(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.
Scientists struggle to account for the origin of coded information in biology from a materialistic framework.A special of BioSystems, called “Code Biology,” contains a rare set of papers tackling the subject of biological codes head on. Though published in Feb 2018, the papers still represent the state of thinking among materialistic evolutionists, because no paradign-shifting breakthroughs have arrived since then. Look at some of the challenges they deal with:What is code biology? (Mattew Barbieri, Biosystems).Various independent discoveries have shown that many organic codes exist in living systems, and this implies that they came into being during the history of life and contributed to that history…. After the genetic code and the signal processing codes, on the other hand, only the ancestors of the eukaryotes continued to explore the coding space and gave origin to splicing codes, histone code, tubulin code, compartment codes and many others. A first theoretical consequence of this historical fact is the idea that the Eukarya became increasingly more complex because they maintained the potential to bring new organic codes into existence. A second theoretical consequence comes from the fact that the evolution of the individual rules of a code can take an extremely long time, but the origin of a new organic code corresponds to the appearance of a complete set of rules and from a geological point of view this amounts to a sudden event. The great discontinuities of the history of life, in other words, can be explained as the result of the appearance of new codes. A third theoretical consequence comes from the fact that the organic codes have been highly conserved in evolution, which shows that they are the great invariants of life, the sole entities that have gone intact through billions of years while everything else has changed. This tells us that the organic codes are fundamental components of life and their study – the new research field of Code Biology – is destined to become an increasingly relevant part of the life sciences.Proteins are coded by triplet codons of DNA “letters” A, C, T, and G. (Illustra Media)On universal coding events in protein biogenesis (Kubyshkin et al, Biosystems)The complete ribosomal protein synthesis cycle and codon-amino acids associations are universally preserved in all life taxa on Earth. This process is accompanied by a set of hierarchically organized recognition and controlling events at different complexity levels. It starts with amino acid activation by aminoacyl tRNA synthetases (aaRS) followed by matching with the acceptor units of their cognate tRNAs (“operational RNA code”) and ribosomal codon-anticodon pairing of messenger RNA (“triplet code”). However, this codon-anticodon matching is possible only when protein translation machinery (translation factors, ribosome) accepts an esterified amino acid. This capacity (“charge code”) correlates mainly with the amino acid nature and the identity elements in the tRNA 3D structure. A fourth potential “folding code” (also referred as “stereochemical code”) between the translation dynamics, sequence composition and folding of the resulting protein can also be defined in the frame of the ‘Anfinsen dogma’ followed by post-translational modifications. All these coding events as well as the basic chemistry of life are deemed invariant across biological taxa due to the horizontal gene transfer (HGT) making the ‘universal genetic code’ the ‘lingua franca’ of life of earth.The splicing code (Baralle and Baralle, Biosystems)This issue dedicated to the code of life tackles very challenging and open questions in Biology. The genetic code, brilliantly uncovered over 50 years ago is an example of a univocal biological code. In fact, except for very few and marginal variations, it is the same from bacteria to man, the RNA stretch: 5′ GUGUUC 3′ reads as the dipeptide: Val-Phe in bacteria, in yeast, in Arabidopsis, in zebra fish, in mouse and in human…. Given the complexity of the splicing process, the construction of an algorithm that can define exons or their fate with certainty has not yet been achieved.Evidence for the implication of the histone code in building the genome structure (Prakash and Fournier, Biosystems)Histones are punctuated with small chemical modifications that alter their interaction with DNA. One attractive hypothesis stipulates that certain combinations of these histone modifications may function, alone or together, as a part of a predictive histone code to provide ground rules for chromatin folding.The lamin code (Maraldi, Biosystems)Unicellular eukaryotes and metazoa present a nuclear envelope (NE) and metazoa express in it one or more lamins that give rise to the nuclear lamina. The expression of different types of lamins is related to the complexity of the organism and the expression of type-A lamins is related to the initial steps of tissue-specific cell differentiation. Several posttranslational modifications characterize the expression of lamin A in the course of cell differentiation, and the alteration of this expression pattern leads to impressive phenotypic diseases that are collectively referred to as laminopathies. This indicates a link between differential lamin A expression and tissue-specific cell commitment, and makes it conceivable that the lamin posttranslational modifications constitute a lamin code, utilized by metazoan cells to induce tissue-specific cell differentiation. Although the rules of this code are not yet deciphered, at the moment, the presence of adaptors, represented by NE transmembrane proteins (NETs), and of effectors, constituted by epigenetic repressors that modulate chromatin arrangement and gene expression, strongly supports the possibility that the rules of lamin modification represent one of the organic codes that characterize cell evolution.The bioelectric code: An ancient computational medium for dynamic control of growth and form (Levin and Martyniuk, Biosystems). These authors present an exciting prospect that electricity guides body form (morphology) from the genetic code.What determines large-scale anatomy? DNA does not directly specify geometrical arrangements of tissues and organs, and a process of encoding and decoding for morphogenesis is required. Moreover, many species can regenerate and remodel their structure despite drastic injury. The ability to obtain the correct target morphology from a diversity of initial conditions reveals that the morphogenetic code implements a rich system of pattern-homeostatic processes. Here, we describe an important mechanism by which cellular networks implement pattern regulation and plasticity: bioelectricity. All cells, not only nerves and muscles, produce and sense electrical signals; in vivo, these processes form bioelectric circuits that harness individual cell behaviors toward specific anatomical endpoints. We review emerging progress in reading and re-writing anatomical information encoded in bioelectrical states, and discuss the approaches to this problem from the perspectives of information theory, dynamical systems, and computational neuroscience. Cracking the bioelectric code will enable much-improved control over biological patterning, advancing basic evolutionary developmental biology as well as enabling numerous applications in regenerative medicine and synthetic bioengineering.Fundamental principles of the olfactory code (Grabe and Sachse, Biosystems). These two explore what is known about the “nose code” which involves fundamentally different mechanisms from other senses. (For animation of the olfactory code, see the clip “A Pacific Salmon’s Sense of Smell” from Living Waters by Illustra Media).Interior of the odor processing center in a salmon (Illustra Media)Sensory coding represents a basic principle of all phyla in nature: species attempt to perceive their natural surroundings and to make sense of them. Ultimately, sensory coding is the only way to allow a species to make the kinds of crucial decisions that lead to a behavioral response. In this manner, animals are able to detect numerous parameters, ranging from temperature and humidity to light and sound to volatile or non-volatile chemicals. Most of these environmental cues represent a clearly defined stimulus array that can be described along a single physical parameter, such as wavelength or frequency; odorants, in contrast, cannot. The odor space encompasses an enormous and nearly infinite number of diverse stimuli that cannot be classified according to their positions along a single dimension. Hence, the olfactory system has to encode and translate the vast odor array into an accurate neural map in the brain. In this review, we will outline the relevant steps of the olfactory code and describe its progress along the olfactory pathway, i.e., from the peripheral olfactory organs to the first olfactory center in the brain and then to the higher processing areas where the odor perception takes place, enabling an organism to make odor-guided decisions. We will focus mainly on studies from the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster, but we will also indicate similarities to and differences from the olfactory system of other invertebrate species as well as of the vertebrate world.The sugar code: Why glycans are so important (Gabius, Biosystems). The “third alphabet of life” is surprisingly rich, this author shows.The cell surface is the platform for presentation of biochemical signals that are required for intercellular communication. Their profile necessarily needs to be responsive to internal and external factors in a highly dynamic manner. The structural features of the signals must meet the criterion of high-density information coding in a minimum of space. Thus, only biomolecules that can generate many different oligomers (‘words’) from few building blocks (‘letters’) qualify to meet this challenge. Examining the respective properties of common biocompounds that form natural oligo- and polymers comparatively, starting with nucleotides and amino acids (the first and second alphabets of life), comes up with sugars as clear frontrunner. The enzymatic machinery for the biosynthesis of sugar chains can indeed link monosaccharides, the letters of the third alphabet of life, in a manner to reach an unsurpassed number of oligomers (complex carbohydrates or glycans). Fittingly, the resulting glycome of a cell can be likened to a fingerprint. Conjugates of glycans with proteins and sphingolipids (glycoproteins and glycolipids) are ubiquitous in Nature. This implies a broad (patho)physiologic significance. By looking at the signals, at the writers and the erasers of this information as well as its readers and ensuing consequences, this review intends to introduce a broad readership to the principles of the concept of the sugar code.The evolution of the Glycomic Codes of extracellular matrices (Buckeridge, Biosystems). Here’s another code most of us knew nothing about: a code system that works outside the cell and between cells.The extracellular matrices (ECMs) of living organisms are compartments responsible for maintenance of cell shape, cell adhesion, and cell communication. They are also involved in cell signaling and defense against the attack of pathogens. The plant cell walls have been recently defined as encoded structures that combine polysaccharides with other encoded structures (proteins and phenolic compounds). The term Glycomic Code has been used to define the set of mechanisms that generate cell wall architecture (the combination of polymers of different types) and biological function.How did biological codes originate? That will be the subject of additional papers we will look at in this special issue, “Code Biology.”This issue is so rich with concepts and principles of interest to intelligent design, we need to show more. Watch the tension develop as these evolutionary biologists observe real coded information exchange within and outside of cells, and try to account for them by blind, unguided processes. We say it cannot be done! That will certainly become evident in articles on the origin of life. Is a code possible without a mind? Atheists may object that archaea and other microbes do not have minds, and yet use codes. But this dodges the question. Computers don’t have minds either, but their codes (e.g., ASCII) are clearly products of mind that were coded into the hardware. The codes we know in our machines are always products of minds. By the uniformity of experience, therefore, we can infer that a mind or minds were responsible for the codes in biology, many of which are so complex and efficient we are just beginning to appreciate them. (Visited 576 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Team South Africa excelled at the 2011 precision flying champs, which were hosted here. The country came second in the team landing category, with squad member Hans Schwebel being named the runner-up for the landing trophy. (Image: Nicky Rehbock)Team South Africa put in an impressive performance at the 20th Precision Flying World Championships, recently held in North West province, demonstrating how accurately and safely local pilots can handle aircraft without the aid of modern technology.South Africa came second in the team landing category, with squad member Hans Schwebel being named the runner-up for the landing trophy. This was the first time the event has been hosted in the country.Precision flying competitions test the fundamental skills of pilots flying solo in single-piston engine aircraft. Armed with just a compass and map, participants have to follow a precise flight path while sticking to a tight time limit, complete observation tasks from the air to the ground while navigating the plane, and make inch-perfect landings on short, narrow airstrips with trees and other obstacles on the approach.The sport is the aerial equivalent of orienteering.With ever-increasing automation in modern planes such skills aren’t put to the test in everyday commercial flight, meaning that those who compete in precision flying “represent the cream of the crop in terms of good, solid aviation practice”, says director of the 2011 champs Antony Russell.This year’s championships included host team South Africa, as well as participants from Norway, France, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Poland, New Zealand, UK and Germany.Poland was named the overall team winner, with member Michal Wieczorek being crowned the individual world champion for 2011. Czech Republic came second, France third and South Africa fourth.‘Felt proud to be South African’South Africa’s Hans Schwebel has been competing in the sport since 1994, with 2011 being the 18th time he has represented the country at the world champs. He’s a private pilot living in Brits, North West, and has his own business, which gives him the flexibility to practise as often as he can.He started preparing for this event three months ago, flying as often as three times a week. “But there’s always stiff competition from overseas – a lot of the competitors are commercial pilots who fly and get to practise every day. There are also far more precision flying competitions and events in Europe than here,” he says.Schwebel believes precision flying has made him a better pilot.“Today with all the modern GPS systems, you press a knob and it tells you exactly where to go. But when there’s a failure in the airplane, most of the pilots don’t know what to do anymore. With precision flying you do it the old way – you have a map and a compass and you follow the road,” he says.“The highlights of this year’s competition were coming second and the camaraderie from the South African team – it made me feel very patriotic. It’s a very special feeling. It’s also a way of giving back to the country. I want to encourage more youngsters from this country to join the sport – and I hope that my performance this year serves as an example to them that it is possible to excel.”The next precision flying world champs will be held in two years’ time, probably in Europe, and Schwebel says he’s going to do all he can to make the national team again.‘I love this country’One of the youngest competitors at this year’s event, 30-year-old Michal Wieczorek is a commercial pilot working for a charter airline in Poland. He’s been flying for 11 years and participated in his first international airsport event in 2003 at Sun City, also in North West.He attributes his love of flying and talent for precision flying in particular to his father, who also used to compete and excel in the discipline.“The flying conditions in South Africa are very different from those in Europe. Because it’s so hot, you have to fly at higher density altitudes, which decreases the performance of the aircraft. Navigation in South Africa is also completely different – there’s bush everywhere. The first few days of practice here were very hard for me,” he says.It was determination and cool-headed landings which clinched the 2011 title for Wieczorek. “After the second navigation stage I thought I had no chance of even coming in the top three, but the landings stage on last day of the competition changed everything.There’s a lot of pressure to make the perfect landing and if the nerves catch you, it’s over – but I felt less pressure because I didn’t expect to win. When I thought the game was over for me, I just wanted to end it off with good landings – unlike Czech Republic’s Jiri Filip, who did well in the first stages and the pressure was on for him. But I can say I fought ‘til the end.”He says competing in South Africa this year was like coming home. “This is my third time in South Africa. I really enjoy being here – I love this country. South Africans are very hospitable and helpful – I’ve got many friends here and I feel at home.”Wieczorek believes one of the reasons why former Eastern bloc countries do well in precision flying is because of a familiarity with older planes and less advanced automatic navigation systems.“We don’t have that many aircraft with modern avionics. We train in old planes. Although they’re in very good condition, they don’t have GPS systems – we have to use a map and conventional navigation techniques as you have to do in precision flying.”But it’s also Poland’s coach, Andrzej Osowski, who primed the team for this year’s champs.“Andrzej gives us a hard time and trains us well. He’s being doing it for more than 25 years and is very good at what he does.”Wieczorek says his aim now is to defend his title at the next world championships and participate in the sport for as long as he can.
I have spoken to Yogi Adityanath ji Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh about attack on African students in Greater Noida. /1— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) March 28, 2017 External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj intervened on Tuesday after a group of African nationals faced a mob attack in a neighbourhood of Uttar Pradesh near Delhi. The Minister took to the social media and announced the steps she has taken to ensure safety of the African students staying in Greater Noida.“I have spoken to Yogi Adityanathji, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh about the attack on African students in Greater Noida. He has assured that there will be a fair and impartial investigation into this unfortunate incident,” Ms. Swaraj said on her official Twitter handle.The attack on Monday evening, coincided with a protest that was organised by online groups who blamed the unexplained death of a teenage resident on the African community.Following the attack, which took place in a shopping complex where some African nationals had gone for a meeting, African students reached out to the Ministry of External Affairs and urged Ms. Swaraj to intervene. In response Ms. Swaraj said, “Government of India is seized of the matter. We are taking immediate action.”The attack in Greater Noida is a reminder of the summer 2016 attacks on Africans in India, which included the death of a Congolese national in Delhi. The incident prompted African diplomats posted in India to skip official celebrations, casting a shadow on India’s ties with African nations.Sadiq – Government of India is seized of the matter. We are taking immediate action. https://t.co/SRdS2QGuj1— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) March 28, 2017 He has assured that there will be a fair and impartial investigation into this unfortunate incident. /2— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) March 28, 2017
The two-week-long gruelling campaign for the election to the 90-member State Assembly in Haryana involving a direct contest between the ruling BJP and the Congress concluded on Saturday.A total of 1,168 candidates are in the fray for the election slated for October 21 with the highest 118 from Hisar and the lowest 24 from Panchkula. A total of 1,83,90,525 voters, including 85,12,231 women, are registered in the State with 19,578 polling booths.The BJP, which went into the election with the slogan of “Ab Ki Baar, 75 Paar” (more than 75 seats this time), carried out a high-profile campaign with Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself addressing rallies in seven Lok Sabha constituencies of Faridabad, Gurugram, Sirsa, Bhiwani-Mahendragarh, Hisar, Sonipat and Kurukshetra. Besides, Union Home Minister and BJP national president Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari also held public meetings.Low profile The Congress campaign, on the other hand, remained largely low profile led by former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, his son and ex-MP Deepender Singh Hooda and the party’s State president Kumari Selja. With the party’s interim president Sonia Gandhi skipping her lone rally in Mahendragarh, former president Rahul Gandhi ended up addressing two rallies, one each in Muslim-dominated Nuh and Mahendragarh. He attacked the BJP over the current economic slowdown and for allegedly playing politics of “divide and rule”.Rejuvenated by the change in State leadership almost a month before the election, the Congress wove a narrative around the achievements of its government during the 10-year regime of Mr. Bhupender Hooda, the promises made in its manifesto and the plight of the farmers and the traders due to “wrong” policies of the BJP. The ruling party stressed on national issues such as Article 370, National Register of Citizens and the Balakot air strikes, besides highlighting the “clean and transparent” governance provided by CM Manohar Lal Khattar.Though the BJP is likely to ride the current wave of nationalism, Jat and non-Jat divide and the absence of strong rivals, the discontent among its cadre over ticket distribution and infighting could harm the party, especially in South Haryana. Though the BJP has an edge, the contest could be closer than expected, feel analysts.Led by former Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala, the Jannayak Janta Party, formed after the split in the Indian National Lok Dal in December last, remains another important political force with presence in the Jat belt, including Hisar, Jind and Kaithal. The INLD, pushed into political oblivion following the split, AAP, BSP and Swaraj India are the other political parties in the fray.Dangal-fame wrestler Babita Phogat, Olympic medallist Yogeshwar Dutt and former Indian hockey team captain Sandeep Singh are the celebrity BJP candidates. Former two-time CM Hooda, CM Khattar and Finance Minister Capt. Abhimanyu are among the prominent leaders contesting the election.