Earliest Comb Jelly Fossil Looks Modern

first_imgOne would think that a paper listed in the category “Evolution” would include supporting evidence that evolution had occurred, but a new Evolution paper in PNAS provides more arguments against it than for it.1  An international team studying early Cambrian fossil beds in China found a comb jelly embryo essentially identical to those alive today.  Using Raman spectroscopy, they identified the comb rows (used for locomotion), an oral cavity and other diagnostic features of ctenophores, and said it looks remarkably similar to those inhabiting China seas in modern times.  This is the earliest known fossil of a comb jelly.  They dated it to 540 million years – the base of the Cambrian period.  The prior record holder was dated at 530 million years.    The authors of the paper included the renowned Cambrian fossil scientist J. Y. Chen, the avid hunter of Precambrian fossils Bill Schopf, and USC paleontologist David Bottjer.  They considered whether this fossil might fit into an evolutionary sequence.  They briefly dismissed the idea that comb jellies were intermediate between the enigmatic Ediacaran biota (08/19/2004), sponges and cnidarians (jellyfish).  Nope, can’t be, they decided; too many missing transitional forms and other problems.  Here’s what they said about that hypothesis after concluding the organism shared the pelagic (free-swimming) lifestyle of living comb jellies:In contrast with this pelagic interpretation, Shu et al. recently hypothesized an evolutionary link between the benthic, frondose Chengjiang fossil Stromaveris psygmoglena and modern ctenophores as well as some Ediacaran vendobionts.  To link these groups, they proposed that the early evolution of ctenophores was marked by a shift from a benthic, sessile existence to a pelagic habit coupled with a change in the function of their cilia from feeding to locomotion.  Such a shift would involve major changes in basic morphology and ecology and would require many (undocumented) intermediate stages.  Furthermore, their interpretation of S. psygmoglena as a stem-group ctenophore is based heavily on the presence of closely spaced branches that because they are “probably ciliated” were inferred to represent precursors of the diagnostic comb rows of ctenophores.  Given that cilia are of widespread occurrence, not only in metazoans but in protists as well, and that they have diverse functions, not only for locomotion or feeding, use of the presence of probable cilia as a prime character by which to infer a ctenophore affinity for S. psygmoglena is problematic.  Similarly, the suggestion by Shu et al. that the Ctenophora occupies an intermediate evolutionary position between sponges and cnidarians is inconsistent with numerous lines of evidence, both anatomical and molecular.They left off the evolution discussion there, concluding only that this is an “important find” and that Raman spectroscopy “can yield important data to the understanding of life’s early history.”1Chen, Schopf, Bottjer et al, “Raman spectra of a Lower Cambrian ctenophore embryo from southwestern Shaanxi, China,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 0.1073/pnas.0701246104, published online before print April 2, 2007.Notice they said that Raman spectroscopy can yield understanding about life’s early history, not that it does.  Actually, it does – it helps scientists falsify Darwinism.  The earliest comb jelly bursts onto the scene at the lowest fossil layer, fully formed and essentially modern.    Several things in this paper show the squeeze Darwin is in with the Cambrian explosion.  The authors actually use the term Cambrian explosion in the first paragraph, indicating that it is still a problem 148 years after Darwin hoped that new fossils would explain it away.  They call it a “rapid rise in the diversity of skeletonized metazoans,” a euphemism for “Darwin’s gradualism is in heap big trouble.”  Using words like “radiation” masks the problem this is for Darwinism.  It merely attempts damage control through jargon (see 04/23/2006), also known as “perception management.”  It’s not a bug; it’s a feature.    Other problems for Darwin include their frank admission that the only competing evolutionary hypothesis linking comb jellies with putative ancestors contradicts evidence from fossils, anatomy, and molecular phylogeny.  They also dispute the idea that cilia could be co-opted for the locomotive comb rows of the ctenophores.  Then they leave their paper without any better evolutionary story, merely hoping that the new technique they used will some day help evolutionists understand life’s early history.  All tired of waiting for them to understand, say aye-yi-yi-yi-yi.    Comb jellies are remarkable marine animals.  They have a complex digestive system, with mouth and “pharynx, where ingested material passes into a complex system of radiating vascular structures that include eight meridional canals, one beneath each comb row,” the authors state.  The combs are used for locomotion, another complex system.  And they give the most remarkable light shows in nature: colorful streams of blinking lights that cascade down their sides (see 12/19/2005).  Each of these are irreducibly complex systems without fossil precursors.  The fact that delicate fossil embryos of these modern-looking animals could be discerned in rocks today gives the lie to Darwin’s myth of slow, gradual evolution over millions of years.  Why don’t we be done with it and give Charlie a quiet burial at sea?(Visited 38 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

SA’s Famous Brands in UK expansion

first_img20 June 2013 South African food service group Famous Brands is expanding into the United Kingdom with the opening of its first branch of burger franchise Steers in Clapham, southwest of London, in July. This follows closely on the group’s announcement that it would be opening five Debonairs Pizza restaurants in Mumbai in India, also planned to open in July. “We’ve long considered exporting Steers to the UK, fuelled by the constant requests from expatriates living in London craving a taste of home,” Famous Brands chief executive, Kevin Hedderwick, said in a statement on Wednesday. “Having researched the market we believe that the timing of this launch is right and that our flame-grilled offering will create as much excitement and recognition in the UK as in South Africa.” This international expansion forms part of the group’s plan to ramp up new restaurant openings across its entire brand portfolio, with 46 expected for the second quarter of 2013 alone. Expanding into the rest of Africa remains one of the company’s top priorities. “We are enthusiastic about the potential to grow our presence on the African continent,” Hedderwick said. “The rest of Africa is fast becoming the playground for opportunistic investors and with more than 12 years experience in the region, we believe our strategy to deepen our presence in specifically targeted markets will continue to serve us well.” Finding and tapping into new markets within South Africa itself is also part of the firm’s growth strategy. “Of the 30 restaurants opened in South Africa [in the second quarter], 18 are in new emerging markets. We are especially pleased with our entry into these markets where we were previously under-represented and where our brands are viewed as aspirational,” he said. “This penetration into new emerging markets is part of a deliberate strategy to make our brands available, accessible and affordable.” SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Farmers, consultants needed for major initiative to update fertilizer guidelines

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest It’s been 20 years since agronomists have developed fertilizer recommendations in Ohio.But now, Ohio State University Extension is embarking on a major initiative to determine the optimal rates of fertilization on the state’s major crops. The goal is to not only maximize farm profitability, but also contribute to improved nutrient management and water quality in the state.The Ohio State University On-farm Fertilizer Trials project plans to gather data from hundreds of farms statewide over the next two to three years, said Steve Culman, soil fertility specialist with the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and researcher with the college’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Multiple trialsSimilar projects are being conducted in Indiana and Michigan, and the results will replace the current tri-state fertilizer recommendations, he said.In Ohio, farmers will be paid up to $500 for participating, and crop consultants who join the effort will be paid $1,000 to $1,500 for each trial they manage, Culman said. Ohio’s funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and commodity checkoff funds from the Ohio Soybean Council and the Ohio corn and small grains marketing programs.“The fundamental question is agronomic,” Culman said. “Do we get a yield response to fertilizer application? Depending on the field, there is a lot of variability across the state. That requires a lot of different trials, documenting what we see with data.“This is not a top-down university approach. It will take buy-in and participation from the agricultural community.”Organizers plan to gather data from corn, soybean and wheat farmers at planting, during the summer and at harvest. For each of the eight combinations of fertilizer applications they want to test, they hope to attract 30 farms to participate. Farmers can decide which type of nutrients they will test — nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium or sulfur, or a combination. Link to HABsPhosphorus especially has been linked with harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie and other bodies of water. Too much nitrogen entering lakes and streams can also cause serious environmental and human health issues.Sulfur, which is not used on a widespread basis as a fertilizer, is being included in the study because sulfur deposition into soils from the atmosphere has decreased substantially in recent years due to a shift from coal-based power, Culman said.“It is interesting because we never had to think or worry about sulfur in the soil before, but now people are looking at it more seriously,” he said.Applying gypsum to soil is one way to provide sulfur and is being promoted as a best management practice, Culman said. The product can be mined, but it’s also a byproduct of scrubbing sulfur dioxide from the gas emissions of coal-burning power plants.Farmers participating in the nitrogen trial will be paid a premium if they include testing strips without any applied nitrogen as one of the four treatments they undertake, Culman said.Nitrogen variables“Nitrogen is a really challenging nutrient to develop recommendations for,” he said. The soil itself can provide quite a bit of the nitrogen plants need, but it depends on a number of things: temperature, moisture, and the decomposition of the soil’s organic matter.“Last year, there was probably a lot of decomposition, but it got so wet that a lot of nitrogen was likely lost to the environment,” he said. “Nitrogen just doesn’t stick around. Its availability and loss is difficult to quantify, so it’s difficult to develop nitrogen application recommendations.“If we have test strips in this study without any nitrogen being applied, then we can determine how much effect applied nitrogen had on neighboring strips.”But it’s likely the areas without any applied nitrogen will have lower yields, so the project will compensate farmers for that risk, Culman said.Ohio farmers and crop consultants can find more details at go.osu.edu/fert-trials, and may contact Culman at [email protected] or 330-822-3787, or post-doctoral researcher Anthony Fulford at [email protected] Robust data setBesides being of interest to crop farmers statewide, results from this project will be used by researchers and Extension personnel involved with the university’s Field to Faucet water quality initiative, which is designed to ensure safe drinking water while keeping farms productive and profitable.“What we’re most interested in is to provide solid information so farmers can make informed decisions based on what their crops need,” Culman said. “After 20 years without a formal revision of fertilizer recommendations, the agricultural community realizes things have changed.”Differences of opinion on proper fertilization rates are common, with some ag retailers recommending higher or lower rates than what’s in the 1995 guidelines, he said.“We as the land-grant university have the advantage of conducting these trials and gathering a good, robust data set so farmers know what the appropriate application rate really is,” Culman said.“Since fertilizer inputs are generally second only to seed as the largest costs farmers have, we can help farmers maximize profits by being as judicious as possible with fertilizer.“If they apply fertilizer based on just what the crop needs, the overwhelming majority of time, we’ll get a better crop and better water quality as a result.”last_img read more

Watch for Palmer amaranth

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Now is the time of year when scouting for Palmer amaranth is critical. This weed’s emergence begins in May and will last through the fall. Because of its prolific growth habit and resistance to multiple herbicide modes of action, it is critical to identify and control Palmer amaranth shortly after it emerges.It is important for growers to have the ability to identify Palmer amaranth so that it is not confused with other pigweed species. Universities have published some excellent resources for ID and control of Palmer, including this Purdue Fact Sheet and this Herbicide-Resistance Management publication. Staying on top of this aggressive weed is critical to managing it and keeping it from competing with crops. Tips for controlling Palmer amaranth‪1. Scout for and identify problem weeds early. Palmer Amaranth is a pigweed species and can easily be confused with other pigweeds, such as redroot pigweed, during early growth stages. It is critical to identify weeds correctly in order to keep them from spreading. Universities such as Ohio State, Purdue, and Michigan State have excellent fact sheets with pictures to aid in weed identification.‪2. Start with a weed-free seedbed. Effective burndowns or deep tillage will help control Palmer Amaranth and will allow growers to begin the season with a weed-free seedbed. Apply herbicides when the seedlings are less than four inches tall.‪3. Use residual herbicides. Use of residual herbicides will control seedlings at emergence and limit the number of plants that will need to be controlled by post-emergence applications. This is especially critical in soybean fields, where effective post-emergence options are very limited‪4. Crop rotation from soybeans to corn will allow for the use of additional herbicide modes of action (herbicides used in corn) that are effective at controlling Palmer amaranth.‪5. Consider hand weeding if plants escape normal management practices. Removal before they produce seeds is essential. If a seed head has formed, place a trash bag over the seed head before removing the plant from the field to eliminate the spread of seeds across the field.‪6. Manage drainage ditches, field borders, etc. Regularly mowing ditches, waterways, field borders, etc. will help control the spread of this weed. Although weeds growing in ditches do not directly compete with field crops, they will produce seeds and promote the spread of Palmer amaranth.last_img read more

Release of Google’s Ghonim Rejuvenates Protesters in Cairo

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… curt hopkins Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Tags:#Google#international#politics#web The notion of the distant, uninvolved and uninvested nerd has taken a well deserved beating in the last few years. But archetypes have an amazing tenancity, even when they’ve outgrown their value. I wonder if the notion of the empathy-free computer weirdo will survive the Egyptian uprising. Geeks have helped cut off Egyptians get back online and remain witnesses during a trying time; they’ve arranged crowdsourced translations of tweets sent in via another geeky guerrilla tool; and now, one of them has single-handedly resuscitated a flagging uprising. Google‘s head of marketing for the MENA region, Wael Ghonim, was released on February 7 after a week and a half of imprisonment. During his imprisonment, the executive could not communicate with anyone. Once he was released, however, he talked with a number of independent Egyptian television news channels. His example and words seem to have had a tangible effect on the commitment of the protesters. The hundreds of thousands in Cairo’s Tahrir Square is apparently the largest turnout yet. The numbers of people out in Egypt had tapered off the previous few days. Ghonim would be the last one to credit himself with “single-handedly” doing anything. He cautioned anyone against calling him a hero. And he’s right. Not only is this not Ghonim’s revolution, it’s not Twitter’s either, not Facebook’s not even the geeks’. It’s the people’s uprising in as pure a form as anyone could hope to see it. That said, however, individuals, as well as groups, have their parts to play. Anyone who favors a deterministic view of history would probably find Ghonim something of a fly in the ointment. But, it really is the Egyptian people responding to something of themselves they see in the Google exec. Ghonim’s emotional honesty, his criticism of the interior minister who facilitated his release (no Stockholm Syndrome for Ghonim), his refusal to allow himself to take the place of the people in the media consciousness – all of that seems to have inspired the better angels of the Egyptian people. If Ghonim is kept blindfolded and incommunicado for over a week in a security service cell and come out a functional human who still believes in the power of the people, can they do any less? We attempted to ask Mr. Ghonim a few questions, but he tweeted that he does not speak to foreign media. Regarding the video below, Alive in Egypt is working out some bugs. If the subtitles don’t appear in the clip, please visit the original. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

Learn to Create an Animated Short Film in 10 Parts

first_imgLearn how to create an animated short film from scratch with these comprehensive free tutorials!If you’ve ever had a great idea for a short animated film, but didn’t know how to make it a reality, then this 10 part series of tutorials can help you make that dream come true. Based on a quote from Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath, Giants is a one minute short film created by School of Motion to demonstrate all of the skills, processes, and techniques required to make an animated short film from scratch.Spanning over 8 hours, the series walks through starting with an idea, creating the basic edit, building the characters, animation, detailed compositing, and finally sound design. The series also covers the use of applications and tools like the Adobe Creative Suite, Nuke, CINEMA 4D, and Trapcode Particular.You can download (for free!) all the assets used in the making of this short film by signing up for SchoolofMotion.com’s subscriber list.Turning an Idea into an Animated Short FilmIn the first tutorial, School of Motion’s Joey Korenman sets the scene for the series, addresses the ambition behind it, and explains what you can expect to get out of it if you stick with it. He also demonstrates how he goes about creating a mood board, storyboard and initial script, laying the foundations for all the work to come.Step one for me in these kind of situation is just to saturate my brain with reference. I find it can help me generate ideas when I can sift through a bunch of cool artwork.Compositing an Animated Short FilmIn the 8th part of the tutorial series, you can take a deep dive into the art of compositing in Nuke, a high-end visual effects compositing package. If you want to get your hands on Nuke for free, download a copy of Nuke non-commercial and play with most of the program’s full feature set at no cost.In this hour long tutorial, you can see Joey turn his initial rendered frames into final composited shots by blending several different passes together for each shot. It’s interesting to see Joey directly reference shots from another spot that has similar art direction, learning from the perfection of that project in order to apply it to his own.What I usually do is work with them in this order: the diffuse pass, then adding in this order specular pass, reflection pass, the ambient light pass, the GI pass…Check out the full 10 part series of tutorials over on SchoolofMotion.com.Check out these PremiumBeat articles that explore different aspects of animation:4 Places to Find Free Reference Footage for Character AnimationHear from the Pros: What It’s Like To Edit AnimationVideo Inspiration: The 12 Basic Principles of AnimationFeeling motivated to follow your dreams of making an animated short film? Tell us all about it in the comments below!last_img read more

Emery calls for consistency as Arsenal enter a very important phase

first_imgArsenal manager Unai Emery is only interested in seeing his players perform to their very best consistently ahead of what he describes as a “very important” part of their season.The Gunners currently hold the highly-coveted fourth-place in the Premier League table by a point from Manchester United with Chelsea, who have a game in hand, a further two points adrift.Only 11 fixtures are left for Arsenal as they chase a return to Champions League football after a two-season absence.However, for Emery, the priority lies in taking things on a game-by-game ahead of tonight’s encounter with 12th-placed Bournemouth at the Emirates Stadium.“We can continue in this position, but only if we win. We need to be consistent in 38 matches,” said Emery in Tuesday’s press conference on Arsenal.com.“Tomorrow is one more. It’s very important because three points are not coming back after you play this match. You need to play against Bournemouth thinking that we need and we wish to take these three points.Aside from their Premier League campaign, Arsenal also remain in the mix for Europa League glory this season after progressing to the last-16 stage by beating BATE Borisov 3-1 on aggregate in the previous round.Harry Maguire, Manchester UnitedLiverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.Emery added: “Now is a very important moment in the season with the Premier League and the Europa League and I am looking for the best performance individually and collectively and to be consistent with that.“Our moment is very important our focus is very important to take consistently.”Ainsley Maitland-Niles could be brought into the starting line-up for tonight’s game against Bournemouth in place for the injured Stephan Lichtsteiner. Alex Iwobi is also doubtful for ArsenalMeanwhile, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Laurent Koscielny and Matteo Guendouzi will be pushing for starts with kick-off at the Emirates set for 8:45 PM (CET).⚡️ #YoPierre 😁 pic.twitter.com/19I42CRDCx— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 27, 2019last_img read more