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How will the Warriors handle Durant, Klay and their other free agents?

first_imgThis time, the Warriors will not visit the Hamptons as they did three years ago. The main objective during free agency will still be the same, though.How can they convince Kevin Durant to be with the Warriors? Before, the Warriors successfully sold Durant on their team-oriented culture, their star talent and their championship resume. Two NBA titles and two Finals MVP’s later, Durant does not need to hear such a pitch. Instead, Durant has to wrestle with this question: to what extent does he …last_img read more

Diatom Evolution a Mystery

first_img(Visited 293 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 A science writer is sure diatoms evolved, even if their origins and intricate designs are major mysteries.Michael Gross, a science writer at Oxford, wrote a feature story for Current Biology called, “The Mysteries of the Diatoms” (Current Biology, Volume 22, Issue 15, R581-R585, 7 August 2012).   Gross knows that diatoms are extremely successful and diverse, very important for the carbon cycle, and beautiful to look at, but said scientists still know little about them.  One of the chief mysteries is their evolution:Diatoms — single-celled algae typically enshrined in a cell wall made of intricately laced silica — have fascinated researchers with a whole range of mysteries, from their evolutionary origins through to their morphogenesis and reproduction. They entered the plant kingdom rather late in evolution, and through an unusual entry. Researchers believe they are secondary endosymbionts, meaning that their precursor was a eukaryote that engulfed another eukaryote, resulting in a quadruple membrane around the chloroplasts the diatom gained from this act of piracy.The evolutionary success story of diatoms only begins some 200 million years ago, but they have spread around the globe and diversified into hundreds of genera and around 100,000 species in this short fraction of the geological timescale. Today, they are present wherever there is liquid water, in the oceans, in freshwater, and even in soil. They have already played a significant role in the global cycles of carbon and nitrogen, and are responsible for large sediments of silica including diatomaceous earth.In the article, Gross described many amazing facts about these microbes that live in glass houses:“they have a very efficient way to dissipate excess solar energy, known as non-photochemical quenching.”“In a time span of less than 200 million years, diatoms have branched out into a multitude of species, which can be as genetically different as humans and fish.““While we might want to call diatoms ‘plantimals,’ these things are much more complex than we think,” Chris Bowler says.“Like animals, for instance, diatoms possess a complete urea cycle…. the cycle enables diatoms to recover quickly after prolonged periods of nitrogen limitation.”“…diatoms have a huge influence on geochemical cycles and our climate.”“Diatoms fix as much carbon dioxide as all the rainforests of the world combined….”“The silica frustules with their intricate nanoscale patterns can make any nanotechnologist jealous. Nature can produce such structures at ambient temperature and under benign conditions, an achievement that our technology cannot match yet.”“Diatom adhesives are of interest for two opposite reasons — some may want to mimic bioadhesives like these to produce better glues that work under difficult conditions, for instance under water. Others want to stop diatoms from sticking to things under water, such as ships.”Considering these are widespread, common organisms we can study right under a microscope, surprisingly little is known about them, Gross said.  For instance, the in-depth study of model organisms like water cress and E. coli hasn’t helped scientists understand the molecular physiology of diatoms.  The growth (morphogenesis) of their intricate glass patterns is not understood.  Their role in climate modulation is poorly understood.  It’s not that scientists have not tried; the mysteries of diatoms have so far proved intractable.One thing Michael Gross seemed profoundly confident about, though, was his belief that they evolved from non-diatoms.  This extended not to his endosymbiotic theory but to their subsequent ability to evolve other capabilities that stump human engineers.  He spoke glibly about how “diatoms evolved thicker and denser cell walls and spread across the oceans,” speaking at one moment about the mystery of their “evolutionary origins” but then their “evolutionary success story.”  It didn’t seem to bother him that in half the time horseshoe crabs remained static, diatoms diversified into 100,000 species with genomes that differ as much between them as fish differ from humans.  Evolution works in strange ways.There is no such thing as an evolutionary success story.  Evolution, being mindless, purposeless, and aimless,(see clarification on Evolution News) could not care less about what thrives and what goes extinct.  If the whole world went extinct, “evolution” (whatever that fictional being represents), would yawn and move on.  By using the word success, Gross exposes himself as an unevolved human who cares.In the 12/19/2007 entry, we used the nonsense word gribbleflix as a substitute for evolution, and it worked in the same manner – it explains everything without needing to explain anything.  Readers are encouraged to re-read that commentary to understand how Michael Gross, and the accomplice Current Biology, employed evolution as nonsense masquerading as explanation.last_img read more

Featherlike Structures Are Not Feathers

first_img(Visited 92 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 The media have jumped all over a discovery of fuzz on a small ornithischian dinosaur, ignoring the evolutionary problems.No sooner had we published the previous entry about true feathers on an imaginary dinosaur (7/24/14) when another paper came out in Science Magazine announcing “feathers” on a real dinosaur.  The media spin machine immediately went into high gear:Earliest dinosaurs may have sported feathers (Science Magazine News)Did All Dinosaurs Sport Feathers? Downy Beast Suggests Yes (Live Science)Siberian Discovery Suggests Almost All Dinosaurs Were Feathered (National Geographic)Feathersaurus: plant-eating dinos had plumage too (New Scientist)The discovery of a weird dinosaur, Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus, looking something like a cross between a chicken and a fuzzy kangaroo according to the artist’s imagination, was announced in Science Magazine.  The authors, however, preferred the phrase “featherlike structures” instead of feathers throughout the paper.   The only times they spoke of “feathers” per se, they qualified the word as interpretive:Quill-like structures have been reported in the ornithischians Psittacosaurus and Tianyulong, but whether these were true feathers, or some other epidermal appendage, is unclear.Here we report a new ornithischian dinosaur, Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus, with diverse epidermal appendages, including grouped filaments that we interpret as avianlike feathers.They more closely resemble the monofilaments in the basal coelurosaur Sinosauropteryx and are similar to morphotype 1 in a recent evolutionary model of feathers.These groups of filaments are similar to feather morphotype 3 and resemble the down feathers of some modern chicken breeds, such as the Silkie, which are devoid of barbules.The presence of both simple and compound filamentous structures in Kulindadromeus (Fig. 4) supports the hypothesis that the integumentary structures in Ornithischia, already described in Psittacosaurus and Tianyulong, could be homologous to the “protofeathers” in non-avian theropods.These integumentary structures look nothing like bird flight feathers.  They lack a central vane, barbs, barbules and hooks.  They look more like bits of fuzz about 5 to 15 mm long.  Some of the “compound” ones are mere bundles of monofilaments that converge at the base.The problems for evolution are more serious.  These filaments (not “feathers”) were found on an ornithischian (bird-hipped) dinosaur, rather than the saurischian (lizard-hipped) dinosaurs thought to be ancestral to birds.  In Science Magazine News, Michael Balter untangles the confusion surrounding the names, and points out the phylogenetic problem:If these bristly structures represented early feathers, as researchers have increasingly come to think, it would mean that feathers evolved in dinosaurs that preceded the evolutionary split between so-called saurischians (which include the meat-eating species) and ornithischians (which comprise plant-eating species) more than 200 million years ago. (Despite their confusing name, the ornithischians are not related to birds, which are saurischians.)Whatever adorned Kulindadromeus, therefore, had nothing to do with flight feathers.  (The ornithischians include Triceratops, not exactly a frequent flyer by the looks of it.)  Finding fuzz on ornithischians and “coming to think” they represented “early feathers,” therefore, forces evolutionists to imagine that the “featherlike structures” emerged in a common ancestor of both branches, much further back in time than previously thought.  Subsequently, many sub-branches in both groups must have lost the structures, reverting to scales.  It also forces them to imagine feathers having some other function, perhaps mating display or insulation.  The fuzz was “co-opted” for flight millions of years later, in the branches where flight appeared.In the paper, the authors mention “preservation of the scales as carbonaceous remains” found under “a thin superficial carbonaceous sheet” that was removed to see the structures.  This seems to imply that primordial, unpermineralized material was found in the specimens.  As to their interpretation, even dinobird champion Xing Xu “cautions that the fossils are still too fragmentary to be certain that the more complex feathery structures actually correspond to those found later in birds.”In their haste to celebrate birds as dinosaurs, though, most of the reporters downplayed these difficulties.  Indeed, some appeared ready to support a remake of Jurassic Park, outfitting all the dinosaurs with colorful feathers, even T. rex.  “Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jurassic Park’ might need a little more revising,” Tanya Lewis said in Live Science; “– a newly discovered dinosaur species offers hints that feathers were much more common among the ancient beasts than once thought.”There appears to be a clear dividing line at this point between fuzz and true flight feathers.  Evolutionists may call the former “protofeathers” or “featherlike structures” but that doesn’t mean they are feathers or related to feathers.  We think the interpretation of the structures as secondary phenomena resulting from taphonomy (fossilization) should be reconsidered.  In any case, the fuzz on this new creature, if it was functional on the living animal, had nothing to do with the evolution of birds or flight, so it doesn’t support the dino-to-bird story line.  Some reporters need to learn the scientific values of intellectual integrity, epistemic modesty, and interpretive restraint.last_img read more

New drive to spark local sports frenzy

first_imgThe Magnificent Fridays drive will rally South Africans to support national sports teams. Minister Fikile Mbalula has urged South Africans to wear national team replica jerseys every Friday. Members of the national netball team that will play in Singapore in July. (Images: Bongani Nkosi) MEDIA CONTACTS • Mack Lewele Communication Arts and Culture +27 12 441 3083 or +27 82 450 5076  RELATED ARTICLES • New campaign to power SA’s Proteas • Proteas pick top World Cup squad • From Football Fridays to Fly the Flag Fridays • Flying the South African flagBongani NkosiThe frenzy that gripped South Africa before and during the Fifa World Cup in 2010 is set to make a comeback, this time spurring other national sports teams to excel in international competitions.Magnificent Fridays is a new campaign initiated by the government to get South Africans behind cricket, netball and rugby national teams – all of which will all do battle in respective world cups during 2011.The campaign is built on the concept of Football Fridays, a highly successful drive that got South Africans rallying behind Bafana Bafana, the national football team, and the 2010 Fifa World Cup.The country was awash with yellow and green at the end of every working week leading up to the tournament as South Africans donned Bafana replica gear and flew the national flag with pride. And the same spirit is to grip the land again.This time citizens are urged to wear official replica clothing of any of the national teams, but especially of the Springboks rugby team, the Proteas cricket squad and the netball team, also nicknamed the Proteas. Wearing the now-famous Bafana gear is also encouraged, and hoisting the national flag tops it all.“Magnificent Fridays is about showing support for all our national teams,” said Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula. “The campaign will continue throughout the year.”Mbalula and Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile are helping spread the hype across the country. The departments launched Magnificent Fridays in Johannesburg recently, and kicked off the actual road show at the city’s Park Station on 28 January.Thousands of South African flags will be handed out along the way as the road show delivers the spirit of the campaign to outlying communities. The next stop is the Free State province, and then the Western Cape, followed by stops in all the remaining provinces and then the major cities.“We’ll go all over South Africa. This is not a Gauteng campaign,” said Mashatile.Cricket squad heading to AsiaThe Proteas will be the first of the three national teams to seek international pride in 2011 when they travel to south Asia in February. They will take on other 14 nations in the 2011 International Cricket Council World Cup to be staged in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.The team is in the final stages of preparation for the tournament and is in good spirits following recent victory in the highly contested one day international series challenge against India. Magnificent Fridays will augment the Pure Protea drive, which was initiated by Lead SA specifically for the national cricket squad.Support for the team is mounting ahead of the world cup, Cricket South Africa (CSA) said, and Proteas replica attire is proving to be very popular.“There is a big interest in the Proteas world cup replica jersey,” said CSA brand and corporate relations manager Kass Naidoo. “Traffic to the online store has increased and merchandise at retail stores has been selling well.“Everyone is keen to show they are 100% behind the Proteas,” Naidoo added.The already-named world cup squad blends the talents of the country’s 15 top cricket stars.Rugby and netball to followThe Springboks, as the reigning Rugby World Cup champions, will set out to defend their title in New Zealand in September.Pinned against Fiji, Namibia, Samoa and Wales in Pool D, the Springboks will face challenging, but surmountable competition in the group stages. The team has proven its mettle many times and should also be able to rise up against stronger teams like New Zealand and Australia in the knockout stages.It should come as a confidence boost that Chiliboy Ralepelle and Bjorn Basson, the Boks pair recently accused of doping, were cleared of any wrongdoing on 28 January. They can now return to the international field to help the team prepare for their world cup.The Springboks’ victory in 2007 was a major highlight that South Africans celebrated with vim and vigour for days, as was the country’s historical win in 1995.The senior netball team will travel to Singapore for the world championships in July, and is currently training hard.Netball South Africa announced on 24 January that four coaches had been appointed to help the players prepare for the tournament, following the resignations of coach Carin Strauss and assistant coach Cecilia Molokwane earlier in the month.South Africans have also been urged to travel with the teams to support them at the playing venues. “Those who can go to these competitions should go,” Mashatile said.last_img read more