Highs and lows from Sharks’ preseason opener vs. Ducks

first_imgSAN JOSE — The good news from the Sharks’ perspective following their 4-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night is that Aaron Dell solidified his spot as the backup to No. 1 goalie Martin Jones.The question remains, though, can one or more of the Sharks prospects make a serious challenge for a roster spot once the regular season begins next month?Tuesday’s preseason opener at SAP Center offered only a few hints. Timo Meier, Jonny Brodzinski and Joachim Blichfeld all scored, and Ryan …last_img read more

All You Wanted to Know About Spider Webs, Except Their Evolution

first_imgEach issue of Current Biology contains a Primer on some interesting subject.  The May 24 issue had one about spider webs.1  Fritz Vollrath shared some amazing details about this unique product of the lowly spider, but gave a strange explanation for how the capability to spin strong-as-steel nets evolved.  First, the factoids:Structure:  …the… common garden spider… has evolved to take out-of-plane loads at optimized deflections.  To be able to do so, this web needs to incorporate into one structure the mechanical properties of very different types of silk: the fairly stiff, radius silk threads and the extremely soft, extensible and sticky capture silk threads, which are fixed on the radii by stringy silk cement.  (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Heritage:  Most of the hundred or so spider families have web-building members.  Their webs range from two-dimensional sheets to three-dimensional tangles, with members of ten families building the familiar orb web.Signaling:  The spider’s web is primarily a trap, mostly for insects; it retains the contacting insect and informs the waiting spider about the location and status of the prey.  Whether it is a static filter or a dynamic net swaying in the wind, the web always relays vibratory signals of considerable complexity.Geometry:  The great ecological diversity of the potential prey is reflected in the great diversity of web designs.  Of these, the orbicular web has attracted special attention because of its ubiquity, pleasing geometry, obvious functionality and, not least, its apparent structural simplicity.Technique:  The typical spider web … is the spider’s inherited ‘signature’, which – although unlearned – is modified predictably by the environment.  The web is many times the spider’s size; accordingly, the decision rules guiding the animal’s locomotory and manipulative movements can best be described (and analysed) as orientation behaviour.  Vollrath says that model spider robots can generate digitized spider webs, and show that a “small number of very simple behaviour patterns are sufficient to generate accurately the characteristics of a real spiderweb.”Technology:  The common garden spider Araneus diadematus, like other orb weavers of the ecribellate families, employs in each bead of its capture threads a microscopic ‘windlass’ mechanism that allows supreme extendibility while absorbing the high kinetic energy of the prey without breaking. Another species “combs out its capture silk to form a loosely twisted, dry rope with a mechanical coil-and-spring that sticks to prey using electrostatic forces.”Materials science:  Spider silk is not a single-protein biopolymer.  In addition to the spidroins, its main protein constituents, the typical spider dragline silk contains many different organic and inorganic components, such as neurotransmitter peptides, glyco-proteins, lipids, sugars, phosphates, calcium, potassium and sulphur….Functionally, silks can be viewed as a ‘filled rubber’, in which crystallites provide the strength and a matrix provides the elasticity: in combination, these two components give the silk its toughness.Manufacture:  At present we do not know the precise mechanisms by which different silk proteins fold and assemble in the ‘spinning ducts’ of the various and diverse spider glands.  Some initial insights have been gained, however, into the silk pathway of one typical spider silk: the dragline silk produced by the major ampullate glands of the golden silk spider … Here, as in all other spider silks, the liquid crystalline silk feedstock is prepared by specialist cells in the gland wall and stored in the lumen.  As with most other silks, this precursor silk is then converted into the solid fibre by extrusion through the tubular taper of a duct, where the enormously long … silk molecules first unfold and are then cross-linked.    In Nephila, the fibre-forming zone has the shape and function of a hyperbolic extrusion die.  Here a small drop in the pH combined with the elongational flow of the molecules effects the transformation from liquid to solid silk…. the elongational flow helps to define the molecular orientations throughout the duct, and that a combination of solvent (water) extrusion and subsequent acidification helps the process of alignment and folding.  The cuticle of the gland’s duct facilitates the rapid removal of water and provides the proton pump for the acid bath.  In this way the spider uses a liquid crystalline spinning process which, in terms of human engineering, is highly advanced.In the middle of the primer, Vollrath tackled the specific question, “How are webs thought to have evolved?”Spider web structures and silks began their co-evolution about 400 million years ago, at first probably as a protein cover to protect the animal’s eggs and young.  Webs then evolved different functions, including acting as a kind of wall-paper for the animal’s burrow and modifying the hole into a simple trap by radiating lines that inform the lurking spider about things beetling around outside.  Even such simple lines expand the animal’s anatomical phenotype many fold by incorporating the body into an extensive silken net.  The aerial webs of the ‘modern’ spiders began to evolve perhaps 200 million years ago and are superb examples of ‘extended anatomy’.  These webs also nicely illustrate the close interaction of material and behaviour which clearly are two separately encoded yet functionally inter-linked character traits.This seems to say that they evolved because they evolved. 1Fritz Vollrath, “Spider’s webs,” Current Biology, Vol 15, R364-R365, 24 May 2005.This is a prime example of the leaps of faith rampant among Darwinians, who can discuss with apparent wonder the technologies of the animal kingdom – capabilities that dwarf human efforts based on intelligent engineering – then say they just evolved, with utter, implicit, and complete faith in the inspired Word of Charlie, who alone does wonders.  Then they have the audacity to accuse non-Darwinians of relying on faith instead of science.    Vollrath apparently was not at all aware of nor troubled by the fact that he dodged the question about evolution.  How did the spider web evolve?  It evolved, he said.  Any skill or technology needed was available to the spider with the snap of the evolutionary fingers.  Example: certain spiders “have evolved to produce web fibres that have an aqueous coating, supplied and maintained by hygroscopic compounds to attract the required water molecules from the atmosphere.”  How did the spider find these hygroscopic compounds and incorporate them into the production line?  It evolved.    That explanation is all-sufficient.  The precise acidity control?  It evolved.  The hyperbolic extrusion die?  It evolved.  The exact recipe of proteins, sugars, phosphates, calcium, sulfur, neurotransmitter peptides and other organic and inorganic ingredients that yielded a substance humans cannot emulate?  It evolved.  The ability to control the solidification and folding at exactly the right time and place?  It evolved.  The ability to sort out tough silks and soft, flexible sticky silks into a radial pattern?  It evolved.  The skill to snare insects, detect their presence, and get to them without getting stuck itself?  It evolved.    It evolved because it evolved: that is apparently enough intellectual content to satisfy a brainwashed Darwinist.  Some humans build webs, too; the tangled kind, spun by self-deception.  Watch from a safe distance.(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

South Africa tackles racism

first_img4 February 2016“Twenty-two years into democracy, we have to reflect on the path we have travelled so far as a rainbow nation, how far have we gone and what the challenges are,” said Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa at the launch of the inaugural Anti-Racism Week. The week will run from 14 to 21 March 2016. Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa speaks about anti-racism at the Nelson Mandela Foundation on 2 February 2016. (Image: Priya Pitamber)The initiative comes from the newly established Anti-Racism Network South Africa (Arnsa) and is a mechanism to deal with racism in South Africa. Facilitated by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, the network was launched in November last year and is made up of approximately 80 civil society organisations and government institutions. Its aim is to tackle racism at a national level. Its slogan is simple and concise: Racism is wrong.The organisation held a press briefing to mark the launch of Anti-Racism Week at the Mandela Foundation in Houghton, Joburg on 2 February. The day coincided with the 26th anniversary of the announcement of the release of Mandela from prison.There are no more than a dozen organizations with a dedicated unit to tackle racism – @NeeshanB— ARNSA (@AntiRacismNet) February 2, 2016Causes and solutionsSouth Africa should adopt a multi-pronged approach, said the minister, to deal with racism. Mthethwa questioned what people could do if they went beyond their anger. He suggested mobilisation was the answer, and said Arnsa was an exciting initiative. “It’s one that we’ll support.”Nation-building was a project about which Mandela was passionate but we had not completed it, said the chief executive of the Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang. “Madiba helped us climb only one hill; we had to as a nation deal with our own wounds.” He said racism was entrenched in us from the times of colonialism and slavery.“While responses to racism are often seen as coming from government or corporates, there is a need to develop community responses,” Hatang noted. “One of our main goals is to uproot racism from families.“We also urge organisations to take the lead and introduce [an] Anti-Racism Week in the workplace; whether it’s staff training or a T-shirt campaign.“How wonderful it would be to go into banks or shops around the country and see employees wearing T-shirts that read: ‘Racism is wrong.’”Neeshan Balton of the Kathrada Foundation said eradicating racism was the responsibility of everyone, not only the government.We do not have dedicated material to deal with race/ racism in schools says @NeeshanB #ARNSA #AntiRacismWeek @AntiRacismNet @NelsonMandela— Kathrada Foundation (@KathradaFound) February 2, 2016“To tackle it effectively in South Africa requires consistent and sustainable anti-racism organisations and programmes nationally,” he said. “We approach this work with the realisation that it is not short-term work but must span across generations.”What you can do for Anti-Racism WeekArnsa convener Sean Moodley called on different sectors of civil society, such as faith-based organisations, municipalities, sports bodies and schools, to play a big role in the campaign by hosting activities and programmes that spoke of a non-racial South Africa.His first call to action was aimed at faith-based organisations, which, he said, already played a big role in fighting racism. “I strongly believe racism is a spiritual evil.“Over the weekend of Anti-Racism Week, from 18 to 20 March, we urge these organisations within the Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Christian communities, to put a huge effort into making this an Anti-Racism Weekend,” he said. “We believe you already have the infrastructure in place to extend your reach far and wide.”Moodley called on corporate South Africa to take the week seriously and “put their money where their mouth is”.The following activities will take place during Anti-Racism Week:There’ll be an art competition for schools, nationally;Dialogues on anti-racism will take place at places of worship – churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples;Sporting bodies will be asked to dedicate all major sporting events to stand against racism;Arnsa will launch an anti-racism pledge for all South Africans to undertake;The focus for Human Rights Day on 21 March will be on anti-racism;There’ll be a national dialogue on the role white people can play in addressing racism; and,A social and traditional media campaign will focus on “Why racism hurts”.“Madiba would have said our diversity was our strength,” concluded Mthethwa. “The road to social progress is always under construction.”“Our differences are our strength as a species & as a world community” #NelsonMandela #LivingTheLegacy #Diversity pic.twitter.com/4glmwC4sor— NelsonMandela (@NelsonMandela) February 3, 2016last_img read more

Sports Wrap: Shoaib Akhtar laughs at Harbhajan Singh, Inzamam-ul-Haq furious with England and more

first_imgShoaib Akhtar laughs after Harbhajan Singh ‘accuses’ Pakistan pacer of beating IndiansHarbhajan Singh had said Shoaib Akhtar always took the Indian players for granted thanks to his proximity with them. Inzamam-ul-Haq blasts Alastair Cook over comments on Mohammad Amir Alastair Cook had said tainted Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir will have to face hostile reception when he returns to Lord’s for the first Test between England and Pakistan from July 14. Anil Kumble’s fighting spirit will rub off on Indian players: Glenn McGrath Pace legend Glen McGrath lauded the appointment of Anil Kumble as India’s head coach.  Shoaib Akhtar advises Mohammad Amir to remain humble on England tourFormer Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar said the Pakistan management should do its best to try and keep the attention away from Mohammad Amir in England. Ronaldo vs Bale: Portugal play Wales in Euro 2016 semis Real Madrid teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale will face each other in the European Championship semi-final clash between Portugal and Wales on Thursday.last_img read more

RIM Policy Implementation and Sensitisation Programme Launched

first_img The policy will govern records and information management across all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the Government. Implementation of the RIM policy will facilitate accessible, efficient and effective service delivery to the citizenry; data sharing across MDAs; ease of doing business, research and attraction of investments; increased transparency and accountability through the creation, processing, maintenance, use and disposition of records in conformity with local policies, standards and international good practice; preservation of national and cultural identity; leveraging cultural assets; informing the citizenry; and the overall attainment of national development goals. Story Highlights The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, in collaboration with the Office of the Cabinet, has launched the Records and Information Management (RIM) Policy Implementation and Sensitisation Programme, geared towards ensuring that all activities and decisions of the Government are fully and accurately documented, managed and monitored. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, in collaboration with the Office of the Cabinet, has launched the Records and Information Management (RIM) Policy Implementation and Sensitisation Programme, geared towards ensuring that all activities and decisions of the Government are fully and accurately documented, managed and monitored.The policy will govern records and information management across all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the Government.Implementation of the RIM policy will facilitate accessible, efficient and effective service delivery to the citizenry; data sharing across MDAs;  ease of doing business, research and attraction of investments; increased transparency and accountability through the creation, processing, maintenance, use and disposition of records in conformity with local policies, standards and international good practice; preservation of national and cultural identity; leveraging cultural assets; informing the citizenry; and the overall attainment of national development goals.At the launch, held on October 4 at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, said the RIM policy is transformational and will help with the storage of important records.“Our reality today, in the digital age, is that every small unit has its own de facto registry, and each computer is host to volumes of official records, be it emails or documents, which are saved and stored, often in an unstructured way,” the Minister said.“While this experience is not at all unique to Jamaica, we accept that without a robust RIM system which provides ready access to relevant and historical documents and which evidences our work, we cannot truly offer to the people of Jamaica good governance, sound policy development and decision-making, efficient and effective services or accountability and transparency,” he added.The Minister called on the stakeholders present at the launch, who represented various government MDAs, to ensure that during the implementation there is adherence to managing their digital records in conformity with the prescriptions of the policy, especially with respect to emails, which are official records.Senator Reid also thanked members of the Cabinet Office for their effort, which is contributing to the success of the Public Sector Transformation and Modernisation (PSTM) Programme.Meanwhile, Director General, PSTM Programme, Office of the Cabinet, Veniece Pottinger-Scott, shared about the RIM policy.“Implementation of the RIM programme originated within the overall work of the Public Sector Transformation and Modernisation Programme at the Cabinet Office, and is regarded as one of the major initiatives aimed at driving public-sector efficiency and enhancing the ease of doing business,” Mrs. Pottinger-Scott said.“It is aligned with Jamaica’s economic growth priorities articulated in the Vision 2030 – National Development Plan. It seeks to address systemic issues that significantly affect public-sector performance, [with] information management being one of them; and records. As such, it is prioritised that the improvement of the quality of government data and the strengthening of information sharing across government, must be our priority,” she added.Copies of the Government of Jamaica Records and Information Management Policy were also presented at the launch to Permanent Secretaries and Directors of Documentation, Information and Access Services in the various ministries.last_img read more