Are Brains Evolving Bigger, or Fatter?

first_imgTwo papers in Science Sept. 9 claimed that human brains may still be evolving.  According to the authors, two genes related to brain size appear to be under “positive selection” in certain people groups.  One team said their variant occurred the same time as the emergence of art, music, religious practices and sophisticated tool use, though such inferences are subjective (see 11/12/2004 entry).  Michael Balter, commenting on these findings in Science,1 said that although the claims are “potentially dramatic,” caution should be exercised in interpreting the results.  Francis Collins of the Human Genome Project, warned in an AP story printed on LiveScience that “is totally unproven and potentially dangerous territory to get into with such sketchy data” because scientists don’t know when the variants arose or even what the genes do.  The BBC News, however, though admitting that the findings were merely a “tantalising prospect,” titled their version of the story, “‘Proof’ Our Brains Are Evolving.”  New Scientist announced cheerfully, “Human brains enjoy ongoing evolution.”1Michael Balter, “Evolution: Are Human Brains Still Evolving?  Brain Genes Show Signs of Selection,” <Science, Vol 309, Issue 5741, 1662-1663 , 9 September 2005, [DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5741.1662].Evolutionists are hastening to mention that the variants have nothing to do with “intelligence.”  This is apparently to avoid repeating the sins of the early Darwinists, who sought ways to rank humans on an IQ scale that ensured the Brits would remain on top.  But if the “haves” are better musicians than the “have-nots,” this might lead to ranking by MQ, the music quotient.  The world isn’t ready for a new form of Social Darwinism characterized by a battle of the bands and survival of the hittest.  Some of today’s musicians could use a little genetic engineering to reverse the descent of man, but that’s intelligent design, not evolution. (Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Rice University’s Ze-Row Preview

first_imgThe Solar Decathlon team from Texas offers a peek at its entry for the fall contestWe’re still five months from the kickoff of the 2009 Solar Decathlon, which will run October 8-18 in Washington, D.C. But one of the 20 teams of university students selected to compete is offering the public a preview of its entry, an 800-square-foot structure called the Ze-Row House.It’s a short preview. From noon to 3:30 p.m. Friday (May 8), the Rice University team (the only Decathlon competitor from Texas) will lead tours of the house at its construction site on the Rice campus (6100 Main Street, near the corner of College Way and Alumni Drive, if you happen to be visiting or live in Houston).As we noted in a previous GBA news blog, Solar Decathlon teams are selected by a committee of engineers, scientists, and other experts from the Department of Energy and its National Renewable Energy Laboratory, who review prospective entrants’ proposals for creating highly energy efficient, solar-powered homes at relatively low cost. Over a two-year period, the 20 teams chosen to compete further develop their proposals and eventually bring them to life on the National Mall.Each Solar Decathlon team competes in 10 areas: architecture (for a maximum of 100 points), market viability (100 points), engineering (100 points), lighting design (75 points), communications (75 points), comfort zone (100 points), hot water (100 points), appliances (100 points), home entertainment (100 points), and net metering (150 points).It is not uncommon for teams to develop, transport, and assemble their projects at a cost of $500,000 or more. But because its house is designed to serve low-income residents in Houston’s Third Ward, the Rice team has been working with much narrower economic strictures. It’s Ze-Row House, which was developed in consultation with local nonprofit arts and culture group Project Row Houses, was created with a building and materials budget of about $150,000, so that its design and concepts could be replicated in six energy-efficient, one- and two-bedroom homes on two 50-by-80-foot lots in Houston’s Third Ward.More than 100 members of the Rice community, from a variety of disciplines, worked on the Ze-Row house, which is the latest project in an affordable-housing initiative and long-term collaboration between Project Row Houses and the Rice Building Workshop, a program that allows students to turn ideas into actual construction projects.last_img read more

10 months agoAWESOME! Pepe will leave Besiktas having covered wages for club staff

first_imgAWESOME! Pepe will leave Besiktas having covered wages for club staffby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the lovePepe will leave Besiktas with the gratitude of many of the club’s staff, it has been revealed.Due to the club’s financial problems, the former Real Madrid defender has agreed to terminating his contract this month.However, before Pepe’s departure, it’s emerged he paid the month’s wages of several of the club’s staff, including chefs and groundsmen, as Besiktas struggled to meet their obligations, reports Marca. Pepe is now set to become a free agent and can immediately sign for a new club. TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

10 months agoCrystal Palace chairman Parish tribute to Charlton signing Williams

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Crystal Palace chairman Parish tribute to Charlton signing Williamsby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveCrystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has paid tribute to Jonny Williams after his departure yesterday.Williams has left Crystal Palace Football Club and joined League One side Charlton Athletic, bringing his 17 years at the south London club to a close.Parish said: “Jonny leaves today as a hugely admired, immensely popular and well respected figure. “He’s been with us since the age of 8, featuring heavily in our promotion winning season including starting in the final. He has great talent, and has always been a joy to have at the club. “I know we all hope he becomes a huge success at Charlton Athletic and continues to achieve great things with his beloved Wales.” last_img read more

Kim Kardashian sports maang tika to church slammmed

first_imgLos Angeles; Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West has courted criticism for wearing a traditional Indian maang tika, a jewellery piece worn on the head, for a church service. The 38-year-old mother-of-three shared her outfit on social media with the caption ‘Sunday Service Vibe’, but some Instagram users were unimpressed with her mishmash of cultural items, reported dailymail.co.uk. Kim, who boasts 133 million followers on Instagram, accessorised her flowing white dress with gold Indian-inspired jewelry, including the head piece typically worn at times of celebration. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka The photo made a stir when it was shared online. One user said that “culture is not a costume” and that it was wrong for Kim to adorn it. “This is not a Sunday Service Vibe, it’s an Indian vibe,” another complained. One user explained the cultural significance of the head piece and wrote in depth about how Kim had appropriated her culture. “For those of you who don’t know, the maang tika is a ceremonial head piece traditionally worn by the bride. Wearing white in India is traditionally reserved for funerals,” another explained. “On top of that she wore this to a Christian service. She probably thought it was just jewellery, but when that piece has literally been used for centuries wouldn’t you kinda think there must be some sort of significant meaning held towards it,” wrote another user. There was a different side to the coin as well, as not everyone found Kim’s look offensive.last_img read more

NFL Week 8 Elo Ratings And Playoff Odds

The Denver Broncos, who moved into the top slot in our Elo ratings last week, widened their advantage over the rest of the league in Week 7. Denver looked dominant in beating the San Francisco 49ers, who had been the No. 3 Elo team. The No. 2 Seattle Seahawks lost — greatly imperiling their playoff chances — as did the No. 5 San Diego Shargers. The No. 4 team, the New England Patriots, barely won against an awful opponent, the New York Jets.So, it’s time to pose the question Aaron Schatz asked at Football Outsiders. Is this Denver team merely the best in the league — or one of the best teams ever?The Broncos’ Elo rating is 1683, which translates to being favored by a touchdown in a neutral-site game against an average opponent. It’s also a fairly typical rating for the best team in the league at this point in the season. On average since 1970, the highest-rated team through Week 7 had an Elo rating of 1686, almost exactly matching Denver’s this year.Let’s pick some nits with the Broncos: They’ve lost once this year. They had a bye week. They fizzled in the second half against the Indianapolis Colts. And they were crushed in last year’s Super Bowl.Is this unfair? Except perhaps for the Super Bowl part, of course it is. Denver’s loss came on the road at Seattle and may have literally been the result of a coin flip. Beating Indianapolis by any margin looks more impressive given how well the Colts have played since. It’s not the Broncos’ fault that the schedulers gave them an early-season bye (and thereby one less opportunity to improve their Elo rating). More sophisticated statistical treatments — from Football Outsiders’ DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) to Benjamin Morris’s assessment of Peyton Manning’s clutchness — tend to have a higher opinion of the Broncos than Elo does.But if we’re judging whether the Broncos are a historically great team, we have the right — nay, the duty — to be very, very picky.This is not just an academic question. In the table below, I’ve taken the teams that had the highest Elo rating through Week 7 in each season since 1970. Eleven of the 25 teams that rated higher than the Broncos — or 44 percent — would go on to win the Super Bowl. But just two of the 19 (11 percent) that rated below the Broncos did.A lot of this is because even small advantages can compound over time. It’s not as though we can say with all that much confidence whether this year’s Broncos are better than, say, the 1998 edition of the team under John Elway. (Elo would have the 1998 Broncos favored, but by only 1.5 points). But a team that’s ever-so-slightly better is more likely to make the playoffs as a division champion rather than a wild card, more likely to have playoff games at home and to get a first-round bye, and more likely to win those playoff games once they occur. A team that’s a 70 percent favorite in each playoff game, and that needs to win three games to win the Super Bowl because it gets a bye, has a 34 percent chance of winning a championship. A team that’s a 60 percent favorite and that has to win four times has just a 13 percent chance.Elo puts the Broncos’ chances of winning the Super Bowl at 18 percent, somewhere between the two groups. Their Thursday-night home game against San Diego will be highly informative. A win for Denver would put it in a dominant position in the AFC West — it’d be a game-and-a-half ahead of the Chargers and at least two games ahead of the Kansas City Chiefs (with a tiebreaker advantage against each division rival). A loss to the Chargers would instead place Denver half a game behind San Diego with a tiebreaker disadvantage (and with the remaining game between the teams to be played in San Diego).The Broncos will probably make the playoffs as a wild card even if they lose their division, but the Super Bowl is much harder to win under those circumstances. The Broncos would have to play an extra game, and they’d have to play on the road. In our simulations, the Broncos won the Super Bowl 23 percent of the time as division champs but just 4 percent of the time as a wild card team. There’s not only playoff leverage riding on this game; there’s a lot of Super Bowl leverage at stake.Here are the current playoff odds for the other NFL teams:The Colts, who were briefly underdogs to make the playoffs after starting off their year 0-2 (Seahawks fans can take solace in that), are now 95 percent favorites to do so after having won every game since. Some of this is because the Colts are very good, but just as important is their extraordinarily weak division. The Houston Texans project to a record of 7-9, the Tennessee Titans 6-10, and the Jacksonville Jaguars (despite finally winning last week) 4-12. In our simulations, the Colts won the AFC South 82 percent of the time they finished with a 9-7 record and 62 percent of the time they went 8-8. Even a 7-9 record would often be enough to get them in. Andrew Luck is both lucky and good.Otherwise, the AFC playoff chase is more scrambled than last week. The Cincinnati Bengals are winless in their past three games (they managed a tie against the Carolina Panthers) and down to a 54 percent chance of making the playoffs, in danger of being lapped by Kansas City (41 percent) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (33 percent). Their matchup this week, at home against the division rival Baltimore Ravens, is another high-stakes game.The NFC, almost inevitably, will feature a ferocious battle for the wild card positions. Dallas, Philadelphia, Green Bay, Detroit, Arizona, San Francisco and Seattle all have somewhere between a 22 and 32 percent chance of winning a wild card. Three of those teams (barring a miraculous run by a team like the Chicago Bears) will win their divisions, but that leaves four teams fighting for two slots.The Arizona Cardinals, incidentally, have a chance to become the first team to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium. Although Arizona is probably weaker than either San Francisco or Seattle, it has a leg up in the NFC West by virtue of its 5-1 start. Elo gives the Cardinals a 15 percent chance of making the Super Bowl and an 8 percent chance of winning it.Elo point spreadsRecord against point spread: 49-50-3 (8-7 in Week 7)Straight-up record: 74-31-1 (10-5 in Week 7)Even if we thought you should bet based on these odds — and we don’t — it wouldn’t be in cases where bookmakers have a team as a 2.5-point favorite and Elo has the same team favored by, say, two points. There are a lot of games like that this week and fewer differences between Vegas and Elo than in past weeks. The biggest split of the week is in an unwatchable game: Elo has the Titans favored by three points at home against Houston, while Vegas has the Texans as one-point favorites.The Washington Redskins are also a perpetual punching bag for Elo, and the system would have you take the Dallas Cowboys against them (even as 9.5-point favorites, as Vegas has the Cowboys). As Washington was on the verge of losing to the Titans last week — it pulled the game out but didn’t cover the point spread — The Wall Street Journal’s Neil King tweeted that Washington was struggling to beat “the third worst team in the league,” presumably referring to Tennessee. Actually, Elo has Washington rated as the third-worst team! Washington went 11-5 against the point spread in 2012 and perhaps is still getting too much credit for it; it’s 7-16 against the spread since then. The team’s straight-up record, 5-18, is even worse. read more

The NFL Likes Running Backs Again Kinda Sorta

It’s no secret that running backs have been falling out of favor on draft day since the NFL’s pre-1980s ground-and-pound era. The amount of draft value invested in the position1As defined by a pick’s expected approximate value in his first five seasons. has declined continuously over the last half-century. This reached a low point in 2014 when not a single running back was taken in the first round for a second consecutive season.Things have changed a bit over the past few years. In the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night, two rushers — LSU’s Leonard Fournette (who went to the Jacksonville Jaguars) and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey (picked by the Carolina Panthers) — were taken among the top eight picks for the first time since 2005. This came after the Dallas Cowboys picked Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall in 2016, to great success. And in 2015, two running backs were chosen in the first round.Clearly, a running back renaissance is in the works. Right?Well, sort of. While it’s true that teams haven’t sworn off stud running backs completely at the top of the draft, they’re also being more selective. After McCaffrey went at No. 8, the class of 2017’s other first-round hopefuls — such as Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara and Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon — were all still available at the end of the night. It’s been five years since a team has taken a RB in the second half of the first round.A lot of this has to do with the economics of the position, as ESPN’s Kevin Seifert wrote on Wednesday. Because the rookie wage scale pays high picks well and running backs are being devalued across the league as a whole, highly drafted RBs are instantly among the highest-paid players at their position before they ever take a snap in the pros. That means teams better be damn sure about a running back before spending a first-rounder on him (lest they end up with the next Trent Richardson). The problem: teams can’t be sure about much on draft day. Only the elite of the elite check off enough boxes to make that kind of investment feel worthwhile.Adding to the risk, running backs also age differently from the rest of the NFL. Unlike, say, quarterbacks — who improve steadily during their early-to-mid 20s and peak right before age 30 — a running back’s shelf life is much shorter. Depending on the research you look at, RBs peak somewhere between the ages of 24 and 26, with the majority of their most productive seasons front-loaded early in their careers. So if you do manage to snag a game-changing runner, you’re most likely getting the best he has to offer before his rookie contract even has a chance to expire.Because of this, a team willing to invest a high pick on a running back better be in a position to win immediately, otherwise his best years could be squandered. For all the talk about the “Zeke Effect” — that Elliott’s high selection and subsequent performance in Dallas would spur increased investment in running backs on draft day — Elliott fell into a tremendous situation as a rookie with the Cowboys. Dallas’s mammoth offensive line paved the way for Elliott to lead the NFL with 999 yards before first contact.2To be clear, Elliott is a tremendous player; he was also second with 632 yards after contact. That’s a luxury Fournette won’t have in Jacksonville, where he’ll run behind an O-line that ranked sixth-worst in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards metric. (Maybe he should call 2015 No. 10 pick Todd Gurley, who has had to run behind a patchwork Rams line, for advice.)The Jags are betting that Fournette’s ridiculous ability to break tackles and run away from defenders in the open field will render that point moot, and maybe it will. But that also underscores just how talented a running back needs to be to justify a high draft pick these days. For those who possess that skill level, things are looking up compared with a few years ago. But for the rest, they’ll still have to wait to hear their names called at the podium. read more

Bilic on Hernandez Hes a natural goalscorer

first_imgFormer West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has praised Javier Hernandez as a “natural goalscorer” and believes that the forward’s struggles this season have mostly been down to a lack of pre-season training last summerThe Mexico international came on as a substitute on the second-half and scored a stunning curling effort to secure a point for West Ham in their 1-1 draw against Chelsea on Sunday.The strike marked the fourth time Hernandez had appeared as a substitute and scored at Stamford Bridge with Bilic, who was fired from the club earlier this season, praising the 29 year-old for what he brings to the side.Jose Mourinho is sold on Lampard succeeding at Chelsea Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho wanted to give his two cents on Frank Lampard’s odds as the new Chelsea FC manager, he thinks he will succeed.There really…“He’s a natural goalscorer and he’s there where he has to be. He’s not dangerous outside the box or around the box, but in the box, he’s the best finisher. Everything he thinks about is being in the box to come for a second ball,” said Bilic, according to Sky Sports.“He had some difficult times in the beginning. I don’t think he did all of pre-season because of the Confederations Cup but he is a brilliant goalscorer.“He’s a brilliant guy, a good person to have in the dressing room. He doesn’t cause problems, he can be angry but for five or ten minutes, no more than that. He is a good guy.”last_img read more

Insigne wary of Firminos threat

first_imgNapoli forward Lorenzo Insigne has recognised Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino as the most dangerous player in the squad ahead of their meeting.Jurgen Klopp’s side face the Serie A club in the Champions League on Wednesday evening as they seek to consolidate top spot with two wins, after leaving it late to break the hearts of PSG fans at Anfield.Most of the focus ahead of the match has been on Salah’s inconsistency in front of goal since the start of the season.Roberto Firmino, LiverpoolVirgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.However, Insigne sees it differently and has urged his Napoli teammates to watch out for Firmino’s ability in Liverpool’s attack. ‘They have a lot of strong players, even those on the bench,’ said Insigne“But Firmino is the most decisive player because he comes to play between the lines and opens up the spaces for his teammates. ‘I hope together with my teammates to put them in trouble and be able to make chances.”last_img read more

Changes proposed by InterHealth Canada Govt Approves

first_imgTop of the list, the Hospital wants to take over and further develop the blood bank including keeping it filled by better managing blood donations; they want to introduce tele-radiology to deal with the overwhelming need and demand for diagnostic imaging without the high cost of contracting a specialist; the Hospitals wants to buy hysteroscopy equipment; this allows advanced treatment in gynecology, with a minimally invasive tool to give better visuals and more thorough care to women.  Another change calls for expanding the dialysis unit; unfortunately the demand in this department is soaring. Since 2010, there are 50% more patients in Grand Turk in need of dialysis treatment, 65% more patients in Provo and there is need now for a full time Nephrologist.  Truly relevant in a world coping with viruses like Zika, the purchase of a Polymerase Chain Reactor Machine and Associated Equipment will help in more quickly detecting diseases in the blood.  There was assurance in that media release from the TCI Hospitals today that all blood is now also screened for the Zika Virus. Related Items:all blood screened for zika virus in TCI, and introduce better machines, hospital looking to keep blood bank full, interhealth canada to improve health care services and expand Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppcenter_img Dr. Denise Braithwaite-Tennant, Medical Services Chief for TCIG said, “It is important that the services keep pace with increases in patient volume as well as technology. It is our mandate to ensure high quality patient care and value for money. Patient Safety is our priority.”All requests for change were approved at Cabinet; now the Ministry of Health has to come up with the money to pay for them. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, TCI, September 20, 2016 – Interhealth Canada or the TCI Hospitals is seeking to expand, and they say, to improve health care services to the TCI public.  Last week Cabinet agreed to their proposals to change how some things are done, which will require amendments to the current agreement between Interhealth and TCIG and it will cost more money. last_img read more