GCAA preparing for economic “tusnami” ahead – Director General

first_imgThe Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is moving steadfastly to become fully compliant with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) ahead of the rush of economic activities that Guyana is expected to experience upon oil production in two years’ time.Director-General of the GCAA, ret’d Lieutenant Colonel Egbert Field, said last week that, within recent years, the local aviation industry has moved a good way up the ladder towards the ICAO standards – something which the international body is very pleased with.“They displayed their pleasant feeling when they presented us with the President’s Certificate last year. So we are moving [forward]. We are training our staff and spending a lot in that area in order to ensure that there is a robust authority to meet the challenges of tomorrow, and the challenges are coming very fast,” FieldGCAA Director-General, Egbert Fieldposited.According to the Director General, these challenges are fast approaching, especially with operation of the oil and gas industry being imminent.“You cannot understand or imagine what we will face in another year. With the extended runway and the expanded airport, we are looking to have travellers from as far as Africa, and even Europe, coming into Guyana. As I say to my staff, ‘There is a tsunami ahead of us, and we’ve got to work hard and build this authority for robust oversight of the [aviation] industry ’,” he asserted.Field said the GCAA’s main goal is to ensure the skies are safe. “Safety is paramount in our work from day to day, and we will continue to ensure that this remains the focal point of each and every single member of the Civil and Aviation Authority,” Field told media operatives.The Director-General had earlier listed safety regulations as a top priority for the GCAA this year.In fact, he had noted that one of the GCAA’s primary goals in 2018 is to amend its regulations to comply with the standards and recommended practices outlined by ICAO.To this end, the Civil Aviation Bill was tabled in the National Assembly and sent to the Parliamentary Select Committee, which has since completed its work. The next stage now is for the House to adopt the Committee’s report. This is expected to beThe CJIA Expansion projectdone before the end of the year.The proposed legislation contains a revision of aviation regulations, which will include: safety management systems, regulations pertaining to drone operations, and revised operations regulations for the industry.In addition to revising its regulations, GCAA also conducted a compliance and enforcement training programme in February, which is expected to play an integral role in aiding the Authority to respond positively to those items requested by ICAO, and bring GCAA closer towards compliance.Guyana is currently third from the bottom in compliance ranking, having moved up one place. However, the Authority, which is currently around 70 percent in compliance, has been doing corrective actions to move towards 80 percent before the end of the year. In 2017, the Authority was awarded the ICAO Council President’s Certificate for its significant progress in safety oversight.last_img read more

"GCAA preparing for economic “tusnami” ahead – Director General"

Hit to Pass making debut at Taylor Speedway this Father’s Day weekend

first_imgTAYLOR, B.C. – While the Taylor Speedway will be opening its doors for the upcoming 2017 stock car racing season in just over a month’s time, a new type of race will be coming to the dirt oval a month later.Gord Beaumont and Sam Hunt, two longtime racers at the speedway, are bringing ‘Hit to Pass’ to Taylor for the first time ever this Father’s Day weekend. Hunt, who is originally from Victoria, says that he was inspired to bring the race format to the B.C. Peace after driving in other Hit to Pass races in the province. The race format, which is said to have originated at Western Speedway in B.C.’s capital, is similar to a normal stock car race, except drivers must bump a vehicle in order to legally pass them.Beaumont explained that the racetrack used to host a Demolition Derby every Father’s Day weekend, but ended the event several years ago due to a lack of drivers. He says that the Hit to Pass format offers the best of both worlds, which should make for a more exciting event for spectators.- Advertisement -The Hit to Pass’ event organisers say that so far, many have expressed interest in signing up for the event. According to Beaumont, so far there are 12 confirmed dirvers taking part, with more that say they are keen. Organisers have also heard from other drivers in the Cariboo and the Alberta side of the Peace Region that might be coming to the race.Hunt says that organisers have decided to adopt the same rules for Hit to Pass as the ones already in place with the Prince George Auto Racing Association. The full rules can be found here:*No convertibles, Canadian or American domestic pickup’s or cars (4wd vehicles only can run one drive shaft at a time)*All glass (except front windshield), upholstery, side chrome, and plastic must be removed.No other gutting except burnable items must be done.*If the windshield is removed, a screen of half inch or smaller steel mesh must be installed. Acrylic Lexan is also an acceptable substitute.*Must pad steering wheel, B pillar, top of inside driver’s door, any sharp edges or bars within reach of the driver.*All cars must have…driver’s door reinforced with steel pipe 1 1/2 O.D. Pipe to extend into back door or quarter panel …driver’s door filled 2/3 or more with cement. No exceptions. No steel rods to extend outside of driver’s compartment (must have the cement secured in the door panel in such a way it cannot be knocked out IE; checker plate aluminum, street sign material, etc. with rivets or tech screws)You may also run a grader blade or 6” C-channel (maximum) down both sides of car at bumper height.  The corners of the C-channel must be cut at a 45° angle. Must be bolted securely with at least 4 bolts and large washers. If it falls off or begins to hang you will be black flagged. It must be between wheel wells, no wider than 6”. Even if you run grader blade, you must have concrete in the driver’s door per rule 6 above.*Proper and secure roll cage to be installed. Minimum 5 or 6-point cage (No more two up and one across).If you have a frame, the cage must be welded to the frame. If you do not have a frame (unibody), it must have 6 inch x 6 inch plates welded on and secured to the unibody. The bars are to stay within the car, not tothe outside door skin part of the doors. The front bar cannot go in front of the firewall. The rear bar cannot go past the rear end. An option bar may be installed from the middle of the cage down to the passenger side frame rail, behind the firewall. If front bars are not installed, then you must install this bar*All cars must have a minimum of two (2) windshield bar installed from top to bottom, evenly spaced, attached securely and be a minimum of ¼”x 1” steel. The bar may be placed on the outside of the windshield.*All doors must be securely fastened or welded. Weld the gaps shut only.You may now reinforce rear frame with maximum 2″ pipe only. It must stay in the frame area only and may join up two (2) bar from frame rail to frame rail behind the rear end, or, an X pipe behind the rear end, from frame rail to frame rail.You may reinforce the right and left front fender. It consists of two (2) bars up from the frame rail to one (1) bar inside the fender. This bar cannot extend in front of the rad support, or behind the firewall. These bars will be a maximum of 2” sked 40. Tech inspector reserves the right to have you remove any unsafe pipe throughout the event.*No plating of 1/4 panels or fenders allowed at all, for any reason.No plating of frame allowed on new or returning cars.  If required, consult tech man.Fenders may be bolted together. Maximum 8 bolts per corner, maximum ½” bolts and ½ “washers.A U-shaped bar is allowed between rear tire and rear bumper, attached to the frame rail, left side of car only.  May not extend or protrude beyond quarter panel.Shift lever can be hooked direct to transmissionYou may also build a front hoop consisting of two bars up and one across in front of radiator with two bars going back. They must be in front of the upper control arm mounting points. Maximum of 2″ Sked 40 tubing allowed. The front hoop must not extend wider than frame rails the front hoop must not be higher than the original factory radiator support and may not tie into the roll cage.Anyone building a van should approach Board of Directors or Tech inspector BEFORE building vehicle for clarificationWHEN REPAIRING DAMAGED CARS, NO MATERIAL STRONGER THAN WHAT YOU ARE REPAIRING MAY BE USED. Subject to Tech man’s approval.*Stock Bumpers only! (This means leave your pre-fabricated bumpers at home.)Excessive reinforcing of any part of the cars not allowed. Including the bumpers.*Cars must be equipped with five-point harness seat belts. (See figure 1 in “Safety rules”). Seat belts must be attached to the stock seatbelt holes in the car or to the roll cage.*All cars must have a sturdy head rest and neck brace. Window net in driver’s doormust be functional. The top and bottom of window net must be secured inside of car (rollover protection) with a minimum of 3/8 bar. The window net cannot be home made.*Racing seats are mandatory for new and old cars; NO EXCEPTIONS *Driving suit or flame retardant coveralls mandatory (Must have tag or label stating they are flame retardant or something to that effect). Approved helmets, driving gloves and racing neck brace mandatory. Helmet must have approved visors or driver must wear safety glasses or goggles.*Gas tank must be removed and an outboard motor tank or fuel cell securely placed in back seat of car in the middle of the back seat, between the bars going to the back wall (see rule 8). Pump gas only.Return gas lines (if equipped) must be plugged, removed, or returned into gas tank*Pickup trucks must mount fuel tank near the cab within the box, but tied into roll cage or frame. Don’t mount fuel tanks to the box floor.*Trucks must weld cab to box both sides and weld tailgate to box.*No fuel lines inside of the vehicle except the tank connections. No plastic connections / fittings, or filters allowed. Must use stock steel fuel line in stock location. If the vehicle has fuel injection, it must have a master kill switch that kills all electronics (including electric fuel pump). If not sure, consult Tech inspector.*No trailer hitches, you may not raise height of car (e.g. reversing springs shackles). No cooling system other than stock.*NOTE: ANTIFREEZE AND FREON MAY NOT BE DRAINED OR DISCARDED ON TAYLOR SPEEDWAY No antifreeze allowed, Air conditioning systems must be drained and made inoperable*Batteries must be securely fastened behind or beside driver seat, covered with rubber. If it is mounted behind the driver, it must be well within the bars going to the back wall (see rule 8).Muffler and tail pipe can be removed.*All cars must have working brakes.*No studded tires.*Radiator to be in engine compartment. No cooling system other than stock.*All cars must have a fully charged chemical fire extinguisher, of at least 2.5 pounds, mounted securely within the driver’s reach. This extinguisher must be mounted on a metal bracket (extinguishers cannot be taped to roll bars).*Cars must have their number on roof and doors (MIN. 20″ AND VISIBLE).*Driver must be out of car when refueling.*NO Pipe shall exceed 2” Sked 40*All large holes in firewall and floorboards to be covered with non-flammable materialAll cars will be Inspected. Any car that officials deem not complying with rules or unsafe will be cut from the program until the problem is FIXED.You can add weight to a pick-up box if it is secured in a safe manner and in front of the rear axleYou may secure box to frame using ready rod and plates or U-bolts, max 6” platesIf you have a uni-body frame you can join the front and rear with equal or less material and must not be outside of the bodyFor more information, join the Taylor Speedway Hit to Pass Facebook group.Advertisementlast_img read more

"Hit to Pass making debut at Taylor Speedway this Father’s Day weekend"

City getting new garbage bins

first_imgA new feature of the bins is a barcode that will be on the bin. Each barcode on an individual bin will correspond to the address to which it belongs. [asset|aid=3056|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=47cb17346995421f621e7ff5e0cd2515-Demers 1_1_Pub.mp3] All bags will have to be put in the bin starting Sept. 1 when residents will be required to begin using the bins. Demers would like to remind residents not to use the bins until that date as the current company in charge of garbage disposal won’t be able to deal with them.Residents will be allowed to fill the container with as many bags as they want, as long as it does not overflow. If anyone requires a second bin, Demers says they will be available at a cost of $75 along with the $120 annual pickup fee.Advertisement Each bin will come with a door hanger outlining how to use the bins and where to leave them by the curb. Anyone who does not receive a bin by the end of August should contact public works at 250-787-8150. Photo: Fort St. John residents will be able to use the new garbage bins beginning Sept. 1./Kimberley MolinaFort St. John is beginning a new – and possibly cleaner – garbage initiative in the city.- Advertisement -Brand new garbage bins will be distributed to about 5,300 households over the next month.The garbage bins will hold approximately three bags of garbage and all households must use the bin.Don Demers is the director of public works. He says there will be three main benefits of having the new bins. Firstly, the bins will help cut down on messes made by animals that tear into bags placed on the curb, secondly garbage collection will be a lot quicker, and thirdly it will be a lot safer for the workers as they won’t have to leave the truck to pick up the bins.The bins will be able to be picked up and dumped by the truck itself.Advertisementlast_img read more

"City getting new garbage bins"

4 teams taste victory on opening day

first_imgGuyoil/Tradewind Tankers U-18 Tournament…The first ever Guyoil/Tradewind Tankers Under-18 tournament got underway in the blistering sun on Sunday morning with four teams gaining their first points in the competition.Guyoil Marketing Executive Ashmin John takes the kickoff honours in the presence of Petra’s Troy Mendonca, Mark Alleyne and the competitorsThe eleven-week tournament will feature 12 schools from Georgetown, East Bank, East Coast, West Coast and Linden vying for a chance to equip their school with funding for a project of their choice.Co-Director of Petra, Troy Mendonca, took some time out of the opening ceremony to shed some light on the Organisation’s need to host such a tournament.“We at Petra Organisation would have recognised the need for such a programme if we want to, as a nation, improve our football internationally,” Mendonca stated.Mendonca has expressed gratitude to the sponsors: Guyoil, Trandewind Tankers, and ANSA McAL under their iCool, Lyrix and Smalta brands, for making Petra’s vision of the tournament a reality.“At this point in time, we are very grateful to Guyoil, in association with Tradewind Tankers, ably supported by ANSA McAL, for giving us the opportunity to present to you this under-18 football tournament,” Mendonca said.Detailing Guyoil’s commitment to community service throughout the length and breadth of Guyana, Marketing Executive Ashmin John, who also spoke at the event, noting that the company was elated to jump on board.“We just thought there is no better way to invest in communities nationwide than to partner with the Petra Organisation in encouraging youths from all across the country to develop their skills in football,” John stated.She highlighted the continuous hard work of the organisation, stating, “We are extremely proud to be in such good company of the Petra Organisation, based on the quality of tournaments coordinated over the past couple of years.”In the same breath, the marketing executive thanked Petra for approaching Guyoil for their support.“So, once again, I’d like to thank the Petra Organisation for doing such a wonderful job in football,” she declared.When the first whistle blew, Annandale and Vergenoegen Secondary took to the field to battle. Markel Matheson started the scoring in the third minute, and a hat-trick from Omari Glasgow set up Annandale’s 4-1 win. The only reply from Vergenogen came from Romel Modus.Coming all the way from Linden, Christianburg made good on their travels with an absolute trashing of Uitvlugt Secondary. Three from Tyrise Lewis, two from Andre Mayers, and one apiece from Jermaine Mason, Randy Pickering and Felix Innis sealed Christianburg’s 8-0 victory.Taking the place of Friendship Secondary, Charlestown entered the competition with confidence, and capitalised on their opportunity. A lone goal from Raymond Bandhu secured them their first win of the tournament against Marian Academy.The final match of the day saw Queen’s College and Queenstown Secondary being paired. In this encounter, Jarrell Dos Santos was QC’s hero with a pair of goals. Try as they might, Queenstown could only muster Tyrese Hart’s one goal, resulting in a 2-1 win for QC.last_img read more

"4 teams taste victory on opening day"

Fabregas ready for Monaco switch – report

first_img0Shares0000Thanks, goodbye: Cesc Fabregas leaves the Stamford Bridge pitch on Saturday © AFP / Adrian DENNISMONACO, Monaco, Jan 6 – Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas is expected in Monaco on Sunday to negotiate a transfer to the French Ligue 1 club from Chelsea, sports daily L’Equipe reported Saturday.Fabregas and his agent Darren Dein will meet Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasyliev although a source told AFP that the move has not yet been finalised. Fabregas, 31, played four seasons at Arsenal from 2003-2007 alongside current Monaco coach Thierry Henry.He moved to Chelsea in 2014 but does not figure in the future plans of coach Maurizio Sarri having played just six times all season.On Saturday, Fabregas made a tearful farewell to Chelsea fans in the 2-0 FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge where he had a penalty saved.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

"Fabregas ready for Monaco switch – report"

Coach: Past players more dedicated

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Perhaps the debate will never end over whether today’s high school baseball teams are better than those from previous generations. Valencia High coach Jared Snyder, who starred at Saugus in the late 1980s, would love to stand up for today’s players, but he grudgingly acknowledges that local teams during his era probably were better. “I’d have to say the kids today are physically stronger than we were back then, but the dedication and desire factor is the biggest difference,” Snyder said. “In the old days, guys would go to the batting cages or hit live pitching every day of the week. I think there are certain players like that today, but not as many on an overall basis.” Snyder notes that the Santa Clarita Valley had only three schools back then – Hart, Saugus and Canyon – so the competition to make varsity rosters was more heated. “I can remember some Canyon and Hart teams back then when you looked at the lineup and just said, ‘Wow,’” he said. “The teams were just so much deeper into the batting order in the ’80s.” Snyder can empathize with coaches who were forced to cut more players because there was no JV baseball – just varsity and frosh/soph. “Imagine what it was like to tell a kid who had played baseball all his life that there’s no spot on the roster for him,” Snyder said. “There’s less cutting now, and that allows more kids to blossom.” Gerry Gittelson, (661) 257-5218 gerry.gittelson@dailynews.comlast_img read more

"Coach: Past players more dedicated"


first_imgOne of Donegal’s most famous hotels may be on the verge of re-opening after being closed for almost two years.The 48 bedroom Ostan na Rosann hotel, Dungloe’s only hotel, has remained closed since it went into liquidation.The hotel, which has a swimming pool, bar and function room, was once the jewel in the crown of the west Donegal town. However the venue has remained bolted shut despite several rumoured attempts of a purchaser.In May last year a local businessman living in the UK was supposed to have purchased the hotel for just under €1million.The previous February, CB Richard Ellis confirmed their instructions to offer the 48 bedroom hotel for sale by private treaty with a guide price in excess of €1million. The hotel is being sold on the instructions of Mr J. Stafford, Liquidator, MMB Hotels Ltd.However that deal fell through at the last minute. However Donegaldaily now understands that a significant amount of work has been carried out on the hotel and it may be about to open again.It is believed the premises has been leased from the liquidator and could be about to reopen again.The relaunch of the famous hotel would also create a number of jobs locally.The hotel not only catered for functions, dances and other events but was also traditionally the main centre for the annual Mary from Dungloe Festival.One local Dungloe resident told us “It will be great news if the Ostan opens again. It’s a disgrace that a town the size of Dungloe does not have its own hotel. “How can you expect visitors to come and stay in Dungloe if there is no hotel for them to stay in?” he asked.EndsFAMOUS DUNGLOE HOTEL ON VERGE OF REOPENING was last modified: June 19th, 2011 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:dungloeOstan Na Rosannlast_img read more


October tax deadline is looming, are you ready?

first_imgHundreds of thousands of Irish people have their calculators at the ready as the clocks tick on towards an important date. Thankfully, the expert team at The Tax Clinic in Letterkenny and Killybegs are here to help with a guide to filing returns:The upcoming pay-and-file deadline marks the date by which taxpayers must file their return for 2016. The self-assessment system of taxation applies not just to the self–employed, but to anyone with income from sources that are not chargeableunder pay as you earn (PAYE). So those with rental income, farming income, foreign incomes must also get their financial house in order in the coming weeks.Pay and File:Under the ‘pay and file’ system, October 31st, 2017 is the date by which you must pay1. Any balance of income tax owing for 20162. Preliminary tax for the tax year 20173. It is also the date by which you must file your tax return for 2016. Not just for the Self-Employed:Traditionally, filing a tax return is seen as something that the self-employed do at this time of year. However, even if you are an employee, you could still need to file a return. Failing to do so could result in penalties, so make sure you find out in plenty of time if you have a requirement to make a return.Surcharge for Late Returns:You must return the completed 2016 Tax Return on or before 31 October 2017 to avoid a surcharge. If your Return is late the surcharge, which is added on to your tax due, is:• 5% of the tax due where the Return is submitted after 31 October 2017 andon or before 31 December 2017.• 10% of the tax due, where the Return is submitted after 31 December 2017.WWW.THETAXCLINIC.IE was founded in February 2010 by Michael Coll & Mabel McHugh. The Tax Clinic is the only business in the Northwest that specialises in completing Tax Returns for small businesses and Paye workers with additional income. As Chartered Tax Advisers we have the knowledge and experience to assist you with all your taxation needs. Our offices are based at the High Road Letterkenny and Main Street Killybegs. Letterkenny – 074 9160550Killybegs – 074 9732055The Tax Clinic Letterkenny October tax deadline is looming, are you ready? was last modified: October 4th, 2017 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

"October tax deadline is looming, are you ready?"

What Mean These Observations?

first_imgScience news outlets report many interesting findings every week.  It’s not always clear, though, whether the conclusions drawn from them are warranted by the data.  Here are some recent cases:Jaws of steel:  A skull labeled Australopithecus robustus was studied for the force its jaws could generate.  Interpretation: “Early humans had jaws of steel.”  With this title, Science Daily is assuming this skull tells us about our ancestry, even though it is similar to apes and the linkage to human evolution is questionable at best.  Researchers at Arizona State assume this animal’s teeth could really crack a nut.  What does it mean?  “New research … reveals nut-cracking abilities in our 2.5-million-year-old relatives that enabled them to alter their diet to adapt to changes in food sources in their environment.”  It is not clear that they found any fossil nuts or fossil menus, but one of the researchers knew just what our great-great-grandparents were facing in their own great depression: “These fall-back foods – hard nuts and seeds – were important survival strategies during a period of changing climates and food scarcity.”  Apparently they had not yet evolved the ability to hit the big nuts with a rock and save their teeth.Spongy Cambrian fuse:  Since the time of Darwin, the Cambrian explosion has been one of the biggest problems for the theory of evolution.  All the animal phyla appear abruptly in the fossil record without ancestors, despite over a century of looking for precursors.  This week in Nature,1 researchers reported traces of a steroid in Precambrian rock in Oman said to be 635 million years old.  They said this chemical (24-isopropylcholestane, or lpc24) is diagnostic of sponges, and must mean that true sponges had evolved 100 million years before the Cambrian explosion.    Brocks and Butterfield pointed out, though, in the same issue of Nature,2 that the claim by the discoverers that the steroids indicate the presence of mature sponges “overlooks the evolutionary nature of biological taxa and the incremental assembly of defining characteristics along (now-extinct) ‘stem lineages’.”  In the evolutionary world view, one cannot assume the existence of mature sponges in rocks 100 million years earlier.  They must have been 100 million years less evolved.  Did the assumed ancestors even have the same characteristics of Cambrian sponges?  No clear evidence of spicules, for instance, has been found in the periods prior to the Cambrian.  “The absence of convincing spicules in the Ediacaran or Cryogenian fossil record implies that the modern poriferan classes were not fully defined until the Cambrian,” they said.  So not only was the original paper vulnerable to charges of question-begging, the criticism by Brocks and Butterfield was similarly theory-laden with Darwinian ideas.  Nevertheless, the news media jumped on the evolutionary interpretation with dramatic headlines like “Oldest Fossil Evidence for Animals Found” (Live Science), “Ancient sponges leave their mark” (BBC News, and “Earliest Evidence for Animal Life Discovered” (Science Daily).Bible food fight:  Last month a theologian at the University of St. Andrews announced that the Biblical diet was unhealthy.  PhysOrg reported him claiming that people living in Bible times did not enjoy a balanced diet, contrary to portrayals of Israel as a land flowing with milk and honey.  This conclusion was based on his comparison of Biblical texts, comparative anthropological evidence, and archaeological finds.  He admitted that Biblical texts were not necessarily intended to give dietary advice, but left unanswered the question whether the land was capable of providing a balanced diet, and even if so, whether the practices of the people matched the precepts of the Old Testament.  Even today, many people do not eat what they know they should.  To what extent modern conceptions of what constitutes a good diet should be imposed on ancient people seems also open to question.  Every so often the modern “food pyramid” gets rearranged.  And some living tribes, like Eskimos, seem to get along fine with diets that contradict modern notions of the balanced diet.  The judgment call in the article, therefore, seems moot on several counts.Tranquil flood:  A report on Science Daily called into question the Black Sea Flood theory for the origin of legends of Noah’s Flood.  Sediment cores on the Danube River were adduced to cast doubt on the Ryan-Pitman hypothesis that was popular a few years ago (04/21/2001, 04/26/2002).  Their questioning suggests additional questions, though.  Did the Ryan-Pitman hypothesis even qualify as an explanation for a Biblical flood that is described in Genesis 6-9 as covering all the high mountains?  And can sediments limited to a small region such as the Danube inform any interpretation of a flood of much vaster extent?  National Geographic interpreted this, anyway, to cast doubt on the Bible: “‘Noah’s Flood’ Not Rooted in Reality, After All?”  The only thing it was casting doubt on was the Ryan-Pitman hypothesis.  In that regard, yes, it could be called a “mythical flood,” but not necessarily a “Nail in Noah’s-Flood Coffin” like National Geographic intimated.Protein evolution:  Pyrrolysine, an amino acid outside the standard 20-amino-acid library of “letters” making up life’s protein code, has been studied in more detail by researchers at Yale.  This uncommon amino acid, found in only 7 microbes, is modified after the protein has been translated in the ribosome.  Science Daily said the research team feels this fact “gave the researchers a molecular handle by being an extreme example of an amino acid that evolved to serve a highly specific need.”  Apparently the microbes have molecular systems that manage this particular amino acid.  To the reporter, this can only mean that “these molecules have evolved to work together.”  Teleology is supposed to be forbidden in Darwinian explanations.Monkey politics:  Some chimpanzees are big and use physical attacks to get their way.  Others are smaller and more docile, grooming others to win favor.  One chimpanzee named Freud in Tanzania was observed to use both strategies.  According to Science Daily, this can only mean one thing: monkeys evolved politics.  The brief article did not mention this as evidence for the origin of human politics, but the lead author is the McKnight Distinguished Professor in the College of Biological Sciences’ department of ecology, evolution and behavior (EEB) at the University of Minnesota.  The human-evolution angle is apparently part of the motivation for the study, because she said, “We plan to study more alpha males to determine if grooming is a common strategy that small-bodied males use to placate rivals or cultivate cooperative alliances.” Red message:  Some ochre-colored markings were found on a cave wall in Africa said to be 100,000 years old.  This must mean that human culture evolved 70,000 years earlier than thought, reported Michael Balter in Science last week.3  One researcher nearly “fell off his chair” at the suggestion that the simple cross-hatched lines represented deliberate, symbolic designs.  “If so,” Balter commented, “the timeline for the earliest known symbolic behavior must once again be redrawn,” even if scientists don’t know what they symbolized, or even if they were symbols in the first place.  What “If not so”?RNA world lines:  Mexican researchers publishing in PLoS One think they found fossils of the long-lost RNA world in the genetic code.4  How did they discern this?  They modeled on a computer the kinds of relationships of purines and pyrimidines in the DNA and RNA in some species of Archaea and bacteria.  “Remarkably,” they remarked, “the scaling properties of the distance series of some codons from the RNA code and most codons from both extended RNA codes turned out to be identical or very close to the scaling properties of codons of the SGC” [standard genetic code].  What does this mean?  “Therefore, we conclude that most current prokaryotes may still contain relics of the primeval RNA World and that both extended RNA codes may well represent two plausible evolutionary paths between the RNA code and the current SGC.”  This, of course, assumes that the RNA World even existed.  They referred to it as a “possible” thing and a “notion.”  The word notion appeared six times in the paper, most notably here: “The notion that present genomes may still retain remnants of their ancestry for more than three billion years has been a subject of controversy.”  Nevertheless, they concluded, “Our results support the notion that evolution did not erase all vestiges typical of the RNA World in today prokaryote genomes, not only in terms of an enrichment of RNY codons, but also revealing the existence of an underlying ancient fractal structure.”  The notion of a fractal structure in DNA played heavily in the paper.Snakes alive:  A giant boa fossil has been discovered in Colombia.  Matthew Huber in Nature took this to mean that “tropical climate in the past was not buffered from global warming.”5  He did ask some questions about this inference proposed by discoverers Head et al in the same issue,5 namely:All that said, these implications are based on a new type of proxy: Head and colleagues’ findings are the result of probably the first study in ‘snake palaeothermometry’, and as such must be viewed with caution.  Is the empirical link between size and temperature really generalizable and accurate?  Could the ability to lose heat be an important limitation for these giant snakes, rendering Head and colleagues’ extrapolations moot?  Can a few vertebrae truly provide accurate estimates of snake size?  Why have similarly giant snakes not been found in other warm intervals?The popular press, however, did not hesitate to say that the giant snake fossil is a lesson for humans about global climate change (see National Geographic).Mistakes in explanation happen.  Observations cannot speak for themselves.  There will always be some slippage between what we see and what it means.  For example, in Nature this week,6 Laurence Hurst bemoaned the fact that a diagnostic marker for positive selection in genes may be due to other causes not so benign.  Genes with “accelerated evolution” have been long inferred to be hotspots where positive natural selection is working overtime.  Berglund et al in PLoS Biology,7 proposed, instead, that hotspots may be artifacts of biased gene conversion (BGC) – the leftover damage from repair processes trying to correct mutations.  It leads to mutations getting fixed in the genome due to biased interactions between repair mechanisms and “purifying selection” – the genome’s attempt to maintain stability.  This will influence standard tests for positive selection and “possibly lead to false inference of positive selection at the protein level,” they said.    Hurst said the work “undermines the assumed connection between fast evolution and pervasive positive selection.  Instead, it seems that hotspots have probably accelerated evolution by means of a biased DNA repair process, not because the changes were good for us.”  This new inference is 180 degrees out of phase with the old one.  It means we are devolving: “Indeed, many changes are probably detrimental.”  As a result, inferring positive natural selection in the genes will require more rigor:More disturbingly, the results bring into question the usefulness of the standard tool kit for identifying hotspots of changes that are beneficial to organisms.  Convincing demonstration of positive selection now requires both evidence that the changes were not caused by BGC and scrutiny of the impact of the amino-acid changes.That last sentence implies that evolutionists had looked for rapid change in a gene, without tying it to some functional benefit for the organism (see 09/05/2008).  The take-home lesson: don’t assume an observation has one and only one interpretation.  A corollary is that competing explanations may all be wrong.1.  Love et al, “Fossil steroids record the appearance of Demospongiae during the Cryogenian period,” Nature 457, 718-721 (5 February 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07673.2.  Jochen J. Brocks and Nicholas J. Butterfield, “Biogeochemistry: Early animals out in the cold,” Nature 457, 672-673 (5 February 2009) | doi:10.1038/457672a.3.  Michael Balter, “Early Start for Human Art? Ochre May Revise Timeline,” Science, 30 January 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5914, p. 569, DOI: 10.1126/science.323.5914.569.4.  Marco V. Jos�, Tzipe Govezensky, Jos� A. Garc�a, Juan R. Bobadilla, “On the Evolution of the Standard Genetic Code: Vestiges of Critical Scale Invariance from the RNA World in Current Prokaryote Genomes,” Public Library of Science One, 4(2): e4340. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004340.5.  Head et al, “Giant boid snake from the Palaeocene neotropics reveals hotter past equatorial temperatures,” Nature 457, 715-717 (5 February 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07671.6.  Laurence D. Hurst, “Evolutionary genomics: A positive becomes a negative,” Nature 457, 543-544 (29 January 2009) | doi:10.1038/457543a.7.  Berglund, Pollard and Webster, “Hotspots of Biased Nucleotide Substitutions in Human Genes,” Public Library of Science: Biology, Vol. 7, No. 1, e26 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000026.Evidence can be badly misinterpreted, as any lawyer knows.  What do observations mean?  Humans are prone to jumping to conclusions.  Science is supposed to be a more rigorous process of linking causes to effects, in hopes of providing reliable explanations for natural phenomena.  Scientific reasoning usually does a better job than intuition, but it is not infallible.  A lot of questions have been raised about scientific reasoning over the last century.  Radicals have questioned the connection between scientific reasoning and “the real world” as it is “out there” apart from our sensations of it.  Most scientists today help themselves to the concept of “scientific realism” which assumes a connection.  The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says, “Scientific realists hold that the characteristic product of successful scientific research is knowledge of largely theory-independent phenomena and that such knowledge is possible (indeed actual) even in those cases in which the relevant phenomena are not, in any non-question-begging sense, observable.”  But how justified is scientific realism?  Scientists may assume it, but on what grounds?  Are they just begging deeper questions, even when they claim something as an “observation”?  Notice the article’s conclusion:Scientific realism is, by the lights of most of its defenders, the sciences’ own philosophy of science.  Considerations of the significant philosophical challenges which it faces indicate that it can be effectively defended only by the adoption of a metaphilosophical approach which is also closely tied to the science, viz., some version or other of philosophical naturalism.Metaphysics is unavoidable, therefore.  Can it be minimized?  Science does have a lot of success stories to its credit.  If scientists can fly a spacecraft around Saturn, applying widely varying findings accumulated through years of careful research in disparate fields, they must be doing something right.  There’s a strong link, however, between the successful explanations and phenomena that are observable, testable, and repeatable.  Origin stories are in different domain.  How successful can a theory about a universal common ancestor be if no observer was present?    Early scientists were scrupulous in cashing out their explanations in empirical evidence.  Darwin came along and relaxed the rules.  In the Origin, he made “one long argument,” employing analogies, using, for instance, artificial selection (a form of intelligent design) as a proxy for natural selection (chance masquerading as law of nature).  He also pieced together widely disconnected snippets of observation into a grand mythical story that merely sounded “plausible.”  There are no laws of plausibility.  How do you test plausibility?  If the intellectual world gets swept off its feet by the apparent plausibility of Darwin’s Myth because it fits with their Victorian values of progress in an age of criticism of establishment religion, does that make it the Truth?    Darwin got away with substituting hypothesis and narrative for scientific explanation.  He did so, ironically, by helping himself to moral and intellectual concepts not derivable from his universal law of natural selection.  This intellectual coup, achieved more through rhetoric than demonstration, prostituted the noble advance of science that had long sought understanding through rigorous observation and testing.  These articles (above) are examples of that legacy.  Getting science back to its founding principles is as difficult as getting America’s entitlement-minded culture back to the limited government specified in the Constitution.  Without it, though, any justification for reliable inference about the world and its natural history is compromised.    Letting storytellers in science is like letting hackers on the internet.  When hackers run rampant on the science network, it’s hard to tell what is real anymore.  Only suckers broadcast excited messages that shout, “Send this to everyone you know!”(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

"What Mean These Observations?"

Ohio Crop Progress — July 2, 2018

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Producers used the dry conditions last week to make headway with haymaking, straw baling, and other fieldwork, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA, NASS, Ohio Field Office. There were 4.2 days suitable for fieldwork in Ohio during the week ending July 1. High temperatures were ideal for wheat maturation, however, they caused stress to livestock. Winter wheat harvest was well underway. Lingering wet soil conditions and additional scattered storms last week caused some damage in crops fields. There were some reports of ponding in fields, flood damage, and yellowing of plants. Soybean emergence was nearly complete. Crop conditions remained mostly good to excellent.Click here to read the full reportlast_img read more

"Ohio Crop Progress — July 2, 2018"