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Rare Moments of Glory: Planetary Scientists Admit Seeing “Lucky” Circumstances

first_img(Visited 37 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Why are we seeing young phenomena in the planets if they are billions of years old?  Some scientists are abandoning uniformitarian assumptions and admitting we are lucky to be witnessing them in “rare moments of glory.”In Nature this week, Maggie McKee interviewed scientists who are struggling with short-lived phenomena in the solar system.  The subtitle of her article, “Caught in the Act,” states, “We may be seeing some of the Solar System’s most striking objects during rare moments of glory.”  Her first two paragraphs elaborate why this is unsettling for some:Ever since Copernicus evicted Earth from its privileged spot at the centre of the Solar System, researchers have embraced the idea that there is nothing special about our time and place in the Universe. What observers see now, they presume, has been going on for billions of years — and will continue for eons to come.But observations of the distant reaches of the Solar System made in the past few years are challenging that concept. The most active bodies out there — Jupiter’s moon Io and Saturn’s moons Enceladus and Titan — may be putting on limited-run shows that humans are lucky to witness. Saturn’s brilliant rings, too, might have appeared relatively recently, and could grow dingy over time. Some such proposals make planetary researchers uncomfortable, because it is statistically unlikely that humans would catch any one object engaged in unusual activity — let alone several.It seems a bitter pill for some planetary scientists to “go against the grain of one of geology’s founding principles: uniformitarianism, which states that planets are shaped by gradual, ongoing processes,” she wrote.  Then she quoted Jeff More (NASA-Ames) who explained that “Geologists like things to be the same as they ever were” because it’s “philosophically comforting because you don’t have to assume you’re living in special times.”  Why that should be “comforting” was not explained.McKee zoomed into each of these phenomena for more detail about what makes them look young:Saturn’s rings:  The rings are 90% water ice but should be dirtier if they were old; “some planetary scientists say that the rings’ resplendence is hard to reconcile with a lifetime lasting billions of years.”  That’s why hypotheses of a recent encounter with an icy interloper that broke apart and became the rings within the last few million years (just 10% of Saturn’s assumed age) have been put forth.  An ad hoc solution like that, though raises other problems: all such candidate objects should have vanished 700 million years after the birth of the solar system, according to current theory.  Close flybys by Cassini in years to come may confirm whether billions of years of dirt is hiding in the B ring, McKee said, but one responded, “if the Cassini results point to a low mass for the rings, it will be a real mystery.”  This explanation, however, fails to explain why the thinner D, C, A, F, G, and E rings are so bright.Enceladus:  The geysers of Enceladus are another thing that can’t be old; “researchers have struggled to explain how it can sustain such activity” on the order of 16 gigawatts – 10 times the amount they can account for by internal radioactive heating.  “Several explanations have been put forward to account for this furious release of heat, but all rely on arguments that researchers are viewing the moon at a special time,” McKee said.  It’s difficult to keep the geysers going for 10 million years (1/450th the assumed age of the moon), let alone 4.5 billion.  One researcher who proposed a recent cracking from growing stresses in the crust has apparently been getting hard questions: “‘It seems like special pleading — we just happened to catch it in the act,’ says [Craig] O’Neill [Macquarie University, Sydney], echoing criticisms that he has heard when presenting the model at conferences.”  Nearby Mimas “should be producing more heat than Enceladus and it doesn’t, and we don’t really understand why,” O’Neill said.Io:  If Enceladus is a firefly, Io is a furnace, McKee wrote.  It gives off 90,000 gigawatts through its incessant volcanoes, “several times more than would be expected from the simplest models of tidal interactions between the moon and Jupiter.”  Again, it’s not that planetary scientists are unable to imagine scenarios in which we might be seeing Io at a special time; perhaps the moon’s orbital dance with the other moons makes it undergo periodic exaggerations of its eccentricity.  Even though this “would satisfy the data,” one planetologist said, when thinking about the peculiarities of Io and Enceladus, “it’s possible we simply don’t understand them.“Titan:  The largest moon of Saturn presents problems with both its atmosphere and surface.  Atmospheric theories are up in the air, because “the atmospheric methane — and its effects on the landscape — ought to be short-lived” in the range of a few tens of millions of years.  If sources of replenishment cannot be found (there are some disputed candidates thought to be ice volcanoes), it should have been long gone.  Jeff Moore “thinks that researchers are seeing Titan at a unique and geologically fleeting time.”  The question then becomes, why now, and what happened?  In Moore’s hypothesis, the sun warmed up to a tipping point a few tens or hundreds of millions of years ago, levitating the frozen nitrogen and methane into an atmosphere that “rained like hell” onto the surface, creating the erosional features seen today.  Ralph Lorenz [Johns Hopkins U] criticizes Moore’s view as “too simplistic” and pointed to “some evidence” (not mentioned in the article) that it would have taken billions of years to form Titan’s hydrocarbon-rich sand dunes.McKee ended with a quote from Lorenz: “I think we have to have a much more nuanced view of Titan through time.  Titan is bloody complicated.”It’s not complicated at all, if you subtract out the needless billions of years.  This article is important, in that in the 8 years of the ongoing Cassini mission to Cassini, and the 9 years since the end of the Galileo mission to Jupiter, scientists still have no answers to these age conundrums.  Their uniformitarian philosophy makes them uncomfortable with the facts their own eyes are beholding.  We should not be living in special times, but we appear to. (Understand that the Copernican principle does not mean that we are not special; see The Privileged Planet for corrective information.)Here’s a classic case of ad hoc explanation to force observations into a web of belief.  (This is called ‘special pleading’ in logic.)  If science were about honestly following the evidence where it leads, these scientists would have to conclude that the solar system is much younger than thought.  But they won’t do it, because they know Charlie D. (their idol) needs billions of years for life to evolve on Earth.  Failing to provide those annual sacrifices to the idol would get them excommunicated from the Church of Darwin.If Saturn’s rings, Enceladus, Io and Titan were the only problem worlds, they might have hope to rescue their beliefs someday.  Unfortunately, the problems mount for uniformitarianism when one considers Mercury, Venus, Earth, the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and its moons, Uranus and its moons and rings, Neptune and its moons and rings, Pluto and the trans-Neptunian objects, comets, asteroids, dust – the whole system.  There is hardly any planet or moon that met their uniformitarian expectations.  We call on them: please, dump the assumption of billions of years, and all these things will start making sense.  We do this out of sympathy for their discomfort, wishing them to sleep well for once.last_img read more

Convergence Crams Uncooperative Fossils into Darwinism

first_imgWhen unrelated fossils have similar traits, evolutionary paleontologists twist, shove and stuff them into Darwin’s theory with an all-purpose tool called convergence.It wasn’t supposed to work this way. Animals were supposed to diverge as they evolved. Branches on real trees do that. In neo-Darwinism, the branch tips in Darwin’s image of a branching tree should get farther apart the more they evolve, because neither branch knows what the other one is doing. But the real world is full of counter-examples, where unrelated animals end up becoming very similar. Even more often, fossils exhibit “mosaics” of traits from different branches, or from “stem” (early) or “crown” (mature) members of a single branch. It’s all very confusing to Mr. Darwin, so his disciples invented a trick to keep from getting their story falsified. It’s called convergence, and here’s how it works. (Note: Not being Darwinians, we will dispute inclusion in the occasional first-person plural pronouns.)The Weird FishColin Barras at New Scientist introduces his fossil with a warning: “Weird fish fossil changes the story of how we moved onto land” [Who’s we, Paleface?]. If you thought the story of tetrapod evolution from fishy ancestors was all wrapped up, the wrapping just came off.The evolutionary story we have written [Who’s we, Paleface?] to explain our ancestors’ move from sea to land may need a rethink. A fossil fish from this era has been discovered with several of the features of land animals – yet it was only distantly related to them.Roughly 360 million years ago, one group of lobe-finned fish began evolving into four-legged, land-living animals that resulted in reptiles, amphibians and mammals like us. [Who’s us, Paleface?]Notice first that he calls it an evolutionary “story” – not a scientific discovery. The long-stable account of how lobe-finned fish moved onto land just got unstabilized by a Chinese fossil given the name Hongyu chowi.But when the researchers tried to fit H. chowi into the existing evolutionary tree, it didn’t fit easily.That’s because in some respects, H. chowi looks like an ancient predatory fish called rhizodonts. These are thought to have branched off from lobe-finned fish long before the group gave rise to four-legged land animals.Very well, then. Time to bring in the all-purpose tool called convergence. It works like a vise, cramming the fossil into Darwin’s box whether it wants to fit or not. (Jargonwocky note: Sometimes this is called “independent evolution” or “parallel evolution”).This implies one of two things, the researchers say. The first possibility is that H. chowi is some sort of rhizodont that independently evolved the shoulders and gill cover supports of a four-legged animal.Alternatively, the rhizodonts may be more closely related to the four-legged animals and the elpistostegids than we thought. But this would also imply a certain amount of independent evolution of similar features, because the rhizodonts would then sit between two groups that have many features in common – features the two groups would have had to evolve independently.It implies no such thing, but in Darwinland, everything must fit.The Flying Jurassic Early SquirrelEvolutionists found another misfit: a Jurassic flying squirrel. Trouble is, it’s in the wrong group. It’s not a therian (placental) mammal, and it’s not a marsupial mammal either (that’s another severe case of convergent evolution). This is a “stem mammal” called an eleutherodontid, that is supposed to be earlier than both later groups and not as evolved, but behold: it already was a glider! Plus, it had tooth rows “convergent” with bats, and other specialized traits that weren’t supposed to evolve till later. Writing in Nature, the authors from University of Chicago and University of Beijing seem surprised: “Here we report a new Jurassic eleutherodontid mammaliaform with an unusual mosaic of highly specialized characteristics,” they say, yet they continue to claim they have “New evidence for mammaliaform ear evolution and feeding adaptation in a Jurassic ecosystem.” Whatever it was, it evolved!The inferred dietary adaptation of eleutherodontid gliders represents a remarkable evolutionary convergence with herbivorous gliders in Theria. These Jurassic fossils represent volant [flying], herbivorous [plant-eating] stem mammaliaforms associated with pre-angiosperm plants that appear long before the later, iterative associations between angiosperm plants and volant herbivores in various therian clades.How can this be? Well, the Bearded Buddha was experimenting.The unique mosaic of characters related to tooth replacements and the middle ear of eleutherodonts adds to growing evidence of complex transformations of mammalian characteristics. Their complex dentitions and occlusal patterns are probably adapted for omnivory and herbivory, showing that the volant and herbivorous lifestyle, previously known only in therian gliders, was also part of mammaliaform evolutionary experimentation during the Jurassic.Shameless Plug for ConvergenceBaleen whales are champions of filter feeding with baleen instead of teeth. Long before they appeared on the evolutionary timeline, though, a marine reptile, unrelated to mammals, already had come up with a similar feeding strategy. Phys.org‘s coverage of a plesiosaur that evolved filter feeding puts convergence right in the headline: “Plesiosaur fossil found 33 years ago yields new convergent evolution findings.” All other marine reptiles used their teeth for biting, but Morturneria had interdigitating teeth that allowed them to catch krill, much like baleen whales do. So how did that happen? Bring out the all-purpose Darwin rescue tool:The identification of Morturneria’s whale-like filter feeding is a startling case of convergent evolution between reptiles and mammals. Plesiosaurs and whales shared many of the intervening steps in the evolution of this feeding style and their extreme morphologies are similar despite arising from different ancestors.[Sankar] Chatterjee stresses convergent evolution does not imply Morturneria was in any way related to today’s baleen whales; it just means they both evolved the same way.“They had adopted similar lifestyle and feeding,” he said. “For example, birds and bats fly, but birds are now considered dinosaurs [according to whom, Paleface?] and bats are mammals. These superficial similarities of lifestyles and behavior are called ‘convergent evolution.’” [by whom, Paleface?]Giving something a name is not the same as explaining it. Physicist Lee Spetner spoke about “convergent evolution” for ID the Future, commenting that “convergent evolution is even more improbable than evolution itself” (see Evolution News). Spetner presents an alternative, the Non-Random Evolutionary Hypothesis, which proposes “evidently purposeful evolution as a response to environmental and other stresses.” But then, if it is non-random, such adaptability must have been pre-programmed into organisms—i.e., intelligently designed.Convergence is an essential ingredient in Darwin Flubber. Don’t let the Darwin Party get away it. “Convergent evolution” is simply an empty phrase, a cover for ignorance, a rescue device to avoid falsification. Multiple independent similar adaptations are not proof of evolution in action: they are the opposite of what Darwin predicted. Some convergences in nature are so precise, it takes an expert to identify them (see the “Convergence Concoction” page by Brett Miller).If the Creator pre-programmed organisms with the ability to respond to environmental changes, or to use similar strategies for similar needs, that’s a design feature, not luck. The former is the kind of programming that goes into fault-tolerant systems. It represents intelligent design at a high level. The latter is an example of modular design (see Living Waters for examples of multiple unrelated animals that use magnetic navigation, for instance). Darwinians, by contrast, would rather believe animals won the lottery multiple times when they see finely-tuned, successful creatures with similar designs than to reject their Buddha’s teachings. What better proof of design could there be than similarities between unrelated organisms? What better disproof of blind, unguided evolution could there be than convergence everywhere? Don’t be fooled. Evolutionists get away with this in the media because they are totalitarian bigots, not allowing any criticism or debate. They know that once legitimate debate is allowed, they would be laughed off the stage in disgrace. Bring it on.(Visited 514 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Brexit muddies waters for UK IoT firms selling into Europe

first_imgThe British decision to exit the European Union is creating uncertainty for U.K. Internet of Things (IoT) statups looking to sell gadgets in Europe.In an article by the Register, Damon Hart-Davis discusses the impact of the vote for the British to exit the EU (Brexit) on his company. He runs OpenTRV, a green-tech startup that sells smart radiator valves.The natural core market for OpenTRV products is the EU which, including the U.K., totals nearly 500 million people. And so Hart-Davis says it is paramount for British-based IoT firms like his to maintain access to the whole continent.However, he says there is much uncertainty surrounding the ubiquitous CE stamp which is required for most IoT gadgets and appliances sold in Europe. The stamp indicates that the equipment has complied with standards that can cover everything from radio band use to safety.“On the regulatory front alone, what do I, or someone else in my position, need to know about how the world of CE marking will change?” he asks.Political negotiations on future relations between the EU and Britain haven’t even begun. Yet Hart-Davis has learned that some industry experts are already speculating about how such standards would work in the post-Brexit reality.“Long-term there is likely to be some loss of influence on setting new standards where the UK would not, post-Brexit, have an automatic right to participate in EU working groups,” he says.However, in the past non-EU citizens from such countries as Norway have been able to make contributions to standards working groups. This could indicate that Britain won’t be frozen out of the dialogue around industry standards.“Unless the UK and EU have a really major falling out, the UK is likely to be able to continue to contribute and influence,” said Hart-Davis.Brexit still years awayBy most estimates it will take years to disentangle Britain from the web of EU laws and regulations as both parties renegotiate such issues as trade treaties and industry standards.In the meantime Hart-Davis says that most industry experts he’s spoken with say that the best approach is to soldier on with the CE compliance standards.Indeed CE compliance may remain the standard for U.K.-based IoT device makers for the foreseeable future as industry would likely find another layer of standards cumbersome to manage.“Manufacturers are unlikely to want to have to support extra U.K.-only standards for cost and complexity reasons if possible,” he says. “The CE mark will probably continue to work much as now from a purchaser’s point of view, either consumer or business, across all the current EU-27 and UK across the Brexit epoch.” Donal Power Related Posts Tags:#Brexit#CE#Internet of Things#IoT#standards What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …center_img Follow the Puck How Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua… Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaceslast_img read more

BJP plans non-stop public outreach in State

first_imgFrom arranging sports competitions to yatras, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has set a packed agenda for the next three months as part of its public outreach campaign, kicking off preparations for the 2019 general and Assembly elections.The Hindu had on October 11 carried a report on the State Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha’s CM’s Cup initiative in all 288 Assembly constituencies for 75 days, starting from October 30. “Apart from this, we are focusing on community based initiatives as well. Several yatras have been planned to address specific issues of the community and all MLAs and MPs have been directed to initiate works in this regard,” said a senior State BJP functionary.From November 26 to December 6, the party’s Scheduled Caste cell has organised a yatra starting from Deekshabhoomi in Nagpur to Chaityabhoomi in Mumbai. “The yatra will travel from areas where SC votes decide the fate of the election. We will address their issues, take government schemes to them and spread awareness about the schemes directed at the community,” said the leader.From November 1 to 30, the party’s Scheduled Tribe cell will be launching a Birsa Munda Gaurav Yatra in Maharashtra’s ST dominated areas. “BJP has been defamed by the Opposition as an anti-SC/ST party. We want to address this and re-energise our workers in these regions through these intiatives,” he said.150 km padyatraBJP will also organise 150 kilometer-long padyatra in the 288 Assembly constituencies, marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. One of the important initiatives the party has undertaken is to appoint a panna pramukh — a person assigned to one page of the voters’ list, who will be responsible for maintaining contact with all the people on that page. Once appointed, all these panna pramukhs will be called for a special seminar for training by the party’s higher ups.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in his address to the party at a function in Mumbai last month said, “There are around two crore beneficiaries of the State government schemes. Last time, the party had won a total of 1.5 crore votes. Imagine if we could reach out to all the beneficiaries and convince them to vote for the party.”last_img read more

‘Don’t walk or play on frozen Dal Lake’

first_imgThe authorities in Srinagar on Saturday advised people not to walk or play on the frozen surface of waterbodies, especially the Dal Lake.Srinagar Deputy Commissioner Syed Abid Rasheed Shah issued the advisory to dissuade locals from taking to such risky adventures, after videos emerged of youth playing cricket on the frozen lake. “Due to sub-zero temperature in Srinagar, parts of the Dal Lake have frozen at the banks. It is dangerous and potentially life threatening to walk or play on it. It is requested to take note and desist from any such action,” said Mr. Shah.Videos and pictures uploaded on the social media showed youngsters a number of youth and boys either walking or playing on the concrete slabs of ice on the lake. In 1980s, iconic images show then chief minister Farooq Abdullah driving his jeep on the frozen Dal lake. Record coldIn the past four days, Srinagar has witnessed a record drop in minimum temperature, of less that -7°C, the first time in the past 28 years. On Saturday, the minimum temperature was recorded at -7.2°C in Srinagar, while the tourist hotspots of Gulmarg and Pahalgam witnessed -7°C and -8°C respetively. According to the India Metrological Department, the cold wave in Kashmir will continue as the weather will remain dry for the next 24 hours.last_img read more