A leading origin-of-life researcher passed away last month: Leslie Orgel. Gerald Joyce paid him tribute in Nature.1 Orgel worked closely with other famous origin-of-life people like Stanley Miller, and was a leader in the “RNA world” scenario for the origin of life. Joyce appreciated his rigid empiricism:Although Orgel was a theoretician, he always demanded that theory be subject to rigorous experimental validation. This, he felt, was especially true in the field of the origins of life, where “theories are a dime a dozen and facts are in short supply”. He took great pleasure in a positive result, to the point of rooting for the pen on a graph-plotter during chromatography experiments. But he also delighted in negative results, because they pushed him to devise new hypotheses. This, of course, is the way scientists are supposed to behave, but Orgel was one of the few who actually did so.Joyce found it refreshing that Orgel would readily criticize his own favorite hypothesis:Following the discovery of catalytic RNA, Orgel continued to pursue the RNA-world hypothesis as both a strong proponent and a tough critic. He pointed out that the notion of an RNA world hardly solves the problem of the origins of life, and suggested that RNA was preceded by some other genetic material, just as DNA and protein were preceded by RNA. Many of his later publications concerned experimental studies of possible pre-RNA-world molecules.At this point, Joyce took a swipe at another group of critics of origin-of-life theories: His theories brought him into conflict with creationists, who sometimes quoted Orgel out of context, pointing to his admitted uncertainty about life’s origins as if this were a failing of the scientific approach. It was, of course, typical of Orgel and of the best practice of science. He had no time for proponents of ‘intelligent design’, and avoided those prone to magical thinking.Since these critics included PhD biochemist Duane Gish and others with impeccable credentials who launched their criticisms specifically at the lack of rigor in such hypothesis, one is left wondering who was engaging in “magical thinking.”1. Gerald Joyce, “Obituary: Leslie Orgel (1927?2007),” Nature 450, 627 (29 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/450627a.Gerald Joyce, still smarting from the other Darwin Party wizards who used their magic against him (02/15/2007), is no one to teach us about science vs magic. The whole RNA World scenario is nothing but a stage for magicians to entertain gullible patrons. If he has no time for creationists, does he have time for fellow OOL researcher Steve Benner? Benner warned about the intractable problem of getting ribose (an essential sugar for RNA, ribo-nucleic acid), and criticized those who invoke “genetic takeovers” for pre-RNA chemistry (see 11/05/2004) like some magic wand. The charge that creationists would quote Orgel out of context is a common dodge, like throwing a smoke bomb and running away. Prove it. Doesn’t this just mean that Joyce is mad creationists effectively used quotations from a hostile witness to buttress their arguments that a chance origin of life is impossible? Prosecutors do that all the time; that is not quoting out of context, it is making your case wisely. When a hostile witness admits a key point it doesn’t matter if he still believes his story or not; the truth is out, and the jury takes note. Irrespective of any noble intentions of researchers like Orgel to maintain an air of empirical rigor, at what point do investigations into impossible scenarios become indistinguishable from alchemy? The alchemists had arguably more experimental rigor behind their hypotheses than the OOL schools. Joyce pasted the label “best practice of science” on the modern OOL foolery but it won’t stick. It is a logical fallacy to assume that goal-oriented research, conducted via intelligent design in modern labs, can teach us anything about what chance might have done in the unobservable past. Joyce could use a little more intelligent discernment. Magician, don’t fool thyself.(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Kenya Airways is experiencing a growth in the number of its passengers from Nairobi to Juba in Southern Sudan because of the referendum taking place there.(Image: Flickr) Although it’s been less than a year since Kenya Airways introduced daily flights to Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan, business is booming for the East African nation’s carrier as passengers flock to vote or observe the referendum currently on the go there. At the time of the launch of the two daily flights to Juba in June 2010, Kenya Airways MD and CEO Dr Titus Naikuni, said: “Juba has become one of the important economic hubs of Southern Sudan and Africa.“Kenya Airways is synonymous with contributing to sustainable development across Africa and we envisage providing a seamless connection of service to all passengers travelling in and out of Juba for business and development opportunities,” he added.Vice-president of Southern Sudan, Dr Riek Machar, said: “The launching of flights to Southern Sudan by the airline marked an important milestone for us as it will help connect our region with the rest of Africa as well as the international network that Kenya Airways serves.”In the weeks leading up to the referendum and since it kicked off on 9 January 2011, the airline has experienced a vast increase in the number of passengers flying from Nairobi to Juba.The route usually records an average of 5 800 passengers a month, but this has now grown to more than 8 000 – a figure that is expected to last until the results of the referendum are announced in February.The Kenyan national carrier said while its occupancy rate had been at 60% since it entered the market with the new route, “business to Juba is now brisk with near full flights”.Other airlines that have experienced a similar increase in their passenger numbers for the Juba route are Jetlink, Astral Aviation and Fly 540.Bolstering trade“Aviation transport is a key element in the enhancement of trade and I believe that the introduction of these regular flights will enhance the trading activity between us,” Kenya’s Minister of Trade, Amos Kimunya, said at the time of the launch.With Kenya and Southern Sudan sharing a border, there has also been talk of establishing a railway link between the two countries.The link will mean that most of the goods from Kenya’s port in Mombasa will be able to go directly to Southern Sudan without bypassing Uganda, which is the current trade route. The proposed new development is called the Rift Valley Railways concession.“Kenya has always had a special relationship with Southern Sudan. Besides being a guarantor of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, it has been a neighbour which has hosted a large population of Sudanese refugees and given them a platform to access the rest of the world,” said International Centre for Policy and Conflict executive director Ndung’u Wainaina.“As East Africa’s economic powerhouse, Kenya stands to benefit from the emergence of a large new market in South Sudan and major infrastructure that the country will need to engage commercially with the world, including oil exportation,” the International Crisis Group added.Asian powers keen to invest in Southern Sudan include Japan and China.Predictions point to landmark splitWith the Sudanese referendum ending on 15 January 2011, attendance at polling stations has already surpassed the 60% mark.The predicted outcome of the vote will see the north and south regions splitting and an autonomous Southern Sudan emerging as a new state on the continent.The referendum follows the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005, which ended a two-decades-long war between the mostly Muslim north and Christian south.Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has vowed to recognise Southern Sudan as an independent state if the outcome of the vote suggests such.On a recent visit to the south, al-Bashir said: “”Imposing unity by force doesn’t work … We want unity between the north and the south, but this doesn’t mean opposing the desire of the southern citizen.”The Carter Centre, established by former US president Jimmy Carter, and the African Union have sent officials to Southern Sudan to promote a peaceful and credible vote.Other recent high-profile visitors to the region have been former South African president Thabo Mbeki and Hollywood actor George Clooney, who has launched a hi-tech project to monitor the situation there
29 April 2013 South Africans should be proud of their country’s achievements in founding a new society based on human rights, equality justice, dignity, peace and stability, President Jacob Zuma said in his Freedom Day address in Pretoria on Saturday. Addressing a large crowd gathered on the lawns of the Union Buildings, Zuma also challenged South Africans to take pride in the country’s achievements since the advent of democracy in 1994. “We achieved the elimination of apartheid colonialism and institutionalized racism and replaced it with a new society founded on human rights, equality, justice, dignity, peace and stability,’ Zuma siad. “Together, we affirmed the assertion of our wise and forward looking forebears, who stated in the Freedom Charter that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it was based on the will of all the people.” The President called on South African society to join the government in its economic transformation and the implementation of programmes to fight poverty and inequality and to alleviate unemployment. Zuma conceded that the gap between white and black households, for obvious historical reasons, remained wide, as revealed by Census 2011, with white households earning up to six times more than black households. “The transformation of ownership and management of the economy continues,” he said. “It is encouraging that over R600-billion of black economic empowerment transactions have been recorded since 1995. Another success story is that the number of black people and women in senior management has increased from less than 10% in the 1990s to over 40% today.” Zuma said the government’s housing programme had built over three-million units since 1994. The percentage of households with access to potable water had increased from 60% to over 90%, while access to electricity had increased from 50% of households to approximately 80%. Zuma said that while income inequality remained high, the expansion of social grants from 2.7-million people in 1994 to 16-million currently had contributed to a significant reduction in the proportion of households living in poverty. At the same time, the further extension of basic services required the public service to be more efficient, effective and caring in order to make people’s experience of government a pleasant one, Zuma said. “There are many achievements on the economic front as well. The South African economy has expanded by 83% over the past 19 years. The national income per capita has increased from R27 500 in 1993 to R38 500 in 2012, which is an increase of 40%. Disposable income per capita of households has increased by 43%. Total employment has increased by more than 3.5-million since 1994.” Zuma spoke in detail about equality and gender parity, saying this would ensure that freedom was felt by everyone across society. He spoke of healing and resilience as he acknowledged that the country had a long way to go in eliminating the triple manifestations of the apartheid legacy – poverty, inequality and unemployment. “[We] reaffirm our belief that political freedom must be accompanied by economic freedom as the next phase of liberation. The economic wealth of the country must bring about fundamental social change in the lives of all, especially the youth, the poor and the working class.” Source: SAnews.gov.za
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Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest In this first spring planting cab cam of 2019, Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood jumps in the cab with Trent Watkins of Watkins Farm as they find themselves in the field in a particularly dry valley in northern Champaign County. Watch more in this video, thanks to Homan, Inc.
There are 500 million things mapped in the knowledge graph, and 3.5 billion relationships between those things. But Singhal admits, “This is still a baby step towards understanding this world like you or I do.”“Truly universal search will have information available on the Web and information that’s your information,” Singhal said. Building on Google’s Universal Search, the idea that images, maps, videos and Web pages can all results of the same kinds of searches, it’s time for Google to start bringing users’ own information into the results as well.The updates announced on Wednesday bring that knowledge to bear in new interfaces designed to make searching Google faster, more natural, and more comprehensive, all while remaining considerate of users’ privacy and devices of choice.Lead image via Wikipedia. Google submitted the app about a week ago. It’s obviously a touchy subject, since Apple’s AI assistant, Siri, is supposed to be the onboard robot that answers people’s questions, and she goes out of her way to avoid using Google to do so. But since Google’s voice search can’t hook in to iOS contacts, phone, messages, reminders, clock or other system-level functions, Siri still has enough advantages that Apple will let Google ship this update.It’s better than Siri at the Web, though. Let’s get that out of the way. While Siri may improve over time, it just can’t match Google at Web search right now. It can also provide answers any way the Knowledge Graph can, which includes doing math. Siri uses Wolfram Alpha for math and science questions, and the race between Google and Wolfram Alpha will be interesting to watch. But for the casual math and science queries we might ask of our phones, Google is on the ball.Voice search isn’t the same as Google Now. The predictive suggestions showed off at Google I/O, which send users scheduling reminders from their Google Calendars when searching for a place to eat, for example, are exclusive to Android.The Destiny of Search“The destiny of search is to become the Star Trek computer, that perfect, loyal assistant,” SVP of engineering Amit Singhal told the audience in his introduction. We ask questions in natural language, and she answers us.There are 30 trillion URLs on the Web, Singhal said, and Google crawls 20 billion on the average day. It performs 100 billion searches per month. That represents a staggering amount of information, but it’s a big leap from indexing those Web addresses to actually understanding them. “The next scientific challenge that we face,” Singhal said, “is that we need to understand what’s in that knowledge.”It’s about more than just organizing the information. If it wants to build the Star Trek computer, Google has to tackle some of the hardest computer science problems there are. It has to master speech recognition, natural language, and, as Singhal said, “We will have to build artificial intelligence. We are clearly not there yet, but we are taking baby steps toward that future.”The most important change to Google search so far this year was the launch of the Knowledge Graph in May. Google is moving away from simple keyword matching and toward a natural-language understanding of terms and concepts.By creating a huge database of the things in the world and mapping their relationships, Google is building a way to relate the queries we ask of it to the actual concepts we’re talking about, modeling our language much like we do when speaking to one another. As Knowledge Graph lead PM Emily Moxley put it to ReadWriteWeb in July, “It’s about mapping the real world into something that computers can understand.” Only if you explicitly tell Google that you’re looking for something of yours, such as by searching for “my flights,” will it show email contents instantly in main search results. It’s all done over SSL, so no one can intercept the information, just like on Gmail itself. Knowledge Graph boxes are displayed on the right side of search results and have a two-fold purpose: helping the you (and Google) quickly clarify the query by suggesting related objects and concepts, and helping you explore the relationships between concepts.Not only does this visual representation of the things in your query help you find what you’re looking for, it helps Google better understand how these things are related.Carousel: A Touchable List of Answers from Knowledge GraphThere’s also a new carousel view for Knowledge Graph search results. The right sidebar box for Knowledge Graph only shows five related concepts at a time, but now a search for a list of things, like “famous jazz composers,” will produce an illustrated, side-scrolling list of possible answers, which can all be expanded with one tap. It’s a faster and more enjoyable way to dive into search results on the desktop, but it’s also an ideal interface for a tablet. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Gmail in search results is a field trial, so you only get it if you want it and sign up for it. You can sign up for the field trial at g.co/searchtrial and see if you like it. It’s not yet available for Google Apps users who have Gmail on their own domains.Voice Q&A Search In the Google iOS App: What’s A Siri?The new version of the Google search app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch brings to Apple customers the kind of Knowledge Graph-powered, natural language, question-and-answer search Google showed off in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at Google I/O in June.This is the most Star Trek of all the announcements; mobile engineering director Scott Huffman bombarded the iPhone with casual questions, and it always instantly nailed the answer, presenting it in a visually attractive and informative format. On Wednesday, Google announced new natural-language voice search on iOS, new, touch-friendly Web interfaces for its answers, and an ambitious, voluntary experiment to bring your Gmail messages into search results. Google wants to be like the Star Trek computer when it grows up, letting us ask questions naturally about anything and get a compelling answer right back. These new features show that Google’s much further along than you might realize.English-Language Knowledge Graph EverywhereStarting Thursday, users searching Google in English anywhere in the world will get Knowledge Graph results. Knowledge Graph, which launched in May, is Google’s effort to move away from simple keyword matching and toward a natural-language understanding of terms and concepts. This week U.S. users will also start seeing Knowledge Graph people, place and thing suggestions in auto-suggest and auto-complete while typing their queries. Tags:#Google#web That view of flight info is pretty neat, too. It’s not just about pulling up email messages as search results. Google is actually pulling out the information that’s relevant to you from Gmail and presenting it like a Knowledge Graph answer. Related Posts jon mitchell Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Gmail Messages in Search Results – A Field TrialOn Wednesday, Google launched a limited field trial of a bold new idea: displaying your Gmail messages in appropriate search results.That might sound scary, but it’s implemented in a conservative way. It pulls up Gmail messages on the right sidebar if they’re relevant, but the email itself is collapsed. A person over your shoulder won’t be able to read your email unless you click to expand it.In a publicity event on Wednesday, Sagar Kamdar, director of product management for Universal Search, told reporters, “Gmail is almost the same size as our Web corpus.” Email is a huge store of information that is valuable to users. But for Google to pull email into search results like it does Web results, “Now we need to make it private and secure.”Collapsing email message views by default is part of that. It’s also controlled by the same toggle switch between personal and global search results as Google+ Search Plus Your World results. Clicking the globe button takes all personal info out of search, and you can permanently disable all personalized search in your Google account settings. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…
by Leanne Knobloch, Ph.DThroughout history, military families have worked hard to stay connected during deployment. During prior conflicts, service members and their loved ones relied on the mail to stay in touch, often waiting eagerly for a letter that would be months old when it arrived (if it came at all). Clever correspondents numbered the envelopes so the recipients could read the letters in the correct order. A lucky few enjoyed brief but expensive long-distance phone calls.Advances in technology have given today’s military families many more options. Depending on where service members are deployed, they may have secure and reliable Internet access for email, social media, and video chat such as Skype and FaceTime. They may have cellular service for phone calls and texts. More and more military families are able to bridge the gap between overseas and home by interacting in real time, with privacy, and for reasonable cost.Despite the benefits of new technology, today’s military families still face challenging dilemmas about how best to stay in touch. How much connectedness is too much? What if family members have vastly different preferences for frequency and/or channel? Should loved ones at home discuss difficulties that could distract the service member from his or her mission? Should military personnel disclose problems that could worry family members?Even the communication technologies themselves pose risks. What precautions should military families take to preserve operational security? How should they ensure privacy? And what happens if connectivity suddenly “goes dark” because of mission requirements?A recent study sheds light on how the communication of military couples during deployment affects their anxiety after homecoming. Dr. Leanne Knobloch from the University of Illinois, Dr. Lynne Knobloch-Fedders from Marquette University, and Dr. Jeremy Yorgason from Brigham Young University conducted a study in which 555 military couples (1,100 individuals) from all military branches completed online questionnaires once per month for the first eight months after reunion. The study was funded by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs through the Military Operational Medicine Research Program.Email was the most frequently used channel of communication, followed by Facebook, instant messaging, video chat/Skype, phone, and cards and letters. The channels of communication used by deployed service members and at-home partners, however, mattered less than the tone of their exchanges.Military couples who communicated positively during deployment (and avoided communicating negatively during deployment) reported less anxiety at homecoming. In other words, constructive communication during deployment was helpful upon reunion.Another key finding was that both positive and negative communication during deployment predicted a quicker reduction in anxiety over time after reunion. These results suggest that military couples who confronted challenging topics immediately during deployment adjusted more quickly after homecoming.The study implies three tips for helping military couples stay in touch during deployment:1. Plan ahead. Talk in advance about how much and how often you would like to communicate during deployment. Don’t forget to discuss what channels each person prefers to use. But, remember that your access and preferences may change during deployment, so revisit your plans occasionally to make sure that everyone is comfortable with how your communication is going.2. Interact constructively. As much as possible, stay upbeat and cheerful when communicating during deployment. Even challenging issues can be worked through effectively if you keep a positive tone.3. Don’t sidestep important issues. Sweeping hard topics under the rug means a pile-up upon reunion. Stay positive and work to see things from your partner’s perspective. Even agreeing to dig deeper into a topic once everyone is physically together is better than ignoring problems.The project also suggests a pair of guidelines for how military family service providers can support individuals separated by deployment:1. Help military families plan. Service providers can assist military families in thinking through the advantages and disadvantages of the communication channels available during deployment. They also can support military families in developing a plan for how to stay in touch during the time apart.2. Offer timely assistance. Support resources should be tailored to the stage of the deployment cycle for maximum effectiveness. Military families may benefit from communication skills training before and during deployment to learn how to stay connected across the miles. Interventions targeting anxiety may be useful immediately before or at homecoming because that’s when people reported the most anxiety.Source: Knobloch, L. K., Knobloch-Fedders, L. M., & Yorgason, J. B. (2018). Communication of military couples during deployment predicting generalized anxiety upon reunion. Journal of Family Psychology, 32, 12-21. A Podcast Episode with Dr. Leanne Knobloch: Staying Connected During Deployment, 2019 Leanne K. Knobloch (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin – Madison) is a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois. Her research examines how people communicate during times of transition, including how military families navigate the deployment cycle and how romantic couples cope with depression. Her work has been honored by the Golden Anniversary Monograph Award from the National Communication Association, the Biennial Article Award from the International Association for Relationship Research, and the University Scholar Award from the University of Illinois.
The 2019-20 budgetary provision of ₹1,581 crore and the announcement of a new policy are set to make a turnaround in the infrastructure of education in Rajasthan. The Congress government has claimed that its new initiatives, including the holding of ‘Baal Sabha’ (Children’s Assembly) at public places, have helped reduce dropout rate in the schools.Minister of State for Education Govind Singh Dotasara has announced the establishment of English medium schools in 167 blocks and an increase in the annual income ceiling from ₹1 lakh to ₹2.50 lakh for admission under the Right to Education (RTE) Act. He said this while replying to the demands of grants for his department in the State Assembly during the ongoing Budget session.The ₹1,581 crore sanctioned under the Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan School Infrastructure Scheme would be utilised for construction of over 14,000 classrooms, laboratories and libraries and 23 new school buildings as well as renovation of 83 buildings. Besides, the new education policy would incorporate fresh initiatives, experiments and research.Mr. Dotasara also announced the widening of purview of the student police cadet scheme to cover 930 government schools and a new “exposure to vocational education” programme for the students of VI to VIII classes. The existing agriculture subject would be replaced with the full-fledged agriculture faculty, which would include agricultural chemistry and agricultural biology.The demands were passed by voice vote in the Assembly after the Minister’s reply. Mr. Dotasara informed the House that the schools closed by the previous BJP government, despite their fulfilment of all parameters, would be reopened. A committee had received proposals from 1,511 secondary schools and 1,324 primary schools for reopening on the basis of fulfilment of the RTE norms.An initiative taken by the Rajasthan Council of School Education for organising ‘Baal Sabhas’ of government schools at public places in the villages has raised academic standards and reduced dropout rate of students. The participation of parents and village elders had especially made these events interactive.Council’s Deputy Director Manaram Jakhar said here that ‘Baal Sabhas’ had led to an effective participation of local communities in the management of schools and helped bring qualitative improvement to school education, besides enhancing creativity of students. He said the Education Department was making efforts for increasing enrolment of students and ensuring their stay at various levels in the schools.In another significant decision, the Education Department has allowed the students enrolled with the open schools to write their examination in Rajasthani language, which has also been included as a subject. The State government will also prepare a draft report to provide maximum benefits to the students studying in open schools.