Tag: 苏州楼凤

  • Splitting couples turn to mediation

    first_imgWATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads Email Advertisement Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live [email protected] going through martial or domestic breakups are increasingly turning to the Family Mediation Service in Limerick rather than going to the expense of court action to divide property and agree on child access.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up 400 clients a year are now using the free service in Limerick, according to Regional Manager, Carmel Savage.“The majority of people who use our services are couples divorcing or separating although we do have a smaller but increasing number of extended family disputes,” said Ms Savage.The Regional Manager was speaking ahead of Mediation Awareness Week which runs from October 10 to 15, with a special open day in Limerick on Tuesday, October 18 from 11am to 2pm.“This has always been a free service and everyone can access it, regardless of income,” Ms Savage told the Limerick Post.“People can expect to wait to see a mediator for between two and three months which is pretty good, as we have recently put more resources into the service.“If couples decide to go to court, they could be waiting that long or longer and there is cost involved. There are also long waiting lists for representation through the law centres,” she added.According to the governing organisation “Mediation is a successful and cost-effective alternative to going to Court.   It saves time, money and important relationships.  Mediators do not make decisions or judgements, instead they quickly and expertly help people in conflict to reach their own agreement together. “Mediation Awareness week will highlight the benefits of this highly effective process and the opportunity it offers to resolve conflict right across our society”.Parenting children, the family home, property, savings and pensions are among the most common areas which need resolution at a mediation session, the service finds.The Service, which is now part of the Legal Aid Board, celebrates its 30th year this year.This free public service helps couples who are separating or divorcing to negotiate their own terms of agreement, taking into account the needs and interests of all involved. On average, mediation takes between four and six sessions with each session taking around an hour.The service is also available to resolve disputes between businesses, community organisations and individuals.The first session gives the opportunity to explore mediation as an option for you and, after this, there is an agreement whether to go ahead with mediation in full.The Legal Aid Board also provides a number of Court based mediation services around the country. You can access mediation and information on the location of offices through: www.legalaidboard.ie. Facebook Previous articleBLOWN AWAY by Bualadh Bos Children’s Festival, October 11 to 21Next articleTrusource Labs create 134 jobs in Limerick Bernie Englishhttp://www.limerickpost.ieBernie English has been working as a journalist in national and local media for more than thirty years. She worked as a staff journalist with the Irish Press and Evening Press before moving to Clare. She has worked as a freelance for all of the national newspaper titles and a staff journalist in Limerick, helping to launch the Limerick edition of The Evening Echo. Bernie was involved in the launch of The Clare People where she was responsible for business and industry news. NewsSplitting couples turn to mediationBy Bernie English – October 10, 2016 1379 WhatsApp Predictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival center_img Print RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live TAGScouplesdivorcelimerickMediationseperation Linkedin Twitter Limerick Artist ‘Willzee’ releases new Music Video – “A Dream of Peace” Billy Lee names strong Limerick side to take on Wicklow in crucial Division 3 clashlast_img read more

  • World of Warcraft®: Burning Crusade Classic™ Beckons Players Back Through the Dark Portal

    first_img Twitter Facebook By Digital AIM Web Support – February 19, 2021 Twitter TAGS  Pinterest WhatsApp World of Warcraft®: Burning Crusade Classic™ Beckons Players Back Through the Dark Portalcenter_img Facebook Pinterest Previous articlePentagon chief urges immediate reduction in Taliban violenceNext articleEverbridge anuncia cinco contratos de alerta pública con operadores inalámbricos y autoridades gubernamentales nacionales y estatales para proteger a personas y organizaciones en Europa y Asia Digital AIM Web Support Local NewsBusiness WhatsApp Return to Outland to face Illidan the Betrayer in Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic, coming later this year.last_img read more

  • Artificial Intelligence, Real World Results

    first_img Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily Tomasz Serafinski is Head of the AI/ ML business unit at Aspen Grove Solutions, where he drives innovation and, specifically, the application of AI/ML technologies within the Aspen Property Servicing Platform. Serafinski is key to Aspen’s drive to bring visionary and transformational technologies to the mortgage servicing industry. Related Articles Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago  Print This Post AI default Delinquencies Foreclosures Machine Learning Technology 2019-03-05 Radhika Ojha Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago About Author: Tomasz Serafinski Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Home / Daily Dose / Artificial Intelligence, Real World Resultscenter_img Share Save Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Artificial Intelligence, Real World Results Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago March 5, 2019 6,452 Views Previous: The Ups and Downs of Home Prices Next: The Hurdles Ahead for Real Estate Professionals Editor’s note: This feature originally appeared in the March issue of DS News, out now.There are countless ways artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have the potential to transform default servicing—but here are just a few.Predicting the value of an assetAutomated underwriting processesQuality controlVendor scoringLoan performance assessmentRisk analysisProperty disposition recommendationsSound’s great, right? But how can you make these benefits a reality, and what should you be thinking about in order to maximize the value of AI and ML to your business?TALK TO THE EXPERTSFind a technology partner who can help you to normalize the data (ensuring that the data is available in a consistent and standardized format) and to implement data models that can feed into the AI/ML tools. Advanced propertyservicing platforms are extending their Application Program Interface(API)/Integration capabilities to map out all the key data points across the life of the asset to create a property’s digital twin. This establishes API endpoints for each key process associated with the property that then become subsets of the entire property API, and create dashboards for oversight.AI and ML bring a new dynamic to property management, using the concept that systems can learn from data to identify patterns, help make decisions, and identify anomalies to enable management by exception—thus cutting cost and increasing efficiency.These solutions can not only drive down the cost of operations but also create new opportunities and provide insights that were not available to mortgage industry professionals before.Having access to the full scope of data points collected across the industry can drive implementation of ML models powering intelligent dashboards for the property servicing sector. Fed by these ML models, such dashboards can provide significant business intelligence relating to how a business is operating and where losses are happening. Even better, they allow companies to be proactive, so steps can be taken to avoid losses before they occur.Using integration platforms and their associated APIs to access data available outside the company can cut the time required to implement an AI solution, making it the obvious solution for any business seeking to reap game-changing advantages.How did AI and ML evolve to their current potential, and what are the ways in which ML solutions can be applied to business problems? ML solutions offer numerous specific advantages for the default servicing industry, but it’s critical that these default servicing solutions incorporate diverse collections of data sources. Using integration platforms and their associated APIs to leverage data from outside the organization is key to the swift and successful implementation of AI solutions.THE BIRTH OF AI & MLThe concept of AI was introduced in the 1950s with the development of such important ideas as neural networks, but a failure to meet its initial promise meant funding for AI dried up in the 1970s. AI underwent a series of booms and winters in the intervening years, but unrealistic expectations and the rise of desktop computers meant it did not make a genuine comeback until the early 1990s when the obstacle of insufficient computing power was overcome and AI began to enter various disciplines. The emergence of big data in the first decade of the 21st century opened the floodgates for AI development. Today, AI— especially the subset called machine learning—is being adopted rapidly across many industries. The rate of adoption is accelerating alongside the complexity of business problems being tackled by AI.ML is particularly relevant for businesses, and, indeed, most headline-catching AI solutions are based on ML. It is based on the concept that a computer system can train itself to perform certain tasks faster and better than engineers could program it. The ability to access and process large data sets—better known as big data—made it possible to implement the concept. Once big data became widely available for businesses, either directly or through their technology partners, many ML-based systems were created and deployed.THE BUSINESS BENEFITSTo implement an ML solution for a business problem, the training data and data model must first be identified. The learning algorithm processes the training data and produces an ML model, which is used to make predictions based on new data. Simple problems such as clustering or anomaly detection do not require sophisticated algorithms. In those cases, so-called unsupervised machine learning can be used. This method facilitates simplified data pre-processing that requires no human input and generates satisfactory results based on small datasets. The results generated by unsupervised ML usually do require further human interpretation, however. This is because certain patterns or relations between data points may become evident, but a human brain is needed to determine what these patterns mean. For example, unsupervised ML can be used to group properties into neighborhoods or to segment borrowers into groups with similar demographics, but the technique has limited capabilities to solve more complex business problems.Supervised ML can be used to train ML models to provide insights into more sophisticated business applications, such as advanced classification or categorization. A borrower’s propensity for default or the probability that a loan will default is good examples of classification problems relevant to the default servicing industry. To train ML models to provide such insights, data is pre-processed and labeled by humans before the training process can begin. Borrowers who have defaulted, for example, would be clearly labeled for a learning algorithm. With this defined combination of inputs and outputs, an algorithm can train an ML model to recognize loans that are more likely to default or become delinquent.The challenge here is that substantial human input is required to link known results to historical data and to provide a sufficient quantity of high-quality data. Furthermore, human pre-processing of the training data the learning algorithm consumes usually represents around 80 percent of the time required to deploy an ML solution fully. The availability of relevant data is critical. Nonetheless, the benefits of being able to find the answers to far more complexproblems are worth the additional effort.DATA IS KEYThe levels of human input and sufficient quality data required are partially responsible for the slow adoption of ML systems throughout the default property servicing industry. This presents a huge opportunity for the first players who successfully implement ML-based solutions that disrupt the industry. This is already evident in other industries, where the first businesses to exploit AI are pulling ahead of their competitors.For example, Yelp uses ML for the picture classification technology it includes in reviews and Pinterest uses it for everything from content discovery to spam moderation. The advantages enjoyed by the companies who are leveraging ML is only accelerating because ML-based AI systems will self-improve as more data becomes available. As AI becomes more powerful, it can start modifying itself to make itself smarter. As it improves its capabilities, it gets better at making itself smarter, so its intelligence soon grows exponentially. Hence, those early adopters will become more difficult to catch than the early adopters of earlier technologies.As we have discussed, the availability of data and the data model are the keys to success when it comes to implementing ML solutions. Most businesses gather vast amounts of data, but processing and analysis to build ML models are not among their areas of competency. It may also be difficult to identify the data that is relevant to their business. In some cases, particularly within the default servicing industry, the most important data points might not even be collected. Data associated with activities and processes related to an asset lifecycle is dispersed through many specialized service providers. A loan on a property might be under the loss mitigation process, for example, but a servicer who carries out inspections on that property might not even have that information available in their system. As a result, they may carry out unnecessary or incorrect inspections.Thankfully, the gradual integration of the industry’s computer systems opens access to data points previously locked in specific verticals.Now that advancements in computer science have enabled AI—particularly ML—to enter the realm of real business applications, companies who want to remain competitive in today’s landscape must adopt and implement these technologies. As previously discussed the most expedient way to do this is to leverage the expertise that already exists in property servicing platforms/integration platforms that are focused on maximizing AI/ML value by reducing costs and preventing losses. Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Print Features Tagged with: AI default Delinquencies Foreclosures Machine Learning Technology Subscribelast_img read more

  • News story: Foreign Secretary statement on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Iran speech

    first_imgFor journalists The Israeli Prime Minister’s presentation on Iran’s past research into nuclear weapons technology underlines the importance of keeping the Iran nuclear deal’s constraints on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. The Iran nuclear deal is not based on trust about Iran’s intentions; rather it is based on tough verification, including measures that allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear programme. The fact that Iran conducted sensitive research in secret until 2003 shows why we need the intrusive inspections allowed by the Iran nuclear deal today. The verification provisions in the Iran nuclear deal would make it harder for Iran to restart any such research. That is another good reason for keeping the deal while building on it in order to take account of the legitimate concerns of the US and our other allies. Follow the Foreign Office on Twitter @foreignoffice and Facebook Follow the Foreign Secretary on Twitter @BorisJohnson and Facebook Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, said: Follow the Foreign Office on Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn Media enquiries Further information Email [email protected]last_img read more

  • Tix Now On Sale for Verite, Starring Pitch Perfect’s Anna Camp

    first_img The cast will also include Damian Young, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Robert Sella, Jeanine Serralles, Danny Wolohan and Oliver Hollmann. Related Shows Verite In Verité, stay-at-home mom and struggling writer Jo (Camp) is offered an unusual deal for her memoir: she has to make her life exciting enough to publish. As mysterious and sinister events begin to unfold around her, she must question how far she is willing to go to make her life into art, and if someone is determined to make sure her memoir is a best-seller—at any cost. Show Closed This production ended its run on March 15, 2015 View Comments Tickets are now on sale to see the world premiere of Nick Jones’ Verité. Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel and starring Broadway alum and Pitch Perfect star Anna Camp, the show will begin performances on January 31 at Lincoln Center’s Claire Tow Theater. The production will officially open on February 18 and run through March 15.last_img read more

  • Local vets, civilians compete in Veterans Remembrance Road Race

    first_imgELLSWORTH — Veterans and civilians joined forces Sunday morning for this year’s Veterans Remembrance Road at the Down East Family YMCA.Ninety-six people competed in this year’s event with 54 competing as runners and 42 competing as walkers. The field included 15 veterans.Michael Miltner of Ellsworth finished as the top veteran in the field with a place of fifth and a time of 29 minutes, 25 seconds. Veterans Andre Jacques (sixth place) and Marc Dupuy (eighth place) also finished in the top 10.Ellsworth’s Christa Brey finished as the top veteran on the women’s side with a time of 34:12 and an overall place of 16th. Nichi Farnham of Bangor placed 23rd with a time of 35:26.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textIn addition to the aforementioned veterans, Clint Richardson, Lloyd Harmon, Thomas Bosch-Willett, Dave Samuelian, Carolyn Corro, Tony Beardsley, Ruth Jahn, Daniel Schneider, Kevin Moynahan and Gerald Cummings also competed.Judson Cake of Bar Harbor won the race with a time of 21:30, and Buster Brown of Lamoine took second with a time of 23:46. Katelyn Kelley of Steuben was the top women’s finisher, placing fourth with a time of 27:51.Listed below are all finishers from the race. Walkers are marked with asterisks.Judson Cake, 23 minutes, 30 secondsBuster Brown, 23:46Erik Knickerbocker, 26:40Katelyn Kelley, 27:51Michael Miltner, 29:25Andrew Jacques, 31:32Harrison Richardson, 31:42Marc Dupuy, 32:04Ashley Santerre, 32:22Laura Driscoll, 32:34Lisa Tweedie, 32:49Vanessa Corson, 33:25Lisa Kearns, 33:26Amy Houghton, 33:33Rob Walker, 34:11Christa Brey, 34:12Adam Murphy, 34:12Kris Garcia, 34:13Steve Strout, 34:41Caroline Mazgaj, 34:52Abby Mazgaj, 34:53Tom Kirby, 35:17Nichi Farnham, 35:26Christopher Heel, 35:27Clint Richardson, 36:21Michele Landry, 36:24Shawn Landry, 36:25Roger Doucette, 37:07Elizabeth Williams, 37:07Becca Mantelli, 37:23Laureen Libby, 37:55*Lindley Gray, 38:38Lloyd Harmon, 39:10Bob Abrams, 39:30Ben Mazgaj, 39:35Katura Mazgaj, 39:44Thomas Bosch-Willett, 40:11Rob Laskey, 40:17Dave Samuelian, 40:33Tina Jordan, 41:58Robert Garnett, 42:27Carol Gilley, 42:31Chris Lanigan, 42:50*Patricia Lanigan, 43:58*Amy Renaud, 44:33Katlynn Johnson, 44:35Rich Houghton, 45:24Carolyn Corro, 45:50Tony Beardsley, 47:00David Gilley, 47:33Marion Frehill, 47:38Robin Emery, 48:03Ruth Jahn, 48:38Kristy Sharp, 51:08*Claudia De Vries, 55:17*Vanessa Cassidy, 55:17*Amy Turner, 55:17*Samantha Schneider, 57:45Daniel Schneider, 57:45Dawn Bednar, 1:00:37*Cindy Gashlin, 1:01:49*Mary Cameron, 1:01:49*Kelly Moynahan, 1:04:45*Kevin Moynahan, 1:04:45*Beth Lawson, 1:05:20Unidentified runner, 1:05:21Kayla Small, 1:06:18*Donnie Dow, 1:06:18*Stacey Clement, 1:06:33*Dan Clement, 1:06:34*David Bednar, 1:06:35*Morgan Clement, 1:06:52*Gerald Cummings, 1:10:02*Brooks Engle, 1:11:40*Cindy Engle, 1:11:40*Veronica Davila, 1:13:09*Eliza Murphy, 1:13:10*Amanda Kucharski, 1:13:12*Chrissy Lacrosse, 1:17:31*Philip Alteri, 1:17:31*Amy Wescott, 1:17:31*Megan Austin Schanz, 1:17:33Jennifer Brown, 1:17:34*Ebony Kramp, 1:19:30*Lynn Barron, 1:27:49*Andrea Killam, 1:27:50*Betsy Hutchins, 1:27:50*Jim Stout, 1:27:51*Jennifer Stinton, 1:28:43*Michael Morang, 1:28:47*Alilyn Morang, 1:28:47*Dylan Morang, 1:28:47*Janet Morang, 1:28:48*Ellen Eaton, 1:32:56*Chris Eaton, 1:32:57*Bruce Hatch, 1:32:57*last_img read more

  • Mariners get four in eighth, take series from Athletics

    first_imgOAKLAND — Lou Trivino accepted responsibility for the Athletics latest step backward Sunday after being charged with four runs in the eighth inning of a 6-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners.Mark Canha, whose rare misplay in the sun and wind of right field was the reason three of those runs were unearned, was doing the same on the other side of the clubhouse.They weren’t wrong either, but you can throw in an offense … Click here if you’re unable to view the photo gallery on your mobile device.last_img read more

  • Titan Methane Age Still a Problem

    first_img“Our new map provides more coverage of Titan’s poles, but even if all of the features we see there were filled with liquid methane, there’s still not enough to sustain the atmosphere for more than 10 million years.”  So said Elizabeth Turtle, lead author of a paper in Geophysical Research Letters,1 in an article on the Cassini Imaging Team [ISS] website.  She added, “How long Titan’s atmosphere has existed or can continue to exist is still an open question.”  The press release was written up by Space.com and National Geographic.    A comparison of older and newer images suggests that cloudbursts of liquid methane may occur.  Some of the polar lakes may dry up and others refill as the seasons change.  Cassini is exploring Titan at its equinox.  One goal of another extended mission would be to study seasonal changes until the next solstice in 2017.    Cassini instruments have difficulty characterizing the lakes.  They could be very shallow.  The Huygens probe landed in 2005 on a flat playa that appeared to have ice boulders that had tumbled out of canyons possibly carved by flash floods.  Scientists in the 1990s had predicted that Titan’s surface might be submerged in a global ocean of liquid ethane and methane; that did not pan out.  Instead, most of the equatorial region of the planet-size moon is blanketed with dunes.  All the low-albedo features, assumed to be lakes, discovered to date have been in the polar regions.    How is the absence of methane explained?  The press release said, “the new observations suggest that underground methane reservoirs must exist.”  To what extent that conclusion was inferred from the need to keep Titan billions of years old was not stated.  The original paper’s introduction referred to the quandary about methane destruction rates in the atmosphere, but then hid the solution underground:Photochemical processes acting in the atmosphere convert methane into more complex hydrocarbons, substantial quantities of which may have precipitated from the atmosphere over Titan’s history [Yung et al., 1984; Lorenz and Lunine, 2005].  These processes create Titan’s atmospheric hazes and destroy methane over relatively short timescales, ~107-108 yr [Yung et al., 1984].  Therefore, Titan is hypothesized to have reservoirs of liquid methane to resupply the atmosphere [e.g., Lunine, 1993].  Knowledge of the distribution of liquids on Titan’s surface and clouds in its atmosphere, as well as any changes in either, provides constraints that are essential to furthering our understanding of Titan’s methane cycle, its atmospheric dynamics, its total methane inventory and, thus, the sustainability of its current atmosphere.The constraints so far make it difficult to extrapolate Titan’s methane lifetime over another 1-2 orders of magnitude.  After stating the problem, the paper focused on observations of changes in the lakes, but revisited the age problem in paragraph 10:The low-albedo features observed by ISS at both poles cover over 600,000 km2, almost 1% of Titan’s total surface area; however, even if all of these features are currently liquid-filled, they do not appear to provide enough methane to keep Titan’s atmosphere resupplied for a substantial amount of time [Lorenz et al., 2008].  Thus, although Mitri et al. [2007] have demonstrated that evaporation from lakes covering 0.002�0.02 of the surface could maintain the current methane relative humidity over short timescales, only a relatively small fraction of the liquid reservoirs required to replenish atmospheric methane over geologic timescales currently appears to exist on the surface.No evidence for subsurface reservoirs was provided.  Atmospheric methane is not a closed system.  The solar wind depletes the methane and converts the remainder to ethane and complex hydrocarbons that should have been accumulating on the surface to extreme depths, if the process has been ongoing for billions of years.  (This is a problem at Mars, too: see 01/16/2009).  Instead, Titan appears to be mostly a dry world with very few craters and low relief, blanketed with icy sand dunes.    The popular write-ups either did not mention the problem or suggested the answer is underground.  They focused instead on the fascinating idea of methane cloudbursts on a strange world.  National Geographic not only avoided the subject, but ended with a tie-in to global warming: “It may be that global warming on Earth will take us slightly in a Titan-like direction, with heavier downpours separated by longer droughts.”  The original paper said nothing about global warming.1.  Turtle et al, “Cassini imaging of Titan’s high-latitude lakes, clouds, and south-polar surface changes,” Geophysical Research Letters, VOL. 36, L02204, Jan 29, 2009, doi:10.1029/2008GL036186.We’ve been bringing up this problem for years.  This latest paper shows that no solution has been forthcoming for over two decades; in fact, the problem has only gotten worse.  The consensus Age of the Solar System (A.S.S.) is 4.6 billion years.  10 million years is 1/450th of that value, and that is the maximum that the empirical evidence permits.  If planetary scientists truly followed the evidence where it leads, as scientists are supposed to do, they would have to conclude Titan is young.  Evidence from Enceladus, Iapetus, Mercury, comets, Mars, the moon and many other bodies that showcase evidence of youth could be adduced for support.  The ramifications of that conclusion would be so far-reaching and unpalatable to the old-age, evolution-inebriated materialistic community, they have to resort to distraction to keep people from thinking about it.  CEH thinks the sidestep is the most interesting part of the dance.    The comeback argument is that scientists “know” the solar system is old from other lines of evidence, e.g., radiometric dating of meteorites and rock units on Earth, and so forth.  But they don’t “know” these things without making assumptions.  Planetologists used to “know” that planets required billions of years to form from a solar nebula.  That was before the revolution in thinking caused by the discovery of extrasolar planets.  Their properties suggest – some say require – rapid formation to prevent destruction by migration.  Indeed, a whole new “heretical” disk-instability hypothesis proposes that giant planets can form much more rapidly than thought.  When you find a number of bodies in the solar system today with upper-limit ages converging at the recent end of the evolutionary timescale, it becomes increasingly implausible to believe we live at a special epoch when all these phenomena are observable.  It should call into question the timescale itself.    For reasons philosophical rather than empirical, many in the old paradigm don’t wish to think along those lines.  Others, from years of indoctrination in the paradigm, cannot even begin to think outside the box.  They just chalk up the mysteries as anomalies.  Anomalies are the stuff of which scientific revolutions are made.(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_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

  • Proteas narrowly escape Netherlands upset

    first_img28 March South Africa narrowly avoided a shock defeat to the Netherlands in the ICC World Twenty in Chittagong, Bangladesh on Thursday, successfully defending a low total to edge the Dutch by five runs and keep their hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive. Coming off a nasty nine-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka, the Netherlands were not expected to push the Proteas much. Instead they made the game very uncomfortable for the South Africans and their supporters by restricting Faf du Plessis and company to only 145 for 9 in their 20 overs.Stunning The pitch suited their bowling, but their bowlers had to make full use of it, and they did, led by Ashan Malik, who mixed up his pace up very effectively to capture a stunning 5 for 19 in his four overs. He ended Hashim Amla’s very aggressive innings at the top of the order after the South African opener had smashed 43 off only 22 deliveries and followed that up with the wickets of Albie Morkel (5), David Miller (17), Dale Steyn (5) and Beuran Hendricks (3). With Malik setting the bar high, the rest of the Dutch attack responded with some tight bowling.Lack of boundaries SA skipper Faf du Plessis smashed a six off the fourth ball of the ninth over, but was out the very next ball, caught on the boundary off the bowling of Tom Cooper. Incredibly, it took until the fourth ball of the 17th over for the Proteas to strike their next boundary as the Netherlands’ bowlers allowed little width to the batsmen and kept the ball full. Du Plessis managed 24 off 14 deliveries, but the two next highest scorers, AB de Villiers and David Miller, usually free scoring batsmen, were restricted to 21 off 21 balls and 17 off of 18 respectively. Ultimately, the Proteas managed only 13 fours and one six in their innings, with Amla responsible for the majority of them, striking seven boundaries and the only maximum of the South African innings. In the end, they mustered only 145 for 9, leaving the Dutch requiring 7.3 runs per over for victory.Destructive Former KwaZulu-Natal Inland and Northerns player Stephan Myburgh then threatened to win the game for the Dutch with a destructive knock at the top of their batting order. Fellow opener Michael Swart was the first to fall, but when he was dismissed for eight in the sixth over of the innings the Dutch had already reached 55, thanks mostly to the efforts of Myburgh. His belligerent knock was finally ended in the eighth over when he played on to JP Duminy for 51 off only 28 balls. By then, however, the Netherlands were on 80 for 2, well within sight of a shocking upset of the South Africans.Tahir’s heroics South Africa needed somebody to step up and stop the flow of runs. That man proved to be leg-spinner Imran Tahir. He begin his heroics by trapping Wesley Barresi in front for 14 and then followed that up by seeing off captain Peter Borren LBW for 13. Still, at 116 for 4, the Dutch needed only 30 runs for victory with six wickets in hand. Dale Steyn, though, removed Ben Cooper for five on that total, followed by Tahir bowling Cooper’s in-form brother Tom for 16 to reduce the men in orange to 116 for 6. Two runs later, Tahir claimed his fourth wicket, when Pieter Seelar was caught by JP Duminy for two, to leave the Netherlands wobbling on 118 for 7.Run out David Miller and Quinton de Kock then combined to run out Logan van Beek to make it 125 for 8. Mudasser Bukhari and Timm van de Gugten added nine runs, taking the total to 134 before Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who was expensive with a return of 1 for 46 in his four overs, had Bukhari caught by Miller for 11. At 134 for 9, the Proteas needed only one wicket to avoid an embarrassing set-back. To their relief, they claimed it five runs later when Hendricks picked up his second T20 international wicket, having Van der Gugten caught behind for eight.‘We are making it hard for ourselves’ “I think we are making it hard for ourselves,” South African captain Faf du Plessis said at the post-match ceremony. Optimistically, he added: “It’s a great sign when your side is not playing 100 percent and still gets over the line. “Credit to Netherlands for some very good bowling. Tahir and Steyn were outstanding. Credit to young Hendricks for bowling well under pressure. Credit to Netherlands as they played very good cricket for 70 percent of the game.”‘We obviously let this one go’ Defeat was tough to swallow for Dutch captain Peter Borren. “We obviously let this one go. We played across the line to Tahir. It’s a real shame,” he said. “They got off to a flying start and we did well to pull them back. Malik is a fantastic bowler and credit to him. “I have to take the responsibility too with my dismissal tonight. I’m miffed with the fact that we didn’t get over the line. After our last game I’m glad we stepped up better tonight.”‘It was a good team effort’ For his crucial role in South Africa’s victory, Imran Tahir was named man of the match. “I’m really pleased. It was a good team effort,” he said. “We believed that we could have won this game, but it wasn’t an easy one. I just tried to bowl wicket to wicket.” In Thursday’s other Group 1 game, England chased down a victory target of 190 to beat Sri Lanka by six wickets, with Alex Hales becoming the first Englishman to hit a T20 international century, finishing with 116 not out off of just 54 deliveries, with 11 fours and 6 sixes. South Africa next face England on Saturday in Chittagong in their final group match.last_img read more