INSPORTS to donate $500,000 worth spikes to champion school

first_imgThe Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) will be continuing its initiative to develop track and field in Junior High Schools with the annual staging of the popular INSPORTS Junior High Athletics Championships from April 13-15.The meet, to be held for the second consecutive year at the National Stadium East, will see some 2,000 athletes vying for top honours.Through its regular coaching seminars, the government-run sports agency recognised the necessity for a constant supply of sporting equipment to enhance proper development at this level and as such, they have allocated $500,000 for the purchasing of spikes for the champions.”We’re going to give the winning school half a million dollars’ worth of running spikes,” said Ian Andrews, administrative director, INSPORTS.”That will go towards their development. If they want to keep them or give them to the athletes, it’s up to them,” he added.Andrews noted that their aim is to increase participation on a national scale.”We only have 22 schools participating,” he pointed out. “The number of schools have been dwindling because many have been upgraded to high schools.”Hopefully with this initiative, next year, we will be able to attract other schools from outside the Corporate Area and St Catherine. Right now, Osborne Store is the only school outside Kingston and St Catherine that will be participating,” he observed.In keeping with that plan, the INSPORTS administrative director said they have formed a union with the heads of institutions.PARTNERSHIP WITH PRINCIPALS”We’ve developed a partnership with the principals with a view of developing the meet and, hopefully, they will spread the word and influence other principals for their schools to take part at the meet,” said Andrews, who listed more plans to increase popularity.”We’ll be going into the schools to try to sensitise them between now and next week. We’ll be looking to highlight the top athletes, who invariably will end up going to high schools,” he noted.The majority of those athletes are generally fielded by Windward Road Junior High and John Mills Junior High, which have dominated the championships.During the recent staging, Windward Road successfully defended their title ahead of John Mills, the many-time champions.The top teams prepare at the National Stadium East and meet director, Maureen Chin-Miller, said expectations are high because a larger portion of the student body will now contribute to the overall outcome.”So far, it’s looking good, we’re getting everything in place,” she said about their preparedness.”What has heightened the competition is because we’ve added the primary school component as well.”Windward Road and John Mills will be renewing their rivalry again, and it should be very exciting,” said Chin-Miller.last_img read more

Read More →

Weird Evolution Tales

first_imgEvolutionary theory leads to some fantastic tales.  Since evolution is often presumed to be a fact that explains everything in biology, and is itself not subject to testing or doubt, everything in biology must be viewed through an evolutionary lens.  This hard-core stance on evolution often leads to assertions and explanations that appear contrived, if not preposterous, to Darwin doubters.  Here are some recent examples of weird evolution stories that made it past the logic inspectors simply because evolution is unquestioned. 1. The incredible shrinking brain:  On the BBC News, readers were told, “Old age…has evolved to help meet the demands of raising smarter babies.”  As if to pre-empt puzzled looks and questions by some readers, the article added, “And it is not such a stretch, Dr [Chet] Sherwood [George Washington U] suggests, to conclude that grandparents’ extended lives are in an evolutionary sense there to relieve mothers from being solely responsible for raising their big-brained, energetically costly infants.”  The Scientist also bought this idea uncritically. 2. The early brain gets the IQ:  Live Science told its readers, “It took at least 3.5 billion years for intelligent life to evolve on Earth, and the only reason we’re able to contemplate the likelihood of life today is that its evolution happened to get started early.” 3. The arctic brain gets the eye size:  Judith Burns at the BBC News told readers, “Dark winters ‘led to bigger human brains and eyeballs’.”  A team publishing in the Royal Society Biology Letters “found a positive relationship between absolute latitude and both eye socket size and cranial capacity.”  But don’t think that means Eskimos make better philosophers: “The Oxford University team said bigger brains did not make people smarter.”  It just means the bigger eyes need more visual neurons; “It’s just they need bigger eyes and brains to be able to see well where they live.”  Wasn’t cranial capacity, though, the sine qua non of human evolution?  “The work indicates that humans are subject to the same evolutionary trends that give relatively large eyes to birds that sing first during the dawn chorus, or species such as owls that forage at night.”   Astonishing as it may seem, these adaptations occurred rapidly in the tens of thousands of years since humans first migrated into the arctic; Robin Dunbar commented, “they seem to have adapted their visual systems surprisingly rapidly to the cloudy skies, dull weather and long winters we experience at these latitudes.” New Scientist and the BBC News gave this theory a wink and an approving smile.  But did the big-eyed people evolve a resistance to snow blindness?  4. From hydrogen to charity:  You only give to charities across the world because evolution figured out it’s less costly to be nice to every person you meet, even if you will never see them, than to risk offending someone you might see again.  This is the gist of a story on PhysOrg about how generosity evolved.  Tooby and Cosmides had to fit this into evolution because, obviously, “one of the outstanding problems in the behavioral sciences was why natural selection had not weeded out this pleasing but apparently self-handicapping behavioral tendency” to be nice to strangers; “If traditional theories in these fields are true, such behaviors should have been weeded out long ago by evolution or by self-interest,” the article noticed. 5. How irreducibly complex blood clotting evolved:  The blood clotting cascade was one of the prime examples of irreducible complexity that Michael Behe used in his intelligent-design treatise, Darwin’s Black Box.  PhysOrg, by contrast, contends that “Evolution provides clue to blood clotting.”  One of the many proteins involved in clotting, called VWF, is essential.  J. Evan Sadler was aware that “The challenge for the cell is how to build this massive protein without clogging the machinery,” so he “looked to evolution” for “evolutionary clues” about its origin.  He found similarities in key amino acids across species, and then found what happens when he mutated them: they cease functioning.  How this answered Behe’s argument or showed evolution instead of design was not clarified. 6. Bifocal fish:  Some fish in mangrove swamps need to see above and below the water surface simultaneously.  They have eyes adapted to this need, with parts of the retina sensing light coming from below water sensitive to yellows, and parts sensing light above water more sensitive to blues.  According to PhysOrg, a study at University of British Columbia attributed this adaptation to new functions emerging out of duplicated genes: it “illuminates how gene duplication can lead to innovation – in this case each half of the eye gets its own duplicate, tailored to its particular needs,” was the conclusion.  How this represents mutation or innovation instead of tuning existing function was not illuminated. 7. Convergent butterflies:  According to PhysOrg, “Butterfly study sheds light on convergent evolution.”  But the study by UC Irvine on how similar red patterns can be found on unrelated butterflies does not so much confirm convergent evolution  (a term invented after the fact to explain common features that defy evolutionary theory), as much as to describe how innate genetic mechanisms (primarily gene expression) allow for common variations within common environments.  The butterflies are still butterflies.  The authors did not attempt to explain metamorphosis by evolution (see 07/26/2011).  Robert Reed, evolutionary biologist at UC Irvine, said “Out of the tens of thousands in a typical genome, it seems that only a handful tend to drive major evolutionary change over and over again.”  Those must be super-powerful genes.  Reed had more to say about that:  “Biologists have been asking themselves, ‘Are there really so few genes that govern evolution?’” Reed said. “This is a beautiful example of how a single gene can control the evolution of complex patterns in nature. Now we want to understand why: What is it about this one gene in particular that makes it so good at driving rapid evolution?”  Another evolutionist quoted by Science Daily was ecstatic: “Now this group has discovered that a single gene underlies one of the most spectacular evolutionary radiations in nature! Perhaps the genetic basis for diversity will turn out to be far more simple than we expected.”  Reducing evolution to single genes, though, puts more creative responsibility on them, and raises new questions: how did a gene with such enormous innovative potential evolve in the first place? 8. Of panda thumbs and mole investments:  Like pandas, moles have extra “thumbs” that grow out of the sesamoid bone.  The BBC News announced, “Mystery of mole’s second thumb solved.”  Live Science merely claimed that the adaptation helps the animal, but then offered a composite explanation (including Lamarckism) for why other mole species don’t have the extra appendage: they “never developed the need to tunnel underground to the same extent, so never fully developed the outer thumb, or environmental changes no longer required them to develop it, so they stopped investing extra energy into growing them, the researchers say.”  Jennifer Carpenter at the BBC News, though, was sure Darwin should take the credit for the five-finger salute, when other numbers of digits are possible: “But evolution seems to have favoured the five-fingered.” 9. On sex in insects:  A butterfly was found with both male and female traits [Earthweek].  Some ant species are sexual, some are asexual.   Is there a law of nature that explains these differences?  The Scientist honored a paper on this as a “tour de force of both field work and lab work” because it can “offer insight into a long standing question in evolutionary biology about what forces cause species to choose sex over asexual reproduction and vice versa,” according to an evolutionary biologist.   The idea is that asexuality should be favored by evolution because it is less costly.  When looking at lineages of ants, though, the evolutionary explanation becomes more convoluted: “Tracking differences in other, slowly mutating genes to retrace the evolutionary history of the ants, the team confirmed that the common ancestor of the group probably reproduced sexually, and that asexuality had evolved multiple times independently.”  How can we check out this idea?  “If you come back in 5 million or 10 million years, there’s a good chance the asexual lineages go extinct, but the sexual lineages are still existing.”  Any volunteers? 10. Evolutionists promote junk DNA to chief evolver:  Bold type tells readers of PhysOrg, “Scientists present evidence for groundbreaking evolution theory,” as if Darwin didn’t break enough ground.  “The popular belief among scientists that certain sequences of DNA are relatively unimportant in the evolutionary process has been turned on its head by two Murdoch University researchers.”  The dramatic proposal by Oliver and Greene is that “jumping genes are actually driving the evolutionary process in some species.”  So sure are they that differences between apes and humans can be explained by this idea, “it’s very hard to see how primates and humans could have evolved in the way they have, without the intervention of jumping genes.”  It appeared necessary to rescue standard evolution theory from the evidence, so Oliver and Greene “further developed their theory into four modes that help shed light on why evolution sometimes occurs in fits and starts, sometimes gradually and sometimes hardly at all. Therefore, their jumping gene theory helps to explain a number of mysteries in biology, including why species suddenly appear in the fossil record, why some groups of organisms are species-rich and others are species-poor.”  But can jumping genes generate a trilobite all at once?  Not only that, they can solve multiple creationist arguments in a single blow: “Lineages with active jumping genes or large uniform populations of them spawn new species readily because they possess a greater ability to evolve, diversify and survive. An example of this is bats,” said Mr Oliver. “But species which are deficient in jumping genes or with inactive jumping genes tend to risk extinction because they lack the capacity to adapt, change and diversify. The so-called ‘living fossils’ like the fish coelacanth and the reptile tuatara are good examples. “It also helps to explain why some species change little over millions of years like these living fossils. And why almost all species do not eliminate this junk DNA from their genomes.” 11. Origin of cancer species: A new view of cancer is evolving in evolutionary minds: that it represents a new parasitic species. PhysOrg advertised the position by Peter Duesberg at UC Berkeley: “Duesberg and UC Berkeley colleagues describe their theory that carcinogenesis – the generation of cancer – is just another form of speciation, the evolution of new species.”  The ghost of Julian Huxley got a cameo appearance on stage. 12. Lego evolution: If individual mutations present a problem for evolutionary theory, maybe more is better.  PhysOrg presented a view of “modular evolution” that allows Darwin to assemble innovations with pluggable parts.  “Evolution seems to use the existing signaling pathways almost like a modular construction system,” the article explained, describing the work of Xiaoyue Wang on roundworms.  He sees cancer as a useful Lego block: “ don’t believe that what we have discovered in our study of nematodes is an unusual exception,” Wang said.  “Similar processes are known to lead to cancer development in humans. But likewise, they can initiate changes that can become subject to natural selection and eventually be propagated in the course of evolution.’” In each of these articles, evolution was taken for granted as the catch-all explanation for anything and everything.  No Darwin skeptics were quoted to challenge the evolutionary stories.  For an encore, consider an entry on Wired News (or should that be Weird?) that “Larger Brains May Have Evolved Due to Sports, Not Smarts.”  Such a claim contradicts 150 years of evolutionary claims about the origin of human intelligence.  The study compared brain sizes across species and correlated it with prowess in physical abilities.  “While their data seemed to hold true for many mammals, it seemed to break down once humans were thrown into the mix,” reporter Brian Mossop admitted, indicating that data to support his headline was futureware: “In other words, comparing humans to other non-primate species may be skipping too many evolutionary steps, so Raichlen said his team are [sic] changing their strategy for the future, to see whether these evolutionary connections are still at work within humans.”  To top it off, they could not provide a mechanism that would explain it: “Our paper makes some suggestions about how this might work on an evolutionary time scale,” [David] Raichlen [U of Arizona] said, “but I think there’s still a ton of work to do to figure out the mechanisms.” Paradigms can be stifling things.  They prevent scientists from thinking outside the box. One can imagine a creationist paradigm ruling biology that might similarly stifle thinking outside its box.  The solution is not boxes, but open doors.  Open the doors and windows and let the fresh air of lively debate enter.  Evolutionists and creationists need each other to avoid intellectual laziness.  Even a true position is sharpened by challenge, so long as the challenge is evidence-based and honest.  The Darwin box is a cylindrical echo chamber, with no openings for non-evolutionary paradigms – not even vent holes.  The inhabitants don’t notice the increasing stench inside, because they have gotten used to it.  Evolutionists seeking understanding in this arena are like the proverbial moron placed into a round room, told there is a penny in the corner.  Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, they pride themselves on the energy spent in their endless quest. Until academia opens its doors to serious challenge from outside its Darwin lockbox, journals and reporters will continue to give scientific explanation the runaround with circular arguments, taking victory laps in a stadium with no contest.(Visited 94 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Read More →

SA congratulates Egypt’s new president

first_img25 June 2012 South African President Jacob Zuma has joined the international community in welcoming the conclusion of Egypt’s presidential election process and congratulating Mohamed Morsi on his victory. Morsi, a candidate of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood party, got 51.73 percent of all the votes in the run-off round, defeating his rival Ahmed Shafiq, who got 48.27 percent. “We would like to take this opportunity to extend our congratulations to Mr Morsi and the people of Egypt for a successful election,” Zuma said in a statement. He said South Africa looked forward to working with the elected representatives of the Egyptian people. Offering to assist in Egypt’s reconciliation process, as well as the Constitution-building process, Zuma added that South Africa looked forward to Egypt taking its rightful place among the community of nations in Africa and globally. Morsi has vowed to build a modern, democratic and civil state. Late on Sunday, he said he would respect all international agreements and form balanced relations with all international forces in his first televised speech to the nation after he was officially declared winner of the presidential polls. Egypt held its historical presidential elections on 23-24 May after the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak last year. Morsi and Shafiq, who were the two front-runners in the first round, entered the run-off, which kicked off on 16 June. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday commended the Egyptian people for the peaceful atmosphere in which the elections were held and congratulated Morsi on his election. Ban said he believed Morsi would spare no effort in “ensuring the people of Egypt realise their aspirations for greater democracy, the promotion of human rights, and a more prosperous and stable Egypt for all of its citizens. “The imminent handover of power to the elected president marks the end of one important phase of Egypt’s on-going transition to greater democracy,” said Ban, adding that he expected Morsi to strive to build a cabinet encompassing all national forces and parties. However, there were fears that the new government might be dominated by the Brotherhood. Analysts believe that the coming period will witness a tug-of-war in the writing of a constitution and parliamentary re-elections, which are the biggest challenges for Morsi. The political transition is far from being over in Egypt. The new president can only handle the tough tasks with the cooperation of other parties and the ruling military council. Source: BuaNews-Xinhualast_img read more

Read More →

10 Incredible Camera Lenses

first_imgPhotographers and videographers – be jealous! Check out 10 of the most incredible camera lenses ever made.What’s inside your camera bag? In the following article we take a look at 10 of the most incredible and expensive lenses ever made…1. Nikon 6mm Fisheye LensCourtesy of PhotofactsUpon it’s release the Nikon 6mm f-2.8 was the widest lens in the world. It boasts a 220 degree angle of view and is no longer in production. However, If you’re lucky, you might find one pop-up on eBay every now and then.Price: $160,0002. Carl Zeiss 50mm Planar f/0.7Courtesy of PetaPixelThis lens was actually created by NASA to shoot the dark side of the moon. Stanley Kubrick used these lenses to shoot the candlelight scene in Barry Lyndon. You can even rent these same lenses today via the Kubrick Collection.Price: $23.1 million, adjusted to inflation3. Canon 5200mm F/14 Mirror LensCourtesy of eBayUsing a series of mirrors this lens can stretch it’s focal length to around 5200mm. This lens is perfect for shooting weddings 18-32 miles away! In fact, to even get your subject in focus they would have to be standing 394 feet away from the lens.Price: $45,0004. Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 1700mmCourtesy of Digital-CameraThis F/4 lens was unveiled in 2006 and can actually be purchased from Zeiss. Unlike most of the lenses on this list the Apo Sonnar was designed specifically for photographers, not the military or scientists. The lens weighs 564 pounds, yes you read that correctly. You might want to get a bigger camera bag.Price: $100,000+5. Leica 1600mm f/5.6 TelephotoCourtesy of SLRLoungeThe Leica 1600mm is special for a number of different ways. Not only is it made by the most prestigious lens manufacturer in the world, but it also just so happens to be one of the most expensive lenses ever made. The lens was purchased by Sheikh Saud Bin Mohammed Al-Thani of Qatar and he hasn’t released any sample images (what a waste!) Because of the lens’s heavy weight, Al-Thani must carry it around in his Mercedes.Price: $2 million6. Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6Courtesy of Digital ImageWeighing in at about 36 lbs, the 1200mm lens the lens includes an ultrasonic motor built for autofocusing. The crystal required to build this lens takes a long time to grow, so only two 1200mm lenses are produced each year. For more specs see B&H.Price: $120,0007. Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 APO EX DGCourtesy of PhotoJoeThe Sigma is one of the coolest looking lenses on our list. The lens weighs about 35lbs and stretches over 726mm in length. It was the first 500mm lens to have an F-stop of 2.8.Price: $32,0008. Rokinon 650-1300mm f/8-16Courtesy of RakursWhile we can’t comment on image quality, the Rokinon 650-1300mm lens definitely takes the cake in terms of affordability. The lens has an f-stop range of 8-16, so there will definitely be no low-light shooting with this lens. However, it might be a great lens if you’re shooting in daylight.Price: $2399. Sigma 4.5mm f/2.8Courtesy of PhotographyLifeA recent addition to the Sigma line, the 4.5 mm lens is one of the widest lenses in the world. The lens was designed to be used in scientific or artistic applications. With a minimum focus distance of 5.3 inches it looks like a great lens for shooting macro images.Price: $1,50010. Leica 50mm f/.95Courtesy of LeicaRumorsThe 50mm lens is a go-to lens for any photographer. An F/1.4 is usually considered a great 50mm lens but Leica took this to the extreme in 1975 with their invention of the Noctilux-M. The lens was their response to the discontinued Canon 50mm f/.95. This lens can also be adapted to work on a micro 4/3 mount camera.Price: $10,500Know of any other incredible camera lenses?Share in the comments below.last_img read more

Read More →

Stylish Cruz even with a baby bump

first_imgPenelope CruzShe’s just a few weeks away from giving birth. But despite sporting a huge bump, Penelope Cruz still managed to look incredibly stylish as she and husband Javier Bardem, 41, attended a NBA basketball game between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday.Cutting a dash in a blue and white pastel shaded shirt with a chic green stole, the 36- year- old Penelope was a sight worth a merry Christmas.The Hollywood beauty is almost eight months pregnant with her and Bardem’s first child. But Penelope hasn’t exactly put her feet up since becoming an expectant mother.As recently as last month, the star was in London filming scenes for her new starring role in the next Pirates Of The Caribbean movie.Despite her big bump, producers on the film carried on shooting close- ups of the Spanish beauty.However, they enlisted her sister Monica as a body double.According to reports, while Penelope will be seen in all of the close- up shots, Monica will star in the long- distance scenes.Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides sees the return of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow and introduces the audience to Penelope as swashbuckling Angelica. The movie is due to release in mid- 2011.It was during filming of the first scenes of the movie that Penelope married fellow Spaniard Javier at a low- key ceremony in the Caribbean in July.The pair started dating in 2007 after starring together in the Woody Allen movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona. And now they’re looking forward to their next starring role as parents.advertisementlast_img read more

Read More →