Was Archaeopteryx a Biplane?

first_imgA U of Calgary PhD student thinks Archaeopteryx flew on all fours.  Nick Longrich thinks the early bird had feathers on its legs that gave it additional lift.  The discovery of some Chinese fossil birds with feathers on the legs lends support to his interpretation, he says.“The idea of a multi-winged Archaeopteryx has been around for more than a century, but it hasn’t received much attention,” Longrich said.  “I believe one reason for this is that people tend to see what they want or expect to see.  Everybody knows that birds don’t have four wings, so we overlooked them even when they were right under our noses.  He thinks this argues for the tree-down (arboreal) theory of the origin of flight, instead of the ground-up (cursorial) theory.Maybe Longrich should dial Ken Dial down in Montana for his opinion.  Dial has staked his reputation on wing-assisted incline running (WAIR) for the origin of flight (see 05/01/2006, 11/16/2005, 12/22/2003, 01/16/2003), so this is likely to spoil his spoilers.  But we’re all for peace.  “Working toward consensus” is a buzzphrase these days.  Maybe by working together they can come up with an even better story.  The wingless female was diving off the tree, you see, and the wingless male, arms outstretched, came running to catch her.    If Archaeopteryx had four functional flight surfaces instead of two, that’s not evolution.  For structures to persist, they have to help an animal survive.  Incipient structures do not help survival; they only get in the way.  If some extinct birds had more aerodynamic equipment than birds today, it indicates something has been lost, not gained.(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Streetiquette teaches people about road safety

first_imgOne of the performances for Streetiquette is “Little Red Riding Hood crossing the street”. (Image: Open Streets Cape Town)A campaign to raise awareness of pedestrian safety is under way in Cape Town to minimise the risks pedestrians face in the streets.The campaign, aptly named Streetiquette, is inspired by a popular form of engagement in Latin America in which colourful performances and interactive theatre are used to tackle unsafe and irresponsible behaviour on urban streets by motorists and pedestrians. The campaign aims to trigger self-observation, self-reflection and, ultimately, self-education, and has been adapted for local audiences.It is a collaborative effort between the Western Cape government, its Department of Transport and Public Works, and Open Streets Cape Town (OSCT), a citizen-driven initiative working to change how streets are used, perceived and experienced.STREET PERFORMANCESThe performances started on 23 November and end on 3 December at five busy CBD intersections. They are directed by Mandisi Sindo, the artistic director of Theatre4Change Therapeutic Theatre.A soccer referee, a gogo and Red Riding Hood will be among the characters who bring the campaign to life. They will interact with pedestrians at the intersections of Darling and Buitenkant streets, Darling and Plein streets, Wale and Long streets, Adderley and Bureau streets, and at the pedestrian crossing near Parliament on Plein Street. A “finale” will take place on 3 December at the intersection of Bree and Wale streets.“We are anticipating an atmosphere of fun and hope Streetiquette will start an important conversation that everyone becomes a part of,” said Marcela Guerrero Casas, co-founder and managing director of OSCT.To get involved in the action on social media, tune into the hashtags #WalkSafe, #SafeRoadsForAll and #Streetiquette and keep an eye on www.twitter.com/OpenStreetsCT.CAPE TOWN PEDESTRIANSAccording to the Western Cape government, over 2 800 pedestrians were hit by vehicles in central Cape Town from 2005 to 2014, which means a pedestrian has been struck in the area approximately every 28 hours for the past 10 years. More than 450 of these cases resulted in serious injuries.“The Open Streets Cape Town manifesto states our strong belief that streets can be more than they are. The way we interact on those streets is the result of a combination of infrastructure regulation and human behaviour,” said Guerrero Casas.“We believe that embedding respect in our streets can lead us to truly change them as public spaces that are inclusive and conducive to a prosperous society.”Above all, it was a safer system we must develop, said Donald Grant, the provincial minister of transport and public works. “Right now, in the contexts of the National Development Plan, national, provincial and departmental strategic plans, we are developing the right models for the province to link legislation, institutional frameworks, infrastructure, district safety planning, public transport, population level communications and above all, data-driven intelligence and evidence, in such a way as to build a safe system that keeps people as its central focus.“Such a system must be based on evidence and best practice, yet allow for innovation, for trial and error, as we make our way forward,” he said.last_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

Understanding Military Homecoming After Deployment

first_imgSource: Knobloch, L. K., Knobloch-Fedders, L. M., & Yorgason, J. B. (2019). Mental health symptoms and the reintegration difficulty of military couples following deployment: A longitudinal application of the relational turbulence model. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 75, 742-765. By Leanne Knobloch, University of IllinoisFor many military couples, deployment can be a seemingly endless countdown to the service member’s homecoming. But, after the big day finally arrives and the welcome home ceremony is over, what’s next for military couples?A new study our research team published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology provides insight into the transition from deployment to reintegration. Our project was funded by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs through the Military Operational Medicine Research Program. My co-authors on the study included my sister, Dr. Lynne Knobloch-Fedders from Marquette University, and our collaborator, Dr. Jeremy Yorgason from Brigham Young University.We had two goals for our investigation. First, we wanted to map out the transition from deployment to reintegration. Second, we wanted to identify factors that predict challenges along the way.We conducted the study by recruiting 1,100 individuals who were part of 555 military couples, and we asked them to complete an online questionnaire once per month for eight consecutive months after the service member’s homecoming from deployment. Each month, returning service members and at-home partners reported on their mental health, their relationship, and their difficulty with reintegration.Participants included active duty, reserve component, and National Guard military couples. The study involved military couples from all branches of service.Our findings showed that military couples reported the most difficulty with reintegration approximately four to five weeks after homecoming, and at-home partners reported more difficulty with reintegration than returning service members at each time point.These results highlight the importance of supporting at-home partners. The timing of help matters as well. In particular, four to five weeks after homecoming may be a key opportunity for offering services.Other findings revealed that mental health symptoms predicted later difficulty with reintegration. Posttraumatic stress symptoms for returning service members, and depressive symptoms for at-home partners, made the transition especially challenging.Based on these results, it’s important to know the symptoms of mental health problems and be ready to seek help if needed. Readjusting after deployment can be tough, and reaching out for assistance if necessary is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family.Our data also showed that characteristics of people’s relationships predicted difficulty with reintegration down the road. The transition was harder for partners who had questions about their relationship and who got in the way of each other’s daily routines.What do these results mean? As much as possible, people should open the lines of communication, share information, ask questions, and learn where their partner is coming from. And, carefully building new routines and making sure those routines run smoothly should be helpful as well. 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.last_img read more