first_imgGarbiñe Muguruza and Sofia Kenin will battle for the title of the first ladies’s Grand Slam of the season: the Australian Open. Each gamers search for their first title in Melbourne, the place they will even play their first final.Schedule: When is the ladies’s final of the Australian Open between Garbiñe Muguruza and Sofia Kenin?The Australian Girls’s Open Grand Final between Garbiñe Muguruza and Sofia Kenin will happen this Saturday, February 1 from 09:30 Spanish time (19.30 native time). It will likely be the most excellent match of the penultimate day of the Australian Open. Who in Sofia Kenin, Garbiñe Muguruza’s rival in the Australian Open final?At 21, Sofia Kenin will play her first Grand Slam final at the Australian Open. Kenin, quantity 15 of the WTA rating and winner of the Hobart, Mallorca and Guangzhou titles in 2019, has made a really stable match during which he received in the first spherical to Martina Trevisan (6-2 and 6-4), in second to Ann Li (6-1 and 6-3), in the third spherical to Shuai Zhang (7-5 ​​and seven-6 (7)), in the spherical of 16 to Coco Gauff (6-7 (5), 6-Three and 6-0), in the quarterfinals to Ons Jabeur (6-Four and 6-4) and in the semifinals to the first favourite, the Australian Ashleigh Barty (7-6 (6) and seven-5).What observe will the Muguruza – Kenin play in the Australian Open final?The Australian Girls’s Open Grand Final will probably be performed on the most iconic observe in the Melbourne Park venue: the Rod Laver Area, which has a capability for about 15,000 spectators who will witness the first ladies’s Grand Final of the season.last_img read more

first_imgDear Editor,As many Guyanese are aware, the Department of Energy announced this week that it plans to raise royalty rates for future contracts. This is an eminently sensible step given our streak of successful discoveries in the Stabroek Block and clear international interest in Guyana. Companies are queuing up for the show – they can pay for entry!I also note an advertisement in Kaieteur News comparing Guyana’s 2 per cent royalty with 35 other countries, which begs the question, “when will Guyana start demanding what it deserves?”Perhaps a bit of context would be helpful when considering the Kaieteur News advertisement. Royalty rates are determined by a number of other factors in any contract, such as a country’s share of profit oil, tax structures and project timelines. Most importantly, royalty rates usually reflect how established a country is as a producer and the extent of proven reserves.So why are all of these countries enjoying far higher royalty rates? Well, take a look at the table here, which examines the same countries:Guyana trails far behind every other nation on the list. Recall that when the 2 per cent royalty was agreed, we had just discovered oil and have still not produced a drop. So, we see that being a proven producer is key. Guyana’s exploration success certainly merits a rise in royalty rates, but I think we must proceed with the goal of establishing a track record as a reliable producer.Think what we may about whether the original 2 per cent royalty our Government negotiated was appropriate, we Guyanese made a commitment in the eyes of the international business community. That commitment has spurred companies like ExxonMobil, Total, Tullow and Hess to invest heavily in further exploration which has driven our value ever higher.Our officials and the Department of Energy have the leverage now – let us push them to drive a hard bargain on our future contracts. But let us also be aware that reneging on our old contracts may serve to unravel our appeal to those same future investors. If that is the route we choose, then so be it. But we must consider context, not potentially misleading facts and figures.Sincerely,Donald Singlast_img read more

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champ160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – A state advisory board on Monday called for a study to determine if sodas and energy drinks containing caffeine pose a risk to pregnant women. The review could lead to warning labels on the drinks under Proposition 65, a 1986 ballot measure that requires the state to identify chemicals that could cause cancer or birth defects. The advisory panel, the Science Advisory Board Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee, also requested an immediate review of Bisphenol-A, which could lead to warning labels on plastic baby bottles, water bottles and reusable food containers. The chemical Bisphenol-A has been shown to affect hormonal levels.last_img read more

first_imgLike many of us we all have a favourite hotel or resort that we go back to again and again. Maybe it brings back memories of the children growing up, the rooms were spectacular, the service was fabulous or the food was amazing.As a travel journalist it will be no surprise to you to know that I have visited many countries and stayed in countless hotels. Some have been dreadful, like an apartment I rented in Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix a couple of years ago. The shower cubicle was outside on a dilapidated balcony overlooking a dump, crack dealers we in the apartment above and prostitutes were working all night long in the rooms below.  Then I have been to some spectacular hotels like the Ritz Carlton Grand Lakes resort in Florida or the Water Tower in Chicago, two stunning properties where service, food and accommodation were second to none.Needles to say we do all love to come home eventually, to set ourselves by the fire have a cup of tea and relax. This month I am celebrating my 28th wedding anniversary, and I like most men, I want to treat my wife for that very special day. So is it off to the Far East or America, maybe a safari in Kenya? No it is not, it’s a local treasure that I have visited many times before. As I describe why I keep returning to this majestic hotel and where it is, you will soon see my reasoning for my anniversary staycation in Ireland this year. The Slieve Russell Hotel in Ballyconnell Co. Cavan – a short drive from Donegal –  provides luxury hotel accommodation nestled in 300 acres, including 50 acres of lakes. This Hotel Golf & Country Club with an amazing Ciúin Spa & Wellness Centre understands that every customer is a truly a special guest. They look after everyone with the same level of expertise and all their guests are VIP’s. Located just 90 minutes from Dublin city centre, and about the same from Belfast, your first impression will be wow what a beautiful location. As you arrive at the front door you probably will be greeted by Connor Maguire, apart from being a font of local knowledge, Connor is a wonderful ambassador for the Hotel, come rain or shine he is there smiling to all who cross the door.  As I have experienced every time I have been there, your next impression will undoubtedly be how clean and pristine this hotel is.The Sieve Russell hotels clearly believes in the saying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” and boy is the first impression good. Deep red carpets, dark wood furniture, sumptuous sofas and an open fireplace nestled beside a magnificent staircase all go to make this a very impressive entrance.  There is no doubt that Sean Quinn the owner has made this his showpiece hotel and he has entrusted it into the extremely capable hands of Tony Walker the General Manager. Tony knows what customers expect and he knows how to ensure this Hotel delivers excellence at every level.  It’s said that sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together, and that is something that you are guaranteed to get at the Slieve Russell.This amazing home from home boasts 222 stylish bedrooms, including 19 Suites and 2 Presidential Suites, all of which are impeccably furnished and designed to incorporate every comfort and to ensure a feeling of relaxed elegance. The attention to detail in the rooms is superb and all have TV with digital in-room entertainment and internet access.  Many of the rooms have wonderful views over the golf course and the landscaped gardens, while some corner rooms have balconies – the ideal spot for breakfast or that pre-dinner drink. There is no point having a super location, great rooms amazing spa if the food is no good, and yet again the Slieve Russell boasts not one by three amazing restaurants. The Conall Cearnach Restaurant has established itself as one of the finest restaurants in both Cavan and the North West Region. Under the stewardship of Peter Denny, one of the country’s leading chefs, the restaurant has received may coveted awards. Fine dining and excellent service go to make this a real treat for any occasion. If it a little less formality you want then The Setanta Restaurant is the one for you the menu has a selection of exquisite modern European flavours and the high standard of culinary craftsmanship is reflected in the superb selection of creative menus and charming wines. If perhaps you are there for the golf then the Summit Restaurant is the place to choose a light meal alternative whilst enjoying magnificent panoramic views overlooking the  Championship Golf Course.After you have had a great sleep, enjoyed the wonderful ambiance, had a fill of super food, there is only one thing left to do and that’s get some serious pampering. Yet again this hotel ticks all the boxes with the Ciúin spa. Guests can indulge in a range of Elemis treatments for both men and women including an exclusive Ciúin signature facial and Ciúin signature body treatment.  All in all the Slieve Russell is just a wonderful hotel to stay in friendly expertise, with a very high level of service. If you are considering a great place to stay over Christmas then you might want to consider the Slieve Russell Hotel. You can arrive from 2pm on Christmas Eve and enjoy a relaxing day with afternoon tea by the fireside, a refreshing swim or pamper yourself in the Spa.  The Russell Rabbit Kid’s Club kicks off with a whole host of activities during the afternoon with kid’s tea at 5pm, videos in the evening and a bedtime story for the younger ones.  A welcome drinks reception for adults begins at 7pm with carols; this is followed by a sumptuous dinner. Transport will be available for those attending church services, with hot punch and mince pies to warm you when you return and a sing-along in the Kells Bar. On the big day most of us are woken early so breakfast is available from 7.30am, after which you can enjoy a visit to the leisure centre, a few holes of golf or maybe a stroll in the hotel grounds. Santa arrives just before lunch and together with his helpers he will take time to visit each table. Lunch, will be a specially prepared lavish meal and afterwards laziness is the order of the afternoon with board games in the Pike Suite and afternoon entertainment in the Kells Bar.  St. Stephen’s Day is a day for relaxation and the children won’t be forgotten. 3 Day Package Rates AdultsDeluxe Room €499 ppsSuperior Room €529 ppsJunior Suite €559 ppsExecutive Suite €589 ppsPresidential Suite €769 pps Children€199 per child (sharing parents room).€250 per child in own room (minimum 2 children sharing).Children’s rates apply to 4-16 years. Children 3 and under are charged for meals only. For more information please visit and tell them you read all about it on There is an Irish proverb that says a good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book, if this is true and I believe it is, then the Slieve Russell is without doubt the best Doctors surgery in the Tim HedgleyCHRISTMAS LUXURY IN CO CAVAN was last modified: December 13th, 2010 by adminShare this:Click 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 share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgIndependent election candidate Charlie McClafferty has put forward a Economic Stimulus Package for Donegal.Charlie McClaffertyThe Independent candidate in the Letterkenny/Milford electoral area says Donegal is indeed a special case which needs to be addressed even more than the rest of the country.Charlie explained, “Yes, the entire country is suffering, but the sheer scale of Donegal’s disadvantage is being concealed by local Political Parties. Despite numerous findings (from the Live Register, Central Statistics Office, Teagasc, Farmers Journal, Fáilte Ireland etc), we hear nothing about our toxic mix of sectorial disadvantage. Some Parties seem nervous of informing the ‘little people’.” “But tinkering at the edges will never solve the serious underlying issues in Donegal”, he said.McClafferty explained, “Donegal is at the bottom of Key Economic League Tables. We have the worst rate of unemployment in the country at 26%.Donegal has the Worst Rate of Youth Unemployment.We have almost no Jobs for Qualified Students. We have the Second Highest Emigration Rate.We have the Lowest Farm Payment Entitlements in Ireland.Our Overseas Visitor spending is the Lowest on the West Coast. 67wordsHow can businesses in Letterkenny survive, if the people of Donegal have the lowest disposable income across the country,” he asked.McClafferty suggests that the justification for a Donegal Economic Stimulus Package is undeniable. He stresses the need to also include non Civil Servants, with expertise, in business, job creation, rural development and the tourism sector, to help shape an agreed County Plan. Figures from the Department of Social Welfare will underpin his argument for lowering Donegal’s huge welfare bill and its burden on Irish Taxpayers.His priority is for the Renewal of Donegal. Charlie said, “If elected, I will co-operate with all Donegal Councillors, to drive a county wide plan. We must adopt a united approach; it makes no sense for different towns to compete with one another, or for Urban Donegal to vie with Rural Donegal. Our isolated location makes us all very inter-dependent.”Draft Donegal Economic Stimulus PackageIn Total a €450-500 million Grant Aid Scheme, over 3 years, in addition to the agreed shared costs of the Aughnacloy-Strabane A5 road improvement. 1. Government Commitment to the Aughnacloy to Strabane A5 road Improvement Scheme.2. A once off €200 million County Donegal Road improvement Scheme, divided between Electoral Areas. The roads package shall improve the Lifford to Letterkenny Road and other bottlenecks.These investments will be in lieu of Railway Connectivity and will increase competitiveness of vital Donegal Job sectors.3. Invest €80 million in the upgrading and extension of the Fibre Optic Cabling Network in County Donegal and/or the radio broadband coverage in rural areas4. To maintain reinvigorate some of Donegal’s 8,014 farm units, we shall invest €50 million wisely in the Donegal’s farming sector, primarily to assist associated job creation in micro-farm businesses.60% of the Farming Package shall be directed toward the shareholders in the 1,304 Commonages in Donegal.i) Optional Grant aid for Commonage Co-Operatives that maximise their Shareholdings for tourism, recreational, community welfare or cultural initiatives.ii) Grant aid for shareholders who expand into long term native woodland schemes; producing sustainable hardwood fuel, providing log cabin accommodation or other tourism activities5. Stimulate job opportunities by expanding Donegal Tourism footfall. A €150 million euro Donegal tourism enhancement programme. €30 million per electoral area.Overcome Donegal Tourism’s legacy of 30 years of armed Border checkpoints and offset the lack of job opportunities in other sectors.Including;i) Cycle waysii) Non Cycle Activity projectsiii) Cultural Tourism and Viewing facilities for Natural Attractionsiv) Micro-businesses 268 wordsELECTION 2014: McCLAFFERTY SEEKS SUPPORT FOR HIS ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE FOR DONEGAL was last modified: May 18th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click 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 share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Charlie McClaffertyeconomic stimulus packagelast_img read more

first_imgAndre Schurrle hit the post and Norwich might have had a first-half penalty at Stamford Bridge.The home side attacked from the off and John Ruddy comfortably saved an effort from Schurrle before a mistake by Blues midfielder Nemanja Matic led to Martin Olsson being given a clear sight of goal.Olsson went down in the box following contact from both John Terry and Ashley Cole as they flew into last-ditch challenges after Matic had given the ball away.Having appealed in vain for a spot-kick, Olsson later gave Chelsea another anxious moment with a right-wing cross which just evaded Bradley Johnson.At the other end, Terry headed straight at Ruddy from Willian’s corner.Matic then atoned for his earlier error with a lovely pass through to Schurrle, who cut in from the left and side-footed beyond Ruddy and against the woodwork.Schurrle also tested Ruddy with another low shot which the Canaries keeper did well to hold.A win in their penultimate match of the season would take Jose Mourinho’s team to the top of the Premier League, although title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City each have a game in hand.Eden Hazard is among the Chelsea substitutes, while were are starting places for Demba Ba, Frank Lampard and Mohamed Salah.Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Schwarzer; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Lampard, Matic; Salah, Willian, Schurrle; Ba. Subs: Hilario, Kalas, Luiz, Van Ginkel, Hazard, Torres, Eto’o.Norwich: Ruddy; Martin, R Bennett, Turner, Whittaker; Tettey; Snodgrass, Johnson, Howson, Olsson; Elmander. Subs: Bunn, Bassong, Van Wolfswinkel, Fer, Hooper, E Bennett, Redmond.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

first_img The mechanisms underlying rhythmogenesis and large-scale patterning — for example, left–right alternation of body wall muscles in vertebrate swimming, stance-swing alternation of flexor and extensor muscles in stepping — have thus been elucidated in many model systems. It is important, however, to stress that the fine patterning and coordination of individual muscle groups within single cycles — for example, the dorsal fins in lamprey swimming, the precise timing of extensor muscles in single extensions during stepping — are less understood. Nose codes:  One of the most complex of our senses is the sense of smell – the olfactory sense.  The reason is that the nose has to be able to sort through an almost infinite variety of odorants, identify those of interest, and communicate that information to the brain for the appropriate response.  Olfactory organs are often highly sensitive.  Insects have incredible sensitivity to certain odorant molecules, such as pheromones and nectars.  Higher animals such as dogs and bears are also renowned for their ability to detect and memorize scents.  What scientists did not realize till recent years is that olfactory organs perform their magic by means of codes. It’s easier to study olfaction in insects, so that is what biologists have studied most (see “Nose Knows More than Math Pros Suppose,” 06/26/2005).  Undoubtedly, olfaction in vertebrates is much more complex, but functionally equivalent organs and processes in mammals have been identified.  Gupta and Stopfer, writing in Current Biology,1 used the word code twice in their headline: “Olfactory Coding: Giant Inhibitory Neuron Governs Sparse Odor Codes.”  They wrote about how odor information is encoded at several stages on the way from receptor to brain.  The method is remarkable, as they summarized in their opening paragraph: Brain mechanisms have evolved to gather and organize sensory information. This information does not flow passively from the outer environment through neural circuits, coming to rest as memories or actions. Rather, information is encoded, processed, and dramatically transformed in myriad ways as it travels through the brain, providing multiple advantages to the animal. For example, in many species and brain areas, sensory stimuli elicit dense bursts of action potentials from neurons in peripheral structures, but sparser firing in more central structures. Olfactory coding condenses initial bursts of odor information into manageable categories.  The pattern of initial bursts of peripheral neurons called Kenyon cells causes characteristic responses in the central structures, as if to sort responses by type.  It would be as if a dozen different signals from a flagman could trigger a single danger response.  But what happens is much more complex, with feedback and feed-forward signaling between the organs.  In addition, the information-compacting central structures respond differently if the incoming signals are synchronized.  The central structures appear tuned like a compressor-limiter to require thresholds before passing the information forward. Gupta and Stopfer reported that recently a giant neuron named GGN with “enormous, sweeping arborizations in the input and the output areas” appears to play a big role in information compression in insect olfaction.  This neuron takes input from every Kenyon cell, processes it like a computer, and can then inhibit the inputs.  According to the study, this giant neuron “responded to all tested odors with graded potentials that increased in amplitude along with the concentration of the odor.”  As a result, discrete inputs (molecules), by passing through the layers of information density and compression, yield a continuous output while simultaneously regulating further inputs.  In addition, another neuron tunes the giant neuron’s effectiveness, which in turn can be inhibited by the giant neuron.  Gupta and Stopfer said it’s like the input neurons turn a dial, another neuron regulates the dial’s sensitivity, and the GGN neuron, like a central processor, can choose what to do with the information and control the upstream inputs. In their final paragraph, Gupta and Stopfer said that these insect studies are shedding light on vertebrate olfaction.  Using language that sounds like electronic engineering, they could only refer to evolution in a negative sense (“evolutionarily conserved” means unevolved): The discovery of GGN’s powerful effect on Kenyon cells will reshape our understanding of olfactory coding in higher brain regions. How it works in the context of other sparsening mechanisms, such as the feed-forward inhibition pathway mediated by the lateral horn, will be interesting to determine . Combinations of feed-forward and feed-back inhibition have been observed in the vertebrate olfactory system: Stokes and Isaacson recently showed that a feed-forward inhibition mechanism acts immediately upon stimulus onset, and a feed-back inhibition mechanism contributes more slowly, in slices of the piriform cortex, a brain region in many ways analogous to the invertebrate mushroom bodies. And, in Drosophila, Papadopoulou et al. recorded from the APL, a neuron similar in structure to GGN, and found that the two neurons are functionally equivalent. Thus, global normalization mechanisms for maintaining sparse olfactory codes appear to be common. The relatively simple nervous systems of insects will no doubt continue to pave the way for unraveling the evolutionarily conserved mysteries of olfaction. Gupta and Stopfer, “Olfactory Coding: Giant Inhibitory Neuron Governs Sparse Odor Codes,” Current Biology, Volume 21, Issue 13, R504-R506, 12 July 2011. Move it:  How do we move?  Watch sprinters running down a track, weightlifters hoisting massive barbells, divers twisting in mid-air.  Obviously the central nervous system (CNS) is involved along with muscles.  A hint of the complexity in simple everyday movements can be gleaned from excerpts of a review in Current Biology by German and Swedish researchers.3  Once again, whatever we know is just the tip of an iceberg: Tubes constructed from single-layered sheets of epithelial cells (which line body surfaces and cavities) provide the structural basis for many internal organs. These tubes assume diverse forms, from the 25-foot-long, highly coiled intestine, to the elaborate branched networks of the lung and kidney. Even the brain and heart arise from simple epithelial tubes. Each tube must attain the precise length and diameter required for its physiological function, and creating tubes that bend, coil, branch, or twist requires additional regulatory mechanisms or modes of cellular force production. A major challenge for developmental biologists studying organ formation in the embryo, and for tissue engineers who aspire to build organs in the lab, is to understand how the molecular-level control of subcellular forces leads to tissue-level control of epithelial tube size and shape.  Two papers in this issue … address this challenge. They provide new insight into the cellular processes that make the right tube to fit the job. The first paper, attempting to figure out how airway tubes branch, described growth factors that determine the axis of cell division, giving preference to the long axis.  But these factors are regulated by complex feedback loops that govern their actions, turning them on and off at the proper times.  The second paper tried to figure out how tubes twist.  Again, growth factors were identified that preferentially push daughter cells in certain directions, but there were other factors that could cause bending of individual cells and tissues without cell division. It is clear that the researchers are barely beginning to understand tube formation.  The meager hypotheses in the two papers leave many questions unanswered: such as how a flat sheet of epithelium curves and joins into a tube; how the tube diameter and thickness are controlled; and how all the accessory cells such as sensors, blood vessels and nerves and other organs find their proper locations in and around the tube.  Giving a phenomenon a name like “morphogenesis” is not the same as understanding it.  The authors know that; “These studies signal a growing trend in which classical molecular and genetic approaches merge with quantitative microscopy, image analysis, and modeling to provide new insights into the cellular dynamics of tissue morphogenesis,” they boasted, quickly adding a reality check: “It is likely, however, that we are seeing just the tip of an iceberg.” From genes to tubes:  We have lots of tubes in our bodies: blood vessels, intestines, airways, ducts.  How can a genetic code take dividing cells and build them into tubular structures?  This question was asked in Science this week.2   Sally Horne-Badovinac and Edwin Munro from the University of Chicago described the problem: A major challenge for neuroscience is to determine how central nervous system (CNS) activity is causally related to behaviour. Motor behaviours are generated by task-specific CNS neural networks. Sally Horne-Badovinac and Edwin Munro, “Developmental Biology: Tubular Transformations,” Science 15 July 2011: Vol. 333 no. 6040 pp. 294-295, DOI: 10.1126/science.1209687. Motor behaviour results from information processing across multiple neural networks acting at all levels from initial selection of the behaviour to its final generation. Understanding how motor behaviour is produced requires identifying the constituent neurons of these networks, their cellular properties, and their pattern of synaptic connectivity. These brief looks at just three aspects of body language – olfaction, development and movement – illustrate how scientists find layers of complexity wherever they look.  Now add the endocrine system, digestion, reproduction, circulation, the skeletal system, the sensory organs, and all the other systems, package them all in skin and operate everything with a three-pound brain that runs on potatoes, and you begin to fathom the wonder that is you. Your body is speaking to scientists.  Some of them hear it saying evolution.  Others think it says intelligent design.  What characteristics would each side expect?  Most people intuitively know design when they see it.  Here are three recent scientific papers that may help interpret body language. Movements are produced by multiple neural networks, including high-level networks that ‘decide’ if movement is appropriate, those that determine the general characteristics of the movement (for example, direction, limb or body velocity), and the (often segmental) neural networks that generate the detailed motor neuron activity that drives the locomotor organs (typically muscles). Buschges, Scholz and El Manira, “New Moves in Motor Control,”  Current Biology, Volume 21, Issue 13, R513-R524, 12 July 2011. These papers present, once again, a pattern we find often in scientific papers: the more detail, the less evolution talk.  Only one of the three papers even mentioned evolution, and that instance was pathetic: “Brain mechanisms have evolved to gather and organize sensory information.”  That was the opening sacrifice to Charlie in the olfaction paper.  Ask yourself; did that little piece of worldview self-affirmation provide any understanding to the subject matter?  The whole rest of the paper, for crying out loud, was about codes, mechanisms, fine-tuning, signal processing and layers of information.  Those are the same authors who provided that other Darwin gem in their last sentence: “The relatively simple nervous systems of insects will no doubt continue to pave the way for unraveling the evolutionarily conserved [i.e., unevolved] mysteries of olfaction.”  That was it.  Those were the only two mentions of evolution in these three amazing papers.  Darwinists, if you can’t do better than stating your dogmas as bookends to papers that scream intelligent design, don’t be surprised when growing numbers of people find Charlie’s little myth unconvincing.  The rest of us, hopefully, were inspired to thanksgiving, if not worship, for the unfathomable treasures we have been given for our earthly dwellings.  Appreciating the design inside of you might just motivate you to take better care of your dwelling (see Science Daily and Psalm 139).(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_imgThe imitation of nature in engineering has become one of the hottest trends in science.  Almost every week, amazing technologies are being advanced the easy way – by observing how living things do it.  We all stand to benefit from the design-based science of biomimetics.  Here are a few recent examples. 1. Layered materials by imitation:  PhysOrg titled an article, “Mimicking biological complexity, in a tiny particle.”  MIT engineers are finding ways to make micromolds for multilayer structures the way the body does, to build tissue replacements for surgery.  Some of the structures they’re working on may even contain biological collagen. 2.  Spider silk:  Spider webs remain one of the holy grails for biomimicy engineers.  An article on Science Daily is titled, “Why Spiders Don’t Drop Off of Their Threads: Source of Spider Silk’s Extreme Strength Unveiled.”  It begins, “Spider thread has five times the tensile strength of steel and is stronger than even the best currently available synthetic fibers. Scientists have now succeeded in unveiling a further secret of silk proteins and the mechanism that imparts spider silk with its strength.”  A professor at the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Munich continues the praise: “The strength of spider dragline silk exceeds that of any material produced in laboratories, by far.” We should take a moment to consider what the spider has to do: Spider threads consist of long chains of thousands of repeating sequences of protein molecules. These silk proteins are stored in the silk gland in a highly concentrated form until they are needed. The long chains with their repeating sequences of protein molecules are initially unordered and must not get too close to each other as they would immediately clump up. Only in the spinning passage, just before being used, are the threads oriented parallel to each other and form so-called micro crystallites that are, in turn, assembled to stable threads with cross links. Superlatives for spider silk’s “extraordinary characteristics” continue throughout the article, alongside laments about how difficult they are to duplicate.  Even the scary black widow was honored for its silk.  Slow progress in creating synthetic silk is being made for children wishing to someday become a real Spider-Man. 3.  Spider wear:  Cops can take heart that progress is being made by a Dutch team, according to Live Science, to create better bullet-proof vests inspired by spider webbing.  So far they have made a “spider skin” that can stop, well, low-velocity bullets… with improvements sure to come.  “Such skin is still a long way from adding practical protection to humans, but it gives a glimpse of what future soldiers or would-be superheroes might expect.” 4.  Bee internet:  Want faster navigation through the internet maze?  Think like a bee.  Live Science reported, Bees never seem to disappoint. Organized, selfless, altruistic and industrious, they are the primary pollinators of the world’s flowers, the makers of beeswax, propolis and honey. They’re expert communicators and fantastic fliers. They do many things so well that we don’t understand how they do them. Now, one more skill can be added to the list of inexplicable bee attributes. Biologists from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at the University of London have found that, through an unknown method, bees calculate the most efficient route possible between all the flowers in their environment, minimizing the energy required to gather nectar. With very simple brains, they solve complex routing problems that would confound most humans. How can the study of bees help us?  The article said, “we can learn how to optimize designs for information networks whose routes can’t be planned ahead of time.”  One of the engineers explained how we could apply what they are learning: “we can imagine that ‘bee-inspired’ algorithms could ultimately be used to improve designs of fast-growing information networks (e.g. mobile phone networks, Internet) or transport networks (buses, trains) on which our modern societies rely.” 5.  Dance with the bees:  Meet RoboBee, a robot that has learned the waggle dance of the honeybee hive.  New Scientist teased, “It smells, it buzzes, it even dances like a honeybee. In a field in Germany, RoboBee is making its first attempts at speaking to the insects in their own language.”  Tim Landgraf of the Free University of Berlin in Germany made their invention out of foam.  “Like a real bee, it can spin, buzz its wings, carry scents and droplets of sugar water, and give off heat,” reporter Michael Marshall said.  Did it fool the bees?  Not quite; they did leave the hive, but went to their old feeders.  Not having Rosetta Stone software for bee-ese, Landgraf is double-checking the video footage he took to see where he got the vocabulary wrong.  He’s finding that “bee communication is even more sophisticated than von Frisch thought,” referring to the pioneer of waggle dance studies.  He may have to put legs on his robot, because “some studies suggest there is a tap-dance element to the dance.” 6.  Wave like cilia:  Live Science began an article, “Thin, hair-like biological structures called cilia are tiny but mighty. Each one, made up of more than 600 different proteins, works together with hundreds of others in a tightly-packed layer to move like a crowd at a ball game doing ‘the wave.’”  Federally-funded researchers at Brandeis University are trying to recreate this effect with actual biological proteins.  Why?  “… the new models could have applications in fields ranging from cell biology to physics and nanoscience” and “could even shed light on other self-organizing systems, such as bacterial colonies, flocks of migrating birds and traffic patterns.”  Watch the short video clip to see cilia doing The Wave. 7.  Gecko footprints:  Scientists have learned a lot about how geckos scamper up walls with 500,000 tiny hairs on their toes that grip surfaces using atomic forces.  Now, researchers at the University of Akron have made another discovery: geckos leave footprints.  According to PhysOrg, trails of phospholipids have been found in gecko tracks, suggesting a kind of glue involved in the adhesive walk.  “This material …  has not been considered in current models of gecko adhesion and now provides the missing link in understanding superhydrophobicity, self-cleaning and fluid-like adhesion and release of gecko feet.”  When we get the whole process figured out, what can we look forward to?  How about “synthetic adhesives that could be reused thousands of times over, such as for wall-climbing robots, microelectronics, adhesive tapes and bioadhesives.” 8.  Genetic code expansion:  Biomimetics can also mean tweaking an existing biological structure or function.  A Yale team, according to PhysOrg, has used the genetic DNA code to engineer a new protein that does not exist in nature.  “Instead of creating something new in nature, the researchers essentially induced phosphorylation, a fundamental process that occurs in all forms of life and can dramatically change a protein’s function,” the article explained.  This is an epigenetic operation: “The rules for protein phosphorylation are not directly coded in the DNA but instead occur after the protein is made.”  What might come of this tinkering with “biological switches”?  The Yale team said it “will give us a completely new way to study disease states and hopefully guide the discovery of new drugs.” 9.  Coral sunscreen:  Instead of slathering oil on your skin, why not take a pill, inspired by coral?  The BBC News said, “Scientists hope to harness coral’s natural defence against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays to make a sunscreen pill for humans.”  At Kings College London they want to “uncover the genetic and biochemical processes behind coral’s innate gift.”  Apparently the compounds produced in coral get passed on to fish that dine on them, providing hope that these compounds could be administered orally or in lotions for humans.  They said, “there is a need for better sunscreens,” so why not save a step and use what corals manufacture so effectively? 10.  Beetle feet for wounds:  “Sticking plasters revolutionized the protection of minor wounds, but they’re not ideal for fragile skin,” began an article in Nature.1  “A material that mimics the adhesive properties of certain beetles’ feet might provide a solution.”  Aristotle had investigated the beetle walk in ancient times, but it wasn’t till Y2K (2000) that the mechanism was described.  Today’s acrylic adhesives lose their grip after repeated use, Karp and Langer said; “To bypass the need for these glues, researchers have focused on adhesion mechanisms used by animals such as beetles and geckos, whose feet stick to walls without any glue.”  Geckos and certain beetles use similar mechanisms, but with a difference: “Gecko spatulae are roughly hundreds of nanometres in length, whereas the mushroom-shaped structures of Chrysomelidae beetles’ feet are on the micrometre scale,” the authors noted.  Now, Kwak et al. in work described by the authors, have succeeded in producing an adhesive without glue that mimics the mushroom-shaped projections on beetle feet.  “Remarkably, the substrate maintained good adhesion through up to 30 cycles of attachment and removal, without causing significant damage to skin.”  This could someday be a great boon to burn victims, skin graft patients and other people facing surgery. In a book review for Science,2 Andrew Biewener considered “Animals as Mature Technology.”  The new book from Harvard he reviewed was Engineering Animals: How Life Works, by Denny and McFadzean.  He called the book “a readable romp through a diverse range of topics that include animal energetics, metabolism, and ecology; structural and circulatory mechanics; locomotion; sensory signal processing and control; and communication.”  Animal parts featured include bat and dolphin sonar, bird flight, pterosaur bones, fish migration, and much more.  It looks like biomimetics engineers will not run out of inspiring subjects any time soon. 1.  Jeffrey M. Karp and Robert Langer, “Materials science: Dry solution to a sticky problem,” Nature  477 (01 September 2011), pp. 42–43, doi:10.1038/477042a. 2. Andrew A. Biewener, “Biomechanics: Animals as ‘Mature Technology’,” Science, 19 August 2011: Vol. 333 no. 6045 p. 938, DOI: 10.1126/science.1208791. It’s nice to have good news to share between depressing reports about Darwinian bigotry and foolishness.  Biomimetics is good for humanity.  Everyone can join in the adventure, evolutionists and creationists, because there is no requirement for Darwinian just-so stories to interfere with the celebrations about design.  We think even Darwinians would like to have biologically-inspired adhesives in their next surgery, coral-inspired sunscreen pills, real SpiderMan toys for their kids, and a bee-inspired faster internet.  Keep science’s focus on good design in nature and let the evolutionary nonsense drop off the radar like old Victorian fads.(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_imgA shark genome shows the slowest evolution ever, but prehistoric sharks were the first to figure out long-distance migration.Slower than coelacanth, the well-known living fossil: that’s the verdict about shark evolution coming from the genome of the elephant shark published in Nature.Here we report the whole-genome analysis of a cartilaginous fish, the elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii). We find that the C. milii genome is the slowest evolving of all known vertebrates, including the ‘living fossil’ coelacanth….Not a true shark, New Scientist says, the elephant shark is a “ratfish” that diverged from the shark line.  It nevertheless has much in common with true sharks, including a cartilaginous skeleton; its genome, therefore, can serve as a representative of cartilaginous fish as opposed to bony fish – the two major subgroups of early gnathostomes (jawed vertebrates).The Nature authors believe that the elephant shark fits into the evolutionary story of fish-to-tetrapod evolution; nevertheless, it is surprising that any species should exhibit such little change after supposedly 300 million years, during which the environment changed radically, major extinctions occurred, and (one might suppose) the ordinary pressures to evolve or perish would have been relentless.  It is especially astonishing, considering the previous upheavals in fish evolution they believe in:The emergence of gnathostomes from jawless vertebrates marks a major event in the evolution of vertebrates. This transition was accompanied by many morphological and phenotypic innovations, such as jaws, paired appendages and an adaptive immune system based on immunoglobulins, T-cell receptors and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules (Fig. 1a). How these novelties emerged and how they facilitated the divergence, adaptation and dominance of gnathostomes as the major group (99.9%) of living vertebrates are key unresolved questions.Elephant sharks should have been capable of evolving and innovating things.  Another New Scientist article alleges that other “prehistoric sharks were [the] earliest animals to migrate.”  A fossil species named Bandringa is said to be ” far and away the oldest known example of a migrating animal,” with “the earliest evidence of migration in a vertebrate” according to  scientists at the University of Michigan.  This required navigation skills, good memory, and the ability to transition from salt to fresh water.None of the articles explained why evolutionary innovation would grind to a halt in the elephant shark.  Michael Coates at the University of Chicage remarked, “We’re getting this divorce between the apparent conservatism of their genome and the astonishing singing and dancing that was going on anatomically.”  Readers might wonder who is doing the song and dance.Coelacanth should have sealed the fate of Darwinists.  They were wrong on three fronts: it should have been dead, but was alive; it should have evolved, but did not; and it should have been a transitional form, but it wasn’t.  You can’t get more wrong, but here they are now with a worse problem, tale-telling as usual as if all is well.  How do these guys get away with it?  In any other field, such incompetence would send them packing.It gets so tiring to hear about “the emergence of” this or that complex system, “this transition” with all the “innovations” that “arose” as if by magic.  It also gets unbearable to hear the same excuses about how evolution is inexorable except when it isn’t, and how it is fast except when it is slow, or the number of “unresolved questions” that remain after 155 years of Darwinism.  Yet the same clueless people are given the sole platform to discuss questions of origins.Here again we have seen Darwinist Finagle rules in action: (1) Believe in evolution; (2) Observe a fact; (3) Make up a story to fit the fact into the belief.  How long must we endure the corrupt reign of King Charles and his theorybots?  They can’t be fired because of union rules in the Great Society for Storytellers (12/22/03).  Detroit is less bankrupt than these guys.  If we stop attending their song and dance, maybe they’ll get a divorce from science.  She deserves better. (Visited 20 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_imgStudy: Green Building Codes Don’t Save EnergyThe Jevons Paradox Freakonomics Podcast: How Efficient Is Energy Efficiency? Steven Nadel is the executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. This post originally appeared on the ACEEE blog. GBA posted a news story about the original study in January.ACEEE is a strong supporter of analyzing energy efficiency programs in order to see what they have accomplished and to learn lessons so we can do even better. It was thus with interest that we reviewed How Much Energy Do Building Energy Codes Really Save? Evidence from California by Arik Levinson.In this paper Levinson conducts several analyses and concludes that “there is no evidence that homes constructed since California instituted its building energy codes use less electricity today than homes built before the codes came into effect.”On the surface his conclusions about the efficacy of building codes are very different from other recent analyses, so we took a deeper look.Building energy codes in the United Sates primarily address energy used for space heating and air conditioning, with some impact on water heating energy use. In addition, commercial building codes also address lighting in a substantial way. Therefore, any analysis of the effect of codes needs to look at energy consumption for these end uses. Study should focus on natural gasA good analysis of the impact of California’s building codes should focus on natural gas use. Levinson does do one analysis of natural gas use, finding that homes built since California’s building energy code began use less natural gas than earlier homes.However he then dismisses this finding since the trend started before the building codes took effect. He presents no evidence that prior trends would have continued, and therefore his claim that building codes had no effect is speculation.Finally, if the objective is to examine all building codes and not just some codes, then it’s also important to look at commercial buildings. According to an analysis by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, nationwide about 69 percent of building code savings in 2012 were in the commercial sector and only 31 percent in the residential sector.More than 80 percent of the commercial savings were in electricity.Bottom line: Levinson is on the wrong path if he’s trying to see the impacts of building codes. If he wants to see the forest — the impacts of codes or their absence — he needs to understand the trees. He needs to look where the impacts are supposed to be, and in California this means residential natural gas and commercial building electricity use. California’s mild climate is a factorThe fact is, though, that California has a mild climate, and, according to a recent analysis by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), only 4 percent of California home energy use is for air conditioning. Using EIA figures we can go on to calculate that air conditioning represents about 10 percent of home electricity (as opposed to energy) use. If we make a ballpark estimate that codes reduce air conditioning electricity use by 30 percent, Levinson is looking for 3 percent savings in the data.Furthermore, a majority of the savings in air conditioning energy use is probably due to air conditioner efficiency standards that also apply to replacement equipment in existing homes. Since Levinson is comparing new and existing homes, of the 3 percent savings mentioned above, perhaps 2 percent are also being achieved in his comparison group of existing homes.Thus, he’s looking for a 1 percent savings effect in new homes. It’s very difficult to find such a small effect in a statistical analysis; with an effect that small, it would be more surprising to see such savings show up in a statistical analysis than if the savings did not show up.In addition, it should be noted that the rising saturation of electronic gadgets in U.S. homes may be affecting new home energy use, a factor Levinson does not examine but that perhaps explains some of the increasing energy use he found in new homes.center_img Energy use in CaliforniaLevinson is examining California, so we should start by looking at how California heats and cools its buildings and water. The California Energy Commission had a consultant prepare a report looking at residential appliance saturations in 2009. They found that 93 percent of California homes are heated with gas and only 5 percent are heated with electricity. Likewise they found that 87 percent of homes have gas water heating and only 7 percent use electricity for water heating. Central air conditioners are used in 49 percent of homes, with an additional 15 percent using room air conditioners.California added a limited lighting provision to its 2008 residential code, but the savings are too recent and too small to show up in a long-term analysis.Based on this information, an analysis of California residential building codes should concentrate on natural gas use and only secondarily on electricity. Unfortunately, this is the opposite of what Levinson does. Most of his analysis is on electricity use, and he generally excludes homes with electric space or water heat. He does so because the saturation of electric space heat has been changing over time, and according to Levinson, therefore doesn’t fit well into his time series analysis. Thus his analysis looks for the effect of building codes on air conditioning energy use. RELATED ARTICLES last_img read more