about how the moral sense evolved provide a thin cloak over an image of God they cannot hide. By preaching virtue, integrity, trustworthiness and honesty, they are tacitly affirming the Biblical teaching that morality is rooted in the unchanging moral perfections of God. Interesting that Hwang’s downfall has been called a “fall from grace” (see New Scientist). Would that today’s Royal Society, AAAS and NAS and every other institution of Big Science, repent of their apostasy, and again heed the admonition Robert Boyle wrote in his will, “Wishing them also a most happy success in their laudable attempts to discover the true nature of the works of God, and praying, that they and all other searchers into physical truths may cordially refer their attainments to the glory of the Author of Nature, and the benefit of mankind.”(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
18 July 2013 South African mining group Exxaro Resources and French independent power producer GDF Suez have signed an agreement to develop a 600-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant outside Lephalale in Limpopo province. The proposed site is 17 kilometres northwest of Lephalale in the Waterberg region and adjacent to Exxaro’s Grootegeluk mine. Fuel for the plant will be supplied by Exxaro’s prospective opencast greenfields Thabametsi mine on a surface conveyor belt. “The mine will supply up to 3.8-million tonnes per annum of run-of-mine coal to the power plant post ramp-up,” Exxaro said in a statement on Monday. It is expected that coal will be supplied to the plant for up to 25 years, as coal will continue to form a large part of South Africa’s energy mix. “South Africa urgently requires the installation of additional electricity generation capacity in the near future due to the combination of a low reserve margin and growing electricity demand,” Exxaro said. “GDF Suez and Exxaro are global leaders in their respective industries and are pleased to be able to combine their strengths to positively impact the baseload power generation capacity, with the aim of assisting in alleviating South Africa’s power supply challenges.” The plant’s capacity can be expanded to 1 200MW, depending on water availability and grid integration constraints. “GDF Suez’s partnership with South Africa is gaining momentum, with several agreements successfully concluded during the second quarter of 2013,” said GDF Suez Energy CEO for South Asia, Middle East and Africa Shankar Krishnamoorthy. “Successful public-private partnerships in the power sector will contribute to the adequacy and efficiency of South Africa’s electricity industry, which is key to the country’s economic development.” As a key play in the country’s coal mining sector, Exxaro is integrated in the power and energy production value chain, according to CEO, Sipho Nkosi. “We have taken advantage of the opportunities provided from current regulatory development in South Africa’s mineral and energy sectors to develop a coal mine that can supply new power generating capacity,” Nkosi said. SAinfo reporter
Governor Satya Pal Malik’s administration in Jammu & Kashmir on Friday approved an amendment to the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), to insert a section to provide for the offence of “sextortion.”Under Section 354E of the RPC, the new law explicitly bans sexual exploitation of women by those in positions of authority, having a fiduciary relationship, or a public servant, reads the order issued by Governor Malik-headed State Administration Council (SAC).J&K has become the first State in the country to bring a law to prevent people in power from exploiting subordinates sexually. Mr. Malik on Friday approved the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018, and the Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018, to incorporate the new Section.Terming the offence as “Sextortion”, the amendments will “bring sextortion at par with similar offences prescribed under Ranbir Penal Code and amendment is being made in Prevention of Corruption Act to amend the definition of misconduct and to provide that demand for sexual favours would also constitute misconduct within the meaning of Section 5.”‘Existing laws deficient’An official said the J&K government decided to reinforce the legal framework to curb instances of women being victimised by the persons in authority or in fiduciary relationships. “The existing legislative provisions have been found deficient to curb this menace. Therefore, a need was felt to introduce such provisions in the relevant laws that would prevent occurrence of such instances and deter the persons in authority to abuse their authority, influence or position to obtain sexual favours from the weaker sex,” the State’s Law Department had said in its proposal. The Governor’s administration on November 28 started a process for the Draft Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018, to include the acts of demanding and requesting sexual favours by public servants within the ambit of term ‘Misconduct’ under Section 5 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 2006. It sought suggestions from the civil society to incorporate amendments.Besides, the State Administrative Council (SAC) also approved introduction of the use of video conferencing “as an admissible method for presence of accused in criminal trials.”“This will ensure speedy trial and remand. It also reduces the requirement of security for taking accused from jail to courts,” said the SAC spokesman.