Pterosaur Fuzz May Have Boosted Flying Finesse

first_imgFibers on a well-preserved pterosaur from Mongolia are unlike anything seen before.  Scientists wonder if it gave the animals better control in the air.  National Geographic News said the hairlike fibers cover the whole body and part of the wings of Jeholopterus ninchengensis.  Normally, such fine details are not preserved in fossils.  “It must have been rapidly buried after it died, perhaps by a river or maybe inside a lake,” said Alexander Kellner [Rio di Janeiro National Museum].  “Otherwise its soft tissue would have rotted away quickly and not been preserved.”    It’s possible the fibers helped with temperature control, or functioned as elastic struts or muscle.  Kellner said that whatever they were, the fibers show that pterosaur wings were “much more complex than we thought.”  In addition, scientists are speculating that the duck-sized flyer was able to climb trees.The trend in evolutionary explanation is for the subject matter to become more complex, and the storytelling to become more convoluted.(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Woese Slays Darwin

first_imgThe king is dead!  Long live the king!  Such were the oxymoronic cries of olden times when royal succession took place.  Has Charles Darwin been dethroned?  One would think so, after reading Mark Buchanan’s article, “Horizontal and vertical: the evolution of evolution” in New Scientist.  Buchanan sets the stage:Just suppose that Darwin’s ideas were only a part of the story of evolution.  Suppose that a process he never wrote about, and never even imagined, has been controlling the evolution of life throughout most of the Earth’s history.  It may sound preposterous, but this is exactly what microbiologist Carl Woese and physicist Nigel Goldenfeld, both at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, believe.  Darwin’s explanation of evolution, they argue, even in its sophisticated modern form, applies only to a recent phase of life on Earth.Woese and Goldenfeld champion horizontal gene transfer as the overriding process that led to the genetic code and established biology as we know it.  The Darwinian part is like a footnote, acting on the last episodes of biological history.  Subsequent quotes show even more how far and deep this coup goes:Earth for most of the time that life has existed – billions of years, in fact – the most ancient and prevalent form of evolution probably wasn’t Darwinian at all, Woese and Goldenfeld say.“Biology built up a facade of mathematics around the juxtaposition of Mendelian genetics with Darwinism,” he [Woese] says.  “And as a result it neglected to study the most important problem in science – the nature of the evolutionary process.”This is all very different from evolution as described by Darwin.Darwinian evolution simply cannot explain how such a [genetic] code could arise.“With vertical, Darwinian evolution,” says Goldenfeld, “we found that the code evolution gets stuck and does not find the true optimum.”“In some sense,” says Woese, “the genetic code is a fossil or perhaps an echo of the origin of life, just as the cosmic microwave background is a sort of echo of the big bang.  And its form points to a process very different from today’s Darwinian evolution.”Today, at least in multicellular organisms, Darwinian evolution is dominant but we may still be in for some surprises.  “Most of life – the microbial world – is still strongly taking advantage of horizontal gene transfer, but we also know, from studies in the past year, that multicellular organisms do this too,” says Goldenfeld.If a paradigm shift is pending, [Norman] Pace [U of Colorado] says it will be in good hands.  “I think Woese has done more for biology writ large than any biologist in history, including Darwin,” he says.  “There’s a lot more to learn, and he’s been interpreting the emerging story brilliantly.”Will this be a Kuhn-style paradigm shift of epic proportions as these excerpts make it seem?  If so, will the Darwin Bicentennial be the last hurrah of a dying paradigm?  Will future scientists be celebrating the Woese Bicentennial some day?    Any replacement paradigm in a scientific revolution needs to explain anomalies better than the old paradigm.  On page 2 of the article, Buchanan writes, “Darwinian evolution simply cannot explain how such a [genetic] code could arise.  But horizontal gene transfer can, say Woese and Goldenfeld.”  There’s the gauntlet.  OK, how?  First, they point to the universality of the code.  Then, they point to its degeneracy – the fact that multiple codons in DNA can translate to the same protein in amino acids, giving the code redundancy, and thus, some tolerance to mutation.  Third, they point to the remarkable error tolerance of the code:In 1991, geneticists David Haig and Lawrence Hurst at the University of Oxford went further, showing that the code’s level of error tolerance is truly remarkable.  They studied the error tolerance of an enormous number of hypothetical genetic codes, all built from the same base pairs but with codons associated randomly with amino acids.  They found that the actual code is around one in a million in terms of how good it is at error mitigation.  “The actual genetic code,” says Goldenfeld, “stands out like a sore thumb as being the best possible.” That would seem to demand some evolutionary explanation.  Yet, until now, no one has found one.  The reason, say Woese and Goldenfeld, is that everyone has been thinking in terms of the wrong kind of evolution.So far, it sounds like they have discovered evidence for intelligent design.  It’s not like followers of the Darwinian paradigm were ignorant of these properties, even if they thought little about them.  Woese has challenged them to explain the emergence of an optimal code by Darwinian means, and claims they can’t.  So what is his new explanation in terms of another naturalistic, evolutionary processes?  Here is the key paragraph:Goldenfeld admits that pinning down the details of that early process remains a difficult task.  However the simulations suggest that horizontal gene transfer allowed life in general to acquire a unified genetic machinery, thereby making the sharing of innovations easier.  Hence, the researchers now suspect that early evolution may have proceeded through a series of stages before the Darwinian form emerged, with the first stage leading to the emergence of a universal genetic code.  “It would have acted as an innovation-sharing protocol,” says Goldenfeld, “greatly enhancing the ability of organisms to share genetic innovations that were beneficial.”  Following this, a second stage of evolution would have involved rampant horizontal gene transfer, made possible by the shared genetic machinery, and leading to a rapid, exponential rise in the complexity of organisms.  This, in turn, would eventually have given way to a third stage of evolution in which genetic transfer became mostly vertical, perhaps because the complexity of organisms reached a threshold requiring a more circumscribed flow of genes to preserve correct function.  Woese can’t put a date on when the transition to Darwinian evolution happened, but he suspects it occurred at different times in each of the three main branches of the tree of life, with bacteria likely to have changed first.In sum, horizontal gene transfer made the sharing of innovations easier.  But where did the innovations come from?  The answer: emergence: “the emergence of a universal genetic code” that just happened to be optimal.  Don’t ask how; just believe.  After all, believing the Darwinian alternative is no longer credible, so what else is there?If you are reading this explanation in utter disbelief, good.  There’s hope for you.  Surprised?  Not if you have been reading Creation-Evolution Headlines for long.  This is another in a long series of articles on evolutionary theory, from within the secular, naturalist camp, that might be titled, “Everything you know about Darwinian evolution is wrong, and our only replacement for it is to tell you that miraculous Stuff Happens sometimes.”  Example: 01/22/2009: For His Birthday, Darwin Loses His Tree.    You may be thinking that Woese’s conquest only applies to microbes.  King Charles gets to keep all his multicellular icons (finches, horses, whales, humans) which evolved under his reign, so he still maintains a large territory.  Consider, though, that the article quoted Jan Sapp [York U, Canada] saying, “The microbial world holds the greatest biomass on Earth, but for most evolutionists it’s a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’.  They tend to focus on visible plants and animals.”  Consider, secondly, that horizontal gene transfer essentially scrambles genetic signals between species and makes the construction of phylogenetic trees impossible.  Consider, finally, that invoking the emergence miracle-word at the beginning of life effectively pulls the rug out from any credible naturalistic explanation of life at all.  Adding “then a miracle happens” to a derivation undermines the whole derivation.  We shouldn’t see Woese as a conqueror, therefore, but as a traitor, selling out the Darwin Party’s dirty little secrets to the Intelligent Design conquerors.  He has revealed their basal vulnerability: they cannot account for the origin of the genetic code.  That is, without miracles.  Read that last blockquote and count the miracle words like emerged, arose, innovation-sharing protocol, etc.  They’re pervasive.    It should be obvious now that everyone believes in miracles: i.e., instances where information became intruded into nature that was not subject itself to nature running its own undirected course.  The intelligent design conquerors are very open and transparent about this.  The Darwinists deceive themselves and their listeners by couching their miracles in euphemisms like it emerged, it arose, it evolved, without a clue as to how that could happen without a mind.  So pay them no mind; let their bankruptcy become self-evident.(Visited 43 times, 1 visits 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Fearsome-Looking Terror Bird May Have Been Vegan

first_imgYou can’t judge a book by it’s cover.  In the same way, you can’t assume a large extinct bird with a huge beak was a terror-raising predator.Scientists have judged the so-called Terror Bird (Gastornis, formerly Diatryma) by its large, sharp beak and two-meter height.  They imagined it hunting down small mammals trying to evolve after the extinction of the dinosaurs some 55 to 40 million years ago.  Science Daily said,“The terror bird was thought to have used its huge beak to grab and break the neck of its prey, which is supported by biomechanical modelling of its bite force,” says Dr Thomas Tütken, from the University of Bonn. “It lived after the dinosaurs became extinct and at a time when mammals were at an early stage of evolution and relatively small; thus, the terror bird was though [sic] to have been a top predator at that time on land.”Now, however, a new study of its bones shows it was probably a herbivore.  German scientists measured isotopes in the bones of a specimen and found that “the calcium isotope compositions of terror bird bones are similar to those of herbivorous mammals and dinosaurs and not carnivorous ones,” they announced at the Goldschmidt Conference in Florence Aug. 29.  Additional work will be needed to confirm the new conclusion.  Will it be renamed the Peace Bird?This report about a German fossil concurs with one last year (11/23/12) based on evaluation of the beak, claws and legs of an American species.  It’s an ongoing warning to avoid jumping to conclusions by initial impressions or preferences: as one scientist admitted last year, “Let’s be honest: scary, fierce meat-eaters attract a lot more attention than gentle herbivores.” (Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Football’s message of hope

first_img6 July 2010Thirty-two football teams from across the world are battling it out in South Africa, but this time it’s youngsters playing, and the boys and girls competing are not just in it for the trophy. Each team is fighting for a cause, hoping to make an impact on the world with more than just their soccer skills.The Football for Hope Festival kicked off in Alexandra, Johannesburg on Sunday, with 32 mixed teams of boys and girls between the ages of 15 and 18 representing teams that tackle issues such as Aids, gang violence, corruption, discrimination and drugs.Like the opening ceremony of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the Football for Hope tournament started with celebrations, dance and songs, with a number dignitaries present.While South African artists Danny K, Kabelo and JR entertained the crowd, South African President Jacob Zuma and Fifa president Sepp Blatter had words of wisdom for the participating teams.Zuma said it was an honour to host the Football for Hope Festival in South Africa and more especially in Alexandra – a place of happiness. He described the festival as an “important development in the family of soccer”.“Soccer is loved by the majority of the world. What the leaders of soccer have decided is that it must now act more, because football is more than just football, it goes beyond the game,” he said.There are important life lessons – such as being happy in victory and accepting defeat with a smile – that could be learnt through the game of soccer, the President added. “I wish I was young once again so I could play soccer!” he joked.The Football for Hope Festival aimed to connect bring people together from all over the world, Blatter said. The festival brought together the “characters and the essence of the game to disseminate a message of hope to the world hope through football”, he said.He described soccer as a school of life, saying the game helped educate not just on the field. “Football is a game based on discipline and respect. It’s a game in which you compete with a good spirit and with fair play,” Blatter said, encouraging the participants to display these qualities during their matches.The first match of the tournament saw Uruguay, a team that fights for children’s rights and social inclusion, play against hosts, Team Alexandra – a team made up of young volunteer coaches from Play Soccer South Africa.Apart from the football, the teams competing in the tournament will also participate in workshops where they are expected to learn from each other. The festival also includes a programme of cultural celebrations.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

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SXSW Interactive Offering Special Vendor Package For Startups

first_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#events#start Earlier this week, we told you about the thriving startup scene in Austin, TX, which is home to South By Southwest (SXSW), one of the largest events of the year for the startup community. Many startups have used the Interactive portion of SXSW to launch their new product, including Twitter and Foursquare, and now the organizers of the event are offering special package for companies that can help with that process.Announced yesterday, The aptly named “Launch Package” provides companies with floor space at March’s Film and Interactive Trade Show, as well as advertisements in the event program, inclusion at an invite-only press event, and the opportunity to get their “creative swag” in gift bags to be distributed at the event.Priced at $5000, the Launch Package also includes two sponsored posts on both the SXSW Facebook page and on the event’s Twitter account. Combined with the other offers, companies can save over $2000 by purchasing the package.“This turn-key solution includes assets to maximize your footprint at the festival, as wellas outreach through the SXSW social networking channels and direct access to key mediaat a private meet the press event,” says Katie King, who manages sales for SXSW Interactive. Exposure is great for any small business hoping to gain traction and there is no better place to be seen than at SXSW. Last year’s SXSW event saw over 31,000 attendees with over 24,000 visiting the Film and Interactive trade show, making the Launch Package a highly valuable opportunity for startups.Pricing for vendors at SXSW can get fairly expensive depending on the size of the display and when it is ordered. The last chance to save any money on a display was back in November, and now business looking to set up shop on the trade show floor are looking at prices ranging from $1560 for a single stand to $4446 for a large end cap. Bundling the floor display with print advertisements and “swag bag” inserts could be an excellent way to save some money with the event just two months away.Photo by Flickr user Matthew Simantov. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img chris cameron Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Six arrested in Jharkhand lynching case

first_imgThe Jharkhand police have arrested six persons in connection with the lynching of 24-year-old Tabrez Ansari in Saraikela Kharsawan district, police said on Monday.The lynching, which has triggered a nationwide outrage, is being probed by a Special Investigation Team (SIT). SIT investigation has been made mandatory by the Supreme Court in every mob lynching case.Tabrez was targeted by the culprits on the suspicion of a theft at Dhatkidih village on June 18 night. Despite him pleading that he is innocent and be spared, they beat him up badly and forced him to chant, ‘Jai Sriram and Jai Hanuman’.He was rescued by the police in the early hours of the next day (June 19) and taken to hospital for treatment. Following a theft complaint filed by the villagers against him, he was arrested and produced in court, which sent him to jail. On June 22, his condition suddenly worsened and he was admitted in the district headquarters hospital, where he died.“We have taken the issue very seriously. We are looking for each and every person who are directly or indirectly involved in the crime. I had discussed whole issue with family members of the victim. Nobody will be spared,” said Karthik S, Saraikela-Kharsawan Superintendent of Police.Papu Mandal, who was named in the complaint filed by family members of the victim, was immediately arrested. Now, five others have been arrested, said Mr. Karthik. “We don’t know who were exactly involved, as the video footage is not clear. During investigation, if complicity of any person comes to our notice, he will be taken to task,” he said.Several videos of the lynching have gone viral on the social media. In a video, Tabrez was heard chanting ‘Jai Sriram and Jai Hanuman’ as directed by the mob.Police said he was working in Pune as a daily wager and had come to his village for some work. When asked if the victim was forced to chant, “Jai Sriram and Jai Hanuman”, Kuldip Dwivedi, Deputy Inspector General of police of Kolhan Range, said, “the investigation is going on. At this moment, it is premature to give any comment. But we are looking into all aspects of the incident.”last_img read more

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10 months ago​Chelsea boss Sarri: Barcelona have ended Christensen interest

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say ​Chelsea boss Sarri: Barcelona have ended Christensen interestby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has confirmed that Andreas Christensen going to Barcelona is no longer a possibility.The Catalan giants had been linked with a move for the young center back.But they have gone on to sign Jeison Murillo on loan from Valencia.”I think Barcelona announced a new centre-back,” Sarri said in his press conference.”[Andreas] Christensen for sure is out of the matter at the moment. “He is an important player, he is young and will be more important in the future.” last_img

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10 months ago​Liverpool boss Klopp insists Man City haven’t cracked

first_img​Liverpool boss Klopp insists Man City haven’t crackedby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has dismissed comments about Manchester City cracking.The champions were defeated 3-2 at home by Crystal Palace in a shock result at the weekend.But Klopp does not see it as them relinquishing their grip on the title just yet.”You saw the two games they played? It didn’t look like they felt a lot of pressure. They were outstanding in these games,” he said in his press conference.”If you don’t finish off your chances against Chelsea you can lose. They were the better team this game”Crystal Place did an outstanding job and scored outstanding goals. That always makes life uncomfortable.”It [means] absolutely nothing. It’s difficult to win football games, sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.”They were just a bit unlucky in these two games and this happens from time to time.” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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9 months agoMan Utd gag Mourinho ahead of pundit’s post

first_imgMan Utd gag Mourinho ahead of pundit’s postby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveJose Mourinho won’t be allowed to discuss his firing by Manchester United during his punditry work with BeinSport.United inserted a confidentiality clause into his £15million severance package, and the club’s lawyers will watch whether the Portuguese coaches abides by the agreement.Mourinho will feature as a pundit for beIN Sports’ coverage of the Asian Cup match between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as well as Saturday’s London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea.The Times says if Mourinho does not abide by the restrictions, he will lose a part of the mega severance package he agreed with his former club.And because the 55-year-old coach will have to avoid some burning questions, including over his relationship with Paul Pogba, the Qatari TV station will pay him “only” £60,000 per game. About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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17 days agoBarcelona attacker Lionel Messi: I thought Neymar would join Real Madrid

first_imgBarcelona attacker Lionel Messi: I thought Neymar would join Real Madridby Carlos Volcano17 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveBarcelona attacker Lionel Messi admits he thought Neymar would join Real Madrid this summer.The Brazilian forward made no secret of his desire to leave Paris Saint-Germain and both of Spain’s big two clubs were linked with him.”I really thought Neymar would go to Real Madrid if he didn’t come here,” Messi said in an interview with RAC1.”He really wanted to leave Paris and he’d shown it.”And I thought that Florentino [Perez] and Real Madrid were going to do something to sign him.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img

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