Evolution: A Theory in Constant Revision

first_imgDarwinian evolution survives by constant patching of weaknesses in its web of belief.Permian extinction revised (PNAS): In “Estimates of the magnitudes of major marine mass extinctions in earth history,” Steven M. Stanley argues that we’ve been told a bit of a fib all our lives: “the great terminal Permian crisis eliminated only about 81% of marine species, not the frequently quoted 90–96%,” he says. That’s still a lot, but “Life did not almost disappear at the end of the Permian, as has often been asserted.” Extinctions were going on in the background, he argues, and didn’t disappear in a single event. Evolutionists will undoubtedly be able to absorb this revision in their web of belief.Population genetics revision (PNAS): In “Theory of prokaryotic genome evolution,” Eugene Koonin and two colleagues upset an applecart in population genetics regarding microbe evolution. Out with the old, in with the new – but once again, Darwinians will probably just patch up this contradiction.Bacteria and archaea have small genomes with tightly packed protein-coding genes. Typically, this genome architecture is explained by “genome streamlining” (minimization) under selection for high replication rate. We developed a mathematical model of microbial evolution and tested it against extensive data from multiple genome comparisons to identify the key evolutionary forces. The results indicate that genome evolution is not governed by streamlining but rather, reflects the balance between the benefit of additional genes that diminishes with the genome size and the intrinsic preference for DNA deletion over acquisition. These results explain the observation that, in an apparent contradiction with the population genetic theory, microbes with large genomes reach higher abundance and are subject to stronger selection than small “streamlined” genomes.Revised fish story (Science Daily): “Today’s most successful fish weren’t always evolutionary standouts,” this article announces in its headline. The evolutionary story of teleost fishes—the most diverse vertebrate group on earth—is in need of revision. Teleosts weren’t winners in the competition. They weren’t necessarily the best innovators, either, compared to the holostean fish team. Some revisionists at U Penn want to rearrange some strands in the web of belief:But this view of the teleost success story may be based on the false premise that teleosts dominate today because they have always been more evolutionarily innovative than other groups. A new analysis of more than a thousand fossil fishes from nearly 500 species led by the University of Pennsylvania’s John Clarke revealed that the teleosts’ success story is not as straightforward as once believed. Examining the first 160 million years of teleost and holostean evolution, from the Permian to the early Cretaceous periods, the scientists show that holosteans were as evolutionarily innovative as teleosts, and perhaps even more so.Fat chance (PhysOrg): This headline undermines a hoary story by evolutionists: “Obesity genes probably didn’t evolve to help us survive famine.” The tale went that our ancestors gorged themselves when food was plentiful to compensate for lean times. Certain evolutionists now claim, “there is now evidence that nearly all the common obesity-related genes show no properties of traits that evolved because they provide an adaptive advantage.” So much for the “thrifty gene hypothesis,” a weak strand in the web of belief. Darwinians will just compensate by shoring up other strands.Aquatic ape theory drowns (The Conversation): Alice Roberts of the University of Birmingham takes aim at a prominent TV host’s pet theory: “Sorry David Attenborough, we didn’t evolve from ‘aquatic apes’,” she states. The drawing resembles Lucy in a wetsuit. It was a cute story, but it does not account for our hairlessness as mammals or our propensity for being in water, even if it made for a book and TV shows. It’s both too extravagant and too simple, Roberts claims. “Occasionally in science there are theories that refuse to die despite the overwhelming evidence against them,” she says. Does her sermon go far enough?Despite the evidence stacked up against the theory, it is strangely tenacious. It has become very elastic, and its proponents will seize hold of any mentions of water, fish or shellfish in human evolution, and any archaeological sites found near coasts, rivers and lakes as supporting evidence. But we must always build our hypotheses on, and test them against, the hard evidence: the fossils, comparative anatomy and physiology, and genetics. In that test, the aquatic ape has failed – again and again.It is a great shame the BBC recently indulged this implausible theory as it distracts from the emerging story of human evolution that is both more complex and more interesting. Because at the end of the day science is about evidence, not wishful thinking.New legs for a squirmy story (The Conversation): Can roundworms tell about the evolution of legs? Sure, with a little creative storytelling. Martin Smith of Durham University first tells how a rare worm fossil challenges simple ideas of gradual evolution of the muscles that, back in the Cambrian, would some day emerge into legs. The new plot of the story calls on “radical experiments” by the silent hand of Darwinian evolution:This shows how important the fossil record is in unravelling the early threads of animal evolution. A cursory look at the animal kingdom today makes it look like the evolution of legs was almost inevitable. But it seems legs actually arose in a period of substantial evolutionary innovation among primordial worms, whose body architecture was much more versatile than today.The radical reshuffle seen in our new fossil suggests that legs had a convoluted evolutionary journey. This probably required a substantial period of time, with lots of wacky-looking dead ends. Eventually, a lucky muscle arrangement allowed a fortunate early worm to make good use of the bumps or appendages that would eventually become legs.We can’t test the idea, of course, because today’s worms aren’t as versatile as they used to be. This is known as ad hoc special pleading, generally frowned on in scientific explanations—except when it comes to Darwin-style confabulation.It gets so tiring to hear all the excuses. This is what happens when a powerful group usurps science and rules out all contenders. The insiders just play games with data, molding it into whitewash to cover their idol, making it look stronger than it is. (Visited 149 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Grandin captures first WTA doubles title

first_img03/11/97: Amanda Coetzer, 3 16/04/90: Rosalyn Nideffer, 15 04/05/98: Joannette Kruger, 21 14/01/91: Dinky Van Rensburg, 26 08/04/96: Mariaan De Swardt, 28 26/09/11: Chanelle Scheepers, 41 While Chani Scheepers claimed her maiden WTA Tour singles title in China on the weekend, South African doubles specialist Natalie Grandin also won her maiden WTA title, at the Hansol Korea Open in Seoul, South Korea. Grandin and Uhlirova triumphed 7-5, 6-4, snapping an unfortunate record for the 30-year-old South African, who had yet to taste victory in the previous 10 WTA doubles finals she had appeared in. 27 September 2011 Grandin is ranked 27th in doubles, with her partner Uhlirova in 28th spot. Former South African Liezel Huber, who is now an American citizen, is ranked number one in the world. ‘Very happy’After lifting the winners’ trophies with Uhlirova, Grandin said: “I am very happy to win my first WTA Tour doubles title. I have worked long and hard for this moment. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material Partnered with the Czech Republic’s Vladimira Uhlirova, Grandin faced Kazakhstan’s Galina Voskoboeva and Russia’s Vera Dushevina in a final which pitted the top seeds against the second seeds.center_img “Vladimira and I have had a good year so far and have enjoyed playing together. We complement each other’s games well on the doubles court, which is a big strength of ours. She’s up to 41 from a previous career high of 65. South African women in the top 50 since 1990 (stats courtesy of WTA Tour) Highest riserScheepers moved up 33 places in the singles rankings after her success in Guangzhou, which made her the highest climber in the latest rankings. It also made her only the sixth South African to reach the top 50 of the women’s rankings since 1990. SAinfo reporter “It has been a good week for South African woman’s tennis, with both Chani and I winning our first titles. So hopefully we can continue this run,” said concluded.last_img read more

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Suzlon’s SA wind project powers ahead

first_img8 April 2013Construction on what will be the continent’s biggest wind farm, the Cookhouse wind farm in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province, is under way, with the first batch of giant turbines having arrived at the Port of Ngqura outside Port Elizabeth.The 138.6 MW Cookhouse wind farm was the biggest project selected in the first round the South African government’s renewable energy procurement programme for independent producers.Indian wind turbine manufacturer Suzlon Energy and its partner on the Cookhouse project, South African company African Clean Energy Developments, were one of 28 independent power producers that signed contracts with the government in December for the first round of the programme, which will see an initial 1 400 megawatts of renewable energy being added to South Africa’s energy mix, while bringing an estimated R47-billion in new investment into the country.Engineering News reported on Monday that the first batch of 16 44-metre-long wind turbine blades had arrived at the Port of Ngqura.Suzlon, announcing in February that construction had begun on the wind farm, said it would be providing 66 turbines with a combined installed capacity of 138.6 MW for the project, which covers over 9 000 hectares and is located about 150km north-east of Port Elizabeth.According to Engineering News, the farm is expected to start supplying power to South Africa’s national electricity grid by the second quarter of 2014 – providing enough energy to power about 145 000 low-income homes.African Clean Energy Developments MD Thomas Donnelly said in a statement in February that the start of construction on the Cookhouse wind farm “marks a major milestone for independent power producers in South Africa.“The successful implementation of such projects will not only result in a cleaner energy base for South Africa, but will help to empower rural communities through job creation and community ownership of projects.”African Clean Energy Developments is a joint venture between African Infrastructure Investment Managers (a company held by Old Mutual Investment Group and Macquarie Capital) and AFPOC Limited.The Cookhouse Wind Farm Community Trust, whose beneficiaries are the local communities of Cookhouse, Bedford and Somerset East, holds 25 percent equity in the project.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

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APOEL Beats Slavia Prague 2-0; Youngster Leads Liverpool to 2-1 Victory over Hoffenheim

first_imgAPOEL NICOSIA 2, SLAVIA PRAGUE 0Former Champions League quarterfinalist APOEL is within touching distance of a return to the competition after goals by Igor De Camargo and Stathis Aloneftis in the first 10 minutes.Muris Mesanovic struck the post for Slavia, the closest the Czech visitors came to reducing the deficit.___In the absence of unsettled playmaker Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool turned to an 18-year-old right back making his European debut for some set-piece magic in its Champions League playoff win against Hoffenheim on Tuesday.Trent Alexander-Arnold didn’t disappoint.Talked up at Anfield as a potential star of the future, Alexander-Arnold curled in a free kick from 30 yards (meters) to set Liverpool on its way to a 2-1 victory over a German side making its debut in European competition.“Our little hero,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said of Alexander-Arnold, who has been at the English club since the age of 6, has played for England’s youth teams and is making his full breakthrough in the first team this season while Nathaniel Clyne is injured.It was his first goal for the club, on his ninth start.“The free kick is no coincidence, he’s been doing that every day in training,” said Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson, one of a number of senior players who are happy to hand over free kicks and corners to the teenager. “Now he’s done it on the big stage.”Coutinho usually hogs the set pieces for Liverpool, but the Brazil international is currently not available, with the club saying he has a back injury. Coutinho put in a transfer request last week after he was the subject of a second bid from Barcelona, which Liverpool rejected before saying he was not for sale.Liverpool — a five-time European champion— is on course to reach the group stage without its star player after Havard Nordtveit inadvertently deflected substitute James Milner’s cross from the left high into his own net to make it 2-0 in the 74th minute.Substitute Mark Uth gave Hoffenheim a glimmer of hope going into next week’s second leg at Anfield when he chested down a long ball forward and drilled an angled shot into the corner in the 87th.Liverpool is looking to become the fifth English team to qualify for the group stage — joining Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Europa League winner Manchester United — and return to Europe’s top competition for the first time since the 2014-15 season.Hoffenheim is in unknown territory after reaching the Champions League playoffs courtesy of a fourth-place finish in the Bundesliga under Julian Nagelsmann, its 30-year-old coach. It was the highest-ever finish by the team from a village of around 4,000 people in southwest Germany.This was Hoffenheim’s first loss at home in any competition since May 2016.A look at the other playoff first legs:___YOUNG BOYS 0, CSKA MOSCOW 1CSKA benefited from a comical own goal in added time to close in on a fifth straight appearance in the group stage.An aimless ball forward was headed into the air by Young Boys center back Kasim Nuhu, who compounded that clumsy touch by heading the ball for a second time, this time over goalkeeper David von Ballmoos and over the line. Van Ballmoos scrambled back and tried to claw the ball into play, but it was adjudged to have crossed the line.___QARABAG 1, FC COPENHAGEN 0Azerbaijani club Qarabag FK moved closer to its first appearance in the group stage thanks to Mahir Madatov’s goal in the 26th minute.This is the fourth time Qarabag has made it into Champions League qualifying, though the team has never progressed beyond the third round. Copenhagen has advanced from two of its six appearances in the playoffs, in 2010 and last year.___SPORTING LISBON 0, STEAUA BUCHAREST 0Steaua survived the final 10 minutes with 10 men after midfielder Mihai Pintilii’s red card for two bookings.Sporting, which has lost in both of its previous appearances in the playoffs in 2009 and 2015, struck the post through Argentina international Marcos Acuna in the first half.STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports WriterTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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Best Practices in Integrating HIV and MCH

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on January 24, 2011November 13, 2014Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The following is a letter from the Centre for Development and Population Activities, an MHTF-supported project, that is seeking case studies for best practices with regard to integration of HIV and maternal health. For more information on the project or to submit a case study (using the Matrix for Documenting Best Practices form), please contact Mohammad Ahsan at [email protected] Friends,The Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA) is a non-profit organisation working to improve the lives of women and girls in developing countries. In India, CEDPA provides technical support, community-based reproductive and child health programs, leadership training, and innovative youth programs.CEDPA India is currently in the process of reviewing evidence with regard to integration of HIV and Maternal Health. In the next several months, we will be carrying out an analysis of existing policies and programs on convergence and integration of services. Our review includes gaps, needs and good practices to improve services and efficiency.As part of this review we have developed a matrix for documenting good practices. We request members of Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) to share details of initiatives working towards integration of Maternal Health and HIV programs. The matrix is attached. Please use the matrix to respond to the query with case studies. The cases can be from government as well as civil society, including those implemented by the corporate sector under public private partnership.Among other details, reports and documentations, we are particularly interested in knowing the following:Briefly describe your initiative in terms of objectives, activities, timelines, geographic context, population, partnerships, resources involved, and results.How did you engage the local authorities and community and how was the political commitment and support?What are the key lessons from your initiative in terms of its potential for replication or scale-up?Your contributions would be useful in our review to document experiences and scale-up initiatives integration of HIV and Maternal Health.Looking forward to your responses. With regards,Mohammad [email protected] IndiaDelhiShare this:last_img read more

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Bus driver conductor arrested for looting passengers

first_imgNEW DELHI: Delhi Police has arrested the driver and conductor of a private bus who robbed the passengers and de-boarded them on the way. From the possession of the accused persons, the robbed money has been recovered and the private bus has been seized. The duo has been identified as Jitender Singh Porwar and Amit.On March 8 at about 7am, a group of seven labourers reported to the QRT Vehicle at Sarai Kale Khan Bus Stand regarding robbery of their cash by driver and conductor of a private bus . The victims reported that they all are native of Bihar and came to Delhi for first time for labour jobs. In the morning, they all reached Anand Vihar Railway Station by train and after that they boarded the private bus to go to Najafgarh. Meanwhile, when the bus reached over Yamuna Bridge, the conductor of the bus closed the rear door of the bus and threatened all the passengers by using a danda and looted their money. After looting the money, all 7 passengers were de-boarded by the accused persons near Sarai Kale Khan flyover. “During sustained interrogation, accused persons disclosed that they drive the bus from Anand Vihar Bus Terminal to Noida. Accused persons disclosed that they are addicted to liquor and in order to meet their needs they planned to rob innocent passengers from other states, who used to arrive at Anand Vihar Terminal,” said Chinmoy Biswal, DCP, South East.last_img read more

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Liu to direct series on women heroes

first_imgLos Angeles: Actor-director Lucy Liu is working on an anthology series which will champion real-life female heroes. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the ‘Elementary’ star will also executive produce and direct the first episode of the series. Titled ‘Unsung Heroes’, the upcoming show is already in the works at ABC Studios International, which Liu will back via her Moonvision Entertainment. ‘Unsung Heroes’ will profile women who were highly accomplished in their fields but did not receive acknowledgment for their achievements and how their stories have impacted history. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: PriyankaThe sources revealed that the first episode will focus on Anna May Wong, a star of Hollywood’s silent era. It has also been revealed that Liu’s longtime manager Maryellen Mulcahy and Ruthanne Secunda are also attached as executive producers. With regard to her future projects, the actor will next be seen in the final season of ‘Elementary’, which is all set to premiere on CBS in the later half of this year.last_img read more

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