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first_imgIT’S our most famous native bird – but it will be extinct in just a few years, experts have warned.For just four breeding pairs of curlew have been found in a survey of Donegal.Shocked investigators went to 60 sites in the hope of finding more of the birds. But they found just four pairs in Donegal – and four in Mayo.The study was carried out earlier this year by BirdWatch Ireland as part of a European Union-funded curlew conservation project in the Border counties.It suggests there are likely fewer than 200 breeding pairs left in the whole of Ireland, a shocking 96 per cent decline in just 20 years.“The marginal upland areas where curlews breed have been widely destroyed or fragmented by a range of land-use pressures,” curlew conservation project manager for BirdWatch Ireland, Anita Donaghy, said. REVEALED: JUST FOUR PAIRS OF CURLEWS LEFT IN DONEGAL was last modified: July 30th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Curlewdonegal curlewextinctfour pairs leftlast_img read more

Cosmologists Use Natural Selection to Explain Fine-Tuning of the Universe

first_img(Visited 77 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 In a mathematical tour de farce, two Oxford evolutionists have applied Darwinian natural selection to the multiverse to try to explain why it looks designed.A press release from the University of Oxford tells how evolutionary theorist Andy Gardner and theoretical physicist Joseph Conlon figured that universes give birth to other universes through black holes.  The ones with the “fittest” parameters of physics get better at it and survive:Cosmological natural selection proposes that, if new universes are born inside black holes, a ‘multiverse’ of many possible universes could be shaped by a process similar to natural selection so that successive generations of universes evolve to become better at making black holes….‘This idea of cosmological natural selection is controversial, and physicists have pointed out all sorts of problems with it. But we were interested in seeing if its basic evolutionary logic actually works,’ said Dr Andy Gardner of Oxford University’s Department of Zoology, lead author of the paper.‘We found that a general equation from evolutionary genetics, Price’s theorem, can help us to model how selection can work not only at the scale of genes and organisms but also at that of something as unimaginably vast as multiple universes,’ said Dr Gardner. ‘Our model uses maths similar to the mathematical theory underlying Darwinian adaptation in biology, which explains how the dynamics of natural selection leads to organisms appearing designed to maximize their fitness.’The Price equation, however, is not universally accepted as a valid description of evolution, dependent as it is on controversial ideas of kin selection and group selection.  Van Veelen and others criticized its use in the Journal of Theoretical Biology last year.  Tutorials at Evolution and Games illustrate how Price’s theorem can produce misleading results.The Oxford team of two admitted that “the evolution of universes is very different from the evolution of animals,” but decided that “models of evolving universes are quite similar to models of bacterial evolution,” so they felt the similar logic made the exercise worthwhile.  Their original paper, published in Complexity, is available online in PDF format.So if models of evolving universes resemble models of biological evolution, what does that say about the latter?Let’s use this paper with all its whiz-bang equations to show how to respond to pseudo-erudite atheists, without being intimidated by their jargon and flawed mathematics.  The idea to master is that if your thesis is illogical, no amount of jargon or math will make it logical.  You don’t have to be able to follow the math of these Oxford scholars to conclude that their ideas are laughably absurd.Suppose, for instance that you want to prove that gnomes are capable of painting birds’ eggs in the middle of the night.  In your paper, you let G stand for the available gnome population, E stand for the egg density per acre, r the effective egg coloration rate and F the gnomic fitness increase derived from the Price equation, assuming the egg-painting activity allows gnomes to produce more offspring.  It doesn’t matter if you can derive F = cov(G1 – G2) + cov(E1 – E2) r –ewT or anything else, even more impressive-looking.  If the assumptions are wrong, the conclusions must also be wrong.Gardner and Conlon’s reasoning (and math) is a house of cards on sand in a whirlwind.  They assumed Darwinism accounts for finely-tuned adaptations in biology, like avian flight, blinding their eyes, as did Francis Crick, who said that “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”  They leapt from that error to assume that evolution can account for fine-tuning in the fundamental constants of physics.  They borrowed Lee Smolin’s controversial notion of “cosmic natural selection,” which they admitted “is only weakly analogous to Darwinian natural selection.”  They further assumed that finely-tuned, life-giving universes can emerge from black holes rather than dissipate in a sea of random particles by Hawking radiation.  They trusted the shaky math of Price’s theorem, which embeds evolutionary assumptions into the terms of its equation just like our example embedded gnomes into its terms.They know exactly what they are doing.  Look at the intellectual hurdles they simply walked around instead of facing:This idea relies on several important assumptions, all of which are controversial. First, it is key to the ideas of Smolin that the endpoint of black-hole formation is actually a new universe, rather than simply a quantum mechanical state that will decay over time and ultimately disappear through Hawking radiation….Second, Smolin suggests that the fundamental constants can change during the formation of new universes, but no physical mechanism is known to account for this. Third, Smolin assumes that the new universe inherits the constants of the previous universe, up to small variations. However, in the context of the multiverse, one should expect not just the constants of the Standard Model to be ambient, but also the gauge group (set of forces) and particle content of the Standard Model to be ambient properties as well. In this case, one would expect far more dramatic changes to the physical laws (e.g., the absence of electromagnetism as a long-range force) than simply a change in numerical constants. These are all substantial caveats (see [16] for an in-depth review). Here, we proceed on the assumption that they are surmountable.With a leap of faith like that, you can simply discount everything they say as foolishness.  Isn’t that exactly what Paul said the wise of this world do when facing clear evidence for design?  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.  These two fallible men know fully well how designed the universe is:The precise numerical values of these constants determine much of the physics of our universe and pose a double conundrum for physicists and philosophers. First, the values have a high degree of arbitrariness: they are dimensionless parameters that range over eight orders of magnitude, for no known reason. Second, it is generally acknowledged that even rather small modifications to some of these values would lead to universes that are vastly less complex than our own….No known reason?  Here you witnessed a willful escape from reason.  Because they stubbornly refuse to consider actual design by a designing intelligence, they would rather leap into absurdity, using their God-given talents for abstract reasoning to manipulate numbers that exclude the obvious out of existence in a fantasy multiverse of their own imagination. It’s just what Paul said: “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:19-21).  Futile thinking implies the self-refuting fallacy.  By thinking their own reason emerged from a mindless cosmos, Gardner and Conlon just undermined its validity.  Such thinking deserves pity, not funding from the Royal Society, whose founders believed design came from the Designer about whom Paul wrote.  Today’s members honor fools by publishing their folly.last_img read more

SA named Africa’s top nation brand

first_img26 May 2011 South Africa has been awarded the title of most valuable nation brand on the continent, with its recent inclusion in the BRICS grouping and successful hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup contributing to strong positive perceptions both locally and abroad. Anitha Soni, chairperson of the International Marketing Council of South Africa (IMC), received the accolade from UK-based Brand Finance on behalf of the country at the launch of the Brand Finance African Nation Brand League in Sandton, Johannesburg on Wednesday. “This honour underlines the progress the country has made,” Soni said. The rating by Brand Finance’s Global Nation Brands League takes into account the GDP revenue that a country generates. Egypt is the second most valuable nation brand in Africa, while Nigeria takes third place and is followed by Morocco, Algeria, Angola, Tunisia, Ghana, Kenya and Libya. Brand Finance pointed out that the sophistication of infrastructure is what makes Africa’s best three nation brands some of the world’s serious competitors. Hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup helped South Africa set up some impressive facilities, from which it’s poised to benefit from in future. And the World Cup itself did wonders to enhance the country’s image. “The world saw us and saw what we can do,” said Soni. Joining the BRIC economic bloc – previously comprising Brazil, Russia, India and China – has come at the right time for the nation, which is bracing itself for further economic growth. With the inclusion of South Africa, the group is now referred to as BRICS. “BRICS is a powerful new platform for promoting economic growth throughout Africa. This is a further recognition of South Africa as an important emerging country in its own right,” Soni said. The IMC is now aiming to make the country one of the top 20 most valuable nation brands in the world. South Africa is currently in 41st position. According to Brand Finance’s Global Nation Brands League, the top three most valuable nation brands at the moment are the US, Germany and China respectively. Brazil and India are also in the top 10.Enhanced reputation driving tourism The positive perceptions of the country are also a driving force in the growth of the tourism sector. “South Africa has become one of the fastest growing tourism destinations in the world,” said Oliver Schmidt, managing director at Brand Finance South Africa. But it’s not just tourism that’s benefiting from the country’s glowing brand – the entire private sector is scoring too. As Brand Finance CEO and founder David Haigh said: “There’s no doubt that nation-branding contributes to the perception of South Africa’s products.” The top three most recognised corporate brands on the continent are South African. MTN is number one, while leading banks Absa and Standard Bank are second and third respectively. MTN is the 199th most valuable brand in the world and the only African brand to be included in Brand Finance’s top 500 rankings. The telecommunications group has seen major growth since being established in South Africa 17 years ago. It now operates in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East, and its services connect over 120-million people. “It’s big thanks to my colleagues,” said Christian de Faria, the group’s senior vice-president for commercial and innovation. Brand Finance tips Standard Bank, which now ranks 510th, to break into the world’s best 500 in the coming years. “Standard Bank is one of the contenders”, Schmidt said. Brands of locally made goods are finding their place onto international markets, said Soni. “South African brands take their place in the global arena. We’ve taken ourselves into the international arena at every level.” All but one of the most valuable corporate brands ranked in the top 10 are from the US. The exception is UK-based Vodafone.Gateway to Africa South Africa has positioned itself as a gateway to the African continent for investors. The IMC’s aim is for South Africa to become a reflection of the continent. “Our role in Africa must contribute to the growth of the continent in entirety,” said Soni. In coming years “people will know that the African agenda is driven by Africa,” said Thebe Ikalafeng, founder of the Brand Leadership Group. “If South Africa does well, the whole continent does well as well,” Ikalafeng added. First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.last_img read more

Brand SA engages with South Africans in Australia

first_img17 March 2014Brand South Africa will be in Melbourne and Sydney this week to engage with South Africans based in Australia on the country’s progress since the advent of democracy 20 years ago.The agency said on the weekend that it would be showcasing both South Africa’s achievements over the past two decades and the work that was being done to address the country’s socio-economic challenges, with particular reference to the National Development Plan (NDP), also known as Vision 2030.“It is also important for South Africans to know that they can be part of South Africa’s growth and development despite where they may now reside,” the agency said in a statement. “They are also invited to join 20 year commemorative events organised by the South African representatives in their countries of residence.”The delegation, led by Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane and including Brand South Africa chairperson Chichi Maponya and CEO Miller Matola, will interact with South Africans based in Australia, as well as with individuals or organisations that are interested in the country’s offerings.The Global South Africans Roundtable will take place at the Intercontinental Melbourne on Monday evening and at the Intercontinental Sydney on Wednesday evening.The discussion can be followed on @Brand_SA using the hashtag #SA_Aus2014.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Injured Praveen out, Sreesanth in

first_imgPacer Sreesanth was on Tuesday drafted into the Indian team, replacing injured Praveen Kumar, the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Indian board announced. The decision was taken just 11 days before India play Bangladesh in the tournament opener on February 19 in Dhaka.Praveen has an elbow injury and he returned midway from India’s recent tour of South Africa as a precautionary measure to recuperate at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore.In anticipation, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had asked Sreesanth to stand by and reach the NCA. “Praveen Kumar has been ruled out of the World Cup due to an elbow injury. The all- India senior selection committee has picked Sreesanth as Praveen Kumar’s replacement. The ICC has confirmed that Praveen can be replaced by Sreesanth,” BCCI secretary N Srinivasan said in a statement.The 28-year-old Kerala pacer, who bowls with passion, was naturally excited. “It is a great opportunity and a great challenge to be part of Indian team for the World Cup. I am lucky to be a part of it and am looking forward to giving my best in the tournament,” Sreesanth, who will be playing in his second World Cup, told reporters.”I am just looking forward to giving my best in the World Cup. I am absolutely fine with any role given to me. Whatever I would be asked to do, I will perform accordingly.” Sreesanth’s replacement was approved by the ICC’s event technical committee headed by David Richardson (ICC). It also includes Ratnakar Shetty (tournament director), Campbell Jamieson (IDI representative), Anil Kumble ( host nominee), David Lloyd (independent nomination) and Sanjay Manjrekar (independent nomination).advertisementIt would have been Praveen’s first World Cup. But his right elbow failed to respond in time and with the prospects looking bleak, the selectors had no choice but to quickly find a replacement.The Uttar Pradesh bowler from Meerut consulted Dr Andrew Wallace, a London- based surgeon who has treated many Indian players including Sachin Tendulkar, but it seems the injury is more serious than anticipated.It is a huge setback for Praveen, 24, an automatic starter in One- Day Internationals who usually bowls with pace spearhead Zaheer Khan. He has so far taken 57 wickets in 48 ODIs.Praveen Kumar checks out his elbow as Sachin Tendulkar looks on.Sreesanth, who joins Zaheer, Ashish Nehra and Munaf Patel – the other pacers in the 15- member squad – has captured 75 wickets in 51 ODIs.The pacer said he would try to better his economy rate, which he admitted was a concern. “I was worried about that aspect of my game, but in the last couple of years, whatever chances I have got I showed a lot of improvement.With age and experience you learn a lot. I am still learning and, hopefully, will do a good job,” he said.”There are no issues as far as subcontinent pitches are concerned.Zaheer, Ashish and Munaf have all played in World Cups before and have enough experience. We are ready to give our best. We are doing well and are number two in ODIs. Hopefully, by the end of the World Cup, we could be the number one team in the world.” Sreesanth, who composed a song to cheer the team in the World Cup, said: “I was looking forward to cheer the team, but now I am happy to be a part of it.”last_img read more

Adarsh scam probe: CBI submits progress report to HC

first_imgThe Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday submitted progress report to the Bombay High Court on the probe of Adarsh Housing Society case, involving 14 accused, including former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.Additional Solicitor General Darius Khambata handed the report, in a sealed cover, to the division bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and R V More. The bench asked CBI to file a further report after four weeks.The matter has now been posted for hearing on July 20. CBI had earlier informed the Court that it had registered case against 14 persons, following which the court had asked the petitioner, Simpreet Singh, to forward his complaint and whatever documents he had, to the agency.Singh, a social activist, had originally sought transfer of case from state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to the CBI.Later, on its own, the state government decided to hand the case over the central agency.On the last occasion, Singh’s lawyer had said that High Court must supervise the probe, alleging that even Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde was involved in the scam, but his name does not figure in CBI’s FIR.However, the court felt it was investigating agency’s prerogative as to whom to name in the FIR.CBI filed the FIR on January 29 under various sections of IPC, including criminal conspiracy, cheating, and forgery, besides sections under Prevention of Corruption Act.- With PTI inputsFor more News, click here.For more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.advertisementlast_img read more

Ek Tha Tiger: A phenomenon called Salman Khan

first_imgEk Tha Tiger, which released on August 15, has crossed another milestone. After making the fastest Rs 100 crore at the box office in just 5 days, the movie has now crossed Rs 200 crore mark at the box office in just 12 days.Bollywood superstar Salman Khan continues to rule the cash counters with his spy film. With his recent record at the box office, looks like Salman Khans career is on an all-time high. With this Salman Khan has his hold firmly on the number one position in the industry now. There is a lot of hype around this Khan who has being also called Tiger Khan. Fans are going crazy over him. He has sparked off a major trend of the houndstooth patterned gamcha that he sports in Ek Tha Tiger.PlotIn the dark world of intelligence and espionage… all information is guarded in the name of national security… But some stories escape the fiercely guarded classified files… stories that become legends.This is one such story… a story that shook the very foundation of this dark world.In a government employees’ neighbourhood in New Delhi, there lived a rugged, handsome and mysterious bachelor about whom his neighbours knew nothing. That was because he was India’s top spy, an officer with the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence agency. This man was known even in official corridors as TIGER (Salman Khan).Tiger is sent on a relatively easy and safe mission to Dublin, Ireland to observe a scientist of Indian origin who is suspected of sharing his research findings with the Pakistan defence establishment. Tiger attempts to meet the scientist but is not successful. He tries to befriend the scientist’s part time home caretaker, Zoya (Katrina Kaif). As Tiger begins to get closer to Zoya… he begins to discover his human side.advertisementFor the first time in his life Tiger falls in love…What follows is a tumultuous journey that Tiger and Zoya embark upon, battling the dark world of intelligence and espionage that forbids its soldiers from falling in love…The film stars Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Girish Karnad, Roshan Seth and  Ranveer Shorey and is directed by Kabir Khan. The story is written by Aditya Chopra.Drool! Ek Tha Tiger stillsWatch your favourite songs from Ek Tha Tiger:SaiyyaraLaapataMaashallah BanjaaraLet’s look at the buzz around Ek Tha TigerMovie review: Ek Tha TigerGloss over the ‘Hollywood style-ishness’ and you realise the film is basically all about creating enough excuses to let machoman Salman bash up the baddies and romance the pretty girl.Now, Salman Khan’s Ek Tha Tiger being remade in Tamil?The roaring Tiger is breaking records with every passing day. From fastest Rs.100 crore to crossing Rs.200 crore, the producers of the film are laughing all the way to the bank.There are reports in the media that Ilayathalapathy Vijay will remake this commercial entertainer in Tamil. Rumors of a remake of the film in Telugu are being suggested as well but no names have been suggested so far for Telugu.Mystery behind Katrina’s red tilak revealed!Bollywood’s golden girl Katrina Kaif recently grabbed headlines, not for her performance in Salman Khan starrer Ek Tha Tiger but for the tilak she sported at private screenings of her film Ek Tha Tiger. According to sources, the tilak was nothing more than a religious one, applied to her forehead during a pooja she attended.No sequel to Salman Khan’s Ek Tha TigerDespite the ending of Salman Khan starrer superhit film Ek Tha Tiger leaving a scope for a sequel, the makers have denied any such move.Salman’s previous few films like No Entry, Wanted, Dabangg will have sequels and there were chances of a second instalment for his latest offering Ek Tha Tiger as well.”We have not thought of a sequel for Ek Tha Tiger. We don’t have any idea (story line) for the sequel,” Kabir told PTI. Even the producers have denied making a sequel. “With the success of the film, it would be the obvious conclusion for anybody to assume that the film deserves a sequel.last_img read more

PBA: NLEX escapes Meralco for 2nd straight win

first_imgPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hosting MANILA, Philippines–NLEX picked up its second straight victory after escaping Meralco, 87-83, Saturday in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup at Ynares Antipolo.ADVERTISEMENT ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Marcio Lassiter rues San Miguel’s poor rebounding as losses pile up View comments The Road Warriors pulled ahead for good with five minutes to play, 77-76, in the back and forth contest before a power outage interrupted the action for more than 10 minutes.When the lights went back on, the Bolts managed to tie the game at 83 on a triple by Ranidel de Ocampo with under two minutes to play but NLEX, steady from the stripe, sealed the victory with four straight freethrows.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesJP Erram, the Road Warriors’ newest recruit, starred anew with 12 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and five blocks including a crucial rejection of De Ocampo with 10 seconds left.JR Quinahan paced NLEX with 16 points, going 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, while Kevin Alas chipped in 12 points and six boards. NLEX improved to 2-3, tied with Meralco and San Miguel and TNT in the middle of the pack.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte MOST READ PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war LATEST STORIES Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusationslast_img read more