December 27

Costa set for £650,000-a-week China deal, Giggs to become Boro boss? GOSSIP

first_imgHere are the top transfer-related stories in Friday’s newspapers…Chelsea striker Diego Costa is understood to be on the brink of a stunning £75million move to Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian this summer. The 28-year-old could become the best paid player in the world after reportedly being offered a £650,000-a-week deal after tax. (Daily Record)Ryan Giggs is on the shortlist to become the next permanent manager of Middlesbrough. The Welsh legend is searching for his first top job in the game after leaving his position as assistant manager at Manchester United last summer. (The Sun)Manchester United are now targeting Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak as their next goalkeeper, if David De Gea does eventually join Real Madrid in the summer. (Independent)Bournemouth hope to sign John Terry and Jermain Defoe this summer. Eddie Howe wants the vastly experienced pair to help guide his young squad and will also look to add Chelsea’s Asmir Begovic and Nathan Ake. (Daily Mail)Chelsea will listen to offers for Brazilian star Willian this summer. Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, a fan of the free-kick expert, is likely to be first in the queue, with the club having already made enquiries. (Daily Express)Chelsea are set to move for Brighton goalkeeper David Stockdale. The Premier League leaders inquired about the former Fulham keeper in January when Asmir Begovic was looking to leave to find regular football elsewhere. The deal stalled but Chelsea can land the 31-year-old this summer without a fee as his contract runs out at the Seagulls, who have won promotion to the Premier League. (Daily Express)Demarai Gray is set for a make-or-break summer at Leicester City as the winger considers his future after a season of limited opportunities, with the 20-year-old desperate to play more first-team football to further his career. (Guardian)Tom Heaton is a summer target for Crystal Palace and Newcastle. The Burnley and England keeper has delivered another solid season for Sean Dyche who will fight to keep one of his key players. (The Sun)Newcastle have joined the race to sign highly-rated Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney. Liverpool and Arsenal are also interested. (Daily Star)And here are the latest headlines…?Top Rugby Union referee Nigel Owens joined talkSPORT on Wednesday to have his say on plans to trial ‘sin bins’ in English football Arsenal will face competition from Valencia if they want to sign Malaga midfielder Pablo Fornals this summerAtletico Madrid have prioritised the signing of France international Alexandre Lacazette, amid interest from Liverpool and ArsenalAtletico Madrid have prioritised the signing of France international Alexandre Lacazette, amid interest from Liverpool and ArsenalFrench champions Paris Saint-Germain have made Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez a transfer prioritylast_img read more

December 19

Adaptive Radiation: A Darwinian Mechanism Inherits the Wind

first_imgAnother Darwinian assumption needs to be re-examined.  Adaptive radiation, the belief that a species isolated on an island will diverge into many species, has been hit by a hurricane.    Calsbeek and Smith, writing in the Dec. 4 issue of Nature1, studied lizards on the Bahamas after Hurricane Floyd devastated the islands.  “Islands are considered to be natural laboratories in which to examine evolution because of the implicit assumption that limited gene flow allows tests of evolutionary processes in isolated replicates,” they begin:  “Here we show that this well-accepted idea requires re-examination.”  Why?  Gene flow is not limited after all.  Apparently, ocean currents and hurricanes are very successful at spreading the critters around from island to island (gene flow, this is called).  And high gene flow counteracts adaptive radiation by homogenizing the gene pool: “After severe storms, islands may be recolonized by over-water dispersal of lizards from neighbouring islands.  High levels of gene flow may homogenize genes responsible for divergence, and are widely viewed as a constraining force on evolution.”    These islands have been a textbook case for adaptive radiation theories, because the number of Anolis lizard species is high: up to 140 species.  The authors write, “The adaptive radiation of Caribbean anoles is believed to be driven by ecologically based natural selection arising from variation in habitat use.” Some of these lizards climb the broad trunks of trees and have long legs, whereas some perch on twigs, with short legs.  These microevolutionary changes appear to be adaptive, because they would seem to help the critters run faster after food or avoid prey, or keep their balance in their preferred habitat.     The scientists found that the gene flow correlated with prevailing ocean currents.  Moreover, the repopulation of the islands was very rapid: “Although no islands were reported to have received immigrants as a result of hurricane transport, subsequent recolonization of islands over the next 17 months was rapid and indicated over-water dispersal of adult lizards from neighbouring islands,“ they write with a bit of surprise.  Although they have found a constraint on adaptive radiation in this classic case, they are confident that island studies are good for evolutionary theory.  They conclude:Studies on islands have revealed many of the fundamental mechanisms of evolution, particularly the paramount influence of geographical isolation to diversification.  Here, we add an important caveat to these studies, showing that prevailing ocean currents may influence gene flow and adaptive divergence in a terrestrial vertebrate.  The adaptive radiation of anoles in the Caribbean is thought to have arisen by ecologically based natural selection related to habitat use.  However, the level of gene flow between populations will impose an upper limit on the ability of natural selection to drive adaptive divergence.  We have provided evidence that weather-related abiotic phenomena might have important effects on the evolution and adaptive radiation of lizard populations.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)1Ryan Calsbeek and Thomas B. Smith, “Ocean currents mediate evolution in island lizards,” Nature 426, 552 – 555 (04 December 2003); doi:10.1038/nature02143.You better believe it might have important effects on evolution.  It stops it.    First of all, notice that this is another tale about microevolution, so it doesn’t discriminate between creationists and evolutionists.  But is there anything in this story that props up Charlie?  Lizard populations in the Bahamas and surrounding islands were supposed to be a textbook case for adaptive radiation theory, and now look.  They found that the islands were rapidly repopulated – within months – after Hurricane Floyd swept through, with the same species that existed before.  But then, how can they rule out the possibility that some survived the storm?  Did they check under every rock and in the tops of every tree?  This looks like a bad science paper every way you cut it.  That’s why we call evolutionists lazy, and accuse them of appearing to do science while vacationing in the Bahamas.    Adaptive radiation is only supposed to work if the gene pool gets cut off from the surroundings.  They might be able to cling to that hope, but one of their best examples has just suffered “an important caveat” which, being interpreted, means, “Yeah, BUT…”  It’s the unwelcome lab assistant tapping the evolutionist lecturer on the arm during his praise-for-Darwin speech, whispering in his ear, “Professor, we found a flaw in your data….”  He stumbles for a moment, but continues unabated, “Moreover, ladies and gentlemen, evolution is a fact, supported by countless examples of thorough scientific research.”(Visited 24 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

December 18

Education is the key to progress – Ndabeni-Abrahams

first_imgDeputy Minister of Communication Stella Ndabeni-AbrahamsAt the beginning of this year, President Jacob Zuma declared 2015 as the Year of the Freedom Charter and Unity in Action. He called on all sectors of society to embrace the Freedom Charter. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the historic document, which was penned in Kliptown, Soweto, in 1955.As we celebrate Youth Month, it is worthwhile to remember the ideals of the Freedom Charter – in particular that young people deserve better educational and economic opportunities. We must ensure that the aspirations of our youth to have access to opportunities, better education and freedom of choice, as demanded in the Freedom Charter, are met.We should also take forward the charter’s vision that South Africa belongs to all who live it. This vision is now a reality; our democracy stands firm and is safeguarded by the Constitution.However, democracy without progress rings hollow. Therefore it is incumbent on all of us to push for our country’s development.Government, entrepreneurs, youth leaders and youth organisations need to work together and implement policies that will build the South Africa we want. Those policies and recommendations are spelt out in the National Development Plan, our blueprint for a society where all South Africans will flourish.It stresses that the country’s youth can be the catalyst for social change and economic emancipation.We firmly believe that the youth of today must be at the forefront of societal conversations about our socioeconomic challenges. Our young leaders will play a key role in transforming society in the third decade of freedom.The role of strong, skills-oriented education cannot be emphasised enough. We have made great strides in increasing student numbers in schools, universities and colleges over the past 21 years.Opportunities to access higher education that were denied to many young people are now available to them.The Department of Higher Education is implementing a number of programmes to improve the quality of post-school education. These include expanding the foundation phase to equip underprepared students, improving accessibility for students and staff with disabilities, investing in university infrastructure and increasing the number of teachers.Through the National Skills Fund, the department is making funds available to students in the critical fields that are needed to grow the economy. Last year it gazetted and published 100 national scarce skills in our economy and in other sectors. It is also encouraging pupils in schools to choose skills that are in short supply, like artisanship.We have targeted 19 000 artisans to be produced annually, set to increase to 30 000 by 2030, in line with the National Development Plan and National Skills Development Strategy.Community Education and Training Colleges offer a second chance to people who did not finish their schooling. They represent a third tier of institutions alongside universities and technical vocational education and training colleges. These colleges prepare students for the labour market or for self-employment. It is without a doubt that they will be central to moving the country forward.last_img read more

November 16

UTSA Coach Larry Coker on OSU: ‘They Look Awfully Good’

first_imgWe have reached the portion of Oklahoma State’s schedule where we all reminisce and make jokes about how Larry Coker coaches in Stillwater before Mike Gundy even showed up. Coker was the offensive coordinator there (with Gundy as QB) from 1983-1989.Coker has yet to beat his former squad. He’ll give it a third go on Saturday afternoon in Boone Pickens Stadium.“They look awfully good,” said Coker. “They’re awfully good at defensive end. Their front is outstanding. They’re a really good defensive football team.”“I think they’re more explosive than they were a year ago,” Coker said earlier this week.  “The defensive front is probably better and I think the linebacker from Cibolo (Ryan Simmons) is a good player.  He was good last year.  He’s good this year.  Now we’ve got to see him again.”He made a few jokes about the offense (just like the rest of us!) when talking about QBs 1 and 2.“They have a really good quarterback in Rudolph and of course J.W. Walsh played against us two years ago, the young man from Denton, so we think they have two really good quarterbacks. They can get the ball to their receivers. Is Dez Bryant still there or is he gone?”He also noted what a great stadium BPS is.“I’m going to be in the third row, I’m not standing on the sidelines this year,” Coker joked. “It’s dangerous down there. I was there for seven years, you know it’s close, but I went back last year and said ‘wow I didn’t realize it was this close’ because you’re right there by the wall.”“It’s a great atmosphere for college football. That’s the thing, I don’t know if that’s a good thing for us, but I like our players to have the opportunity to play in those types of places, in that type of atmosphere. That’s just a great thing, I think. It’s a great college venue. I know Mike [Gundy] well. I coached Mike and guys that are there so it’s going to be a great atmosphere. It’s a tough atmosphere, it really is.”And finally, on how many Texas players are on each roster (a combined 154!)“They probably have more Texans on their team than we do.” Nope. UTSA has 96. OSU has 58.“They have a ton of kids from Texas. Pat Jones, I don’t know if I totally agree with this, but Pat Jones always said, ‘You can have people recruit in Texas … go down there and get the players other schools don’t want and still recruit a good football team.’ There may be a little truth to that. These kids were not afterthoughts, they were very good players and had places to go when they came out.”[Scout] If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more