(Visited 46 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Observations don’t always fit what evolutionists expect. Darwin’s theory always wins anyway.When you wish upon a bone: Roger Close of Monash University looked at fossil wishbones and tried to find an evolutionary pattern. There wasn’t any. The furcula (wishbones) of mesozoic birds showed just as much diversity as those of modern birds, if not more so. The article on PhysOrg summarizing Close and Rayfield’s paper in PLoS ONE did not mention transitional forms, or any pattern from simple to complex.Close expected his research to “broaden our understanding of the functional anatomy or biomechanics of early avian evolution.” He expected to clarify the findings in a 2002 study of wishbones by Hui, but alas, “a murkier picture seems to emerge” from his data set. In the PhysOrg article, Close left the door open for Darwin: “While this may be interpreted as evidence that early birds flew differently to those alive today, it might equally well indicate that they had evolved different anatomical solutions to accomplish the same feats.”Adult birds as dinosaur fetuses: Two evolutionists, by studying the shape of bird heads and dinosaur hatchlings, came up with a new idea about the origin of birds: they are dinosaurs that never grew up. Somehow, the first birds were dinosaurs that “sped up the clock” of embryonic development and arrested it before maturity. As a result of what might be called the Peter Pan theory of evolution, ostriches, condors, hummingbirds and penguins were not far behind.“What is interesting about this research is the way it illustrates evolution as a developmental phenomenon,” said Arkhat Abzhanov, associate professor at Harvard and study co-author. “By changing the developmental biology in early species, nature has produced the modern bird — an entirely new creature — and one that, with approximately 10,000 species, is today the most successful group of land vertebrates on the planet.”Is this a new law of nature? Are whales arrested embryos of cattle? Are humans arrested embryos of monkeys? In the report on Science Daily, they didn’t point to any other instances of such an evolutionary process, but added “arrested embryonic development” to Darwin’s strategic toolkit:Ultimately, Abzhanov said, the way the bird skull evolved — through changes in the developmental timeline — highlights the diversity of evolutionary strategies that have been used over millions of years.“That you can have such dramatic success simply by changing the relative timing of events in a creature’s development is remarkable,” he said. “We now understand the relationship between birds and dinosaurs that much better, and we can say that, when we look at birds, we are actually looking at juvenile dinosaurs.”“It shows that there’s so much for evolution to act upon,” Bhullar agreed.The article indicated that they were surprised by the differences in development between birds and dinosaurs: “What the researchers found was surprising — while early dinosaurs, even those closely related to modern birds, undergo vast morphological changes as they mature, the skulls of juvenile and adult birds remain remarkably similar.” This evidence was not allowed to falsify Darwinism, however; on the contrary, it was used to reinforce it. Now Darwin has more diversity of evolutionary strategies to use, and a bigger toolkit to work with.Bird feeder gets smaller: One would think birds would love to eat giant insects, especially since pterodactyls lunched on them. Apparently, the early bird got the small insect. A prof and his grad student at UC Santa Cruz had to look long and hard to find correlations between insect size, oxygen levels and bird evolution, but turned up enough to report on PhysOrg that the “Reign of the giant insects ended with the evolution of birds.”Facts and data gaps, though, kept getting in the way: “But a 20-million-year gap in the insect fossil record makes it hard to tell when insect size changed, and a drop in oxygen levels around the same time further complicates the analysis.” It left them with a composite explanation involving multiple possibilities: “These include the continued specialization of birds, the evolution of bats, and a mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous.” How any of these were related to bug size was not clarified.The authors acknowledged that small insects have always been around, even when the giants reigned. It’s unclear, then, why they would invoke the evolution of birds to drive the big bugs extinct, when today’s oxygen level (21%) is lower than what they assumed existed (30%) in the past and, according to the “leading theory,” oxygen level was a limiting factor on insect size. An evolutionary story was ready in the wings, though: “With predatory birds on the wing, the need for maneuverability became a driving force in the evolution of flying insects, favoring smaller body size.” Strange that the big bugs never needed said maneuverability when the pterosaurs were around.Seal a can’t: Acknowledging that the strange fish known as coelacanths are iconic “living fossils” famous for their lack of evolution since the Middle Devonian, disappearance from the fossil record, and surprise re-appearance doing just fine in 1938. Since then, several populations of the lobe-finned fish have been found off the costs of South Africa, Tanzania and the Comoros islands.European researchers “unexpectedly” found some genetic diversity among the geographically-separated living populations. Writing in Current Biology,(Volume 22, Issue 11, R439-R440, 5 June 2012) Lampert et al. said, “Despite its undeniably slow evolutionary rate, the coelacanth still diversifies and is therefore able to adapt to new environmental conditions.” One would expect a multitude of changes in environmental conditions to have occurred in 400 million years. This means the fish can evolve, but didn’t — until modern times. The lesson? — old fuddy-duddies can still jive:Coelacanths are generally viewed as evolutionary relics. Levels of population divergence and allelic diversity are low and confirm the assumed slow rate of molecular evolution in coelacanths. Obviously, even such slow evolutionary rates allow for local adaptation. As shown earlier for coelacanths and recently for cycad plants, near extinction need not be an evolutionary dead end.One wonders what on earth held these talented evolvers back from doing the Darwin thing till now.We must get the evolutionary storytellers out of the science building.On second thought: what would we do for entertainment? Look at the fun we just had: a new Peter Pan show of bird evolution, a game of Evolutionary Strategy, a Saturday Night Live skit (since there is “so much for evolution to act upon”) of elderly fish that can still jive, and a charlatan’s promise that even YOU need not be an evolutionary dead end (thank goodness).Riddle: What is an evolutionary dead end?Answer: the head of a Darwinist.
Many people spend the bulk of theirtime at the office, so it is logical toadapt work behaviour to reflect amore sustainable approach.(Image: Architects Modern) MEDIA CONTACTS • Ana-Maria Valente Director, Dictum Publishers +27 11 616-7401 RELATED ARTICLES • Maropeng sets green standard • SA’s children learn to be green • Green buildings now the law in SA • SA firms turn to green pest controlShamin ChibbaMaterialism and consumerism are two traits that have led to the degradation of the ecosystem and they must be replaced with thoughtful purchasing, say the organisers of South Africa’s Green Office Week (Gow), an annual initiative that promotes responsibility towards the environment.Now in its third year, Gow will be marked from 16 to 20 April with the theme You can make a difference.The initiative is celebrated in the same week as Earth Day, on 22 April.Gow’s organisers believe that whether an organisation is large or small, green behaviour must be a part of the work habits of everyone employed there.Gow spokesperson Ana-Maria Valente says the aim of the campaign is to encourage employees to consider ways of reducing waste and reusing more material in their offices.“We know that time is limited for most working people so the obvious thing to do is to make green office behaviours as easy as possible by providing samples of action plans that cover the key areas where everybody – from the tea lady to the executives – can start going green,” she says.Some of the tips that can be found on the Gow website include using greyscale printing for in-house documents and taking out all unnecessary goods from car boots in order to save fuel.Green thinking equals financial stabilityThe idea of holding a green office week in South Africa was spawned when Valente came across the British version of Gow. She contacted the organisation and obtained permission to adapt the principles for use in this country.The sustainability of businesses, nations and the earth are all connected, says Valente. As a result, the global economy is adopting principles of environmental maintenance that may offer solutions to climate change and the global financial crisis.“We tend to think that everything from water to food is infinite,” she says. “We are urging people to start thinking green because it is tied to financial sustainability.”Encouraging corporate cooperationThe general perception is that corporations care more for their bottom line and pay the planet scant attention. Although there are numerous big companies, such as Nedbank, who are conscious of their carbon footprint and have implemented many strategies to offset it, Valente says there are three ways to coax more of these companies into being considerate towards the environment.The first is legislation that would punish them for misdemeanours against the ecosystem.Another method is to show them that they can actually measure the amount they save if they stop wastage of electricity, paper, fuel and the like.The final way is to implement a reward system. Gow is using this last technique as a way to get employees to start thinking green.For this year’s initiative Gow has introduced the Green Heart Award, which is given to individuals who have made considerable eco-friendly changes within the office environment.“We want to go into firms and find the eco-champions. The minute you start finding eco-champions you grow more of them,” says Valente.The reward is an attractive cash prize for both the winner and the person who sent in the nomination. There is also a host of other sponsored prizes.Gow is creating a marketing strategy that will see celebrities promoting the campaign as well as the use of media to spread the organisation’s message.“We want to use every possible psychological tool,” says Valente.Employees need to know about GowSome employees, however, know nothing about Green Office Week. Keveshen Chetty, an ICT practitioner at Asgisa Eastern Cape, said that he was not aware of the initiative.Chetty acknowledged that more needs to be done to make offices more eco-friendly.“A formal awareness strategy should be developed and staff made aware of it,” he said.Jaen-Pierre Klaassen, CEO of web development company MyGuru, has also not heard of Gow. However, he said his organisation has a number of green habits.MyGuru’s billing system is fully digital; the company has only one laser jet printer and it rarely buys paper. The servers are driven by wind farms and power supplies are switched off at the end of each day.“It is just a way of thinking. We are a generation that has these habits ingrained in us,” said Klaassen.MyGuru also offers an email service called Clickmail, which encourages clients to send e-newsletters and conduct campaigns online. For every client that signs up, MyGuru donates money to an organisation that will plant a tree.
6 August 2012South Africa’s Cherise Stander created a piece of history on Sunday when she raced to victory on the first stage of the women’s version of the Tour de France, the Route de France.It was the first time that a South African woman had won a stage of an international 2.1 graded event, the highest grade, in Europe.The 22-year-old Stander, who recently married South African mountain biking star Burry Stander, was a hard to understand and controversial omission from the South African Olympic team. She was the second highest ranked rider in the country, but was not given a place among the three open to South African women at the Olympics.Stander races for the Momentum Toyota professional team in South Africa. On Sunday, though, she was in the colours of the Belgium-based Lotto-Beliso team as part of a rider trade arrangement with the Momentum Toyota squad.Sprint finishThe 102.4-kilometre stage came down to a sprint finish and it was Stander who outsprinted a large bunch to claim victory in two hours, 48 minutes and 32 seconds.Australian Chloe Hosking (Specialized Lululemon) finished second with Kazakhstan’s Olena Andruk (Diadora Pasta Zara) rounding out the podium places.Belarussian racer Alena Amialyusik (Be Pink), who won the opening prologue time trial stage on Saturday, retained the overall race lead after finishing in the front pack.“I’m very happy with that win!” beamed Stander afterwards.‘The biggest win of my career’“The last few weeks have been so up and down emotionally – very low lows and now this amazing high. It’s definitely the biggest win of my career so far.”Stander’s team approached the relatively flat stage with aggression, sending Ann Sophie Duyck up the road in the first kilometre on her own. The Belgian managed to stay clear until 68km when she was finally reeled in.With no pressure to chase, the other Lotto-Belisol team members, which included Stander and fellow South Africans Lise Oliver, Robyn de Groot and Joanna van de Winkel, were able to sit in the peleton and save energy.“I know that the Australian, Hoskins, is a quick sprinter so I tried to stay with her through what was a chaotic finale,” related Stander.‘Pretty scary’“As it usually is with the European bunch sprints, the pace was super-fast and it became very hectic in the sprint. I think my guardian angel helped get me through that safely. It was pretty scary!”She added: “We don’t really have a general classification rider in our team for this race, so stage wins has been our aim. It’s good to have achieved one.“It’s a nice statement to make and I really have to thank everyone that’s been so supportive to me personally and to South African women’s cycling in general.”The nine-stage Route de France continues through until Sunday. It covers a total distance of 930 kilometres.SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
Two new divisions have been established at the National Land Agency (NLA) to continue the titling of land under the Registration of Titles Act.They are the Land Administration and Management Division (LAMD) and the Adjudication Services Division (ASD).The departments were created out of the merger of the NLA with the Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP), the latter of which was officially closed in December 2018.Senior Director of LAMD, Felicia Wiltshire, explained that the new division will “continue the functions of LAMP as you know it”.“The NLA (through LAMD) will be assisting persons in getting registered titles, and where titles exist, we will assist persons in dealing with these titles, such as estates, and whole or part transfer of titles,” she noted, while addressing a JIS Think Tank on Tuesday (April 2).Senior Director of the Land Administration and Management Division (LAMD) of the National Land Agency (NLA), Felicia Wiltshire, outlines the functions of the new division during a JIS Think Tank on April 2. The departments were created out of the merger of the NLA with the Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP), the latter of which was officially closed in December 2018. They are the Land Administration and Management Division (LAMD) and the Adjudication Services Division (ASD). Two new divisions have been established at the National Land Agency (NLA) to continue the titling of land under the Registration of Titles Act. Story Highlights The project areas for LAMD operations are St. Catherine, excluding Portmore; St. Mary; Portland; St. Thomas; Rock Hall, St. Andrew; Lawrence Tavern and its environs in St. Andrew; and Rose Town, Kingston.Ms. Wiltshire told JIS News that LAMD stages monthly meetings in rural parishes to facilitate beneficiaries.“Although we are located at Ardenne Road, at the end of every month, we have meetings in St. Thomas, St. Mary and Portland, so persons don’t have to come into Kingston. We will go into the communities, meet with beneficiaries, open files and get documents to assist in accelerating the programme for land titling,” she said.The Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, recently announced a push to issue 20,000 land titles in three years starting April 1.This will be achieved by continuing the process of voluntary land titling through LAMD, and by way of systematic land titling under the new ASD.The new divisions will work together to achieve the overall goal by targeting 4,000 titles in year one and 8,000 titles for each of the second and third years.Senior Director of the ASD, Shalise Porteous, said that the mandate of the division “is to assist landowners who have been in open, undisturbed and undisputed possession of their land for upwards of 12 years, to claim ownership of the land via systematic registration using the adjudication process”.Systematic land titling will facilitate the orderly registration of parcels of land in designated areas to authoritatively ascertain existing ownership rights. While the legislative framework for systematic registration is not yet in place, the ASD is already clear on how it will go about meeting the target.“The parishes with the lowest rate of registration will be targeted and any area where there is some sort of economic activity, for example farming, where we know that persons will benefit from having a certificate of title for the parcels of land, those are the areas that we are targeting,” explained Ms. Porteous.