The much-touted feathers on certain dinosaurs may be nothing more than collagen fibers. An article on ABC France says “Dinosaur ‘feathers’ are no such thing.” Instead, it’s just decayed dermal collagen, like that found on sharks and reptiles. A South African team came to this conclusion after analyzing the alleged feathers on Sinosauropteryx. If their analysis is correct, this casts doubt on the birds-from-dinosaurs theory. The team lead called the idea a “reckless leap” from the evidence, and said, “There is not a single close-up representation of the integumental structure alleged to be a proto-feather.” He called for more scientific rigor in the analysis of these fossils. Nature Science Update also reported on this find, saying “Bald dino casts doubt on feather theory.” It says, “If Sinosauropteryx was indeed featherless, then it may be that feathers arrived on the evolutionary scene later than palaeontologists had thought.” But Nature downplayed the implications. David Unwin, paleontologist at the University of Leicester, said,“there’s no need to panic” about the implications of this find. He claimed, “This doesn’t in any way challenge the idea that dinosaurs had feathers and that dinosaurs gave rise to birds.” It just “throws into doubt the first step in feather evolution.” But Unwin echoed a common theme in evolutionary theories: “Things may be more complex than we thought.” PhysOrg was more dramatic. It said that this announcement “had the effect of a thunderclap” on scientists who had used the alleged feathers as evidence for bird evolution. “Palaeontologists have fired a broadside over a fossil which is the cornerstone evidence to back the theory that birds descended from dinosaurs.”Although we don’t want to make a conclusion based on one team’s analysis of one fossil, we agree more scientific rigor is called for. Notice how Nature was quick to hedge about the meaning of this disillusionment. The rest of the media that love to display artists’ reconstructions of feathered dinosaurs are strangely silent so far. We ought to be asking seriously, in the meantime, have we been sold a bill of goods (again) about feathered dinosaurs? (10/10/2005, 05/06/2004). We have often seen the propensity of the Darwinists to take flights of fancy based on lightweight evidence (cf. 02/08/2006, 09/27/2000).(Visited 31 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Extreme, over simplified, unscientific, and exaggerated problems for the sake of marketing, activism and bolstering the bankrolls of non-government organizations have proven to be far too successful to go away anytime soon.The reason these tactics work: they are sexy. PETA, Greenpeace, and the Humane Society of the United States have been successful because they know that sexy sells. The videos and pictures of abused animals, the mournful music, the attractive celebrities endorsing these groups doing crazy media stunts — all of this offers a unique flair that makes it stand out due to being extreme, memorable, unique, clever, terrifying, or otherwise instantly recognizable as something desirable or worthwhile. In short — sexy.The details of the science behind genetically modified crops are inherently boring to most people. Short, emotional headlines about their potential ills for mankind (where the facts need not get in the way) are sexy. That is the problem.If there is any hope of winning these industry-altering pubic relations battles, agriculture must find ways to be sexy too. That means coming up with strategies to make the sometimes complex and hard-to-understand daily realities of agriculture appeal to the mass public. This is not an easy task, to be sure, but it is important.Last week, I had the opportunity to talk with a group of FFA members and advisors about this topic at the State Convention. As an exercise, I had them help me write headlines for three stories I was working on to make them “sexy.” They are: “Sharing the legacy: Small farm selling a connection to food” (a story about an organic CSA), “Raising sheep and teaching the flock” (a story about Extension sheep specialist Roger High), and “Generations adding new twists to family traditions on the farm” (an Ohio Century Farm story). Honorable mention goes to “Sheep specialist shares experiences both good and baaaad” for the sheep story. Stay tuned for these stories and their sexy headlines developed by FFA members in the coming weeks.Thanks to those FFA members for the help and attention to this important issue that has undoubtedly shaped my generation of agriculture and will certainly have more impact for future generations on the farm.Most everyone reading this already knows that ag is sexy. It is up to all of us moving forward that everyone else knows it too.
In this final installment about insulation we’ll take a look at the family of rigid boardstock materials. Unlike fiberous or spray-foam insulation that is installed in wall or ceiling cavities between the studs, rafters, or joists, boardstock insulation is applied either on the interior or exterior surface, spanning across the framing.The three most common types of rigid boardstock insulation are plastic foams: extruded polystyrene, expanded polystyrene, and polyisocyanurate. Extruded polystyrene (XPS), including the familiar light-blue Dow Styrofoam and Owens Corning’s pink Foamular, is the most moisture-resistant of these three and is commonly used below-grade to insulate the exterior of foundation walls and under basement slabs. XPS provides an insulating value of R-5 per inch. Unfortunately, XPS (in this country) is still made with ozone-depleting HCFC blowing agents, which manufacturers are required to eliminate by 2010. Manufacturers of blowing agents, refrigerants, and other compounds have made great progress in eliminating substances that destroy the Earth’s protective ozone layer in the stratosphere since the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica was discovered in the 1980s. XPS is the only insulation material still made with ozone-depleting blowing agents.Expanded polystyrene (EPS), also known as beadboard, is manufactured more locally by smaller companies than is XPS, and it can be purchased in a much wider range of dimensions, thicknesses, and densities. The most common EPS, with a density of about 1 pound per cubic foot, doesn’t perform well below-grade, but it can be ordered at higher densities that do much better in such applications. For below-ground use, I recommend at least 1.5 pounds per cubic foot. Two-pound EPS is even better, with performance much closer to that of XPS. The most common low-density EPS insulates to about R-4 per inch. It is manufactured with pentane as the blowing agent, which does not harm ozone. EPS is the most common insulation material used in producing structural insulated panels, such as those made locally by Winter Panel Corporation and Foard Panel.Polyisocyanurate is the highest-insulating boardstock option, providing R-6.0 to R-6.5 per inch. A special low-conductivity gas fills cells in the insulation, and foil facing slows down the loss of this gas or entry of air—a process that, unfortunately, reduces the R-value somewhat over time. This gas fill or “blowing agent” used to be an ozone-depleting compound, but manufacturers have shifted to ozone-safe blowing agents, usually pentane.Polyisocyanurate is most commonly used for roofs and walls, but almost never below ground because it can absorb moisture.In addition to these three rigid-foam boardstock materials, there are also rigid fiberglass and mineral wool boardstock insulation products. These are excellent in the right applications, but they are usually only available for commercial construction; they are not carried by most building supply centers serving residential builders and homeowners.No matter what the type, boardstock insulation opens up some great opportunities for creating highly insulated—or superinsulated—walls. With new construction, I have long been a proponent of going well beyond a typical 2×6 wall insulated with cavity-fill fiberglass or cellulose. I believe that a reasonable R-value target for walls is R-35, and if I were building a new house I’d probably aim even higher. The easiest way to achieve such a high insulation level with wood-frame construction is a 2×6 wall with cellulose cavity-fill insulation and then an exterior layer of 3” of polyisocyanurate boardstock. However, that wall system, providing about R-35, will entail some extra effort with detailing:First, the thicker walls will require extra trim around windows and doors. Second, you will probably have to combine two layers of boardstock insulation (a 1” layer and a 2” layer) to achieve the recommended three inches. Third, to provide racking strength (to hold the walls square), let-in metal bracing, or plywood or OSB sheathing, will be needed in addition to the boardstock insulation.Lastly, to install siding, you’ll need strapping with extra-long screws to secure it to the wall studs. (An added benefit is that the air space behind the siding that this strapping creates—called a rainscreen detail—improves the life of the siding and reduces the frequency of repainting.)By providing such a thick layer of foil-faced boardstock insulation on the exterior, there is virtually no chance of moisture condensing within the 2×6 wall cavity; the cavity-fill cellulose insulation will be fully protected. Other approaches for achieving superinsulated houses, including SIP construction, double-stud walls, and special non-structural wall trusses that are hung on the outside of the structural wall, will be covered over the coming months in this column.
Each year my business model shifts a little (or a lot), often having nothing to do with any actions that I take. Lately I have been certifying homes under several green building programs including EarthCraft House and LEED for Homes. Working with builders who have a wide range of experience in green building gives me an opportunity to teach them how to make their homes more sustainable, and most of them appreciate the opportunity to learn and improve their work.One recent builder, whose client hired me to help “green up” his house, was very resistant to my suggestions, and it was a constant battle to get the builder to make any significant changes in his work. While that experience was annoying enough, what continues to frustrate me is getting called in too late in a project schedule. This usually means coming to the table after the plans are finished, sometimes even after construction has started, and being asked—then—to help make the project more sustainable. My internal struggle to avoid making rude comments about the plans reminds me of an old definition of stress—“The feeling that overcomes you when you resist the urge to choke the crap out of some idiot who desperately deserves it.” Too often I end up working on a project that can’t be any better than fair, but if only someone had considered the implications of their design decisions, could have been a good, or even a great house.The stupid things I see all the time: Huge expanses of unshaded west-facing windows that pretty much cook the inside of the house in the afternoons. Bathrooms spread out all around the house with no consideration of how to run hot water efficiently. Obscenely complex roof and wall intersections that are almost impossible to flash effectively. No place to run HVAC ducts. And let’s not forget about the size of some of these houses. While I believe that it is important to make every house as green as possible, why are we building homes over 5,000 (and sometimes over 10,000) sq. ft. for three or four people? At some point we have to stop calling these starter castles green—they just can’t be green when they have consumed enough materials to build five to ten normal-size homes.I admit that I am guilty of having made many of these stupid decisions throughout my career in construction, but I have seen the light and will not willingly do it again. Stay tuned for more rants on the subject.
Manipur-based filmmaker and music composer Aribam Syam Sharma has decided to return his 2006 Padma Shri award in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 that the Centre wants to push through.The 83-year-old filmmaker made the decision less than a week after families of around 855 martyrs of the anti-foreigners Assam Agitation of 1979-85 returned the citation that the Sarbananda Sonowal government had given them in 2016. The government had also honoured these families with ₹5 lakh each for the sacrifice of the martyrs.“It would be morally wrong to keep an award from a government that does not seem to be heeding the concerns of the people about the controversial Bill,” Mr. Sharma said.The Bill seeks to fast-track the process of granting citizenship to non-Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who came to India till December 31, 2014, allegedly because of religious persecution.Mr. Sharma had bagged several national awards for iconic films such as ‘Imagi Ningthem’ (My Precious Son, 1981), ‘Ishanou’, and ‘Sangai – The Dancing Deer’ in more than 40 years of experimenting with the medium. He is credited with having revolutionised cinema in Manipur during the 1970s.Manipur has been on the boil for more than a fortnight because of the opposition to the Citizenship Bill. State’s Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Nongthombam Biren Singh had a few days ago appealed to the Centre that Manipur be exempted from the purview of the Bill.Meanwhile, Meghalaya Chief Minister and National People’s Party leader Conrad K. Sangma said that a delegation of leaders representing various political parties in the Northeast met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Saturday.“We expressed the concerns of the people of the Northeast about the Bill. He said that he is taking the sentiments of the people of the region into consideration and will consult organisations, political parties, Chief Ministers of the north-eastern States on this. He said the Bill is important at the national level, but a decision would be taken after consultations with all the stakeholders in the Northeast,” Mr. Sangma said on Sunday.
M.C. Mary Kom avenged her defeat to Pinki Jangra at the Commonwealth Games trials.At an age where boxers hang up their gloves and seek an entry into sports administration, veteran boxer Akhil Kumar has managed a remarkable achievement. The 33-year-old pugilist from Rohtak made it to the Asian Games squad despite being out of international competition for two years.Akhil, a 2008 Olympic quarter-finalist, scored a convincing win over Rohit Tokas in the 60kg category at the Asian Games trials in Patiala on Wednesday, after getting the better of another youngster Vikas Malik the previous day.The two-day trials concluded on Wednesday. The other big news was five-time world champion M.C. Mary Kom (51kg) avenging her defeat against Pinki Jangra in the Commonwealth Games trials in May. Mary’s friend Laishram Sarita Devi (60kg), a silver medallist in Glasgow, also made the cut for the Incheon Asiad.Guangzhou Asian Games champion Vikas Krishan Yadav, who was busy training with Haryana Police, also made a comeback to the team. He will compete in a new category -75kg.Akhil said AIBA’s ruling in April 2013 extending the boxers’ age of participation at Olympics from 34 to 40, gave him a boost and he focused on making a comeback.”When AIBA announced that the boxers could participate till 40, I thought of giving it a try. I had a calf tear in early 2012 and couldn’t participate in the 2012 Olympic qualifying process and thought my Olympic dream was over. Then I started training with Haryana Police, but the AIBA ruling last year gave me the hope that I could continue my career,” Akhil, a 2006 CWG gold medallist, told MAIL TODAY.advertisementAkhil’s last major competition was the 2010 Commonwealth Games in the Capital and this will be the first time since 2006 he would play the Asian Games. He fought in the World Series of Boxing in 2012-13, his last international appearance till date. His last domestic competition was the All India Police Nationals in December 2013, where he emerged triumphant in the 60kg category.Akhil said when he finished his police training in April 2013, his weight was 75kg and he had slim hopes of reducing it to compete in the 60kg category, but several people pushed him to become leaner and fitter.”My coaches at the camp G.S. Sandhu, Jaidev Bisht and wrestling coach Amrik Singh encouraged me. My wife Poonam Beniwal is a boxing coach and she kept me updated about the latest trends in boxing.”However, my main concerns were injury and weight. I met Dr. Sanjay Vats through my Olympic medalist wrestler friend Yogeshwar Dutt. He worked with me on my injuries and I got back into shape. Another wrestler friend Ravinder Sangwan also helped me a lot with his tips on fitness,” he said.Among others, talented Manipur youngsters – Laishram Devendro Singh (49kg) and Shiva Thapa (56kg) – also made it to their maiden Asian Games. Manoj Kumar (64kg), who was recently snubbed by the Arjuna Award selection committee, had something to cheer alongside CWG silver medallist Mandeep Jangra (69kg) as they also booked tickets to Incheon.Delhi boxer Gaurav Vidhuri (52kg), Kuldeep Singh (81kg), Amritpreet Singh (91kg) and Satish Kumar (91+kg) are set for their maiden Asian Games. Among women, Pooja Rani (75kg) will be the third member of the team.A total of 13 boxers were picked for the quadrennial event, scheduled from September 19-October 4. SQUADS – Men’s – L. Devendro Singh (49kg), Gaurav Vidhuri (52kg), Shiva Thapa (56kg), Akhil Kumar (60kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg), Mandeep Jangra (69kg), Vikas Krishan (75kg), Kuldeep Singh (81kg), Amritpreet Singh (91kg) and Satish Kumar (91+kg) Women’s – M.C. Mary Kom (51kg), L. Sarita Devi (60kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg).
On behalf of Touch Football Australia, we thank Rod for his amazing contribution and wish Rod the very best for the next chapter of his life in retirement. We know from Rod that he treasured his time at TFA and the opportunity to work with and engage with everyone current and previously. The last seven years provided the perfect culmination to his long and storied career; and as a revered volunteer and true character of the sport.The list below of his various posts describes a little of his key achievements; but weâ€™ll keep this short and sweet on his request. But itâ€™s probably more the effect he had on people internally here at TFA and as far as you could possibly imagine the Touch Football community extends. He will be missed by us all and has promised to not be a stranger and to check in every now and then. You never know when or where he might bob up, but safe to say he would love to have a beverage with all in his retirement. Look out Smilesy, Perth could be the first stop for a pilot!As you know among other achievements, he was the founder and convenor of the Yass Touch Knockout and will be focusing on itâ€™s 30th instalment next year and beyond. Obviously a great achievement with a record 130 teams expected to nominate next year as it builds on its core social, fun, festival approach. And of course the significant prize purse for players and outstanding monies going back into the Touch community.He will, when or if Touch Football ever takes a back seat in his life, be spending more quality time in retirement with wife Janelle and his grandchildren which is growing as a brood, year-on-year.â€œI just loved the people and my time at TFA,â€ he said earlier before getting ready to exit.â€œI just wish everyone the very best and keep doing what youâ€™re doing; the sport has never been in better shape and Iâ€™ve loved my time here.â€œI will miss you allâ€¦but I wonâ€™t be far away.â€More than anything I will particularly the company of the man and the straight talk â€“ old school! And the 8.00am sharp text message or phone call coming in from â€˜Wiseyâ€™, bungee-clock like! And at 8.01 or 8.02 if I happened to miss it the first time.And with that, all the very best, Rod from all of us. The Aussie Hotel in Yass is my guess where you might want to catch him in futureâ€¦just saying. Donâ€™t forget to get in early to give him your latest news if you do get the chance to catch him, as this is what he loves most.And settle in to listen and learn from a lifetime of his.Â· 1975-2008 Yass Touch Association Committee. Â· 1988-1997 Regional Director Riverina Touch Association. Â· 1998-2007 Regional Director Southern Suns Touch AssociationÂ· 2002 Life Membership NSW Touch Association.Â· 2007 NSWTA Names Volunteer of the Year Award the â€˜Rod Wise Medalâ€™.Â· 2008-2010 General Manager, Queensland Touch Association. Â· 2010-2017 Business Development Manager, Touch Football ACT.Related LinksFarewell Rod Wise
zoomImage Courtesy: Qatar’s Ministry of Transport and Communications Qatar’s Doha Port is looking to expand its capacity in order to be able to accommodate the largest cruise ships.Namely, the country’s Ministry of Transport and Communications has launched a dredging project at Doha as part of its efforts to develop all ports countrywide and preserve their infrastructure.With the completion of this project, which would include clearing up to 3.5 million cubic meters of material in the approach channel, Doha Port would be capable of receiving supersize cruise ships in the future.“Dredging deeper in the Doha Port’s watercourse will qualify it to become a tourist destination that is able to accommodate giant cruise ships,” said Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalid Al Thani, Director of Technical Affairs, MOTC.MOTC earlier awarded the dredging and expansion contract to a consortium that includes the Middle East Dredging Co. (MEDCO) and Jan De Nul.
Alberta’s battle with B.C. over the Trans Mountain pipeline hasn’t much impacted Rachel Notley’s approval rating, according to the latest numbers from Angus Reid.But, the quarrel may have added to John Horgan’s popularity.Notley is sitting at 33 per cent — in the middle of the pack compared to other provincial leaders.“What that says to me is that — the trade war that started between B.C. and Alberta over wine, certainly the war of words and rhetoric is something that hasn’t hurt Notley or her approval levels, (but) it hasn’t necessarily given her much of a bump. Being up a point really means being statistically unchanged,” Shachi Kurl, Angus Reid’s Executive Director, said.B.C.’s premier is tied with Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe, with the highest approval rating at 52 per cent.“It looks like the face-off against the government of Alberta does appear to have helped John Horgan, a little bit. A three point increase in approval is not massive but it’s certainly in the right direction.” Kurl said.Kurl said we’ve heard the opposition saying Notley has lost the conflict with Horgan.“The numbers would indicate, well nothing necessarily lost, nor nothing necessarily gained,” she said.
ROME – The head of one of Italy’s ruling parties insisted Friday that the country won’t exit the euro currency bloc nor exceed its targeted deficit limit, dismissing the European Union’s worries about the populist government’s budget strategy.Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio, who heads the main party in the five-month old coalition, told foreign correspondents in Rome that he “guarantees” that domestic spending cuts plus economic growth spurred by public investment will keep the country from overshooting its deficit target for next year, as EU officials fear.“There’s still a lot to cut,” Di Maio said. “The guarantee we’re giving is that 2.4 per cent (of GDP) is the maximum deficit term” Italy will run up next year.He brushed off concern that Italy might incur EU sanctions if it sticks to its deficit target.Meanwhile, the head of the 19-member eurozone’s finance meetings sidestepped questions on whether Italy might be hit with a EU fine.“One thing at a time,” said Mario Centeno, Portugal’s finance minister who heads the so-called eurogroup and had just emerged from talks in Rome with Italy’s economy minister, Giovanni Tria. Centeno preferred to speak of an overarching concern in Brussels.“Beyond the rules, sustainability is the heart of the discussion,” Centeno told reporters.Tria gave no indication Italy would budge on its budget plans to please the EU.Flanking Centeno, Tria said that if avoiding sanctions were the goal, “we would have to make a very violent budget manoeuvr of fiscal restriction.” That, he argued, “would be suicide for an economy in marked slowdown.”Italy’s economic growth has been sub-par for years.There are doubts within Italy, too, about whether the government can achieve its economic growth goals with its proposed budget.An Italian central bank official, deputy director Luigi Federico Signorini, told lawmakers Friday that the government’s growth forecasts for next year are “ambitious.”The EU expects the Italian economy to grow only 1.2 per cent next year, the lowest in the eurozone. The Italian government expects a more optimistic 1.5 per cent growth.