They may be stuck in the ground, but plants know how to get what they need. How do creation and evolution explain this?Plants and DesignSunscreen: “They bask in the sun for hours, but just like us, plants need to protect themselves from damaging ultraviolet rays,” a piece in New Scientist begins. “Now we know how they do it.” Science Daily describes what Purdue scientists found:Biochemical tests have shown that plants produce special molecules and send them to the outer layer of their leaves to protect themselves. These molecules, called sinapate esters, appear to block ultraviolet-B radiation from penetrating deeper into leaves where it might otherwise disrupt a plant’s normal development.Dimmer switch: Plants are able to quickly switch their photosynthesis machinery between sunny and shady conditions. How fast? “Switching on a dime,” PhysOrg says. Even a passing cloud demands that “The response has to be extremely swift.” How is it carried out? It involves several stages. The first stage was shown by researchers at Carnegie to involve a protein named KEA3 as part of the “built-in machinery” to handle fast switching:Under full sunlight, the energy from excess absorbed photons is intentionally dissipated by the plant as heat. But if the incident light is blocked by a cloud, the plant must switch from dissipating excess photons as heat to harvesting as many photons as possible. Advanced analytical techniques demonstrated that KEA3 acts to accelerate the switch from the full-sunlight-adapted mode to the shade-adapted mode. This rapid response to light intensity makes the first stage of photosynthesis more efficient.Metamorphosis: We all know about the dramatic change from caterpillar to butterfly, but plants undergo a metamorphosis of their own. Described in Current Biology, the changes in leaf shape as a plant grows from embryo to adult was thought to be an example of Haeckel’s Biogenetic Law or Recapitulation Theory, i.e. that an organism relives its evolutionary history as it grows (“Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”). Wrong; that idea “fell out of favor,” Daniel H. Chitwood writes. Instead, it’s due to a carefully choreographed process, involving those little RNA molecules that were hardly understood a decade ago:A new study by Rubio-Somoza et al. reported in this issue of Current Biology mechanistically links the developmental clock and leaf morphogenesis through small RNAs and their targets, explaining the characteristic increases in serration and complexity of successive leaves seen so often in plants.Somehow, these regulatory molecules are tied to the developmental clock like triggers on a timing device. The small RNAs regulate not only individual leaves, but leaf shape changes over time. This finding opens up whole new areas for research, Chitwood concludes. If evolution plays any role in changing leaf shape over eons, it seems to do it independently of this “feed-forward mechanism,” he says; “evolutionary changes in overall leaf shape versus timing-dependent changes may be separate.”Probiotics: Plants can use a little help from their microbes, too. Scientists at the University of Washington found through controlled experiments that microbes help plants, from grasses to tall trees, withstand pesticide toxins, PhysOrg reports. Harmless microbes called endophytes take up residence in the inner tissues of plants:In nature, endophytes have a welcomed, symbiotic relationship with plants. In polluted soil, for instance, if the right endophytes are present they consume toxins coming up through plant roots. The endophytes get fed and the plant gets help neutralizing pollutants that could kill it.The scientists found this interesting; “Our approach is much like when humans take probiotic pills or eat yogurt with probiotics to supplement the ‘good’ microbes in their guts.”Reverse engineering function: Students and professors at Louisiana State U figured out the relationship between two enzymes involved in photosynthesis. Once again, evolution was never mentioned in the PhysOrg report as essential to understanding their research. “Without photosynthesis or oxygen, basically all recognizable life that we see in our landscape would be gone: no animals, no plants,” one professor said. In order to understand the “mechanics” of photosynthesis better, the team found out how two enzymes, PsbP and PsbQ, interact. The grad student used store-bought spinach for the lab experiments. Once they identified the enzymes, they designed a computer model to study the interaction. A pithy analogy with a designed artificial machine helped the team understand the process that gives life to the world:The two proteins are like parts of a car that enable oil to reach the engine. In plants, the “oil” is calcium and chloride and the “fuel” is water and sunlight. The structure of PsbP and PsbQ facilitates the efficient use of calcium and chloride in a plant, enabling it to produce oxygen.Their paper made it into the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Did the abstract mention evolution? Yes—but only in the sense that living plants “evolve” (i.e., emit) oxygen every day through their photosynthetic machines. Their research, focused on structure and function, provides “a framework for understanding the organization of these subunits within the higher plant photosystem.”Plants and EvolutionSeveral recent news items discussed evolution. Has anything been found to demonstrate increases in genomic information in plants that Darwinism requires to distinguish it from creation?Salt tolerance: Researchers at Utah State studied the salt tolerance and drought resistance of different species of maple trees, primarily for the purpose of understanding which ones could thrive better in brackish habitats, such as cities where treated waste water is used for irrigation. If evolutionary theory was useful to them, they didn’t mention it in PhysOrg‘s press release. After all, the maples are still maples; even creationists would agree that organisms can vary within their kind. A similar study on salt tolerance among popular varieties of daffodils was performed at Loyola University, PhysOrg says, for similar purposes, and with similar conclusions.Color changes: Pentstemons are red, penstemons are blue; evolving red color is irreversible, too. What does it take to evolve a red flower from a blue one? According to Oxford University researchers reported by PhysOrg, it involves breaking things. Knocking out a single enzyme caused the vivid blue color of one species to turn red over time. But the process is like Humpty Dumpty:While blue can change to red, in this case, evolution always drives down a one-way street, as reverse changes of red to blue are not observed.“Evolutionary shifts from blue to red flowers in Penstemon predictably involves degeneration of the same particular flower pigment gene, suggesting there are limited genetic ‘options’ for evolving red flowers in this group,” said Wessinger. “However, it is lot [sic] easier for evolution to break a gene than to fix one, so we suspect that reversals from red to blue flowers would be highly unlikely.“The scientists described 13 varieties of red flowers that “occurred by independent evolutionary events, showing a relatively simple, predictable genetic change behind the evolution from blue to red penstemons” – in other words, the red species broke the blue enzyme in different ways. There are more ways to break an engine that to build one that works, for sure. While the experiments explain how the red variety came to be, it doesn’t explain how the blue enzyme originated in the first place.Evolutionary potential: Go forth and evolve, invaders! Another article on PhysOrg reports that after centuries of change, some invasive weeds have still not evolved to their full potential (whatever that might be). In this first-ever project to track the evolution of an introduced species, Australian scientists think that the Oxford ragwort is getting better at thriving in its new habitat, but let’s face it; it’s still the same species it was over 200 years ago. Only its location has changed.Genome duplication: When the cows munch, duplicate! Gene duplication is often touted as a major means of driving evolution (especially in plants), but evolution didn’t get much mention in a piece on Science Daily. “Their study is the first to show that a plant’s ability to dramatically rebound after being cut down relies on a process called genome duplication, in which individual cells make multiple copies of all of their genetic content.” In other words, duplication appears to be a built-in response to stress, according to scientists at the University of Illinois who “pondered its purpose.” Duplication allows the plant to respond more vigorously after being cut down or chewed on; “The researchers suspected that genome duplication was giving the plants the boost they needed to overcome adversity.” This newfound “purpose” seems poised to give geneticists a new way to look at genomes. Maybe those extra copies of the genomic library indicate that a species was stressed out in the past.Forest evolution: “Tracing the evolution of forest trees” is the headline of an article on PhysOrg. Don’t expect to learn much about evolution in it. The information provided by the National Science Foundation begins with this embarrassing admission by evolutionist Elizabeth Stacy at the University of Hawaii:There are at least 60,000 identified tree species in the world, “but we know next to nothing about how they got here,” Elizabeth Stacy says. “Trees form the backbone of our forests, and are ecologically and economically important, yet we don’t know much about how speciation happens in trees.”Wasn’t speciation the puzzle that Charles Darwin solved? Even though Stacy thinks that her state of Hawaii is “like its own planet, its own evolutionary experiment,” her findings were more about ecology and conservation than evolution. “To really think about long-term conservation, we need to be aware of these evolutionary processes,” she said, more as a sermon than a science presentation. It’s not clear why evolution, a blind, pitiless, indifferent process, would cause human beings to care about trees, if people evolved, too.In order to appear busy in her outdoor Darwin laboratory, Professor Stacy used genomic divination “to try to unravel the very shrouded evolutionary history of Metrosideros in Hawaii,” not thinking that the most ardent creationist would have no problem with variation among “closely related trees” within a created kind. Thinking like Darwin apparently gives her happy feelings as she passes on the faith to the next generation. “Because we are in this amazing evolutionary laboratory, I think we excel in engaging our students with authentic research experiences outside.”This explains why most evolutionists are political liberals. We reported a psychologist’s conclusion that liberals operate more on emotion than reason, compared to conservatives (11/09/14). We have just seen Elizabeth Stacy swooning with rapture over evolution, even though the design features of living things are beyond her comprehension. It would only take a few minutes to show her a video clip about ATP synthase, the molecular machine that spins at 23,000 RPM in the leaves of those trees, to force her to confront the reality of complex specified information. Would that hard data bring her out of her Darwin trip? Unlikely.It’s not clear, moreover, why an evolutionist would get chills over Darwinism. What does she think on her pillow at night? “All this beauty and variety and apparent design came about by blind, pitiless indifference; isn’t it wonderful!” Sweet dreams. (Visited 59 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
16 October 2015Vuma Glenton Mashinini has been appointed the chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa.The position has been vacant since the resignation of Pansy Tlakula in 2014, filled by Terry Tselane in an acting capacity in the interim. The Presidency made the announcement of Mashinini’s appointment on 14 October.Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found Tlakula “guilty of gross maladministration” for the lease agreement of the IEC’s headquarters in Centurion.Mashinini was appointed as a commissioner of the IEC in April.He has previously served as a special projects adviser to President Jacob Zuma, as well as deputy chief electoral officer of the IEC from 1998 to 2001. In the latter post he was responsible for the establishment and administration of the national head office, all nine provincial electoral offices and approximately 350 municipal electoral offices.About MashininiMashinini was born on 22 January 1961 in Joburg. His family emigrated to Australia in 1980, where he studied business and commerce at Curtin University.Mashinini’s political life includes the position of race relations officer at the Curtin University Students Union, according to the SABC. “His work saw him joining the African National Congress (ANC) in Western Australia, where he co-ordinated anti-apartheid campaigns. He also worked for the Campaign Against Racial Exploitation, an Australian anti-apartheid movement.”Zuma wished Mashinini all the best in his new responsibility.The IECThe IEC is a permanent body established by the Constitution to promote and safeguard democracy in South Africa. It is a publicly funded body and while it is accountable to Parliament, it is independent of government.It was established in 1993, has five full-time commissioners, appointed by the president, whose brief is to deliver regular, free and fair elections at all levels of government – national, provincial and local.In terms of the Electoral Commission Act of 1996, the IEC has to compile and maintain the voters’ roll and it is responsible for counting, verifying and declaring the results of an election, which must be done within seven days of the close of the election.The IEC is also responsible for:Compiling and maintaining a register of parties;Undertaking and promoting research into electoral matters;Developing and promoting the development of electoral expertise and technology in all spheres of government;Continuously reviewing electoral laws and proposed electoral laws, and making recommendations; and,Promoting voter education.SouthAfrica.info reporter
The most difficult part of being productive is making values-based decisions. The words “values-based” not only refers to the rules you use to govern yourself but also what it is that you value. An inability or unwillingness to make decisions based on a set of criteria made up of something more than a task list will cause you to get less done than you should, feel stressed or overwhelmed, and procrastinate. Here is how you make values-based decisions to increase your productivity and the quality of your life.The Tyranny of the Task ListIf you are like most people, you have a task list. That task list is made up of all kinds of different and unrelated tasks. You might have “get cat food” sitting under “develop a plan to save client,” directly next to “make a tuition payment,” and one hundred other things all lined up on a task list. These tasks all require your time, your attention, and your energy. Because they are written in a straight line from top to bottom, or captured in a task manager of some kind, they all appear to be of equal importance.Most people sort their task list every day, moving what is urgent to the top of the task list to ensure it gets done before some fast-approaching deadline. The single criteria being used to make that decision is, “what do I need to today to not miss a deadline?” It is important to meet deadlines and keep your commitments. If you feel overwhelmed or struggle to get enough of the right work done, it is because urgency is is only one factor you might should use when deciding what to do. Other factors carry equal or more weight, and by using other factors, you not only get more done, you feel the greater satisfaction of living a life of your design, one of meaning and purpose.Value-Based DecisionsIf you want to be more productive and more effective, deciding what to do and when to do it is a decision based on a hierarchy of value. Because every task requires your attention, one doesn’t appear to be much different from another. Each task creates a sense of obligation. However, some of the tasks on your list are far more critical than others; they weigh more. To escape the tyranny of your task list, you start by acknowledging the difference in the importance of each task when measured against others.To make effective decisions, you have start by deciding this task is more important than that task. It helps to have a framework for making decisions that provides better guidance than urgency or deadlines. What follows is a framework for making values-based decisions.The Long term Value of a TaskThe framework here is how you escape your task list. The work isn’t easy, and it takes time to comprehend. You have to practice it for some time before it sticks. When it holds, it is life-changing.You start by looking at the long term value. What is the value of task or project or goal or initiative in the future? If what you are considering has an extended impact, it weighs more than something that isn’t going to matter two weeks from now. If the consequences or potential gain is immense when compared to other choices you might make, it needs to rise to the top of the list.If you have written down your long term goals and targets, what you need to do to reach them shows up on your task list (or Discipline List, if you follow the work in The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need) is now a higher priority than other tasks.Identity, Purpose, and MeaningThe reason people struggle to do work that gives them a sense of purpose and meaning is, in part, because they are not doing the work that would allow them to exercise their resourcefulness and initiative. Instead, they get mired down in trivialities, things that don’t matter much now—or in the future.There are specific categories of life that your tasks, projects, goals into which you can sort your initiatives. Your identity is made up of these categories. It’s also made up of your values systems. Success in any of the classes requires you to invest your time and attention in the goals, projects, initiatives, and tasks necessary to the result you want. The order here is important:Identity: Who you are?Goals: What does the result look like?Projects: What outcomes are required to produce the goal?Initiatives: Inside those projects, what is a priority now?Tasks: What action do you need to take to around your priority?I am not sure how many times I have written these next sentences on this platform or somewhere else, but it is critical to being productive and doing good work: “Everything is important, but not everything can be most important. Productivity requires you to be intentional about your priorities.”If you feel like your work doesn’t provide purpose and meaning, there is more than a good chance you are defining your work incorrectly. Anything with which you bring your whole self to feels like purpose and meaning. When to move what’s most important to the top of the list and spend more time there, your work—and your life—feel very different.Deciding What Not to Do NowIt’s sometimes easier to decide what you are not going to do. When you ask yourself a question like, “What is the longterm value of this project or task,” you start to view it through a lens that is radically different from one that considers urgency only. When you rank things by their value over time, you find that some things are far more important than others.You are deciding is what you are not going to do now. You are intentionally allowing some things to go undone so you can make room for the few things that produce the highest value. You are saying no to small things so you can say yes to something bigger.Making decisions about your priorities allows you to schedule those things, crowding out what you are intentionally ignoring. You prevent yourself from failing at what are your most important priorities by ensuring that what’s most important comes first, rather than letting the lilliputian tasks dominate something much more significant.Trading Now for the FutureThe truth about productivity is that the most substantial part of it is made up of your attention and your results. It turns out that what we want in the short term often comes at the expense of what we wish for longterm. We sometimes trade novelty, distraction, and little urgencies for the results we want from the future.What you do now is shaping your future. You are choosing your future regrets. Future You should be deciding what you do now, not Present You. Present You tends to think short term, what do I want now. Future You takes a much longer view, and when you look back at the present from that vantage point, your perspective about what you should do shifts.Gaining TractionIf you have not made decisions like this before now, you will discover that you have to clean up some of the tasks that you didn’t get done before they became urgent. The process of making value-based decisions will feel like you are sliding on ice, lacking the traction you need to get where you want to go. You are heading in the right direction, and at some point, you’ll find that you have traction.
Kentucky Fans Most Annoying 2Congratulations, Big Blue Nation. According to our readers, you are the most annoying fan base in college sports. Kentucky basketball supporters were voted slightly more annoying than Alabama football fans, 52%-48%, in our championship game this week. Kentucky was our overall No. 1 seed in the tournament, so technically, chalk won out.Here’s the entire bracket, which is now complete. The Final Four included one basketball fan base (Kentucky) and three football fan bases (Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida State). Perhaps the meltdown after UK’s loss to Wisconsin in the Final Four last Saturday contributed to BBN taking the crown.You can check out the voting for the Opening Round here, the Round of 32 here, the Sweet 16 here, the Elite Eight here and the Final Four here.Thanks to everyone who voted throughout the process. Go celebrate, #BBN.
YouTube/Swanny JLast season did not live up to expectations for the Oklahoma Sooners. The team dropped games to most of the top Big 12 teams, including Baylor and TCU, lost a heartbreaking Bedlam game, and was blown out by Clemson in a bowl to finish 8-5. This season could not have gone more differently. OU sits at 11-1, with sole claim to the Big 12 title, and an almost-inevitable College Football Playoff berth. With their regular season over, FiveThirtyEight gives Oklahoma the best chance—99-percent—of any contender to make the field of four. To celebrate what turned into a magical Sooners season, YouTuber Swanny J has put together a new hype video celebrating the impending playoff berth. Get excited, Sooner fans.
MADISON, WI – NOVEMBER 18: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines watches action during a game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)Wednesday night, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones joked on Twitter about joining Arkansas’ Bret Bielema and Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio to watch Michigan’s open practice in Florida. Mind if I join you guys for lunch? @DantonioMark @BretBielema— Butch Jones (@UTCoachJones) March 2, 2016Harbaugh, who has already subtweeted Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, responded to Jones in surprisingly strong fashion today on Twitter. He blasted the Vols’ head coach, taking a not-so-thinly veiled shot at the various off-field issues the UT program has been dealing with all off-season. Suggestion to my Rocky Top colleague, rather than lunch in Florida you might spend your time and focus attending to your present team.— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) March 3, 2016Harbaugh certainly knows how to cause a stir and keep his name and program in the news. It’ll be interesting if Jones goes back at him.
“We are extremely proud of our accomplishments and the contribution that the Fund has been able to make to Jamaica’s overall development in all areas,” the CEO said. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the PetroCaribe Development Fund (PCDF), Dr. Wesley Hughes, says the PCDF has accomplished its mission, and will be integrated into the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service as of March 31, 2019. Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on March 15, Dr. Hughes said that all assets and a small amount of liabilities will be transferred to the Ministry, and the Fund, as a separate entity, will cease to exist. Story Highlights Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the PetroCaribe Development Fund (PCDF), Dr. Wesley Hughes, says the PCDF has accomplished its mission, and will be integrated into the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service as of March 31, 2019.Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on March 15, Dr. Hughes said that all assets and a small amount of liabilities will be transferred to the Ministry, and the Fund, as a separate entity, will cease to exist.“We are extremely proud of our accomplishments and the contribution that the Fund has been able to make to Jamaica’s overall development in all areas,” the CEO said.“We are most proud of our contribution to the debt buy-back arrangement in 2015, and the significant reduction of the debt-to-GDP ratio as a result of that operation, which contributed greatly to the macroeconomic stabilisation of the country,” he added.The CEO explained that Jamaica had a debt to Venezuela of approximately US$3.2 billion, and through the Ministry, the Government negotiated with Venezuela to repay US$1.5 billion, almost 50 per cent discount.For his part, Investment and Treasury Manager, PCDF, Bob Russell, said that during the life of the loan, the PCDF has been 100 per cent successful in repaying the Petroleos de Venezuela South America (PDVSA) debt, having never missed a single loan payment.He highlighted, further, that PDVSA even sent officials to look at Jamaica’s debt management model, as it was one of the most successful models within the PetroCaribe agreement.The Fund, which was established in 2006 as a Public Body, was dedicated to lending to self-financing public bodies for human capital development, offering assistance to the Ministry of Finance for domestic debt refinancing as well as lending to reduce Jamaica’s dependence on fossil fuel.Additionally, the CEO stated that another mandate of the Fund was the provision of grants for housing, school sanitation, assistance to children in the inner-city communities and investment in infrastructure, such as the Port in Falmouth; renovation of the Norman Manley International Airport and the downtown markets, and Highway 2000.The Fund’s establishment resulted from an agreement between Venezuela and a group of countries in the Caribbean and Central America due to the significant increase in oil and the attempt to find a way to ameliorate the impact of this increase on these countries.
HALIFAX — U.S. authorities are looking into potential illicit activity involving a Colorado retreat connected to Shambhala International, a Halifax-based Buddhist organization roiled by sexual misconduct allegations.A spokesman for the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office says police have received information regarding possible criminal activity involving the Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colo.Michael Gayner, director of the centre, says it has offered its support to the sheriff’s office if a formal investigation is launched.Halifax police spokesman John MacLeod says the force has not received any reports of criminal activity involving Shambhala in the Nova Scotia capital, and says an incident would have to be reported before police would launch an investigation.Shambhala International — one of the largest Buddhist movements in the western world — has come under intense scrutiny in recent months after a former member published reports from women accusing the organization’s spiritual leader of sexual harm.The allegations prompted Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche to step back from his duties pending the outcome of an independent investigation by a Halifax law firm, expected to be released next month.The Kalapa Council — the governing body of the Buddhist movement, which has roughly 200 meditation centres and 12,000 members worldwide — also resigned en masse.An interim board is overseeing the organization and is expected to receive the findings of the third-party investigation into sexual misconduct allegations next month.In July, Mipham apologized for the “pain, confusion and anger” sweeping through the Shambhala community. But Michael Scott, a lawyer for the spiritual leader, made it clear his apology was not an admission of guilt and that “the Sakyong categorically denies assaulting anyone, sexually or otherwise.”David Moore, public information officer for the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, said investigators are looking into possible criminal activity involving Shambhala after receiving information, but are unable to provide details about the case.Gayner says he’s committed to transparency and ensuring the Shambhala Mountain Center remains a safe and nurturing space.“We are and will always be committed to transparency and full co-operation in any investigation,” he said, adding “we have no information about the specifics of this examination.”Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press
Aaron Ramsey has revealed that he “can’t wait” to work with new head coach Unai Emery at ArsenalThe Spaniard was officially unveiled as Arsene Wenger’s successor last week and has already vowed to return the Gunners back to their rightful place among Europe’s elite.Ramsey, whose own future has been in doubt following Wenger’s departure after failing to agree on a new contract so far, has hailed the arrival of Emery.On whether he is looking forward to working with Emery, Ramsey told Sky Sports: “Of course. I haven’t spoken to him at all yet, but I think it’s an exciting time for the club.“I can’t wait to get back there now.”Jose Mourinho is sold on Lampard succeeding at Chelsea Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho wanted to give his two cents on Frank Lampard’s odds as the new Chelsea FC manager, he thinks he will succeed.There really…The Wales international suffered an ankle injury in their goalless draw against Mexico, but remained on the pitch and later took the captain’s armband from the injured Ashley Williams.“I rolled my ankle but I’d taken the armband from Ash and I thought I had to stay on and do my bit for the team,” he said.“It wasn’t the best surface in the world and my ankle is a bit sore.“Hopefully there will be no lasting damage and it will settle down over the next few days.”Recent reports suggest that Emery intends to make Ramsey a central part of his plans at the Emirates.