Eureka >> When the College of the Redwoods football team stepped onto the practice field for the first time three weeks ago, the vision was to prepare and try and avoid a repeat of what happened in the first weeks of the 2016 season.Three weeks later, now is the chance to do so.Redwoods’ 2017 season opener has arrived, and unlike last season when the Corsairs had to make an eight-hour bus ride down to the Central Valley, CR will be hosting Merced College in a 1 p.m. kickoff at Community …
The Inter-Academy Panel (IAP) on International Issues, a global network of scientific academies, has issued a statement endorsing cosmic and biological evolution. It urges “decision makers, teachers, and parents to educate all children about the methods and discoveries of science and to foster an understanding of the science of nature.” Though the statement does not specifically mention intelligent design or creation, a report on BBC News says its release “follows fierce debate about whether so-called intelligent design (ID) should be taught in biology courses in schools, mainly in the US.” It opens with this veiled reference to opposition: “We, the undersigned Academies of Sciences, have learned that in various parts of the world, within science courses taught in certain public systems of education, scientific evidence, data, and testable theories about the origins and evolution of life on Earth are being concealed, denied, or confused with theories not testable by science.” The document lists 68 member societies, including the US National Academy of Sciences. Next, it calls for “evidence-based” teaching about at least four subjects that, while having details still open to question, “scientific evidence has never contradicted” – (1) The Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago in a universe 11-15 billion years old, (2) Earth’s geology and environments have continued to change since its formation, (3) Life appeared at least 2.5 billion years ago, followed by the evolution of photosynthetic organisms which transformed the atmosphere, and4. Since its first appearance on Earth, life has taken many forms, all of which continue to evolve, in ways which palaeontology and the modern biological and biochemical sciences are describing and independently confirming with increasing precision. Commonalities in the structure of the genetic code of all organisms living today, including humans, clearly indicate their common primordial origin.The statement affirms a view of science based on observation, formulation of testable hypotheses leading to theories, and prediction. It says science is an open-ended process subject to correction and expansion, and that questions of value and purpose are outside its scope. The BBC has made the full text available.One can imagine that in the time of the Reformation, every Catholic academy across the Latin world would have unanimously risen up to condemn Luther. The list of signatories would have been impressive. It must have been a fearful moment for Luther to stand alone against the tidal wave of illustrious scholars and officials arrayed against him, and say, “Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.” Don’t be impressed by the number of signatories to this dogmatic document (that, ironically, claims science is not dogmatic; if they really believed that, they would recognize the possibility that evolution is wrong and listen seriously to the claims it has been falsified). A position statement issued by the upper echelons of management of a scientific society no more reflects the views of all scientists than a labor union’s political endorsement reflects the rank-and-file workers. How many of them even knew this document was being published? Most of the scientists in those societies don’t even study evolutionary biology in their day-to-day work, and probably many who accept evolution don’t feel that strongly about it. Probably one or a few activist leaders at a meeting of these academies wrote the statement and pushed it through for a vote; perhaps it included “Yves Quere, co-chair of the Inter Academy Panel on International Issues,” whom the BBC article quoted: “So in this statement we say you cannot teach this to children, it is wrong.” Here’s a guy with an agenda. Even if I.D. is a minority view at this time (but not among the public, only among Big Science organizations), science does not advance by majority vote. As we saw from the case of Grote Reber (02/06/2003), the Lone Ranger is sometimes the good guy. There have been many instances in the history of science where a maverick had to fight long and hard against entrenched ideas – sometimes for decades, facing official opposition that was sometimes strident and personal. What’s important in science is not to be popular, but to be right. There are notable nonconformists within the scientific societies. Though pro-ID letters from scientists are routinely censored by most mainstream journals, Evolution News found a well-written letter to the Journal of Clinical Investigation that should be held up alongside the IAP document and any other saber-rattling position papers attacking intelligent design. Read it and see who is taking the reasonable scientific position on this issue. The IAP statement, despite its self-righteous condemnation of anything that questions evolution, is noteworthy for what it does not say. The BBC article ended with a statement by Steve Fuller, who promotes teaching the controversy. Fuller thought it was “pretty mild” and “really doesn’t hit on the kinds of issues that would separate either contesting schools within evolutionary theory or evolution versus intelligent design.” It lacks, for instance, any reference to a naturalistic mechanism – including Darwin’s – that could lead from hydrogen to humans. Once you scrape away the rust of evolutionary assumptions masquerading as evidence, there’s really not much left to argue with: the universe appeared, life appeared, photosynthesis appeared, geology changes and science should be falsifiable. Remove the E-word here and there, and nothing is offered to demonstrate all living things arose from a common ancestor by an undirected natural process. (For a refutation of the argument from similarity, see Icons of Evolution by Jonathan Wells.) The statement also attacks a straw man. No ID-friendly school board or organization is advocating removing the subject of evolution in the public schools, or replacing it with young-earth creationism. Where has Quere been? The whole controversy is about teaching the controversy and removing the artificial moat that protects Charlie’s castle from monitoring by independent inspectors. One would think that scientific societies, committed to an open-ended process of inquiry and the formulation of falsifiable theories, would welcome the scrutiny. So what if Darwin’s ideas are found to be false? Great; science marches on. So what if intelligent design wins? Great; now we have another paradigm for trying to make sense of the natural world. What’s the problem? The only people working to conceal, deny and confuse the issue are the Darwiniacs. Official denunciations like this suggest an underlying insecurity. There would not be a need if evolution were so obvious. Instead of engaging their opponents calmly with rational discussion, they entrench themselves behind their castle walls and talk tough. Wouldn’t it be cool to lob boxes of Ann Coulter’s Godless over the wall, just for the fun of watching their pointy heads turn red and explode.(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
The oxygen in our atmosphere has the energy equivalent of 20 thousand billion billion hydrogen bombs. To maintain the oxygen level in our atmosphere, that amount of energy would have to be spent in manufacturing molecular oxygen every 4 million years (a thousandth the assumed age of the earth). Now that we have your attention, let’s think about the role of oxygen and life. The statistics above were estimated by Paul G. Falkowski and Yukio Isozaki in Science this week.1 Unlike nitrogen, which is inert, oxygen is lively – it oxidizes, or burns things – not only in fire, but in cells, where the element must be handled gingerly by molecular machines to avoid damage. That’s also why you take antioxidants in your food. Keeping oxygen away from the primordial soup at the origin of life is understandably a serious problem (10/20/2008). Evolutionary biologists do not believe earth’s oxygen is primordial (i.e., that it formed when the earth formed). They believe it was generated by living organisms when they evolved to use oxygen for electron capture in metabolism. This conveniently keeps oxygen out of the picture at the origin of life (though some atmospheric oxygen forms spontaneously by the dissociation of water). Oxygen could also be sequestered from the air in continental rocks: silicates, carbonates and sulfates. Oxygen reached levels of 10 to 30% only in the last 550 million years, evolutionists say. Its 4-million-year lifetime is 0.4% the estimated 1 billion year lifetime of the atmosphere’s most abundant gas, nitrogen. How did oxygen, with its relatively short lifetime, become the second most abundant gas in the atmosphere? “The story is not as simple as it might first appear,” said Falkowski and Isozaki. One has to calculate when and how it was first generated, and how it persists in its high concentration. Some oxygen is continuously formed by the breakup of water molecules by ultraviolet light in the atmosphere (at least till ozone forms and shields the upper atmosphere from excess UV). If biology is the source, how does life produce it from water and minerals? The overwhelming source of O2 on Earth is photobiological oxidation of water; neither the evolution nor the mechanism of this process are completely understood. Apparently it arose once in a single clade of bacteria and was then appropriated via a single event, in which one cell engulfed another (endosymbiosis) to form a new symbiotic organism. The latter became the progenitor of all photosynthetic eukaryotes, including algae and higher plants. The core of the oxidation machinery is photosystem II, a large protein complex containing four manganese atoms that are photocatalytically oxidized to create electron holes upstream.They stressed that this “arose” once most likely because of the improbability that a “large protein complex” of “oxidation machinery” could arise by chance. Nevertheless, assuming plants and bacteria produce it, the equation is balanced by the animals that consume it:On time scales of years to millennia, these reactions are closely coupled to the reverse process of respiration, such that net production of O2 is virtually nil. That is, without burial of organic matter in rocks, there would be very little free O2 in the atmosphere. Hence, the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis was a necessary but not a sufficient condition to oxidize Earth’s atmosphere.So the second problem is getting molecular oxygen up to the level of 10-30% that has been maintained for 500 million years. If a small amount is subducted into the mantle by plate tectonics, or captured in stable continental rocks, an atmospheric excess could be built up to a stable concentration without runaway production. “The balance between burial of organic matter and its oxidation,” they said, “appears to have been tightly controlled over the past 500 million years.” This balance requires an ongoing process of long-term storage within the earth. The picture becomes complicated by the fact that volcanoes can re-release oxygen back into the atmosphere. “The presence of O2 in the atmosphere requires an imbalance between oxygenic photosynthesis and aerobic respiration on time scales of millions of years,” they said; “hence, to generate an oxidized atmosphere, more organic matter must be buried than respired.” How well do scientists know how oxygen concentration has varied over geologic time? “Perhaps surprisingly, not very well.” Comparison of isotopes in carbonates and sulfates provide clues. They believe the initial oxygen concentration produced by the first photosynthetic bacteria was quite low. It rose when eukaryotes appeared, and then, according to the evolutionary timeline, became much more abundant in the Neoproterozoic – corresponding to the period just before the Cambrian Explosion. The eukaryotic oxygen increase would have had to coincide with enhanced subduction in the lithosphere. Was the Cambrian Explosion a cause or effect of the rise of oxygen? They suggested the latter: “The burial of large amounts of organic carbon over the past 750 million years is mirrored in a substantial rise in atmospheric O2, which may have triggered the Cambrian explosion of animal life.” Another balance of geology and biology would have had to occur in the Carboniferous. The doubling of oxygen production by trees and ferns had to be balanced by “further increases in burial efficiency” they said. How the continental plates coordinated their behavior with the evolution of plants, they did not say. Throughout the remainder of earth history, this balance was maintained within comparatively narrow limits – 10 to 23%. “The relatively narrow range of variability suggests tight controls on the rate of burial and oxidation of organic matter on Earth’s surface.” They did not say who or what is controlling these rates, other than to say that “the burial of organic carbon is roughly balanced by oxidation and weathering.” How valid is this story? They think the broad picture is understood, but “the details remain sketchy” – particularly, how photosynthesis splits water, how oxygen concentration is controlled in the atmosphere. Could Woodward W. Fischer in Nature help the story?2 How good is the evidence to support the rise of the first photosynthetic bacteria? “Go back to Archaean time, the interval of Earth’s history between about 4 billion and 2.5 billion years ago,” he began, “and we’re in largely unknown biological territory.” While Fischer was concerned primarily with debunking claims of eukaryotes too early for comfort (i.e., before the rise of atmospheric oxygen), his report contained reason to doubt the validity of the timeline. The new evidence may remove an embarrassing puzzle of how photosynthesis could arise 300 million years before the rise of atmospheric oxygen, but “does it close the gap between the morphological and molecular-fossil records of the evolution of eukaryotes?” he asked himself. He answered himself, “Not yet.” Other scientists are not conceding the debunking of 2.7-billion-year-old photosynthesis. A news item about this on Nature News agrees the debate is far from over. For problems with oxygen at the birth of the solar system, see bullet one of the 09/24/2008 entry.1. Paul G. Falkowski and Yukio Isozaki, “The Story of O2,” Science, 24 October 2008: Vol. 322. no. 5901, pp. 540-542, DOI: 10.1126/science.1162641.2. Woodward W. Fischer, “Biogeochemistry: Life before the rise of oxygen,” Nature 455, 1051-1052 (23 October 2008) | doi:10.1038/4551051a.OK; how convinced are you that the evolutionary storytellers are compelled by the evidence to embrace their billions of years saga of a history they cannot observe? It’s a magical history, in which complex oxidation machines “arise” by some unspecified natural magic. (Note that if something “arose once,” it is not following a natural law). Lacking evidence, they can build models that include the natural magic built-in. By tweaking parameters here and there, and trying to debunk contrary evidence, they can get it to work – sort of. It continues to amaze them how finely balanced it is. So much for this space fantasy. The atmosphere on Darwin’s imaginary world is too rarefied to breathe. Let’s head back to the real world.(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Trends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industry Frank Landman Follow the Puck What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Frank is a freelance journalist who has worked in various editorial capacities for over 10 years. He covers trends in technology as they relate to business. For the past decade or so, we’ve watched as conventional devices and applications made the upgrade to become “smart.” Our phones became smartphones, our TVs became smart TVs, and soon people started talking about the concept of a “smart building,” or even a “smart city,” based on an integrated network and hundreds, if not thousands, of sensors and devices.Smart buildings sound cool, but more importantly, they have the power to fundamentally improve how we conduct business—not to mention setting the stage for even more powerful, interconnected smart cities in the broader context of the connected world. Already, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and organizational leaders are making the upgrades necessary to turn their existing building into a futuristic, data-gathering information hub, but we may be getting ahead of ourselves. There are many secondary effects, consequences, and complexities we need to be considering.The Unforeseen DevelopmentsWhile the technology behind it is complicated, the idea of a smart building is relatively simple. There’s no real formal definition in place, but a smart building is any building that relies on a self-contained network and multiple IoT devices to gather data, form conclusions, and/or automate certain features of the building.For example, a building may use sensors to observe the traffic patterns of visitors, which can then be used to improve the layout of the space. It may also proactively monitor the status of equipment, issuing alerts when attention is required or taking care of some maintenance by itself.These are just some of the seldom-considered developments that will arise in response to the development of these buildings:1. Impact on maintenance staff. Automation and AI have tremendous potential to replace or dramatically change human jobs, and the devices and sensors necessary to upgrade a smart building are no exception to that rule. Currently, most buildings have maintenance staff—either full-time or third-party—to handle things like minor repairs, regular inspections, cleanliness, and upkeep. But as more devices are able to replace or improve these roles, the maintenance industry will need to adapt. Some human workers may find their jobs in jeopardy, but the majority of roles won’t be replaced; they’ll simply be changed. Maintenance workers will need to learn how to incorporate these new technologies into their jobs, and may be required to maintain and oversee more sensors and devices, as opposed to equipment directly.2. Privacy concerns. We also need to acknowledge the privacy concerns expressed by experts and consumers alike with regard to the onset of smart buildings and, eventually, smart cities. Consumers who enter a building may be immediately and constantly tracked from the moment they enter. Should companies and organizations be freely allowed to use these data for customer analysis purposes? What if customers use free in-building Wi-Fi; should companies be allowed to monitor what sites their customers are visiting? And what about the other data in their smart devices? There’s no clear answer here, which is why the world of consumer privacy is about to get even more complicated with the development of smart buildings.3. Data ownership. Another issue related to consumer data is the matter of data ownership. Smart buildings will introduce more methods of tracking, data storage, and data analysis than ever before, which means organizations will be hungry for more consumer data. But who truly owns these data, and how can they be used? For example, if one company tracks the activity of their customers using sensors in their main building (let’s say a gym tracking the activities of its members), would they be free to sell those data to a third party (like a weight loss organization)? Or would they first need to get the express written permission of those customers?4. Changes in demand. The emergence of smart buildings will cause an economic ripple effect across various industries as demand increases for certain components. As an example, let’s consider the battery industry. Smart buildings would hypothetically need hundreds, if not thousands of tiny, individual devices as part of their internal networks. To run wirelessly, those devices will need batteries. Multiply that by thousands, if not millions of buildings suddenly demanding this fleet of devices, and you’ll have an industry overrun with new demand. New industries may spring up to address these types of needs, while others may die out entirely.5. Vulnerability to hacking and corruption. IoT, in general, has raised concerns about security, and the possibilities of hacking and corruption. If a personal computer is hacked, we might get our identity stolen or might lose important personal files, but if there’s a breach across an entire smart building, it could pose a serious safety concern to everyone in that building. Redundant systems and higher security standards can only go so far; nothing is uhackable, and new technologies always have exploits that can be taken advantage of.6. Legal complexities and fault. If a system does become hacked or corrupted, and someone in the building is hurt because of it, who will be held responsible for the damages? New technologies always introduce new legal complexities, and they usually introduce them at a rate much faster than politicians and lawyers can keep up with. In the wake of smart buildings and other smart technologies, our legal systems need to get smarter as well. Whether or not they will, or whether they can truly keep pace, remains to be seen.7. Economic stress. Smart buildings and smart cities can also introduce new economic factors, including economic stress. Existing wealthy clients and successful businesses will have access to more advanced technology than struggling populations or failing businesses, which could create more vast discrepancies between rich and poor. It may also enable some businesses to operate much more efficiently, making it harder for competition to enter the market.8. Inter-city competition and spending. Companies aren’t the only ones that will be competing with smart building advancements; cities may begin competing with each other as well, hoping to become one of the first smart cities on the planet, or in a given area. The problem with this is that cities typically operate with a very limited budget and many other practical problems to deal with, like infrastructure damage and poverty relief. Overspending on tech developments could end up being counterproductive, especially if those cities aren’t spending enough on supportive strategies to ensure that technology is safe and productive.9. Developmental differences. Smart buildings could feasibly be designed as top-down or bottom-up; it’s entirely reasonable to retrofit an existing building with new devices, sensors, and systems to make building maintenance easier, but companies could also design brand-new buildings from scratch. These designs rely on very different industries, and could have radically different impacts on the companies using them (as well as the cities hosting them).10. Unreasonable and unmet expectations. People tend to have deep misconceptions about the realities of futuristic technologies, like deep learning and AI. They imagine future developments as being extremely polished and enormously functional, but in reality, new technologies tend to offer new functionalities gradually, with flaws and hiccups along the way. When the first smart buildings begin to emerge, people may not know what to expect from them, and their expectations will likely be lofty. When those expectations aren’t met, it could lead to interruptions in financing and lower overall demand for smart buildings.Preparing for a Smart Building Takeover?Depending on how you want to define the term, you can likely determine that smart buildings are already being constructed and developed. With so much enthusiasm and potential behind the new technology, momentum isn’t going to stop anytime soon. This is ultimately a good thing for corporations, cities, and everyday consumers, but we need to be aware of the secondary effects, consequences, and new issues that may arise as we attempt to improve these structures. Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces
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Jonathan Williams RehabArkansas running back Jonathan Williams hasn’t played all season due to a foot injury, but the bruising senior is working his way back to the gridiron. Whether he’ll next suit up for the Razorbacks or in the NFL, Williams is determined to make a full recovery. Last week, he posted video of himself running for the first time since the injury, and today he shared footage of himself doing underwater agility drills. Best of luck to Williams as he continues to progress in his rehab.