19 Dec

Junk Science Gets Good Press if It Supports Darwinism

first_imgThe headlines for some scientific news stories might leave philosophers of science wagging their heads.  Few, though, are the reporters willing to call something really dumb, or at least questionable—especially if it appears to support evolution.The small ball theory:  PNAS published a paper by Emory University evolutionists alleging that dads with small testicles make better fathers.  This kind of subjective claim is highly susceptible to investigator bias, participant bias, and sample size, and is therefore nearly impossible to establish (besides being dumb on the face of it).  Are well-endowed males destined for a life of bad-dadness?  Are moral behaviors determined by one’s equipment?  Don’t personal choices matter?  Doesn’t character count?  But like starting gun to a race, all the reporters, Nature included, nearly simultaneously proclaimed it as scientific fact: the BBC News, Live Science, New Scientist, and general reporters, ever lusting after prurient content, who feed on these sources (Yahoo News, USA Today, Smithsonian’s “Smart News” blog; Forbes had the cojones to criticize the claim).  Fortunately, most articles took their eye off the ball and spared their readers graphic illustrations.Somehow, it seems unsurprising that evolutionary theory motivated this study.  The BBC said,The researchers were investigating an evolutionary theory about trade-offs between investing time and effort in mating or putting that energy into raising children. The idea being that larger testicles would suggest greater commitment to creating more children over raising them.Undoubtedly, other researchers could find many counter-examples if they tried, disposing of this softball claim in the dustbin of evolutionary just-so stories.  Live Science pointed out another pitfall: “no one knows how testicular volume changes over time.”  The claim is rife with unknowns and variables that could “prove” anything.    The fine print in the BBC article noted that “The exact nature of any link is not clear” and that “further studies… are still needed“.   Any “finding” that appears to support Darwinism, though, seems to get a pass.What to wear to the cave cookout:  On the occasion of Fashion Week (did you know?  did you care?)  National Geographic spilled excessive ink pondering the evolution of clothes. Even though the story is threadbare of evidence, the article decided that clothing originated 25,000 years ago; or maybe it was 300,000, no one knows exactly why.  Perhaps the most useful piece of information was the revelation that Neanderthals were skilled clothiers, better tailored than brutes hiding their privates with animal skins.   Another take-home message is seen in this link to a 1909 drawing of Neanderthal Man published in the Illustrated London News, making it look as ape-like and brutish as possible to portray it as a missing evolutionary link.  Nowadays Neanderthals are more respected as members of the human race.This one is full of holes:  Some people have a condition called trypophobia: the fear of holes.  Science Daily and other sites reported that this phobia “May Stem from Evolutionary Survival Response.”  Dr. Cole (U of Essex) was quick to offer an evolutionary story: “These findings suggest that there may be an ancient evolutionary part of the brain telling people that they are looking at a poisonous animal.”  The explanation makes humans pawns of an evolutionary history they never experienced.  “It backs up the theory that we are set-up to be fearful of things which hurt us in our evolutionary past,” Dr. Cole alleged.  “We have an innate predisposition to be wary of things that can harm us.”  It appears he never thought of self-preservation as a possibly designed instinct.It came from outer space:  The Sutter’s Mill Meteorite that fell in 2012 contained traces of organic compounds previously not seen in meteorites.  That’s the science part.  Most of the science news media (e.g., Space.com) announced, however, that these molecules tell secrets about the origin of life.Scientists investigating the origin of life often suppose dissolved compounds desirable for life need to first have gotten concentrated and held together somehow, much as cell membranes do for the cell’s components. The organic molecules the researchers discovered in the Sutter’s Mill fragments “could be good for such a purpose, because they can form rudimentary enclosures to contain compounds useful to prebiotic evolution,” Pizzarello said.Live Science justified the speculation on the grounds of ignorance: “Since the origins of life are utterly unknown, the idea has its merits.”In a similar vein, PhysOrg reported that newly-discovered microbes “could be crucial to understanding origins of life on Earth,” this despite the fact that the microbes have highly adapted mechanisms for survival.  The suggestion that these microbes provide understanding about a far-removed, distant notion of life’s origin was merely tossed out there without any evidential support.  It “could be crucial” but, then again, it could be utterly irrelevant.And on it goes:  Here are a few other evolutionary stories offered up as speculative possibilities:The evolution of play:  maybe it enhanced creativity, Jonathon Keats suggested in a book review on New Scientist celebrating the imaginations of two authors; “there’s no reason why scholarship can’t be as seriously playful as bubble-blowing”  – a Freudian slip?Phoenix mammals:  Out of the ash of dinosaur death, mammal-ness rises.  That’s what “new research suggests” according to Science Daily.  It takes an “evolutionary paleontologist” to come up with that notion.The whole tooth and nothing butt:  Science Daily used the power of suggestion to conjure up images of mindless designers in an arbitration meeting: “This suggests that the wear process might have a crucial influence in the evolution and structural adaptation of molars, enabling to endure bite forces and to reduce tooth failure throughout the lifetime of an individual.”  At least it “seemed” like an “evolutionary compromise” to an evolutionist.Evolutionary leg up:  Why did the bird run across the road?  Its tail got shorter.  That’s the evolutionary explanation on Science Daily: “A radical shortening of their bony tails over 100 million years ago enabled the earliest birds to develop versatile legs that gave them an evolutionary edge, a new study shows.”  It shows no such thing; that was an interpretation.  According to the chief speculator, “Our work shows that, whilst they may have started off as just another type of dinosaur, birds quickly made a rather special evolutionary breakthrough that gave them abilities and advantages that their dinosaur cousins didn’t have.”Malice in Blunderland: Science Magazine began an article with a headline suitable for children: “How the Red Queen Drives Terrestrial Mammals to Extinction.”  One of the co-authors was Charles Marshall, the master of disaster who swept away the problem of the Cambrian explosion by saying that animals evolved because they evolved (see 4/23/06).This is a sample of a strange genre in science reporting: evolutionary speculation gets the green light.  It’s ironic that these evolutionists and their reporters are often the ones criticizing creationists over “lack of evidence” or “using science to support a belief system.”We’re going to keep displaying this Darwin-brand baloney till it stinks so bad people stop buying it.  To do that, we have to take it out of the can and unwrap it.  It’s hard for us to smell it, too, but somebody has to show the world what passes for science from the Darwin Baloney Factory.  If anyone outside the Darwin Party tried to fawn such putrid stuff on the public, the health authorities would shut them down faster than you could say DODO.The 2013 IgNobel Prizes are being announced.  Hey!  We have some candidates you overlooked!  Hey Bah-Fest!  Check these out for your Oct 6 celebration!(Visited 26 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

18 Dec

South Africa takes stock of its farmers

first_img“Currently, challenges facing the department are in delivering and monitoring on land redistribution, tenure, and restitution targets,” Zita said in a statement last week. “Also, the development of black South African farmers cannot be properly measured owing to a lack of statistics on these small-scale farmers.” Informed policy development The census-styled Farmer Register initiative, which will start in the Mgungundlovu District Municipality and eventually cover the entire country, is expected to contribute to informed policy development and improved planning, decision-making and service delivery across the entire agricultural sector. Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Director-General Langa Zita said that a regularly maintained Farmer Register would help the department and other government institutions to measure the sector’s performance accurately, and make informed decisions on priority settings and resource allocation. The completion of the Farmer Register will improve communication with farmers in terms outbreaks of diseases, measures that can be taken, and existing opportunities, and make it easier to estimate the impact of damage at any given time. A team of eight department representatives and 100 contracted field workers are already in KwaZulu-Natal and will be visiting each farm and farmer to capture information on ownership, demographics, employment, production capacity and the type of products produced per geographical area. KwaZulu-Natal is set to become the first of South Africa’s nine provinces to establish an accurate register of all its agricultural producers.center_img SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material Local agricultural officers 11 October 2011 This follows a call to roll out a national farmer registration process aimed at establishing a central database to overcome data shortfalls and baseline information challenges on farms and farmers that interact with the government. The data collectors will be in the company of local agricultural extension officers who are familiar with producers.last_img read more

18 Dec

Sunbird to supply Eskom with Ibhubesi gas

first_img17 March 2015Sunbird Energy, an Australian listed energy company, has signed deal under which it will supply gas to Eskom. South Africa’s national energy utility plans to use gas rather than costly diesel to power its generators.The Ibhubesi Gas Project (IGP) would supply Eskom’s Ankerlig power station with 30 billion cubic feet of gas a year for up to 15 years, Sunbird said in a statement on Wednesday.The Ibuhebesi development is off the West Coast of South Africa and is a joint venture between Sunbird (76%) and PetroSA (24%), the national oil company. Sunbird Energy, the operator of the project, received governmental approval to acquire the production right on Block 2A, 105km off the coast of the Northern Province within the Orange Basin, in October 2013.By connecting South Africa’s largest proven gas field with Ankerlig, Ibuhebesi would allow Eskom “to realise significant fuel cost savings, while providing a new and cleaner burning energy supply to South Africa”, Kerwin Rana, Sunbird’s chairman, said.The first gas out of the IGP and into the Ankerlig Power Station is expected in 2018.Eskom supplies about 95% of the country’s electricity, but has had to use diesel- powered turbines as it struggles to meet demand. Ankerlig, which is about 40km north of Cape Town, has an installed capacity of 1 350MW and has used diesel since it was constructed in 2007.The deal marked the commercialisation of IGP, Rana said, which would “provide a critical foundation project for the development of an integrated gas economy on the West Coast of South Africa”.Rana said the development of the IGP were aligned with South Africa’s energy “war room” priorities of bringing energy security and reducing costs through the Five-Point Plan being overseen by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.The IGP project also supported the goals of Operation Phakisa, a presidential initiative aimed at unlocking the economic potential of South Africa’s oceans, with a particular focus on oil and gas development.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

16 Dec

An Influencers Guide to SXSW 2011

first_imgThe list of 25 parties shows a full list of “influencers” attending, along with what topics the people attending have influence with. When you click through to the full list, you can access each individual influencer, their contact information and details on what topics they influence. For the full list of 25 parties to attend to meet the folks, visit the SocMetrics site. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts mike melanson Tags:#conferences#SXSW 2011#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… South by Southwest Interactive, that yearly invasion by geeks, dweebs and nerds alike, is coming up next week and there are more parties than you could shake a stick at. That is, unless you were one crazy, stick shaking S.O.B. So how do you decide which one to go to and which one to walk on by? Well, you want to go to the one with the people you want to meet, right? You’re there to have fun and make connections.SocMetrics, a startup that ranks influencers according to topic, has come up with an “Influencers Guide” to the top 25 parties at this year’s SXSW that could help guarantee you run into the folks you’re looking for.Unlike something like Klout, SocMetrics doesn’t see influence as an across the board metric. That is, a tech blogger may have influence in their particular realm of technology, they likely have none whatsoever in the recording industry, for example. So, SocMetrics ranks individuals according to their influence in a particular niche, using three factors – peers, topicality and content. (Read more about SocMetrics particular blend of analytics on its site.)SocMetrics took its methods and applied them to events listed on social calendar Plancast to arrive at a list of 25 parties where you’re almost guaranteed to run into that big name investor, founder, guru or blogger. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

28 Nov

Olympic athletics: Away from media glare, Tintu Luka is looking to spring a surprise

first_imgTintu Luka, a prodigy being nurtured by PT Usha, will be the focus from the Indian point of view when the 800m race is held on Wednesday.At a time when some of the track and field stars have done well at the London Olympics, there is bound to be pressure on Tintu, bronze medallist at the Guangzhou Asian Games.This is the young girl’s first Olympics, and she is being protected by Usha. People who have tried to meet Tintu in London have had no luck, though Usha gave some insight into their training.”We have been training here since July 28 and only one day we got into the Olympic Stadium. My main concern is the weather and not Tintu’s form,” said Usha.According to the legendary athlete, the changing weather conditions here could be tough to deal with. “It is one some days sunny but on days when there is rain and a strong breeze, it makes it difficult for Tintu. She is not used to such conditions,” said Usha.Usha admitted that Tintu could do without the media hype as that plays on an athlete’s mind. “Two years ago, before the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, people kept writing about Tintu and it affected her,” says Usha.It is well known that star athletes do not go on to become champion coaches. Now that Usha has taken on this challenge, it is up to her to shape Tintu as an athlete who can handle media pressure.advertisementAs it were, a couple of Indian athletes in London have fallen victim to the hype.”I am sure if it is sunny, then Tintu will make the final on Wednesday. I am not worried about her timing at all,” said Usha.It is well known that the 800m event is known as a tactical race and Tintu has on a couple of occasions in the past looked out of gas in the final stretch.The London Olympics have seen high order performances and the time has come for Tintu to show the world how much she has matured as a runner.last_img read more

27 Nov

FIFA World Cup 2014 match preview: Host Brazil takes center stage at World Cup

first_imgBrazil’s footbal team at a training session ahead of their match with Chile, at Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil (AP Photo)The second round of the World Cup gets underway with host nation Brazil facing Chile and Colombia taking on Uruguay in an all-South American race to reach the quarterfinals. Brazil will be the first to play, in Belo Horizonte, and faces a Chile squad that has lived up to its pre-tournament expectations as a very good team that could cause few surprises. Colombia, which plays a Uruguay lineup that will be missing Luis Suarez, has also delivered so far on predictions of being a potential quarterfinalist in Brazil. Given Suarez’s absence, Colombia’s run should continue after Saturday’s game at Rio’s Maracana stadium. BRAZIL vs CHILE The statistics point to one outcome at the Estadio Mineirao: Brazil has never lost to Chile on home soil and hasn’t been beaten by its South American rival in 14 years. On top of that, Neymar is already in scintillating form for Brazil at the tournament. He scored twice in a labored 3-1 victory over Croatia in the tournament opener and struck two more to give Brazil a decisive 2-1 lead in what became a comfortable 4-1 win over Cameroon in its last group game. However, Brazil’s players – and coach – are understandably wary of a dangerous Chile side which has far less to lose than the hosts. “It’s normal to feel uncomfortable and anxious ahead of this first elimination game,” Luiz Felipe Scolari said. “We are a bit more scared and nervous… not only because this one is in Brazil. We know we can’t make mistakes, we can’t lose.”advertisement Chile’s 2-0 victory over 2010 World Cup champion Spain at the group stage underlined the potential of Jorge Sampaoli’s team, though a loss to the Netherlands by the same score maybe indicated its limits. Playmaker Arturo Vidal and livewire forward Eduardo Vargas will be the ones to watch in a game which the Chileans are clearly relishing. Vidal is coming back from injury, but there are bigger concerns over a muscle injury sustained by central defender Gary Medel. “We have a historic opportunity to eliminate the hosts,” Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo said. “It’s our longtime rival, one with a lot of titles. It’s up to us to do it.” COLOMBIA vs URUGUAY Things could hardly be going better for Colombia ahead of this match. Three straight victories and nine goals scored, playmaker James Rodriguez has been outstanding and now Uruguay’s best player, striker Luis Suarez, has been sent home. Even allowing for the absence at this tournament of its star forward, the injured Radamel Falcao, Colombia will be the favorite to reach the quarterfinals. Rodriguez, who engineered the opening two victories over Greece and Ivory Coast but was rested for the first half of a 4-1 win over Japan, will return to the starting lineup. For Uruguay, the loss of Suarez will be damaging – both technically and psychologically. His two goals in the 2-1 victory over England in Group D propelled Uruguay toward to the knockout stage and his presence in the squad as a proven match winner did much for its confidence. By contrast, strike partner Edinson Cavani has been in mediocre form so far at the tournament and will need to step up to the plate against Colombia. Playmaker Diego Forlan, named the best player of the 2010 World Cup, could be Uruguay’s best hope of a victory.last_img read more

18 Nov

WTA Finals: Venus Williams turns back clock to edge Jelena Ostapenko in marathon

first_imgVenus Williams produced a vintage display full of guts and determination to grind out a 7-5 6-7(3) 7-5 victory over Jelena Ostapenko in their White Group encounter at the WTA Finals on Tuesday.Both players had lost their opening ties on Sunday so were desperate for a victory to keep their future fate in the eight-woman event in their own hands and neither appeared willing to budge in a titanic three hour and 13-minute marathon.In the end, the 37-year-old Williams emerged from a bruising encounter that featured 20 breaks of serve with a victory built on her calmness at the key moments and ruthlessness when offered a chance to attack her opponent’s weak second serve.”Sometimes you need some luck. I don’t know if I had any tonight as I had to work for every point,” Williams said in a courtside interview.”I don’t know if there was any luck for me tonight – I just had to work for every point” -@VenusesWilliams #WTAFinals pic.twitter.com/7PrjkkEXJO- WTA (@WTA) October 24, 2017″It’s not easy when you lose the first match. Both of us were in the same situation and you have to fight, what else can you do, to live another day.”The match started with Ostapenko trying to force the pace with the high-risk strategy that carried her to French Open glory, while Williams was content to pick up free points as her opponent sprayed a plethora of attempted winners wide or long.The Latvian edged ahead in the opener, however, and even served for the set at 5-3 but the veteran American dug deep and reeled off six consecutive games to first steal the set and then move ahead in the second.advertisementThe 20-year-old battled back as the pair traded two breaks apiece before Williams brought up a her first match point in the 10th game that she failed to convert when she dumped a forehand into the net as Ostapenko continued to go for her shots..@VenusesWilliams records first win at 2017 #WTAFinals!Battles past Ostapenko 7-5, 6-7(3), 7-5! pic.twitter.com/BkFcRkiCNp- WTA (@WTA) October 24, 2017The pair’s inability to hold serve spilled over into the tiebreak and Williams handed Ostapenko three set points with a wild forehand and the Latvian levelled the contest on the first of them when the American netted a backhand.Four more breaks of serve followed in the decider until Ostapenko rallied from 0-40 to hold in the ninth game and the Latvian saved three more break points in the 11th before finally running out of lives when she sent a backhand wide.Williams could smell blood and a booming ace brought up three more match points and the American sealed victory on the second of them with a crosscourt backhand winner.Spanish world number two Garbine Muguruza takes on Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova in the second White Group match later on Tuesday. Both players won their opening matches on Sunday.last_img read more

16 Nov

Will personally take you to a psychiatrist: Gautam Gambhir hits back at Shahid Afridi

first_imgNot known to pull back punches, Gautam Gambhir hit back at Shahid Afridi, offering to take him to a session with “a psychiatrist” after the former Pakistan captain wrote a few uncharitable things about the Indian opener.Afridi in his just-released autobiography ‘Game Changer’ had sarcastically referred to Gambhir as someone who “behaves like a cross between Don Bradman and James Bond,” and has a “lot of attitude and no great records”Gambhir responded through his official twitter handle tagging Afridi.@SAfridiOfficial you are a hilarious man!!! Anyway, we are still granting visas to Pakistanis for medical tourism. I will personally take you to a psychiatrist.Chowkidar Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) May 4, 2019″…you are a hilarious man!!! Anyway, we are still granting visas to Pakistanis for medical tourism. I will personally take you to a psychiatrist,” Gambhir tweeted.The duo never shared a great rapport on and off-the-field and it was reflected in Afridi’s take on Gambhir.”Some rivalries were personal, some professional. First the curious case of Gambhir. Oh, poor Gautam. He & his attitude problem. He has no personality. He who is barely a character in the great scheme of cricket. He who has no great records just a lot of attitude,” Afridi wrote.”Gambhir behaves like he’s a cross between Don Bradman & James Bond. In Karachi, we call guys like him saryal (grumpy). It’s simple, I like happy, positive people. Doesn’t matter if they are aggressive or competitive, but you have to be positive & Gambhir wasn’t,” he further wrote.advertisementThe two had an angry bust-up during a bilateral series ODI in Kanpur back in 2007 (wrongly referred in Afridi’s book as Asia Cup game).”I remember the run-in with Gambhir during the 2007 Asia Cup, when he completed his single while running straight into me. The umpires had to finish it off or I would have. Clearly, we had a frank bilateral discussion about each other’s female relatives,” Afridi recalled the uncharitable verbal exchange.Afridi has recently agreed that he had indulged in age-fraud and was 21 years old when he scored his hundred debut and not 16 as it was believed for a lot of years.Also Read | Umpires had to finish it off or I would have: Afridi recalls run-in with GambhirAlso Read | Pakistan star Shahid Afridi finally reveals his real agelast_img read more

28 Oct

a month agoFIFA to intervene as Cardiff and Nantes can’t agree on Sala fee

first_imgFIFA to intervene as Cardiff and Nantes can’t agree on Sala feeby Ansser Sadiqa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveCardiff City have failed to agree a compensation deal with Nantes over Emiliano Sala.The Championship club had originally agreed to pay £15 million for the Argentinian before his tragic death earlier this year.Cardiff have now disputed the figure agreed with the Ligue 1 club.FIFA will get involved this week to find a resolution. About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

27 Oct

GIF: St. John’s Stars D’Angelo Harrison And Phil Greene IV Combine For An Awesome Bounce Pass Alley-Oop

first_imga shot of an ncaa basketball before a game(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)No, this was not from a live game, and the basket does look a bit short in the shot, but St. John’s basketball stars D’Angelo Harrison and Phil Greene IV combined for an awesome alley-oop for a Big East Tournament video shoot. Harrison throws a perfect bounce pass which Greene collects during a mid-air spin for a big two-handed dunk. The slow-motion camera work definitely adds something here as well.Harrison to Greene at the #BIGEASTtourney video shoot #SJUBB pic.twitter.com/BOkNd6Vgw5— St. John’s BBall (@StJohnsBBall) March 9, 2015St. John’s is a five seed in this week’s Big East Tournament. The Red Storm kick off the post-season against four-seed Providence at 2:30 on Thursday, March 12.last_img read more