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Do Confusing Branches Add up to a Darwin Tree?

first_imgEvolutionists routinely try to construct parts of Darwin’s grand “tree of life” from fossils and genes.  Do the parts come together as expected?Camels & mammals:  The genome of a Bactrian (two-humped) camel named Mozart was deciphered.  According to Science Daily, “The DNA code also represents a rich resource for addressing questions on phylogenetic relationships between animals.”  So far, though, all the geneticists found was 85% similarity to the one-humped dromedary camel.  They hope it will clarify relationships with llamas and alpacas, too, but that work remains to be done.Zebrafish & mermaids:  Alongside a photo of a lovely lady swimming underwater, Michael Gross wrote in Current Biology,  “While we humans tend to have grandiose ideas about our special position in the tree of life, more than 70% of our genes have an obvious orthologue in zebrafish.”  Other than telling sweeping stories of evolutionary transitions, Gross only mentioned the coelacanth genome and the zebrafish genome as data, noting that “zebrafish has the largest number of unique genes (3,634) not shared with any of the others” (chicken, mouse, and human).  And despite the major changes involved in moving from sea to land, he wrote, “Arthropods must have made the transition at least five times, as researchers have concluded from phylogenetic trees.”Tree of life is fishy:  In “Somethings’s fishy in the tree of life,” Science Daily reported on the largest comparison of fish genes to date, providing data that “dramatically increase understanding of fish evolution and their relationships.”  Some assembly required, after disassembling previous assumptions and “proposing” relationships nobody would have expected:While some of the findings provide new support for previously understood fish relationships, others significantly change existing ideas. Many different groupings are proposed in this new tree. For example, tunas and marlins are both fast-swimming marine fishes with large, streamlined bodies, yet they appear on very different branches of the tree. Tunas appear to be more closely related to the small, sedentary seahorses, whereas marlins are close relatives of flatfishes, which are bottom-dwelling and have distinctive asymmetric heads.Fish & Hips:  A short article on Science Daily tries to explain the “fishy origin of our hips.”  We’re related to salamanders, by implication: it only took a “few evolutionary steps” to convert fins to hips.  Even though humans are thought to be very distant on Darwin’s tree, “the differences between us and them are not as great as they appear — most of the key elements necessary for the transformation to human hips were actually already present in our fish ancestors,” the article alleges.  And that’s because “Many of the muscles thought to be ‘new’ in tetrapods evolved from muscles already present in lungfish,” a Monash University evolutionist said.  “We also found evidence of a new, more simple path by which skeletal structures would have evolved.”  A picture of an axolotl adorns the article—but that’s a salamander, not a fish.Speaking of salamanders, an article on PhysOrg alleges that the “repeated evolution of high foraging rates in spotted salamanders” shows the “invisible finger of evolution” at work.  Quote from the evolutionary spokesman from U of Connecticut: “Finding that adaptive evolution may disguise strong ecological effects means that a range of ecological predictions are likely to be unreliable if we ignore how evolution affects biological communities” — i.e., evolution and ecology are so “inexorably intertwined,” one can mask the other.Snakes alive, and hopeful lizards:  A researcher with his team at George Washington U has built a new evolutionary tree of all lizards and snakes around the globe, 4,161 species in all.  “While there are gaps on some branches of the tree,” the lead acknowledged, “the structure of the tree goes a long way toward fully mapping every genus and species group.”  He thinks he knows what will fill the gaps, even though the project is preliminary: “this estimate of the squamate tree of life shows us what we do know, and more importantly, what we don’t know, and will hopefully spur even more research on the amazing diversity of lizards and snakes.”Speaking of lizards, here’s a big one.  While listening to music from The Doors, Jason Head (U of Nebraska) found a six-footer he named after Jim Morrison (leader of the rock band, who apparently committed suicide).  Thought to have lived 40 million years ago, Barbaturex morrisoni was larger than many of the mammals it munched on.  Head attributed today’s paucity of large lizards to climate change.  Apparently global temperatures and carbon dioxide levels were much higher back then, even with human smokestacks and automobiles around.  “We think the warm climate during that period of time allowed the evolution of a large body size and the ability of plant-eating lizards to successfully compete in mammal faunas,” he said (PhysOrg).  Is he proposing reptile size as a function of temperature?  Why, then, were there large dinosaurs in the arctic circle?  Why are lizards smaller today, to first approximation, in hot as well as cold climates?Ant what they used to be:  How’s the ant branch coming along?  Science Daily reported on a new ant family tree that supposedly “Confirms Date of Evolutionary Origin” and “Underscores Importance of Neotropics” in their emergence.  Data from genes and fossils were used to build the largest ancestry diagram for ants.  According to the phylogenists, “the rainforests of the Neotropics are both a museum, protecting many of the oldest ant groups, and also a cradle that continues to generate new species.”  In other words, some evolve and some don’t.  “This ant tree-of-life confirmed an earlier surprising finding that two groups of pale, eyeless, subterranean ants, which are unlike most typical ants, are the earliest living ancestors of the modern ants.”  It would seem easier to lose eyes than to gain them.Planting trees in the fast lane:  “Biologists have known for a long time that some creatures evolve more quickly than others,” begins an article on PhysOrg. “Exactly why isn’t well understood, particularly for plants.”  A new notion is that short plants grow in the “evolutionary fast lane” compared to tall plants.  At the U.S. National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, researchers estimated the average height of 140 families of plants, then plotted them against their assumed date of emergence in the fossil record to conclude (to their surprise) that “shorter plants evolved as much as five times faster than taller ones.”  Why would that be?  They surmised that the tips of small plants generate more mistakes:What puts short plants in the evolutionary fast lane? The researchers suspect the difference may be driven by genetic changes that accumulate in the actively-dividing cells in the tip of the plant shoot as it grows. Cells don’t copy their DNA perfectly each time they divide. In animals, most DNA copy mistakes that occur in the cells of the animal’s body can’t be inherited—they’re evolutionary dead ends. But this isn’t the case for plants, where genetic changes in any part of the plant could potentially get passed on if those cells eventually form flowers or other reproductive organs.For the notion to work, “the rate of cell division and genome copying in taller plants eventually slows down, and changes in DNA—the raw material for evolution—accumulates less quickly.”  Sounds like a hypothesis in need of observation.Does Darwin need his tree?  As reported here May 15, the “tree of life” is a tangled bramble bush, according to an article on Science Daily.  Astrobiology Magazine went further to debunk the notion of a “tree of life” with a last universal common ancestor (LUCA).  But their idea of “digging down below the tree of life” threatens to uproot it:A family tree unites a diverse group of individuals that all carry genetic vestiges from a single common ancestor at the base of the tree. But this organizational structure falls apart if genetic information is a communal resource as opposed to a family possession.The article stressed the significance of horizontal gene transfer,  Nigel Goldenfield (U of Chicago) stated it this way: “Our perspective is that life emerged from a collective state, and so it is not at all obvious that there is one single organism which was ancestral.”  Although this refers to the trunk of the tree, the impact of the new idea flows upward.  “In his work,[Peter]  Gogarten [U of Connecticut] has shown that horizontal gene transfer turns the tree of life into a thick bush of branches that interweave with each other.”  (see also 2/01/07). The new ideas of Carl Woese (1/28/10), Goldenfield and Gogarten are examples of “the evolution of evolution,” the article suggests (see 12/19/07).The group is particularly interested in the question of how the ability to evolve originally developed. The “evolution of evolution” sounds like a chicken-and-egg problem — especially if you think, as Goldenfeld does, that life is by definition something capable of evolving.However, evolution can utilize different mechanisms to achieve the same goal. Goldenfeld’s team will try to recover some of life’s former evolutionary phases by stressing cells and then seeing how their genomes rearrange in response.It appears, then, that to salvage evolutionary theory, astrobiologists must personify evolution (“evolution can utilize different mechanisms“) and dispense with Darwin’s core concept of unguided natural selection (“to achieve the same goal“).Goldenfield, a physicist, tries to see evolution in thermodynamics terms in order to come up with rules of “universal biology.”  However it is viewed, it’s clear that evolutionists have a long way to go.  He said, “We would like to have a better understanding of why life exists at all.”Why does life exist at all?  Because it was created.  It didn’t just happen.  We can say that confidently after showcasing once again the utter bankruptcy of evolutionary theory (10/19/10). Did you catch that the zebrafish has 3,634 unique genes?  What’s the probability of those arising without design?After 154 years of Darwin, evolutionists are not even sure there is a tree of life.  Creationists have the certainty of a life-giving, created tree of life: in the beginning and at the end.  Don’t be fooled by the mystical divination of modern-day shamans who use mumbo-jumbo like “the evolution of evolution” or “the invisible finger of evolution” to keep their fake tree fable going (2/01/07 commentary), who refuse to acknowledge the clear evidence for design, and who keep promising understanding that never comes. (Visited 21 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Task team to explore university funding in South Africa

first_img7 October 2015A task team had been established to explore solutions to short-term student funding challenges, President Jacob Zuma said yesterday following a “fruitful and historical” meeting with vice-chancellors and the leadership of universities in South Africa at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.The meeting between the leadership of the country and its tertiary education institutions ties into one of the outcomes of the National Development Plan, namely, Africa’s place in the world. This is an effort to create a better South Africa, a better Africa and a better world.Meeting with university leadershipThe meeting was held at the request of Universities of South Africa and the University Council Chairs Forum – South Africa. Among other things, the request was necessitated by the recent violence on campuses countrywide.South Africa recognised and supported the right of university students to protest and to voice their opinions and grievances, Zuma said. However, he strongly condemned the violence and destruction of property that had taken place at some universities in the name of student protests over the past year or so. The most recent violent protests have been at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.“This right to protest should be exercised with utmost responsibility, ensuring that the rights of other South Africans are not violated in the process,” he said.While violent student responses had been condemned, university management must open up legitimate channels for discussion and dialogue over matters concerning students, with a view to resolving whatever issues they raised.“We believe that university management must be more proactive and not allow matters to deteriorate to such an extent that students go on a rampage, often due to lack of understanding and knowledge of the situation and spurred by poor communication,” Zuma said.TransformationIssues relating to the transformation of the higher education sector were also discussed, ahead of the second Higher Education Summit, which will take place in Durban from 15 to 17 October.“It was further noted that the current activity on many historically white university campuses by new student movements were related to concerns around the slow pace of university transformation and the demand to open access more effectively and thus change entrenched institutional cultures.“We also discussed some of the real gains in transforming the higher education sector, while acknowledging that there is still much more to be done.”Students protesting for the transformation of institutions, the president stressed, must focus on dialogue and legitimate means of negotiation and protest to bring about change.AfrikaansThe use of Afrikaans as the main medium of instruction on some campuses has been an issue leading to student protests:#SAVarsities: Zuma “the current issues in former Afrikaans Universities are pushed by the snail pace in transformation” @ANN7tv— Neria Hlakotsa (@neriahlakotsa) October 6, 2015#SAVarsities #Zuma says Afrikaans must not be used as a tool of exclusion, if you do so, you problematize it. @KayaNews— KhayelihleKhumalo (@KhayaJames) October 6, 2015#SAVarsities Zuma: Afrikaans is an African language, it must not isolate itself— POWER987 News (@POWER987News) October 6, 2015Financial aidThe focus of the meeting were the key challenges facing universities such as student financial aid, the increasing politicisation of university campuses, and transformation of higher education.“We wish to reiterate government’s commitment to funding poor students in higher education in the context of a constrained fiscal climate,” said Zuma.Funding for poor academically capable students, disbursed though the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), has increased from R441-million in 1997 to over R9.5-billion in 2015.“While funding has increased considerably, it is clearly still insufficient to support all poor and academically deserving students,” Zuma admitted. Processes for improving the disbursement of funds and concerted efforts to root out fraud, as well as sourcing additional funding to support students were being implemented.Shortfalls in financial aid, however, should not be used as a justification for hooliganism and vandalism of state property.The task teamThe task team will be made up of officials from the Department of Higher Education and Training, the Presidency, NSFAS, two vice-chancellors representing the leadership of universities, two student representatives, and other higher education stakeholders.It would make recommendations by the end of November.Source: SAnews.govlast_img read more

The Healthcare System: An Apple Tablet’s Biggest Opportunity

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… mike kirkwood Apple’s “iTablet” – whatever it may be – could be destined to transform our care delivery system in a major way. For years, key hardware vendors like Panasonic, Toshiba, HP and Intel have been working hard to embed tablet computers into hospitals. The promise of improved clinical information systems, based on real-time information updates across patient touchpoints could be a workflow game changer. If the tablet becomes the tool that is carried with a nurse or doctor on their travels from patient to patient, it will save time, money and lives by enabling the first “always updated” system.Unfulfilled OpportunityConsidering the massive expense of implementing an electronic health record (EHR) system – for example the $4 billion spent by Kaiser Permanente – data synchronization is a huge investment for the healthcare system. At the national level, the Office of National Coordinator (ONC) is administering billions of dollars of stimulus dollars to help systems move forward into the electronic realm. But early today, the ONC’s Charles Friedman told a FDA interoperability meeting that in 2008, a mere 4% of systems in the United States qualify as “fully functional” electronic health record systems. With all the fantastic and innovative work that has gone into creating a healthcare specific devices, such as Panasonic’s series of tablet PCs, it’s not the mainstream yet. A big part of this reason is usability of the software. Clearly, vendors have been building creative and durable machines. But in a similar way that earlier smartphones now seem clumsy compared to the iPhone, we haven’t yet seen a product that is amazing. Something like what we think the Apple tablet could be would change this landscape overnight and may be priced at a point that’s much less than other medical devices on the market. Mobile Health MomentumThe iPhone has already changed the face of healthcare. Apple shared this fact at last year’s iPhone OS 3.0 release and within the keynote at WWDC. The momentum that started with consumer applications has moved to forward-looking doctors and health providers. We know that it is becoming common practice for some doctors and nurses to carry both their company-issued Blackberry and their personally purchased iPhone. There are already amazing applications in the market. AirStrip allows doctors to monitor patient vital signs and receive alerts from afar. There are now personal health records that can be carried and updated from anywhere. Additionally, there are information-rich applications that allow nurses, doctors and patients to look up health information in real time. Last week during the Haiti tragedy, an injured individual was able to use an iPhone to treat himself using an first aid application on the iPhone. Clinician Ready Apple and EPIC systems have been collaborating to release the first version of MyChartManager on the iPhone. EPIC is a leading provider of EHR in the United States, and powers systems such as Kaiser Permanente and Palo Alto Medical Foundation in the Bay Area, to name a few. The application, named Haiku was released on Jan. 13, 2010, and several health systems are in the process of testing it. It’s a clear contender for the “killer app” in the hospital setting. Looking at the screenshots, it’s clear that more screen real estate would be ideal – which means it may be just the right time for an iTablet-like device to emerge on the market.It’s the AppsIt is nearly certain that iPhone OS 4.0 will create a path for existing applications to “upsize” to a tablet device, and this includes size. The medical category today is already the highest-aggregate-priced category on the App Store today, and with the promise of applications inside the clinical walls, the opportunity gets much larger. The iPhone-to-tablet combination may be the biggest reason that a tablet is successful in the market, since the entire iPhone developer community will be able to deliver on this new platform. With Apple’s success in having an integrated OS that shares core libraries across both the Mac and iPhone, it is likely that a table device will also connect with apps from both the iPhone and the Mac.Workflow Wish ListHaving had the opportunity to observe clinical workflow and talk with several healthcare providers – including Kaiser Permanente and the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital – we’ve compiled a list of device capabilities that would change healthcare. Our wishlist includes:Real-time observations, including vitals signs: It is amazing that many systems still require doctors or nurses to take down vitals on pencil and paper, even when an EHR is in place. Shift changes: Shift transitions between nurses can be greatly improved by having a device that is mobile and moves freely with each part of the staff, so that the shift exchange is a workflow generated process that isn’t tied to a physical location. Nurses move, the system should too.Rich content delivery: The ability to share with a patient what is going to happen in rich detail, including video, can be a major force in improving readiness of the patient.Video: Bringing remote feeds right into the emergency room, outpatient setting or other environment should be easier than ever before.Family and friends: Offering a feature for family and friends to directly communicate with the patient is a huge opportunity. A tablet may be the perfect device to enable more personal discussion and check-ins with family members in the hospital, near or far.PredictionIf Apple does in fact show a tablet device at the Jan. 27 event, hospitals around the country will react with pilot programs, and we will see tablets and Macs join the iPhone in helping deliver healthcare with a new era of style and grace. It is also true that Apple will have an uphill battle getting past corporate IT; getting support in the enterprise as a new class of device is a daunting challenge. But the “iTablet” will give visionary IT leaders more opportunity to change the status quo and look to the future.We can hear the doctor already: “Take two moments to fire up your iTablet, and teleconference me in the morning.”What do you think, could a tablet be the product that brings Apple inside the hospital walls and improve the system?Photo credit: Balazs Gal. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts Tags:#Apple#web last_img read more

Google Glass: Twitter’s Vine Could Be The Killer App

first_imgTwitter’s Vine could be the killer app for Google Glass. They (should) go together like strawberries and chocolate.Yes, Google Glass needs a killer app. Beyond the breathless hype by white guys in Silicon Valley, what exactly is the mass market supposed to do with Google Glass? The most talked-about Glass uses, like augmented reality and instant data presentation, don’t have obvious appeal outside of the early adopter community. (See also 10 Compelling Ways People Plan To Use Google Glass.)Vine on Glass, however, could be something almost everyone could get into. Vine on Glass would let all your followers – and potentially the whole world – see what you see, almost as soon as you see it, in an easily digestible form. While you could do much of this with a smartphone, when you see something you want to record, you need to pull out your phone and power up the video camera. Not so with Glass, which promises an almost frictionless experience. If you are wearing Glass, you could Vine, effortlessly.  This has never been possible before. Making The Vine-On-Glass MatchThe six-second limit on Vine videos also means that Glass wearers don’t need to constantly stream everything they see, allowing Glass users to maintain full control and ownership over what they record, and what they share. Six seconds is long enough to capture the moment – the feel of an event or experience – in a way that is powerful, easy to record and share, but not so long that viewers get bored or creeped out. And Vine videos don’t require the kind of editing and composition skills that it takes to make watchable longer form movies.I suspect both Twitter and Google are already working on a partnership – though neither responded to my request for comment. Venture capitalist John Doerr has hinted that Twitter is already working on a Twitter – Glass app. First stop tweet, next stop picture, then… Vine: Hands-free, real-time, short videos, shot instantly with Glass, distributed instantly to the world via Twitter. And the companies are hardly strangers: Google used Twitter to help choose who would be first to own Glass with its #ifihadglass promotion.Sure, Google would rather users share their videos on Google+. But Twitter has proven that no one does real-time sharing better, and the short, bursty Vine format combines the best of Twitter and Glass. How Would It Work?Admittedly, there are some issues with creating Vine videos on Glass. Do you move your head? Stand still? How many taps to initiate recording and/or uploading? Based on the latest Project Glass “how to” video, however, even those minor barriers appear to be falling.  What journalists or first-responders might see. Watch an artist at work – and see, just as he sees. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement brian s hallcenter_img Tags:#Augmented Reality#Google#Google Glass#twitter#video apps#Vine Vine On Glass Use CasesUnless and until we actually get Vine on Glass, we won’t know how the combo would be used. But here are some likely scenarios:Ask your followers if the awesome shoes you are trying on are right for you.Impress followers with your amazing view of the San Francisco skyline – or just tease them with what you see in real, physical space.Show them how the guy three persons ahead of you in line is being a total jerk.Let them cry with you as you hold your newborn for the first time, or coo with you when you take your new puppy home – all while your hands remain completely free and in the moment. You witness a traffic accident and immediately report all details, including video and audio of the aftermath. POV video from sports events – as a spectator or even a participant.The Vines embedded below offer more examples of Vines that would work even better if they had been recorded with Google Glass instead of an iPhone: Really real-time traffic video from highly specific locations. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

AMU students protest ‘police inaction’

first_imgAligarh Muslim University students sat on an indefinite dharna on Thursday protesting the “police inaction” against the vandalism carried out by members of some right-wing organisations on the university campus on Wednesday.AMU Students’ Union president Mashkoor Ahmad Usmani told The Hindu that the students are demanding a judicial inquiry and arrest of activists of right-wing groups who allegedly barged into the university campus and thrashed students and security guards when they tried to stop them from breaking law.Over 30 AMU students and many police personnel were injured in the violence which started with the right-wing protesters demanding removal of the portrait of Mohammad Ali Jinnah from the office of the AMU students’ union and in the subsequent confrontation between the students and the police.Reacting to the incidents of violence, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the “act of honouring the man who was responsible for the Partition of the country will never be tolerated”. He said that he has asked for a report from the district administration. ADG, Agra Zone, Ajay Anand has reached Aligarh and held a meeting with the IG, SSP and SP City over law and order in Aligarh.AMU has strongly condemned “the trespassing of university boundary and raising of objectionable and intimidating slogans by a group of Hindu Yuva Vahini youths”. It has asked the district administration to take strict action against the youths who disturbed the peace of the campus.The Aligarh police, meanwhile, have registered two FIRs. “One FIR is against over 300 unnamed AMU students and five AMUSU members,” said Javed Khan, the in-charge of Civil Lines police station.“The second FIR has been lodged against 22 unnamed people by the AMU security authorities under various sections,” he added.last_img read more