first_imgTwo articles in the popular press tried to make the case that monkeys have humanlike characteristics.  Maybe they proved the converse, at least for some humans.Does this add up?  Reporting on experiments suggesting monkeys have the rudiments of math skills, at least in the ability to compare sizes of things, MSNBC News writer Bjorn Carey wanted to emphasize how similar they are to us.  He said, “This finding is the most recent in a series of discoveries that indicate our primate cousins display humanlike characteristics.  Monkeys like to gamble and enjoy looking at other monkeys’ bottoms.  Chimpanzees have been found to crack under social pressures.”On the Origin of Humor by Sexual Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Jokes in the Struggle for a Wife:  Science Now laughed with, but not at, a study that showed differences in the way men and women respond to humor.  There must be a Darwinian angle in here somewhere:  “There are a variety of ways to interpret the findings, says neuroscientist Gregory Berns of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, one of the more politically incorrect being that women are more easily entertained than men.  Another is that women find humor more important in behavior than men do, consistent with ideas that humor evolved differently between the sexes as a mating strategy–men act the comics and women respond by laughing at them. Er, with them.”  But ScienceNow left us hanging without a punch line for the title, “Y Did the Chromosome Cross the Road?”Are humans still evolving?  Reporting on a comparative genomics study between humans and chimpanzees, Ker Than on Live Science started by praising the power of natural selection:  “The evolutionary process that Charles Darwin discovered almost 150 years ago, responsible for transforming dinosaurs into birds and allowing the walking ancestors of whales to take to the seas, is still quietly at work in humans today.”  In the next paragraph he called DNA the “software of life.”While supporting natural selection, Ker Than managed to include his usual dig against the creationists: “The validity of Darwin’s natural selection has been attacked lately by a small but vocal group who argue that it cannot explain all the complexity seen in nature.  They advocate a concept called ‘intelligent design,’ in which a higher being is responsible for the variety of life.  Scientists dismiss intelligent design as cloaked creationism and say that there are no significant problems with the widely accepted theory of evolution.”  (Emphasis added in quotes.)So if you are a gambling butt-gazer with a nervous breakdown, you can take comfort in the fact that macaques empathize with you.  Supposedly if the macaques keep up such antics they will become philosophers in due time.  Didn’t Kipling say that to be a man requires keeping your head while all around you are losing theirs?  Macaque antics reveal no special human propensities.  Parrots and dolphins exhibit better intellectual skills than monkeys, but no Darwinist considers either of them our “closest living relative.”  Why not turn the idea around, and say that any man who dwells on derriere jokes is devolving into a macaque, or any human who swims is devolving into a whale?  After all, Michael Ruse has forcefully warned against embedding any ideas of progress into Darwinian theory.    Ker Than has been a malicious demagogue against intelligent design throughout the Dover trial, worse than Antonio Lazcano (see 11/04/2005 entry).  These two quotes show that nothing he says about Darwinism or ID can be trusted.  In promoting Darwinism, he erred with his definition of natural selection: “Darwin’s natural selection is the process by which nature rewards those individuals better adapted to their environments with survival and reproductive success.”  In addition to slipping an embedded personification fallacy about rewards into his definition, he blindly slipped into the tautology trap: if fitness is defined in terms of reproductive success, it loses all independent meaning: the fit survive because the survivors are fit.    In attacking ID, Ker Than linked it to belief in a “higher being”.  ID makes no claims about the nature or source of the designing intelligence, but only that the effects of intelligent causes are detectable.  But then he also borrowed ID vocabulary in defining DNA as software, which always has an intelligent cause.  He also erred historically in giving Charlie credit for “discovering” natural selection.  If he can’t even define the most basic terms right or keep his concepts consistent, how can his opinions be worth anything?  Such reporting is better suited to a job at LieScience.com.(Visited 90 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_img(Visited 31 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Some recent evolutionary papers appear to make physical laws not just constraints on natural selection, but guiding hands that build optimal designs.Hydrodynamics and the perfect transporter:  In cell membranes, aquaporins are hourglass-shaped channels that allow water molecules through but block other molecules.  Their “remarkable  selectivity,” coupled with “optimal permeability,” is admired by biophysicists – so much so that authors of a paper in PNAS about aquaporins [AQPs] remarked, “in a biomimetic perspective, these results provide guidelines to design artificial nanopores with optimal performances.”  How, then, did evolution stumble upon such design perfection?  “This suggests that the hourglass shape of aquaporins could be the result of a natural selection process toward optimal hydrodynamic transport.”   This statement could mean that natural selection found the optimal shape through blind search, but more implicitly that the laws of hydrodynamics lured natural selection toward “excellent water selectivity.”  Most of the paper focused on why the geometrical shape is so effective:The aim of this work was to determine the effect of geometry and BCs [boundary conditions] on hydrodynamic entrance effects in biconical nanochannels. Using FE [finite-element] calculations, we have shown that compared with a plain cylindrical pipe, a biconical channel of optimal angle can provide a spectacular increase in hydrodynamic permeability. A simplified model based on entrance effects and lubrication approximation rationalizes the observed behavior. Although speculative, this could indicate that the hourglass geometry of AQPs results from a shape optimization, to reduce end effects and maximize water permeability.They said very little about evolution.  What they did say amounts to an airy speculation that, somehow, physics drives evolutionary progress:Among transmembrane proteins, and ionic channels in particular, examples abound where the particular function––ion selectivity, for instance––is tied to a specific feature of the molecular architecture. However, it remains worth wondering, as we have done here, whether generic factors such as viscous dissipation could be the driving force behind the shapes fine-tuned by evolution.Fluid dynamics and the perfect lung:  More blatant in the assertion that physics drives evolution is a headline on PhysOrg, “How fluid dynamics and transport shaped the structure of our lungs in the course of evolution.”  The speculations of two French physicists goes beyond claiming that physics merely constrains evolution, though it overlaps with that notion.  It elevates physics to an essential player in the process of design optimization, a voice telling the evolutionary tinkerer, ‘you’re getting warmer’—In an evolutionary perspective, the size of primitive multi-cellular species was necessarily limited by nutrients’ diffusion speed. One hypothesis defended in this study is that larger primitive animals have thus been conditioned by a progressive Darwinian selection of tree-like ‘space-filling’ nutrient distribution systems. Then, their genetic material was ready to be shared to allow mammalian respiration. Successive inspirations and expirations cycles had to be optimised so that external air could reach the alveoli before expiration starts. This form of evolutionary tinkering, the authors believe, would have allowed the emergence of mammalian respiration—as opposed to fish-style breathing through gills.With physics in the driver’s seat, it’s no wonder that “the structure of the alveolar system is indeed optimal to allow efficient transport of oxygen from the air to the blood,” the article ends.  “This new insight into the lung’s evolutionary process stems from the physical principles underlying the architecture of living systems.”Evolution is a mystical form of polytheism for modern intellectuals.  Any questions?  You thought evolution was impersonal and unguided.  That would never work.  Cryptic spirits animate all of nature.They even have names.  The blind goddess Tinker Bell is helped by Engineer Bill, calling out “You’re getting warmer!” as the unholy spirit of Charlie, the Bearded Buddha, smiles down from above, “allowing” endless forms most beautiful to “emerge.”  Since these deities are invisible, one needs the shamans to interpret the game, continually offering “new insight” to the peasants, ever stringing them along to keep the funds flowing.  The Great Myth must remain a perennial work in progress, lest the shamans run out of business in their temples, the universities.  They shudder at the prospect of begging on street corners with signs, “Will tell stories for food.”last_img read more

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Joel PenhorwoodIt all started with a Super Bowl ad.Those little 30 to 60 second blips on the screen, usually meant to be funny (sometimes they actually are), had one ad from beer maker Bud Light that touted in a roundabout way the fact that Bud Light is made without corn syrup, which they also pointed out was being used by their competitors.Corn growers were quick to respond, including the National Corn Growers Association releasing a statement saying the ads were misleading and portrayed corn syrup in a negative light. In recent weeks, a judge has even ordered Anheuser-Busch (the parent company of the Bud Light brand) to stop using the words “corn syrup” in attack ads without more context. It is the result of an ongoing lawsuit by competitor MillerCoors.The fact is that yes, Bud Light is made without the use of corn syrup, though rice is used in its stead to derive the sugars essential in the beer brewing process. Other beers by Anheuser-Busch include corn syrup in their creation.Quite a few emotional thoughts, lawsuits and changes in drinking habits were made in the days and weeks following the incident, with continued ad use still catching grief. Many of those beverages in question are produced on the north side of Columbus at the Anheuser-Busch plant just south of 270.“We bought this land from a local farmer here in Columbus and broke ground in 1966. We opened our doors in 1968. In our first year we were capable of making about 1.8 million barrels of beer. Since that time, we’ve actually doubled our capacity more than twice and today we can make almost 10 million barrels of beer in a calendar year,” said Josh Zabek, senior general manager at the Columbus Brewery of Anheuser-Busch. “We have about 500 full-time employees at work here. In the summer months, we’ll actually scale up and have 600 employees that are here full-time. We’re a 24/7 operation and are brewing beer 365 days a year. We are producing and packaging almost every single day of the year.”About 20 brands are brewed at the Columbus facility, including hallmark items such as Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Busch, Busch-Light, Natural Light, Landshark, Bud Light Lime, Select 55, and Rolling Rock among others, including non-alcoholic brands.“We make a pretty wide range of beer, some of which many people don’t know comes out of a brewery right here in Columbus, Ohio,” Zabek said.With so much production, Zabek said agriculture is essential to their success and they stay well-integrated with their farming community.“Everybody knows malt is used to make a lot of different beers. We use a lot of rice in our Budweiser and Bud Light, but we also use a lot of corn. Corn grits and corn syrup in Busch and Busch-Light and a lot of other products,” he said. “We’re very happy to be close to a lot of our farmers in the local community and to know that we are dependent on them. We are dependent on all of our farmers in the United States.”The brewing process brings together those agricultural commodities and puts them to work to create the end product many enjoy. Matt Kaminske is the head brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch in Columbus, and detailed that unique procedure from beginning to end.“Our process really begins with the grains unloading,” he said. “We’ll bring up to six rail cars per day, five days at least per week for about 500 million pounds that are coming through this facility. Whole grain rice, whole grain barley malt, and we’re also bringing in corn grits. We use different combinations depending on what we are brewing that particular week. We then move that grain into our silos where we house millions of pounds of grain that are used in the brewing process each and every week.“We also unload dextrose syrup here, that we receive from Cargill in Dayton, Ohio — over 30 million pounds per year of dextrose that we bring into this facility to make our value-brand products,” Kaminske said. “It comes from Ohio farmers. As a company, over 16 million bushels of corn per year go through our facilities.”From the grains unloading process, the grain eventually enters the brewhouse and is added to a mash cooker, an enormous stainless steel vat, designed to do most of the “heavy lifting” in the brewing process.“From there, we step into the lagering process. That’s where we take the mash we developed in the mash cooker and we’re trying to separate the wort from that stream. Out from that process comes spent grains that is then collected, and is ultimately sold back to local farmers for cattle feed. The wort then goes to the brew kettle and it sets again a lot of different processes in place. That’s where the hops are added, a key process in the profile of a Budweiser versus a Michelob versus an Ultra. The hops help to stabilize the wort and really sets the rest of the processes in place as we go downstream into fermentation,” Kaminske said.The total process can take almost 10 hours to get from grain coming into the cooker until its ready with yeast and cooled back down for fermentation. The brewhouse is also not a cool place to work, with air temperatures reaching well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.“From the brew kettle process, then we set the stage for fermentation. That is where we cool the brew back down, we add yeast, and we really kick off that fermentation process,” he said. “Depending on the different recipes we have will dictate how long those brews then sit in the fermentation process.”Brews will sit in the large, upright, fermenting vessels for about a week or so before they move onto the second stage of the aging process.“Primary fermentation will move onto secondary fermentation in the beech wood aging tanks, our chip tanks as we call them. That’s where we add beech wood chips. That’s really what helps make the beer clean, crisp, refreshing, and sets it in profile for Bud and Bud Light, or our other brands as we dictate the recipes,” Kaminske said.The beer is then removed from the chip tanks, filtered several times, and dialed into the final product before it heads into packaging. All packaging happens on site in the facility with three can lines, three bottle lines, and one draft line working around the clock.“The can line is capable of producing at 2,100 cans per minute and has an upward capacity of producing almost 40,000 cases in an eight hour period. At max capacity, this brewery can produce almost a half a million cases of beer in a 24-hour period,” Zabek said. “It’s a very fast and complex operation. We are shipping about 230 full trailers of beer every single day out of this facility.”The Anheuser-Busch plant highlights a simple fact in agriculture that is sometimes hard to see from field-side — farm products are essential in thriving industries, like that of brewing beer. No matter your thoughts on Bud Light and its controversial ads, the fact is it has started a conversation about ag being used each and everyday, and that is a good thing.last_img read more

first_imgAs you wait for the opportune moment to make the find, you can take in the history and charm of the large square and the buildings surrounding it. The carefully preserved buildings include the City Hall, the Maison du Roi (King’s House) which is home to the City Museum, and a number of buildings that were once owned by powerful guilds in Brussels, but are now home to shops and restaurants. Each building has a distinct look showcasing both Baroque and Gothic architectural styles. You don’t have to be a celebrated French writer to be dazzled by the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, considering that there is a geocache hidden somewhere around this major tourist attraction, a geocacher’s description of the scenery is more likely to be “Muggles, muggles everywhere!” Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.Share with your Friends:More Image by snowwwiper. Image by bijoucoeur. Image by Lusitana Paixão. With its impressive architecture and history, and its next-level challenge for geocaching stealth, GC4X3EZ Magna Plătĕa Bruocsellae is not only a cache you won’t want to miss, but also our Geocache of the Week.  Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world. Difficulty: 3 Terrain: 1 Location: Brussels, Belgium N 50° 50.780 E 004° 21.177 At various times around the year the Grand Place hosts major events and spectacles, such as Le Tapis de Fleurs (The Carpet of Flowers). During this event, which happens every two years in mid-August, over 500,000 begonias and dahlias transform the Grand Place into an intricately designed floral carpet. With all that the Grand Place has to see, it is no surprise that it is one of the most visited destinations in Brussels. For geocachers, the experience of visiting the Grand Place is made even more special, for what awaits them there is not only an exquisite blend of architecture and history, but also the satisfaction of another find.   Image by tigtom. As cache owner, Cazpt, mentions in the cache description, the actual container is not too difficult to find, but this geocache earns its D3 rating due to the heavy foot traffic at nearly all times of the day. Because of the number of muggles, cachers have to employ all their stealth tactics for this find. For example, you may have to stop and tie your shoes or “accidentally” drop your keys several times while scoping out the cache’s location. Traditional GC4X3EZ by Cazpt SharePrint RelatedRV 5.08 : Brugge — Geocache of the WeekFebruary 13, 2019In “Community”It’s time to get stealthy. – Atomium – stealth challenge (Expo58) (GC1EG4C) – Geocache of the WeekDecember 11, 2014In “Geocache of the Week”Top 10 Geocaches of the Week 2017December 27, 2017In “Geocache of the Week” “The Town Hall of Brussels is a jewel; a dazzling fantasy dreamed up by a poet and realized by an architect. And the square around it is a miracle.” This is how famed French writer Victor Hugo described the scenery around the Grand-Place of Brussels.last_img read more

first_img Click on the graphic to access a PDF copy. Return to article. Long DescriptionClick on the graphic to access a PDF copy.The Early Intervention team’s four-part webinar series for 2019 will focus on supporting young children with autism and their families. This webinar series will take us through important steps in the lives of families of children with autism and related disorders. These free webinars are easy to join and offer continuing education credits for early intervention and Board Certified Behavior Analysts.  To learn more and to RSVP, use the links below.What Do We Know: Autism Screening, Diagnosis, & Supporting Young Children & FamiliesDr. Hedda Meadan will lead us through the process of diagnosing autism. The prevalence of autism, early signs, and the screening and diagnosis process will also be covered. In addition, Dr. Meadan will discuss strategies for supporting families during this time.Yuck! I Don’t Eat That! Nutrition & Selective Eating in Young Children with Autism In this webinar, Dr. Jamie Pearson and Dr. Meadan will discuss common challenges families of children with autism face related to diet, nutrition, and selective eating. Drs. Pearson and Meadan will talk about the effects of dietary preferences and limitations. They will also share strategies for helping children eat a more balanced, nutritious diet.Stepping Out: Family Outings with Young Children with Autism Dr. Katie Wolfe and Dr. Meadan will provide strategies professionals can use to support families who experience challenges during outings. The presenters will share information about safety and social concerns related to outings with children with autism. In addition, Drs. Wolfe and Meadan will promote building a family’s confidence to support their children. Welcome to the Group: Inclusion for Young Children with AutismLearn how young children with autism can be included in preschool and childcare programs in this session with Dr. Mandy Rispoli and Dr. Meadan.  What inclusion is and its benefits will be discussed.  Drs. Rispoli and Meadan will provide information about environmental modifications that may help children with autism in group settings.Series Homepage by Crystal Williamslast_img read more