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Imaginary Feathers Found on Dinosaur

first_imgThe science news outlets are all talking about a new dinosaur with feathers, but where are the feathers?  Bjorn Carey at LiveScience said that Guanlong wucaii were “likely covered in feathers” and MSNBC said it was “likely feathered as a chicken.”  John Roach on National Geographic News even went so far as to say, “Scientists say the 160-million-year-old animal, which had simple feathers and an elaborate head crest, is the oldest known tyrannosaur” (emphasis added in all quotes).    We went to the source looking for the feathers.  The original paper by Xu et al. in Nature1 says nothing about feathers.  Neither does the news story about it by Thomas R. Holtz in the same issue of Nature.2  Holtz does mention “feathered dinosaurs” from China, lists “feathered maniraptorans” in passing, and refers to an earlier discovery, Dilong paradoxus, that had some kind of coating that he calls “simple fuzzy ‘protofeathers’” in quote marks.  Still no conclusive feathers for Guanlong.  The plot thickens in The Case of the Missing Feathers.    The first solution to this mystery is to go back to an Oct. 6, 2004 story in National Geographic about D. paradoxus.  This mentions a “at least a partial coat of hairlike feathers” on this small tyrannosaurid, but the description of the feathers is not what most of us picture when we think of a bird feather.  These are called “featherlike structures” that apparently were for warmth or insulation, not flight.3  Since Sinosauropteryx had these “featherlike structures”, the discoverer assumed that this new fossil, along with birds, were “all expressions of the same evolutionary change.”  Holtz said, “then we have to infer that tyrannosaurids also had some expression of the same trait [feathers].”  Yet even these structures on D. paradoxus seem questionable.  The article goes on: “The description of Dilong paradoxus is based on the fossils of four specimens, including a fragmented one with evidence of protofeathers—precursors to the feathers found on modern birds.”  Then the article speculates on whether T. rex youngsters sported the downy coats, without mentioning any fossil evidence for such a claim.    Back to Guanlong wucaii.  Now we have the context for the claims about feathers in the science news articles, despite the absence of the word in the scientific paper.  The end of the MSNBC article quotes Mark Norell of the American Museum of Natural History, one of the co-discoverers of both fossils, who made a big point about the “featherlike structures” on the earlier find.  After referring back to Dilong paradoxus, he explains about the new fossil: “Because they’re so closely related [sic], there’s no reason at all to think it didn’t have feathers.”  (His museum is the same one with an exhibit that boldly announces to the public, “Birds Are Dinosaurs.”)1Xu et al., “A basal tyrannosauroid dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of China,” Nature 439, 715-718 (9 February 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature04511.2Thomas R. Holtz Jr., “Palaeontology: A Jurassic tyrant is crowned,” Nature 439, 665-666 (9 February 2006) | doi:10.1038/439665a.3See Jonathan Sarfati’s analysis on AIG #1 and AIG #2.  The fossil impressions could be from flayed collagen fibers, not feathers.This is very strange.  Only one specimen of the earlier fossil, a fragmented specimen, had some kind of hairy skin filaments, that were not feathers, but “protofeathers” or “featherlike structures.”  Then the new fossil has none at all.  One team member leaps from fragmentary evidence to pure imagination in a single bound, assuming evolution relates these two dinosaurs to birds according to a common evolutionary innovation.  From there, the news media print color drawings of Gualong coated in colorful plumage, with the word FEATHERS in bold type in the headlines.  What is going on here?  Why are they doing this to us?    Horsefeathers.  They should know better.  We are onto their tricks.  They are mixing and matching fragments of flimsy evidence to fit a preconceived speculation and market it as fact.  For earlier and similar claims, see 05/06/2004 on the questionable museum exhibit, 06/18/2001 on a New Mexico tale, and 08/21/2001 and 10/30/2002 on problems with feather evolution.  Mark Robertson on AIG called for more skepticism over the weak claims, and AIG has many other articles on dinosaurs and birds.(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Alien Intrusion: Half of Humans Believe in Space Aliens

first_imgA powerful new documentary coming on January 11 investigates the rise in belief in space aliens, UFOs and abductions.Half of humans believe in alien life, reports Reuters about a new survey. Its not exactly clear how the pollsters would know about all humans, including those in remote tribes with no formal education, but here’s what they say about the results:Nearly half of humans believe in alien life and want to make contact, a survey in 24 countries has found, in what researchers said helps to explain the lasting popularity of the “Star Wars” franchise 40 years after the first movie was screened.On the eve of the release of “The Last Jedi”, researchers published findings that 47 percent of more than 26,000 respondents believe “in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations in the universe”.Only one-quarter of respondents said they do not believe intelligent life exists beyond earth. The highest rates of believers in aliens were in Russia, China and Mexico, at around 68%. By contrast, only 28% in Holland believe in space aliens. Many Americans, fed on a steady diet of alien encounters in the movies and scientific reports about the search for life (astrobiology) and intelligent beings (SETI), treat the actual discovery of space aliens as just a matter of time.Close EncountersA sizable fraction of believers in intelligent aliens aren’t waiting for a scientific discovery: they already “know” they have encountered them. These include a large number of people who have seen unidentified flying objects (UFOs). Roswell, New Mexico, is “ground zero” for the UFO craze, a very popular destination for millions of people (and a booming business for the small town). But this is no joke; UFOs have been reported by astronauts and fighter pilots and other reputable observers. The UFO phenomenon has attracted the attention of world leaders. Even more disturbing are the claims about alien abductions. The number who swear to have been taken up into alien spaceships and examined by alien doctors is quite astonishing, and many of them are intelligent, reasonable people. Clearly these people are not all crazy. They have experienced something. What on earth is going on?Gary Bates of Creation Ministries International (CMI) has studied this phenomenon in depth, resulting in his popular book, Alien Intrusion. He has also spoken to many groups on the subject of UFOs, abductions and the scientific and theological issues with space aliens. Now, CMI has produced a high-quality documentary called Alien Intrusion: Unmasking a Deception narrated by John Schneider that will appear in theaters one night  only – January 11, 2018. Watch the trailer to get excited about this premiere!CEH has had a chance to preview the documentary and recommends it highly. If you know anyone who claims to have seen UFOs or has had “close encounters” of whatever kind, by all means encourage them to see this movie; bring them if you can. The film keeps your attention to the end. All aspects of the space alien phenomenon, from UFOs to abductions, are covered sensitively and thoroughly, with respectful interviews of those who claim to have been abducted. Leading UFOlogists and scientists also sharing their expertise. Our own contributing author Henry Richter appears in it as well, sharing his expertise on the physics of travel between the stars. The production quality is superb, with beautiful animations and space footage, and amazing historical documentation.Christians need to be aware of this phenomenon and how to respond to it; encourage your pastor to see it, and try to get your church to go as a group.You can buy your tickets now for the January 11 event. Visit AlienIntrusion.com to find a theater near you and buy your tickets in advance. Gary Bates and the other experts in film uncover what is going on in both the simple UFO reports and the most bizarre of the abduction claims. Like the webpage says, “The truth will surprise you.” (Visited 881 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Mandela Day: recognising the power of the individual to change the world

first_imgAs the world took time out on Friday, 18 July to honour Nelson Mandela’s legacy of service on Mandela Day, Brand South Africa focuses on the power of the individual to effect change, and build a cooperative, cohesive society.This month, as South Africa and countries around the world celebrated Mandela Day, there is a greater poignancy as we reflect on the great man’s legacy now that he is no longer with us in person, just in spirit. As we remember his life, his leadership, the sacrifices he made to achieve our freedom and a better future as citizens of this country, and his passion for furthering humanitarian causes, we are encouraged to follow his example and make a difference in the world. As Nelson Mandela said: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is the difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead”.He had a vision of social justice and freedom for all, and he made great strides in working to fulfil that vision – today, it is his living legacy to us all and it requires us, as engaged citizens, to play our part in serving our communities and our country and making them better places in which to live and thrive.This year, Mandela Day encouraged us all to become ‘Mandela Changemakers’, citizens of the world who each day do something proactive that can effect positive change that will benefit everyone and the world we live in.Changemakers play their part by giving their personal time to make a change that’s close to their heart or by giving a little of their time to make a difference to the life of someone else. There are so many ways to make a difference and become a Mandela Changemaker; perhaps starting with what you are passionate about and where you know your actions will have a lasting impact.The power of the individualThe concept of recognising the power of the individual to play his/her part, to be the change, and genuinely make a difference to society through voluntary actions and contributions is a continuation of the powerful “Play your Part” campaign promoted by Brand South Africa. The key message behind “Play your Part” is that as caring and responsible citizens, we all need to be more accountable and to play proactive and contributable roles in the development of South Africa as a caring society. The underlying premise of this important campaign is that we all recognise to make positive change happen in the country on the scale that is needed, its starts with the individual, and that individual positive actions, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, can make the ultimate difference in the societies and communities in which we all live and work. If every individual looks to his/her own conscience and takes accountability for the contributions he/she makes outside of their own family and work lives to their communities and to society as a whole, then real positive change for good can happen.Food, shelter and education for allThis Mandela Day, citizens were asked to play their part and focus on the realisation or restoration of dignity and empowerment through their individual contributions to society.There are a number of key focus areas where citizens can make a difference through their positive actions. The first looks at how we can all help to address one of the biggest challenges here in South Africa and indeed around the world; ensuring food security. All people, at all times, should have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life. This is a crucial social support measure for effective development and growth. We can all play our part in working to achieve food security in the country for those who are most vulnerable by getting involved in community feeding activities, preparing food parcels for the disadvantaged, and working to establish community food gardens so that residents can have the opportunity to work at feeding themselves through their own efforts.Another key challenge that requires us all to play our part is in the field of education and literacy. In a world where knowledge truly is power, education and literacy are the basic building blocks that unlock the gates of opportunity and success for our citizens. As individuals, we can get involved in the drive for literacy, helping our children, our young people, and our adult learners in their reading and learning activities to help them reach their goals. By getting involved and playing our part, we can be part of the solution and help by giving every citizen the chance to fulfil his/her potential and dreams.The challenge of providing adequate shelter and infrastructure for all the country’s citizens is another that requires us all to play our part if we are to see a day when everyone can proudly say they have a place to call home. To achieve this vision, all South Africa’s citizens need to play their part, join together and look to see how their individual skills, talent and resources can be used to build the much needed shelter and infrastructure that will give hope to families and communities around the country.A life lived in serviceFinally, we can all play our part in living Mandela’s legacy by committing ourselves to a life and philosophy of service and volunteerism, giving our time and energy in some small way each day that can make a difference to the lives of others. Volunteerism is a powerful means of encouraging and providing a tangible mechanism for the country’s citizens to engage in activities that tackle developmental, societal and community challenges. It is not prohibitive, it is not exclusive, it recognises that everyone has something they can contribute, whether their time, skills or knowledge through volunteer action, and their combined efforts can be a significant force for achieving peace, development and sustainability. There is no doubt that the practical act of volunteering makes important economic and social contributions to all spheres of society. It not only provides direct support to individual community projects, national development initiatives and environmental programmes, but also has the power to contribute to the building of a more cohesive society by building trust and acknowledging the power of giving back amongst citizens.The Play Your Part campaign empowers every individual in the country to get involved, take a stand and make positive change happen in the communities in which we live and work. If we all take a little time out of our busy daily lives and work schedules to acknowledge the significant challenges that need to be addressed in the country, and take a positive decision to do something about finding solutions to those challenges, then we can all be part of the positive change that needs to happen in our country and act as role models for the rest of the world to follow. We can also become Mandela’s Changemakers and ensure that his legacy is fulfilled and the world becomes a better place as a result of his vision and our action in making it a reality.Although Mandela Day has passed, we are all called on to make everyday a Mandela Day.last_img read more

Facebook Posts Are More Memorable Than Faces and Books

first_imgchristina ortiz A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Related Posts Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification We may pine for the days when reading a long article transported us to a new world or gave insight into something we’ve never thought about, but apparently our brains aren’t wired for that kind of communication. The most accurate peek into the chatter of our inner minds, in fact, is Facebook status updates.That’s the conclusion of a new study from UC San Diego, published in the journal Memory and Cognition.The study started out as an examination of the effects of various emotions on memory.  Along the way, researchers found that people had a really good memory for Facebook posts. They decided to take this find to another level by experimenting the effects of microblogging (like Facebook posts) on memory. Facebook Versus Faces and BooksThe first two experiments had undergrads from UCSD in two groups. In the first experiment, one group read Facebook status updates and one read sentences from published books. The status updates came from real people’s pages and ranged from “The library is a place to study, not to talk on your phone” to “I am 7,689 days old.”The book examples were selected from Amazon’s newest releases and chosen randomly. They were equally easy to read, if not better crafted: “Even honor had its limits,” and “How did he end up in this family?” The second experiment tested Facebook memorability against facial recognition. Two hundred neutral faces were picked from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) facial recognition database, FERET.During testing, each group was shown one hundred blocks of text. Afterwards, they had to perform a test that mixed all of the sentences they saw among new “lures,” or new sentences, and choose which they saw during the test. The same was done for the pictures of faces. They rated their confidence in those choices at the end. In both cases, those in the Facebook group had more confidence than the other group, they were also more accurate in their recollection of messages. Two more experiments were done, one that asked testers to link sentences to how much they reminded them of someone they knew, and another that compared Facebook postings to CNN headlines. In each case, the same result rang true: Microblog posts were more memorable. Natural Speech Patterns Are More MemorableFacebook posts are generated by regular people, because of that they are closer to tapping into the basic language capacities of our minds than professionally crafted sentences.  If you use thoughts expressed through microblogs as an example, the natural pattern of human thinking is similar to gossip.The study claims, “The relatively unfiltered and spontaneous production of one person’s mind is just the sort of thing that is readily stored in another’s mind.” Adding that while published text may be beautifully written or carefully edited, it doesn’t resonate as easily with our memory as naturally-generated information. While microblogging isn’t changing anything about our memory, it is giving us an insight into how it works, says Dr. Laura Mickes, a senior research fellow at the University of Warwick and a lead researcher on the project. “I am not sure if microblogging is necessarily changing the way we think,” she says via email, “but I do think that the way we microblog taps into the way we have always colloquially communicated with one another.”Image Courtesy of Shuttershock   Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videoslast_img read more

Could drone beehives solve delivery issues in tomorrow’s cities?

first_imgHow IoT Will Play an Important Role in Traffic … How Connected Communities Can Bolster Your Busi… Related Posts David Curry Surveillance at the Heart of Smart Citiescenter_img Amazon has presented a few weird ideas for delivery and its latest, a skyscraper beehive filled with drones, is no exception. The patent application is another look at how Amazon plans to integrate drones and improve ‘last mile’ delivery.Most of Amazon’s warehouses are located on the outskirts of cities and it would take too long for a drone to reach the city center before needing a refuel. The beehive removes this problem by placing the drones in the city, reducing the overall distance to customers.Sketches of the beehive interior show how this would work. Trucks supply the beehive with goods on the ground level, then workers move the products to the appropriate level. Once a customer purchases a product, it is then lifted onto the drone.Having the drones in the center of a city would improve the speed of delivery, says Amazon, and would also reduce the amount of drones flying at pedestrian level. Drones would only need to lower to that level when arriving at the customer’s home.See Also: What will Amazon’s buying of Whole Foods mean for our smart fridges?The beehive idea comes alongside some general improvements that Amazon has cooked up for drones to be less noisy and less likely to fall on someone’s head. While both are patents, like the beehive, the rotor and motor changes are more likely to be implemented, at least in one form or another, over the coming years.It is not Amazon’s first stab at bringing drones to cities, the last involved a zeppelin flying over the city, with drones being sent from the mothership to deliver packages. Both ideas are still just ideas however, and even if the patent is given it doesn’t mean the company will go ahead with the zeppelin or beehive project. Tags:#Amazon#Delivery#drone#e-commerce#featured#fulfilment center#Industrial Internet of Things#IoT#patent#top#warehouse IT Trends of the Future That Are Worth Paying A…last_img read more