Salamander Genes Give Darwinists a Wake-Up Call

A press release from UC Berkeley says that the evolutionary family tree of salamanders, once thought secure, has been turned topsy-turvy by a study of the genes.  The opening paragraph is reminiscent of an irritating alarm clock going off in a comfy bedroom:Biologists take for granted that the limbs and branches of the tree of life – painstakingly constructed since Linnaeus started classifying organisms 270 years ago – are basically correct.  New genetic studies, the thinking goes, will only prune the twigs, perhaps shuffling around a few species here and there.    Hence the surprise when a new University of California, Berkeley, study of the largest family of salamanders produced a genetic family tree totally inconsistent with the accepted classification, which is based primarily on physical features. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)To be sure, the study did not put salamanders in with birds or sharks or something that radical.  But the results were radical enough to make evolutionists seriously consider a radical interpretation: that some lineages lost a function and then re-evolved it:Salamanders formerly classified together because of similar characteristics, such as a tail that breaks at only one spot as opposed to anywhere when stressed, now appear not to be close relatives at all.  And salamanders that go through an aquatic larval stage are scattered about on different branches instead of grouped on one limb of the tree: Apparently some salamander lineages lost the larval stage and then reacquired it again.“The results were stunningly different than what we anticipated,” said David Wake, an expert on salamanders at the university.  The study conducted by one of his graduate students found major upsets in the phylogenetic tree determined from mitochondrial DNA analysis.  The student, Rachel Mueller, learned a lesson: “this does tell us that, when reconstructing evolutionary relationships, you have to be careful which morphological features you assume are conservative and haven’t evolved much, and which you think are likely to have changed over time.”The new family tree shows, however, that some terrestrial salamanders regained their larval stage after moving back to the water.  This may have happened in three separate lineages of Plethodontids [the largest family of salamanders], which is surprising for a seemingly complex feature biologists have assumed arose just once, very early in the history of salamanders.Wake also has found that the three very different types of salamander tongues, some which are short and stubby and some that can be flung out nearly the length of the salamander’s body, “have evolved several times in different lineages.”  The new genetic data, published in PNAS,1 tend to confirm that, he said.    Meanwhile, in Science Sept. 10,2 Elizabeth Pennisi says James Hanken of Harvard has proposed, based on genetic studies, that a certain line of miniature salamanders from Mexico acquired upper teeth independently four times.  He defended this view against critics at the 7th International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology in Boca Raton, Florida last month:Some of Hanken’s colleagues question his interpretation, noting that the common wisdom holds that once a trait disappears from a group of organisms, it rarely resurfaces.  Hanken’s conclusion is “something that’s hard to defend,” says Ann Huysseune of Ghent University in Belgium.  But Hanken argues that these small vertebrates must have had a lot of evolutionary tricks up their sleeves in order to survive tough times.  He points to the success that small animals in general have had after mass extinctions and attributes that to their ability to rapidly change and adapt.    Thorius species, he thinks, may have retained the capability of making upper teeth, even if their tooth-building program became short-circuited.  The reappearance of upper teeth in the four salamander species, says Hanken, “offers an example of latent developmental potentialities that reside within living species but which may not be manifest or expressed until far into the future.”1Mueller, Wake et al., “Morphological homoplasy, life history evolution, and historical biogeography of plethodontid salamanders inferred from complete mitochondrial genomes,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 10.1073/pnas.0405785101, published online Sept. 13, 2004.2Elizabeth Pennisi, “Tiny Salamanders Show Their Teeth,” Science, Vol 305, Issue 5689, 1396-1397, 3 September 2004, [DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5689.1396b].How long must we hold onto an outmoded hypothesis when it continually forces its adherents to believe absurd things?  To get a larval stage or a ballistic tongue once is astronomically improbable.  How can anyone believe it happened multiple times?  And to believe that something as complex as the suite of developmental genes for a set of teeth can just wait inert in a genome for the right time far into the future, without being eliminated by natural selection, violates Darwin’s own principles.  Salamanders don’t have sleeves.  How can they hide tricks up them?  If any problem in evolution can be explained away by magic tricks, it is not science.  The genetic data are not proving Darwin right, so Chuck his theory.  Wake up; it was only a bad trip (see 09/12/2004 commentary).(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 read more

Will the Word-Blocking Patent Extend Beyond Microsoft?

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting dana oshiro Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketcenter_img Tags:#Microsoft#web As of today a federal appeals court is upholding the judgement to bar Microsoft from selling current versions of Word and Office. The question is, what does the patent actually entail? The original patent can be summarized as covering a “method and system for manipulating the architecture and the content of a document separately from each other.” With this broad an abstract, it appears that the patent could affect a lot more than simple word processing. But, as with all patents, the devil is in the details. As of Jan. 11, 2010, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft will no longer sell its flagship word processing products in their current format. In August, a Texas jury filed in favor of i4i Inc. finding that Word infringes on the Canadian company’s software patent. Microsoft announced that it is already taking steps to remove the “little-used” infringing software feature from Microsoft Word 2007 and Microsoft Office 2007. The removal would make these versions of Word unable to open XML files for editing. An additional workaround may already be planned. In early August ZDNet UK’s Rupert Goodwins covered Microsoft’s patent for an SML Schema Document – a way of creating rich XML files so that word-processing applications recognize the file as a native document. Microsoft is also taking this opportunity to direct users to the beta versions of Word and Office 2010. It’ll be interesting to see if this patent resurfaces to block additional consumer products or if the Word trial will be an isolated incident. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

Congress declares candidates for Mapusa, Shiroda Assembly constituencies

first_imgThe Congress in Goa on Friday declared the names of the candidates for two of the three Assembly constituencies scheduled to go to bypolls and Lok Sabha polls on April 23.Both the candidates are recent entrants to the Congress from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Sudhir Kandolkar, former State Executive Committee member of the BJP, joined Congress after being denied ticket for the Mapusa constituency. He will now contest against Joshua D’Souza, son of Mapusa BJP MLA and former Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza, who died recently, leaving the seat vacant.In the Shiroda constituency in south Goa, former BJP Industries Minister Mahadev Naik will contest against former Congress MLA Subhash Shirdokar, who recently joined the BJP, causing the bypoll.Mr. Shirodkar had earlier defeated Mr. Naik to become the MLA for Shiroda constituency. Mr. Naik recently joined Congress after it was clear that Mr. Shirodkar will be contesting as the BJP candidate.The declaration of the Congress candidate for Mandrem constituency has been delayed as there are multiple aspirants for the ticket.last_img read more

Will Nick Foles Be The Eagles Jeff Hostetler Or Their Connor Cook

Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 14Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 14 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game The scoring system is nonlinear, so readers’ average points don’t necessarily match the number of points that would be given to the average reader prediction. YEARTEAMQUARTERBACKWINSBACKUP QBTEAM PLAYOFF RECORD HOU76%HOU64%SF 26, HOU 16+13.9– 2016OaklandDerek Carr12Connor Cook0-1 CIN71CIN71CHI 33, CIN 7-1.2– DAL61DAL67DAL 30, NYG 10+1.9– DEN50NYJ55NYJ 0, DEN 23-7.9– TB50DET57DET 24, TB 21+4.2– Source: ELIAS Sports Bureau, Pro-Football-Reference.com BUF72BUF69IND 7, BUF 13-3.9– 2005ChicagoKyle Orton10Rex Grossman0-1 There’s some hope here for Foles and the Eagles in the form of Jeff Hostetler, who stepped in and led the 1990 Giants to a Super Bowl victory after New York lost starting quarterback Phil Simms to a fractured foot in Week 15. Granted, that New York team rested heavily on their defense to claw them to glory — and last time we checked, the Eagles don’t have Lawrence Taylor. The Giants gave up the fewest points in the league that year and succeeded by not asking Hostetler to do too much.With this in mind, Philly should probably channel any remaining optimism toward its defense, which ranks fifth in the league in points allowed this season. Since he took over the defensive playcalling in 2016, Jim Schwartz has quickly turned his unit into one of the top defenses in the NFL: The Eagles ranked 18th in defensive EPA the season before Schwartz took over and rank fourth in the league through 13 games this year. The D could be the team’s best hope of making a deep run in January.The 2017 season might be remembered as “the year of the injured quarterback,” and in Week 14, it was Philadelphia’s turn feel the bite. The Eagles will be fine with Wentz as their franchise quarterback of the future, but in the present, Philly fans can only hope their team mimics the 1990 Giants and their defense comes through for them.FiveThirtyEight vs. The ReadersWeek 14 in our NFL predictions game — in which we invite you to outsmart our Elo algorithm — saw the readers suffer three heavy defeats. The Chiefs rebounded from four straight losses to beat the Raiders, which gave the readers a net loss of 10.4 points. Miami shocked New England on Monday night and won at home 27-20 to give the readers a loss of 11.5 points. And on Thursday night, the readers incorrectly predicted that the Saints would beat the Falcons, handing them a net loss of 11.7 points. There was only one victory over our Elo algorithm in which the readers scored double-digit points: San Francisco beat Houston 26-16, and because the readers had less confidence in the Texans than Elo did, the readers netted 13.9 points.Make sure you get your Week 15 predictions in early, and thanks for playing! 2015CincinnatiAndy Dalton10A.J. McCarron0-1 LAR52PHI52PHI 43, LAR 35+2.1– TEN53TEN57TEN 7, ARI 12-6.0– 1990ChicagoJim Harbaugh10Mike Tomczak1-1 SEA53SEA55SEA 24, JAX 30-4.2– PIT71PIT70BAL 38, PIT 39-3.1– Will Nick Foles keep Philly flying?Quarterbacks that won at least 10 games in a season for their playoff-bound teams but didn’t make a playoff start, since 1970 MIN53MIN58MIN 24, CAR 31-8.1– LAC69LAC68WAS 13, LAC 30-2.5– 2012MinnesotaChristian Ponder10Joe Webb0-1 OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION 1999BuffaloDoug Flutie10Rob Johnson0-1 KC67KC57OAK 15, KC 26-10.4– When Carson Wentz entered the blue sideline tent of doom on Sunday, he took close to 60 years of unfulfilled football dreams in Philadelphia with him. At that moment, the 10-2 Eagles had just taken a lead on the road against one of the NFC’s best teams. Shortly thereafter, the second-year quarterback limped down the tunnel at L.A. Memorial Coliseum, forcing backup quarterback Nick Foles to take over for the remainder of the game. In just a few minutes, the Eagles’ unexpected dream season was seemingly cut down by hard luck — something that comes with the territory in Philadelphia.We now know that Wentz tore the ACL in his left knee and will miss the rest of the season. It’s a huge blow to the Eagles’ Super Bowl hopes, and they’ll have to lean on someone other than Wentz and his MVP-caliber offense. The sophomore quarterback has been so good this season that the Eagles ranked third in the league in offensive expected points added — behind only the Patriots and Saints — and his 33 touchdown passes through 13 games are third-most in NFL history for quarterbacks in their first or second year, behind only future Hall of Famers Dan Marino and Kurt Warner.Fortunately for Doug Pederson’s men, the win over the Rams secured a playoff berth with three weeks to spare, and their remaining games against the Giants, Raiders and Cowboys should give Foles enough time to feel comfortable as the leader of a playoff team again. Foles is uniquely familiar with this position: In Week 5 of 2013, he was forced into action when starter Michael Vick suffered an injury. Foles became the unlikely savior that year, as he steered the Eagles to an 8-3 record for the remainder of the season and a wild-card berth. Along the way, he compiled an eye-popping passer rating of 119.2, the third best in NFL history, and a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 13.5, the second-best of all time.While there’s little doubt over whether Philly will bypass the wild-card round — one more regular-season win will secure a first-round bye for the Eagles — let’s not kid ourselves about their overall playoff chances: History is not on Philadelphia’s side. No one is expecting Foles to repeat his 2013 performance and keep the team’s run going. We’ve seen this scenario unfold before. In fact, a backup being thrown into the fire of playoff football is quickly becoming an annual NFL tradition. Last year, Connor Cook, a third-stringer, started his first game ever for the Raiders, who lost star Derek Carr (then backup Matt McGloin) as their dream season turned into a nightmare. And two seasons ago, Alabama-star-turned-professional-clipboard-holder A.J. McCarron started a wild-card game for Cincinnati in the wake of the Bengals losing Andy Dalton in Week 14.As expected, this usually doesn’t go well. Cook and McCarron both lost in the playoffs, posting passer ratings of 30 and 68.3, respectively. Neither has started a game since. In total, Wentz will be one of only eight quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era to win 10 or more games for a future playoff team and not appear in the postseason, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Among the backups for these teams, only two won at least one playoff game. GB77GB76GB 27, CLE 21-3.2– 2017PhiladelphiaCarson Wentz11Nick Foles? Check out our latest NFL predictions. 1990N.Y. GiantsPhil Simms11Jeff Hostetler3-0 ATL56NO54NO 17, ATL 20-11.7– NE81NE87NE 20, MIA 27-11.5– PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.RESULTREADERS’ NET PTS read more

Benitez tips United for top four finish

first_imgNewcastle United manager Rafael Benitez believes Manchester United have what it takes to close the gap and finish in the top four this season.Since the appointment of interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United have been in impressive form, winning three games in a row and scoring 12 goals in the process.Solskjaer will be aiming for his fourth successive win when they travel to Tyneside for Wednesday night’s Premier League fixture.United are currently 6th place in the league table and 8 points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, but Benitez expects the Red Devils to close the gap.“It’s a team that has to be easily in the top four, that is very clear,” Benitez told Sky Sports.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.“They can compete against Manchester City, Liverpool, anyone. We are talking about one of the biggest clubs in the world in terms of everything.“The players they have, they are so good that if you want to win or get points against them you have to perform really well.“When you are a top side like Manchester United, spending millions every year, you have to be in the top four and you have to win the title.“For them, that’s the pressure. Not just now, they had it before, and for sure they will feel the pressure in a few weeks when they will be there fighting with Tottenham, Chelsea, City, Liverpool, and Arsenal.”last_img read more

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with Floyd Mayweather

first_imgJuventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates celebrated their Italian Super Cup success with Floyd Mayweather.Ronaldo scored the only goal of the game as the Bianconeri beat AC Milan 1-0 after the match was controversially staged at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.The former Real Madrid star scored 15 minutes after half-time, heading home Miralem Pjanic’s dinked cross to give the Juventus their first trophy of the season.It was also Max Allegri’s’ first success in the competition since 2015, having lost the two previous last Italian Super Cup games.The Juventus players were congratulated in the dressing room by boxing superstar Mayweather.Speaking post-game, Ronaldo said, according to Mirror Football :“It was a very difficult match, it’s very warm and hard to play in these conditions.”Romelu Lukaku, Inter MilanLukaku backed to beat Ronaldo in Serie A scoring charts Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Former Inter Milan star Andy van der Meyde is confident Romelu Lukaku will outscore Cristiano Ronaldo in this season’s Serie A.“We played well, created a lot of chances and obviously I am happy to have scored the winning goal.”“It was my intention to start 2019 with a trophy, I have my first title with Juve and I am very happy.”“But it is only the start, we will take it one step at a time. We’ve got this trophy, now we must keep working hard to achieve the next one.”But despite the near certainty of winning this season’s title, Ronaldo insists he and his teammates have no intention of getting complacent.“Serie A is always Juve’s main objective,” he added.“We are top of the table, but it’s a very long tournament.”“It’s going to be tough, so we need to keep working.”last_img read more

Solari Second captain Marcelo is 100 Real Madrid

first_imgReal Madrid manager Santiago Solari backed the struggling Marcelo and insisted he’s a “Madridista through and through”.The Brazil international has struggled to hold on to his left-back position at Real this season following Sergio Reguilon’s strong performances.This has restricted Marcelo to just 12 appearances in La Liga this season, which has renewed talk of a possible summer transfer to Juventus to reunite with his good friend Cristiano Ronaldo.The 30-year-old did start though in Real’s first leg 1-1 draw against Barcelona in their Copa del Rey semi-final tie and helped them secure a valuable away goal.“Our second captain is a Madridista through and through, he always puts Real Madrid first and we work to give our all,” said Solari on the club website.Meanwhile, Marcelo’s fellow Brazilian Vinicius Junior continues to shine at Real after another impressive performance in his Clasico debut on Wednesday night.The 18-year-old kept Gareth Bale benched and repaid Solari’s faith in him by tormenting the Barcelona defence throughout the game with his pace and dribbling skills.“I’m not surprised [about his development], I know him, and I know his way of playing football,” Solari said on Vinicius.“It’s amazing that a boy of 18 years of age is progressing the way he is. Some credit also has to go to his team-mates, who support him and allow him to play.”Gerard Pique, Neymar, BarcelonaLa Liga Betting: Match-day 4 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Despite it being very early into La Liga season, both Barcelona and Real Madrid have had unprecedented starts to their campaigns. With this in…As for the match itself at Camp Nou, Lucas Vazquez had given Real a sixth-minute lead before Malcom smashed in an equaliser for Barcelona to settle the game at 1-1 at Camp Nou.Solari added: “It was a beautiful game, with real quality and regular shifts in momentum. It was great to watch for all the fans of any club.“We had chances to score in both halves, with Vinicius Junior’s effort or Gareth Bale’s attempt. It’s hard to talk about justice in football.“Making comparisons is pointless. This game is confirmation that this group of players is working very well. It’s an open-ended result, there’s a lot of quality out on the pitch and anything can happen at any time.”The return leg between Real Madrid and Barcelona will take place on February 27 at the Santiago Bernabeu.🏁 FT: @FCBarcelona 1-1 @realmadrid⚽ Malcom 57′; @Lucasvazquez91 6’#Emirates | #RMClasico pic.twitter.com/ms5nPlnPdE— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) February 6, 2019last_img read more

Compromise Budget Resolution Unlikely to Clarify Fate of Spending Caps

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR An amendment to the Senate version of the fiscal 2016 budget resolution calling for relief from the statutory spending caps for defense and non-defense spending over the next  two years is unlikely to be included in the compromise resolution the two chambers are expected to hash out over the coming weeks.The amendment, introduced by Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) and passed with the support of four Republicans, called for replacing $148 billion in spending cuts in fiscal 2016 and 2017 with alternative offsets not yet specified over the 10-year budget window, reported CQ.As talks get under way over a compromise budget, conservative groups are pushing back against the provision because it would reverse the Budget Control Act spending caps. The fight over relaxing the caps is part of the larger budget battle between right wing champions of the spending limits and defense hawks.So far, no formal negotiations are expected on replacing the Budget Control Act spending cuts, but the issue likely will heat up as the new fiscal year approaches. Lawmakers would need to pass a bill altering the caps as language in the budget resolution is not binding.Despite the uphill battle, Kaine will attempt to include his provision in the budget conference report, as well as encourage bipartisan talks on a deal to provide a reprieve for discretionary spending, regardless of what happens in the budget conference, according to the story.A Kaine spokesman said the amendment was “important to ensure everything is on the table to replace the sequester cuts” and make clear that there should be relief to both defense and non-defense programs.“It’s his hope the amendment sets the stage for a multiyear deal on sequester similar to Murray-Ryan,” the spokesman said in reference to the December 2013 deal struck by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) that offered the Pentagon $31 billion in spending above the FY 2014 and 2015 caps.last_img read more

5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Tuesday May 28 2019

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Below are 5 things to do in Wilmington on Tuesday, May 28, 2019:#1) Wilmington Board of Selectmen MeetingThe Wilmington Board of Selectmen meets at 7pm in Town Hall’s Room 9. Read the agenda HERE. The meeting will be streamed live on WCTV HERE.#2) Shawsheen Tech School Committee MeetingThe Shawsheen Tech School Committee meets at 6:30pm in the John P. Miller School Committee Room. Read the agenda HERE.#3) State Rep. Dave Robertson’s Office HoursState Rep. Dave Robertson is holding his monthly office hours in Wilmington from 9:30am to 11am at the Wilmington Senior Center and 6:30pm to 8pm at the Wilmington Town Hall.#4) Red Cross Blood DriveThe Wilmington Masonic Friendship Lodge (32 Church Street) is holding a Red Cross Blood Drive from 2pm to 7pm. Learn more HERE.#5) Angels In Motions MeetingAngels In Motion meets every Tuesday, from 9:30am to 2:30pm at the Wilmington Knights of Columbus Hall (112 Middlesex Avenue).  The club provides a great opportunity for seniors to meet new friends or reacquaint with old ones. A luncheon is served as noon.  Free. Handicapped accessible.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Related5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Tuesday, July 23, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Tuesday, August 27, 2019In “Community”5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Tuesday, September 3, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”last_img read more

Alitas Christoph Waltz sets aside acting techniques for FX blockbusters

first_imgAlita: Battle Angel is packed with cutting-edge visual effects, which means everybody involved had to be on top of their game — and that goes for the actors too, according to Christoph Waltz.Oscar-winning actor Waltz plays a cybernetics expert who nurtures a young cyborg in Iron City, a dystopian future metropolis ruled over by a distant elite floating high above in the sky. It’s an action-packed sci-fi extravaganza laced with political themes about inequality. Filmmakers Waltz trained as an actor in Vienna and New York in the 1970s, studying method acting with legendary teachers Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler. According to Waltz, Strasberg admitted teaching acting was a way of making money, and so Waltz doesn’t romanticise thespian techniques — especially when there’s thousands of dollars at stake during a shoot. With hundreds of technicians and crews standing by, Waltz emphasises that actors have to be focused and prepared.Alita was developed by legendary director James Cameron, who Waltz calls the éminence grise of sci-fi action. But Cameron was busy with the planned Avatar sequels, so Robert Rodriguez took over. Waltz describes how the pair complemented each other with their different styles.Alita: Battle Angel is released in the UK on 6 February and the US on 14 February.Culture: Your hub for everything from film and television to music, comics, toys and sports.Movie Magic: The secrets behind the scenes of your favorite films and filmmakers.  3:46 Alita: Battle Angel’s Christoph Waltz reveals why acting… Post a comment TV and Movies 0 Now playing: Watch this: Tags Share your voicelast_img read more