Incredible Fish that Defy Evolution

first_imgThe variety of shapes, colors and ecological niches of fishes prove too much for chance mutations and unguided processes to handle.Carpe solis – sunbathing fish defy the laws of nature (Phys.org). Why don’t those large koi fish we see in garden ponds get sunburn? A study from Linnaeus University says, “The results from the study of sunbathing carp points to a paradigm shift.” Fish aren’t supposed to be able to regulate their body temperature by sunbathing, but these carp can. Not only that, the study showed differences between the fish that point to a high degree of adaptability within the same species and population.That sunbathing may require a refreshing swim to avoid overheating is a vacation experience shared by many. It has been assumed that this cooling effect of water prevents fish from reaping the rewards of sunbathing available to animals in terrestrial environments. New evidence on behavior of carp, published in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B, challenges this paradigm. Sunbathing fish can become warmer than the surrounding water and the gain in body temperature enables the fish to grow faster, the study shows…Different behaviors, appearances and strategies are favorable under different conditions, and variability among individuals may enable populations and species to cope with life in an ever changing world.Ocean-migrating trout adapt to freshwater environment in 120 years (Purdue University). When steelhead trout were stocked in Lake Michigan, it only took them 120 years to adapt to a full-time freshwater lifestyle from a part-time freshwater, part-time saltwater lifestyle. Although the Purdue biologists believe the study provides “deeper understanding into the process of adaptive evolution,” the adaptive processes seem too rapid for unguided random processes like mutation and natural selection. The Purdue researchers identified three chromosomal modifications related to osmoregulation (salt control) and to wound healing, but those processes already existed in the fish, and support vital functions. They appear to have been merely tuned by the new environment. The changes support Randy Guliuzza’s view that genomes are pre-programmed with the ability to adapt to environmental cues (see ICR).Daniel Castranova NICHD/NIH (Phys.org)Researchers identify how eye loss occurs in blind cavefish (Phys.org). Short answer: it’s not a case of neo-Darwinian evolution (genetic mutation and selection). It’s an epigenetic modification, specifically the epigenetic suppression of eye-producing genes. This reduces the cost of making eyes for fish that don’t need them. Moreover, there’s been no real evolution between the subterranean fish and the ones living in surface waters:Despite their dramatic differences, surface and cave morphs share similar genomes and can interbreed. Cave morphs begin eye development early but fail to maintain this program, undergoing eye degeneration within a few days of development. Previous research has not revealed any obvious mutations in genes important for their eye development.Molecular tuning of electroreception in sharks and skates (Nature). Think of the engineering requirements to get any animal to sense electricity or produce it for signaling. In this paper, three evolutionary biologists examine “fine tuning” in electrosensation in sharks and rays (skates), showing how they differ. “Our findings demonstrate how sensory systems adapt to suit the lifestyle or environmental niche of an animal through discrete molecular and biophysical modifications,” they say. You can get a taste of the complexity from the Abstract:Here we analyse shark and skate electrosensory cells to determine whether discrete physiological properties could contribute to behaviourally relevant sensory tuning. We show that sharks and skates use a similar low threshold voltage-gated calcium channel to initiate cellular activity but use distinct potassium channels to modulate this activity. Electrosensory cells from sharks express specially adapted voltage-gated potassium channels that support large, repetitive membrane voltage spikes capable of driving near-maximal vesicular release from elaborate ribbon synapses. By contrast, skates use a calcium-activated potassium channel to produce small, tunable membrane voltage oscillations that elicit stimulus-dependent vesicular release.So far so good. But then they tell us, “Electroreception has independently evolved in many taxa to facilitate particular behaviours ranging from predation to communication.” Stop right there! Evolution cannot “evolve to” do anything; it is unguided, remember? And worse, the statement resorts to ‘convergent evolution’ to explain away the need for belief in multiple miracles of chance (see Darwin Flubber in the Darwin Dictionary). They never explain how evolution worked these miracles. They just state their belief that it did. Science Daily doesn’t explain it, either; its write-up just asserts that “evolution shapes the senses.” That’s using a word, evolution, like an all-purpose magic wand—able to supply any miracle on demand. Look at just a few of the Darwinian miracles required for electrosensing, not counting behavioral responses:In both sea creatures, networks of organs, called ampullae of Lorenzini, constantly survey the electric fields they swim through. Electricity enters the organs through pores that surround the animals’ mouths and form intricate patterns on the bottom of their snouts. Once inside, it is carried via a special gel through a grapevine of canals, ending in bunches of spherical cells that can sense the fields, called electroreceptors. Finally, the cells relay this information onto the nervous system by releasing packets of chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters, into communication points, or synapses, made with neighboring neurons.Can Evolutionists Explain Fish Evolution?Resolving the ray-finned fish tree of life (PNAS). Michael Alfaro struggles with the enormous diversity of fish. How does a Darwinian hang them all on a single branching tree diagram?When it comes to vertebrate evolutionary history, our understanding of lobe-finned fishes—the branch of the vertebrate tree leading to coelacanths plus the tetrapods (amphibians, turtles, birds, crocodiles, lizards, snakes, and mammals)—far outstrips our knowledge of ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii). Actinopterygians exhibit extraordinary species richness (>33,000 described species) and have evolved a staggering diversity in morphology and ecology over their 400+ million y history. Ray-finned fishes include some of the smallest vertebrates [the adult cyprinid Paedocypris progenetica measure just under 8 mm], some of the largest (adult ocean sunfish weigh more than 2,000 kg), some of the longest (oarfishes may reach a length of more than 13 m), some of the longest lived [rougheye rockfishes, Sebastes aleutianus, may live for more than 200 y], and some of the shortest lived [the coral reef pygmy goby, Eviota sigillata, has a maximum lifespan of 59 d]. In marine waters, ray-finned fishes include the tremendously diverse and ecologically rich coral reef fish families, such as wrasses, angelfishes, butterfly fishes, and damselfishes, and they comprise most important commercial and recreational fishing stocks. Within freshwaters, ray-finned fishes have produced several ecologically dominant radiations, including cyprinids, characiforms, catfishes, and cichlids. Efforts to reconstruct the phylogenetic history of this group have proven extremely challenging, especially within acanthomorphs, a hyperdiverse subclade comprising almost two-thirds of all ray-finned fish species.Alfaro bluffs that evolutionary understanding of lobe-finned fishes is better than that of ray-finned fishes, because he has Tiktaalik in mind, along with some other alleged intermediate forms that Darwinians believe show a progression to land-based tetrapods. He should have read Clement and Long’s article on The Conversation (next).It’s less than 2cm long, but this 400 million year old fossil fish changes our view of vertebrate evolution (The Conversation). Alice Clement and John Long wear their D-Merit Badges proudly, but tell their readers that fish have “a complicated family tree.” They excitedly share their latest alleged transitional form, a fossil named Lingulalepis, but the article undermines the bluffing confidence of Alfaro’s paper. “Our findings highlight that the evolutionary family tree of the first bony fishes is much more complicated than we had thought,” they say in Tontological form, “demonstrating the importance of palaeontology to help us more accurately understand our distant origins.”A tetrapod fauna from within the Devonian Antarctic Circle (Science Magazine). If you think Darwinians had their story together about fish becoming tetrapods, read this paper by Per Ahlberg and Robert Gess. Tiktaalik and its relatives were found in tropical or subtropical locations, but now these two evolutionists found candidates in the Antarctic. “Thus, the distribution of tetrapods may have been global, which encourages us to rethink the environments in which this important group was shaped.” Not only that, Gess & Ahlberg upset the applecart more. They confirm that the Polish tetrapod trackways, dated earlier than Tiktaalik, confound the story of tetrapod evolution. They they throw in some soft tissue preservation! To creationists, that challenges the Darwinian belief in millions of years.The Waterloo Farm tetrapod fossils and the Middle Devonian tetrapod trackways from Poland and Ireland challenge the popular scenario of a tropical origin of tetrapods during the Late Devonian. Tetrapods originated no later than the Eifelian (early Middle Devonian), when they were present in southern Laurussia; by the late Famennian (latest Devonian), they ranged from the tropics to the south polar regions. This geographic pattern could still point to a tropical origin but may simply be a sampling artifact. Against this background, the continued investigation of nontropical localities such as Waterloo Farm must be a priority. Waterloo Farm is also the only known Devonian tetrapod locality to feature soft-tissue preservation, as exemplified by the earliest known lamprey, Priscomyzon. The locality thus has the potential not only to cast new light on early tetrapod biogeography and evolution, but also to illuminate unknown aspects of their morphology.Same story, different habitat. The facts line up against Darwinism, but no matter what the conflict with reality, the Darwinians persist in their belief. They say a new study “sheds light on evolution” or “helps us more accurately understand our distant origins.” Resolution of any and all difficulties is passed on to futureware, giving the Darwin Party perennial job security for storytellers (25 June 2014). What a scam!— or should we say, What a fish story! ‘You should have seen the one that got away from Darwin!’(Visited 528 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Get Your CITO On this Weekend!

first_img SharePrint RelatedYou’re Part of the CITO EquationMarch 17, 2014In “Cache In Trash Out”Groundspeak Weekly Newsletter – April 13, 2011April 13, 2011In “Groundspeak’s Weekly Newsletter”Announcing the 2014 CITO Weekend and SouvenirJanuary 26, 2014In “Cache In Trash Out” Share with your Friends:More You’re part of a worldwide geocaching clean-machine this weekend.One weekend a year, geocachers around the world join together to help remove trash from geocaching-friendly locations. Cache In Trash Out is simple: you geocache in an area and then take trash out. There are hundreds of events to choose from around the globe, from Bahrain to Brazil, you have choices.Each person who logs an “Attended” for a CITO event on April 26 or April 27 this year earns a 2014 CITO souvenir for their Geocaching profile. They also earn a sense of accomplishment and probably a few finds along the way. Find or host a CITO event near you and help make this year even more successful.Last year, geocachers around the globe created the most successful CITO year ever. Over 640 CITO events helped clear more than 50 tons of trash from parks and wild places around the world. That’s a staggering 100,000 pounds (45359.2 kg). This year we hope to cleanup 50% more! Here’s the math.Worldwide CITO Events: 776Expected Attendance: ~ 15,000Individual Geocacher Goal: 1 pound (.5 kilogram) of litter cleanupTotal Cleanup Goal: 75 tons (68,000 kilograms)center_img But CITO isn’t just removing trash. CITO is also about working together to clear invasive species from parks or plant native trees. And CITO is 365 days a year. Even after CITO weekend is over, it doesn’t mean that CITO has stopped. We encourage every geocacher to practice Cache In Trash Out every time they go geocaching. There are also plenty of CITO events that happen throughout the year. You can look for CITO events in your area or host your own.last_img read more

Wall Street Can’t Make Sense Of Apple Anymore

first_imgTags:#Apple#iPad#iPhone#Steve Jobs#Tim Cook Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… dan lyons 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Seems like only yesterday Apple was a simple company for Wall Street to understand. The products were great, demand was insane, and there was nowhere for the stock to go but up, up, up. Which is exactly what happened.Those days are over. Apple’s stock has dropped 40% since last fall, from $705 to $426. This has happened even as the overall stock market has soared to new highs.Wall Street has no idea what to make of this. Is Apple the greatest deal ever, or is Apple doomed? It depends who you ask. The opinions are all over the map. It’s actually kind of entertaining seeing Wall Street know-it-alls suddenly look so baffled.Goldman Sachs says Apple is one of the most undervalued companies in the world. By that reasoning, the stock is a steal.Citigroup says demand for iPhones and iPads is lagging, and that Apple won’t even hit its own revenue targets for this quarter.(See also Apple May Never Regain Its Status As The World’s Most Valuable Company.)It’s Not About NumbersWall Street guys will fret about how much cash Apple has, how cheap the stock is relative to earnings, what’s happening with gross margins, and so on.But Apple’s stock price never had much to do with fundamentals. Apple is about emotion. It’s about narrative. It’s about mystery. It’s about secrecy and leaks, rumors and hype. It’s about people standing in line outside stores as if they’re going to a rock concert.Apple does best when it lives in the realm that Arthur C. Clarke described when he wrote that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”Magic is what Apple was selling when it introduced the iPhone and iPad. As long as Steve Jobs kept pulling rabbits out of his hat, customers (and investors) were dazzled.The problem is now we’ve come to expect magic from Apple. And lately Apple hasn’t delivered.Sure, Apple is a terrific, well-run company with a business that every company in the world must envy. The iPhone and iPad are terrific products, and Apple keeps making them better.But: there’s no magic.Wall Street keeps trying to tell this story in numbers. Gross margins. Net margins. Growth rates. Market share.But numbers are almost beside the point.Apple is a hits business, like a movie studio. Right now it needs a new blockbuster franchise. Whether that’s an iWatch or an iTV almost doesn’t matter. Apple just needs something. Something new, something exciting, something that gets people standing in lines outside stores again.Apple needs magic. Whether Tim Cook and his team are capable of creating it remains to be seen. That uncertainty, I suspect, is what has shaved $260 billion from Apple’s market value.center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

How militants fighting Pakistan’s covert war with India are trained for battle, martyrdom

first_imgTARGET INDIA: A model of a Ghauri missile in Muzaffarabad, 182 km from SrinagarFour bearded militants warm themselves at a gas heater in an Islamabad safe house. A wireless set suddenly crackles. “Our boys have entered Srinagar Airport,” a grave, distant-sounding voice announces.The voice, speaking in Urdu and broadcasting from,TARGET INDIA: A model of a Ghauri missile in Muzaffarabad, 182 km from SrinagarFour bearded militants warm themselves at a gas heater in an Islamabad safe house. A wireless set suddenly crackles. “Our boys have entered Srinagar Airport,” a grave, distant-sounding voice announces.The voice, speaking in Urdu and broadcasting from deep within India’s part of Kashmir, is detailing the progress of a suicide mission by Lashkar-e-Toiba, a ruthless, Pakistan-based militant group waging war to wrest Kashmir from India. Other militant groups in Pakistan can tune in to the same radio frequency.So can the Pakistani military. A phone in the house rings, and one of the men, all members of Lashkar-e-Toiba, answers. He is asked what’s happening. His reply: “Why don’t you find out from your side?” After hanging up, he explains the caller was a Pakistani army colonel.That scene occurred in early January. Five Lashkar operatives disguised as police officers attempted to attack the Srinagar airport that day. But Indian Army guards turned them away, and the operation was aborted. However, a second attempt a few days later succeeded, leaving six Lashkar-e-Toiba men and four policemen dead. Two civilians were killed and 12 injured.Since Kashmir erupted in 1989, India has pointed a blunt and unwavering finger at Pakistan, accusing it of fomenting the entire problem.It’s a large and cynical exaggeration: anti-Indian sentiment runs high within Kashmir, and in the first half of the 1990s, Kashmiris themselves provided the steam in the anti-Indian militant movement.They were disorganised and willing to murder, but passionate and anxious to plead their nationalist cause with the outside world.Today, however, India’s charge rings a lot truer. Despite a decade of denials – Islamabad insists it provides only moral and political support, not training or tangible aid – Pakistan is fuelling militant activity in Kashmir.advertisementOf the five main militant groups operating in Kashmir, four are based in Pakistan, where open recruiting and fundraising are commonplace. Training of militants is also done on Pakistani soil. The Pakistani military is deeply involved, especially in the smuggling of anti-Indian militants across the Line of Control.Militant groups have roots all over Pakistan, from well-equipped training centres in Muzaffarabad – the capital of Pakistan’s slice of Kashmir-and the North West Frontier Province to Lahore and Islamabad. Here is an inside look at how Pakistan runs its covert war in Kashmir:Recruiting and trainingThere are thousands of young, motivated Pakistani men anxious to join the militancy in Kashmir, which they consider a holy war. They come from all walks of life: not merely from the religious schools known as madarsas, or the far-flung, poverty-mired towns and villages, but also from Pakistan’s educated and westernised middle and upper classes.And for these highly religious volunteers, many of whom are still in their teens, there is nothing more sacred in life than achieving the status of a martyr. These are the grunts in the war. The leaders are Pakistani veterans of the Afghan war.LONG MARCH : Foreign militants on an uphill walk in south Kashmir. The fittest volunteers from the training camps cross over into India from forward posts of the Pakistani ArmyThe largest training camp in Pakistan is run by the Lashkar-e-Toiba, a wing of an Afghan mujahideen group known as Markaz Al Dawa Wal Irshad. It is set on a vast mountain clearing overlooking Muzaffarabad. Armed men guard the facility round-the-clock. There are only two structures, one an armoury, the other a kitchen. Trainees live and sleep in the open. The field is dotted with installations used to teach the fervent young – some no older than 14 – how to cross a river, climb a mountain or ambush a military convoy.The day of a trainee begins at four in the morning. After offering prayers, the militants go for exercises. A breakfast of tea and bread is at eight, followed by a full day of rigorous drills, which are interrupted only for prayers and a simple lunch, usually rice and lentils.Coursework covers how to use sidearms, sniper rifles, grenades, rocket launchers and wireless radio sets, as well as the art of constructing bombs. The teachers are Lashkar veterans of action in Kashmir and Afghanistan. Sports, music and television are forbidden.Trainees are only allowed to read prescreened newspaper articles. Training is divided into two stages. The first three-week session gives religious education and basic knowledge of how to handle firearms.Once a volunteer has passed that course, which costs the organisation about $330 (about Rs 15, 500) per trainee, he is sent to a designated city or town, often near his birthplace, to work at the group’s offices and become more involved with the organisation.When a volunteer proves himself capable, motivated and loyal, he is enrolled in a special three-month commando boot camp, which costs the group $1,700 (roughly Rs 80, 000) per student. (The money is raised from overseas groups and the Pakistani public.)advertisementIn the final weeks, recruits use live ammunition, construct actual explosives and perfect ambush techniques. The final exam lasts three days. A group of trainees, sometimes as large as 100 individuals, hikes and climbs through high-altitude, wooded terrain for three days without food or sleep.They are not allowed to slow their pace except for a few naps. At the end the hungry and thirsty survivors are given a goat, a knife and a matchbox. That’s their reward, and they have to cook and eat it in warlike conditions.Going inOnly the fittest from each graduating group are given a chance at martyrdom across the border in Kashmir. The local commander makes his choice, and the fortunate few are despatched to safe houses along the Line of Control known as “launching pads”. At this point, the Pakistani Army plays a crucial role in helping to arrange the infiltration of the militants across the Line of Control.Militants officially deny Pakistani Army involvement, but those who fought in Kashmir tell Time that the wait at the launching pad is dictated by their leaders, who are in touch with the army. “Until an unmarked vehicle turns up at your safe house,” says a veteran of Al-Badr, the first Pakistan-based militant organisation to get members across the line, “you don’t know when your number will come.”When it does, this is what happens: “The vehicle, covered from all sides, will pick up two, three or four militants according to the plan and dump them at one of the forward posts of the Pakistani Army,” the Al-Badr veteran says. “People in civvies give us arms, ammunition, food and money [Indian currency].We are asked to check our weapons. After a day or two they give us the signal to go ahead.” The next step is the most hazardous: from the Pakistani Army post, the group embarks on a three-to-seven night journey into Indian-controlled Kashmir, travelling by night, hiding during the day.The group leader wears night-vision goggles. The rest follow blindly across the mountains. There are numerous obstacles: Indian mines, tracer flares, Indian border patrols anxious to shoot at them. “But whenever such a situation arises,” says a Lashkar militant, “the Pakistani guns come to our rescue to provide cover.”Militants making the return trip go through a reverse route, ending up at a Pakistani Army base. In the 1990s, the Pakistani militants hired local guides – ethnic Kashmiris – to help them get across the mountains and into India.”On a number of occasions,” says Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, 42, the supreme commander of the Lashkar-e-Toiba militants, “they took the money and tipped off the Indians. So we trained our own manpower.”advertisementIn other words, the Pakistani militants don’t always trust the Kashmiris on whose behalf they are waging this war. The Pakistani militancy, which had its roots in the Afghan war, is now an institution unto itself.last_img read more