Cambrian Explosion Solved: Elementary, My Dear Darwin

first_imgTwo articles announced solutions to the evidential problem that most troubled Darwin – the sudden appearance of complex animals at the base of the Cambrian fossil record.  Both of them involve chemical elements.  The only difference is which element.    Science Daily announced a “Novel Evolutionary Theory For The Explosion Of Life.”  The article acknowledged that “The Cambrian Explosion is widely regarded as one of the most relevant episodes in the history of life on Earth, when the vast majority of animal phyla first appear in the fossil record.”  The article also acknowledged it to be a bit of a problem: “However, the causes of its origin have been the subject of debate for decades, and the question of what was the trigger for the single cell microorganisms to assemble and organize into multicellular organisms has remained unanswered until now.”  Sitting on the edge of our seats after this build-up, we look into the article for the solution.  An international team looked into the question.  It’s calcium, they announced with chutzpah:The researchers succeeded to show that the massive and sudden surge in the calcium concentration of the Cambrian seawater — that is believed to be the result of volcanically active midocean ridges — not only initiated the buildup of calcified shells, but was also mandatory for the aggregation and stabilisation of multicellular sponge structures.  This allows, on the other hand, to formulate a novel theory where the geologically induced increase of marine calcium might be the key for understanding the Cambrian Explosion of Life.    This paper constitutes the first research work where single molecule force spectroscopy studies have provided meaningful answers to such a deep evolutionary biology question as the origin of multicellular animals, and might represent a milestone for both disciplines and an example of how multidisciplinarity and collaboration are essential components of excellent contemporary science.PhysOrg, on the other hand, had another element in mind to explain the “big growth spurts” in the evolutionary history of life.  They had two in mind: the origin of eukaryotes, and the Cambrian explosion.  “Scientists say the main driver of each growth step was a massive increase in the supply of oxygen, which is needed to convert food to the additional energy required for larger, more complex life forms.”  But if you give food to an athlete, does it increase his complexity?  How does that solve the problem?  The article presented the views of David Johnston of Harvard.  Sure enough, he thinks that size matters, and wrote a book called Why Size Matters.  “It is the supreme and universal determinant of what any organism can be and can do.”  Again, it is not clear why size alone creates complexity.    So if the first eukaryotes started pumping oxygen into the atmosphere 2.35 billion years ago, why did it take so long for the Cambrian growth spurt?  “Fueled by more oxygen, eukaryotes took another enormously significant stride: They started to combine into larger organisms containing multiple cells, organs and tissues.”  This idea should be testable.  People in oxygen tents should be examined to see if new cells, organs and tissues are emerging.    Johnston also omitted to address the origin of the genetic instructions to build new organs, tissues, and body plans.  Could it be as simple as “just add oxygen”? At first, these ancient animals were soft-bodied, like modern jellyfish.  Around 542 million years ago, however, some animals developed shells and skeletons and grew larger.    This was the famous “Cambrian Explosion” of complex life forms, which led to today’s species, the biggest of them another million times larger than their single-celled ancestors.    Fish, reptiles, birds, amphibians, plants, mammals and human beings were finally on their way, and the Earth’s largest living thing, the sequoia tree, is 10 million billion times bigger than the first tiny microbe in the sea.Our question about why with so much oxygen the animals waited almost 2 billion years to burst forth with 20 to 40 new complex body plans in a geological instant, without ancestors, is apparently not included in this edition of the story.If they believe that solves the problem of the origin of genetic information for building new complex body plans, it’s novel, all right – as in science fiction.  Have you ever in your life seen such empty fluff masquerading as an answer?  If you have watched Darwin’s Dilemma, you understand the magnitude of the problem.  At a memorable moment in the film, Richard Sternberg had just discussed the complexity of development of a body plan with its new genes, proteins, cell types, tissues and organs.  “This is orders of magnitude more complex than anything we have been able to conceive,” he said, pointing back over his shoulder.  “You”ve left the idea of ‘impossible by chance’ a long time ago.”  But like a circus ringmaster doubling as a clown and magician, Johnston swept the elephant in the room away with pure magic.  The eukaryote developed [miracle word] skeletons and body plans.  This led to [miracle phrase] the complex Cambrian animals.  Then human beings were finally on their way [miracle phrase].  While you weren’t thinking, his sleight-of-mind trick produced the zoo on stage.  The crowd gasps in awe.  His magic elixir was: oxygen!    The other team boos from the stands.  No, they shout.  It was calcium!  They come down to the ring and discuss this with the ringmaster.  After some discussion, they come up with a compromise.  They combine the calcium with the oxygen and get CaO2.  Everyone is happy till they realize calcium peroxide is used to sterilize water.    Get your money back from this circus.  Don’t be one of P.T. Barnum’s suckers, even if The Dawk hawks it as the Greatest Show on Earth.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Sunflower Motion Is a Black Box

first_img(Visited 75 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Something as commonly observable as sunflowers following the sun is difficult to explain.Even children can notice that plants follow the sun throughout the day. This phenomenon, given the fancy name “heliotropism” (attraction to the sun) has been known for centuries, but is still a “black box,” plant scientists admit. PhysOrg reports on botanists who have experimented with sunflowers, trying to understand the mechanisms that guide their bright yellow flowers toward the light.Experiments have shown that if sunflowers in a field are turned 180 degrees, they continue to move during the day, but now in a west-to-east direction, opposite to the sun. After several days, the sunflower corrects itself to move east-to-west again. During this time, the sunflower retunes its internal clock, using one of the most powerful entrainment cues – sunlight.“The external cues remind the plant what time of day it is. It slightly readjusts itself so that its internal clock is matched to the environment,” says Dr Haydon. This is essential when dawn changes by three minutes or more everyday depending on your latitude.“This experiment shows very clearly that there’s an internal clock that is driving this plant behavior.”But an internal clock is not enough. The signal has to be translated into actual motion – and plants have no muscles. Nor do they have brains that can be reminded.So heliotropism is regulated by an internal rhythm of gene expression. But the actual mechanics of the movement remains “very much a black box … but we suspect that the mature leaves have something to do with it since the rhythmic movement stops when mature leaves are cut off,” says Dr Haydon.Mysteries pile up when the phenomenon is explored in detail. Why do sunflowers stop moving with the sun when they bloom? How do they know to switch off the movement?“It could simply be mechanical: as the sunflower head grows, it simply becomes too heavy for the stem to move, ” he says. “The other possibility is that it is related to diminishing robustness of the internal clock. There is evidence that circadian rhythms weaken with age, not only in plants but also in animals.”Here’s an example of an easily observed biological phenomenon that to this day resists complete explanation. It shows that scientific discovery and scientific explanation are two different things. “What” is not the same as “how” or “why”. The article resisted any temptation to call on evolutionary theory for understanding.Whatever causes heliotropism, it’s marvelous. God’s designs surpass our abilities to grasp them. It’s uniquely human to try to grasp for understanding, and when understanding comes, humans are astonished, and God is glorified.last_img read more

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Biotech centre to combat diseases

first_img8 April 2008The Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research (CPGR), the first of its kind in South Africa, has opened at the University of Cape Town’s medical campus, giving local researchers a powerful new tool for combating a variety of diseases.The centre is currently engaged in researching a new and improved molecular diagnostic marker of diseases such as malaria, leukemia and colorectal cancer, is conducting a search for markers of pathogen resistance in maize, as well as assessing of the possible health risks associated with the development of genetically modified plants, among others.The centre combines an integrated technological approach with a strong focus on translating information-rich discoveries into practical applications.“You should understand our excitement as we finally launch this cross-cutting facility, which will now take a pride of place in our national system of innovation,” said Science and Technology Minister Mosibudi Mangena, who officially opened the centre last week.Mangena said the centre would provide advanced biological solutions and project support to the country’s scientific community, as well as high-quality analytical services to academia and industry.The centre is to be a proactive driver of research and development in Southern Africa, aimed at directly boosting the biotechnology sector through building competitive research and development infrastructure.Mangena pointed out that the centre was of crucial importance to both the national biotechnology strategy and individual scientists’ who conduct research at the same level as their international peers.The technology platforms also provide positive benefits for the economy by encouraging plant and human biotechnology advances, and it is believed that the centre will empower researchers in the life science sector to convert scientific findings into practical applications.“We also trust that the CPGR will develop mechanisms to communicate the concept of genomics and proteomics effectively, to engage the public in an informed dialogue,” he said. “We believe this will, in turn, stimulate economic growth in the life sciences and biotechnology sectors.”Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

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Infographic: the life and work of Oliver Tambo

first_imgOn 27 October South Africa commemorates what would have been the 100th birthday of Oliver Tambo, one of the country’s most important revolutionary leaders. Here is an overview of Tambo’s history and significance in the country’s transition from apartheid to democracy.South African political icon Oliver Tambo embodied the values of unity, sacrifice, humility, honesty, discipline and mutual respect. In 2017, the country commemorates the centenary of Tambo’s birth. (Image: Wikipedia)CD AndersonSources: South African History Online, The Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation, WikipediaWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img

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Springtime Tulip River Cruise Discovery

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest  Leave a CommentOhio Farm Bureau presents its second group tour opportunity with Collette Tours, this time on a nine-day cruise featuring Dutch and Belgian waterways.Trip highlights include Amsterdam and then a seven-night river cruise with stops at Volendam, Arnhem, Middleburg, Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp, Kinderdijk Windmills and the Keukenhof Gardens.The trip takes place April 21-29, 2020 and includes 20 meals, round trip airfare from Columbus, air taxes and fees/surcharges and hotel transfers.Book now to save $500 per person.For more information, contact John Marihugh at Ohio Farm Bureau or call 614-249-2400.Brochure  Leave a Commentlast_img

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Is consumer AR dead? Nope, says ODG, showcasing new glasses at CES

first_imgOsterhout Design Group (ODG) have announced new augmented reality (AR) glasses at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas, keen to show the world that AR in the consumer market is not dead.The augmentation of objects works similar to the tech used in Microsoft’s Hololens, which can place them on real-world objects rather than a simple overlay onto a solid surface. To get technical for a sec: The R-8 and R-9 glasses are both powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 835 processor and run ODG’s own Android 7.0 Nougat fork, Reticle OS.See Also: Wearables find themselves increasingly going to workThe R-9 is the most expensive of the two, costing around $1,800. For that, customers will receive a 50-degree field of view, 1080p resolution, and a 13MP camera that can record 4K video. The glasses have an extension port to attach specialized modules, like an infrared camera, a feature specifically for the industry.Could mean cheaper AR for consumersFor more general consumers, the R-8 slashes $800 off the price but comes with a lower 720p resolution and a modest 40-degree field of view. It has no expansion port, but is lighter, at 4.5 ounces to the R-9’s 6.5 ounces.“As consumers look for more and more out of their mobile devices, we are seeing a shift taking place towards a new era of mobile computing,” said Ralph Osterhout, ODG founder and CEO. “This is so much bigger than just a device; it’s about a whole new computing medium that will transform how we interact and discover information and engage with people and objects in the world around us.”ODG expects to ship the R-8 and R-9 glasses in the second half of 2017.It recently completed a funding round and partnered with China Mobile’s Migu Video to fund the project. The expenses have been covered; now ODG is looking at building its content portfolio through a partnership with 21st Century Fox’s Innovation Lab, to ensure that consumers have something to do with the glasses. Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Tags:#Android#AR#Augmented Reality#CES2017#ODG#Osterhout Design Group#Qualcomm David Curry Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img Follow the Puck Related Posts Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to…last_img read more

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How You Sell. How You Buy.

first_imgAny time that you make assumptions about buyers, ask yourself if that assumption is true about you and the way that you would buy.If you were your buyer, how would you want the salesperson charged with winning your business to approach you? Would you want a spam email in your LinkedIn inbox? Would you find that less offensive than a phone call?If you were challenged to create better business results in your own company, would you hope that the person who could help you waited for you to find them and raise your hand? If you were buying a serious, large, complex set of outcomes, would do so much research that you would literally be at the point of making a decision before you ever engaged with a salesperson?If you were working hard to understand how to move your business forward, would you want a salesperson to spend their first meeting with you trying to establish some common ground on which to build a relationship? Or would the value of your relationship depend on their ability to create business value?Would you want the salesperson charged with winning your account to assume that you are just like the rest of their client portfolio, that your challenges could be resolved in exactly the same way you’ve resolved your other client’s challenges? Or would you want them to learn about your business, how you do what you do, and the way any solution might need to be modified to work for you?If you knew what you needed, would you want a salesperson to believe that you had a sophisticated buying process, that you had the depth of experience to know all of the trade-offs, and to follow your lead? Or would you rather your salesperson share with you how you might go about making change in your business?Would you want to be left alone to develop the consensus on your own? Would want to try to move your organization to the decision by yourself? Or would it be helpful to have someone with business acumen and deep situational knowledge help you to develop consensus?Would you want a massive slide deck presentation? Or would a conversation create more value?When it comes to pricing, would you want the salesperson to provide you with the lowest possible price, even if it meant that you weren’t going to get the result you needed? Or would you want them to help you make the right investment for the outcomes you really need?If you were concerned about the risk of making the investment, would you want the salesperson to hide from the discussion and hope that you are able to work through mitigating that risk on their own? or would you want them to engage with you, helping you with the proof you need to confidently move forward and defend your decision?How would you want to buy?last_img read more

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Value Creation First. Rapport Building Second.

first_imgIt used to be customary that the salesperson to try to connect and develop rapport with a prospective client before tackling the business agenda they suggested when they scheduled the meeting. The salesperson would sit down in the prospective client’s office and look for something they had in common. They’d ask about the pictures on the client’s desk, especially pictures of their children. Or they would look for signs about what their prospective clients interests were, including things like where they went to college, what their hobbies are, or what kind of car they drive.Now, because everyone has more work to do in less time, and because so many companies are operating lean, most prospective clients aren’t willing to suffer through the rapport-building exercise first. Instead, they’re more interested in a business conversation and agenda.Value Creation FirstIf you cannot create commercial, economic, or strategic value during a sales call, you are unlikely to get the opportunity to develop a relationship with the prospective client. They are not going to waste time allowing you to build rapport and invest in a relationship with someone who cannot help them produce better results.By putting the business agenda first, and you prove yourself as a professional. When you ask your prospective client for a meeting, you suggested that you could help them produce better business results, not find a personal ground that would allow you to attempt to build rapport and develop a relationship. The relationship your prospective client is interested in developing is a commercial relationship. A commercial relationship does not preclude a friendship, but it does require create value for the prospective client as it pertains to their business.Rapport SecondThe greater the value you create in a commercial sense, the more likely you are to have the opportunity to develop the rapport and relationship that allows you to create a deeper preference to work with you. This is the normal course today, with the commercial and economic value creation happening first, and the reporting relationship building happening later, only because no one wants to invest in a relationship with someone with whom they are not intending to do business with.This is a generalization. All generalizations are lies, including this one. There are some people in some places where moving to the business agenda without the rapport-building and relationship building formalities is a mistake. Most of the time in sales you are not working in situations where there is black or white approaches. You have to be comfortable working in the gray. Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

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Increased Activity Drives Port of Esbjergs Earnings Up

first_imgzoom Danish port of Esbjerg has reported a record turnover of EUR 30.94 million for 2016, mainly driven by a high level of activity at the port related to wind, RoRo traffic and car imports.The port, which also saw a record net profit of EUR 10.68 million for the year, said that the high activity is expected to continue in 2017.“With the planned expansion of the 250,000 m2 East port area well underway, the port of Esbjerg is ready to handle a continued high level of activity and a growing demand for its areas,” port of Esbjerg said.Cargo turnover rose 6 percent compared to 2015 and the port set a new record in terms of ship calls and imported cars. Meanwhile, 1,100 MW of offshore wind capacity was shipped from the port, which is more than double the amount in 2015, and demand for the port’s areas increased, according to the port.“We are satisfied with the result. It reflects the fact that the Port of Esbjerg is in very good shape,” Flemming N. Enevoldsen, Chairman of the Port of Esbjerg’s board, said.The port of Esbjerg is both the Northern European market leader within offshore wind and the Danish center for RoRo traffic and oil and gas, making the port resistant towards unavoidable fluctuations in the markets.“The expectation that the high activity will continue in 2017 combined with an increasing demand for areas from especially the wind industry means that the port’s investment of nearly EUR 27 million in the 250,000 m2 expansion of the East port comes at the right time,” the port of Esbjerg said, adding that the expansion is expected to be complete by the end of 2017.last_img read more

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