New Fossils, Old Stories

first_imgYou can sing any words to the same tune, if you don’t know any other tunes and don’t care how well the syllables rhyme or fit.Several patterns have emerged in evolutionary stories about fossils over the years: (1) things appear earlier than thought; (2) things appear fresher than thought (some even unfossilized); (3) things evolve faster or slower than thought; (4) Darwin takes credit no matter what. Let’s see if these patterns hold up with current fossil news.Tiny Bird Fossil Solves Big Mystery About Life After Dinosaurs (Live Science): “A teeny-tiny fossilized bird skeleton is helping researchers understand the explosive rate at which birds diversified after the dinosaur age, new research shows.” It seems a teeny-tiny bit audacious to claim this is evidence for evolution. Mindy Weisberger, senior writer for Live Science, asserts that the mere existence of a modern bird so soon after whatever killed the dinosaurs “suggests that birds rapidly evolved in the 3 million to 4 million years after the dinosaurs died — much faster than previously thought, they said.” Funny; evolutionary reporters never specify who thought that. The article mentions how slowly birds evolved while dinosaurs were around, some 55 million Darwin Years. Then, “Without dinosaurs and the other extinct animals in the way, bird diversity suddenly skyrocketed,” the article goes on. So much for the molecular clock or Darwin’s gradualism.Fossilized Tropical Forest Found — in Arctic Norway (Live Science): The lead photo looks like a polystrate tree in upright position. “A tropical forest densely packed with 12-foot-tall trees with flared trunks and curved branches of needle leaves,” Weisberger writes about a fossil forest of lycopods found in Norway inside the Arctic Circle. They grew near the Equator during the Devonian period, she says. UK paleontologists “found that the fossil forest was actually 20 million years older than previously estimated.” How did upright trees get buried? They didn’t go into that. “In the cliffs there are many layers of fossil trees, one on top of the other,” one of the discoverers mentioned. The climate change story doesn’t seem plausible; would a gradual drop in CO2 leave tree stumps standing upright in the ground to be buried gradually? Wouldn’t they rot long before that? What one believes often dictates what questions one asks.Pteranodon osteohistology! Or, bizarrely bacon-esque pteranodon bones (PhysOrg): In this article from PLoS Blogs, Taormina Lepore waxes fictional about the land before time, when pterosaurs ruled: “Like demon reptile bats, they ruled the air while birds were just getting their start on the evolutionary stage, and long before bats were a twinkle in Earth’s eye.” Evidence, please? We get a recounting of the history of pteranodon fossils. Laura Wilson, a paleontologist is introduced. Can she bring home the bacon? “Strangely enough, when Pteranodon long bones such as this femur below are sliced in cross-section, they look a lot like bacon – according to Wilson, who is a bacon fan! I pretty much agree with her, it does look enticing.” (See humor as a propaganda tactic.) Pardon us for asking, but we thought the issue was how old these bones are and how they evolved into master flyers that ruled the air. The little detour into whether the bones belonged to adults or juveniles is interesting, but we just wanted to know. Is there evidence for evolution here? Silence.Bird embryos uncover homology and evolution of the dinosaur ankle (Nature Communications): Maybe there’s some evolutionary substance here. If so, it looks like Brownian motion: “The ASC [ascending process of the anklebone] originated in early dinosaurs along changes to upright posture and locomotion, revealing an intriguing combination of functional innovation and reversion in its evolution.” The authors say that the traits “represent evolutionary variations in the development of a homologous character,” after assuming the ankle bones are homologous to begin with. After weaving their favorite scenario, they admit, “However, the mechanisms that pattern the ankle region are poorly understood, and much work remains to assess if molecular patterning is amphibian-like in the ankle of birds.” They also cannot rule out convergence—the idea that birds and early tetrapods arrived at the meager similarities independently. The whole paper seems tentative rather than conclusive. Science Daily, nonetheless, made this into a trophy for Darwin, calling it an “evolutionary transformation in birds” albeit an “unexpected” one. Why unexpected? Because it’s a surprising case of evolutionary reversal.  “Evolutionary reversions have always generated much discussion among scientists, because ancient traits can occasionally re-appear in a highly transformed context,” we are told. Behold the wonder:The reappearance of this long-lost developmental pattern in highly evolved organisms like birds and chameleons could be compared to finding primitive clockwork gears inside your latest smartphone. These intriguing discoveries are bound to renew discussion about the interplay between the evolution of new functions and the resurrection of old developmental patterns.Transitional species of duckbilled dinosaurs illuminate relationship between evolution and growth (Science Daily): Finally, a transitional form! This story will certainly please Darwin. It alleges a straight path between duckbilled dinosaurs that did not overlap in time. Alas, the differences in two species from Montana vary only slightly in the shapes and sizes of horns and crests on their heads. Such variation has confused some other paleontologists about species identification when they realized specimens represented different life stages of the same species. These paleontologists are aware of that, but claim that the shape of the crest followed evolutionary time as well as individual lifetime. “Changing of timing or rate of development is called heterochrony, a process which is being increasingly recognized as a major driving force in evolution,” the scientists explain. This, however, is not the kind of evolution Darwin envisaged. No new organ or function appears. Let us not be intimidated by the term, either. Heterochrony (emphasis on the roc) simply means “various times.” Substituting that into the sentence makes the argument sound less scholarly. How can “various times” really be “a major driving force in evolution”?Ornithomimus dinosaur with preserved tail feathers and skin tightens linkages between dinosaurs and birds (PhysOrg). A paper in Cretaceous Research reports a “feathered” case of Ornithomimus (“ostrich mimic”) from Alberta. “The discovery is shedding light on the convergent evolution of these dinosaurs with ostriches and emus relating to thermoregulation and is also tightening the linkages between dinosaurs and modern birds,” PhysOrg claims. But are these really feathers?  For that, we defer to CMI where Tas Walker wrote up a detailed analysis of this fossil and the circumstances of its burial and preservation.Unique feeding mechanism among marine reptiles from the age of dinosaurs (Science Daily): A marine reptile called an elasmosaur appears to have been a filter feeder. It had “a unique mode of feeding,” the article says. “The massive lower jaws bear a comb-like structure formed by many slender teeth that project sideways. Similarly, the teeth in the upper jaws extend downward and sideways.” The animal probably engulfed a mouthful of prey then squeezed the water out the combs. How did this evolve? “Baleen whales independently evolved a very similar method of feeding many millions of years after the extinction of the last elasmosaurs,” the article says. Another convenient “convergent evolution” excuse—two poof spoofs instead of one.Someone might think we are picking and choosing stories to embarrass evolutionists. We are not. This is standard fare in the science literature. We get especially excited when we see “transitional form” like the one above, but are usually disappointed below the hyped-up headlines.Notice how one’s worldview influences the questions. We are very interested to know how the lycopod fossil forest was buried, with layer upon layer of stumps across a wide area, some in upright positions. Evolutionists with their Darwin-colored glasses only ask how they evolved. They see what they want to see, and are blind to the implications of remarkable data right in front of their eyes. (Visited 33 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Where do Short URLs Go When They Die?

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts dana oshiro A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img In late October, after Bit.ly had firmly established itself as Twitter’s service of choice, it looked like URL shortener service Cligs would close down. As of today, the company will see a new management team as social bookmarking service Mister Wong has agreed to acquire it for an undisclosed sum. Says Clig’s founder Pierre Far, “I’m very happy with Mister Wong as they have an excellent track record of building large communities and keeping them happy. They also have the resources to continue the development of the service and keep it competitive in the market. Cligs has always been a side project, but the service grew too big to take care of in my spare time.” Far began his quest for a buyer in early October. In August ReadWriteWeb covered the commercial demise of URL shortener service Tr.im and its subsequent resurrection as an open source release. A number of services have failed to find exit strategies in this crowded space so it appears that Far’s deal with Mister Wong is fortunate one. When we asked Far where short links go when they die, he pointed to 301works.org . 301works is an Internet Archives initiative created to preserve short URL links in the event of a shutdown. If a short URL company faces closure 301works takes control of shortening domain services and ensures that links remain intact. While the technical side of the program has not been completely laid out, a number of companies have agreed to show the 301works seal including Bit.ly, Cligs, Twurl, Awe.sm and AppsFire. To apply check out 301works.org here. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#start#startups last_img read more

More rains batter Bihar, death toll reaches 25

first_imgChildren wade through a waterlogged road after heavy rain at Rajendra Nagar. An overcrowded boat ferries people in high current on the flooded Ganga at Digha Ghat in Patna. An overcrowded boat ferries people in high current on the flooded Ganga at Digha Ghat in Patna. Security personnel rescue NCC cadets stuck in a waterlogged camp after heavy rain at Rajendra Nagar. Security personnel rescue NCC cadets stuck in a waterlogged camp after heavy rain at Rajendra Nagar. A view of submerged tracks at Patna Junction. Fishermen catch fish in the flooded river Ganga in Patna. A rickshaw passes through a flooded road in Patna.  In addition, police in the adjoining district of Jehanabad confirmed the death of a three-year-old girl who was crushed to death when the wall of an old house, adjacent to a street where she was playing, caved in.On Sunday, 18 deaths were reported from across the state in mishaps attributed to the torrential rainfall.Unconfirmed reports, however, put the death toll at more than 30.The disaster management department said that the state government has urged the Indian Air Force to send a helicopter for air-dropping of food packets and other relief material in marooned areas.Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, whose own residence was affected by the deluge, was seen doing the rounds of the city clad in a T-shirt and shorts, and issuing instructions to officials.The district administration has ordered closure of all schools till October 1 as a preventive measure and warned of strict punishment to those who violated the direction and “put the lives of teachers and students at risk.”District Magistrate Kumar Ravi has said that sump houses were working round theclock to flush out water from inundated streets and pointed out that “a not too high” water level in the Ganga meant that there would be no problem of reverse flow.Motorcyclists were seen driving through knee-deep waters after covering the silencers of their two-wheelers with plastic bottles and pipes inserted to allow emission of fumes without water entering the exhaust pipes.At some places, people living in houses situated on either side of a street helped each other with items of daily use which were rolled down on unfurled ‘gamchas’ (a thin towel), corners of which were held by people standing atop boundary walls.Patna Nagar Nigam personnel, donning yellow raincoats, could be seen at various spots trying to unclog the manholes that have been choked by polythene and debris a common sight in the city which has witnessed unregulated construction which has contributed to the water-logging.Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had spoken to P K Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, on September 21 urging him to take steps to check the water level in the Ganges here which had then risen to alarming levels.More than a million cusecs of water were subsequently released through the Farakka barrage downstream.Social media has been abuzz with the heart-rending image of a rickshaw-puller who broke down upon being caught in chest-deep water, unable to pull out the vehicle on which he depended for a living.In the video, a couple apparently living on the upper story of an adjacent house can be heard asking the hapless man to rush to a safer spot, assuring him that they will keep a watch on his cycle rickshaw until the water subsided and he was able to take it back. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar inspects the rise in water level of the Ganga river,in Patna on Thursday, (This photo has been released by I & PRD,Bihar Govt). Fishermen catch fish in the flooded river Ganga in Patna. People wade through a waterlogged road after heavy rain at Rajendra Nagar in Patna. Patients leave NMCH in Patna after waterlogging in the hospital. Children wade through a waterlogged road after heavy rain at Rajendra Nagar. An overcrowded boat ferries people in high current on the flooded Ganga at Digha Ghat in Patna. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar inspects the rise in water level of the Ganga river,in Patna on Thursday, (This photo has been released by I & PRD,Bihar Govt). A rickshaw passes through a flooded road in Patna. Patients leave NMCH in Patna after waterlogging in the hospital. After being pounded by heavy rain over the weekend, most parts of the Bihar capital remained submerged even as the state-wide death toll mounted to 25.In Patna, there has been a let up in rainfall since morning though the sky is overcast and the IMD has predicted showers later in the day.According to the state disaster management department, six casualties have been reported from Gaya district where five persons were buried alive in a wall collapse while another person was drowned in a river which was in spate because of incessant rains. People wade through a waterlogged road after heavy rain at Rajendra Nagar in Patna. A view of submerged tracks at Patna Junction.last_img read more

Somdev in semi-finals of South African Open

first_imgCommonwealth and Asian Games gold medallist Somdev Devvarman advanced to the semi-final of the South African Open after he fought back from a set down to beat local hope Rik de Voest.The 25-year-old Indian star triumphed 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 after a 138-minute battle at the Montecasino entertainment centre on Friday.With this victory, Somdev made amends for his last year’s outing in the ATP World Tour event in Johannesburg where he was eliminated in straight sets by Spain’s David Ferrer at the quarter-final stage.A couple of early third-set service breaks and Somdev was on his way. The victory moved the Indian within two matches of a USD 76,500 first prize and 250 ATP World Tour points.Somdev DevvarmanSomdev broke serve in the first game and led 3-1 before De Voest rode on two service breaks, which helped the South African win five games on the trot and take the opening set.The second set, too, saw Somdev take an early 4-1 lead before he dropped serve in the seventh game, which helped De Voest to force a tiebreaker.As Somdev surrendered an early three-point advantage, the South African levelled via a backhand cross-court shot, but like in the first set, the Indian didn’t buckle under pressure on this occasion and took the duel to the third set.After engrossing contests in the first two, the third set turned out to be a one-sided affair with Somdev holding all aces.”Rik is a great player whom I got on top of only in the closing stages and now I must face another South African (Izak van der Merwe) for a place in the final,” said Somdev.advertisement”We share the same coach and practise a lot together so we know pretty well how the other plays. It is great to reach the last four of such a prestigious tournament as the South African Open.” With PTI inputslast_img read more

India Today Woman Summit: Who said what

first_imgIndia Today Woman Summit and Awards on Saturday saw crackling sessions with achievers ranging from politicians and filmstars to sportswomen and entrepreneurs.Session 1: Harsimrat Kaur Badal , SAD MP and Union Minister for Food Processing Industries- “As a person used to talking, keeping my silence was difficult. But, as a politician, we have to make our work talk.”- “Punjab does not grow or manufacture drugs. However, from two sides, we are surrounded by countries where drugs are available and legal as well. As a result of the porous borders, more than 35% of the drugs caught are from Punjab.”- Cartoons in the media that deride politicians indiscriminately affect the children’s mindset adversely. Instead of portraying politicians as nasty people, we should teach them to choose between good and bad ones. Otherwise, it cannot bode well for democracy.- “We don’t come from a party that teaches us how to swim. We get thrown in, and learn how to swim to survive.”Session 2: Manisha Koirala , filmstar and cancer survivor- When you get something like this and face your own mortality, and you realise whatever you have till now can go in a snap of a finger you start reflecting a lot. -My mechanism was the spiritual journey I had taken a few years back. I could deal with the fears, stay with the fears. I did check out everybody who suffered from cancer and how they dealt with it. Lisa, Yuvi… -Oneness University that I go to one of the principle teachings is, any hurt, any fear, anything that makes you feel uncomfortable you don’t run away from it, you don’t watch TV, have a conversation with somebody on the phone. If you want to cry, cry, if you want to shout, shout. It’s a mind game, stay with the fear. Listen to the story fear is going to tell you.advertisement- A friend was telling me he entered the apartment expecting to see me on the bed, bald, medicines on the side, a bleak atmosphere. But when he entered, I was cooking, my niece was running around, someone was laughing. He was taken aback. It wasn’t easy for my family to be laughing but we made the effort to be positive.- I had to let go of the ego of Manisha Koirala the beautiful actress. I don’t have the picture right now but when I was shaving my head at the salon, the hairdresser was Indian and had seen my movies. I think she was pitying me. I have looked terrible. I didn’t have eyelashes, eyebrows, my head was shaved, my eyes sunken in, my face puffy… it’s a horrible sight. But that’s how you learn that looks are transient. You use this to go deeper into yourself. You ask who am I if I am not this face. Who am I? Lot of identification of the body, the face, the image you have of yourself, that others have of you.Session 3: Jwala Gutta and PV Sindhu, badminton players, and Dipika Pallikal , squash playerDipika: “There is discrimination against women in sports. My mother was captain of Indian cricket team. When they toured West Indies,? 15 of them were kept in one room.””We are yet to receive half of our TA DA from IOA for Commonwealth Games.””Except Dinesh Karthik I hate all cricketers because they steal all the limelight and endorsements.”Jwala: “We expect a little bit of acknowledgement and respect. If we were here to make money, we would have picked up other sports, not badminton and squash.””It’s commendable how BCCI has promoted cricket played only in 12 countries. Other sports must learn from BCCI.”Session 4: Rashmi Shetty , cosmetic physician; Sara Abdullah Pilot, entrepreneur and yoga teacher; Chhaya Momaya, image consultant and Tapasya Mundhra, nutritionist and health counsellorSara Pilot: “There is no right or wrong in beauty. Figure out what you love and can live with about yourself.”Chayya: “Age is just a number…Women shouldn’t drink, they should sip.”Rashmi: “Age is not a number you can freeze forever.”Tapasya: “Everybody wants to be 50 kg to be beautiful…Look good, eat fresh and it will have an impact for the rest of your life.”last_img read more

Victoria Stilwell Joins Campaign To End UK Dog Experiments

first_imgIt’s Me or the Dog presenter Victoria Stilwell is the latest high-profile supporter backing the BUAV Our Best Friends campaign.Victoria Stilwell Joins BUAV CampaignCredit/Copyright: BUAV/Parker Smith PhotographyThe campaign, which launched in July, last year, is calling on the UK Government to end the use of dogs and cats in experiments.Government statistics show that 3,214 dogs suffered in tests in Great Britain in 2012 – a 6% increase for dogs on the previous year.Most experiments carried out on dogs are for toxicity testing. The dogs may be injected with or force fed drugs and chemicals and then observed for signs of adverse (toxic) effects including vomiting, internal bleeding and organ damage, seizures – even death. They are killed at the end of the experiment.Victoria said: “I have met thousands of wonderful dogs throughout my career and it is heart-breaking to think that dogs are still suffering in experiments. Dogs are our best friends and deserve to experience companionship, the excitement of going for a walk and the comfort and safety of a loving home. It is truly saddening that, in the UK, thousands of dogs are born to suffer and die inside laboratories. I know just how varied and wonderful the canine character can be and how much dogs enrich our lives. That is why I am supporting the BUAV Our Best Friends campaign. Please join me and get involved to put an end to the use of dogs in research in the UK.”Chief Executive of the BUAV, Michelle Thew, said: “We are delighted that Victoria has chosen to join our campaign to end the terrible suffering. Millions of families throughout the UK share their homes and lives with cats and dogs and will be shocked to learn that thousands of them are used every year in experiments. We call on the Government to end the use of our best friends in research.Jilly Cooper, Kimberly Wyatt and Chris Packham all posed with their own dogs for portraits to raise awareness for the campaign. Other high-profile supporters calling for an end to these experiments include Ricky Gervais, Helen Skelton, Kirsty Gallacher, Greg Rutherford, Ann Widdecombe, Paul O’Grady, Dave Spikey, Mary McCartney and Wendy Turner Webster.Find out more here.last_img read more