Behind China-bound import, blistering Hotshots turn Columbian Dyip into a wreck

first_imgView comments MOST READ In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Macklin, whose first stint in the PBA was helping Barangay Ginebra finish second to Alaska in the 2013 edition of this conference, spent most of the second half cheering his teammates on after the outcome had been settled early.The Dyip somehow increased speed after McCarthy and Magnolia guard Jio Jalalon got physical early in the fourth, but the huge deficit was just too much to overcome.Columbian took a third loss in six games.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Weinstein rape trial With Macklin set to bring his act to China, the Hotshots made the most out of their hardworking import by running over Columbian Dyip, 126-101, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.The Hotshots showcased the kind of firepower that brought them to the Philippine Cup Finals just a couple of months back, working on tearing down the Dyip right from the start.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSean Anthony scored 21 points and GlobalPort’s entire starting unit scored in double figures as the Batang Pier overpowered NLEX, 116-94, in the nightcap.The Batang Pier rose to 3-2 while dealing the Road Warriors a fourth loss in five games. China population now over 1.4 billion as birthrate falls Blu Girls trip Koreans, enter page system finals Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours LATEST STORIES Vernon Macklin got a lucrative offer overseas that he couldn’t resist and, as he prepares for his swan song with Magnolia, showed his appreciation to management in style.ADVERTISEMENT Dave Chappelle donates P1 million to Taal relief operations Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Winfrey details her decision to withdraw from Simmons film Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Paul Lee and Mark Barroca combined efforts with Ian Sangalang and Jio Jalalon to complement the inside prowess of Macklin, who had several open looks due to the Columbian’s shoddy defense.When the Dyip fell behind by as many as 32 points early in the second half, Magnolia, the No. 1 defensive team, simply coasted to its second straight win after a shock defeat against Phoenix in its conference debut.Guards Jeremy King and Rashawn McCarthy, who normally fuel the Columbian offense, couldn’t come up with their usual fire mainly due to Magnolia’s suffocating defense that met them up high.Finishing with 19 points and eight rebounds, Macklin will play his last game for the Hotshots against the Meralco Bolts on Friday before jumping to the Chinese Basketball Association.“I play hard in every game I play. You know it’s a tough situation, a bittersweet move that I have to leave my team,” said Macklin.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

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Rotary Club of Monrovia to Commit US$1,000 for Ebola Fight

first_imgThe Rotary Club of Monrovia has vowed to commit US$1,000 to help Government battle the deadly Ebola virus that has claimed more lives in the country.The club’s commitment to provide the amount was announced last Friday by its newly inducted incoming president, Madam Victoria Cooper-Enchia.Madam Cooper-Enchia said the amount will be used to purchase gloves for healthcare workers that handle cases of Ebola.At the end of the induction program, the amount was raised among the members.Another project Madam Coper-Enchia disclosed in her statement was the construction of a public library where students will be able to go and read to improve their learning.The expected donation to be made by the organization is part of its activities in consonance with its motto, “Service Above Self.”Speaking in an exclusive interview following the induction, Mrs. Victoria Cooper-Enchia explained that as a worldwide organization, Rotary comprises people with professional backgrounds who converge and discuss issues and are guided by high ethical standards in their respective professions and offices.“Wherever a Rotary member works, whether the person is a carpenter, an entrepreneur, minister or director, he/she is guided by a high ethical standard,” she noted.She admitted that though they are not an NGO group, a lot of Rotary members in Monrovia are working and operating their own businesses and can meaningfully contribute their quotas to the organization to sustain it and to meet its humanitarian obligations to communities.In order to identify a Rotarian among other people in public places, the newly inducted president said a Rotarian will always demonstrate the necessary values associated with Rotary.Also speaking, outgoing president Milton Weeks said as organization engaged in humanitarian work, Monrovia Rotary has identified with people in many communities in Monrovia by providing hand pumps and other services.He said during his tenure they brought some members to the organization and were able to establish internet café in Saclepea, Nimba County.Besides Monrovia where they are based, they are making Rotary popular in other counties including Harper, Maryland County, he said. Although he they are doing their best as an organization to impact the lives of others, he said not many people know Rotary because there has not been much publicity about the organization.Though out of the leadership position now, he will still work with the current leadership to help enhance the activities of Rotary Club of Monrovia through publicity.The keynote speaker of the occasion, USAID Deputy Mission Director Barbara Dickerson energized members with motivating words to continue the humanitarian work and achieve goals in line with purpose and meaning of Rotary.She provided some philosophical statements of some earliest Rotarians including Paul Harris whose statement says, “Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves.”Rotary was started by Paul P. Harris in Chicago, USA on February 23, 1905. It is intended to bring together professionals of diverse backgrounds to exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendship.The name “Rotary” came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member.  It has over 1.2 million members worldwide.The Rotary Club of Monrovia was founded on January 24, 1964 as the first Rotary Club.  It has over the years used resources, knowledge and professions to serve their communities in Monrovia and across the country.Some notable projects the club has undertaken are the construction and furnishing of a school block comprising 6 classrooms, latrine and well in Ben Town, Schefflin, sponsoring three Liberians as ambassadorial scholars to Rotary’s Peace and Conflict Studies Program in Bangkok, and over 40 wells and hand pumps for communities in and around Monrovia.It is also engaged in training teachers in sign language and enrolling deaf children in school as well as providing US$25,000 funding for micro-credit program implemented by the Foundation for Women.At the end of the induction ceremony on July 4, Liberian politician and former g­overnment official, David Fahart was admitted to the Club as a new member.For outstanding supports given the club, Euphemia Weeks, Loris Mardia Shannon and Nathaniel Richardson, members of RCM were given the Paul Harris Award.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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Wind tower installed in West Berbice

first_imgThe Public Infrastructure Ministry’s Hinterland Electrification Company Inc (HEC) has successfully installed its 60-meter Wind Resource Measuring Station at Onverwagt, Berbice, Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice).The importance of this wind tower is to yield quality wind data, which can be used by wind project investors to develop wind farms along Guyana’s coasts.Workers installing the wind towerThe Public Infrastructure Ministry recognises that high-quality wind measurement is an essential ingredient in determining the feasibility of the wind project. The Ministry’s expectation is that within one to two years of high-quality data from tall met-masts (60-80 meters height), wind project developers can prepare a bankable feasibility report which can then lead to financing of wind farm projects.The tower consists of: three wind speed sensors at 61 metres, 45 metres and 30 metres, wind direction sensors at 58 metres and 30.3 metres, temperature & relative humidity sensor at 20 metres, and air pressure sensor 3 metres.This project is a cooperative effort between the Government of Guyana, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).The key goal of this project is to promote renewable energy technologies through Guyana’s Sustainable Energy Program in urban and off-grid areas with objectives to increase energy access in Guyana, reduce long-term operational costs (primarily fuel costs) of on-grid generation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector.Over the next six months, the Hinterland Electrification Company will be installing three more wind towers to facilitate the agenda of instituting renewable energy sources along the coast of Guyana.last_img read more

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FAMILY’S PLEA FOR MISSING JACK RUSSELL DOGS

first_imgMax and BenjyA FAMILY has issued an urgent plea to find their two missing dogs.The two small jack russell cross dogs – one brown and white – and one grey and white are missing from the Ballymacool area of Letterkenny.The answer to the names of Max and Benjy. Contact david 087 7588783 FAMILY’S PLEA FOR MISSING JACK RUSSELL DOGS was last modified: July 7th, 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:BenjydogsMaxmissinglast_img read more

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Man appears in court over stolen driving licences and passport

first_imgA man has been remanded in custody on a number of charges including possession of stolen driving licences, an Irish passport and a public service card.Ioan Barbuc of Glenoughty Close, Letterkenny, was also charged with being possession of laminated paper and photographic paper specially adapted for making a false instrument at his address on April 16th last. He faces a charge of possession of a stolen U.K. driving licence belonging to Peter Walsh at Glenoughty Close on the same date and with having in his possession a stolen Irish passport, a driving licence and a public service card belonging to Maedbhaine Fennelly.The defendant was further charged with possessing a forged Romanian national I.D. card in his own name with the intention of inducing it to be accepted as genuine on a date unknown at his home address.Judge Paul Kelly remanded him in custody to appear by video link at Letterkenny District Court.Man appears in court over stolen driving licences and passport was last modified: August 11th, 2019 by StephenShare 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)last_img read more

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CAF Confederations Cup: Proline score twice to pick valuable point away to El Nasr

first_imgProline FC requires just a goalless or 1-1 draw to reach the group stage. (PHOTOS/File)CAF Confederations CupEl Nasr 2-2 Proline FCBorg El Arab Stadium, AlexandriaSunday, 27-10-2019Proline FC twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with El Nasr in their CAF Confederations Cup playoff round first leg in Alexandria on Sunday afternoon.It is a result that will surely build the Lugogo based side’s confidence as they host the second leg at home in a week’s time.Bright Anukani scored the second equalizer for Matia Lule’s side 12 minutes from time.The Libyans had earlier opened the scoring on 13th minute through forward Moataz Al Mahdi who picked the ball beautifully from 10 yards out before slamming it into the bottom right corner.El Nasr could have doubled their tally but kept on missing chances.They were made to pay at the stroke of halftime when Mustafa Mujuzi struck a belter of a freekick from the edge of the area.Al Nasr, just like they did in the opening half, started brighter in the second. They went 2-1 up on 68 minutes when Khalid Madji slotted home from the penalty spot after Richard Ajuna handled the ball inside the box.Against the run of play, Anukani drew Proline level on 88 minutes.The result means that a scoreless or 1-1 draw in Kampala will be enough to book the side a historic place in the Confederations Cup group stages while Al Nasr must now win or pick a draw of more than three goals in the second leg.Meanwhile, Uganda’s other representative in the competition-KCCA FC were held to a goalless draw at home to Algerian side Paradou on the same day.Comments Tags: Bright AnukaniCAF Confederations CupEl NasrKhalid MadjiMoataz Al MahdiMustafa Mujuziproline fclast_img read more

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COMPETITION: Win a night at An Cuirt Hotel plus two Gaelforce North entries!

first_imgGaelforce North takes place on the 21st of September and celebrates 9 years of adventure racing in Donegal. We want YOU to join us on a 62KM, 43KM or relay adventure race immersed in the natural glory of Donegal.To celebrate the event, we have an exciting competition with a prize of one night’s accommodation at An Cuirt Hotel and entry into Gaelforce North for 2. To enter, simply like and share this Facebook post (click here) and let us know who you would bring with you on this epic adventure!!Competition closes on 26th of July and the winner will be announced on the 29th of July…it could be you.Get more details of the Gaelforce North 2019 and book your place here: http://bit.ly/2JtUUJc COMPETITION: Win a night at An Cuirt Hotel plus two Gaelforce North entries! was last modified: July 19th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare 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:gaelforce northlast_img read more

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Cells Perform Sporting Interactions

first_imgThe components of living cells perform such acrobatic moving interactions, one would think they are having fun.  Here’s the news from the Wide World of Cellular Sports.Speedway:  A news release from Penn Medicine talks about how motor proteins step on the gas and the brakes in their motions around the cell.  The announcer from the booth calls the action:“Imagine that the daughter microtubule is a short train on the track of the mother microtubule,” explains [Phong] Tran.  “The molecular motor is the train’s engine, but the problem is that the cargo – the molecular brakes – gets longer, slowing down the daughter train.  But when the train gets to the end of the track it remains attached to the end of mother microtubule.  At the tail end, it stops moving and that defines the region of overlap.  Our work shows that the cell can make microtubule structures of defined lengths stable by coordinating the sliding of the motors and the slowing of the brakes.”The press release contains videos of the speedway in action.Square Dance:  Chromosomes line up in their territories like square dancers on cue, explained an article in Nature (1/25).1  They even use their arms: “In addition, the structure of the DNA within chromosome territories is nonrandom, as the chromosome arms are mostly kept apart from each other and gene-rich chromosome regions are separated from gene-poor regions.  This arrangement probably contributes to the structural organization of the chromosome, and might also help in regulating particular sets of genes in a coordinated manner.”    “Remarkably,” even the territories themselves “arranged in particular patterns within the nucleus,” the article explains.  Here’s part of the choreography inside the dance hall (i.e., the nucleus):In lower eukaryotes such as plants and flies chromosomes tend to be polarized, with the ends of the arms (telomeres) on one side of the cell nucleus and the point at which the two arms meet (the centromere) on the opposite side.  In mammalian cells, however, chromosome arrangement is more complex.  Even so, each chromosome can be assigned a preferential position relative to the nuclear centre, with particular chromosomes tending to be at the nuclear interior and others at the edge (Fig.  2a).  This preferential radial arrangement also, of course, gives rise to preferred clusters of neighbouring chromosomes.The players get to socialize, too: “Even the two copies of the same chromosome within the same nucleus often occupy distinct positions and have different immediate neighbours.”  Each chromosome tends to hang out with partners in the same developmental pathways, though.  “It seems that the actual position of a gene in the cell nucleus is not essential to its function,” the author writes.  So, the interviewer asks, “Why have all this organization?”  Is it just for fun?  “It is more likely that positioning contributes to optimizing gene activity.”  It also serves the time-honored strategy of networking:The nonrandom organization of the genome allows functional compartmentalization of the nuclear space.  At the simplest level, active and inactive genome regions can be separated from each other, possibly to enhance the efficiency of gene expression or repression.  Such compartmentalization might also act in more subtle ways to bring co-regulated genes into physical proximity to coordinate their activities.  For instance, in eukaryotes, the genes encoding ribosomal RNAs tend to cluster together in an organelle inside the nucleus known as the nucleolus.  In addition, observations made in blood cells suggest that during differentiation co-regulated genes are recruited to shared regions of gene expression upon activation.How each partner finds its spot, we don’t know.  Somehow, they always find their way back: “Chromosomes are physically separated during cell division, but they tend to settle back into similar relative positions in the daughter cells, and then they remain stable throughout most of the cell cycle.”  The author claims this behavior is “evolutionarily conserved” (i.e., unevolved).Baton race:  Passing chemical tags without stumbling is described by a paper in Nature2 that opens, “Modifier proteins, such as ubiquitin, are passed sequentially between trios of enzymes, like batons in a relay race.  Crystal structures suggest the mechanism of transfer between the first two enzymes.”  As the tags get passed from group to group, the players sometimes undergo large shape changes to hold the tag properly.  In one case, for instance, “combined conformational changes create a surface to which an E2 enzyme binds with high affinity.”  These bends and rotations make the enzymes act like a “conformational switch” to turn on the next reaction in the chain, like handing off the baton.Capture the Flag:  Another paper in Nature3 described how the cell cycle often depends on reading tags hidden on chromosomes.  Describing the “intricate process” of this game, even describing the participants as “players,” a researcher from UC Berkeley calls the action: “Transitions between all cell-cycle phases are controlled by the activation and deactivation of a series of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs), which control the phosphorylation of other proteins.”  Researchers were having a challenge following the flag.  “Thus, after the origin-recognition complex had been identified, finding the actual targets for S-CDK, the CDK known to promote the switch from G1 to S phase, became a major objective.”Acrobatics and juggling:  A paper in PNAS4 describes the dynamic motions of one enzyme that uses three metal ions and multiple conformational changes for precise action on its substrate.  “It is evident that the trimetal cluster undergoes significant structural reorganization in the course of the reaction,” they wrote.  Visualize this circus act as they describe it:The analysis presented here emphasizes the significant level of complexity involved in enzymatic catalysis by multinuclear enzymes even when the underlying chemical transformation is relatively straightforward.  At the same time certain universal patterns regarding the multiple mechanistic roles of the metal cofactors emerge.  First, the metal ions play a role in generating the reactive nucleophile.  This process involves precise positioning of a carboxylate ligand to deprotonate an exogenous water molecule and orient the resulting hydroxide for an in-line attack.  Deprotonation is further facilitated by the combined electrostatic effect of two zinc ions (Zn1 and Zn2), necessitating a relatively close distance between them.  The second role of the metals is to accommodate and electrostatically stabilize the more compact partly associative transition state.  Hence, an overall contraction of the trimetal cluster is observed.  Finally, a metal cofactor (Zn3) is responsible for stabilizing the developing charge on the leaving group toward the end of the reaction.  To effectively carry out these roles, the active site rearranges dynamically, a finding, that underscores the crucial importance of flexibility for the reactive transition.Since this enzyme is part of the DNA Repair Team, the participants probably don’t do it for applause or to be heroes.  To them, it’s all in a day’s work.Human researchers seem to be joining in the games.  Identifying the sports repertoire inside a cell is like a treasure hunt.1Meaburn and Misteli, “ Nature 445, 379-781 (25 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/445379a.2Trempe and Endicott, “Structural biology: Pass the protein,” Nature 445, 375-376 (25 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05564.3Michael Botchan, “Cell biology: A switch for S phase,” Nature 445, 272-274 (18 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/445272a.4Ivanov, Tainer and McCannon, “Unraveling the three-metal-ion catalytic mechanism of the DNA repair enzyme endonuclease IV.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, doi 10.1073/pnas.0603468104, January 30, 2007, 104:5, pp. 1465-1470.We used to think of chemistry as bonding of outer electrons in orbitals as molecules bounce against each other at random.  Biochemistry has shown much of the action in cells to be mechanical in nature, with parts acting like machines, dancers and acrobats.  It’s hard not to view this new living chemistry as a series of sporting events by highly skilled players.  Be sure to cheer for your home team.(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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More Amazing Fossils in China Raise Questions

first_imgThere was the Jehol biota (Cretaceous), with its “feathered dinosaurs,” but now the “prequel” Daohugou biota (Jurassic) is opening eyes wide again.It’s being called Daohugou: the prequel to the exciting Jehol fossil beds in China – only in this case, the prequel “outshines the original,” Science Daily says.  A new open-access paper in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology brings together the latest findings for paleontologists around the world to wow at.  Here’s what one of them said:Dr. Paul Barrett, dinosaur researcher at the Natural History Museum, London, who was not involved with the study, commented, “Daohugou is proving to be one of the key sites for understanding the evolution of feathered dinosaurs, early mammals, and flying reptiles, due largely to the fantastic levels of preservation. Many of the fossils are stunning and offer vast amounts of information. There are only a handful of similar sites elsewhere in the world and this article represents the first comprehensive attempt to draw all of the relevant information together into a single benchmark paper.”The formations in Inner Mongolia are said to be 160 million years old, 30 million years older than the Jehol strata (just across the border of the western Liaoning Province) where exceptionally-preserved fossils of dinosaurs, birds and other creatures have been unearthed over the past two decades.  Named after a village in the area, the Daohugou formation contains beautifully-preserved fossils of amphibians, mammals, and reptiles.  Science Daily begins with a fossil amphibian replete with soft-tissue impressions of the skin.The Daohugou Biota makes an immense contribution to our understanding of vertebrate evolution during this period, with such notable creatures as the oldest known gliding mammal, another early mammal that may have swum with a beaver-like tail, the oldest dinosaurs preserved with feathers, and a pterosaur that represents an important transitional form between two major groups. As described by Dr. Corwin Sullivan, lead author of the study, “The Daohugou Biota gives us a look at a rarely glimpsed side of the Middle to Late Jurassic — not a parade of galumphing giants, but an assemblage of quirky little creatures like feathered dinosaurs, pterosaurs with ‘advanced’ heads on ‘primitive’ bodies, and the Mesozoic equivalent of a flying squirrel.”Dinosaurs or Birds:  The alleged “feathered dinosaur” is named Epidexipteryx (see critique of “feathered dinosaur” claim for this fossil, 10/22/08).  Live Science speaks of “feathered dinosaurs” (plural), and shows artwork of a landscape with feathered dinosaurs, but did not mention any species by name.  Instead, Tanya Lewis’s headline reads authoritatively, “Chinese Jurassic Park Yields Incredible Feathered Dino Find.”  Further down, this statement is made:The fossil trove dates from the Middle-Upper Jurassic, a period when birds are thought to have evolved from feathered dinosaurs. The team found feathered dinosaurs that were extremely birdlike, thought not any actual birds.At the moment when birds and dinosaurs split from each other, as expected, “you can barely tell them apart,” [David] Hone [Queen Mary College of London, a co-author of the paper] said.Does the paper mention additional “feathered dinosaurs” beyond Epidexipteryx?  “At present, 30 vertebrate taxa (five salamanders, one anuran, two lizards, 13 pterosaurs, five dinosaurs, and four mammals) are known from the Daohugou Biota,” the abstract states, adding, “In general, the vertebrate fauna of the Daohugou Biota is strikingly different from that of the Jehol Biota, although paravian dinosaurs, anurognathid pterosaurs, and salamanders with cryptobranchid and hynobiid affinities occur in both.”  What do they mean by feathers, incidentally?  The paper explains, “the term ‘feather’ is used to refer to any filamentous or ribbon-like integumentary structure in a theropod, because the homology of such structures with the feathers of modern birds is well established (Prum and Brush, 2002) – well established, that is, among evolutionists who believe birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs.  Later in the paper, they refute Feduccia’s critique of bird evolution, but in all fairness he should be allowed a response.Their list of “feathered dinosaurs” does not include any new species.  Instead, they include Anchiornis huxleyii (see 10/01/09), Xiaotingia zhengi (one fossil, bought from a dealer—see 7/28/11), Epidendrosaurus (no feathers, but thought to be similar to Epidexipteryx), Epidexipteryx hui (one specimen, mentioned earlier), and Pedopenna (one specimen, feathered on the feet, 10/01/09).  In short: nothing new.  The paper just catalogs earlier finds from the Daohugou area, most of which are known by one specimen, some of doubtful provenance.  Four are notable for feathers on the feet, not on the forelimbs.  The authors cannot establish that any of them were flyers; one or more might have been gliders, but that is not clear.  They also are not certain whether the feathers (or integumentary structures) were used for display, thermoregulation, or transportation.  Also of interest, the authors mention integumentary structures in some pterosaurs and some ornithischian dinosaurs, not believed to be ancestral to birds.  The authors speculate that “the presence of feathers was the primitive condition in Ornithodira,” the presumed ancestor of all three groups.  Their spotty appearance seems to demand convergent evolution or divergent loss:However, the integumentary filaments of ornithischians, pterosaurs, and theropods are not uniform in detailed structure. Those currently known in ornithischians are particularly stiff and very long, whereas the pycnofibers of pterosaurs are distinctive in tending to be wavy (X.-L. Wang et al., 2002). Furthermore, the only theropods known to have feathers fall within the clade Tetanurae (Rauhut et al., 2012), and tetanurans, pterosaurs, heterodontosaurids, and ceratopsians are all remote from one another phylogenetically. Although it is possible that integumentary filaments are indeed primitive for Ornithodira (Rauhut et al., 2012), the phylogenetic distance and differences in detailed filament morphology that exist among the various ‘feathered’ ornithodiran taxa suggest that acceptance of this hypothesis is currently premature.Mammals:  An artist’s rendition of the “flying squirrel” is shown as #5 in Live Science‘s photo gallery, and the swimmer, looking  like an otter with a beaver’s tail, is #6.  Surprisingly, the caption says that “Mammals may have soared before birds.”  Four mammals are mentioned in the paper, all known by single partial skeletons: the beaver-like swimmer Castorocauda; the flying mammal Volaticotherium remarkable for skin and hair impressions; Pseudotribos, an example of convergent tooth evolution(see 10/31/07); and the oldest-known placental mammal Juramaia: “Remarkably for a Jurassic mammal, Juramaia has many features that identify it as a eutherian, a member of the stem-based clade that includes modern placentals but not marsupials.” Volaticotherium  “extends the earliest record of gliding flight for mammals to at least 70 million years earlier in geological history” – a “conservative estimate,” the authors note, probably as much as 108 million years before the next occurrence in the fossil record.DatingOn the basis of index fossils, the authors claim that the Daohugou formation is separated by 30 million years from the Jehol, but it “occupied the same geographic region and was preserved in fine-grained lacustrine deposits similar to those seen at typical Jehol localities.”  It seems a stretch to make that distinction on the basis of 30 specimens.  If Jehol-type fossils are discovered in the Daohugou, it would falsify the distinction.  The authors’ claim for radiometric support seems ambiguous, if not contradictory:The village of Daohugou contains fossil-bearing clastic strata (Fig. 3A, B) that directly overlie the Precambrian basement (X.-L. Wang et al., 2005a; Y.-Q. Liu et al., 2006:fig. 2I-II; Y.-X. Liu et al., 2006:fig. 1I-II) and are thought to be of lacustrine origin (H.-Y. He et al., 2004; Gao and Ren, 2006). In turn, they appear to be directly overlain by volcanic rocks belonging to the Tiaojishan Formation (X.-L. Wang et al., 2005a; Y.-Q. Liu et al., 2006, Y.-X. Liu et al., 2006). However, some authors (H.-Y. He et al., 2004; X.-L. Wang et al., 2005a) have suggested that the stratigraphic sequence at the Daohugou locality is inverted in such a way that the volcanic layer is older than the Daohugou strata. The point is significant partly because it determines whether radiometric dates that have been obtained from the volcanic layer should be regarded as an upper or lower bound on the age of the Daohugou Biota (at least as represented at the Daohugou locality itself).This raises questions about why there should be a gap of hundreds of millions of years above the Precambrian, how the stratigraphic sequence could have become inverted, and how delicate fossils were preserved for tens of millions of years in a volcanic region.  It also casts doubt on the validity of the assumed age of the fossil-bearing strata, since radiometric dating can only be done on igneous rocks, e.g., the lava.  When they cannot tell if it is an upper bound or a lower bound, all bets are off.  Later in the paper, it is apparent they picked radiometric dates they considered valid, ignored others, and had to interpret the dates they kept, because results from different teams conflicted.  “Although radiometric dating helps to establish the numerical age of the Daohugou strata, the potential of this technique to indicate their correlative relationships on a regional scale is limited by the dating studies that have been carried out for other rock units,” they say.PuzzlesOne puzzle is why such exquisite preservation would persist in this region for tens of millions of years.  Since this quality of Lagerstätte is rare in the world, why would conditions in this location ensue for so long, especially with volcanoes around?  It would seem that only rare circumstances would preserve skin and feather impressions so well, but the authors say, “lacustrine [lake] shale layers in both rock units are capable of preserving vertebrate specimens with great fidelity, so that it is often possible to recover articulated skeletons retaining significant traces of soft tissue.”  Why would lake conditions allow this in Inner Mongolia for at least 30 million years?  Why would delicate impressions last for 160 million years?Another puzzle is the “early occurences of taxa.”  Animals appear much earlier than thought.  For instance, “all five of the Daohugou Biota salamanders fall within Urodela, the salamander crown group,” yet they are clearly salamanders, not primitive pre-salamanders.  Similarly, all the pterosaurs are already flyers, even though they are probably the earliest ever found.  In regard to the mammals, their ecological diversity has overturned previous evolutionary beliefs. “Mesozoic mammaliaforms were long regarded as uniformly small and insectivorous, but recent discoveries such as that of the meter-long carnivorous eutriconodontan Repenomamus giganticus from the Yixian Formation (Y.-M. Hu et al., 2005) have done much to change this picture.”  In the Daohugou as well as at Jehol, “Late Jurassic mammaliaform faunas also displayed considerable ecological diversity.”  This diversity was global.  Digging mammals are known from Wyoming, and a platypus-like mammal from Portugal in strata from this period.Additional puzzles are discussed in the paper, such as how best to organize formations into a time sequence, whether separate formations are part of the same formation, why certain animals appear in some places and not others, and more.  A few more species are described in a “note added in proof,” including a tadpole that was reclassified as a cicada-like insect, but some are awaiting confirmation and subsequent “phylogenetic analyses.”Since the paper is open for public access, other readers may wish to analyze it in more detail.  What appears clear is that the popular media have made much more out of the data than is warranted, sensationalizing the “feathered dinosaurs” beyond all justification, trusting the dates uncritically, and minimizing the problems for evolution (like early appearance of taxa and instant diversity).  A picture emerges of evolutionary ideologues forcing their data into an evolutionary scenario whether or not it fits, and whether or not it makes logical sense (20 million years of a placid lake bed where various animals drown without decaying, bookended by volcanoes?  Instant pterosaurs, flying mammals and placentals?)  A more conservative approach would be to recognize that our world is impoverished of many interesting animals that once existed simultaneously.  For some of these, the partial preservation of features from single specimens might lead to excessive taxonomical splitting.  (If they can’t tell the difference between a tadpole and a cicada, then how can we trust the hair-splitting in mammals and feather-splitting in dinosaurs?)  The data require heavy doses of interpretation to prevent Charlie from getting another stomach ache.Overall, there doesn’t appear to be any good reason to place the Daohugou and Jehol formations (and other nearby formations) into an evolutionary sequence.  There also doesn’t appear any justification for millions of years.  If you take off the Darwin-colored glasses and look at the data without the storytellers telling you what to see, much of the evolutionary “scenario” collapses, imaginary feathers on dinosaurs disappear, and the picture becomes one of instant appearance of varied and complex creatures by intelligent design, buried suddenly in a watery catastrophe with volcanoes going off.(Visited 39 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Govt rejects apartheid lawsuits

first_img9 September 2003Justice Minister Penuell Maduna has dashed hopes of government’s support for apartheid reparation litigation filed overseas by local groups against multinational corporations.Addressing more than a hundred delegates attending a two-day civil society conference in Johannesburg recently, Maduna said such a move would compromise the country’s sovereignty.“What is clear, though, is that if litigation is to proceed – and we do not support that – then it must be processed within South African courts”, Maduna added. “In this way we retain our dignity as a country, respect our sovereignty, and accept that as South Africans we have to solve our own problems.”He said that if the country failed to take a stand on the litigation, “we shall be courting interference in our domestic affairs”.The gathering was convened by Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, the Khulumani Support Group, Jubilee South Africa, and Dumisani Ntsebeza, a former commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, now heading the litigation.Some victims of apartheid have lodged litigation in New York, demanding compensation from multinational corporations that they claim “aided and abetted” the apartheid system.Maduna’s remarks came on the same day that former President Nelson Mandela added his voice to growing disapproval of South Africans taking companies to foreign courts.South Africans were competent to deal with issues of reconciliation, reparation and transformation among themselves without outside interference, instigation or instruction, Mandela said.During his State of the Nation Address in February, President Thabo Mbeki said the government disapproved of such steps, describing attempts to use US courts to settle issues of reparation and justice that rightly belonged in South Africa as “unacceptable”.Maduna told last month’s gathering that “history and the world have already passed judgment on the apartheid state, therefore South Africans, let alone foreign courts, do not have to try and do so again.“Once we decide that such courts should determine who supported the apartheid regime, who benefited from it and who is responsible for the gross violation of human rights abuses, then we impair our sovereignty.”Maduna rejected claims that the government was protecting business against such civil suits. “This is not a pro-business stance, it’s not anti-business. It is a pro-South Africa stance”, he said.The government has argued that such litigation would only hurt the country, as some of the targeted companies are trading in the South African economy and thus helping to increase employment.The government has created a reparation fund where business, civil society and the government can pump money for compensation as well as community development.The authorities will also pay a once-off R30 000 grant to individuals identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as victims of human rights abuses under apartheid.The government also continues to restore the dignity of millions in South Africa who were oppressed under apartheid by rolling out electricity, water, social grants and housing, Maduna said.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

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