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Quick Hits: Outdoor News

first_imgGovernment Shutdown Costly for National ParksWashington, D.C.Last fall’s government shutdown took its toll on the National Park system. Numbers revealed by the Obama administration in March totaled $414 million lost by parks and surrounding communities due to closures. According to a report by the AP, eight million fewer people visited parks due to the 16-day shutdown, and five states, including California and Arizona, lost more than $20 million. Six states—Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New York, South Dakota, and Tennessee—decided to reopen parks using state funds, and according to the report, a Congressional bill is pending to reimburse those states.Finishing the Allegheny TrailPaint Bank, Va.After 40 years of hard work from dedicated volunteers, the lengthy Allegheny Trail may soon be completed. According to a story in the West Virginia Gazette, a local hiking group started blazing the final 30 miles of the 330-mile trail back in March. The West Virginia Scenic Trails Association was formed back in 1974 to construct the yellow-blazed trail, which starts on the Mason-Dixon Line at the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border near Bruceton Mills and leads hikers south until it intersects with the Appalachian Trail on Peters Mountain at the Virginia-West Virginia border. To finish the trail, the WVSTA is hard at work on the 30-mile stretch that crosses under I-64 near the Virginia-West Virginia state line east of White Sulphur Springs. It will extend to the Laurel Branch community in Monroe County.Thread Trail GrowsCharlotte, N.C.The Thread will be one of the longest regional trail systems in the country, spanning some 1,500 miles through the Carolinas. Currently about 135 miles of the Thread are open. The longest continuous segment is the 15-mile Ridgeline Trail, which Kings Mountain State Park, Kings Mountain National Military Park, and Crowders Mountain State Park, all of which are great destinations for rock climbing, hiking, and biking.Another top priority is building a 50-mile canoe and kayak blueway along the Rocky River, which runs through North Carolina’s Piedmont region. The goal is to put additional access points and put-in areas along the river near bridges and roads.The Thread is not a point-to-point path, but rather a spider web network of trails extending across North and South Carolina. Funding new trail construction remains a challenge, but Karl Froelich, the Thread’s new executive director, says his organization provides grants to some towns to help with the process—the towns have to match at least 10 percent—along with expert trail design and building support. “Bottom line is people love trails,” he says. “We’re just giving them what they want.”Ray Runs the ParkwayBoone, N.C.In the North Carolina High Country, people don’t get the forecast from The Weather Channel. They get it from Ray’s Weather Center. The Boone-based online weather service was started as a hobby more than a decade ago by Ray Russell, a computer science professor at Appalachian State University. Now the mountain area’s most trusted weather source employs five forecasters and is read by 250,000 people a month.At the end of this month, Russell, an avid runner, will take off in an attempt to run the entire Blue Ridge Parkway in 30 days. During the End to Ender, Russell will cover all 469 miles as a fundraiser for the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and to celebrate the launch of his new website BRPweather.com. The journey can be followed with daily video blogs at RaysWeather.com.Racing in UndiesGrand Rapids, MichiganIn March, runners in a Michigan 5K were encouraged to complete the course in some interesting attire. Organizers of the 3.1-mile FUNderwear Run asked racers to don their drawers on the outside of regular running apparel. The interesting dress code was meant to inspire good humor, as the race was part of the annual Gilda’s LaughFest, which attracted some big time comedians including Jay Leno, Lily Tomlin, and Chris Tucker. Despite a temperature of 21 degrees, 300 runners proudly wore their underwear (some of them wore it on the outside of their clothes) for a good cause. Proceeds benefitted Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, which offers emotional support to those suffering from grief due to cancer and other illnesses.Pee-Wee’s Cruiser Fetches Big Bucks on eBayOceanside, CaliforniaThe iconic red cruiser bike ridden by actor Paul Reubens as the character Pee-wee Herman sold on eBay for big money in March. The souped-up Schwinn, which anchored the plot of the 1985 film Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, fetched $36,600 after a competitive 55 bids were placed on the online auction site. The bike came with an autographed photo of Ruebens, an additional pic of him signing the photo, a certificate of authenticity, and a Warner Bros. spec sheet on the cruiser.New Half-marathon Treadmill RecordBoston, MassachusettsIn March, 23-year-old Tyler Andrews set the new unofficial world record for the fastest half-marathon time on a treadmill. Andrews ran the 13.1-mile distance in 1:07:18, 11 seconds quicker than the previous record held by Scottish runner Andrew Lemoncello. According to a story on the Runner’s World website, Andrews, who ran in place at Marathon Sports in Boston, was six seconds behind the record heading into the final 1.1 miles, but a late burst of energy led to a 4:58 final mile to accomplish the feat. The record was attempted as a scholarship and community development program fundraiser for Strive Trips, an organization that sends high school athletes to South America and Africa for training and community work programs.—Jedd Ferris and Sam Boykinlast_img read more

Brazilian Army Provides Humanitarian Aid to Flood Victims

first_imgFinally, the link was ready by late afternoon on April 12, though traffic was limited to 15 tons at any given moment to avoid the risk of collapse. CMA and the National Transportation Infrastructure Department (DNIT) plan further repairs to the connecting arteries after the rainy season is over. By Dialogo May 14, 2015 “The convoy from the 6th Construction Engineering Battalion left Boa Vista on April 1, traveled down the BR-174, and arrived in Manaus on the third,” SGM Frederico recalled. There, the Army rented a raft to bring equipment provided by the Boa Vista battalion from the port to the city. Throughout Brazil, the country’s Armed Forces are working with Civil Defense units to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians impacted by heavy flooding. About 3,100 Troops participated in such operations nationwide in 2014, and this year, 2,700 service members have participated in the effort. Further complicating their effort was the task of building the bridge itself, undertaken by about 30 service members of the 21st Construction Engineering Company. “The engineering work is very technical. There was no way to hurry it along, it was a question of safety.” “We mobilized all available resources to solve the problem,” said Sergeant Major Flávio Frederico of the Social Communications unit of the 21st Construction Engineering Company, headquartered in the city. “We were the only ones who could do it quickly.” The impact of the floods could have been worse if not for the efforts of the Armed Forces, and residents of São Gabriel da Cachoeira expressed gratitude for the Military’s assistance during the crisis. Soldiers from the 4th Jungle Infantry Battalion, the 7th Army Construction Engineering Battalion, and other Army units in the states of Roraima and Amazonas assisted more than 123,000 people affected by the largest flood in the history of the Acre River from February through April. They helped move civilians from high-risk areas, transported emergency basic necessities such as food and water, and performed maintenance at the Plácido de Castro International Airport in Rio Branco. The mission to reconnect the city to other parts of Brazil lasted 12 days. In the early phase of the operation, on April 1, Troops in Boa Vista, 1,100 kilometers from the remote city, removed 40 panels, 21 joists, and 50 platforms to build the Bailey bridge in São Gabriel da Cachoeira. The iron structure weighs 40 tons. Civilians express gratitude To help, the Army acquired small boats that could cross the broken roadway. Of particular importance was transferring civilians suffering from broken bones; the patients needed to be transferred on a gurney from one side of the chasm by boat to the other side, where they were placed in a vehicle to be taken to the airport. In the event of disasters in the city, patients are treated in Manaus. Finally, the link was ready by late afternoon on April 12, though traffic was limited to 15 tons at any given moment to avoid the risk of collapse. CMA and the National Transportation Infrastructure Department (DNIT) plan further repairs to the connecting arteries after the rainy season is over. Soldiers engaged in operations to support transport and supplies, and restricted residential traffic to maintain order. During their effort, Troops learned that there was damage to the BR-307 road at other points, where footbridges (improvised straight bridges) were erected that allowed one person at a time to cross. “We mobilized all available resources to solve the problem,” said Sergeant Major Flávio Frederico of the Social Communications unit of the 21st Construction Engineering Company, headquartered in the city. “We were the only ones who could do it quickly.” “We are bringing in services to make these roadway connections permanent,” Maj. Gen. Pupin said. “The community needs the Army’s support.” For example, on March 19, after several consecutive days of rain in São Gabriel da Cachoeira, a stretch of the BR-307 near kilometer marker 3.5 collapsed, leaving a crater 15 meters across. The break in the roadway separated the center of São Gabriel from the Camanaus River port and the Uaupés Airport — both 21 kilometers away, and the only connections to the rest of Brazil. “The convoy from the 6th Construction Engineering Battalion left Boa Vista on April 1, traveled down the BR-174, and arrived in Manaus on the third,” SGM Frederico recalled. There, the Army rented a raft to bring equipment provided by the Boa Vista battalion from the port to the city. “We are bringing in services to make these roadway connections permanent,” Maj. Gen. Pupin said. “The community needs the Army’s support.” The river, which exceeded its normal levels by 18.4 meters, only started to recede in mid-March. About two weeks later, Soldiers resourcefully put in place a metal bridge originally used in combat for the civilians of Amazonas — a Bailey bridge, rebuilding the ground connection between São Gabriel da Cachoeira, 852 kilometers from Manaus, and the border with Colombia and Venezuela. Civilians express gratitude “We are the last municipality in Amazonas; you can only get here by boat or plane,” said the Prefecture’s Cabinet Chief Valmir de Souza Delgado. “There was visible deterioration from the rainwater that had overflowed the riverbanks in the region.” “The Army is known throughout the city as the ‘Helping Hand,’ ” said Antônio Silva, host of Rádio Municipal de São Gabriel da Cachoeira. On his morning program “São Gabriel em Notícias,” from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., Silva discussed the difficulties every day and provided updates on the construction of the provisional bridge. March to June is considered the rainy season in the northern part of the country. Three days before the road collapsed, the prefecture and the commanders of the 2nd Jungle Infantry Brigade had met to discuss measures that could be taken to solve the imminent risks. The river, which exceeded its normal levels by 18.4 meters, only started to recede in mid-March. About two weeks later, Soldiers resourcefully put in place a metal bridge originally used in combat for the civilians of Amazonas — a Bailey bridge, rebuilding the ground connection between São Gabriel da Cachoeira, 852 kilometers from Manaus, and the border with Colombia and Venezuela. Soldiers from the 4th Jungle Infantry Battalion, the 7th Army Construction Engineering Battalion, and other Army units in the states of Roraima and Amazonas assisted more than 123,000 people affected by the largest flood in the history of the Acre River from February through April. They helped move civilians from high-risk areas, transported emergency basic necessities such as food and water, and performed maintenance at the Plácido de Castro International Airport in Rio Branco. Using the Bailey bridge to provide transportation routes to the people of the region was crucial, because the flooding damaged many roads. “Although the Bailey was old, and it was used to move armored vehicles on the battlefield, it is very useful for emergency operations,” said Major General Marcos Pupin, Commanding Officer of the 2nd Army Corps of Engineers at the Amazônia Military Command (CMA), located in Manaus. “The city was very isolated in the northwest of the state. Throughout Brazil, the country’s Armed Forces are working with Civil Defense units to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians impacted by heavy flooding. About 3,100 Troops participated in such operations nationwide in 2014, and this year, 2,700 service members have participated in the effort. The impact of the floods could have been worse if not for the efforts of the Armed Forces, and residents of São Gabriel da Cachoeira expressed gratitude for the Military’s assistance during the crisis. Using the Bailey bridge to provide transportation routes to the people of the region was crucial, because the flooding damaged many roads. The trip from Manaus to their final destination in São Gabriel da Cachoeira took another four days. The bad weather was challenging. “There was heavy rain, which required we be more careful, because the ground could give way at any moment,” SGM Frederico said. Soldiers work together to put bridge in place Section of vital road collapses “We are the last municipality in Amazonas; you can only get here by boat or plane,” said the Prefecture’s Cabinet Chief Valmir de Souza Delgado. “There was visible deterioration from the rainwater that had overflowed the riverbanks in the region.” Soldiers engaged in operations to support transport and supplies, and restricted residential traffic to maintain order. During their effort, Troops learned that there was damage to the BR-307 road at other points, where footbridges (improvised straight bridges) were erected that allowed one person at a time to cross. To help, the Army acquired small boats that could cross the broken roadway. Of particular importance was transferring civilians suffering from broken bones; the patients needed to be transferred on a gurney from one side of the chasm by boat to the other side, where they were placed in a vehicle to be taken to the airport. In the event of disasters in the city, patients are treated in Manaus. Soldiers work together to put bridge in place The mission to reconnect the city to other parts of Brazil lasted 12 days. In the early phase of the operation, on April 1, Troops in Boa Vista, 1,100 kilometers from the remote city, removed 40 panels, 21 joists, and 50 platforms to build the Bailey bridge in São Gabriel da Cachoeira. The iron structure weighs 40 tons. The trip from Manaus to their final destination in São Gabriel da Cachoeira took another four days. The bad weather was challenging. “There was heavy rain, which required we be more careful, because the ground could give way at any moment,” SGM Frederico said. March to June is considered the rainy season in the northern part of the country. Three days before the road collapsed, the prefecture and the commanders of the 2nd Jungle Infantry Brigade had met to discuss measures that could be taken to solve the imminent risks. What a good attitude the military had, and this should continue, and this is an example for the police. Congratulations to the Brazilian Army. May you always bring together men of good character and conscience. “Although the Bailey was old, and it was used to move armored vehicles on the battlefield, it is very useful for emergency operations,” said Major General Marcos Pupin, Commanding Officer of the 2nd Army Corps of Engineers at the Amazônia Military Command (CMA), located in Manaus. “The city was very isolated in the northwest of the state. Section of vital road collapses For example, on March 19, after several consecutive days of rain in São Gabriel da Cachoeira, a stretch of the BR-307 near kilometer marker 3.5 collapsed, leaving a crater 15 meters across. The break in the roadway separated the center of São Gabriel from the Camanaus River port and the Uaupés Airport — both 21 kilometers away, and the only connections to the rest of Brazil. “The Army is known throughout the city as the ‘Helping Hand,’ ” said Antônio Silva, host of Rádio Municipal de São Gabriel da Cachoeira. On his morning program “São Gabriel em Notícias,” from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., Silva discussed the difficulties every day and provided updates on the construction of the provisional bridge. Further complicating their effort was the task of building the bridge itself, undertaken by about 30 service members of the 21st Construction Engineering Company. “The engineering work is very technical. There was no way to hurry it along, it was a question of safety.” last_img read more

Norwich striker Kyle Lafferty left in the lurch after move to Sion collapses

first_imgNorwich striker Kyle Lafferty is facing more transfer frustration after a return to Sion broke down. Press Association The 28-year-old made 25 appearances for Sion, scoring five times, between 2012 and 2013 after leaving Rangers and before joining Palermo. A deadline-day move remains a possibility but Lafferty must leave Norwich on Monday or be forced to rely on a temporary switch when the loan window reopens next week. It would be a blow to the former Burnley man who wants to be in top shape for Northern Ireland’s first-ever European Championship campaign after scoring seven goals in qualifying. Wolves held an interest and Leeds have tried to bring him to Elland Road this month but failed to agree a deal with Norwich. The Canaries are ideally looking to sell the striker rather than loan him out. Lafferty has made just three substitute appearances for City this season, scoring once, and has been pushed further down the pecking order by the arrivals of Steven Naismith and Patrick Bamford, who joined on loan from Chelsea on Saturday. He joined the Canaries in 2014 and scored once in 20 games before joining Turkish side Rizespor on loan in the second half of last season. center_img The Swiss club had made a move to take the Northern Ireland international on loan until the end of the season, Press Association Sport understands. But Lafferty is keen to stay in England ahead of Euro 2016 and now faces a race against time to secure a move away from Carrow Road before Monday’s transfer deadline. last_img read more

OVERTIME

first_imgby Bill NealFor New Pittsburgh Courier:10 There’s a first time for everything so here we go. I’ve never started the countdown with a Locker Room inductee, but this lady deserves it. Ms. Racele Watson is living up in the Hill District and raising her sons, one of whom is “Denier.” Denier is holding it down at Central Catholic High School. (You know the school Penn Hills kicks around like a rented mule?) Anyway, Racele, you, Denier and whatever the other kid’s name is (oops my bad), you’re all “In the Locker Room!”:09 I don’t know why you’re all having such a hard time understanding what’s going on with Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and this way off the hook story about a girlfriend that really doesn’t exist. The—boy’s —a—freak! Ya know it and I know it and don’t act like you don’t recognize it. Every one of you has a cousin just like him that talks to people that ain’t there every day. Yes you do… yes you do… yes—you—do!!!:08 I’m telling you right now “Kobe” and the Lakers will beat Lebron and the Heat Thursday night, so by the time you read this, you will have missed your chance to take it to the bank.:07 New year, same problems. Please “instruct” your young African-American men to pull their pants up. I mean, come on, this is getting to be just stupid and while you’re at it, can you start getting our “young ladies” to clean up their language. Some of these girls’ attitudes and the words coming out of their mouths make some of these boys look like angels!:06 Yeah, hockey is back. No, really, I am excited and happy. No, I really am. Doesn’t mean I know any more about it. No shut-up about it. Go Pens!:05 Want to be reminded of some good old school music? Pull out your Stephanie Mills classics. Man, that woman had pipes on her… I mean, she really did and while up in the flash-back machine, if anybody out there has any of the “Sinbad Summer Jamz” tapes or CD’s, please call me so I can get a copy. Oh, don’t worry, I’ll pay for it mmmaaannn!!:04 For my money, the NFL Rookie of the Year is not Andrew Luck or RGIII, but it’s Russell Wilson of the Seahawks. Oh, by the way, have you heard… he’s a brother.:03 All I can tell ya is this… If you’re Serena Williams’ boyfriend and she says it’s time to go… you best be about the business of going… and right now! Did you see the arms on that woman? That said, she’s bad, and I mean in a good way!:02 Why was the ESPN sports commentator making such a big deal about Katherine Webb, the girlfriend of Alabama quarterback A.J. “Johnny Football” McCarron? Because—she—is—fine, that’s why! Brent’s old, but he ain’t dead.:01 At the Buzzer, 2013 Style. Here we Go!•Coach Harvey Smith and Coach Quinten Johns will bring financial security to ya, for ya! January 27 is the official coming out showcase for Organo Gold Coffee Gourmet. If you want to change your financial life, as well as your children and your grandchildren, you don’t want to miss this event; 3-6 p.m. at 3 Lakes Golf Course, 6700 Saltsburg Rd. Call “Q” at 412-628-7947 for information. •There’s only one Super Bowl party to be at! The Champions Super Bowl party Feb. 3 at 3 Lakes Golf Course in Penn Hills. (Where else?!?!) Doors open at 5:30, kickoff at 6:30. Fun, prizes and surprises, 50/50, and special guest, former Pittsburgh Steeler West Lyons. Wear your black and gold anyway. We ain’t done yet!•“Ultimate Force” karate and boxing showing coming at you real soon, saluting Master Jacquet Basemore, Rayco “War” Saunders and others. It’s going to be a-mazing!! More information soon.•Champions High School All-Star Basketball Classic, featuring Western Pa’s top seniors, back on track, Saturday the 6th. Seniors… it’s your time… get ready!•Get out and support your local high school basketball teams. Do it, do it now! High school basketball. It’s FAN-TAS-TIC!~ GAME OVER ~ BILL NEALlast_img read more

Sports Fields for Middletown’s Stevenson Park Have Some Neighbors Worried About…

first_imgBy Chris Rotolo |MIDDLETOWN – Residents of the Middletown adult community Shady Oaks say it is not unusual to encounter the flashing lights and blaring sirens of an ambulance along West Front Street, on its rush to Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank.A concept plan to attract people to newly created soccer fields at nearby Stevenson Park should consider the traffic impact on the busy road, said Shady Oaks resident John Tocco at a township meeting Oct. 15.“Regardless of what you may believe about the area, you’re not living there and you’re not driving the road every day,” said Tocco. “I am. And the traffic is already unbearable and it’s a direct route to the Riverview hospital. There’s no question that when that park is crowded with visitors it will prevent an ambulance from getting to that hospital.”Middletown Township is seeking to create youth sports fields at 130-acre Stevenson Park, located on West Front Street, to help alleviate pressure on its other sports fields. The undeveloped park has the capacity to accommodate up to nine fields and 350 parking spaces, according to a $1.5 million proposal recently presented by township administrator Anthony P. Mercantante for consideration. For now, the township is seeking only to build just two fields, and is applying for a $250,000 Open Space matching grant from the county for the funding.Mercantante acknowledged the group’s desire for a traffic study, but conducting one in that area would be “sort of pointless,” he said.“We have parks all over town, some of which have many more facilities and attract many more people than would happen at Stevenson Park,” Mercantante said, referencing multisport complexes like Bodman Park off the highly trafficked Navesink River Road, Fairview Fields on Oak Hill Road, which is crossed by two rail lines, and McMahon Park, a North Middletown location in a residential area.When the concept plans for this project emerged in September, both Mercantante and Mayor Kevin M. Settembrino agreed that the township had great need for additional fields and that Stevenson Park is one of the last places in Middletown to place a meaningful cluster of playing fields.Deputy Mayor Anthony P. Fiore, a coach with the Middletown Soccer Club, said parks are most frequented on weekends, rather than during the week when roadways are congested with commuter traffic. He also remarked that the four soccer fields at West Front Street Park – a patch of green space at the intersection with Crawfords Corner Road – “don’t get anywhere close to 100 cars” at peak use, adding that “despite what anyone may think, there is a need (for these fields).”To reduce disturbances for neighbors, the plans do not include LED lighting towers and speaker systems.Linda Alonso has lived at Shady Oaks for five years and said the disturbance of the tranquil Stevenson Park setting with serene open space and lakeside views would be the most detrimental byproduct of this project, which proposes the potential development of nine fields in three phases of construction.“It’s not just residents of Shady Oaks who are concerned, it’s all of Lincroft. This would be the destruction of a piece of heaven. It breaks my heart to think about,” Alonso said.Fiore moved to suppress residents perceptions that nine fields were guaranteed for the site, emphasizing that though the concept plan did show nine fields could be designed to fit in the parcel, a project of that magnitude is not in the budget.“Ultimately, we don’t have the money for nine soccer fields, we just don’t. We have the money for two. That’s what the grant application is for,” said Fiore, referencing the $250,000 Monmouth County Open Space match grant Middletown would use to fund the construction of two fields. “This is the frustrating part about misinformation.”Resident Margaret Gordon questioned whether such a development would have environmental impacts, with potential fertilizer chemicals or pesticides used for routine field maintenance seeping into the nearby wetlands and Shadow Lake.Gordon’s comments prompted committeeman Tony S. Perry to discuss alternate sites for the two proposed fields, including Bayview Elementary School on Leonardville Road, where Middletown’s recreational flag football league currently plays.Perry described two lightly used baseball fields toward the back end of the school property that are “completely overgrown. The backstops and benches are completely rusted. And I think it would be a prime location for two multisport fields,” he said, stating that turf fields could be used not only for soccer, but flag football, lacrosse, field hockey and more.A development project at Bayview would require a shared service agreement between the Township Committee and the Middletown Board of Education.Perry also said he and Mercantante are spearheading a separate potential shared service agreement between the Township and Brookdale Community College for the use of their various fields.“If Brookdale is not utilizing certain fields (because they are out of season), we might be able to have our young athletes go play and practice at Brookdale. We’re still working out those details but I hope to bring that to a close fairly soon.”Denise Thompson, a volunteer manager with the Middletown Soccer Club and Monmouth United, applauded the efforts to find alternative locations for this development project, noting that without the installation of LED lighting – which is not included in the concept plan – the Stevenson Park proposal does not help local soccer players in the fall season.“I’m in a unique position here, because I live right next to (Stevenson Park), but I have two soccer players, 10 and 13 years old. These fields are not usable to us in the fall without lights because most coaches work during the day. This proposal doesn’t help us in the fall when we are most crunched for space,” Thompson said.Further discussion is expected on the matter at future meetings.This article was first published in the Oct. 18-24, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.last_img read more

How Circular Reasoning Passes Peer Review

first_img“Evolution is a fact; therefore, evolution is a fact.”  That kind of logic would strike most people as either odd or flawed.  Yet it is common fare in scientific journals, where the assumption of evolution is used as proof of evolution.    Darwinists are fond of comparing evolution to gravity, making it appear such a well-grounded belief, supported by such an immense weight of evidence (e.g., 01/26/2006), that it is no longer in need of proof.  For instance, in USA Today this month, Harvard evolutionist E. O. Wilson said,Modern biology has arrived at two major principles that are supported by so much interlocking evidence as to rank as virtual laws of nature.  The first is that all biological elements and processes are ultimately obedient to the laws of physics and chemistry.  The second principle is that all life has evolved by random mutation and natural selection.Because evolutionists believe that molecules-to-man evolution is a law of nature, it can be used as an axiom from which other ideas can be logically deduced.  Alternative explanations are simply out of bounds by definition, even when evolutionary inferences appear stretched.    For example, consider a paper by Geerat J. Vermeij (UC Davis) published this week in PNAS,1 entitled “Historical contingency and the purported uniqueness of evolutionary innovations.”  Vermeij tackled a vexing problem between evolutionists: whether evolutionary innovations are unique, rare, one-time occurrences (as argued by the late Stephen J. Gould); or, instead, somewhat predictable, because environments will constrain evolution to follow replicable pathways.  The abstract states:Many events in the history of life are thought to be singular, that is, without parallels, analogs, or homologs in time and space.  These claims imply that history is profoundly contingent in that independent origins of life in the universe will spawn radically different histories.  If, however, most innovations arose more than once on Earth, histories would be predictable and replicable at the scale of functional roles and directions of adaptive change.  Times of origin of 23 purportedly unique evolutionary innovations are significantly more ancient than the times of first instantiation of 55 innovations that evolved more than once, implying that the early phases of life’s history were less replicable than later phases or that the appearance of singularity results from information loss through time.  Indirect support for information loss comes from the distribution of sizes of clades in which the same minor, geologically recent innovation has arisen multiple times.  For three repeated molluscan innovations, 28-71% of instantiations are represented by clades of five or fewer species.  Such small clades would be undetectable in the early history of life.  Purportedly unique innovations either arose from the union and integration of previously independent components or belong to classes of functionally similar innovations.  Claims of singularity are therefore not well supported by the available evidence.  Details of initial conditions, evolutionary pathways, phenotypes, and timing are contingent, but important ecological, functional, and directional aspects of the history of life are replicable and predictable.Clearly Vermeij takes the second of the two positions.  What’s interesting about the paper, though, is that all the support for it comes from evolutionary assumptions.  His paper contains two tables: one of first-time evolutionary innovations, and another of repeated instantiations of previous innovations that arose by “convergent” or “parallel” evolution.  Even the dates for the innovations came from the geological column, a construct devised from evolutionary assumptions.  Evolutionary theory, therefore, not only was assumed in the tables, but also used to deduce how evolution acted in the past, and will act in the future and throughout the universe.    In creation-evolution debates, when asked to provide examples from the immense “weight of evidence” for evolution, debaters on the Darwinian side will typically point to the shapes of finch beaks, antibiotic resistance in bacteria (01/29/2006), the color of peppered moths, or other small-scale changes.  Even creationists agree that these kinds of variations occur naturally.  The innovations listed in Vermeij’s table, by contrast, are large-scale changes involving complex systems with interrelated parts, including: the origin of life, the universal genetic code, sexual reproduction, wings, and human language.  Creationists deny that small-scale change can be logically extrapolated into large-scale change, citing lack of evidence from the fossil record and observed limits to artificial selection.    Scientific journals, however, give no voice to these criticisms, because they already have taken molecules-to-man evolution to be a fact based on the observed small-scale changes.  Having extrapolated from finch beaks to all of the variety and complexity of life, the evolutionist feels free to speculate on even larger issues.  Vermeij used his logic to address questions of what life could be expected to look like on other worlds.  Apparently none of the editors or reviewers at the National Academy saw any problem with any of this.1Geerat J. Vermeij, “Historical contingency and the purported uniqueness of evolutionary innovations,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Published online before print January 27, 2006; DOI 10.1073/pnas.0508724103.What this means is that to the degree Darwinian dogma relies on circular reasoning, it is like a gigantic house of cards balanced on a toothpick.  Effectively dislodge the point holding up the whole structure, and it could collapse quickly and catastrophically.    Phillip Johnson predicted a growing body of scientists and lay people who would ask the right questions and no longer take bluffing and evasion for an answer.  Learn to look past the E. O. Wilsons and Lord Martin Reeses of the Darwin Party who stand up flaunting their science badges, spouting royal hot air about the overwhelming weight of evidence for evolution.  Remember what Schwarz said last week about that evidence? (01/26/2006).  Don’t look at the size of the house of cards or how intricately its parts are interlocked.  Look at the flimsy pillar of assumption supporting it.  Test that, and stand back.(Visited 42 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Graça Machel helps reduce world hunger

first_img23 October 2015 Nelson Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, celebrated her 70th birthday which fell on 21 October, in her home country of Mozambique with a cause close to her heart.Machel’s birthday was close to World Food Day on 16 October – an annual event founded by the United Nations to highlight issues of food security and global hunger. It inspired her to celebrate her special day early, by leading a meal-packing drive in aid of Zizile Institute for Child Development in Mozambique. Graça Machel celebrates her 70th birthday with cake, and participating in a food packaging drive on World Food Day, on 16 October 2015. (Image: Stop Hunger Now, Facebook)Machel is Stop Hunger Now Southern Africa’s chief patron and was supported by the Church of the Latter Day Saints, which provided the venue and volunteers for the meal-packing event.Celebrating Graca Machel’s birthday pic.twitter.com/inqO0mIEzw— Stop Hunger Now SA (@stophungernowsa) October 16, 2015The figuresApproximately 870 million people go to bed hungry every day. That is one out of every eight people on the planet, making hunger number one on the list of the world’s top 10 health risks.“Hunger kills more people every year than Aids, malaria and tuberculosis combined,” Machel said. “Even worse, it is the single biggest solvable problem facing the world today.”According to Stop Hunger Now, stunted mental and physical growth caused by malnourishment in the first 1 000 days of life is mostly irreversible, and there are 3.1 million children in South Africa who suffer from household hunger.PartnershipsThe initiative was partnered by Barloworld Equipment, the dealer for Cat earthmoving machines, and car rental company, Avis.“The company is a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact, a United Nations initiative which encourages businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation,” said Lesibana Ledwaba, the executive director of strategy, risk and sustainability at Barloworld Equipment. “These principles guide our activities across every facet of the business, including our (corporate social investment) policy, which drives our participation in initiatives such as this one.”FAST FACTS: What’s in the Stop Hunger Now pack? #StopHungerNow,#70kMealChallengepic.twitter.com/gNJla1BBuN— Barloworld Limited (@BarloworldLtd) October 15, 2015About Stop Hunger NowRay Buchanan, an ordained United Methodist minister, created the organisation because he wanted to see the end of hunger in his lifetime.“Our mission is to end hunger in our lifetime by providing food and life changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable and creating a global commitment to mobilise the necessary resources,” reads the website.Graca MACHEL and Ray Buchanan founder of Stop Hunger Now in discussions at Barloworld Meal Challenge in Maputo pic.twitter.com/NmNqSm2Jog— Stop Hunger Now SA (@stophungernowsa) October 16, 2015Machel’s place in historyMachel is unique: she is the only woman in history to have been first lady of two countries. As the wife of Samora Machel, she was the first lady of Mozambique from 1975 to 1986, until the president’s death in a plane crash. Later, as the wife of Nelson Mandela, she was the first lady of South Africa from 1998 to 1999.A politician and humanitarian in her own right, she is an international advocate for women’s and children’s rights and in 1997 was made a British dame for her humanitarian work.SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

Florida Developer Strikes Deal to Power City with Solar

first_imgKitson & Partners and utility company agree to build massive solar plant to supply electricity to planned mixed-use developmentNews coverage of the real estate market in Southwest Florida has, in recent months, been about as uniformly predictable (and disappointing) as the NBA standings for the Clippers, Wizards, and Knicks.But that doesn’t seem to have stopped the green development wheels from turning at Kitson & Partners, the company that a few years ago bought a 91,000-acre preserve called Babcock Ranch (not far from Fort Myers), sold 73,000 acres of it to the state, and then focused its attention on plans to develop the remainder into the City of Babcock Ranch, a Sunshine State mecca that will include 19,000 residences and 6 million sq. ft. of commercial space.The latest announcement from Kitson, which is billing its project as “a model of conservation,” is that the company struck an agreement with Florida Power & Light to build “the world’s largest solar photovoltaic power plant,” which Kitson says will make Babcock Ranch the world’s first city powered by solar energy.Construction of the FPL solar plant, which is subject to approval by the state, is expected to begin late this year, Kitson says, with construction of the city center targeted for mid-2010, and construction of the first residential and commercial buildings targeted for late 2010.Once the FPL plant is built, the developer says, its operation alone will create 20,000 permanent jobs.Kitson adds that its housing is being designed to accommodate “smart home” systems that will allow residents to automate their heating, cooling, lighting, and window coverings, and track their electricity and water usage in real time.last_img read more

How to Use the Psychrometric Chart

first_imgWhen you drive a borrowed car, it takes a few moments to figure out how to operate the windshield wipers and the headlights. But in your own car, your hand reaches for these switches without thinking.Using the psychrometric chart is a little like driving a car. If you use the psychrometric chart every day, you don’t have to orient yourself. But if you are like me, and you only consult the psychrometric chart two or three times a year, it’s useful to refer to a cheat sheet every time you use it.The psychometric chart (see Image #2, below) is a graph that shows (among other things) the relationships between air temperature, relative humidity, and dew points under a variety of conditions. The psychrometric chart is your friend. Like the periodic table of the elements, it’s a very useful invention. It organizes a lot of information and presents it graphically, allowing builders, HVAC contractors, and building scientists to answer certain questions quickly.Remember: if you need an answer to a question involving dew points or relative humidity, consulting the psychrometric chart is much easier than making calculations using a formula.Here is my list of the top five things that builders need to know about air and water vapor.1. Cold air can’t hold as much moisture as warm air. When the outdoor air is at 10°F, it isn’t holding much moisture — even if the relative humidity (RH) of the air is 90%. (In Comment #1 below, Bill Rose notes that “Saying that cold air can hold less water is convenient shorthand.” He goes on to note that in some instances — for example, when air in a stud bay is bounded by surfaces of different temperatures — the shorthand rule doesn’t apply. For more information… This article is only available to GBA Prime Members Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details.center_img Start Free Trial Already a member? Log inlast_img read more

GIRL Presents Womens Empowerment Brunch
GIRL Presents Womens Empowerment Brunch

first_imgG.I.R.L. (Got the Intelligence to Rule My Life) is hosting their inaugural “Women’s Empowerment Brunch” on July 19.  The event will have a dynamic group of women for food, fun, and fellowship. There will be opportunities to expand social circles and network with forward-thinking women committed to always being the best versions of themselves.The event will have speakers (Lorra Brown – Lorra Brown Enterprises, the Rev. Bevelyn Gerald – Fort Washington Christian Church, Robin Lake – TechOpps) addressing topics including spirituality, balancing motherhood and relationships, financial basics, and women in business.The event also features vendors with health, lifestyle, and beauty products and an exquisite ‘modern chic’ brunch fusing classic courses and new millennium favorites to ensure attendees are filled mentally and physically. “Our goal with this program is to aid women in our community with the tools to create a balanced and fruitful life,” stated Jovon Gerald, G.I.R.L. Inc.’s Founder.The event is 1-4 p.m., at The Preserve at Piscataway Community Club Ballroom, 2800 Saint Mary’s View Road, Accokeek, Md. The cost is $30 in advance and $35 at the door; only the first 60 registrants will be allowed entry. Proceeds will go to enhance G.I.R.L. Inc.’s mentoring programs. Advance event attendees may register via EventBrite (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/empowerment-and-enrichment-womens-brunch-tickets-10967683637).“I am very fortunate to have this event supported by quality organizations and sponsors. We are hoping that this event is the first of many to come,” stated Gerald.For more information on obtaining press credentials, please contact Jovon Gerald at [email protected] or 703-915-4705. All other inquiries, please contact G.I.R.L. Inc. at [email protected]last_img read more