Jesus Luzardo makes strong case for A’s rotation in final Cactus League start

first_imgMESA, Ariz. — Jesús Luzardo allowed an earned run in a Cactus League outing for the first time and yet it still may have been his most impressive.In a final audition for the last spot in the A’s starting rotation before the club takes off for Japan, Luzardo continued to impress in Sunday’s 5-4 win over the San Francisco Giants. The left-hander upped his workload to 62 pitches and allowed just one run on four hits with a walk and five strikeouts over four innings of work.A’s manager Bob Melvin …last_img read more

Snake Bites Darwin

first_imgThe origin of snakes and snake venom has become more puzzling to believers in Darwinian evolution.(Note: For explanation of our usage of Darwin, Darwinism and Darwinian, see footnote.)If snakes evolved from lizards, there should be fossils showing the transition. There should also be genetic changes evident between lizards and snakes. Often in biology, things turn out too complicated for simple stories.Does Darwinism Explain Snake Limblessness?Research explains how snakes lost their limbs (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo). Scrutiny is advised whenever science claims to “explain” something. Writer José Tadeu Arantes begins not with an explanation, but an assertion:Snakes and lizards are reptiles that belong to the order Squamata. They share several traits but differ in one obvious respect: snakes do not have limbs. The two suborders diverged more than 100 million years ago.The Brazilian researchers at FAPESP, led by postdoc Juliana Gusson Roscito under the supervision of Miguel Rodrigues, Professor at the University of São Paulo’s Bioscience Institute (IB-USP), compared genes between snakes and one species of lizard, the tegu lizard, as well as some other animals. Roscito also compared genes of species that lost eyes. That’s when things got messy. These stories of lost organs did not involve genetics alone, but also epigenetics: issues of gene regulation. Instances and functions of cis-regulatory elements (CRE’s) are more difficult to discern.From a computational standpoint, CREs are not as easy to identify as genes. Genes have a characteristic syntax, with base pairs that show where the genes begin and end. This is not the case for CREs, so they have to be identified indirectly. This identification is normally based on the conservation of DNA sequences among many different species.Gene conservation, though, entails belief in evolution: i.e., that “conserved” genes were so important that they were preserved by natural selection over millions of years. Already some Darwinian circular reasoning is involved in the conclusions, because genetic differences could be due to other causes than common ancestry. The method used by the team seems reasonable only when evolution is assumed.“Using the tegu genome as a reference, we created an alignment of the genomes of several species, including two snakes (boa and python), three other limbed reptiles (green anole lizard, dragon lizard and gecko), three birds, an alligator, three turtles, 14 mammals, a frog, and a coelacanth. This alignment of 29 genomes was used as the basis for all further analyses.”The researchers identified more than 5,000 DNA regions that are considered candidate regulatory elements in several species. They then searched the large database using ingenious technical procedures that are described in detail in the article and obtained a set of CREs the mutation of which may have led to the disappearance of limbs in the ancestors of snakes.They found mutations in one particular CRE in snakes they believe is involved in the loss of limbs, because mice with the snake version were born almost limbless. The classical neo-Darwinian approach of looking for mutations in selected genes is now complicated by looking for mutations in epigenetic factors.“A regulatory element can activate or inhibit the expression of a gene in a certain part of the organism, such as the limbs, for example, while a different regulatory element can activate or inhibit the expression of the same gene in a different part, such as the head. If the gene is lost, it ceases to be expressed in both places and can often have a negative effect on the organism’s formation. However, if only one of the regulatory elements is lost, expression may disappear in one part while being conserved in the other,” Roscito explained.Sounds simple enough; but Roscito cautions, “However, this CRE is only one of the regulatory elements for one of several genes that control limb formation.” It appears premature to say that this finding “explains how snakes lost their limbs.”To see why, consider a mutant snake born without limbs. Would it survive? And even if it survived, would it mate with a limbed lizard, and pass on limblessness to all the offspring? How could a limbless male mount a female? Why would such a physical deficiency become established in a lizard population? In the case of blind cave fish, eyes are no longer needed, and other existing organs take on the needed senses for viability. The mouse with the snake CRE, however, was definitely impaired in “fitness” for its environment.Along with limb loss, the snake would have to evolve new behaviors and new methods of locomotion. The capabilities of snakes are staggering in their variety and complexity, from flying through the air, to living in the ocean, and inhabiting environments as diverse as deserts and tropical jungles. They also exhibit enormous variations in color, patterns and sizes. If a mutation in one regulatory element caused loss of limbs in snakes and yet led to tremendous success, why aren’t there thriving examples of limbless dinosaurs, limbless birds and limbless primates? Remember, too, that the mutations had to affect the germ line or would vanish when the first snake died.The paper in Nature Communications shows that Roscito and the co-authors realize that a single CRE change is inadequate to explain why snakes lost their limbs. In the paper, “Phenotype loss is associated with widespread divergence of the gene regulatory landscape in evolution,” they can only say that the candidate CRE they studied appears to be “associated” with limb loss in snakes. There are many complications, like pleiotropy (a change in one gene affecting other genes) that must be considered when trying to turn association into causation – or into explanation.The loss of a complex phenotype is one extreme case of morphological evolution. Upon phenotype loss, we expect a different evolutionary trajectory for the genetic information underlying this phenotype. On the one hand, the integrity of developmental genes should be maintained over time due to selection on those gene functions that are not related to the lost phenotype. On the other hand, modular cis-regulatory elements associated specifically with this phenotype may directly contribute to its loss and are expected to evolve neutrally afterwards. This should result in sequence divergence and thus decay of regulatory activity over time…. However, recent studies found that numerous other limb enhancers are nevertheless still conserved in snakes, despite limb reduction in this lineage dating back to more than 100 Mya, possibly due to pleiotropy of regulatory elements that drive expression in other non-limb tissues. Thus, it remains an open question whether phenotype loss is generally associated with widespread divergence of the cis-regulatory landscape.While they may have accounted for conservation of a genetic loss, nowhere in the paper do they use the term “positive selection” to account for the many other phenotypic innovations that had to occur for limbless lizards to thrive as snakes. Is it not just as scientific to infer that snakes came fully formed as thriving creatures, with their different CRE’s and all?Does Darwinism Explain Snake Venom?Misti Crane writes for Ohio State that “Rattlesnake venom” comes in forms that are “mild, medium and wicked hot.” Even within a species or genus, “Lizard-killing ability varies from snake to snake.”In a surprising evolutionary twist, a new study suggests that while one rattlesnake may routinely feast on lizard meat, its seemingly identical neighbor snake might strike and strike and never kill its would-be reptilian prey.The first-of-its-kind research reveals significant venom variation within populations of Florida pygmy rattlesnakes, showing that effectiveness against one type of prey differs widely among individuals and opening up questions about why this variation exists.Evolutionists usually had accounted for the differences in snake venom by studying the prey available in different environments. Crane says “that made good intuitive sense, because they were living in different environments, with different dietary options at the ready.” Consequently, herpetologists spent their time comparing species rather than watching for differences within species. H. Lisle Gibbs, the senior author of the study, shared the surprise.“This is a whole new way of looking at how evolution operates on venom that we haven’t considered,” he said. “There’s a new act in this evolutionary play that we didn’t know about until now.”For evolutionists, this must be baffling, because snakes diverged from lizards 100 million Darwin Years ago. Why aren’t the less-fit snakes long extinct? Individual pygmy rattlesnakes differ by as much as fourfold in their ability to kill prey with their venomous bites. Admittedly, these evolutionary biologists have no explanation.Gibbs and team could turn from their evolutionary focus and work to help mankind. “Aside from broadening scientific understanding of evolution, this work could one day help inform efforts to develop drugs based on venom – an area of pharmaceutical research that has already shown benefit in cardiovascular disease and could prove important in the treatment of pain and neurological disorders, as well as other human diseases, Gibbs said.”Snakes are wonderfully designed, yet fearsome, creatures. Their colors, varieties, sizes and behaviors astonish all who learn about them. Some snakes can be kept as pets and held in the hands with perfect safety; others cause great pain and suffering and death. Creationists struggle to explain these realities, too, from the brief Biblical account provided. Everything was very good in the beginning; did some species of snake exist then? It seems unlikely that “the serpent” in chapter 3 was the father of all snakes (where was the female?). As with all cases of “natural evil” from viruses to man-eating tigers, we don’t know everything. In last year’s film The Riot and the Dance, Dr. Gordon Wilson showed many fearsome creatures and discussed some of these questions. Viewers watched as he came dangerously close to some deadly cobras and held other organisms that, if not handled carefully, could kill. In many creatures, we observe fascinating design coupled with extreme danger. Given what has been revealed about the curse due to sin, and the creation groaning in pain in the current epoch (Romans 8:18-25), and the promise of a new heaven and new earth without pain and suffering, we have enough general information to trust God and wait for the redemption of creation. But for any mockers who think the Stuff Happens Law created snakes by mistake, the articles above show that evolutionists have no answers. When it comes to snakes, we can all agree on one thing: while explaining them is hard, observing and learning about them to help alleviate suffering and create cures for disease is a better way to spend our time.Footnote on use of “Darwin” in CEH: The term Darwin serves as a shorthand metonymy for all that his view entails, much as the term Newton serves as a convenient shorthand for all that Newtonian physics entails. We realize that evolutionary thought has come a long way since Darwin’s Origin of Species, just as physics has progressed far beyond Newton’s Principia. It could be argued that Newton was not a Newtonian in the way some of his followers were, and Darwin was not a Darwinian in the way some of his followers feel. Nevertheless, there are certain features of Darwinism that all modern evolutionists believe: namely, universal common ancestry by unguided material processes, such as natural selection. “Darwin” becomes the face of those beliefs. Our criticisms of “Darwin,” including the cartoons, are not personal attacks on Darwin the man, since he is long dead, but on the worldview by which he made it possible to become (to mutate Richard Dawkins’ statement), an intellectually fool-filled atheist.(Visited 559 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

First Look At The New Evernote 5 For Mac: It’s All Good

first_imgThere are other improvements like better search suggestions, more keyboard shortcuts, and easier collaboration, but most of the changes in the new version are just about better visual organization of the same information. Check out Evernote’s What’s New page for the complete feature list. If you’re a committed Evernote fan, you’ll love the update. If you’re new to Evernote, this version may be the easiest one to get started with.You can now download Evernote 5 for Mac from the Mac App Store. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting The actual note editor is still familiar, but there are some tweaks to make it more useful. You can view a note in full-screen mode, without the rest of the app, for distraction-free writing. You can edit the note’s location data. You can also quickly convert a note to plain text, which is a relief to the Markdown nerd in me. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts At the top of the sidebar, there’s a section for shortcuts, which is hugely handy. You can add notes, notebooks, saved searches or tags there. Drag them from the second panel, which is for browsing. Then you can quickly access your most used stuff. Underneath shortcuts, you can also have an automatically updated section for recent notes.The new browsing panel scared me at first, too, because I don’t like the big card view of notes. Fortunately, there are many display options in the drop-down menu on the top-right side of the panel, so I switched back to the “snippet view” that looks just like the old version, only with better colors and textures.center_img jon mitchell You’ll first notice the changes in the sidebar, which, if you’re like me, is almost always the starting point. There are now big, colorful icons, which was jarring to me at first, but my fear subsided quickly.You can hide any of these icons that you don’t use. I, for instance, don’t browse by tag often, nor do I visit Evernote’s Trunk, so I right-clicked and hid both of those.You can also expand them, so you can get your drop-down list of notebooks, if you so desire. I’m used to seeing all my stacks at once and then drilling down by notebook, so I’m going to keep it expanded for now. I might change my mind.There’s also a new section called Atlas, which displays your location-tagged notes on maps automatically. It’s a nice feature if you use the location data to organize your notes. For adventurous Evernote users on Macs, the beta version of Evernote 5 became available on Thursday. It’s quite different – in mostly good ways. Here’s how to install it and take it for a spin. UPDATE 11/15:Evernote 5 is now available for all Mac users.What’s New Tags:#Evernote 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Veteran Cong leader Jaipal Reddy passes away

first_imgHyderabad: Senior Congress leader and former Union minister S Jaipal Reddy, who was known for his oratorical skills and carved a place for himself in Parliament and state assembly, died at a hospital here on Sunday.The 77-year-old was recently diagnosed with pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital, where he died at 1.28 am, a Congress leader said. Reddy’s limited physical mobility due to polio never deterred him from achieving political heights and he served as a Lok Sabha MP for five terms, as a member of Rajya Sabha for two terms and was a four-term MLA. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsHe had agitated against the imposition of Emergency and came out of the party. After coming out of the Congress, he joined the Janata party and contested against Indira Gandhi in Medak Lok Sabha constituency in 1980. He later joined its splinter group, Janata Dal. Besides earning him accolades, his exceptional oratorical skills and articulation made him the spokesperson for the United Front and National Front governments and the Congress Party. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayReddy was a staunch supporter of separate statehood for Telangana. Congress leaders recalled that he played a crucial role in convincing the UPA-II government and the AICC President Sonia Gandhi to grant separate statehood to Telangana. A parliamentarian for several decades, he held key portfolios in various governments. He was conferred the Best Parliamentarian Award in 1998. He was a member of the Andhra Pradesh (undivided) Legislative Assembly from 1969 to 1984. He served as Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting in the IK Gujral government and was allotted different portfolios in the Manmohan Singh government. In UPA-2, he was assigned the urban development ministry. Later, he became the minister of petroleum and natural gas but was shifted to the science and technology and earth sciences ministries, triggering a political storm. It was widely speculated that Jaipal Reddy was shunted out of the petroleum ministry owing to the notices issued to certain oil and gas companies on production issues. Congress Lok Sabha member Komatireddy Venkat Reddy said the last rites of Jaipal Reddy will take place on Monday. President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu condoled the demise of the Congress leader. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed condolences over the passing away of Jaipal Reddy. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and his Andhra Pradesh counterpart YS Jagan Mohan Reddy condoled the death of senior Congress leader. Top Congress leaders also condoled the demise of Reddy, with Rahul Gandhi describing him as a distinguished parliamentarian and the son of Telangana. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh said Reddy was a treasure of wisdom and knowledge. With PTI inputslast_img read more