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Whale of a Batty Tale on Sonar Evolution

first_imgHow did two animals completely different in size and ancestry, living in very different environments, arrive at the same complex sensing mechanism?Bats and whales are both mammals, but they could hardly be more different.  A press release from the University of Southern Denmark describes the extremes,Sperm whales weigh up to 50 tons, and the smallest bat barely reaches a gram. Nevertheless, the two species share the same success story: They both have developed the ability to use echolocation – a biological sonar – for hunting. Now Danish researchers show that the biosonar of toothed whales and bats share surprisingly many similarities – even though they live in very different environments and vary extremely in size.The article describes echolocation as “one of Nature’s extremely successful specializations,” then asks, “why have such different animals as whales and bats both developed the same technique?”  The answer cannot be relationship, because (according to the evolutionary scenario), their common ancestors diverged 200 million years ago. Both bats and whales “developed the ability” long after they split onto separate branches of the mammalian tree.And yet the sounds of a tiny bat and a huge whale are “surprisingly similar,” the researchers found.  Despite the former flying in air and the latter swimming in water, both use sounds in the 10-200 kHz range for echolocation.  In addition, they both employ a similar hunting strategy:In the last part of the hunting phase, when they approach their prey both toothed whales and bats emit a series of buzzing sounds: Weak and short sound pulses at very short intervals – similar to strobe lights. It is a very complex mechanism that scientists do not yet fully understand. The animals control very carefully when they emit sounds and when they listen for echoes – and they adjust this exactly to their own and the prey’s speed. If they emit the buzzing sounds too fast they do not have time to listen for the echoes. If they do it too slowly they risk hitting obstacles on the fly.There must be an explanation for the remarkable similarity of biosonar – which coordinates mouth, ears, brain and behavior – in such very different animals.  The press release, without hesitation, offered one up:The answer lies in convergent evolution – when almost identical features or developments happen in different species. Through evolution both bats and toothed whales have developed the same functional characteristics.What more needs to be said?  A bat is a bat and that’s that.  A whale is a whale and there’s our tale.Incidentally, European evolutionists publishing in Nature found pervasive “convergent evolution” in echolocating mammals all the way down to the genes.  The Editor’s Summary waffles between confidence and surprise:Convergent evolution, through which similar traits evolve in unrelated lineages, is a familiar demonstration of the power of natural selection. These traits are usually viewed as representing alternate evolutionary solutions involving different sets of genes, but that view is challenged by a study of echolocating mammals. Analysis of the genomic sequences in 22 echolocating species, including four new bat genomes, reveals that convergence is not a rare process restricted to a handful of loci but is widespread, continuously distributed and commonly driven by natural selection acting on a small number of sites per locus. Convergence is particularly strong in genes linked to hearing or deafness, but surprisingly, also to vision.The authors used the words “convergence” or “convergent” a shocking 122 times in their paper, ending with more surprise: “the importance of this mode of molecular evolutionary change is relatively underappreciated, and is under-exploited in seeking to understand the genetic basis of complex traits such as echolocation.”  If they are still seeking to understand it, it implies they do not understand it.Batty evolution:  Speaking of bats, five European evolutionists presumed to describe their evolutionary relationships.  Writing in Current Biology, they admitted in the first paragraph that “the exact evolutionary relationship of bats to their closest mammalian relatives is poorly understood due to their unique morphological features associated with flight, a lack of intermediate forms, and a poor fossil record.” This sounds very similar to what another international team declared in 2005 (1/28/05).By filling in those gaps with “phylogenetic analyses” (essentially, DNA comparisons), they drew up their tree diagrams showing where bats fit with other mammals, including humans.  Boasting about their achievement, they invoked “convergent evolution” again in a rather extraordinary manner:… this study provides the most concrete evidence to date toward resolving the long-standing debate regarding bat evolutionary history. Our results further emphasize the extraordinary phenotypic convergence seen across echolocating members of the two suborders, including the possible independent origin of laryngeal echolocation itself, a hypothesis supported by several studies of molecular evolution of sensory genes….They never did mention fossils again.  One thing creationist Dr. Duane Gish liked to point out in his hundreds of debates with evolutionists on college campuses is that the first fossil bat was 100% bat (2/16/08).So there’s your answer.  Take it or leave it.  Bats and whales “developed” these complex systems by “convergent evolution.”  How can evolutionists say such things with a straight face?  It’s because their faces are not straight.  The straitjackets they wear (100% DODO synthetic) contort their faces into crooked shapes that cause them to emit strange buzzes and squeaks as they try to say “Hail Darwin!”.  The squeaks bounce off the walls of the Darwin echo chamber in which they imprison themselves.  The sounds reinforce one another as they re-enter the ears, amplifying the illusions of understanding for which they hunt – a demonstration of convergent evillusion. 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South Africa’s closing ceremony dazzles

first_img12 July 2010 A sell-out crowd inside Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium as well as an audience of hundreds of millions across the globe were wowed by a colourful ceremony on Sunday night to celebrate the successful conclusion of a memorable first Fifa World Cup on African soil. As darkness descended on Johannesburg, the floodlights in the iconic arena were all dimmed before a squadron of Gripens from the South African Airforce flew over the calabash-shaped stadiums. And with the giant screens at both ends of the stands running videos of comets and fireworks, South African musician Stoan Seate got the show started with a performance of “Sizodalala-la” while performers took to the centre of the field, dancing and forming the shape of a vuvuzela. Having performed at the closing ceremony of Germany 2006 at Berlin’s Olympiastadion, Colombian pop star Shakira once again took centre stage, along with local fusion band Freshlyground, with the worldwide hit “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”. Highlights of the group stage matches followed, before Seate returned to the stage with “Everywhere You Go”, joined by Africa United, comprising six other musicians from across the continent. And with some key moments from the quarter-finals on display, the three-time Grammy Award winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo made sure the crowd remained on their feet as the “Weather Song” filled the stadium as a safari scene was created, complete. By the time Abigail Kubeka and Mafikzolo finished their performance, Soccer City’s celebrations were well under way, and the stage was set for the final match of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Fifa.comlast_img read more

StumbleUpon Gets a Facelift: Nips, Tucks, and a Streamlined UI

first_imgThe Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos jolie odell Starting today, social bookmarking service StumbleUpon is allowing users to beta test a shiny, happy redesign of their site.The new interface is streamlined and more social with an updated relationship system. A focus on consistency (e.g., limiting user control of visual elements) and removal of clutter (e.g., presenting tags in a drop-down menu rather than a cloud) characterize the design changes made. Also, a few tweaks to group sharing were made to help reduce share-spam.The most significant UX changes have occured in the way friendships and subscriptions work on the site. Friends are now called Mutual Subscribers with mutual Direct-Sharecapabilities. According to the FAQ, “The Friends category… has a new shape in the new interface. Your friends… are now the equivalent of Stumblers that you are subscribed to and can mutually share sites with from your toolbar… Look for the ‘two-way’ icon under their avatars. If the icon is there, it means you can mutually share sites with each other.”The “Favorites” tab has been renamed “All” and includes every site a user ever liked, including multimedia content. Similarly, the “What’s New” page, which displays sites a user’s friends and subscriptions reviewed, has been renamed “Recent Activity.”In the new interface, shares are found in the main Discover tab and display the list of sites that were sent to a user by mutual subscribers with direct-share permission. Soon, the site will display sent as well as received shares.The once-retired Similarity Meter, a diagram showing a users’ Favorites similarity with other users, is being resurrected. And by popular demand, group shares will no longer be available in bulk; users will have to select other users within groups to share items with them. Tags:#Social Bookmarking#web Users are able to toggle back and forth between the beta redesign and the old site design over the next month. “To switch back to the old look,” the site says, “simply click on the Beta link located on the main navbar (see image below) and on the following screen click the Leave Beta button. To return to the new interface, use the link Click here and try the new StumbleUpon! located at the top of all pages in the old view.” Related Posts center_img A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Design changes that limit user choice in favor of overall site consistency are threefold: List view rather than a grid view is the default for all profiles. In contrast to the 22 background colors once available, a mere seven of the most popular color themes are now being offered for profile customization. And the visual editor has been scrapped. “Rest assured,” the site reads, “we are still working on making sure all your past blog entries look good in the new interface. Some text customization will still be allowed.“Our goal is not to limit your creativity, but to place emphasis on content and ensure a consistent user experience.” An admirable aim, indeed; we think StumbleUpon is working in a good direction with these changes.We also admire the new drop-down menu for tags:last_img read more

iOS 7 Development: Everything You Need To Know To Get Started

first_imgOK, so you have downloaded the iOS 7 beta and are ready to get to work. Now what?There are some new things you are going to want to check out in iOS that directly inform how you develop your next app for the release of the next iPhone later this year. Mostly, Apple has hundreds of new SDKs to check out that govern many different functions of the device. These are going to take some time to learn as they cover the new multi-tasking features, games and various design features. Related Posts Tags:#app development#Apple#iOS 7 The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Before you get started with iOS 7 though, you’ll want to load the latest version of Xcode, the integrated developer environment for iOS development. With iOS 7 comes Xcode 5, which is currently in developer preview. You will not be able to use Xcode 5 unless your Mac is upgraded to the most recent version of Mas OS X – Mountain Lion 10.8.3. When learning how to develop for iOS 7, those are the two primary features that you are going to need to study – the new development frameworks and the new features in Xcode 5. New Frameworks In iOS 7There are six new frameworks specific to iOS 7:Sprite Kit – Perhaps the most interesting new framework in iOS 7, the Sprite Kit allows for hardware accelerated animation systems for 2D or “2.5D” games. Provides graphics rendering and animation, sound playback support and physics simulation.“SpriteKit will be capable of powering 2D games ranging from Cut the Rope to Jetpack Joyride and more. We think that this framework could become a major contender in a space currently dominated by Cocos2D and Unity,” said Kenneth Ballenegger an architect at Chartboost.Game Controller – Allows developers to add hardware controllers to iOS, either by directly connecting the device or through Bluetooth. Controllers must be optional and there must be a way for players to use the game without a controller. Maps – Developers will now be able to integrate Apple Maps into their apps, take advantage of 3D map features and control the user’s perspective. Other new features include a way to call on Apple for directions that overlay on top of the map. Games – In addition to the Game Controller and Sprite Kit, improvements have been made to Game Center (including a complete design overhaul, like the rest of iOS 7). New features let players interact with each other via chat, simultaneous turns and trading. Leaderboards have been expanded to 100 from 25. Developers can also add new features to help prevent cheating in the game.Those are the basics for getting started developing with the new features in iOS 7. Experienced app developers will likely be able to learn most of these new features relatively quickly, while newer developers might have a tough time wading through all the enhancements and the massive library that constitutes iOS developer libraries. Advancing Xcode 5None of the frameworks matter one bit if you don’t know what you are doing in Xcode. Xcode 5 has been designed for iOS 7 and Mac OS x 10.9 Mavericks. Among other changes, Xcode is now a little cleaner than previous versions and features a refined navigator. UI Improvements – The toolbar is smaller, which gives developers more space to work with. Xcode 5 is not a complete departure from Xcode 4.5 but you will have to figure out where all the usual stuff is. Testing – Developers hate the testing phase. It is where all their pretty code goes to die. Xcode 5 has a new test navigator to overview all the tests in a project and easily add new test targets.Debugger – New gauges have been added to the debugger UI in Xcode 5 to show CPU activity, real-time memory, energy use and more. Version Editor – Xcode 5 has a new management of workflow. It removes the repositories organizer and moves those functions to the project window under the source control menu. There are more new features and tweaks to Xcode. Some developers love to develop in Xcode while others cannot stand it. If you have picked up a Developer Preview for Xcode 5, tell us how in compares to older versions in the comments. center_img Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Multipeer Connectivity – The peer-to-peer connectivity is essentially the new sharing features in iOS 7. Discovers nearby devices and directs communication without an Internet connection.JavaScriptCore – Allows for wrapping of standard JavaScript objects into Objective-C (the code used for iOS apps). Should allow for porting of apps between different mobile operating system platforms. Media Accessibility – Allows for closed-caption support in your apps. Safari Services – Support for adding URLs to Safari reading list. Enhanced FrameworksIn addition to the brand new frameworks, significant additions have been made to the existing frameworks, such as the User Interface Kit (UIKit), Games, Maps, Multitasking and more. Here are the highlights:User Interface – For developers and designers, the biggest feature of iOS 7 that is going to take some getting used to are all the new UIKit Framework functions and references. Apple has added “dynamic” UI actions, such as proximity and gravity controls as well as a whole new kit for text. The dynamic elements will take some time to study but the text kit should allow for easier development of words into apps with less actual code required in the app.Multitasking – The new multitasking features in iOS 7 apply mostly to the background data push and flow of information to the app. The apps can be woken up or launched periodically to fetch data. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces dan rowinskilast_img read more

IIT scholar alleges prof. assaulted her

first_imgDissatisfied with the findings of the Internal Complaints Committee of IIT-Bhubaneswar, a PhD scholar renewed her allegation of sexual harassment against a professor at the Insititute and demanded a re-investigation into the matter.The scholar, who belongs to West Bengal, got married while her husband and she were pursuing research under the same professor. She alleged that asshe had objected to the professor’s overtures, their PhDs were de-registered on feeble grounds. The scholar had first lodged a complaint in October 2016. The ICC of IIT, Bhubaneswar, heard the case and subsequently exonerated the accused professor in January this year. Responding to the allegation, the Odisha Skill Development and Technical Education Department (OSKTED) asked the IIT to furnish a detailed report.last_img read more

Fifth body, a civilian, found near Shopian shootout site

first_imgFifth body of a civilian was found near the shootout site in Shopian on Monday morning, as the authorities imposed curfew-like restrictions in Shopian, Pulwama and Srinagar as a precautionary measure. “Another body has been found at a distance from the Sunday evening incident at Pahnoo Shopian,” said a Srinagar-based police spokesman.The police identified the deceased as Gowhar Ahmed Lone of Chitragam in Shopian. Lone, who was pursuing M.P.Ed at Nagpur University in Maharashtra, had four bullets on his body. The police said it has “initiated an investigation” into the incident.A total of five people, including a Lashkar-e-Taiba militant and four civilians, has been killed amid conflicting versions. The Army said a patrol came under fire around 8 p.m. and in the “retaliatory fire one militant and four of his accomplices in a car were killed.”The Army described the deceased as “over ground workers” of militants. However, the locals and the victim families claimed none of the “civilians” had any association with militants and were killed in “a cold blooded murder”.Shopian has remained tense this year as five civilians were killed in two separate firing incidents on January 10 and January 27. In both the incidents, locals accused the security forces of “indiscriminate fire”. The Army faces an FIR in the January 27 incident.Meanwhile, authorities imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar, Pulwama and Shopian. Internet services have been barred in parts of south Kashmir as sporadic protests broke out there.All train services have been suspended. Kashmir University has cancelled all examinations. The exams of prestigious Kashmir Administrative Services were also postponed. Separatists have called for a shutdown against the incident.last_img read more

Managing midlife transitions

first_imgWe’re all familiar with the stereotype of the 50-year-old man who exchanges his car for a flashier model, or trades his wife in for a younger model, starts covering his baldness and wearing younger clothes or chucks in his job to go off and travel the world. Less dramatic but disruptive nonetheless, mid-lifers may resort to drinking more alcohol than before, feeling depressed and blaming themselves for their failures, or putting excess pressure (possibly psychologically damaging) on their children to excel in academics or areas such as sports and arts.Many of us spend our 40s and 50s, even after having found our place in the world, re-evaluating our lives, searching impatiently for undefined goals, driven by a deep sense of remorse for unachieved dreams or a desire to relive feelings of youthfulness. An earlier generation of psychologists attributed it to the feelings that many individuals approaching the middle age of their lives experience, faced with the sense of the passage of their youth and the nearness of their old age and impending death. The Germans have a word for it: Torschlusspanik: the fear of doors closing. Normal transitions during this period of life, such as the death of parents, the realisation of being stuck in an unsatisfying career, the onset of menopause or children leaving home often trigger off strong feelings of dissatisfaction, self-doubt and depression in some individuals.It is popularly called midlife crisis. As a result, they may experience a powerful desire to make significant changes in core aspects of their lives: career, marriage, romantic relationships, big-budget expenditures, or physical appearance.advertisementBut a midlife crisis is not inevitable and may be less common than once believed. A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported that older people in their mid-to-late 50s are generally happier, and experience less stress and worry than young adults in their 20s. Though the traditional view about ageing is that the functions of the body and brain inexorably decline. However, recent discoveries in neuroscience show that the ageing brain is more flexible and adaptable than we previously thought. Throughout life, our brains encode thoughts and memories by forming new connections among the nerve bodies (neurons).With age, the neurons themselves lose some processing speed, but with the acquired learning of a lifetime, they become ever more richly intertwined, reflecting deeper knowledge and better judgment. The brain also becomes less rigidly bifurcated. Functionally two separate structures, the right brain and the left brain, are linked by fibres called the corpus callosum; the left specialises in speech, language and logical reasoning, while the right handles more intuitive tasks, such as face recognition and the reading of emotional cues. Unlike young adults, who handle most tasks on one side of the brain or the other, older ones tend to use both hemispheres. Besides keeping them sharp, this neural integration makes it easier for healthy mid-lifers to reconcile their thoughts with their feelings. As our ageing brains grow wiser and more flexible, they also tend toward greater equanimity. But one can’t sit back and expect wisdom and contentment to flow automatically. Research has identified several types of activities, which if practised regularly, help boost the powers of the ageing brain.Achieve mastery. Mastery over a skill or job is the most important factor deciding a person’s self-efficacy, especially in today’s world. Success experiences raise one’s sense of self-efficacy, failure lowers it. Practise mastering a skill, doing something or striving to do something at its highest level. People who enjoy a sense of control and mastery stay healthier than those who don’t. The possibilities are unlimited, ranging from learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, to taking up painting or embroidery.Exercise physically. Regular physical exercise leads to increased blood flow to the brain, the production of endorphins, better filtration of waste products from the brain and increased brain-oxygen levels and is consistently linked to increased well-being.Establish strong social networks. People who sustain rich and extended social relationships during the second half of life have been shown to enjoy significantly lower blood pressure, lower risk of stroke and brain damage. Social relationships also reduce stress, anxiety and depression.Fulfil your need for generativity. During middle age, the primary developmental task is one of contributing to society and helping to guide future generations. This leads to a sense of generativity-a sense of productivity and accomplishment. In contrast, a person who is self-centred and unable or unwilling to help society move forward develops a feeling of stagnation.advertisementlast_img read more