It’s Not a Bird, It’s a Plane

first_imgLook to the birds of the air, and they will teach you aeronautics.  That’s what designers of the Robo-Swift did.  PhysOrg reported about a new plane that imitates a swift thing on the wing:RoboSwift is a micro airplane fitted with shape shifting wings, inspired by the common swift, one of nature’s most efficient flyers.  The micro airplane will have unprecedented wing characteristics; the wing geometry as well as the wing surface area can be adjusted continuously.  This makes RoboSwift more maneuverable and efficient.  Resembling the common swift, RoboSwift will be able to go undetected while using its three micro cameras to perform surveillance on vehicles and people on the ground.The article says that RoboSwift, designed by Dutch engineers, will also be able to fly along with swifts and study them up close.  One can only imagine what would be going through a swift’s bird brain upon seeing such a thing.  (See also the 04/29/2007 story on swifts.)    Scientists continue to learn more about bird flight.  Birds seem to break the rules of aerodynamics, reported MSNBC News.  But that can only mean that we don’t understand the rules very well yet.  Bird maneuverability vastly exceeds man’s aircraft.  PhysOrg explained that a new study of 138 bird species overturns “aerodynamic scaling rules that explain how flight varies according to weight and wing loading.” Their analysis reveals that the difference between the speed of small and large birds is not as great as expected; they suggest that this surprising result is likely to be the result of disadvantages associated with very slow speeds among smaller birds and with very fast speeds for larger birds.  They also show that the evolutionary history of the species helps explain much of the variation in flight speed: species of the same group tend to fly at similar characteristic speeds.  For example, birds of prey and herons had slow flight speeds, on average, given their mass and wing loading, whereas the average speed for songbirds and shorebirds was faster than would be predicted.Yet it would seem hard to claim knowledge of evolutionary history in the past when the article goes on to say that “there exists a diversity of cruising flight characteristics among birds that remain to be explored and understood” in the present, right under our noses.  David Tyler, writing for Access Research Network, has explored which paradigm – design or evolution – is more suited to the explosive rise in biomimetic engineering.Scientists should be swift to learn, slow to mythologize.  Evolutionists could not begin to explain how a lumbering dinosaur got the right combination of mutations to turn into a flying swift with aerodynamic engineering that is the envy of our smartest inventors.  Evolutionary claims are vacuous and useless.  Give us RoboSwifts and other useful inventions inspired by nature – as long as the government doesn’t use them to spy on honest citizens.    A reader wrote in about witnessing birds in flight:About two years ago I was privileged to watch two (presumably male) nighthawks performing in front of a third (presumably female) nighthawk that was sitting on a rock and incidentally performing for me, sitting on a tractor a few yards from the one on the rock.  One appeared to be chasing the other as they flew up the road, came back down through the orchard, dodging limbs in the tops of the cherry trees.  The tail of the first and the beak of the second were separated by about a foot, no more than 18 inches.  They flew at pursuit speed, much faster that when they are feeding hundreds of feet above the ground.  They matched wing strokes as they flew around and over limbs, trees, sagebrush and rock, usually no more than two or three feet from the obstacles.  Now and then the leader would perform some type of pull-up maneuver and the follower would become the leader.  I think this is what happened, but it was too swift for me to be sure.  In a word, it was awesome.(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Original Proteins Found in Fossil Sea Turtle

first_img(Visited 1,019 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 The fossil of a sea turtle said to be 54 million years old still has original proteins of pigment and muscle.A press release from North Carolina State University drops another bomb on deep time. Even though the researchers, including co-author Mary Schweitzer, do not doubt the age of the fossil at 54 million Darwin Years, that is an awful lot of time for original biomolecules to be preserved.Researchers from North Carolina State University, Lund University in Sweden and the University of Hyogo in Japan have retrieved original pigment, beta-keratin and muscle proteins from a 54 million-year-old sea turtle hatchling. The work adds to the growing body of evidence supporting persistence of original molecules over millions of years and also provides direct evidence that a pigment-based survival trait common to modern sea turtles evolved at least 54 million years ago.That last clause compounds the problem by pushing back a trait earlier than expected. In this case, it is dark coloration, believed to provide camouflage from predators and heat regulation by absorbing sunlight as the hatchling scurried across the sand to the seashore. No evolution is documented, because the adaptive trait was already present!Fossil (left) and modern sea turtle hatchlings. Credit: Johan Lindgren, reproduced from NC State press release (click for link).The fossil was found in Denmark in 2008, but soft tissue remains were not recovered till 2013. Johan Lindgren of Lund University performed multiple tests to analyze the remains. He found organelles he suspected were melanosomes, the structures that provide coloration. He brought in other researchers for further analysis.Lindgren performed ToF-SIMS on the samples to confirm the presence of heme, eumelanin and proteinaceous molecules – the components of blood, pigment and protein.Co-author Mary Schweitzer, professor of biological sciences at NC State with a joint appointment at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, performed histochemical analyses of the sample, finding that it tested positive against antibodies for both alpha and beta-keratin, hemoglobin and tropomyosin, a muscle protein. TEM, performed by University of Hyogo evolutionary biologist Takeo Kuriyama, and Schweitzer’s immunogold testing further confirmed the findings.Schweitzer, in an apparent pre-emptive strike at skeptics, stated that confirmation of these particular proteins rules out contamination, because bacteria don’t make eukaryotic melanin or keratin.The open-access paper was published October 17 in Nature Scientific Reports, DOI:  10.1038/s41598-017-13187-5. It calls the specimen “arguably one of the best preserved juvenile fossil sea turtles on record.” Traces of soft tissue were preserved “with great fidelity“, the paper says. What was found was original, unmineralized material.Here we show that the extraordinary preservation of the type of T. danica goes beyond gross morphology to include ultrastructural details and labile molecular components of the once-living animal. Haemoglobin-derived compounds, eumelanic pigments and proteinaceous materials retaining the immunological characteristics of sauropsid-specific β-keratin and tropomyosin were detected in tissues containing remnant melanosomes and decayed keratin plates. The preserved organics represent condensed remains of the cornified epidermis and, likely also, deeper anatomical features, and provide direct chemical evidence that adaptive melanism – a biological means used by extant sea turtle hatchlings to elevate metabolic and growth rates – had evolved 54 million years ago.“…arguably one of the best preserved juvenile fossil sea turtles on record.”The evolutionary speculation and dates are not derived from the observations. It’s important to recall that until recently, no one expected original proteins to survive a hundred thousand years, let alone millions. So how do the researchers explain this “extraordinary preservation” of material in this fossil labeled MHM-K2, that should be long gone?We hypothesise that calcium ions (and other trace elements) adsorbed onto the surface of the carcass during the microbially mediated formation of the calcareous concretion in which MHM-K2 was found. Mild geothermal conditions might then have limited further breakdown of the stabilised organics.Haemoglobin also imparts tissue fixation by iron-catalysed free radical reactions and/or inhibition of bacterial growth (ref.44 and references therein), possibly contributing to preservation of anatomical features deeper than the cornified epidermis. Blood breakdown products released from erythrocytes during hemolysis can seep into surrounding tissues, causing a reddish-brown discolouration. Impregnation by haemoglobin-derived compounds has been recorded not only in bones, but also in scales and teeth. Consequently, it is possible that the outer integument was infiltrated by blood residues diffusing from underlying (and now almost completely degraded) dermal or deeper tissues sometime during the early stages of decomposition of MHM-K2. Detection of haemoglobin- and tropomyosin-derived compounds supports this possibility.The language is cautious, because they can only suggest “possibilities” that “might” explain the preservation. Proteins, however, are delicate molecules subject to thermal breakdown. Stabilizing processes, even if plausible, cannot last indefinitely. But for tens of millions of years? Mark Armitage, who has recovered and analyzed dinosaur soft tissue himself, strongly disputes the ability of blood-derived iron to stabilize soft tissues.Much of the paper sidesteps this important question by speculating about when “adaptive melanism” evolved. But really, does the fossil look any “less evolved” than the living turtle? Why do they give it a different scientific name when it is virtually identical? Did the hatchling really fossilize that long ago?Since dinosaur soft tissues and proteins have been found twice as old as those in this sea turtle (1/29/17), long-age evolutionists are panicking. They are scrambling to downplay the findings (6/09/15, 9/19/17) or pretending soft tissue is exciting because it can shed light on evolution. These are distractions from the danger their worldview is in.The Darwin hot-air balloon can only hold a finite number of fossils with soft tissue before it comes crashing to the ground. Keep piling them up in the gondola. And turn on those video cams, everyone! Let the public see the collapse.last_img read more

FNB launches SA’s first banking ‘app’

first_img22 July 2011In a first for a South African bank, First National Bank has launched the FNB Banking Application, an “app” that gives users of smartphones and tablet computer devices easy access to their accounts online.South Africa currently has an estimated 16% smartphone penetration, which according to information technology research company Gartner will ramp up to 80% by 2014. Global sales of tablet computers and smartphones are predicted to exceed PC, notebooks and netbooks in 2011.The app market is also predicted to grow by 60%.The FNB Banking App is available for Android, Apple and Blackberry devices, with an app for devices running the Symbian platform expected before the end of August.“At FNB we are constantly looking at ways to improve on our innovations, staying one step ahead of our competitors and consistently adding value and choice for our customers,” FNB chief executive Michael Jordaan said in a statement this week.“In an increasingly digital world in which smartphones, tablet devices and apps are changing the way we communicate and live, the introduction of the FNB Banking App will enable us to widen our offering allowing us to provide our customers with convenient banking solutions and great user experience.”Immediate secure accessThe app gives users immediate and secure access to their bank accounts, allowing them to view account lists and detailed transactional histories, perform transactional services like transfers between accounts, as well as pay beneficiaries.“The solution will give our customers a convenient, anytime, anywhere digital banking solution, rich in user experience,” said Jordaan. “We are glad to say that this App is a home grown creation and has been developed in house by FNB Connect, the bank’s internal internet service provider.”Value added servicesIn addition to banking services, a few of the value added services include allowing customers to find FNB branches and ATMs using location based services, as well as access to an immediate FNB branch list directory, making free calls to any FNB contact centres and cheap outbound calls to other numbers.The Banking App also has functionality for users to view foreign exchange rates.“We understand the demand for instant and ‘on the go’ banking from our customers and our App provides easy access to banking through a single sign on process. One step is all it takes to safely access your bank account,” said FNB Connect’s Farren Roper.“The App was designed for quick deployment into new and existing markets as it works off any network and off a 3G or WiFi access medium. Smartphone and tablet device users and require mobility and multi-functionality and we designed our App with this user profile in mind.“The App gives the multi-tasker a quick, one stop and convenient banking experience.”To use the service, customers who have Apple devices can download the App from the Apple App store, Android customers from the Android Market, while Blackberry customers can get the App from the Blackberry App World.SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

R800m for South Africa’s Green Fund

first_img3 May 2012 The National Treasury has allocated R800-million over the next two years for South Africa’s Green Fund, which aims to provide finance for high-quality, high-impact, job-creating green economy projects around the country. Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa made the announcement in Cape Town on Wednesday ahead of her department’s budget vote in Parliament. Molewa said the money represented a critical mechanism for achieving a just transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient and job-creating green economy growth path in South Africa. “The primary objective of the Green Fund is to provide catalytic finance for high-quality, high-impact green economy projects and mainstreaming activities which would not have been implemented without fiscal support,” Molewa said.‘Myth’ that green management hinders development She said it was up to South Africans to debunk the myth that environmental management hindered development, by positioning the sector as a major contributor to job creation and the fight against poverty. “The transformation of our industries towards the building of a green economy has many facets; [it is mainly] about creating new labour-absorbing industries that also mitigate impacts on the environment. “This green economy offers substantial opportunities for job creation and development in the environmental goods and services sector, particularly in biodiversity, waste and natural resource management services.” Last year, the department committed to implementing a green economy plan through local and international partnerships with green investors, supported by funding from the Treasury’s Green Fund, as well as international funding through facilities such as the World Bank Clean Technology Fund and the newly established Green Climate Fund.Biodiversity jobs for 800 graduates, school-leavers Molewa also announced on Wednesday that up to 800 unemployed school leavers and graduates, mostly from rural areas, would be hired in biodiversity jobs for a period of two-and-a-half years. Molewa said the department would manage the placement of the candidates through the South African National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi). “Sanbi’s application to the jobs fund, titled ‘Catalysing access to employment and job creation in ecosystem management’, was approved by the Development Bank of Southern Africa to the tune of R300-million,” Molewa said. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Resource Discovery: Childhood Maltreatment Effects on the Brain

first_imgBy Kacy Mixon, M.S., LMFT“Maltreatment during childhood can lead to long-term changes in brain circuits that process fear, researchers say. This could help explain why children who suffer abuse are much more likely than others to develop problems like anxiety and depression later [in life].”We have discussed effects of trauma on children in previous posts. Today’s Resource Discovery focuses on new research findings that add to the numerous effects that children often experience. A recent National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast of All Things Considered reported findings from a study exploring the effects of childhood maltreatment on the brain. Researchers found that abuse experienced in childhood can change brain circuits that process fear and show connection to adolescents developing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Furthermore, girls demonstrated increased vulnerability to brain changes caused by stress or trauma. For more information on this study, listen to the full web broadcast here. This post was written by Kacy Mixon, M.S., LMFT, Social Media Specialist.  She is a member of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.last_img read more

Stags shame Chiefs

first_imgLacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netUnfazed by the home crowd, San Sebastian’s Michael Calisaan stood tallest as the Stags overcame the Arellano Chiefs, 65-56, in a bruising encounter for their first victory in the 93rd NCAA basketball tournament at Arellano Gym in Manila.Hardly intimidated playing in hostile territory, Calisaan dished out a double double with 12 points and 13 rebounds apart from anchoring the Stags’ airtight defense that shut down the Chiefs down the stretch.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena “I’m used to it,” said Calisaan, referring to the scenario of playing against the home crowd. “I grew up playing in inter-barangay and inter-town leagues which usually means playing against the crowd. But coach told us to continue playing aggressive, despite the foul trouble.”The Stags evened their card at 1-1, bouncing back from a 67-76 loss to the San Beda Red Lions in Saturday’s opener.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars“We knew we needed to really stepped up on our defense in the fourth quarter,” said San Sebastian coach Egay Macaraya.Determined to take the crowd out of the game, the Stags got off to a rousing start by outscoring Arellano, 24-8, in the opening period of the first “NCAA on Tour” match this season. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIES The Las Piñas-based school is seeking to uphold the Altas’ victory over the Blazers because they were penalized twice— first with a technical free throw and later, a forfeiture order.“We’re still deliberating on it today (yesterday),” said NCAA Management Committee chair Fr. Glynn Ortega, O.A.R., of host San Sebastian.In a statement, Perpetual said it was surprised why commissioner Arturo “Bai” Cristobal and the Mancom allowed the game to push through.Even St. Benilde coach TY Tang agreed that “the game should have been over before it started.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextcenter_img View comments MOST READ El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Gilas fate hangs on future pro stars But the Chiefs drew strength from Kent Salado as they came to within 50-52 with a little over four minutes left.Calisaan and RK Ilagan joined forces to close out the game with a 13-6 burst, while Arellano’s Salado and Archie Concepcion lost their cool and were slapped with unsportsmanlike fouls.Marwin Taywan was also ejected for hitting Allyn Bulanadi’s head.Arellano, which overpowered Mapua, 91-82, also on Saturday, dropped to 1-1.Meanwhile, Perpetual Help would challenge the decision of the NCAA, which forfeited the Altas’ 69-65 win over St. Benilde on Tuesday for wearing the wrong uniform color.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Gameslast_img read more

Asian Games 2010: Indian shooters win bronze in men’s douple trap event

first_imgIndian shooters’ gold drought continued and the trio of Ronjan Sodhi, Asher Noria and Vikram Bhatnagar settled for bronze in the men’s double trap event in the Asian Games in Guangzhou on Sunday.Sodhi, Noria and Bhatnagar combined for a score of 403 after shooting 139, 134, 130 respectively.The Chinese team of Qiang Pan, Junjie Mo and Binyuan Hu China clinched the gold with a score of 414 (143+136+135).Kuwait — comprising M Fehaid Aldeehani, M Hamad Alafasi and A Meshfi Almutairi — grabbed the silver with a total of 407 (137+136+134).With today’s bronze, Indian shooters have so far bagged six medals in the event.- With PTI inputslast_img read more

Cancer drug could be used to treat brain aneurysms shows research

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 20 2019An important class of drug used to treat cancer patients could be used to treat brain aneurysms, according to new research published this week.Brain aneurysms are a bulge in a blood vessel caused by a weakness in the blood vessel wall. As blood passes through the weakened blood vessel, blood pressure causes a small area to bulge outwards.They can develop anywhere in the body but are most common in the abdominal aorta (the artery that carries blood away from the heart) and the brain.It’s difficult to estimate exactly how many people are affected by brain aneurysms as they usually cause no symptoms until they rupture, but experts believe it could be anywhere from 1 in 100 to as many as 1 in 20 people.Treatment is difficult, involving complex surgery which is currently only attempted in select cases. In a notable example, Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke suffered from two aneurysms while filming the series, undergoing surgery as a result.Working in collaboration with colleagues at University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, USA, scientists at the University of Sussex may now have found a safer and more efficient possible treatment involving ‘Receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors’; a class of drug currently used to treat cancer.Using sophisticated ‘next generation’ DNA sequencing technologies, teams in Washington lead by Manuel Ferreira, Associated Professor of Neurological Surgery, identified a new genetic basis of a form of brain aneurysm (mutations PDGFRB). This was unexpected, as mutations in this gene have been previously identified in completely different human developmental disorders.Mark O’Driscoll, Professor of Human Molecular Genetics at the Genome Damage and Stability Centre at the University of Sussex, then found that multiple disease-associated mutations in PDGFRB caused a specific abnormality in its encoded protein. This abnormality causes its activity to remain locked in a hyper-active form, referred to as ‘gain-of-function variants’ – in effect, causing the protein to always be ‘turned-on’.Publishing their findings in this months’ edition of the American Journal of Human Genetics, the Sussex team also demonstrated that this abnormal form of the protein can, in some cases, be countered by a drug which is currently used in cancer treatments. This is an extremely exciting discovery which shows how basic lab-derived observations on a genetic level can move into a clinical setting and start making big changes to public healthcare and treatments. Our research focused primarily on understanding the genetic and cellular mechanisms underlying a particular type of aneurysm. By finding a new genetic basis in some patients, we were also able to demonstrate that a known cancer drug could counter this genetic basis in most instances. Understanding the genetics behind diseases like this is crucial in identifying possible treatments and next steps – and that is exactly what our part in this new research has shown. The lead authors and our collaborators on this paper based in the US, are now working on the next stages to test this drug further.Professor O’Driscoll Related StoriesStudy offers clues about how to prevent brain inflammation in Alzheimer’sNew study to ease plight of patients with advanced cancerNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerDrug repurposing is not unheard of, and there are already some success stories including the use of thalidomide as a treatment for leprosy as well as a blood cancer called multiple myeloma.Dr Manuel Ferreira, lead author of the report from the University Of Washington School Of Medicine, said: “We are now very close to treating these aneurysm patients with PDGFRB variants with specific receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors”.Source: University of SussexJournal reference:Ferreira, M (2019) Somatic PDGFRB activating variants in fusiform cerebral aneurysms. American Journal of Human Genetics. doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.03.014last_img read more

Orbitz says legacy travel site likely hacked affecting 880K

This Feb. 12, 2015 file photo shows signage for travel booking site Orbitz outside the building that houses its headquarters, in Chicago. Orbitz says a legacy travel booking platform may have been hacked, potentially exposing the personal information of people that made purchases between Jan. 1, 2016 and Dec. 22, 2017. The company said Tuesday, March 20, 2018, about 880,000 payment cards were impacted. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File) This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Citation: Orbitz says legacy travel site likely hacked, affecting 880K (2018, March 20) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-orbitz-legacy-platform-hacked.html Orbitz says one of its older websites may have been hacked, potentially exposing the personal information of people who made purchases online between Jan. 1, 2016 and Dec. 22, 2017. © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The current Orbitz.com website was not involved in the incident. Orbitz is now owned by Expedia Inc. of Belleview, Washington.Orbitz said Tuesday about 880,000 payment cards were impacted.Data that was likely exposed includes name, address, payment card information, date of birth, phone number, email address and gender. Social Security information was not hacked, however. The company said evidence suggests that an attacker may have accessed information stored on the platform—which was for both consumers and business partners—between Oct. 1, 2017 and Dec. 22, 2017.It said it discovered the data breach March 1.Orbitz is offering those impacted a year of free credit monitoring and identity protection service in countries where available. Orbitz to Go Public, Again read more