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GFW Fashion and Beauty Expo opens

first_imgGuyana’s Jubilee celebration continues with the launch of Guyana Fashion Week featuring over 20 designers showcasing their talent and creative skills.In addition, the event also saw the opening of a two-day Beauty and Fashion Exposition where the public will have a chance to view and purchase hundreds of designers’ pieces in honour of Guyana’s 50th Independence Celebrations.Apart from the spectacular pieces, there was a wide variety of hair and makeup products including CHI, Loreal, Mac and other top quality brands. Also, the most recently launched Rupununi Essence was part of the line of products on display.While at the event, patrons can also benefit from free makeup and hair designing. Gracing the event was a number of overseas-based Guyanese including Guyanese-born actress, CCH Pounder.From all indications, the visitors were impressed with the level of crafted items on display and have all expressed their amusement of Guyanese talent.One group that worked extremely hard to have their products showcased was the students and teachers of the David Rose Special School. They were able to showcase 50 pieces of designed fabrics which are available for sale. The proceeds will go towards that school.Also at the launch of the GFW and the Fashion Exposition, author Selwyn Collins launched his book titled “The eartHeart Knows”. The author was available to autograph books purchased.During the book launch, Guyana’s Fashion Icon Sonia Noel noted that she was excited that the book was launched in Guyana since she believes it will be an inspiration to many hence she encourages everyone to get a copy.Meanwhile the fashion expo, being hosted at Pegasus Hotel, Kingston, will continue today commencing at 10:00h and runs up to 18:00h.Admission is absolutely free.last_img read more

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NEC Drops ‘Non-Essential Staff’

first_imgNEC Executive Director, A. Lamin LigheThe executive director of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Lamin Lighe, has called on non-essential staff of the commission to remain home until the country’s current economic situation improves.Mr. Lighe made the statement recently during a general staff meeting held at the commission.He said that the current economic situation was so bad that government was unable to make allotment for fuel and other essentials in order to run the commission.As such, Lighe said, the commission cannot afford money to repair the staff bus that has for the past four months gone unused, and even procure fuel for it to commute on a daily basis.He therefore called on sectional heads to identify “non-essential staff” and send them home until the economic situation improves.Mr. Lighe said the economic situation was not hurting the commission alone, but other ministries and agencies that have been out of electricity for the past few days as of yesterday, September 9.Following his statement, there was a barrage of reaction from the staff in the meeting. Some of them were baffled when they learned that they will be paid by government while sitting at home.Another staffer wondered as to why being sent home as “non-essential personnel” still qualify them to be paid while sitting at home?“Mr. Lighe’s policy statement is unprecedented, because never before has the commission called on its staff to stay home and be paid while sitting home,” another staff said.Mr. Lighe’s statement comes at a time the NEC has received two notifications to conduct by-elections in Sinoe County and District#13, Montserrado County.The NEC was notified by the House of Representative on August 23 of a vacancy in that august body due to the election of Representative Saah Hardy Joseph to the senate.Similarly, the senate informed the commission of a vacancy owing to the nomination, appointment and confirmation of Senator Joseph Nagbe to the Supreme Court as Associate Justice replacing Cllr. Philip Z. Banks, who recently retired from the bench.Observers see the NEC statement as an affront to the very government it serves and an attempt to make it appear ugly in the eyes of the Liberian people, because during the just ended senatorial by-elections in Montserrado and Bong counties the government disbursed more than US$2.5 million to the NEC, which they believe was far more than what was required to conduct those by-elections.“To begin to send home staffers because of ‘economic constraints’ barely a month after those elections is cause for worry as to how monies are being expended under the current NEC administration,” one lawyer told the Daily Observer.Legal scholars revealed that Mr. Lighe has no authority to preside as an executive director of the commission, let alone make such policy statements on behalf of the NEC.Mr. Lighe was appointed by former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as a non-tenure official of the commission. But while serving his appointment, the Elections Law on the appointment of the executive director was changed, in order to give the appointing powers to the Board of Commissions instead of the President, one lawyer hinted to this newspaper.According to our legal source, Section 2.19 of the New Elections Law as amended in 2014 is clear and “unambiguous.”As such, Mr. Lighe, like all other non-tenured appointees of the commission, should have stepped down once President George Weah took the oath of office on January 22, 2018.A research conducted shows that the commission, during the eight months of the government, has not announced the recruitment of an executive director in keeping with its own laws.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Former goalkeeper says Newcastle players are putting a shift in and the penny may have dropped

first_imgFormer Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper says ‘the penny has dropped’ with the club’s players, after an improvement in recent form.Pressure was mounting on manager Steve McClaren at St James’ Park before back-to-back wins against in-form sides Liverpool and Tottenham fired them up to 16th in the Premier League table.United’s next test is on Saturday evening, live on talkSPORT, when Aston Villa are the visitors on Tyneside.Remi Garde’s basement side have not won since the opening day of the campaign – a run of 15 games without victory – and Harper says Newcastle must ‘turn up’.When asked about their turnaround in the last couple of weeks, former shot-stopper Harper told Drivetime: “I think the players are putting a shift in, we’ve seen that in the last couple of performances.“The penny might well have dropped that if you collectively go out and win your one-vs-one battles and put a shift in then you can get a result.“They’ve certainly dug in in the last couple of weeks. Two games ago, Steve McClaren’s job looked under threat, two games later and it’s all looking rosy again!“But this is a Newcastle side that could quite easily not turn up [against Villa] and get turned over.”One of the recent stand-out performers has been forward Ayoze Perez and he has even been linked with clubs higher up the table.Harper admitted to being impressed with the Spaniard, 22, who netted the late winner at White Hart Lane last weekend.He added: “I like the Perez-[Aleksandar] Mitrovic combination.“They’re both young players, so if you leave them in there they are going to have dips but he’s handled them quite well.“[Perez] As a youngster, he’s going to have ups and downs.“They paid £1.8m for him, he looks like one they could sell on.“He looks a quality, quality footballer and he’s made that number ten role his own.“As a link-up player technically, he’s very good but he needs to add consistency to get into the teams with the big boys.”last_img read more

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DONEGAL FANS PLANNING TO TRAVEL VIA BELFAST AND ARMAGH TO CROKE PARK

first_imgGo Rory! Kavanagh will be in midfield for Sunday’s match with MayoGARDAI are asking Donegal fans travelling to Sunday’s match to avoid Monaghan and Cavan if at all possible.The one-way system will not operate in Monaghan and continuing roadworks will cause massive delays from Emyvale.Gardai are asking fans to travel on to Armagh and then Newry on their journey to and from Dublin. However many fans in north Donegal are planning to travel via Belfast – with dual carriageway and motorway all the way from Portglenone to the capital.With Cavan fans also travelling to Croke Park for their 2pm clash with Kerry, traffic through the county on Sunday is expected to be very heavy. DONEGAL FANS PLANNING TO TRAVEL VIA BELFAST AND ARMAGH TO CROKE PARK was last modified: August 2nd, 2013 by John2Share 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:DONEGAL FANS PLANNING TO TRAVEL VIA BELFAST AND ARMAGH TO CROKE PARKlast_img read more

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They had nicknames: A personal look at a few of 2,000

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Or Dice … Sweet Pea … Rat … Willy. These are just some of the nicknames of the dead, portholes to their identity. Some carried their nicknames almost all their lives. Others carried them only briefly, used only by the soldiers with whom they went into battle. But each nickname had meaning, and each one suggested a fuller life, a relationship with the people important to them be it for a lifetime or for the time they spent in Iraq. Each nickname was, in ways large and small, evidence of love. Willy was what Paula Zasadny called her baby girl, Holly. It was the random result of a silly rhyming game she played with her daughter. “Holly, wolly, bolly” eventually became “Willy” and for some reason the name stuck. To the day Spc. Holly J. McGeogh died on Jan. 31, at age 19, victim of a roadside bomb near Kirkuk she was Willy, if only to her mother. That is how she signed the Christmas card last year “Love Willy.” It arrived about two weeks after she died, in a box with other items. “It was devastating,” said Zasadny, who lives in Taylor, Mich., “but at same time it was comforting because I knew she had touched everything in the box.” Willy was her youngest child and only daughter. She was a fearless kid who always wanted to ride the newest, biggest, fastest roller coaster at Cedar Point, and did not flinch when she tried bungee jumping. She was 5-foot-1 and the company commander in Junior ROTC. In Iraq, she was a meticulous truck mechanic and drove a troop transport truck with a grenade launcher mounted on the back. She eagerly volunteered for every mission and patrol and was disappointed when she was not picked. She once apprehended a fleeing man in a dark alley, threatening to shoot him dead if he didn’t stop, then throwing him against a wall. But she also taught Iraqi kids the game duck-duck-goose, and gave them licorice. She could never get her mom to mail enough candy. Or hot sauce from Taco Bell. Willy put it on everything. Unable to convince her local Taco Bell to sell her a box of hot sauce, Zasadny ate there everyday, collecting enough packets to mail to Iraq. When Willy helped bring running water to a village, she splashed and played in the spray. Like the kid she was, not that long ago. Deyson Ken Cariaga was his name, but they called him Dice. He grew up in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kalihi, close to downtown, in a section where most residents were working- class folks of Filipino or Samoan descent. It is a place of housing projects, gangs, and drug deals. Dice was the youngest of two boys, raised by a single mother and his grandparents. All three generations lived in the same house on one income. Dice served meals at a retirement home and always thought of his grandparents; he brought leftovers home whenever he could. The lean and lanky Dice was very athletic. He surfed and excelled at judo; he was a youth leader at the YMCA, and he joined Junior ROTC when he was a freshman at Roosevelt High School. With kids, he was always the pied piper. So it was in Iraq. He always carried a purple backpack with him on patrol, filled with stuffed animals, toys and candy. “Somehow, this doesn’t surprise me at all,” said his mother, Theresa Inouye. Sgt. Deyson Ken Cariaga was only 20 when he died July 8, the first member of the Hawaii National Guard lost in combat since Vietnam. He was driving a Humvee on patrol when he drove over a bomb. Crit, short for Critter, was the name Sgt. Carl Thomas’ Aunt Diann gave him when he was a baby because he looked so tiny. Everyone knew him as Crit. He grew up skinny and scrawny and shy, a Boy Scout and a computer geek. The name stuck, even after he joined the Army in 1996 and filled out, became more assertive. He became an infantry motorman and was deployed in Panama, South Korea, and Kosovo. The family lived in Germany and in Texas. He rarely was home for more than six months at a time. His three children were accustomed to his absence. They did not know any different. He was 29 when a bomb exploded near his observation post in Baghdad Sept. 13, 2004. Before he left for Iraq, Thomas made his wife Lanae watch the movie “We Were Soldiers,” about the soldiers who fought on both sides of an early battle of the Vietnam War. He wanted to prepare her for the worst; if he died, he told her, he wanted to be buried next to his grandfather in Michigan, where he was born. Are you scared to go, Lanae asked. No, he said. This is what I trained for. He was not born to the Army like some soldiers. He was able and proud, but it was more of a means to an end. He liked that it allowed him to spoil his children, Dariaun, 11, Nataisha, 10, and Rayqwaun, 6, to buy them the latest toys, even ones they were too young to play with. So every three years, he considered the options and re-enlisted. When he was in Iraq, he called Lanae on a mobile phone in the middle of every night and sent instant messages every morning. “I’m fine. You guys don’t watch the news,” he often wrote. She was waiting by her computer the morning the two officers came by and knocked on her door. She did not cry. She did not let them see her break down. “Suck up and drive on,” she heard Crit say in her head. Crit went to high school in Arizona, but home was still Michigan, and the home team was still the Detroit Lions. The day before Crit died, the Lions beat the Bears 20-16 in the season opener, and the family just knew that he woke up his last morning with a smile on his face. After he died, the team hosted his family at Ford Field, and dedicated the game and the game ball to Crit Thomas. Maj. Jay Thomas Aubin was among the first casualties of the war. He was piloting a helicopter with three other U.S. Marines and eight British Marines aboard when it crashed in Kuwait, two days after the war started. The chopper was emblazoned with his nickname, Sweet Pea. It was a name given to him by a subordinate, inspired by the way Aubin responded to a favorable report: “Oh, sweet!” “No one could find a name to suit him,” said his mother, Nancy Chamberlain of Winslow, Maine. “They kept coming up with these macho names, but they didn’t fit.” He was not an imposing man, possessing a slight build and an easy smile. His was more of a nurturing personality. After the Marine Corps ball, he took his wife home, then checked out a van and drove back to the party, waiting for drunk Marines to exit, offering them a ride home. Aubin, 36, enlisted in the Marines, first, as a way to pay for college where he earned a business degree, then, so he could pursue the dream he had had of learning to fly, ever since he was an infant and his pilot father strapped him into his two-seater. The crash that killed Sweet Pea was ruled an accident there was no gunfire. Blowing sand and smoke from burning oil wells were thought to be a factor, his mother said. “The thing that bothered me the most was I thought he was going to be blamed,” Chamberlain said. “But he wasn’t … “He always said if he was flying a helicopter that went down, he wanted to go down too. I miss him more than I can tell you, but sometimes there are things worse than death. We’re the ones suffering now. But if he had lived, he would really be suffering.” Sgt. Ben Morton, 24, picked up the nickname Rat in the Army, because he could never throw anything away. If he stood in one place for more than a few minutes, he would eventually be surrounded by refuse. He drove a Humvee for a Stryker brigade based in Ft. Lewis, Wash.; his seat was usually covered with food wrappers and containers of all kinds. He grew up in rural Wright, Kan., the adoring big brother to two boys and two girls. His mother was a teacher; His father worked at an ammonia plant. He played football and ran track and joined the 4-H Club. He was a few years out of high school, operating a grain elevator, when he joined the Army and trained as a paratrooper and sniper. His dad, Allen Morton, didn’t talk too much to his son about the war Ben kept a lot to himself. The one thing his son often told him was that “people living here do not realize how blessed they are.” He knows Ben and a comrade once pulled wounded soldiers out of a burning Humvee and put out the flames while taking small arms fire. He thinks his son came under fire other times before he was killed during a May 22 raid, shot while searching the home of a suspected bomb maker. Ben married a year before he died. His wife Elaina was an indirect casualty of the war, too. Three months after Rat died, she took her own life. “She couldn’t live without him, I guess,” said his father. Thomas Vitagliano was Sgt. V to some, Superman to others, Kindergarten Sarge to a few who had occasion to notice his rapport with small children. To his nephews and nieces the 6-foot-4, 240-pound uncle was a moveable jungle gym. All four would grab a leg, or climb up an arm as Vitagliano walked, all of them clinging to him like he was a carnival ride. He joined the Marines after one year of college. He enlisted in the Army five years later, joining the Rangers. He was born to the military, his family said. He was a military history buff growing up, played military board games and attended military academy. But at age 33 he was looking at retirement when he might work in his family’s real estate business and start a family of his own. Superman was a principled guy who showed his heart with actions more than words. He did not exactly have “the gift of gab,” said his wife, Nerina Giolli. When the collection plate came his way at church, he always left a roll of bills, never letting Nerina see exactly how much he gave. When others passed by a stalled car with an elderly driver, he stopped, pushed the vehicle into a lot and gave it a jump start. While on patrol in Ramadi on Jan. 17, he noticed with suspicion a taxi circling the area oddly, apparently headed toward a group of 36 soldiers, said his sister, Tammy Ronan. Vitagliano approached the taxi with two other men. Realizing it was a suicide attack, he tried to protect and shield his men, and lost his life. For this he was awarded the Silver Star. “He surprised that car bomber,” Ronan said. “That bomb wasn’t intended for him. The car was heading up the street for the other guys. If it wasn’t for my brother, 36 men would have died.” At that moment, and always, he was Superman. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! His mates found him near the top of a pile of rubble, covering two of his charges, their lives saved because in an instant the hulking sarge shoved them hard to the side, just far enough away that he, not they, took the brunt of the bomb blast. They called him Superman. That’s what Staff Sgt. Thomas E. Vitagliano seemed to the men he led invincible, hard as steel, larger than life. Outside of his hometown of West Haven, Conn., Vitagliano was just another in the ever- mounting total of American fatalities in Iraq: 140 at the end of major combat, 1,000 after 18 months. And now, 31 months after the start of the war, 2,000. To most of us, the number is merely an abstraction. As each casket comes home, we hear a few details: the deceased’s rank, branch of service, hometown. We don’t see them as individuals until we hear that someone called them Superman. last_img read more

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No. 46 Men’s Tennis Ready For Trio of Matches in Oklahoma

first_imgDES MOINES, Iowa – The 46th-ranked Drake University men’s tennis team travels to the Sooner state for three matches this weekend. The Bulldogs will begin the weekend against No. 15 Oklahoma on Saturday at 1 p.m. Drake then heads to Tulsa, Okla. for a doubleheader versus the Tulsa Golden Hurricane and Oral Roberts Golden Eagles at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively Sunday. Tulsa will host No. 14 Oklahoma State on Friday before welcoming the Bulldogs on Sunday. The Golden Hurricane fell to No. 26 TCU in their last time out. Joshua Goodger and Majed Kilani both moved up in the latest ITA rankings. Goodger climbed 10 spots to No. 71 and Kilani moved up one spot to No. 118. The Bulldogs enters the weekend with a 11-7 overall record and a 3-0 Summit League mark. Junior Tom Hands earned his second Summit League Player of the Week honors for his performance against Indiana and Purdue last week. Hands recorded a combined 4-0 singles and doubles record, including a pair of straight-set wins over Big Ten opponents. He defeated Indiana’s Antonio Cambellin (6-4, 6-4) and Purduue’s Stepahn Koenignsfest (6-3, 6-4) at No. 2 singles. He teamed up with Ben Clark for a 6-3 doubles win over the Hoosiers and a 7-6 victory over the Boilermakers. Hands leads the team with an overall 11-4 singles record and 12-5 doubles mark this season.The 15th-ranked Sooners will host Wichita State for a mid-week dual on Thursday before hosting the Bulldogs on Saturday. Oklahoma is coming off a dominating 6-1 win over No. 28 Kentucky last week and improved to 10-1 overall. The Sooners have three players ranked in the top 100 in the latest ITA rankings. Ferran Calvo is ranked 40th, while Jack van Emburgh and Alex Bakshi are tabbed No. 85 and No. 91, respectively. Summit League foe Oral Roberts will play a league match against on Friday prior to hosting the Bulldogs. The Golden Eagles are on a three-match losing streak after falling at No. 10 Oklahoma State on Feb. 25. Following this weekend’s matches in Oklahoma, the Bulldogs travel to the Sunshine state to square off against No. 16 Florida State on Friday, March 16. Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more

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See Like a Bee, Fly Like a Fly

first_imgAn aerospace engineer in Australia was inspired by insects to design a better way for missiles to find their targets.  Aviation Week reported on work announced by the Australian Government Department of Defense.  “Bioseeker,” a new guidance system for smarter weapons, was inspired by insect navigation.  The Hon. Warren Snowdon, on his website as Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, announced the new technology.  (See also the ASD-Network.)    The press release did not say what specifically about insect navigation was being emulated, but then again, such information would be top secret.  It has something to do with the way insects are able to hone in on moving targets.  If they are modeling on the honeybee, perhaps their new Bioseeker technology includes a new stinger missile.True or False: Snowdon’s Capability and Technology Demonstrator (CTD) Program requires grounding in the theory of evolution to achieve its technological successes.(Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Convergence: Explanation or Rescue Device?

first_imgThe news media are telling us that bats and dolphins both hit on the same genetic pathway to evolve echolocation – even though they are on vastly different evolutionary lineages and use echolocation differently (one in air, one in water).  Since it is inconceivable that a putative shrew-like common ancestor of these very different animals already had echolocation, the biologists claim that dolphins and bats followed the same evolutionary pathway, even down to the evolution of a single molecule.  Is this an explanation of how they came to have these traits, or a rescuing device intended to save evolutionary theory from the evidence?    Science Daily and New Scientist both echoed the conclusions of two papers in Current Biology.1,2  The papers found that phylogenetic trees based on the cochlear gene Prestin include bottlenose dolphins and microbats together.  They claim to have ruled out all other hypotheses (such as horizontal gene transfer, DNA contamination, gene paralogy, long-branch attraction, and biased amino acid frequencies) as unlikely, so “convergence” must explain the similarities.  In short, natural selection converged on the same genetic set of mutations to the Prestin gene because echolocation was adaptive.3  The first paper concluded, “Regardless, our findings of adaptive sequence convergence between two highly divergent groups that share a complex phenotype is unprecedented, and suggests sequence convergence may be more common than previously suspected.”    But what does convergence mean?  Is it a law of nature?  Does it convey understanding, or is it a term acting as a placeholder for ignorance?  The explanation begs numerous questions.  How do they know the extent to which this one protein proves essential for echolocation over other parts of the echolocating organs that are not convergent?  If echolocation is such a strong adaptive trait, why did it not evolve in all whales and bats, as well as in beavers, sea lions, and all nocturnal mammals, which could presumably make good use of it?  If the answer to that question is contingency, then how does convergence differ from the null hypothesis – i.e., the non-explanation, “stuff happens”?    A review of the two papers in the same issue of Current Biology4 revealed that the convergence explanation is not so straightforward.  Gareth Jones (U of Bristol) reminded readers that molecular phylogenies often conflict with morphological phylogenies or with each other.  “A key question is whether convergent, adaptive evolution dominates phylogenetic signals, or whether neutral evolution overrides any convergence driven by natural selection when making phylogenetic inferences,” he said.  “In reptile mitochondrial genes, although molecular convergence is clearly apparent, the specific selective forces driving such convergence are not obvious.”  He noted that the prestin modifications might be due to adaptive needs to hear high frequencies, but noted that other animals, like some mice, communicate with high frequencies but do not have the convergent-prestin signature.  He also noted that the new phylogenetic tree of bats based on prestin conflicts with other phylogenetic trees based on large-scale genetic analyses of both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA: “hence,” he said, “phylogenetic signals based on functional gene sequences may be misleading when reconstructing the evolutionary history of bats.”    The prestin study actually creates additional problems.  Jones said it “emphasises the necessity of avoiding the use of putative functional genes in estimating evolutionary history.”  Researchers will have to incorporate more data sets, and consider the effects of neutral drift, when building phylogenetic trees.  Finding the signature of natural selection, therefore, will require human selection: “careful selection of genetic data that are probably neutral (intron sequences, for example).”  But how will the researcher select the data sets that produce the inference he wants without circular reasoning?  A data set that produces a signature of natural selection might be selected over other data sets that do not.  It would not, therefore, be the signature of nature itself.  Even so, examples of molecular convergence may be uncommon, Jones said.  That means their usefulness for inferring natural selection may be limited, despite the cheerleading of the popular press.1.  Liu, Cotton, Shen, Han, Rossiter and Zhang, “Convergent sequence evolution between echolocating bats and dolphins,” Current Biology, Volume 20, Issue 2, 26 January 2010, Pages R53-R54, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.11.058.2.  Li, Liu, Shi, and Zhang, “The hearing gene Prestin unites echolocating bats and whales,” Current Biology, Volume 20, Issue 2, 26 January 2010, Pages R55-R56, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.11.042.3.  For information about prestin, a remarkable motor enzyme in the inner ear, see the 07/31/2007 entry and its embedded links.4.  Gareth Jones, “Molecular Evolution: Gene Convergence in Echolocating Mammals,” Current Biology, Volume 20, Issue 2, 26 January 2010, Pages R62-R64, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.11.059.In the land of Jargonwocky, a scientist named Niwrad came up with a theory of everything he called Galumph.  With frabjous joy, he investigated all the creatures of the borogoves with his apprentice, Ecallaw.  He found that the Jubjub birds had round eyes and the mome raths, though similar, have square eyes.  That’s because of Galumph, he explained.  The Bandersnatch and Jabberwock, though looking very different, both have round eyes.  “Galumph triumphs again!” Niwrad chortled.  “But how can that be?” burbled Ecallaw with uffish look.  “They are so very different in other respects.”  “Callooh! Callay!” exclaimed Niwrad frumiously.  “’Tis only to demonstrate the power of Galumph.  The former is a case of Parallel Galumph.  This one, a case of Convergent Galumph.  Do you see?  Galumph explains all.  We must away and tell Yelxuh, our mimsy publicist, to announce our scientific triumph to the townspeople!  We have slain the mystery of Jabberwock with Galumph.  Galumph has wiped the brillig from our slithy toves, and given us Enlightenment!”    Convergence is about as meaningful and convincing an explanation as this.  If God exists, and if it were his intent to show the impossibility of evolution, he could hardly have done a better job than to show both unity and diversity of plants and animals, but with cross-branches linking unrelated lineages with similar traits.  It would simultaneously show a single Creator (instead of polytheism) and the impossibility these complex species and traits had emerged naturally from common ancestry.  As far as the differences between bat species, it is also much more plausible to explain by trait loss rather than by innovative gain of new complex systems.  Yet the Darwinists, intent on their naturalistic world view, have come up with a term like Galumph, called Convergence, to rescue their beliefs from the evidence.  To see the extent of their use of this rescuing device, look at Brett Miller’s partial list of incredible similarities between unrelated creatures in his essay, The Convergence Concoction.  Like his final cartoon shows, it’s so much easier for lazy scientists to say “It evolved!” than to consider the implications of the evidence.  Another resource on the explanatory flimflam being sold as Convergent Evolution can be found in this article on the Explore Evolution website, section II D.    It can look impressive to see in scientific papers the amount of detailed work researchers perform to arrive at their Galumph explanations.  How could all these analytical tools like Bayesian analysis, software that generates phylogenetic trees out of genetic inputs, mathematical manipulations, inscrutable jargon, tables, charts and piles of supplemental data be misguided?  How can it be wrong when it feels so right?  But if the conclusion of this bridge over troubled water is “Galumph!  Stuff happens,” it doesn’t matter.  That’s a non-starter as an explanation.  And busy work is not science.  Undoubtedly one could find similar amounts of complex procedures and data manipulation in the textbooks on alchemy and astrology.  Couching the Stuff Happens Law (09/15/2008 commentary) in euphemisms does not produce understanding.    By failing to include the top-down theories in their roster, they have failed to address the pool of possible explanations.  Regardless, this jabber about Convergence is not an explanation; it’s Jargonwocky masquerading as meaning.(Visited 35 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Mandela Day has improved South Africa’s generosity

first_imgSouth Africans have always given up their time and money for charitable causes, says the Charities Aid Foundation Southern Africa. International Mandela Day has increased this generosity. (Image: Shamin Chibba) • Colleen du Toit chief executive Charities Aid Foundation Southern Africa +27 11 334 0404 cdutoit@cafsouthernafrica.org • Mandela: Champion of public health • Sod is turned at Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital • Mandela’s love of children • How does Mandela Day inspire you? • Nelson Mandela – a timelineShamin ChibbaSince the first International Nelson Mandela Day in 2009, South Africa’s generosity towards the needy has improved, which is evident in the country’s ranking on the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) World Giving Index.According to index results published in December last year, South Africa improved from 108th position in 2011 to 69th in 2013. CAF Southern Africa’s chief executive, Colleen du Toit, says Mandela Day is an effective hook to get people to start volunteering. “We find that once someone has volunteered for the first time – even for just 67 minutes – they are very keen to make volunteering an ongoing aspect of their lives.”She adds that it gets people out of their comfort zones and exposes them to different cultures, communities and even poverty. Once they see the living conditions of people less fortunate than themselves, people become keen to do charity work. “Giving and volunteering are important expressions of humanity. So at the emotional level the 67 minutes – particularly when associated with a universally beloved figure such as Mandela – is very valuable in terms of introducing people to some form of active citizenship.”Despite South Africa’s improvement, Du Toit says South Africa’s index ranking is not accurate; the country is actually more generous than it suggests. “I don’t think the methodology of the index is suitable to multicultural countries. We are way more ahead as South Africa is a generous and giving society.”The World Giving Index is based on Gallup’s World View World Poll that asks participants from 135 countries questions on different aspects of life, including giving behaviour. The aim of the index is to provide insight into the scope and nature of giving around the world. About 1 000 questionnaires are completed by a representative sample of individuals aged 15 and older. The survey considers three categories: helping a stranger, volunteering and donating money. A nation of giversAlong with South Africa’s overall ranking on CAF’s index, the country is at 37th place in the helping a stranger category, 54th in volunteering and 100th in monetary donations.But backing up Du Toit’s views, a study by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) titled “Giving and Solidarity”, suggests South Africans are a lot more charitable and that the country is a “nation of givers”. Contributing authors David Everatt and Geetesh Solanki found that 54% of South Africans donated money, 31% gave goods to charities and other causes, and 17% volunteered their time.For a more accurate reflection of South Africa’s generosity, CAF Southern Africa has planned a national study on individual giving and volunteering, says Du Toit. Funding has so far covered the study in Gauteng. It is based on literature reviews, face-to-face and telephonic interviews, and analyses. The foundation plans to do a similar study on employee volunteering next year. Why South Africans are generousWith its range of cultures, the motivation South Africa has for giving differs from person to person, determined by religious, moral and ethical beliefs. In its Gauteng study, CAF Southern Africa found that most people gave because they believed they could make a difference. They are driven by a strong collective ethos called ubuntu, says Du Toit.In a Business Day op-ed published in March, Du Toit wrote that with more than 26% of South Africans living below the food poverty line of R305 a month, the personal philanthropy of the more privileged classes often provided life-saving relief.In the HSRC study, it was discovered that those who were affluent gave more money, while those with less money gave more of their time to charitable causes. Yet poor provinces were found to give more time and money than their richer counterparts. For instance, the Eastern Cape gave more money and time than Gauteng and the Free State.While it is known what the upper and lower classes of society give, Du Toit says, it is not clear how generous middle class South Africans are. Despite the uncertain economy, she says this section of society can be encouraged to become volunteers and givers as they have disposable income and are successful in their professions.To make a habit of giving, people need to be asked to do so because most will contribute to a cause in which they believe. Giving can also be increased once individuals experience the act of doing so. Du Toit says role models such as the Motsepes with their foundation and the former chief executive of AngoGold Ashanti, Bobby Godsell, with his active citizenry initiative, can do much to encourage people to give up their time and money for the needy. Giving may become easierAccording to the South African Institute for Advancement (Inyathelo), current income tax regulations require philanthropic foundations to distribute 75% of the money they generate within a year. This means they are unable to consolidate their capital, making it difficult to sustain themselves and provide ongoing funds for organisations they support.However, giving may become easier after the government recently announced it would relax tax legislation for philanthropists and other grant makers whose donations significantly contribute to sustainable social change in South Africa. In his budget speech in February, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan said current regulations for philanthropists were “unduly restrictive”. Include the poor in commerceIn her Business Day op-ed, Du Toit referred to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who recently said that the only way to achieve sustainable economic growth was to include the poor fully in the global system of commerce. This, she said, meant that if the government did its job properly, there would be no need for philanthropy.But she adds that businesses also need to be brought in to help achieve economic equality. “Without urgent action to end prevailing inequalities, corporations will not have workers or customers, and inevitably their profitability will fail.”The private and public sectors should start focusing their social responsibility initiatives more on systemic transformation and less on charity. About CAF Southern AfricaCAF Southern Africa, based in Johannesburg, promotes and facilitates giving and volunteering. It runs three campaigns a year: Employee Volunteering Week in March, International Nelson Mandela Day in July, and Festive Season Giving in November and December.It also promotes participation among corporates and their employees. “[We] facilitate volunteering by matching the needs of host NGOs with the capabilities that exist among our corporate clients,” Du Toit explains.The foundation is an independent not-for-profit organisation that focuses on the needs of countries in the region. It is a member of CAF International, which is based in the United Kingdom. As such, the regional body has access to the resources of the global organisation, and adopts the same value model.last_img read more

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