first_imgGIANT-killing Bradford City’s dreams of a League Cup win ended at Wembley today as the silky skills of Swansea shone through in the showpiece final.More than 150 family and friends from Donegal made the journey to London to support Carl McHugh and his Bradford team.But having disposed of three Premier League teams on the way to the final, Swansea proved a step too far for the Bantams, finally winning 5-0. Nathan Dyer opened the scoring for the Welsh side after 15 minutes.Michu then added a second in the 40th minute, slipping the ball through McHugh’s legs with a lucky strike.The Premier League side led 2-0 at half-time.Then Dyer hit his second at the start of the second half, and a De Guzman penalty finished off the brave League 2 side – with the Yorkshire outfit reduced to ten men with their keeper sent off. But there was no shame in defeat for Bradford after their incredible cup run.And their fans sang even louder – even at 4-0 down – than the Swansea fans.Bradford’s first shot on goal came in the 87th minute, just after their first corner.But in injury time Swansea added a fifth goal through De Guzman.Carl and his Bradford players however received a massive reception from their fans who stayed behind after the final whistle. SWANSEA SINK CARL’S CUP WIN DREAMS BUT BRADFORD PLAYERS HOLD THEIR HEADS HIGH was last modified: February 24th, 2013 by BrendaShare 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:SWANSEA SINK CARL’S CUP WIN DREAMS BUT BRADFORD PLAYERS HOLD THEIR HEADS HIGHlast_img read more

Innovative students put heart into new health app for Donegal

first_imgA team of Loreto Letterkenny students have tapped into technology to spread a vital health message across Donegal.The ‘Heart2Heart’ Young Social Innovators team are aiming to make a major impact in the community with their new app, My Heart Space, which was launched on Friday.Heart2Heart app launch in Loreto Letterkenny, 10th May 2019The android app is a well-thought-out space for mobile users to save emergency contacts, locate public defibrillators in Donegal, track their steps and learn about heart health. The fun and educational app was designed to appeal to all ages, from 13 up, and it even includes a ‘Flappy Heart’ game to encourage daily usage.‘You can’t bí without your croí’ is the motto of the YSI Heart2Heart team, who are competing in the YSI national final next week. The 11 students have put in a great effort this year to promote healthy hearts and prevent heart fatalities by spreading information in their school, in the community and on social media.Sarah Gallagher addressing guests at the My Heart Space app launch in Loreto Letterkenny, 10th May 2019Heart disease is the number one cause of death in Ireland, student Sarah Gallagher told invited guests at the app launch in Loreto Letterkenny.Sarah outlined the potential life-saving impact the app can have – which points users to their nearest health service, defibrillators and enables emergency calls. My Heart Space AppThe app was developed by Adrian Mullally of Gartan Technologies, who was a much-valued contributor to the project.The heart2heart app team, L-R: Sandra Binu, Sarah Gallagher, Sinead Kennedy, Orla Kennedy, Eimear Kennedy, Katie Gillen, Rachel Bradley, Cora Kelly and IT Specialist Adrian Mullally, 10th May 2019The My Heart Space app is not the only aspect of this YSI initiative, as the team have created information posters, promoted CPR training and launched a campaign to have First Aid introduced to the Junior Certificate curriculum.The Heart2Heart team will present their work for the finale of the Young Social Innovators of the Year Awards on Wednesday 15th May in Croke Park.The future is bright for this passionate team, said YSI Mentor MS Siobhan McKeague.“Even if they don’t win the final, which I hope they do, they have already won because they have produced an app that is needed in the locality and they have produced leaflets to put up around the locality. I am extremely proud of these ladies because they have done it themselves. It is a credit to them because they have pushed past the barriers,” Ms McKeague said. YSI Mentor Ms Siobhan McKeague with Sarah Gallagher at the My Heart Space app launch in Loreto Letterkenny, 10th May 2019Principal of Loreto Letterkenny Sr Ger speaking at the My Heart Space app launch , 10th May 2019Loreto Letterkenny Principal Sr Gerardine Mullen also praised the students’ innovation, adding that she was proud of their important work.Android users can download the My Heart Space app now on: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.heart2heartysi.heart2heart&hl=enThe heart2heart team, L-R: Sandra Binu, Sarah Gallagher, Sinead Kennedy, Orla Kennedy, Eimear Kennedy, Katie Gillen, Rachel Bradley, Cora Kelly and IT Specialist Adrian Mullally, 10th May 2019Sarah Gallagher and PT Emmet Rushe from Rushe Fitness Gym at the My Heart Space app launch in Loreto Letterkenny, 10th May 2019Cllr Michael McBride and Sarah Gallagher at the heart2heart app launch in Loreto Letterkenny, 10th May 2019Innovative students put heart into new health app for Donegal was last modified: May 10th, 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:Apphealthheart diseaseheart2heartLoreto LetterkennyMy Heart Spaceyoung social innovatorslast_img read more

Andy Reid’s happy to say goodbye to the Coliseum, and he’s not the only Raiders opponent

first_imgEarlier this week, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid contemplated his final business trip to the Oakland Coliseum. His team will face the Raiders Sunday. Next time the Raiders host their bitter division rival, barring a postseason matchup, will be in Las Vegas.Speaking for generations of Raiders opponents, especially head coaches, Reid in very few words, made it clear he couldn’t wait to be done with the 53-year-old Coliseum.Asked by Kansas City reporters for a memory from the …last_img

Your Linemen at Work: DNA Search and Rescue Machine Imaged in Action

first_imgDNA is amazing enough, but its automatic error-correction utilities are enough to stagger the imagination.  There are dozens of repair mechanisms to shield our genetic code from damage; one of them was portrayed in Nature1 March 31 (see also analysis by Sheila David in the same issue2) in terms that should inspire awe.    Imagine a huge encyclopedia written on beads, in strands many miles long.  The words of the book are inscribed in letter beads along the strand.  Now imagine that, tied to the primary strand, is a twin strand with beads representing the “negatives” of the primary beads, such that when the strands are separated, exact copies can be made.  Every once in awhile, the strands are separated by a machine.  Floating beads are attracted to the negative beads, lining up to form exact copies of the book or portions thereof.  This is a simplified view of DNA transcription and replication.  What happens, however, if the wrong bead, or a defective bead, becomes attached to the negative?  For books, that could misspell a word or produce gibberish, but in living organisms, the consequences could be disastrous.    Now picture little machines that regularly traverse the string of beads.  Because the shapes of the beads differ according to the letters on them, this machine is able to find typos.  Let’s say that a letter “C” is always supposed to pair with a letter “G” on the strand.  The proofreading machine feels every bead, and if it finds that particular mismatch, it ejects the incorrect bead so that another correct one can be fastened on by another machine.  This is a simplified view of “base-excision repair” (BER) that actually takes place in your body, all the time.    The strands in a cell are, of course, DNA, and the beads are called nucleotides, or bases.  Of the four bases in DNA (C, G, A, and T) cytosine or C is always supposed to pair with guanine, G, and adenine, A, is always supposed to pair with thymine, T.  The enzyme studied by Banerjee et al. in Nature is one of a host of molecular machines called BER glycosylases; this one is called human oxoG glycosylase repair enzyme (hOGG1), and it is specialized for finding a particular type of error: an oxidized G base (guanine).  Oxidation damage can be caused by exposure to ionizing radiation (like sunburn) or free radicals roaming around in the cell nucleus.  The normal G becomes oxoG, making it very slightly out of shape.  There might be one in a million of these on a DNA strand.  While it seems like a minor typo, it can actually cause the translation machinery to insert the wrong amino acid into a protein, with disastrous results, such as colorectal cancer.  This little machine has an important job.3  How does it work?    The machine latches onto the DNA double helix and works its way down the strand, feeling every base on the way.  As it proceeds, it kinks the DNA strand into a sharp angle.  It is built to ignore the T and A bases, but whenever it feels a C, it knows there is supposed to be a G attached.  The machine has precision contact points for C and G.  When the C engages, the base paired to it is flipped up out of the helix into a slot inside the enzyme that is finely crafted to mate with a pure, clean G.  If all is well, it flips the G back into the DNA helix and moves on.  If the base is an oxoG, however, that base gets flipped into another slot further inside, where powerful forces yank the errant base out of the strand so that other machines can insert the correct one.    Now this is all wonderful stuff so far, but as with many things in living cells, the true wonder is in the details.  The thermodynamic energy differences between G and oxoG are extremely slight – oxoG contains only one extra atom of oxygen – and yet this machine is able to discriminate between them to high levels of accuracy.  David says, “DNA-repair enzymes amaze us with their ability to search through vast tracts of DNA to find subtle anomalies in the structure.  The human repair enzyme 8-oxoguanine glycosylase (hOGG1) is particularly impressive in this regard because it efficiently removes 8-oxoguanine (oxoG), a damaged guanine (G) base containing an extra oxygen atom, and ignores undamaged bases” (emphasis added in all quotes).  The team led by Anirban Banerjee of Harvard, using a clever new stop-action method of imaging, caught this little enzyme in the act of binding to a bad guanine, helping scientists visualize how the machinery works.    Some other amazing details are mentioned about this molecular proofreader.  It checks every C-G pair, but slips right past the A-T pairs.  The enzyme, “much like a train that stops only at certain locations,” pauses at each C and, better than any railcar conductor inspecting each ticket, flips up the G to validate it.  Unless it conforms to the slot perfectly – even though G and oxoG differ in their match by only one hydrogen bond – it is ejected like a freeloader in a Pullman car and tossed out into the desert.  David elaborates:Calculations of differences in free energy indicate that both favourable and unfavourable interactions lead to preferential binding of oxoG over G in the oxoG-recognition pocket, and of G over oxoG in the alternative site.  This structure [the image resolved by the scientific team] captures an intermediate that forms in the process of finding oxoG, and illustrates that the damaged base must pass through a series of ‘gates’, or checkpoints, within the enzyme; only oxoG satisfies the requirements for admission to the damage-specific pocket, where it will be clipped from the DNA.  Other bases (C, A and T) may be rejected outright without extrusion from the helix because hOGG1 scrutinizes both bases in each pair, and only bases opposite a C will be examined more closely.How many linemen does it take to repair your strands?  The researchers explain, “Only 50,000 molecules of hOGG1 protect the entire 6 x 109 base-pair nuclear genome of a diploid human cell, hence the enzyme must have developed an efficient mechanism for distinguishing oxoG from the four nucleobases in normal DNA.”  50,000 repairmen for 6 billion bases: that’s one repairman for every 120,000 letters, comparable to a skilled proofreader checking every letter of a 20,000 word document for one specific kind of typo.  Then there are all the other proofreaders that look for other kinds of mistakes.41Banerjee et al., “Structure of a repair enzyme interrogating undamaged DNA elucidates recognition of damaged DNA,” Nature 434, 612 – 618 (31 March 2005); doi:10.1038/nature03458.2Sheila S. David, “Structural biology: DNA search and rescue,” Nature 434, 569 – 570 (31 March 2005); doi:10.1038/434569a.3See “Life without DNA Repair,” in PNAS, 1997.  It lists 13 BER enzymes including this one.  Studies on mice are described: “mutants show various combinations of defective embryogenesis, tissue-specific dysfunction, hypersensitivity to DNA-damaging agents, premature senescence, genetic instability, and elevated cancer rates.”4The authors mention another paralogous enzyme, 3-methyladenine DNA glycosylase (AlkA), which is not as “fastidious” as hOGG1, because it “does occasionally excise adenine residues from undamaged DNA.”  But there may be reasons for the differences in fidelity; some may have to work under stressful conditions, and repair as much as they can within constraints of time or other factors.  JBC Online says that AlkA has “a remarkably versatile active site.”  This reminds us that intelligent design does not mean perfection of every detail, but “constrained optimization”: achieving the combination of features that produces a “sweet spot” with best overall performance.  The proof of the pudding for DNA repair is in the performance itself: no one watching a race horse, cormorant (05/24/2004) or champion triathlete in action could argue with the assertion that the suite of repair enzymes in living things appears optimized to achieve an extremely high degree of fidelity under a wide range of conditions and stress factors.OK, Darwin Party: checkmate.  Natural selection cannot act without accurate replication, yet the protein machinery for the level of accuracy required is itself built by the very genetic code it is designed to protect.  Explain that!  If the Darwinists cannot provide a plausible mechanism whereby nonliving chemicals, by chance, hit upon a means of replicating information-bearing molecules accurately, there would have been no evolution, because any gains would have been drowned in the errors of subsequent generations.    It would have been challenging enough to explain accurate translation alone in a primordial soup, but now throw in some free radicals and radiation, and any information gained would have quickly been destroyed through accumulation of errors.  So accurate replication and proofreading are required for the origin of life.  How on earth could proofreading enzymes emerge, especially with this degree of fidelity, when they depend on the very information that they are designed to protect?  Think about it.  This is a catch-22 for Darwinists.  No wonder none of the authors of these two articles dared whisper the word evolution.  The gig is up; we might as well not even waste any time arguing about Hobbit man (03/25/2005), peppered mice (04/18/2003) and what IMAX films to show (03/23/2005).  Proofreading codes by chance?  And a complex suite of translation machinery without a designer?  Anyone with a head screwed on is not going to want such nonsense taught in public schools (03/24/2005).    If we can just sweep away the cobwebs of musty Darwinian thinking out of our minds for a moment, we can begin to enjoy the wonder of these incredible mechanisms.  If the ancients could understand that creation demands a Creator by looking at the sun, or a bird, or a baby, how much more we today with all the revelations about cell biology and molecular machines?  The grand oratorio of creation is being unveiled, a little at a time, into a hallelujah chorus that deserves our most worshipful applause – indeed, a standing ovation.(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Q: Who Fights With Supercharged Harpoons?  A: Jellyfish

first_imgWeak, transparent, limp, and drifting in the water – who would have thought these creatures possess one of the most powerful weapons in the animal kingdom?  Jellyfish and hydras have stinging cells called nematocysts that fire so fast, no one has been able to catch the action of their microscopic harpoons – till now.    EurekAlert summarized a study being reported in Current Biology1 by a team that photographed them at 1,430,000 frames per second.  They calculated the cells discharge in 700 nanoseconds (less than a millionth of a second).  The explosive charge is accelerated to 5,410,000 G’s in that brief flicker of time.  Even though the weapon weighs a mere billionth of a gram, enough pressure is created in the discharge (15 giga-pascals, the pressure range of some bullets) giving it enough oomph to penetrate even a tough crustacean shell.    Cnidarians use these weapons for prey capture and defense.  “The researchers propose that the high speed of discharge is caused by the release of energy stored in the stretched configuration of the collagen-polymer of the nematocyst capsule wall,” the review explains.  “This ingenious solution allows the cellular process of vesicle exocytosis to release kinetic energy in the nanosecond range by a powerful molecular spring mechanism.”1Nuchter et al., “Nanosecond-scale kinetics of nematocyst discharge,” Current Biology, Volume 16, Issue 9, 9 May 2006, Pages R316-R318, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2006.03.089.When God gives an animal a technology, he doesn’t do it halfway.  (Evolutionists would have us believe jellyfish figured this out on their own, but this particular article mentioned nothing about evolution.)  Another amazing fact is that some sea slugs called nudibranchs are able to ingest these nematocysts without setting them off, and line their backs with the borrowed technology.  Figure that one out by slow, gradual, evolutionary processes.(Visited 29 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Doubters Defy Darwin Dogma

first_imgOne would think that the near unanimous opinion of international scientific societies opposing creationism and ID would carry a lot of weight with the public, but it doesn’t.  There are indications that a substantial percent of the population is not impressed with the dogmatic pronouncements that evolution is a fact, and that anyone who disagrees is a religious nut (see also 04/21/2006).  This seems to be frustrating the daylights out of evolutionists who seem unable to do anything about it.  Some samples:Go to H*** / H*** No, We Won’t Go:  One would think the editor of the prestigious journal Nature would get a little respect by virtue of his position, but when he tried blogging as an overture to the public, he got an earful for his mouthful.  Nature decided to join the blogosphere in April as part of its initiative for openness, in the aftermath of recent scientific scandals over peer review (06/13/2006).  One of the first experiments was a Nature Blog in April about the fish-o-pod Tiktaalik (04/06/2006).  After getting worked up over some creationist responses to the find, Gee jumped into the fray.  He argued that creationists cannot embrace the science that gave us modern health care and cheap travel and abjure other parts like evolution.  He likened creationists to those wanting to return to the Dark Ages and live like Bedouins.  Though he claimed to believe in God (as a Jew), Gee ended his tirade against Biblical creationism with:I object to the cheap, wilful [sic], nasty traduction of my religious faith by a group of people who would pervert it to further their questionable political ideals.  I call on all scientists of faith to join me in its damnation, and to educate certain in the evolutionary biology community of the rank and damning illogicality of their position.Some of the “Evolution is a FACT!” folk said Hear, hear, but not everyone.  Gee may have felt smug in consigning “fundamentalists” to the flames, but for some of his targets, the feeling was mutual.  One signing himself a biochemist called the Tiktaalik missing link claims “Pure rubbish” and said “The fact that this article is being heralded in media rags is one sign of payola and not necessarily substance.”  Another retorted, “macroevolution is a fairy-tale for those grown-ups who personally feel the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible to be unacceptable.”  Another commented, “Dr. Gee repeats an error so egregious that I cannot resist commenting; The Scientific advances he mentions from which we all benefit are all the result of impirical [sic] science.  They have absolutely nothing to do with evolution.”  Another pointed out, “The irony of this find is lost on the authors – that a single find of a fossil of a supposed transitional life form is a major news item.”  Another advised, “If you actually want to do something about the rise of 6-day creationism, arrogance isn’t going to help,” indicating what he thought of Gee’s decorum.  One wonders how often the editor of Nature has had to leave the comfort zone of academia and face live hecklers.Medical Malpractice:  A similar blog counterattack came when Stanford Medicine Magazine made anticreationism its summer cover story, “Darwin Lives.”  After a series of attack pieces like “Scientists mobilize to fight the forces of intelligent design,” the magazine invited readers, “Visit our evolution blog and tell us what you think.”  Despite the magazine’s portrayal of creationists as nothing more than politically-motivated religious zealots, many of the uncensored responses were not shy about refusing to be pushed into that corner.  “Saying over and over that it is a religion vs. science debate doesn’t make it so,” said one.  “Sure, you can find politicians and creationists to bash, but to be taken seriously, you must address the critics of Darwin who hold prestigious scientific positions within our universities and science organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences.”  Another called the magazine’s tactics “propaganda.”  Those supportive of the magazine’s assessment were outnumbered nine to five.  Many of the anti-evolution responses appeared reasoned and informed, not the work of religious dogmatists; they argued that the dogmatic Darwinist position is the real fundamentalism.The Great Unconvinced:  Curtis Dahlgren had some fun in an op-ed piece for Renew America, commenting on the apparent chagrin with which an alumni paper from the University of Wisconsin wrote,”Putting Faith in Science,” the subhead of which is, “Intelligent design – an alternative theory of life supported by many Christians – argues that science alone can’t explain the mysteries of our existence.  And most Americans agree.  Why has science been so unconvincing?Dahlgren accused the accusers of blind faith, retorting, “So who is calling whom ‘stupid’?”Poll Homeostasis:  Lest one think blog entries do not represent a scientifically-valid sample, Evolution News listed polls from 1982 to 2005 that show “skepticism of evolution continues to remain at a very high level in the United States” despite the fact that “For years Darwinists have been doing their best to remind the world of the good news that evolution and religion can be compatible.”  In another piece, Evolution News argued that students reject evolution because of the science, not religion.  In a third piece, Evolution News noted that the pace of scientists willing to sign their Dissent from Darwin list is accelerating (see also a separate list for doctors).Some anticreationists may be having second thoughts about the Darwin-in-your-face strategy.  Portraying evolution doubters as backwoods flat-earthers and fundamentalists who want to destroy science isn’t accurate, said pro-evolution science historian Ronald Numbers in a recent PBS interview.  When asked by the PBS interviewer if the evolution war represents another science vs. religion split, he said:To me, the struggle in the late 20th Century between creationists and evolutionists does not represent another battle between science and religion because rarely do creationists display hostility towards science.  If you read their literature, you’ll rarely come across an anti-scientific notion.  They love science.  They love what science can do.  They hate the fact that science has been hijacked by agnostics and atheists to offer such speculative theories as organic evolution.  So, they don’t see themselves as being antagonistic to science any more than many of the advocates of evolution – those who see evolution as God’s method of creation – view themselves as hostile to Christianity.That’s a remarkable admission for someone who had recently signed on with Elliot Sober and other staunch anticreationists in a “call to action” against intelligent design.11Attie, Sober, Numbers et al., “Defending science education against intelligent design: a call to action,” Journal of Clinical Investigation, 116:1134-1138 (2006). doi:10.1172/JCI28449.We hope you see that CEH also loves science.  When you compare who wants rational discussion about these important issues and who wants to browbeat their listeners into submission, the choice is clear.    We also like to keep our sense of humor.  Apparently the irony was lost on poor Ms. Amy Adams who, in her submission to the Stanford Medicine Magazine anticreationist barrage, summarized her thoughts on evolution as, “Evolution in a nutshell.”(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Archive Classic: State of the Cosmos 2005: Alan Guth Explains Inflation

first_imgAs Alan Guth rises to prominence this year for his inflation proposal, it might be useful for readers to see what he said about it in 2005.State of the Cosmos Address OfferedCreation-Evolution Headlines, 2/21/05, by David CoppedgeOn the occasion of the centennial of Einstein’s theory of relativity, Alan Guth, the father of inflationary cosmology, with colleague David I. Kaiser of MIT, took stock of cosmological theories in the Feb. 11 issue of Science.1  How has inflation fared since its controversial but hopeful proposal in 1981?“Inflation was invented a quarter of a century ago,” Guth begins (emphasis added in all quotes), “and has become a central ingredient of current cosmological research.”  Advances in particle physics have led to a theory, the standard model, that can account for three of the four basic forces – strong and weak nuclear forces and electromagnetism – but not gravity.  String theorists, independently, have been working for their own unification of these forces.  Guth repeats that amidst all this ferment, “inflation continues to occupy a central place in cosmological research, even as its relation to fundamental particle physics continues to evolve.”  From there, he diverges into a primer on inflation.  What some had described as a bizarre, untestable, ad hoc invention to get around serious problems in big bang models, he unashamedly portrays as a great success: According to inflationary cosmology, the universe expanded exponentially quickly for a fraction of a second very early in its history—growing from a patch as small as 10–26 m, one hundred billion times smaller than a proton, to macroscopic scales on the order of a meter, all within about 10–35 s—before slowing down to the more stately rate of expansion that has characterized the universe’s behavior ever since.  The driving force behind this dramatic growth, strangely enough, was gravity…. Although this might sound like hopeless (or, depending on one’s inclinations, interesting) speculation, in fact inflationary cosmology leads to several quantitative predictions about the present behavior of our universe—predictions that are being tested to unprecedented accuracy by a new generation of observational techniques.  So far the agreement has been excellent. One such prediction, he claims, is that the universe should be nearly perfectly “flat,” or balanced between expansion and contraction.  Guth points to the WMAP measurements (see 02/14/2003, 03/06/2003 and 05/02/2003entries) as confirming this prediction that solved the “flatness problem” (the observation that the universe was very nearly flat), a conundrum of pre-inflationary models.  Another prediction is that the universe should be homogeneous and isotropic on large scales, which again, he says, is found to be the case.  Before inflation, cosmologists had to reckon with the “horizon problem”: Without inflation, this large-scale smoothness appears quite puzzling.  According to ordinary (noninflationary) big bang cosmology, these photons should never have had a chance to come to thermal equilibrium: The regions in the sky from which they were released would have been about 100 times farther apart than even light could have traveled between the time of the big bang and the time of the photons’ release.  Much like the flatness problem, inflation provides a simple and generic reason for the observed homogeneity of the CMB: Today’s observable universe originated from a much smaller region than that in the noninflationary scenarios.  This much-smaller patch could easily have become smooth before inflation began.  Inflation would then stretch this small homogeneous region to encompass the entire observable universe.Guth points to small-scale perturbations, or ripples, in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) as also supportive of his inflation idea, mainly because other proposals have been ruled out.  While “full class of inflationary models can make a variety of predictions,” he says, the simplest model “fits the data beautifully” (see 06/18/2003 and 06/12/2001 entries for contrary views).With such an admirable track record behind him, Guth turns to how research on inflation has progressed.  Some have questioned that, once started, inflation could have ever stopped again: the “eternal inflation” problem.  Others wonder how ordinary matter would have arisen when inflation effectively dropped the temperature to zero and diluted the density of ordinary matter to negligible quantities.  Particles were created, he explains by oscillations that set up resonances between quantum fields: “Large numbers of particles would be created very quickly within specific energy-bands…. This dramatic burst of particle creation would affect spacetime itself, as it responded to changes in the arrangement of matter and energy.”Guth also discusses how inflation fits in with brane cosmology (see 04/26/2002entry) and string theory, insisting it is compatible with either.  He seems to like the latter, because it produces a story of two lovers who need each other: The union of string theory and cosmology is barely past its honeymoon, but so far the marriage appears to be a happy one.  Inflation, from its inception, was a phenomenologically very successful idea that has been in need of a fundamental theory to constrain its many variations.  String theory, from its inception, has been a very well-constrained mathematical theory in need of a phenomenology to provide contact with observation.  The match seems perfect, but time will be needed before we know for sure whether either marriage partner can fulfill the needs of the other.  In the meantime, ideas are stirring that have the potential to radically alter our ideas about fundamental laws of physics. In fact, with brane theory, there seems to be a happy threesome in the offing.  The milieu of proposals, each with its suite of variables (some 10500possible inflating/vacuum states in string theory, for instance) leaves the reader with a sense of an infinite combination of possibilities with little hope for picking the right one to build the universe we know: Although the rules of string theory are unique, the low-energy laws that describe the physics that we can in practice observe would depend strongly on which vacuum state our universe was built upon.  Other vacuum states could give rise to different values of “fundamental” constants, or even to altogether different types of “elementary” particles, and even different numbers of large spatial dimensions!  Furthermore, because inflation is generically eternal, one would expect that the resulting eternally inflating spacetime would sample every one of these states, each an infinite number of times.  Because all of these states are possible, the important problem is to learn which states are probable.  This problem involves comparison of one infinity with another, which is in general not a well-defined question.  Proposals have been made and arguments have been given to justify them, but no conclusive solution to this problem has been found. Guth explains that no one has been able to explain why our universe took the initial state it did: i.e., whether its state was determined or random.  Maybe the escape clause is to believe that all possible states exist, and we observe the one that produced observers (the anthropic principle).  Guth seems surprisingly warm to this idea that produced a “privileged planet” by chance: Another possibility, now widely discussed, is that nothing determines the choice of vacuum for our universe; instead, the observable universe is viewed as a tiny speck within a multiverse that contains every possible type of vacuum.  If this point of view is right, then a quantity such as the electron-to-proton mass ratio would be on the same footing as the distance between our planet and the sun.  Neither is fixed by the fundamental laws, but instead both are determined by historical accidents, restricted only by the fact that if these quantities did not lie within a suitable range, we would not be here to make the observations.  This idea—that the laws of physics that we observe are determined not by fundamental principles, but instead by the requirement that intelligent life can exist to observe them—is often called the anthropic principle.  Although in some contexts this principle might sound patently religious, the combination of inflationary cosmology and the landscape of string theory gives the anthropic principle a scientifically viable framework. (See also 02/05/2002 entry on multiple universes.)  One particularly shocking example of anthropic parameters is the energy density of the vacuum (see 09/30/2004 entry) which, according to naive estimates, could be up to 10120 times as high as that which is observed, even with dark energy (see 02/28/2004entry).  Puzzles like the anthropic principle reinforce the necessity of asking cosmological questions: There are both positive and negative contributions, but physicists have been trying for decades to find some reason why the positive and negative contributions should cancel, so far to no avail.  It seems even more hopeless to find a reason why the net energy density should be nonzero, but 120 orders of magnitude smaller than its expected value.  However, if one adopts the anthropic point of view, it was argued as early as 1987 by Weinberg that an explanation is at hand: If the multiverse contained regions with all conceivable values of the cosmological constant, galaxies and hence life could appear only in those very rare regions where the value is small, because otherwise the huge gravitational repulsion would blow matter apart without allowing it to collect into galaxies.The landscape of string theory and the evolution of the universe through the landscape are of course still not well understood, and some have argued that the landscape might not even exist.  It seems too early to draw any firm conclusions, but clearly the question of whether the laws of physics are uniquely determined, or whether they are environmental accidents, is an issue too fundamental to ignore. Guth repeats the usual “precision cosmology” rhetoric that our instruments are nailing down the values of fundamental cosmic properties (see 09/20/2004 entry).  But inflation is not such a precise quantity; in his conclusion, he admits that much work needs to be done (see 12/21/2000 and 05/30/2001entries): Even with the evidence in favor of inflation now stronger than ever, much work remains.  Inflationary cosmology has always been a framework for studying the interconnections between particle physics and gravitation—a collection of models rather than a unique theory.  The next generation of astronomical detectors should be able to distinguish between competing inflationary models, whittling down the large number of options to a preferred few. Hopefully, those detectors will also solve some remaining “major puzzles” such as the nature of dark matter and dark energy, which combined are said to make up 96% of the universe, leaving a mere 4% that we observe (see 06/20/2003 and 12/17/2003 entries).  “Whatever its origin, dark energy, much like dark matter, presents a fascinating puzzle that will keep cosmologists busy for years to come.”  (See also 06/04/2002 entry, and 11/02/2002 entry and commentary.)1Alan H. Guth and David I. Kaiser, “Inflationary Cosmology: Exploring the Universe from the Smallest to the Largest Scales,” Science, Vol 307, Issue 5711, 884-890, 11 February 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1107483].We had to show you in their own words what these MIT eggheads are saying.  Guth, whose name stands for Grand Unified Theory Huckster, has been propounding his “framework” for 25 years now, and has become famous for it.  But what is inflation, other than an untestable, ad hoc proposal invented to get around insurmountable obstacles in the Big Bang cosmology of the 70s?  Astronomers were well aware of the flatness problem and the horizon problem; with a sweep of the hand and some abstruse math, con artist Guth in his magic show wagon said “no problem,” we’ll just stretch the universe and the problems will no longer be visible.  A viewer objects that he has just diluted the particles to negligible density.  “No problem” again; we’ll pick the right vacuum state to make quantum fields resonate, such that their energy produces new particles out of nothing.  Another viewer objects that one cannot determine the conditions by chance to rig the outcome.  ”Well, then,” the huckster chimes, “if it were not so, we would not be here arguing about it now, would we?  Hmmmmm?”Don’t be fooled by Guth’s shameless claims that observations are confirming his little something-from-nothing trick (see 06/23/2001 entry).  When he invented inflation to get around known problems, he cannot turn around and say that his trick predicted that it would solve them.  The fact that he turns to the “patently religious” anthropic principle is a clear sign of desperation.  His model does not account for the finely-tuned parameters of the universe that permit galaxies, stars and life, and invoking an infinity of universes to keep chance in the running is patently unscientific.  Don’t be fooled by the math, either; it just means he got good grades in calculus and knows how to move Greek symbols around according to some rules.  No amount of mathematical manipulation can save a proposition from bad assumptions.  When your math is off by 120 orders of magnitude and forces you to compare infinities, you have lost all contact with reality; you’re just playing games.Guth and Kaiser need to take up truck driving.  That would get them out of their ivory towers at MIT and into the real world, where they would be forced to look at trees, mountains, weather, ecology and all the other observable things on our privileged planet that are inexplicable by chance: realities that proclaim design, purpose, intention.  While driving down the road, Guth should pop in a CD of Bob Berman’s hellfire sermon (see 10/06/2004 entry). 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Adopt-a-River project extended

first_img6 June 2011The government has set aside R2-million to fund the Adopt-a-River project, which has so far created 595 job opportunities, for a further 12 months, says Deputy Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi.She was launching the Buffalo Adopt-a-River project in King Williams Town in the Eastern Cape over the weekend.Through the project, Mabudafhasi said local women had acquired skills in waste management, occupational health and safety, identification of alien weeds and herbicide application, water safety, snake handling, first aid, environmental education and life skills.“The other direct benefit is that the health of rivers has improved drastically,” she said. “The Buffalo River project employed 100 women from the rural poor communities … who are involved in the cleaning of solid waste and alien vegetation species along the banks of the Buffalo River.“It has increased women’s participation in water resource issues and capacitated them to advocate for behavioural changes and increased caring of rivers and environment in their respective communities.”Providing food, reducing crimeMabudafhasi added that the project had also boosted the self-esteem of local women as they were able to provide food for their families.“There is also positive feedback received from other stakeholders such as [the South African Police Service], that since the women started working at the river sites, the incidents of crime at these places have gone down because criminals are no longer able to utilise these sites for their criminal activities and criminal hideouts,” she said.The Adopt-a-River project is also aimed at bringing communities on board, and educating them on water resource management and the environment, in order for them to take full responsibility and to be able to make informed decisions.The initiative is currently running in Limpopo, the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Free State, which were the pilot provinces.Facing water challengesMabudafhasi said that South Africa, like many other countries in Africa, faced a future threat if water resources were not well managed, protected, used, conserved and developed in a sustainable manner.She said due to developmental needs, water demand was increasing rapidly while the amount of available water remained the same.“Currently, we are faced with challenges such as water wastage through leaks and polluted rivers,” she said. “We all know that water is a catalyst for any development.“In order to ensure that there is enough water in our country, we have embarked on various programmes such as Adopt-a-River, War on Leaks, [the] 2020 Vision Programme and others,” Mabudafhasi said.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Mandela memories: wishing Bafana Bafana good luck in 2010

first_imgView and download photos of Nelson Mandela, wearing the number 4 captain’s shirt, meeting South Africa’s national football squad Bafana Bafana in Johannesburg on 3 June 2010, to wish the team success in the upcoming 2010 Fifa World Cup.Photographs courtesy of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Before using these photos, please read and agree to the Media Club South Africa photo library terms and condtions of use.Click a thumbnail for a larger image, or click the link below to download a high-resolution copy of the image. Nelson Mandela and Bafana Bafana. • Download high-resolution image Mandela with defender Matthew Booth … • Download high-resolution image with midfielder Steven Pienaar … • Download high-resolution image midfielder Teko Modise … • Download high-resolution image goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune … • Download high-resolution image and midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala. • Download high-resolution image READ MORE • Mandela on Media Club South Africa • Nelson Mandela: the world mourns • Nelson Mandela – a timeline  • Barack Obama’s tribute to Mandela  • Watch: World reacts to Mandela’s death • Infographic: Mandela family tree • Nelson Mandela’s words of wisdom • The women in Madiba’s life • Tutu leads memorial at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory • High-res photos: In 2010, Nelson Mandela wishes World Cup good luck to Bafana Bafanalast_img read more

PRETTY BANANA CLIP HAIR COMB FISH CLIP BLACK TORT WOMEN’S LADIES GIRLS 2pcs – time I have used this company and I’m really pleased with everything

first_imgHappy with these hair clips – a single was damaged on. Delighted with these hair clips – just one was damaged on receipt but replaced incredibly swiftly -incredibly excellent service – products quite straightforward to use.Little bit flimsy – hefty hair would not keep.Features of PRETTY BANANA CLIP HAIR COMB FISH CLIP BLACK TORT WOMEN’S LADIES GIRLS 2pcsFish Shaped Banana ClipPlastic Clip In A Classic Black Colour &Amp; TortMeasures 14Cm LongAll Measurements Approximate Across Widest PointsTime i have used this business and i am really happy with almost everything. This is the 1st time i have utilized this organization and i’m really pleased with everything. The products arrived on time and are exactly as advertised. I will unquestionably be making use of this firm once more.Would advocate for thick hair.Trusted and straightforward to use, have experienced other makes, but they let me down as did not do the job.These hair combs are great good quality and wonderful worth for revenue. Excellent for slender and thick hair.Really very good high-quality and outstanding selling price.These had been for my daughter who just loves them. Attractive plain and functional, i like my prolonged hair but from time to time want to place it out the way these clips are great and very feminine. Quite superior price for dollars, thank you.Almost nothing much more to say about this item realy. Thankyou jean as i have mentioned practically nothing much more t say.These are outstanding they are durable and keep in your hair. time I have used this company and I’m really pleased with everythingPleased with these hair clips – one was broken upon Sadly not for melast_img read more