China is already training and thus gives hope to the rest of the World

first_imgFootballers were in Pudong But not yet the Portuguese coach Vitor Pereira, who arrived from Europe a few days ago with his assistants and, therefore, was quarantined by the Chinese government. Pereira will start training his men in no time. Fellaini, will take a little longer, because after his positive the disease must pass and then a few more days of quarantine in the Chinese city of Jinan, about 300 kilometers south of the capital, Beijing.The Chinese team exercises in isolation in the city of Sanya after returning last Monday from a concentration in Dubai, a city in the United Arab Emirates. The footballers of the Asian national team expressed concern that Wu Lei, teammate and footballer of Espanyol, has been infected by the coronavirus in Barcelona. Most of the Chinese Super League teams have already exercised collectively since Monday, although with precautionary measures during these first days so there are no important contacts on the lawn. At least, for a while longer until the coronavirus epidemic is completely disappearing in the Asian country. The return to training will cause the championship to start in a few weeks, and that the positive of the Belgian Marouane Fellaini should delay him somewhat more than expected. Fellaini is admitted these days after apparently contracting the disease on a recent trip to Dubai.The images on Wednesday of the Shanghai SIPG soccer players exercising in the well-known Pudong district of the most populous city in China However, they must contribute to giving hope of return to soccer in the rest of the world, especially that of the great European leagues, which do not yet have a return date with the coronavirus pandemic at its peak for most countries of the Old Continent. “We started training more smoothly, mainly focused on getting ready,” said defender Yu Hai. “With the days we will increase the intensity. But this is the best start to overcome the difficulties of the last months,” Hai continued.last_img read more

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Governor Jones Addresses UMU Students

first_imgCentral Bank Executive Governor, Dr. Joseph Mills Jones, has told students at the United Methodist University that the surest way for one to succeed in life is to become fully educated and do away with the age-old “dependency syndrome.”Dr. Jones observed the world with all its diverse and advanced technology depends on people with the requisite educational qualifications, not on people who will jostle (shove, elbow) their way through life through reliance on handouts and other ideas.Liberians, he said, would only become successful if they are fully educated with the necessary skills needed for progress.Governor Jones made the statement over the weekend when he delivered the keynote address at a program marking the official induction ceremony of officers-elect of the United Methodist University (UMU) Student Council (UMUSC) 2013/2014.The ceremony, which was held under the theme: “UMU First, UMU Last, UMU Always,” was punctuated by rounds of applause from the audience, most them the students.According to Dr. Jones, “when students are encouraged to learn they will in turn get a good education and strive for excellence. This promotes them to strive for excellence rather than leaving them alone to think they have academically achieved.On the topic, “Economic Transformation,” Governor Jones noted that the exercise is the responsibility of all, irrespective of status.Therefore, he admonished the student body to muster the courage and the foresight to think “outside the box.”“In this regard, Liberia must be seen to be a land of hope and opportunity; a land where big dreams can become big accomplishments, where those who are academically prepared to work can lift themselves out of poverty.”According to him, Liberians will not win the war against poverty by relying on handouts. It can only be won when Liberians are economically empowered; when Liberians enhance their productivity and become the principal shareholders in the Liberian economy.He urged the students to strive for excellence and become disciplined, saying, “You must learn now to cultivate a sense of community, because it is only through being a responsible member of a community that you can become a responsible member of the larger society.”Dr. Jones: “If we, Liberians choose to remain unprepared, or go for the unprepared, uninformed, uneducated and ones with a lack initiative, the country will be governed by the unprepared, uninformed, and unenlightened too; thus carrying us backward.”Through that assertion, Dr. Jones encouraged all of the students to get a good and sound education that would eventually open the door to a more prosperous (affluent, well-off) future; a future where not only a privileged few benefit, but the entire country.Prior to delivering his speech, Dr. Jones presented to the UMUSC eight brand-new copiers valued over US$5,000, and pledged to make substantial contributions to whatever endeavors the students leadership intended to undertake in the future.Those inaugurated into UMUSC’s government were the president, Ms. Kate Love Manford; vice president, Jallah K. Wright; secretary-general, Jah Wolobah Beyan; and the financial secretary, Mustapha Z. Sherman.Officials of the student council government installed are being elected earlier as members of their respective class’ government. For example, the financial secretary to the UMUSC, Mustapha Z. Sherman serves as president for the freshman class, the secretary-general also serves as the president for the sophomore class, while the vice president, Jah K. Wright is the president for the junior class and the president, Kate Love Manford is herself, president of the senior class.In her inaugural address, Ms. Kate Love Manford, called for understanding and cooperation between the UMUSC and the administration.She then promised to foster the welfare of the institution by working closely with the Administration and holding consultations with her colleagues to ensure that UMU remains first, last and always.Earlier in his induction speech, UMU’s president, Dr. Emmanuel F. Bailey told the audience that it was a blessing and serious responsibility conferred on the student leadership, and therefore, urged them to work hard because the students recognized them as their voice.Dr. Bailey on behalf of the UMU administration, board, and student body, pledged unflinching support and loyalty to the newly installed UMUSC government. He added, “Together we will strive to create a supportive fellowship and expand the development of our university.”        He admonished the students to take their studies seriously as it is the only viable means to contribute meaningfully to national development.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Local government to become more independent

first_img…as reform project is launchedA plan aimed at improving and reorganising Guyana’s Local Government sector has been launched by the Ministry of Communities, in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).The ‘Local Government Reform Project’ will seek to build the capacity of the Communities Ministry, The Guyana Association of Municipalities (GAM), and the municipalities that support local democratic organs (LDOs), all while ensuring that they are better equipped to manage their respective obligations in an effective and efficient manner.The project would identify the necessary tools and resources that the various entities would need for reform, and would provide a decentralised approach to the delivery of public service and improvement of community participation in the local government arena.The project would also identify avenues for potential partnerships, collaboration and cooperation in hope of making a contribution to economic development.One of the dire areas highlighted is the Local Government’s reliance on Central Government for funding. This feature was deemed ‘inadequate’ for local government service delivery. Therefore, a main objective of the project is to branch off the available public resources, so that local government can be financially independent.Local Government was described as having the potential to become a key driver in transforming the economy for better, as noted by Dr. Justin Ram, Director of Economics at the CDB.“Local Government can be much more than a conduit for the provision of Central Government services. By being closer to local communities, it is better placed to find local solutions to local problems, freeing up Central Government to address the many national challenges it faces today and will face in future,” he stated at the launching.Additionally, the MoC/CDB project intends to incorporate vulnerable populations, such as women, children, youth, the elderly, persons with disabilities, marginalised groups, and those disadvantaged by poverty or other circumstances.On a similar note, Ram touched on the importance of youth in Government. “It will seek to address the difficulties that young people in Guyana face, and provide opportunities to better engage youth in the governance process,” he noted.Another component of the project would include possible legislative reform and a synchronising of existing legislation which govern the local democratic organs; and the programme also aims at reviewing the current rate collection process, including the requisite property value updates, as well as examine other avenues for revenue generation.A State Paper presented by the late President Hoyte to the National Assembly, titled “Reorganisation of the Local Government System in Guyana”, stated that, in their original construct, local authorities could not cope with the massive and complicated developmental demands of their respective areas, because the intrinsic design of the system presented legal, organisational and other inhibitors to any effort and ambition of the councils.Therefore, the Ministry’s overall mandate is to transform the local government landscape through capacity-building at all levels, to improve accountability and transparency, which would inevitably accommodate the transfer of greater autonomy and decentralisation.last_img read more

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Parking meters to be removed from public schools environ

first_img…as burden continues on motoristsThe Mayor and City Council (M&CC), the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) and Smart City Solutions have come to an amicable solution regarding the parking meter system, with a decision to have the meters removed from in front of public schools.With that removal, a decision was also taken that there would be no more setting up of meters in front of public schools in the city.These decisions were taken during a meeting between the three bodies on Thursday. A joint press statement stated that after giving due and special consideration to the critical and fundamental role that teachers play in the education and development of the nation’s children, vehicle parking spaces immediately in front of the public schools will not be regulated for the purpose of metered parking.The GTU had on Monday held a meeting with representatives from Smart City Solutions Incorporated (SCSI). The concern was over teachers being required to pay for parking in front of public schools.GTU General Secretary Coretta Mc Donald had said that having a vehicle is not a luxury for some, but a necessity. Pointing to the fact that even teachers at the nursery school level drove, she stated that this was an unfair situation when teachers’ salaries have remained inadequate and the cost of living in Guyana was already high.“You are rolling out parking meters in Guyana, what (they) take into consideration outside of having consultations with various entities?” she queried. “I’m not sure that this was well thought out,” McDonald stated following the Monday meeting with SCSI.Members of the GTU had also held a vigil on Tuesday evening, signalling their discontent with the parking meters. That vigil took the crowd to the residence of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, who is currently acting as President.After a meeting with the protesters representatives, the Prime Minister later came out and addressed the crowd. He explained that while he did not have all the answers for them, he would raise the matter with Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan. Meanwhile on Friday, GTU President Mark Lyte welcomed the decision to ease the burden off of teachers. “The Guyana Teachers’ Union is pleased to inform all its members that no teacher in the public school system will be required to pay for parking their vehicle while they teach the nation’s children. In fact, no other parking meter will be placed in front of schools. Those schools where parking meters have been placed already will see them being removed,” Lyte said on a Facebook message.He continued by thanking the Mayor and City Council, along with Smart City Solutions for granting the request. The manner in which the parking meter contract, signed in November 2015, was arranged with National Parking Solutions/SCSI has attracted heavy scrutiny in the press.Subsequently, the Finance Ministry and the Attorney General’s Chambers conducted reviews of the contract to determine its practicality and legality. One of the observations of the Finance Ministry had been that “the contract has given complete monopoly power to SCSI over parking within Georgetown. This control could lead to exploitation of consumers as SCSI has the power to change fees arbitrarily and determine zones.”The fees amount to at least $200 an hour. The minimum time a motorist can purchase is 15 minutes. Metered hours are Monday to Saturday, from 07:00h to 19:00h (7am to 7pm).last_img read more

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MINISTER: DONEGAL DRINK-DRIVE CONVICTION RATE FIGURES WERE WRONG

first_imgThe Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe has said conviction rates for drink-driving in Donegal are much higher than recent reports suggest.Paschal Donohoe has denied claims in The Irish Times that only 40 per cent of summonses result in convictions.He says the figures reported were faulty, because they included summonses which had not been processed, or cases that hadn’t finished. And he has said the actual conviction rate is twice as high as reports had claimed.“These figures were then portrayed by treating convictions as a percentage of summonses leading to the false conclusion that 60% of cases which were taken to court led to acquittal,” Mr Donohoe said.“The reality is that approximately 86% of drink-driving cases which go to court, result in convictions.”MINISTER: DONEGAL DRINK-DRIVE CONVICTION RATE FIGURES WERE WRONG was last modified: November 11th, 2015 by John2Share 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:donegaldrink driveGavellast_img read more

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JIMMY’S WINNING MATCHES AT CELTIC – MCGUINNESS PART OF MANAGEMENT STAFF FOR FIVE-STAR VICTORY

first_imgJIM MCGUINNESS will appear on The Saturday Night Show tonight.Jim McGuinness took his place on the bench alongside Celtic manager Ronnie Delia for Celtic’s 5-0 victory over Ross County earlier this afternoon.His presence on the bench signifies the central role he’s now having with the first-team at Celtic Park.One of Delia’s first moves as manager of Celtic was to promote McGuinness from working with the club’s youth set-up into the first-team. However, today was the first time McGuinness took his place on the bench alongside Delia.Celtic have been struggling of late, and lost 1-0 to Hamilton Academical last weekend.Manager Ronnie Delia has come under scrutiny from the Celtic faithful due to a succession of bad results.However, with Jimmy on board today, Celtic were back winning matches as they thrashed Ross County 5-0. McGuinness stepped down as Donegal manager a fortnight ago after four glorious years at the helm.He hasn’t given an interview since his departure, but it’s believed he stepped down because of his promotion with the first-team at Celtic Park.McGuinness will give his first interview tonight, when he appears on RTE’s The Saturday Night Show, and is expected to reveal why he walked away from the Donegal job.JIMMY’S WINNING MATCHES AT CELTIC – MCGUINNESS PART OF MANAGEMENT STAFF FOR FIVE-STAR VICTORY was last modified: October 18th, 2014 by Mark ForkerShare 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:celtic fcFeaturesJim McGuinnessnewsRTESportlast_img read more

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DEATH OF BUNDORAN REPUBLICAN JOE O’NEILL ANNOUNCED

first_imgO’Neill in 1986 with O’BradaighDONEGAL republican Joe O’Neill has died, aged 76.The honorary life vice-president of Republican Sinn Féin passed away at Sligo General Hospital last night.He sided with Ruairi O’Bradaigh in the Sinn Fein split after Gerry Adams lifted a boycott of Dail elections. O’Neill gave the oration at O’Bradaigh’s funeral in June.His nephew is the Fine Gael councillor Barry O’Neill.Chair of County Donegal ETB, Cllr Philip Mc Glynn has expressed his sadness on the passing of Mr O’Neill a former Co Donegal VEC member.” I wish to convey my sympathy to Mr O’Neill’s brother, sisters, nieces & nephews both on my own behalf & that of County Donegal ETB”, he said. “Mr O’Neill made a great contribution to education in Donegal & will be sorely missed by all his friends & relatives” DEATH OF BUNDORAN REPUBLICAN JOE O’NEILL ANNOUNCED was last modified: October 3rd, 2013 by John2Share 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:DEATH OF BUNDORAN REPUBLICAN JOE O’NEILL ANNOUNCEDlast_img read more

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KCCA FC switch focus to League after failed continental campaign, host troubled Police FC

first_img Tags: allan okellocharles lukwagoJohn RevitaJulius polotoKCCA FCMike MutebiMustafah KizzaMuzamir Mutyabanicholas kasozipolice fcSadam JumaSamuel KatoUganda Premier League KCCA FC are 11th on the Uganda Premier League log. (PHOTO/File)Uganda Premier League KCCA FC vs Police FC StarTimes Stadium, LugogoSaturday, 09-11-2019 @4pmLUGOGO – KCCA FC will return to action on Saturday afternoon with a game at home to Police FC in the Uganda Premier League.This will be their first competitive fixture ever since they exited the CAF Confederations Cup at the play-off stage.It was a huge disappointment for the Kasasiros who started the season with high optimism.Now that the Confederations Cup is out of the way, all of KCCA FC’s focus now turns to the League, a trophy they won last season.Speaking ahead of the game, head coach Mike Mutebi emphasized the shift in focus.“We are playing one of the teams that know how to play football that everyone enjoys, noted Mutebi of Friday.“All our focus is now on the league as we are no longer on the continent.“The good thing is that now all our players are focused on this (league) because it was one of our priorities at the start of the season.“We wanted to play well on the continent but that is now done. We are ready for the Police game and we will go all out to try and win the game.”KCCA FC will be without upto seven first team players for the game as they away on national team duty.Charles Lukwago, John Revita, Samuel Kato, Mustafah Kizza, Nicholas Kasozi, Muzamir Mutyaba and Allan Okello all travelled with the Cranes team that will face North East Select in the Cranes Regional Tour match on Saturday.About the absentees, Mutebi said that KCCA FC has able replacements and he is not worried.“We are missing several players who are away with the national team but we have able replacements and i am sure others will come in and do the job.”Ontop of the seven, the Kasasiros will also be missing long term absentees Sadam Juma and Julius Poloto. The duo have been out for a while and are not expected back in the league first round.Saturday, game is one that both sides will be hell bent on winning for different reasons.KCCA find themselves languishing in 11th on the log with 13 points, 17 behind leaders Vipers SC who have played 5 more games.The Kasasiros know that they need to start winning as soon as possible so as they keep up with the pace setters or else defending their crown will virtually be impossible.Mike Mutebi’s side look to be with enough momentum in the league as they head into the encounter on the back of two consecutive victories against Onduparaka FC and Maroons FC.For Police, they currently occupy one of the three relegation spots.They sit second from bottom with just five points accumulated from their first 11 games.With games starting to run out and being five points away from safety, the Cops need to start gathering momentum so as to try and escape the relegation dog fight as soon as possible.Match FactsThis will be the 20th meeting between the two sides since October 2010.In the past 19 meetings, KCCA FC have not lost to Police, winning 13 and drawing the other 6.The Kasasiros have won all of their last four home games against Police FC, scoring 14 goals and conceding just four in the process.However, their last meeting ended in a 1-1 draw last season. KCCA FC had won the first meeting 6-3.KCCA FC have not been in the best of form recently as they have won just two of their last 9 games in all competitions (D4 L3).In the League, they have won only two of their last five games (D1 L2). However, both victories have come in their last two games.At home, Mike Mutebi’s side are unbeaten in their last 7 league games, winning five and drawing the other two.For Police, they head into the encounter having won just one of their last six league games (D0 L5).Away from home, the Cops have won just one of their opening six games of the campaign (D1 L4).The other games to be played on Saturday-BUL FC vs Mbarara City FC @3pm-Bright Stars FC vs SC Villa @4pm-Tooro United FC vs Proline FC @4pmComments last_img read more

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Are Long-Term Climate Models Trustworthy?

first_imgIdeally, we would know all of the physical and chemical processes governing the sediment-routing system.  This would be enormously gratifying in trying to understand how sediment-routing systems function generically, but we would immediately run into a fundamental problem: the long result of time.  Time transforms sediment-routing systems into geology, and like history, selectively samples from the events that actually happened to create a narrative of what is recorded.  Progress in understanding modern sediment-routing systems now leaves us poised to answer the important question: how do we simultaneously use the modern to generate the time-integrated ancient, and ‘invert’ the ancient to reveal the forcing mechanisms for change in the past?Let us take the example of the effects of cyclic glaciation, a mode of response to cyclic climate changes that Earth has experienced in the past few million years (see page 284).  To build a numerical landscape-evolution model for times of glaciation we would need to know the sliding velocity of ice by solution of a chosen ice-dynamics equation, a proportionality constant in the ice-erosion equation that depends on the underlying rock type, a rheological law relating ice deformation to local stress, a model for ice accumulation and ablation, and knowledge of the temperature at the base of the ice.  This might work theoretically by making a large number of assumptions, but the resulting model would be impossible to use in a simulation of Quaternary landscapes.  Why?  Because the necessary parameter values to inform a long-term landscape model are not currently available, and perhaps never will be.  This humbling realization does not denigrate the efforts of modellers working at the human timescale, but instead prompts us to think afresh about what is required for success with upscaled [i.e., extrapolated] models.    It is not immediately obvious that the factors controlling a long-term response may be different from those controlling local processes. Everything from global warming policy to evolutionary history depends on long-term climate models.  Textbooks make it seem like earth keeps reliable recordings that allow scientists to simply read off the record of years, decades, centuries, millennia and millions of years objectively.  It’s not that simple, wrote Maureen E. Raymo and Peter Huybers in Nature last month.1  There’s an embarrassing amount of interpretation required.    “Much progress has been made towards understanding what caused the waxing and the waning of the great ice sheets,” they began optimistically, “but a complete theory of the ice ages is still elusive.”  They recounted the history of theorizing about earth history, from Agassiz to Milankovitch and beyond.  Milankovitch, for instance, presented evidence that periodic orbital variations coincided with ice ages.  Scientists became convinced that earth history was decipherable with “proxy climate records” such varying ratios of oxygen isotopes, thickness of ice layers and sediments, and others.    One serious question that arises, though, is how far back it is legitimate to extrapolate cycles that are only observable within short periods:The climate physics and chemistry that are best understood are mainly attuned to processes that occur at daily to interannual timescales.  Are the important factors that regulate climate over centennial and longer timescales known?  When a climate model is stepped forward, by minutes or days at a time, for hundreds or thousands of years, are the final results realistic?  Climate scientists still do not understand how the subtle shifts in insolation at the top of the atmosphere are converted into massive changes in the ice volume on the ground.It seems reckless, therefore, to speak with confidence about patterns covering vast epochs of time.  Even assuming the long-term cycles carry valid information, the trouble is, the clocks don’t always agree.  Getting the clocks to tick together is an exercise in frustration.  Here’s an example:To tackle these problems, some researchers have turned to a time when glaciation seems to have been relatively straightforward.  The glacial cycles of the late Pliocene to early Pleistocene (~1�3 million years ago) were more regular than those of the late Pleistocene, typically lasting about 41,000 years (Fig. 1a), which matches the period of change in Earth’s tilt (Fig. 1b).  But how is the lack of variability with respect to precession explained?  Precession, which occurs mainly at 23,000-year and 19,000-year intervals, is the orbital component that most influences summer insolation intensity (Fig. 1c).  Indeed, precession is clearly observed in the ice-volume and sea-level records for the past 700,000 years.  The few computer models that have been used to study the climate history of the late Pliocene to early Pleistocene also show a strong precession signal in the modelled ice volume.  Are these climate models missing a fundamental piece of climate or ice-sheet physics, or are the assumptions about ice-volume proxies, such as delta-18 O[xygen], flawed?  Both are possibilities.The authors discussed several of the modern approaches to tweak parameters and data sets to arrive at some measure of conformity.  The end result leaves a question whether the model is being massaged to fit the data, or vice versa.  What are they really measuring?  What do they really know?  Their final paragraph leaves more questions than answers.…. It could be that the East and West Antarctic ice sheets have had a far more dynamic history than has been thought.    It is widely accepted that variations in Earth’s orbit affect glaciation, but a better and more detailed understanding of this process is needed.  How can the 41,000-year glacial cycles of the early Pleistocene be explained, let alone the ~100,000-year glacial cycles of the late Pleistocene?  How do the subtle changes in insolation relate to the massive changes in climate known as glacial cycles?  And what are proxy climate records actually measuring?  The field now faces these important questions, which are made all the more pressing as the fate of Earth’s climate is inexorably tied to the vestige of Northern Hemisphere glaciation that sits atop Greenland, and to its uncertain counterpart to the south.Similar quandaries about earth science were expressed by Caltech geologist David J. Stevenson in a supplemental article in the same issue of Nature.2  A search on the number of times he uses the word “However” is illuminating.  Some examples:The remarkable growth in the study and understanding of Earth has happened in parallel with a spectacular era of planetary exploration, relevant astronomical discoveries and computational and theoretical advances, all of which help us to place Earth and its interior in a perspective that integrates the Earth sciences with extraterrestrial studies and basic sciences such as condensed-matter physics.  However, progress on the biggest challenges in understanding the deep Earth continues to rely mainly on looking down rather than looking up.Almost a billion bodies 10 km in diameter would be needed to make an Earth.  However, it is not thought likely that planetesimals were the actual building blocks of Earth.  A dense swarm of such bodies in nearly circular low-inclination orbits is gravitationally unstable on a short timescale.The picture [of the origin of the moon by an impact, followed by transfer of material between Earth and the disk] was originally motivated by a desire to understand the remarkable similarity of Earth and Moon oxygen isotopes but also finds support in tungsten and possibly silicon isotopic evidence.  However, we do not yet have a fully integrated model of lunar formation that is dynamically satisfactory as well as chemically acceptable.We understand why Earth’s mantle convects: there is no alternative mechanism for eliminating heat.  However, we do not understand why Earth has plate tectonics.In a third paper in the Nature supplement on geology,3 Phillip A. Allen (Imperial College, London) made the following comment: “We are right to be suspicious of oversimplistic interpretation of the ‘structure’ found in the large number of time-series records that geology throws up,” he said.  The possible allusion to barfing may be intentional.  In his paper about sediment routing systems, he also made the following two statements that cast doubt on the ability of present-day scientists to be sure of anything about the past. Allen hoped that interdisciplinary conversations might help shed light on Earth history, but that last sentence sounds like a repudiation of Lyell’s long-esteemed principle of uniformitarianism, “the present is the key to the past.”1.  Maureen E. Raymo and Peter Huybers, “Unlocking the mysteries of the ice ages,” Nature 451, 284-285 (17 January 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06589; Published online 16 January 2008.2.  David J. Stevenson, “A planetary perspective on the deep Earth,” Nature 261-265 (17 January 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06582.3.  Phillip A. Allen, “From landscapes into geological history,” Nature 451, 274-276 (17 January 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06586.The textbooks don’t tell you how much of natural history is more art than science.  What are the proxy records actually measuring?  How do the orbital explanations translate to actual changes on earth’s surface?  In short, how do they know what they say they know?  It’s nice when the insiders raise the questions.    Remember, correlation is not the same thing as causation.  Theories are always underdetermined by the data.  There could be very different causes for the observed effects.  These authors maintained a spirit of progressivism in spite of the serious questions they asked.  Earth has no obligation to abide by the current consensus.  For a shocker, read what global warming skeptic Alexander Cockburn thinks of consensus and “scientific” peer review.    TV documentaries and textbooks often dress up the currently-favored models with glitzy visuals that convey an air of certainty.  Years later, a scientific revolution overturns the paradigm and tosses the old theory out.  So much for the visuals.    When you watch documentaries, view museum displays or read popular science reports presenting confident-sounding dates of ice ages, etc., remember this little glimpse into the drafting room these insiders gave us.  You’re not watching reality in those programs.  You are watching paradigms.  Like glaciers, paradigms shift, melt, advance, retreat, and sometimes go slip-slidin’ away.(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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The Mind and Brain: Evolved or Created?

first_imgEvolutionists take swipes at saying the most complex matter in the universe is a product of blind, aimless processes of nature.Did sight emerge from blindness without wanting to? Did thinking emerge from irrational matter? These are the propositions evolutionists must accept in their attempts to build a human brain from nonliving solids and fluids, and ultimately from a nothingness that exploded. Let’s look at some evolutionary perspectives on the mind, then consider discoveries that point to creation.EvolutionNeuroscience: The mechanics of mind (Nature). Daniel Bor reviews The Brain: The Story of You, a new book by Daniel Eagleman. When he calls it “a sophisticated study of how the meat in our skulls generates the self,” you know he is going to give a physicalist, reductionist view of the mind; but will he mind being called a meat-head? Exit philosopher and theologian; step aside for the neuroscientist.In my bolder moments, I consider neuroscience to be one of the most fundamental scientific fields. The brain is, after all, the location of our experiences and identities, and our main tool for understanding every facet of the Universe. The Brain by neuroscientist David Eagleman ambitiously promotes this view. Built around a series of fundamental questions, such as “what is reality?”, it calls on a wide range of classic and recent findings, including innovative experiments by Eagleman himself, to demonstrate how brain science is optimally placed to answer those questions.The self-refuting fallacy of denying consciousness seems lost on them as both author and reviewer celebrate the notion that selves and thoughts are fallible states of neuron networks. “Throughout, Eagleman provides multiple, varied explanations for what consciousness is and what it is for; he settles on neuroscientist Guilio Tononi’s integrated information theory,” Bor writes. “This equates high levels of consciousness with information that is widespread throughout a network capable of supporting many different information states.” Both ponder uploading brains into computers, forgetting that computers are built by intelligent design, and one must use consciousness to state logical propositions, trusting that immaterial laws of logic are invariant.A tree of the human brain (Science). Both leading science journals have given self-refuting ideas good press in the same week. Here in Science, Sten Linnarsson leaps from Darwin’s “remarkable insight” about a universal tree of life to the perspective that “every individual is also a tree—a cell lineage tree.” Surely human bodies and brains branch out from a zygote, but if that is merely what human souls are, then Linnarsson presents another reductionist view of human nature. That obscures the fact that development carries out a computer-like program inscribed in digital code—DNA.Our knack for remembering faces is a highly evolved skill (New Scientist). Clare Wilson leaps from a study that identical twins can recognize faces to genetic determinism. What if this skill appears independent of intelligence or memory? Does that mean it evolved? Could it not be a programmed skill by design? Since Darwinism is the only permitted game in town, she quotes one of the Master’s disciples for authority: “The idea is that telling friend from foe was so important to survival that there was very strong pressure to improve that trait,” he explains in just-so story fashion, failing to state what string of mutations occurred in what genes in the parents, who must not have been able to recognize their own children before the trait evolved.Research that is simply beyond belief (Medical Xpress). Experiments at UCLA and the University of York have created a lot of buzz with the suggestion that participants can be influenced away from theism and nationalism by magnetic zaps to their brains. It’s doubtful this poorly-designed experiment with its unclear definitions and subjective responses is even true. Even worse, though, is that it begs the question whether the scientists could be cured of their ideology by similar zaps. If that were possible in principle, then no proposition is true, and magnets become tools of whoever is in power.Update 10/19/15: The brain’s wiring is linked to good – and bad – behavioral traits (Medical Xpress).  This “research” could be dangerous.  Neuroscientists at Washington University believe they have identified patterns in the brains of 1,200 volunteers that show “positive” and “negative” social tendencies. That the positive/negative values are subjective from an evolutionary view did not seem to bother professors Barch and Essen, who think the findings might “help lead to the design of better interventions to help move the brain and behavior toward the positive end of the spectrum” (see previous entry above).  The article weakly acknowledges that “findings of this study do not establish a cause-and-effect relationship between strong brain network connections and positive behavioral traits or between weak connections and negative traits.” Who decides what is positive or desirable? Who runs the interventions? Would the interventions consist of reasoning about moral choices, or taking a pill?Our brain’s secret to success (Science Daily): This evolutionary article claims that “our primate brain‘s outer mantle, or cortex, was able to expand as much as 1,000-fold through evolution.” The National Institutes of Health gave money to UCSF researchers who supposedly found out that successful people have brains whose parts continue to chatter when they’re not doing anything in particular. How this study distinguishes evolution from creation is not clear. Why don’t they infer that humans were given brains with a 1,000-fold larger cortex?Brains work via their genes just as much as their neurons (Medical Xpress). Gene should know genes. Gene Robinson, author of this article from The Conversation, is the Director of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois. His article starts out with a design analogy. “We are beginning to appreciate how genes and neurons work together, like software and hardware, to make brain function possible,” he says, in what appears to be a non-reductionist view of the brain. “Learning to understand this two-layer system can help us understand how the environment affects behavior, and how to hack the system to improve mental health.” Genes and neurons, however, are physical entities. Does his article rise above physicalism? After describing the complexity of the brain, he shows how studies of honeybees, stickleback fish and mice reveal a link between genes and behavior. Robinson never mentions evolution. He repeats again the “software” metaphor that contains the kernel of intelligent design, since software is conceptual, using symbols to initiate functions. The designer, however, is just “Nature” and the users of the hardware and software appear to be pawns of their machinery:The brain’s neurons and the genomes within them, the hardware and the software, together orchestrate one’s response to a new situation, which can vary from person to person. The same dramatic event – a challenge at school or work, a new person in one’s social circle – might cause a great deal of stress in one person, and very little in another. We now think that the neural systems of two such people are likely tuned differently by their genomic systems, perhaps as a consequence of differentially stressful past experiences. In the living brain, unlike a computer, the software can help modify the hardware, and as new situations are encountered, the functioning of the neural hardware continues to modify the genomic software. Nature has come up with a “smart” system in which hardware and software are adaptable and interact dynamically!Brains do more than direct our behavior. They build our experiences into a coherent perception of the world. This world will be as unique for each of us as our personal history, with the potential to be sunny, or cloudy, or filled with shadows. If we can become proficient in the code our brains run on, perhaps we can learn to give these narratives a nudge in the right direction, and flood every person’s world with light.Robinson’s diplomatically worded article does not divulge his view on human consciousness, but it vaguely implies the ability to make choices by free will. Nevertheless, we need to ask, who is the subject? Who can “become proficient in the code our brains run on”? Who does the nudging to fill a person’s world with light? Who nudges the nudgers? This non-commital entry leads us into articles that suggest design in the brain and its sensory inputs.CreationLarger brains do not lead to high IQs, new meta-analysis finds (Science Daily). It’s quality, not quantity. Findings at the University of Vienna undercut assumptions dating back almost two centuries. For example, Friedrich Tiedemann wrote in 1836, “There is undoubtedly a connection between the absolute size of the brain and the intellectual powers and functions of the mind.” That assumption should have been refuted by looking at any small Asian female math whiz with a PhD in physics shaming a big-headed football player in a contest of wits, as creationist Bob Enyart likes to point out.  Think, man! Men are not smarter because their heads are bigger. This should be obvious. The Viennese researchers, surveying 8,000 participants, showed that brain volume plays only a minor role in intelligence.The importance of brain structure compared to brain volume becomes already evident when comparing different species. When considering absolute brain size, the sperm whale weighs in with the largest central nervous system. When controlling for body mass, the shrew is on the top of the list. Similar results emerge when considering other aspects of species anatomy: Homo sapiens never appears at the top at the list, as would be expected. Rather, differences in brain structure appear to be mainly responsible for between-species differences in cognitive performance.They couldn’t rule out a small correlation, but they learned, “Rather, brain structure and integrity appear to be more important as a biological foundation of IQ.” But does IQ have a biological foundation? Is IQ even a meaningful concept? Those are controversial questions. There’s something to be said for the less-well-endowed brain owner who applies him- or herself to study hard over the natural genius. Character counts, too. What’s sad is to remember all the racial ranking that was based on the flawed assumption that brain volume is a function of human intelligence, and therefore value to society. That eugenic bias carried over into flawed measurement techniques that served to confirm the bias—not too intelligent for someone who calls himself a rational scientist.Optical illusion override (Current Biology).  Michael Morgan explores the difference between perception (an active process) and saccades (an automatic process), and how the brain keeps track of reality.  He delves into the thinking of philosophers, such as Christian philosopher George Berkeley about whether perceptions are the memory traces of previous actions. Morgan argues that recent experiments by Lisi and Cavenaugh show that the brain does not send the same commands to the eyes that would be required to perceive an object. “On the face of it, the results show a remarkable dissociation between perception and eye movements,” he says, but he rejects simplistic explanations, saying that further elaboration is needed. In summary, “A new experiment shows that the perceived motion path of a textured object is affected both by the path of the object and by the motion of texture within it, but that eye movements attempting to intercept the object are unaffected by the texture movement.”How the retina marches to the beat of its own drum (Science Daily). The eye uses an opsin protein to set its own clock independent of the biological clock. “Researchers at Johns Hopkins and the University of Washington report new research that sheds light on how the retina sets its own biological rhythm using a novel light-sensitive pigment, called neuropsin, found in nerve cells at the back of the eye.” The work finds a new function for neuropsin, one of seven opsins in mammals. “The retina is the only tissue known to ignore the master clock, but it does keep itself on a schedule, so we wanted to know how.” That was the observation that led to discovery: the expectation of function. Surprisingly, this pigment was found in the cornea, which is supposed to lack pigment. Understanding its function there will require further research.Surprise: Your visual cortex is making decisions (Science Daily). “The part of the brain responsible for seeing is more powerful than previously believed,” reads this creation-friendly article. “In fact, the visual cortex can essentially make decisions just like the brain’s traditional ‘higher level’ areas, finds a new study led by a Michigan State University neuroscientist.” The study was “counterintuitive and surprising” that the visual center not only takes in data but can choose what to focus on; “it actively switches between different interpretations of the visual input without any help from traditional ‘higher level’ areas of the brain.”From sounds to meaning (Medical Xpress): Do infants have the ability to associate verbal cues with meaning? Yes, this article says. This is known as “referential relationship”: the sound of the word “apple” because it is associated with the fruit. Without the ability to make associations, language would be impossible. Fortunately, babies are equipped for this. The article never mentions evolution, nor does it explain why lower animals do not have this ability.“A sensitivity to speech sounds is already present in newborns. These types of sounds are, in fact, perceived as special starting from the first days of life, and they are processed differently from other types of auditory stimuli. What makes this type of stimulus so special for the newborn?” asks Marno. “There’s definitely a ‘social‘ saliency: Speech sounds signal interaction between conspecifics, which is important for the survival of the infant. But there is also another important aspect, i.e., referentiality: Words are symbols that carry meanings and convey messages. If infants didn’t know this, albeit implicitly, they wouldn’t be able to acquire language.”“Try to imagine an infant who, on several occasions, sees his mother holding up a cup while uttering the word ‘cup,’” explains the researcher. “He could just think that this is something his mum would do whenever holding the cup, a strange habit of hers. But instead, in a short while, he will learn that the word refers to that object, as if he were ‘programmed’ to do so”.Longitudinal spread of mechanical excitation through tectorial membrane traveling waves (PNAS). Researchers at MIT were curious to find out how the cochlea in the inner ear does such precise discrimination of frequencies. “The mammalian inner ear separates sounds by their frequency content, and this separation underlies important properties of human hearing, including our ability to understand speech in noisy environments,” they realize. Through experiments in which they altered the stiffness of the tectorial membrane (TM) that runs along the length of the cochlea, they determined that both stiffness and viscosity affect the fine-tuned discrimination of frequencies of sound. “We show that increasing viscosity or decreasing stiffness of the TM reduces the longitudinal spread of mechanical excitation, which would sharpen frequency selectivity,” they found. “These trends are opposite those trends for a resonant TM, where increasing viscous loss or decreasing stiffness would broaden tuning.”A higher order visual neuron tuned to the spatial amplitude spectra of natural scenes (Nature Communications). This paper finds, as the title suggests, a “higher order” function in vision. Their subject was the humble hoverfly. “The mammalian visual cortex is also tuned to natural spatial statistics, but less is known about coding in higher order neurons in insects,” they said; that’s why they wanted to know if similar functions exist in these tiny flyers. “Our results thus reveal a close coupling between the inherent statistics of natural scenes and higher order visual processing in insects.Spatial Cognition: Grid Cell Firing Depends on Self-Motion Cues (Current Biology). Poor rats; they got confused when moved around in a transparent cage. The authors of this article wanted to know how grid cells function. These are brain cells that help an animal map its surroundings. They learned that self-motion cues (awareness of actively moving oneself) are important for keeping track of space. You may sympathize with the rats if you’ve had someone drive you somewhere and lost all awareness of where you are. The scientists learned that “visual and vestibular information alone are insufficient to support grid firing.” Proper grid cell function requires “active movement,” the experiments showed, but that alone is not sufficient. Other experiments have shown that environmental cues also play a role, “implying that environmental cues, such as boundaries, may provide grid cells with an error correction mechanism.”Study reveals neuron-firing patterns that underlie time measurement (Medical Xpress). Understanding a working, well-designed function motivated this work. “Keeping track of time is critical for many tasks, such as playing the piano, swinging a tennis racket, or holding a conversation,” the article begins. “Neuroscientists at MIT and Columbia University have now figured out how neurons in one part of the brain measure time intervals and accurately reproduce them.” Neurons can ramp up in anticipation for what the animal or human expects to occur. The ability is distributed between multiple regions of the brain, they say.The articles under the “Creation” list were not, as far as we know, written by creationists. They are, however, creation-friendly, pointing to design features in the brain and sense organs that defy evolutionary explanations. Furthermore, they did not mention evolution. They each show that evolutionary theory was useless or superfluous at stimulating basic research and scientific discovery.The articles under the “Evolution” list, by contrast, demonstrate that evolutionary thinking only operates at the level of glittering generalities and just-so storytelling. Can anyone find a function for Darwin’s theory in any of this brain research? Note: shooting oneself in the foot is not a function. (Visited 57 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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