Tag: 上海龙凤419

  • Blaze a Trail to Elkin for NC Trail Days, May 31-June 2

    first_imgThe festival is an initiative of the Elkin Valley Trails Association, in conjunction with Explore Elkin. The EVTA is a volunteer group with a mission to enhance Elkin by building an extensive network of trails for people of all ability levels. Sunday includes a family paddle flotilla on the Yadkin River and exploring the Surry County Wine Trail. “The festival has competitive events, family-oriented events and guided hikes throughout the weekend,” says festival director Denise Lyon. “We’ve put together a variety of activities to appeal to as many people as we can.” “We really want to celebrate all of our trail network here. Our paddle trail, our mountain bike trail, our hiking trails, and our national historic trail, the Overmountain Victory Trail,” Lyon says. “As we get busier, more stressed out, and glued to our phones and computers, there’s this real shift that is happening with people wanting to find themselves again on a trail.” Festivities begin Friday with several options during the day, followed by an evening gathering at Elkin Municipal Park. The gathering includes festival information, live music and a low country boil. Later that night is 5Point Adventure Film Night at the Reeves Theater on Main Street, showcasing adventure film shorts that won awards at the 5Point Film Festival in Colorado. For more info on NC Trail Days, go to: www.NCTrailDays.com.center_img Other Saturday activities include: guided hikes, a 40-mile group cycle ride, women’s kayaking on the Yadkin River Paddle Trail, fly fishing and mountain bike demonstrations, trail seminars and kids’ activities. ELKIN, N.C. – The inaugural NC Trail Days Festival takes place May 31-June 2 in Elkin and combines the area’s abundance of trails with a fun schedule of events. Photo by Kevin Crosby Saturday is full of activities, starting with a 5k hill climb trail race to the top of Stone Mountain and concluding with a bonfire and live music at the Foothills Arts Council. last_img read more

  • BIH Basketball Players Finished Preparations in Kranjska Gora and Will Arrive in Sarajevo Today

    first_imgThe Men’s Basketball Team of BIH finished its 12 day preparations in Kranjska Gora.All players finished the first part of preparations for the European Cup without injuries and are in good form. At the last training, players chosen by Aco Petrović, divided into three fives, played three periods of 10 minutes.The team is returning to Sarajevo today, where after a 3 day pause they will continue with training.The BIH Basketball Team will train in Sarajevo until 12 August, and will then leave for Slovenia where they will play a friendly match with Georgia, Slovenia and Russia.By the end of the preparations, the players will take part in more tournaments in Germany and Greece.At the European Championship in Slovenia, which begins on 4 September, BIH will be in the group with Latvia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Lithuania. The first match of BIH will be on 4 September against Latvia.(Source: klix.ba)last_img read more

  • May the force be with you – Lily set for 2020

    first_img Lily May Humphreys has revealed how her ambitions for 2020 are being fuelled by the inspirational Bronte Law and top tips from Annika Sorenstam.Essex county player Humphreys enjoyed a stunning 2019 season winning both the England Golf women’s and girls’ orders of merit.On top of this, the 17-year-old won individual events in Sweden, Wales and Ireland and earned another four top ten finishes in tournaments staged in England, Italy and France.In an England shirt, Humphreys helped her country win the Home Internationals and defeat Spain in a challenge match.There were appearances for Great Britain and Ireland at the Astor and Vagliano Trophies and a call-up to the Europe side for the Junior Solheim Cup at Gleneagles.While in Scotland, Humphreys was able to watch the Solheim Cup drama unfold as Europe came from behind to beat America with the final stroke of the final match on the final day of play.Suzann Pettersen may have holed the winning putt, but England Golf graduate Law’s part in the victory should not be understated.Humphreys had a front row seat as Law closed out her singles match against Ally McDonald on the 17th green to set the stage for the Pettersen finale.That moment, along with one-to-one advice from legendary Swede Sorenstam last summer is etched on her mind going into the 2020 season.“Watching Bronte Law (pictured below) on the final day of the Solheim was inspiring,” said the former British Girls’ Amateur champion.“I was beside the 17th green when she closed out her match and watching on the big screen as Suzann holed the winning putt.“The noise was incredible.“It was so exciting and knowing that Bronte was part of the England Golf set-up just a few years ago and is now playing at that level really gives you something to aim for.“Meeting Annika earlier in the year was also great.“Playing in and winning her tournament in Sweden came at the end of a fantastic run of form for me.“Annika put on a golf clinic during the event and as I was doing well in the tournament, I got to hit some shots with her.“She told me to practise everything about my game – not to neglect anything and that’s something I’ve taken on board for this season.”Humphreys had another chance to pick Sorenstam’s brains and observe her at close quarters when she took part in the Annika Invitational USA event last week and finished a highly creditable sixth.Experiences like this in St Augustine, Florida are priceless for Humphreys as she continues to learn her trade.Going into the new season, Humphreys can build on an incredible last year.Winning the Welsh Ladies’ Open Stroke Play, the Irish Women’s Open Stroke Play and the Annika Europe in the space of five weeks in May and June was a phenomenal achievement.The fact the golfer from Stoke by Nayland also shoehorned in a runner up spot at the English Women’s Amateur Championship in the middle of her winning streak showed just how hot her game was in the early part of summer 2019.But there’s no time for Humphreys to rest on her laurels as she aims high in 2020.In April, she will join England colleagues Annabell Fuller, Bel Wardle and Emily Toy at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship.The opportunity to play the event for a second successive season is an exciting prospect after her debut last year.“Playing at Augusta was amazing – a place I’d only ever seen on TV,” added Humphreys.“I didn’t recognise some of the holes. The green at the 12th hole for example is so small in real life compared to on TV.“It was great playing the course, though, and just for fun I even managed to skim the ball across the pond at the 16th and hit the green!”And then there’s the thrill of representing England again as Humphreys and the squad target success at Home Internationals, Europeans and, hopefully, world championships.”I enjoy the team events as the spirit is so good.“There’s plenty to aim for in 2020,” confirmed Humphreys who does not turn 18 until March.“I will also look at going to LPGA Tour School at the end of the summer and try to win my card there so it’s an exciting time.”Photograph credits: Pat Cashman, Leaderboard 27 Jan 2020 May the force be with you – Lily set for 2020 Tags: Bronte Law, england women, Essex, Lily May Humphreyslast_img read more

  • UNDP/Africa Motors in Ambulance Procurement Saga

    first_imgAmidst allegations that some local vendors are working behind the scenes to make a windfall during this national Ebola calamity in Liberia, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has debunked allegations that it was working in sync with the National Ebola Taskforce to procure about 17 ambulances to help in the fight against the deadly Ebola scourge.One of the vendors participating in the bid to supply the ambulances said that the whole process was shrouded in an unholy, unprofessional aura (atmosphere). “We are bringing this to the press because we are afraid that a certain firm wants to manipulate the process to take undue advantage”, our informants, who preferred anonymity said.This revelation was also corroborated by a source close to the Ebola Taskforce who asked not to be named.Our source explained that when it became obvious that there was a need for the importation of more ambulances to facilitate the transport of Ebola-affected patients and the collection of dead Ebola bodies, the Taskforce approached the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in a bid to have the latter help in bringing the ambulances into Liberia. Our reporter also gathered that the Taskforce approached a number of vendors soliciting quotations for the importation of ambulances. This was confirmed by James Dorbor Jallah, Coordinator of the Taskforce.The Daily Observer, acting on the tip off, immediately contacted UNDP to authenticate the veracity in the allegation.On whether the UNDP advised the National Ebola Taskforce or had a conversation relative to the procurement of ambulances at the unit cost of US$33,000, Augusta Pshorr, Communication Specialist at the UNDP, said on August 13, 2014, the UNDP received a message from the Taskforce that in response to the Ebola emergency, the Government of Liberia wanted to procure 17 ambulances for immediate use, and wanted to know whether UNDP could help.Pshorr further indicated that before UNDP could respond, it (UNDP) was advised that given the urgency, action had been taken to procure 12 ambulances that would be available in 30 days; but the question was whether UNDP would assist in lifting them by air. UNDP promised to check on available options and advise accordingly, which she said UNDP could.Pressed further on the results of the UNDP/Ebola Taskforce interaction relative to the overseas procurement of ambulances, Pshorr said it was “Just through exchanges, but in the meantime, UNDP offered to provide assistance in any future procurement needs using its procurement system that responds to emergencies like Ebola.”By these exchanges, Pshorr could not tell the current status of the transaction and could not tell the Daily Observer whether the exchanges between the two institutions had ended in a deadlock.Though Pshorr claimed that the UNDP did not know the details of the Taskforce ambulance importation transaction, our source at the UNDP says that after learning of the Taskforce solicitation of quotations from vendors, it (UNDP) alerted the Taskforce of the alleged breach but the Taskforce downplayed Pshorr’s advice and went ahead to negotiate a deal with the Africa Motors to import 12 ambulances at the unit cost US$ 66,000.Since the outbreak of the Ebola malady accounting for the death of over 1,000 Liberians and other nationals in Liberia, there have been alleged attempts by some service providers, international organizations and some members of the national Ebola Taskforce to work out a scheme to purchase ambulances far beyond their market value.When contacted, an official of the Africa Motors, Mohammed Batsam, said after they were approached by the Taskforce to provide quotations for the procurement of 12 ambulances, and they forwarded all of the necessary quotations projecting US$66,000 per unit to the Task Force.Batsam said all of the requisite documents were forwarded to the Taskforce, including a Performance Bond from the GT Bank and they are awaiting the response of the Taskforce.When asked whether Africa Motors was colluding with some members of the Taskforce to bring into Liberia ambulances at a unit cost double the US$33,000 as suggested by the UNDP, Batsam denied the allegation, addin, “We have always been partners of the Liberian government and people.”He said the ambulances they promised to bring in the country are 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser jeeps fully air-conditioned with all of the appropriate accessories and state of the art equipment that should be in an ambulance.Up to press time, Batsam said the deal had not been concluded, but added that once it was concluded, the Toyota Land Cruiser ambulances which are made in Japan will be lifted from the United Arab Emirates.The Africa Motors executive denied the allegation that his company was colluding with insiders at the Ebola Taskforce to sell an ambulance far above the price of US$33,000 allegedly proposed by the UNDP. When contacted, Mary Broh, Director of the General Services Agency, invited James Dorbor Jallah, Coordinator of the Taskforce, who clarified that the Taskforce did solicit quotations from vendors to be appraised for the subsequent procurements of additional ambulances to help augment the strength of ambulances currently in the fleet, helping in the collection of suspected patients of Ebola and the dead.Jallah explained that following the perusal of all of the quotations, the Taskforce will make a determination on which company or companies to engage to bring in the ambulances.Since the Ebola disease outbreak here, there have been a mismatch between the number of people dying from the disease and the number of ambulances needed to take suspected patients to isolation centers and to convey the dead to the crematorium or burial sites. The conspicuous absence of ambulances at major health centers across the country has exposed the weakness in Liberia’s health system.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

  • Who did Warriors’ Klay Thompson recommend for Washington State coaching job?

    first_imgKlay Thompson subscribes. You can too for just 11 cents a day for 11 months + receive a free Warriors Championship book. Sign me up!OAKLAND – Klay Thompson might not know the man personally. But that did not inhibit the Warriors’ star from recommending University of San Francisco men’s basketball coach Kyle Smith to interview for Washington State’s head-coaching vacancy.“Every program he’s been at he’s turned around,” Thompson said of Smith. “USF was really good this year. They beat some …last_img read more

  • News for the Birds

    first_img(Visited 20 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Our human readers are allowed to peek in on these headlines for and about our feathered intellectual friends.The genius of birds:  Illustra Media’s recent documentary is titled Flight: The Genius of Birds.  New Scientist‘s recent book review is titled “Bird brainiacs: the genius of pigeons.”  Although the introductory part of the article pays homage to Charles Darwin for his pigeon breeding, the pigeon is a fine specimen to support intelligent design, Timothy Standish argues in the film.  “I believe that intelligent design is the best explanation for the origin of flight [in birds], because it’s the best explanation for every other kind of flight,” he says.  “So why would I change the rules when moving from a 747 to a pigeon?”  We do these birds wrong by calling them “flying rats” and treating them as nuisances, Kirsten Weir says in her article.  “They can count, solve Aristotle’s logic puzzles and appreciate Impressionist art.”  Many humans can’t do as much, to say nothing of navigating home with the earth’s magnetic field under controlled, powered flight.  Experimenters mentioned in Science Magazine found a “surprisingly simple strategy for such sophisticated behavior” as avoiding obstacles: pigeons look for the biggest gaps, not the nearest ones.  They found this with 3-D imaging of pigeons outfitted with LEDs.  The findings shed light on “how they steer through small-scale, cluttered environments like forests and city streets.”Smart turkey eggs:  Nature reports that the eggs of Australian brush turkeys take advantage of decaying compost to stay warm.  Why, then, don’t they get infected with bacteria in the soil?  The eggs have a special layer of calcium phosphate nanoparticles that keeps out most bacteria.  Since this also makes the eggshells difficult to crack, engineers are looking at this design for more durable materials.  The design in the eggs also makes them super-hydrophobic (water resisting), almost as much as lotus leaves.  PhysOrg has pictures of the nanoparticles.  Reference: Journal of Experimental Biology.The early bird gets the digestive system:  Yanornis is called an ancestor of birds, but PhysOrg reported on April 18 that a fossil found in China shows that “the digestive system of the ancestors to modern birds was essentially modern in all aspects.”  A specialized digestive system is one of the things Illustra’s film discusses as a requirement for powered flight.  This article agrees:Compared to other groups of vertebrates, the digestive system of living birds is unique and highly modified. Compared to mammals the digestive system is proportionately shorter; the oesophagus (throat) is large and flexible with an accessory organ called the crop and two stomachs are present. These specializations are inferred to have evolved in order to produce a highly efficient digestive system capable of meeting the metabolic demands of powered flight within the physical constraints of aerial locomotion, which requires the system to be lightweight.But if it was already “essentially modern” in the ancestors, and already integrated with the flight systems, where is the time for natural selection to have supposedly produced it?Tiny migrants:  Large birds like geese are well known for their visible V-patterns in the sky, but what about small birds?  “In one of the greatest feats of endurance in the biological world, millions of tiny songbirds — many weighing less than an ounce — migrate thousands of miles to Central and South America each year,” a press release from Cornell University begins.  “Now scientists are finding out how these featherweights do it: using elliptical routes that take advantage of prevailing wind patterns to save calories.”Glowing birds:  According to the British Ecological Society, some of the birds living around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor appear to be adapting to the high levels of ionizing radiation present after the 1986 disaster.  The “region represents an accidental ecological experiment to study the effects of ionising radiation on wild animals,” the BES figured.  This kind of adaptation has been seen in the lab before, but not in the wild.  The researchers measured higher production of antioxidants that can mitigate the damage caused by radiation.  It’s an adjustment to an existing biochemical process, therefore – not a new emergent trait.Latest on starling murmurations:  The Italy group that did the STARFLAG study animated in the Illustra film (watch it on bottom of this page) has a new paper out in PNAS, “Social interactions dominate speed control in poising natural flocks near criticality.”  Their updated model still hinges on the effect stemming from each bird watching its nearest neighbors, but finds that the flock can propagate information rapidly throughout the whole flock without loss, because the flock maintains a critical balance point known in statistical mechanics.  Did the birds learn this in physics class?The coherent flight of bird flocks is one of nature’s most impressive aerial displays. Beyond the fact that thousands of birds fly, on average, with the same velocity, quantitative observations show that small deviations of individual birds from this average are correlated across the entire flock. By learning minimally structured models from field data, we show that these long-ranged correlations are consistent with local interactions among neighboring birds, but only because the parameters of the flock are tuned to special values, mathematically equivalent to a critical point in statistical mechanics. Being in this critical regime allows information to propagate almost without loss throughout the flock, while keeping the variance of individual velocities small.Windmill death penalty:  “Green energy” is not without cost; windmills have killed many a bat and bird.  As windmill installations grow, bird deaths rise accordingly—including federally protected species like the golden eagle.  National Geographic, worried that “Turbines kill thousands of birds and bats annually,” looked into whether newer designs that add flashing lights, sound, bright colors, or changes to blade elevation work.  The “jury’s still out” on whether any of these measures are effective.  Some have actually increased the death count.  Why are birds so susceptible?  Contrary to intuition, birds are typically looking down at the ground, not forward, as they fly, the article explains.  Unfortunately, federal regulations tend to be lenient for those who grab the subsidies, because the government is eager to expand “green energy.”  It’s not a solution to blame cats and glass windows for many more bird deaths than those caused by the windmills; “Comparing our numbers to total bird numbers, they might seem small,” Scott Loss (Oklahoma U) says, “but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t focus on local impacts on specific species, especially long-lived species like raptors or waterbirds.”  There are no quick, easy fixes, the article ends.Darwinists are at a complete loss to explain birds.  They can’t explain their origins from land dinosaurs; they can’t explain their systems, like the digestive system; they can’t explain how all their systems came together in powered flight.  Beyond just trying to get a basic bird form, they should be astonished at each species they observe more closely, whether a bush turkey, a starling, or a fossil with a “modern” digestive system near the beginning.Scientists should always be thinking of the “best explanation.”  With birds, it is clearly intelligent design.  Did a 747 evolve by unguided natural processes?  Then why change the rules when moving from a 747 to a pigeon?  Let go of Darwin’s quaint Victorian myth, biologists.  He’s hindering your work.  The guiding word for 21st century biology is design.last_img read more

  • Dino Soft Tissue Confirms Creationist Prediction

    first_imgGleanings from the original paper show discoverers excited but surprised. Creationists are excited and gratified.Yesterday’s announcement of dinosaur soft tissue in Nature Communications by scientists from Imperial College London sets a new high hurdle for critics. It’s not really news, since soft tissue in dinosaur bones has been reported for over a decade now (see Bob Enyart’s list of journal papers).  This new paper, however, is noteworthy in many respects that will challenge naysayers:The team used ordinary, common bones from museum specimens. “Models proposed to account for such preservation indicate that it should be the exception rather than the rule,” they noted. “….Here, we examined eight dinosaur bones from the Cretaceous period, none of which are exceptionally preserved.“The outside of the bones gave no hint of what was inside. “Incredibly, none of the samples showed external indicators of exceptional preservation and this strongly suggests that the preservation of soft tissues and even proteins is a more common phenomenon than previously accepted.”The bones they sampled came from both major classes of dinosaurs. “Specimens representing both major dinosaurian clades (Ornithischia [bird-hipped] and Saurischia [lizard-hipped]) and different osteological elements were chosen.”The bones came from different parts of the anatomy. “…an ungual claw of an indeterminate theropod dinosaur…”, “… a hadrosaurid tibia,” “an astragalus of a hadrosaurid” and others.The team took great pains to prevent contamination. “The sections were obtained from the interior of each sample, ruling out modern surface contamination.” Again, “this method rules out the possibility of modern contamination, as the surface exposed is inaccessible to any contaminant.”The team used multiple methods for observation: SEM, TEM, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and focused ion beam (FIB) mass spectrometry.  “These results show that to determine the presence of soft tissue in fossils a new synergistic approach needs to be applied where micro/nano-analytical methods are utilized to their full potential.”They used controls by running the same tests with rabbit bone, another bone lacking the fibers, emu blood and a copper grid. “Sections were obtained from an agglomeration of erythrocyte-like structures and cement surrounding these from specimen NHMUK R12562, fixed emu blood, three fossils showing calcified fibres (NHMUK R4493, NHMUK R4249, NHMUK R4864), rabbit bone and a fossil not presenting sign of calcified fibres (NHMUK R12562). As a control, a mass spectrum from the copper grid holding the samples was also obtained.”Six of the eight samples contained soft tissue. “….in this study, putative soft tissue (either erythrocyte-like structures, collagen-like, fibrous structures or amorphous carbon-rich structures (Supplementary Fig. 7)) was observed in six of our eight dinosaur specimens (Supplementary Table 1).”Two distinct kinds of soft tissue were reported: collagen and red blood cells. “In one sample, we observe structures consistent with endogenous collagen fibre remains …. Furthermore, we observe structures consistent with putative erythrocyte remains that exhibit mass spectra similar to emu whole blood.”The collagen structure had not degraded; it still displayed the quaternary structure characteristic of collagen’s triple-helix configuration. “One sample (NHMUK R4493) also showed, for the first time in a dinosaur bone, a clear ~67 nm banding, that is typical of the banding observed in collagen (Fig. 3e), for the length of the preserved fibre.” The fibers are obvious from the electron micrographs shown in the paper and the popular news.Amino acids were detected that are characteristic of collagen: “The positive mass spectrum obtained from NHMUK R4493 showed peaks corresponding to fragments of the amino acids glycine, alanine, proline and others…. Detection of fragments of the amino acids normally found in collagen supports the results obtained from TEM analysis where the ~67 nm banding is consistent with potential preservation of the original quaternary structure of the protein.”Blood cells were found. Though shrunken in size, this confirms Schweitzer’s original claim of finding blood cells. “The spectra obtained from four different regions of the dinosaur bone containing erythrocyte-like structures are surprisingly similar to the spectra obtained from emu blood.” Why would the dinosaur cells be smaller? “Within the dinosaur samples on average, the erythrocyte-like structures are ~2 μm in length. This is somewhat smaller than erythrocytes of birds, which range from 9 to 15 μm in length; emu blood cells in our sample were 9±2 μm (n=17). The structures consistent with putative erythrocytes in the fossil could well have been deformed and it is quite probable that these structures have undergone some shrinkage during fossilization.”Another standout feature of this paper is the undercurrent of emotion. Scientific papers tend to be stodgy and understated in tone. These scientists used “exciting” twice, and a scattering of other “surprise” words:Therefore, the observation of a ~67-nm banding in the fibrous structures of fossilized samples here is very exciting, as it is consistent with a preservation of the ultrastructure of putative collagen fibres over a time period of 75 million years. Before this finding, the oldest undegraded collagen recorded (based on mass spectrometry sequencing and peptide fingerprinting) was about 4 million years old.The common preservation of soft tissues could pave the way for cellular investigations of extinct animals, shedding light on aspects of physiology and behaviour that have been previously inaccessible to palaeontologists and inaugurating a new and exciting way to do paleontology.Unexpectedly, from three of the samples (NHMUK R4493, NHMUK R4249 and NHMUK R4243) TEM micrographs showed obvious fibrous structures (Fig. 3a,b,c and Supplementary Fig. 10) containing carbon.The spectra obtained from the erythrocyte-like structures are surprisingly similar to the spectra obtained from the whole blood of an extant emu.The paper is timely, seeing that the latest dinosaur movie “Jurassic World” hits the theaters in two days. Reporters, so far, are sticking to their story that the evidence merely demonstrates that soft tissue can last for 75 million years.  This estimate, however, is about 18 times longer than the previous “expert” opinion about the longevity of collagen, especially in its quaternary structure. Can this giant leap be simply assumed? Four million years was already a stretch for many who said soft tissue degrades quickly after death. Moreover, they thought it could only be preserved for 4my under exceptional conditions of preservation—not on common bones in museum collections.Another noteworthy discovery from the current paper is “structures enriched in carbon.” They write, “Elemental analysis using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) established that all these structures are enriched in carbon, in contrast with the surrounding denser tissue/cement.” This raises the possibility of running carbon-14 tests on the samples. None of the authors or reporters mentioned this rather obvious follow-up step. If the bones were older than about 100,000 years, there should be no carbon-14 at all remaining, due to its 5,730-year half-life.Bob Enyart discusses this paper with CEH editor David Coppedge in a special edition of his radio show today (June 10).Bob Enyart keeps a list of objects containing carbon-14 that should have none, such as coal, diamonds and other “dinosaur-era” fossils. A few years ago, he spoke with famous dinosaur hunter Jack Horner, who was the inspiration for the scientist in Jurassic Park, and consultant on all the Spielberg dinosaur movies. When Enyart offered him $23,000 to carbon-date the soft tissue in his T. rex, he refused the generous grant and donation to his museum. Recognizing that Enyart is a creationist, he revealed his real reason: “The spin you guys could get out of this,” he admitted, “would not help us.” But it isn’t spin! It’s a scientific test. Who is interested in facts as opposed to spin? You can hear the whole conversation here.The world’s leading scientists are less scientific than this pastor in Denver. Enyart keeps lists of predictions by creation scientists, many of which have been confirmed. This paper now confirms #2 of his dinosaur soft tissue predictions: “For now, dinosaur tissue will be found not only in rare circumstances, but rather easily, i.e., when looked for.” Prediction confirmed! He was spot on. Did the secular evolutionists predict this? No! They were totally surprised (see the reactions in yesterday’s post). His lists also show that DNA from dinosaurs has already been found, contrary to what the reporters on the current story are saying.Sooner or later, someone will do a carbon-14 test on dinosaur soft tissue. If there is any C-14 found at all, it will defeat the geologic column with its “Age of dinosaurs” ending millions of years ago. Don’t be alarmed if the age comes out to tens or hundreds of thousands of years, because the error bars go out of control beyond dates that can be checked against recorded history, and creationists expect different atmospheric conditions in the pre-Flood world. The point is that C-14 should be completely absent from dinosaur bone—unless dinosaurs died only thousands of years ago, not millions. That’s the Genesis Flood prediction. Want to gamble on who will be right?We want to see a fair, unbiased suite of accurate carbon-14 tests on dinosaur soft tissue. Bring it on. We’ll see who is interested in empirical science.(Visited 804 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享3last_img read more

  • Joburg’s freedom architecture

    first_img24 August 2005Six Johannesburg buildings featured recently in a German exhibition showcasing the city’s energy and optimism – and exploring how South Africa’s new democratic order is being reflected in new buildings going up in its commercial capital.Fast Forward Johannesburg was on show at Aedes Berlin, Europe’s best-known architecture gallery, in March and April 2005.“The name refers to the energetic spirit of Johannesburg,” said Dagmar Hoetzel, curator of the exhibition. “It conveys the dynamism and optimism with which Johannesburg is evolving, and shows how the city is embracing the challenges of transformation and growth.”The exhibition featured: The Constitutional CourtThe Apartheid MuseumThe Walter Sisulu Square of DedicationThe Mandela YardThe Faraday Market & Transport InterchangeThe Metro Mall and Bara Taxi RankThe South African Embassy in Berlin While architecture in South African cities is an agglomeration of European styles – Cape Dutch, Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco and, more recently, Tuscan – Hoetzel was interested in exploring whether the new democratic order is being reflected in new buildings going up, particularly in Johannesburg.Hoetzel believes apartheid had a profound effect on the country’s architecture, and is still evident.“In no other country does architecture and urban planning bear such vivid witness to history, to politics, and to social division. And these deeply embedded traces of apartheid remain ubiquitous in South Africa today.”Apartheid buildings are almost always recognisable by their closed, exclusive nature, often imposing an uneasy presence not easy to ignore.The new-style architecture is changing the feel of South African cities. In the exhibition booklet, Lindsey Bremner, honorary professorial research fellow in architecture at Wits University, said: “Many who were confined by apartheid to townships and rural bantustans, or to the countries beyond our borders, have converged on the streets of Johannesburg to claim its promise of a better life. Public space is being occupied in new ways.”Hoetzel has been visiting South Africa since 1996, keen to observe the “courageous undertaking of constructing a new country after the end of apartheid”. Since she published an article on Johannesburg in a German architecture magazine in 1997, she has followed the progress of the city’s architecture, noticing a change in recent years.“Only in the recent past I saw something emerge which creates new space. And that is what the exhibition [was] about, not about a style or fashion but about a new culture of planning and building, which creates a new approach to architecture and space.”The new buildings epitomise a young, open society offering creative spaces that allow people to mingle freely among meaningful African artefacts instead of under Cape Dutch gables or Victorian broekie lace balconies.“It is more spatial than visual,” says Mphethi Morojele, architect with Mma Architects, one of the firms represented in the exhibition. “The design space anticipates new ways of how people live. It reflects rural habits within an urban setting – a culture going through a transition.”He says this architecture is more open-ended, giving a sense of identity with the space – allowing for what he calls a “baggy space”.Constitutional Court(Omm Design Workshop and Urban Solutions, 2004)Perhaps the best example of this is the striking Constitutional Court on Constitution Hill, situated in Braamfontein next to apartheid’s notorious No 4 prison and President Paul Kruger’s 19th century Old Fort.It is no coincidence that it lies next to No 4, a prison dating back to the early years of the city, over 100 years ago. No 4 was kept exclusively for black male prisoners, held there under brutal conditions. Also on the site is the Women’s Jail, an elegant Edwardian building imprisoning women under equally inhuman conditions. The imposing Dutch-inspired Old Fort building housed white prisoners.These three apartheid reminders act as the perfect foil for the truly uplifting court building, a very uncourt-like structure. There’s nothing formal or stuffy about it – its double-volume foyer with its angled mosaic pillars, artistic wire light fittings and funky orange couches sets the tone for the 200-piece art gallery and people-friendly court room.The doors are huge wooden slabs engraved in sign language by Durban craftspeople, depicting the 27 themes of South Africa’s Bill of Rights.The inner courtyard of the Constitutional Court. (Photo: Constitution Hill)The building has airy passages, with wooden-slat floors, looking out on tranquil pools, green lawns and indigenous trees. Each judge’s chamber entrance has an individually crafted metal gate, with artworks lining the walls leading to the chambers.In a subtle blend of the old and the new, elements of apartheid structures, such as the rich red bricks from the demolished awaiting-trial building, have been used in the interior of the court room, and on the New African Steps, a walkway between No 4 and the court building.The mix of red brick, bare grey concrete, stone, glass, mosaic and wood finishes combines with the artworks to produce a pleasing, welcoming effect, worthy of the court and what it stands for.“The building needs to be as active as possible – the court will not be a monument, it will be a people-inviting place,” says Paul Wygers, an architect at Urban Solutions, one of the project consultants.What lingers in the mind walking around the court and the prisons is that two of the 20th century’s greatest fighters for human rights, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, were incarcerated in No 4.Apartheid Museum(Gapp Architects, Mashabane Rose Architects, Britz Roodt Vernootskap and Linda Mvusi Architects, 2003)Built in 2003, the Apartheid Museum sits incongruously alongside the amusement park and casino of Gold Reef City, whose owners paid R100-million to build the museum as part of their social responsibility obligations.The harsh and stark contours of stone, rusted and galvanised steel, red brick, wood, glass and concrete of the Apartheid Museum are utterly appropriate for capturing the history of apartheid.The exterior of the museum is dominated by grey, concrete walls and metal, with seven bare pillars of freedom rising into the sky, in sharp contrast to the green field and small lake alongside the museum.The concrete theme continues inside the building, with smooth grey walls and concrete floors, offset by minimal windows. The display rooms consist of tall halls, circular silo-type rooms, smaller low-roofed rooms and two windowless prison cells. They provide a perfect backdrop for the multitude of monitors continuously showing apartheid newsreels and interviews, and striking displays like 121 nooses hanging from the ceiling, representing the number of political prisoners hanged during apartheid.The Apartheid Museum. (Photo: Apartheid Museum)“This is a minimalist building reflecting the fact that apartheid buildings were born of incarceration,” says project coordinator and architect Sidney Abramowitch. “We wanted to reflect the harshness, crudity and horror of apartheid. We wanted something so different because apartheid was so different.”The visitor weaves a route inside and outside of the museum, taking in the history of apartheid, being constantly bombarded by sights and sounds.The curatorial team was appointed before construction began, and the building contractor appointed while designing was still in progress, in a unique collaborative effort to mould the two teams’ thinking along the way.All communities in the country were consulted, from groups in the Richtersveld in the far Northern Cape, including San bushmen, to groups in the far south, says Abramowitch. In all the projects displayed in Berlin, relevant communities were consulted.A visit to the museum leaves one with indelible flashes of apartheid and its effects on the nation, captured not only by the images in the museum but also by the powerful architecture.Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication(StudioMAS architects, 2005)The Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication, half-way complete, is clearly going to add significantly to Johannesburg’s collection of post-democracy 21st century architecture.Erected in Kliptown, Soweto on the original soccer-field sized square that in June 1955 was the meeting place of the Congress of the People – assembled to ratify the Freedom Charter – the new square is seeped in symbolism.The square consists of two squares, one symbolising the old apartheid South Africa, the other the new, democratic South Africa. The latter square is made up of nine blocks representing the country’s nine provinces, and decorated with crosses symbolic of the first democratic votes placed on ballot papers.A winding snake pathway will be built between the two squares, a reminder of the snaking queues of voters in 1994.At the northern end of the pathway will be a tall tower on the north side, referred to as the Freedom Charter Monument. A flame, inside the tower and called the Flame of Freedom, was lit by President Thabo Mbeki on 26 June 2005 in a 50th anniversary of the 1955 event. The roof of the tower is cut in an X shape, the “mark of freedom”.The tower has been constructed in a conical shape, a classical African shape – evidenced in the Great Zimbabwe ruins and traditional African fishing baskets. Opposite this tower is a cyclindrical tower which will contain a “kwashisanyama”, a Zulu word meaning “a place to prepare food”.The square will also make allowance for upwards of 600 hawker stalls, largely along its southern border, in and around the preserved first shops along Union Street.With the square the architects, StudioMAS, are making a statement: this is a square in Africa, where hawkers are integral to life, where cooking is done in an open area, where shapes are reminiscent of long-held traditions, and where the African sun shines down brightly from wide expanses of sky.Pierre Swanepoel, founder of StudioMAS, says of the new style of architecture: “It consists of buildings for the people by the people. We are different people with different economic realities.”Mandela Yard(Peter Rich Architects, 2005)This building is in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s early foray into the city in the 1940s, as well as the first real acknowledgement of the community of Alexandra, one of the city’s oldest freehold townships for blacks, now a squalid, overcrowded ghetto, progressively neglected over many decades.Mandela Yard under construction. (Photo: Urban Solutions)The Mandela Yard Interpretation Centre is directly opposite the backroom occupied by Mandela, where he lived for his first year in the city. Still under construction, it consists of a three-level steel structure containing shops, restaurants, training facilities, a jazz archive, library facilities, an interpretation walkway and two piazzas.The building is built over Hofmeyer Street, taking in two street corners. Visitors will be able to move through the building, taking in exhibitions telling the story of the lives of Alex residents, and cross over the bridge, getting elevated views of the township through large windows.Architect Peter Rich says there has been extensive community consultation prior to the finalisation of the plan. “This is the first time the people’s voice will be heard,” he says.Only residents will be allowed to take up stall and restaurant space. In addition, 10 Alexandrans have been identified as potential members of a heritage team.The simplicity of the architecture echoes the architecture of the small Alexandra houses, particularly in the provision of public spaces. Backyards are an integral feature of the houses, often with attached seating against the walls of the structures, a feature, says Rich, reminiscent of structures in the rural setting, allowing easy “socialising space” in a central area.Rich says of the new African architecture: “Apartheid didn’t produce public spaces of note, the new style is trying to reinvent those spaces.”Faraday Market & Transport Interchange(Albonico Sack Mzumara Architects and Mma Architects, 2003)It seems apt that minibus taxis and traditional healers share the same space in this market on the south-western edge of the city – one is much a feature of large cities, the other a long-entrenched feature of African life, easily transported into the city and used by even the most sophisticated city dwellers.Traditional remedies on sale at the Faraday Market. (Photo: Lucille Davie, City of Johannesburg)The Faraday Market in downtown Johannesburg consists of a series of small open halls, divided into 280 separate stalls with pull-down doors, and open spaces planted with striking, indigenous coral trees. There are also consulting rooms available for healers, with attached bathrooms, used for ritual cleansing purposes. The doors of the consulting rooms are low, forcing customers to bend to enter, a sign of respect to the healer.Stalls spill out into the passageways with an amazing array of dried herbs, roots of all shapes and sizes, and dozens of bright blue packets of bark, laid out on the ground. The pungent smell that emanates from the market comes from the plant matter but also from the range of dried animal organs, skulls and dried small animals like rock rabbits or even complete donkey legs.The corrugated iron rooftops of the market, held up by steel girders, are constructed in wave-like shapes, providing a sense of being in the veld, with its pleasing rolling hills, in contrast to the angular shapes of the surrounding factories and warehouses.The tall roofs allow sunlight to stream in; the hard-wearing, simple materials allow the earthiness of the traders’ goods to be appreciated to the fullest.Metro Mall and Bara Taxi Rank(Urban Solutions, 2003 – 2005)Both buildings, the Metro Mall in the Johannesburg city centre and the Bara Taxi Rank in the heart of Soweto, have the same purpose: to cater for a transport and trader terminal in a people-friendly way, by providing spaces to traders which allow them to maximise the passing trade.Both have been created to be hard-wearing and low maintenance, using robust materials like red face brick and concrete finishes.The Metro Mall, on three levels and taking a whole block, is designed to accommodate 25 buses serving 35 different routes, with holding facilities for 2 000 taxis, servicing an estimated 100 000 commuters. There’s space for some 800 traders, inside the building and along the ground floor exterior in Bree and Sauer streets.The exterior of the Metro Mall. (Photo: Urban Solutions)The impressive double volume entrances, decorated by local artists in mosaic and tall wooden sculptures, act as “collection baskets” to draw people into its interior.A range of items is on sale in colourful stalls: fresh fruit, spices, cellphones, kitchenware, and for non-commuters or commuters with a longer wait, pool tables.With this building, the architects strove to create a mixed use structure that blends with city buildings in the vicinity, allowing easy access and freedom of movement inside the building. The building has also turned a rapidly deteriorating side of the city into a vibrant, people place, at the same time providing a formal home for both taxis and traders.“The Metro Mall is an demonstration of the passion with which all stakeholders, from client to trader representatives, have addressed the challenges in making a building of civic pride,” says the architects, Urban Solutions.The challenge for the architects of the Bara Taxi Rank brief was to allow space for buses, taxis and informal traders, at a bustling intersection – directly opposite the largest hospital in the country, the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, situated along the township’s main arterial, Old Potchefstroom Road, a thoroughfare that carries 35 000 vehicles each day.Over a four-year period, agreement with all the parties concerned was reached. Construction started in 2004, and will continue until 2006, in five phases.The rank stretches over 1.3 kilometres, with a width of 50 metres, with landmark towers, decorated with mosaic by local artists, marking the entrances to the rank. Over 70% of Soweto commuters use this interchange.Previously, traders and taxi drivers jostled for space outside the hospital, with tourist buses increasingly adding to the space pressure.The rank can hold 500 taxis in holding bays, with 160 taxi loading bays, 35 long-distance taxi loading bays and 20 bus bays. There’s space for 500 traders, with stalls of varying sizes. Commuters can walk along a long, concrete-pillared arcade which runs the length of the site, along which traders are positioned.The unfinished concrete look of the complex provides a utilitarian finish, broken by brightly coloured entrances, landmarks for the rank. Its openness allows for plenty of “baggy space”.South African Embassy, Berlin(Mma Architects, 2003)Located in Berlin, this is the first embassy building South Africa has erected abroad in 27 years, and the first to be planned by South African architects.The architects pulled off a balancing act with a building that blends into the German capital while simultaneously fittingly representing South Africa – both its aspirations to become a pluralistic, democratic society, and its cultural (and especially architectural) identity, one that shifts between the European and African contexts.About 9 000 people visited the exhibition. “The response was good,” says Hoetzel. “It was well reviewed by national and international magazines and newspapers.”Source: City of Johannesburglast_img read more

  • On-form Simon set to take on LPGA Tour

    first_img SAinfo reporter 17 March 2014 South African golfer Ashleigh Simon departed for the US on Sunday, ready to tackle the LPGA Tour, on the back of three successive victories on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, following a dominating win in the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies on Friday. “I’m excited to go [to the US] and that’s down to the fact that I have been competitive and my game is ready,” she said after claiming the title.Eight-shot victory Competing on the Gary Player-designed Blue Valley Golf Estate course, near Kyalami, Simon cruised to an eight-shot victory after closing with a five-under-par 67, for a winning total of seven-under-par 137. Cecilie Lundgreen of Norway and England’s Lauren Blease shared second on one- over-par 145 after both carded rounds of 73. Simon started the final round tied for the lead with her former Women’s World Cup partner, Laurette Maritz, on two-under. She quickly put distance between herself and the chasing pack, however, with birdies at the second, third and fifth and, after voiding a three-putt bogey at seven with a birdie at the 13th, there was no chance of catching the four-time champion. She drained a 35-meter curving, downhill putt for birdie at the 16th to increase her insurmountable lead and signed off with a tap-in birdie after a superb chip to the 18th green. Maritz took fourth on three-over 147 with a closing 77, while Sun International Challenge winner Tandi von Ruben finished a further shot back with a final round 73.Professional win Simon’s third win vaulted her to the top of the Order of Merit. Ironically, she won SA Women’s Open twice and claimed a number of victories in pro tournaments between 2004 and 2009, but all these triumphs came during her illustrious amateur career. The 23-year-old Johannesburg pro was thrilled to finally add to her trophy case in South Africa and pocket the winner’s cheque. “It’s so great that I finally get to take home the cash,” she laughed after securing the title. Home victory “I never won as a pro here in South Africa. Both my pro wins at the Catalonia Ladies Masters (2007) and the Portugal Masters (2011) came on the Ladies European Tour (LET). “I am so pleased that we have a pro tour again. It was so great for all of us to play in front of our own people and for me, to win with my family and friends around. “I made very few bogeys. I’ve scored consistently well and my game between tee and green has been very solid in the five events I played,” she added.Investec Cup for Ladies Simon’s premature departure has opened up a spot for England’s Blease in the field for the Investec Cup for Ladies, which is limited to the top 10 available players on the Order of Merit. The LET Access Series campaigner was thrilled to learn that she will be teeing it up in the R300 000 event next week. “I jumped to 11th in the rankings [with my runner-up finish here], but I had no idea Ashleigh was leaving,” Blease said. “It was the best surprise ever. I came over here to play the Sunshine Ladies Tour to get my game sharp for the season. This is such a fantastic bonus. “I’ve had the best time and it looks like I peaked at exactly the right moment.” The Investec Cup for Ladies will be played at the Millvale Private Retreat and the Lost City Golf Course from 21 to 23 March, with the winner set to earn R100 000. LEADERBOARD Ashleigh Simon (RSA) 137 (-7) 70, 67Cecilie Lundgreen (Nor) 145 (+1) 72, 72Lauren Blease (Eng) 145 (+1) 72, 73Laurette Maritz (RSA) 147 (+3) 70, 77Tandi von Ruben (RSA) 148 (+4) 75 73Monique Smit (RSA) 150 (+6) 76 74Morgana Robbertze (RSA) 150 (+6) 75 75Nora Kagonyera (Swe) 151 (+7) 75, 76Shawnelle de Lange (RSA, ama) 151 (+7) 73, 78Iliska Verwey (RSA) 153 (+9) 77, 76Alana van Greuning (RSA) 153 (+9) 74 79Mandy Adamson (RSA) 154 (+10) 77, 77Carrie Park (RSA, ama) 154 (+10) 79, 75Magda Kruger (RSA, ama) 154 (+10) 75, 79last_img read more

  • Activation Gallery – Port Elizabeth

    first_imgOn Friday 14 August, Brand South Africa handed over prizes worth R50 000 to Cowen High School in Port Elizabeth. Cowen High School were the victors in the school debate competition hosted by Umhlobo Wenene and Brand South Africa on 16 June.Through its Play Your Part programme, Brand South Africa aims to encourage South Africans to contribute actively and positively to the development of their communities. Brand South Africa therefore recognises Cowen High School’s achievement in positively contributing to the education of their learners.In order to continuously develop the country’s competitiveness, it’s imperative that the youth are equipped with skills and education. Cowen High School has demonstrated how they are actively contributing to addressing the goals set out in the National Development Plan (NDP). It is for this reason that Brand South Africa takes its hat off to Cowen High School. One of the many goals set out in the NDP is to improve the school system by increasing the number of learners achieving above 50% in literacy and mathematics as well as increasing student retention rates to 90%.Brand South Africa awarded Cowen High School with R50 000 worth of prizes comprising a public address (PA) system and six laptops. The school’s principal Mr T Dolley says: “The PA system will help educators communicate more clearly and effectively with students during assembly”. He adds that the laptops will assist the learners to further develop their information technology skills.As part of Brand South Africa’s Constitution Mondays campaign, learners were asked to recite the preamble of the constitution at assembly. The Constitution Mondays campaign asks all schools, on the first day of every month, to hoist the flag, read the preamble to the Constitution and sing the national anthem. This campaign, aims to see school learners and civil society groups throughout the country participate in constitutional awareness.Thoko Modise, Manager: Civil Society at Brand South Africa says: “My proudest moment was watching the school choir singing the Freedom Charter Song and reciting the preamble of the constitution. This is what we are striving for as Brand South Africa, that all learners realise the importance of the constitution and what it stands for.”last_img read more