Playing Fast and Loose with Evolution

first_imgThe word evolution gets used and misused often.  Strictly speaking, neo-Darwinian evolution demands that mutations and natural selection operate with no foresight or oversight, no purpose or direction, no impetus toward a desired outcome.  In actual practice, scientists and reporters play fast and loose with the term, making it into a designer substitute. Here are some quick samples of how the word evolution gets used and misused in the popular press: Normally we speak of intelligently-designed automobiles going into overdrive.  Replace each of the stories with design language and they make a lot more sense: a designing force for multicellularity, designed liver enzymes, adults designed to adapt to oxygen levels, designed molecular powerhouses, an Earth-moon system designed to permit life, and designed overdrive for functional adaptation.  This coincides with our normal, everyday understanding of the cause and effect structure of the world.  One cannot use evolution in those senses; that is nonsense.  Undirected, impersonal, purposeless processes do not adapt and function.  Putting the word in passive voice (“had evolved”) or infinitive (“allowing life to evolve”), or omitting the subject (“thought to have evolved” – who thought such a ridiculous thing?) are distractions. These and many other articles in the press show that the word “evolution” has become a meaningless catch-all assumption for anything biologists cannot explain.  If it exists, it evolved; if it works, it evolved; if it went up or down or sideways, it evolved.  It evolved because it evolved.  For the simple-minded, there’s nothing else to say.  Darwin Daddy-O said it, they believe it, that settles it. Grow up.(Visited 25 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Yeast:  Science Daily spoke of an “evolutionary force that led to multicellularity,” but the data referred only to living yeast cells that seem to operate better in clumps than alone.  Rats:  PhysOrg spoke of rats that “have evolved liver enzymes to metabolize large amounts” of plant toxins. Giant insects:  National Geographic puzzled over how insects grew so large during the Carboniferous.  It wasn’t higher oxygen; in fact, no theory won the day, but reporter Ker Than was certain that after the giant dragonflies (as big as seagulls) had their day on the evolutionary stage, “adults would have evolved to require more oxygen” and would have died out as oxygen levels dropped. Mitochondria:  The powerhouses of the cell that house ATP synthase are surely some of the most complex regions in any cell, but to some reporters, it’s no problem for Darwin. “They are thought to have evolved more than a billion years ago from primitive bacterium which was engulfed by an early eukaryotic cell resulting in endosymbiotic relationships between the host cell and the newly formed organelle,” Science Daily tells us.  “During evolution the vast majority of the mitochondrial genetic material left the organelle and got integrated into the nucleus of the host cell.” Man but a worm:  PhysOrg used the E-word repeatedly in a short article titled “From worm to man,“ speaking of “our distant evolutionary cousins” the flatworms, the “evolutionary origin of mammalian kidneys,” two main “branches on the evolutionary tree of life,” and the “the evolution of certain attributes” in various animals. Everything:  In an article about whether the moon is needed to stabilize the Earth, said that wild orbital swings “could potentially affect the evolution of complex life.”  Reporter Nola Redd continued the theme, saying that even without a moon, a planet “may be stable enough for life to evolve”. Evolutionary overdrive:  National Geographic also reported a new discovery of hydrothermal vents in the North Atlantic, with “evolution in overdrive” occurring there.  “It’s an example of what happens to organisms when they become isolated and evolution goes into overdrive,” said one of the discoverers.last_img read more

Putting farm safety into practice

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The National Farm Safety and Health Week is observed every third week of September. This commemorative week has been practiced for 73 years, with the first observation being in 1944 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office. Ohio will celebrate this week on Sept. 17 though Sept. 23, 2017.The theme “Putting Safety into Practice” reminds us that it is everyone’s responsibility to practice safety — on the farm and on the road. The U.S. Department of Labor calculates the death rate for agricultural workers to be higher than other workforces. Knowing that agriculture is a dangerous industry — this includes farming, forestry and fishing — it is important for workers to practice safety.As the theme suggests, practicing safety is something we should do, not something we merely say. When safety is a part of our lifestyle and our workplace routine, it becomes a way of life. Employees and employers should work together recognize and reduce potential hazards.The Ohio State University Agricultural Safety and Health Program promotes this commemorative week, but also has materials available throughout the year. A variety of outreach resources are developed for different farm operations, large or small, and a wide range of workforce ages, including safety messages for children or visitors who may not work on the farm. Many of these resources are provided at no cost on the website. Training programs are also available for agricultural groups and businesses looking for specific workplace issues. A monthly newsletter is published each month called Ag S.T.A.T.  This online publication shares short announcements of upcoming safety events, as well as delivers short safety messages for that particular time of year.All of these materials are available through the OSU Ag Safety Program website: or Facebook at OSU Ag Safety and Health.The OSU safety staff will also be at Farm Science Review, located within OSU Central on the exhibit map. Stop by and watch our Grain C.A.R.T. demonstrations, look for hazards at the Farm Safety Scene hazard hunt, see new safety features for ATV’s and UTV’s, answer questions about how youth are safely employed on your farm, and attend daily sessions on farm equipment modifications in the AgrAbility tent. Our safety team is available all three days of the Review to answer your specific questions.Practicing safety is something we all do in agriculture. Having a commemorative week is just a reminder of this, no matter the week or the season.Dee Jepsen, Associate Professor, can be reached at 292-6008 or [email protected]  This column is provided by the OSU Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, OSU Extension, Ohio Agricultural Research & Development Center, and the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.last_img read more

News Headline Roundup

first_imgSeattle Introduces Flexible Demolition Permits to Encourage Building Deconstruction#SEATTLE, Wash. — In hopes of encouraging green building deconstruction, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development has modified the way it issues demolition permits. A new voluntary permitting option will provide more time for green builders to salvage reusable materials from buildings slated for demolition. Rather than requiring simultaneous permits for demolition and new construction, the planning department will now issue a separate demolition permit prior to issuing a new-construction permit, as long as the existing building is being deconstructed and materials are being salvaged for reuse. Among those frustrated by the old permitting process was Pat Finn of RE Store in Ballard. “Being in the reuse industry, we’ve had a hard time getting into some houses to salvage before demolition because the builder, homeowner, or contractor does not get their demolition permits before they get access into the building,” said Finn. “We’re pretty excited that the city is looking for ways to lessen the waste and allow opportunity for more salvageable waste.” For more information, read the report from the Ballard News-Tribune. DOE Proposes Changes to Energy Star Window Criteria#WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy has released the latest version of its proposed new criteria for Energy Star windows. The latest draft of the proposed specification includes the following changes:In the northern zone, the maximum U-factor would change from 0.35 to 0.32.In the north central zone, the maximum U-factor would change from 0.40 to 0.32, and the maximum solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) would change from 0.55 to 0.40.In the south central zone, the maximum U-factor would change from 0.40 to 0.35, and the maximum SHGC would change from 0.40 to 0.30.In the southern zone, the maximum U-factor would change from 0.65 to 0.60, and the maximum SHGC would change from 0.40 to 0.27.To learn more, read:An announcement from Energy Star Program Manager Richard Karney.An article in EcoHome on the proposed criteria.The proposal from the Department of Energy. Ontario Proposes Generous Feed-in Tariffs#TORONTO, Ontario — The province of Ontario has proposed a generous new feed-in tariff for electricity produced by photovoltaic (PV) arrays. The proposal calls for homeowners with PV systems of 10 kW or less to receive 80 cents (Canadian) per kWh for 100% of the array’s electrical production. Read more in an article posted at States Begin Receiving Weatherization Funds#WASHINGTON, D.C. — Within a few days, states are set to receive the first installment of the weatherization funding authorized by President Obama’s recently passed stimulus package. The federal government will soon be sending states $780 million in the first installment of the promised $8 billion in federal weatherization funding. To see a chart listing the amounts being sent to each state, read the report posted on Energy Star Windows, Weatherization, Building Deconstruction — and More#BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — The “In” box at GreenBuildingAdvisor’s news desk is overflowing, so it’s time for a roundup of news headlines on a variety of topics: Energy Star window standards, a proposed national program to subsidize energy retrofit work, employment growth at Conservation Services Group, an update on weatherization funding, Seattle’s efforts to encourage building deconstruction, the tenth birthday of the EarthCraft Homes program, a Southampton developer’s struggle to get approval for a pea-stone parking lot, Canadian feed-in tariffs, and the Maldives’ commitment to a carbon-free future. Vermont Representative Announces Energy Retrofit Plan#BURINGTON, Vt. — Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) has proposed federal legislation to invest $10 billion over four years in a national initiative to weatherize millions of existing homes and commercial buildings. “Investing in energy efficiency is a practical, commonsense strategy to create jobs, save on energy costs, and do our part to fight climate change,” Welch said. Welch’s bill, called the Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance Act, would provide homeowner incentives of $1,000 to $3,000 for achieving a 10% to 20% decrease in residential energy use, with another $150 for every additional percentage point of energy savings achieved. Read more in a report from the Associated Press.center_img EarthCraft Homes Program Celebrates Tenth Birthday#ATLANTA, Ga. — Atlanta’s green building program, EarthCraft Homes, recently celebrated its tenth birthday. Established by the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association and Southface Energy Institute, the EarthCraft Homes program has spread to six Southeast states. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “The program was started after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency contacted the National Association of Home Builders about creating standards for energy-efficient construction. As the nation’s largest home builders group at the time, the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association was awarded the job of coming up with a green-building template.” More than 5,200 EarthCraft homes have been built over the last decade. For more information, read an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Town Balks When LEED Builder Specifies Pea Stone, Not Asphalt#SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — When real estate developer Ari Meisel set out to build a LEED Platinum building in Southampton, the town objected to his parking-lot specifications. According to the East Hampton Star, “The Meisels wanted to use crushed pea stone, which filters water and prevents runoff. ‘It was a problem with the town,’ Mr. Meisel said of Southampton. ‘Even though 200 yards away there was the same parking lot, they were pushing for black asphalt, which is terrible for the environment and impossible for LEED Platinum.’” The article quotes State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., who said that New York was “way behind” other states in offering incentives or a more enlightened building code. “There were good reasons for the regulatory requirements when they were instituted,” he said, “but with developments in renewable energy and conservation technology, they need to be rethought.” Read more about the case in an article in the East Hampton Star. Conservation Services Group Bucks the Economic Trend#WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — Conservation Services Group (CSG), a Massachusetts-based energy consulting firm, is expanding rapidly in spite of the nation’s shrinking economy. Over the past four years, the number of jobs at CSG has increased 111%. CSG contracts with utilities and states to provide a variety of services, including the management of residential energy-efficiency programs. Stephen Cowell, CSG’s chief executive officer, explained, “Energy efficiency is sweeping the country. CSG is now working in states that have not espoused conservation in the past. . . . Our growth is testimony to the increasing awareness, importance, and cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency. It is a very exciting time to be working in this industry.” For more information, read the CSG press release. Maldives Vows to Become World’s First Carbon-Neutral Country#MALE, Maldives — The president of the Maldives has pledged that his country will becomes the world’s first carbon-neutral country by 2019. President Mohamed Nasheed made the commitment to a carbon-free future in response to scientists’ predictions that the low-lying Indian Ocean nation, much of which has an elevation of only 5 feet above sea level, will be among the first countries to disappear if oceans continue to rise. Nasheed plans to invest $1.1 billion in wind and solar projects to replace fossil fuel imports. “Going green might cost a lot, but refusing to act now will cost us the Earth,” said Nasheed. Read more in a Reuters News article.last_img read more

Before Beats: A Walk Through Apple’s Digital Music History, 1977 to 2014

first_img2001: iPodThe Power CD, a 1993 Apple digital-music flop, may not make this list, but the iPod certainly earned its place. Released in the relative dark age of 2001, the first iPod offered “1,000 songs in your pocket” and a nascent iTunes, then just a “digital jukebox”.The iPod embodied the kind of gestalt we’ve come to expect from Apple: an exciting, refined device that consumers didn’t even know they needed yet. Apple iPod sales over timeAs it began to capture the market’s attention in 2005, the iPod snowballed into the world’s premier digital-music gadget, cementing Apple’s image as flagbearer of the digital music revolution. With the later introduction of the entry-priced iPod Shuffle, Apple effectively made personal digital-music players available to everyone and anyone.  9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 2004: GarageBandAs the iPod picked up steam into 2004, Apple rolled out GarageBand, a platform for digital-music creation that grew increasingly robust over the years. Now available for iOS as well as OS X, GarageBand was a key step in transforming a growing base of music consumers into creators as well, while also buying some goodwill with existing musicians who wanted to explore digital tools. taylor hatmaker 1991: QuickTimeOriginally introduced in 1991, Apple’s QuickTime Player broke new ground for multimedia computing, which barely existed at the time. In 1994, QuickTime added support for music track playback that transcended existing computer audio quality and only necessitated small (now infinitesimally teensy) data files, like MIDIs, with its own native sound synthesis engine.Over time, QuickTime grew into Apple’s default video playback program, which lives on today. (For instance, you’ll need it to watch Cook’s keynote speech next week at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.) Related Posts 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App 2003: iTunes StoreApple introduced its first version of iTunes, built from its acquisition of early MP3 player SoundJam MP, in 2001. Two years later, with iPod hardware and iTunes as a software framework, Apple could finally introduce its biggest game-changer yet: a digital storefront stocked with 99 cent songs that upended the music industry as we knew it. Tags:#Apple#Apple II#Beats Music#digital music#Dr. Dre#iPad#iPhone#iPod#iTunes#iTunes Store#Jimmy Iovine#PowerCD#QuickTime center_img With the deal confirmed at last, it’s easy to balk at the $3 billion handshake between Apple CEO Tim Cook and Beats co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. After all, it’s far from clear just what Apple has in mind for the maker of headphones and its digital music-streaming service.See also: Apple Bought Beats Because “Music Is Dying”But Apple, widely credited with accelerating the first digital music revolution, could be poised for another industry shake-up—this one well overdue. After all, music has coursed through the company’s veins for longer than we often remember. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see. 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… 2010: iPadThe iTunes Store had already steeped the mobile world in apps by the time the first iPad hit, and as the most iconic tablet ever created picked up steam, it gained traction among creative developers and musicians alike. Suddenly major artists like Gorillaz and Bjork were making inventive albums on yet another Apple device we didn’t know we needed.With its larger screen and touch interface, and growing pool of music creation apps, the iPad made a huge impact on casual/indie digital-music creation and even the DJ scene.  5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 2014: BeatsApple’s decision to purchase the hardware and digital music brand Beats struck plenty of folks as out of the blue, but it may have been crazy-like-a-fox from the start. The deal brings both Beats Music (the digital streaming app) and Beats Electronics (the hit line of headphones and speakers) into Apple’s fold.Perhaps more important, it brings on board Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, music industry insiders who could shake digital music up once again—this time from the inside out.Header image via anamanzarphotography, other images via Wikimedia Commons 1977: Apple IIBeyond its role in popularizing the personal computer as we know it, the Apple II line foreshadowed Apple’s sonic future. It wasn’t initally promising, though; while third party peripherals expanded its musical repertoire, 1977’s 8-bit Apple II began with only the most rudimentary audio features.By 1986, however, the Apple II had evolved into the 16-bit Apple IIgs (the “gs” stands for “graphics and sound”), a precociously audio-savvy machine featuring a wavetable music synthesizer—a first for personal computing at the time. The Apple IIgs commanded a loyal following all the way through 1992, when the Macintosh line took the Apple II’s baton.Want to rock out to Apple II era MIDIs with a little help from a more modern synthesizer? Well, it’s your lucky day. 2007: iPhoneWhen Apple remixed its hit MP3 player into a smartphone, everything changed. It’s hard to overstate the impact of the iPhone in any realm of consumer technology, and digital music is no exception. The advent of the iPhone meant that we no longer needed to carry around two separate devices, one for calls and one for music and media.By blending the utility of a phone, a digital music player, a pocket-sized computer and later an app platform, the iPhone took the market by storm and expanded its already massive digital music footprint.last_img read more

Child of homeless couple stolen, sold for adoption

first_imgA childless couple’s desire to adopt a male child without going through the legal process led to the kidnapping and sale of a two-year-old son of a homeless couple for ₹30,000 in Odisha’s Berhampur.Six persons were arrested on Monday in connection with the theft and sale of the child, who was rescued and handed over to his parents on Sunday night.The arrested persons included the childless couple, Brundaban Rana (52) and his wife Baijayanti; Prafulla Nayak and his wife Mamata, who prepared a false adoption document claiming they were the parents of the kidnapped child; Santosh Rana, the brother-in-law of Brundaban, and another man named Siba Nayak.The parents of the child are from the Gajapati district. They, along with their four-year-old daughter and two year-old-son, had reached Berhampur a few weeks ago to make and sell idols made of plaster of paris and clay. At night they used to sleep under an overbridge in the Gosaninagaon police station area. On September 19 night their son was kidnapped, following which they complained to the police the next day.Police Inspector Sunit Soren said Brundaban, a bank attendant, had asked Santosh to arrange a child for adoption. Santosh contacted his friend Prafulla, who , with the help of Siba, stole the son of the homeless couple. Santosh paid ₹30,000 to Prafulla for the stolen child. “Later Prafulla and his wife prepared a false legal agreement in which they claimed they were handing over their child to Brundaban for adoption by consent,” said Mr. Soren.However, some locals had seen Siba moving around with the child on September 20. On September 22, Siba was arrested and his interrogation revealed the whole racket.last_img read more