Evolutionary Biogeography Requires Imagination

first_imgBiogeography – the study of the distribution of species – has been an important part of evolutionary theory, and has often been used as evidence for evolution.  Some recent findings about plants and animals should give scientists caution about trying to divine too much evolutionary history from locations of present-day organisms and fossils.    PhysOrg reported on a study of New Zealand plants that yielded surprises.  The article shares the details, but ends, “this research demonstrates that the presence of ancient fossils from a plant family may not provide evidence regarding the history of modern members of the family, providing a cautionary note to other researchers trying to reconstruct the history of a group of plants.”  A researcher said, “Delving into the details of plant fossils can give you surprises.  The fossil record of pollen could be read to say that this group of plants is a relic from the breakup of Gondwana—but by combining the leaf fossils and evidence from molecular biology, it looks like exactly the opposite is true.”    Animals, also, may not be land-locked.  National Geographic reported that mammals, including lemurs, could have rafted across the Indian Ocean from Africa to Madagascar where they are found today.  The BBC News also reported this shift in thinking away from the land-bridge hypothesis to the rafting hypothesis.  The opposite hypothesis might hold for iguanas on the other side of the world.  Science Daily reported on new ideas that iguanas simply “walked” across land bridges to South Pacific islands where they are found today.Animals and plants evolved where they lived – except when they didn’t.  The use of these auxiliary hypotheses, like rafting and land bridges, indicates that evolutionary biogeography is so flexible it could explain anything.  Therefore it explains nothing, and should not be taken as evidence for Darwin’s theory.  Iguanas walking long distances on bridges?  Lemurs floating on logs out to sea?  One can see the cartoons coming.  One must never think they floated on an ark or something.    A related essay that exposes the fudging evolutionists employ to keep their theory intact was shown by Paul Nelson on Evolution News and Views regarding so-called “ghost lineages” in phylogeny, or, “how evolutionists ensure they will never find a Cambrian rabbit.”  Dr. Nelson (philosopher of biology) will publish a Part II to this instructive essay soon.(Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Africa’s economic rise is real – EY report

first_imgA worker at the National Cement Share Company in Ethiopia. Demand for cement to feed the country’s building boom is set to more than double in the next five years. (Image: Simon Davis, DFID)Staff writerA new report by global financial services group Ernst and Young, Africa 2030: Realising the Possibilities, released on 7 October, highlights Africa’s tremendous economic progress over the past two decades with the message: Africa’s rise is real.“Despite the clear evidence of sustained progress, there are many who remain sceptical about Africa,” the report says. “It is important for us to continue to provide evidence of the continent’s progress, so that decisions are driven by facts rather than often outdated perceptions.”The first chapter highlights this evidence, summarising the key drivers of African growth since the end of both the Cold War and apartheid. It builds on EY’s annual Africa Attractiveness research series which, since 2011, has highlighted the continent’s steady rise. The research includes investor surveys and analysis of foreign direct investment and broader socioeconomic trends, and has helped provide quantitative substance to the growing perception that African markets offer exciting growth and investment opportunities. Companies already established in Africa have a far more positive perpective on the continent than those who view the region from the outside – a distorted view that impedes African progress. (Graphic: Ernst and Young)“Africa’s rise over the past decade has been very real,” EY Africa chief executive Ajen Sita said in a statement. “While there are still a number of sceptics, we have developed a robust data and knowledge base to help provide quantitative substance to support the business case for Africa. The evidence of Africa’s clear progress is irrefutable.”Africa 2030: Realizing the Possibilities also summarises the views of a diverse group of leaders with interests in Africa on what the future of the continent might look like, identifying the factors that could drive change and success.“As important as it is to continue to provide evidence of the continent’s progress, it is perhaps more important to shift the focus towards the future of Africa, and what it will take to sustain and accelerate the progress we have seen over the past 15 years,” Sita said. A quote from The Economict in the Ernst and Young report.Communication technology driving changeA key factor, mentioned by many of the contributors, is the proliferation of mobile telecoms, the convergence of technologies and the ability for these to drive financial inclusion, government efficiency, trading opportunities, and the delivery of education, healthcare and other services to both urban and rural people.Optimism comes through, tempered by notes of caution. A consistent theme in the contributions is that trade between African countries is substantially lower than it could be. Laws and regulations still impede cross-border trade – a stumbling block that must be removed to achieve African prosperity.Agriculture also gets attention, particularly the need to move from traditional subsistence agriculture to large commercial operations able to produce on the scale required by a continent in transition. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth figures in sub-Saharan Africa show a region on the rise. (Image: Ernst and Young)The depth of human resources, and the availability of a future pool of labour on a continent populated by young people, raised both excitement and concern – excitement for the promise of a workforce able to drive the African economy of the future, and concern about education and the creation of skills needed for growing economies.But the dominant view is that change is real. Economic growth and development will continue, and will be driven by a burgeoning African middle class with growing levels of discretionary income, growth in local entrepreneurship and investment in bridging the infrastructure gap. Past and projected GDP growth in North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa – SSA. (Image: Ernst and Young)“It is clear to us that we Africans are presented with a wonderful opportunity to make a genuine difference in our working lives,” Sita said. “The potential exists for us to be part of an African future that would have been virtually unimaginable a generation ago.“The reality, though, is that this future is neither inevitable nor will it happen without active participation and commitment from multiple stakeholders. This is the time and place for us to collaborate to realise Africa’s future; it is our generation of leaders that can make it happen.”Five priorities for the futureThe report stresses that active dialogue and collaborative action is required to realise Africa’s possibilities. It presents five priorities for action that EY consider to be most critical to a successful African future.1. Embracing shared valueThe central premise behind creating shared value is that the competitiveness of a company and the health of the communities and economy around it are mutually dependent. It is a fundamental business philosophy that recognises that profit and purpose can coexist and be mutually reinforcing. A philosophy of shared value is underpinned by the notion of a working world with increased trust and confidence in business and capital markets, the development of talent in all its forms, greater collaboration across private, public and social sectors, and inclusive, sustainable growth at its heart. This, the report says, is more relevant in the African context than ever before.2. Promoting partnershipsThe relationship between government and business across many parts of Africa is not always as engaging and productive as it could and should be. Too often business is viewed as part of the problem. In contrast, government and business, both local and international, need to become partners both in embracing a philosophy of shared value and driving a common agenda of inclusive, sustainable growth. Partnership, cooperation and collaboration across the private, public and social sectors could be a powerful force for transformative change and growth.3. Fostering entrepreneurshipEntrepreneurs provide one of the main engines of growth in any healthy economy. They act as vital agents of change by developing new products and services, implementing more efficient production methods, and creating new business models and industries. Small and medium-sized enterprises will be the main drivers of the job creation required to realise inclusive, sustainable growth. For organisations genuinely committed to shared value and collaborative partnerships, the promotion of local content and enterprise development should clearly be a key business priority.4. Accelerating regional integrationWith the shifting dynamics in the global economy, Africans have a unique opportunity to break the structural constraints that have long marginalised the continent. This will, however, only be achieved by driving greater regional coherence from the current patchwork quilt of 54 sovereign states. Regional integration and stronger regional institutions (such as the African Union and regional economic communities) are key to promoting greater levels of regional investment and trade, because they will make it much easier and more efficient to conduct cross-border business, and will create markets with greater critical mass, coherence and density of economic activity.5. Bridging the infrastructure gapUltimately, regional integration will be enabled by sufficient investment in infrastructure. Road networks, electricity access, telecommunications, and trade infrastructure such as ports, highway corridors and railroads will physically connect markets, reduce the cost of delivered goods, facilitate the mobility of people and products, remove productivity constraints, and enhance the overall competitiveness of the region.“Whatever the differences or similarities in perspective, the point is that active dialogue and collaborative action is required for us to realize Africa’s possibilities,” the report says.“All of us with a passion for Africa are presented with a wonderful opportunity to work together to make a genuine difference. The time and place for Africa’s future is here and now. We are the generation of leaders that have to seize the opportunity and make it happen.”Ernst and Young will host the second South African Competitiveness Forum, and initiative of Brand South Africa, at its offices in Sandton, Johannesburg on 4 and 5 November 2014. Follow the conversation via #CompetitiveSA.last_img read more

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT Wilmingtons Ferreira Knibbs Named To Deans List At Quinnipiac

first_imgHAMDEN, CT — Wilmington students Victoria Ferreira and Madison Knibbs have been named to the Dean’s List at Quinnipiac University for the Spring of 2019.To qualify for the Dean’s List, students must earn a grade point average of at least 3.5 with no grade lower than C. Full-time students must complete at least 14 credits in a semester, with at least 12 credits that have been graded on a letter grade basis to be eligible. Part-time students must complete at least six credits during a semester.About Quinnipiac UniversityQuinnipiac is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution located 90 minutes north of New York City and two hours from Boston. The university enrolls 6,400 full-time undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students in 58 undergraduate and more than 20 graduate programs of study in its School of Business and Engineering, School of Communications, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, School of Law, Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, School of Nursing and College of Arts and Sciences. Quinnipiac consistently ranks among the top regional universities in the North in U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges issue. For more information, please visit http://www.quinnipiac.edu.(NOTE: The above announcement is from Quinnipiac.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedSTUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Wilmington’s Ferreira & Knibbs Named To Dean’s List At Quinnipiac UniversityIn “Education”Wilmington’s Victoria Ferreira Named To Dean’s List At Quinnipiac UniversityIn “Education”STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Wilmington’s Madison Knibbs Named To Dean’s List At Quinnipiac UniversityIn “Education”last_img read more

NSA reportedly recommends retiring phone surveillance program

first_imgThe National Security Agency has recommended the White House abandon a controversial program that collects and analyzes data on millions of Americans’ domestic calls and texts, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.The recommendation against renewing the program represents a dramatic reversal from the longstanding position of the agency, which had argued that the program was vital to identifying and disrupting terrorist activities. The program, which was put in place after the 2001 terrorist attacks, has legal and logistical burdens that outweigh its value to national security, sources told the Journal.The reported recommendation comes a little more than a month after a national security advisor revealed that the NSA hasn’t used the system in months. Luke Murray, an advisor for Republican House minority leader Kevin McCarty of California, also said at the time the White House might not seek to renew its legal authority to operate the program.The NSA had been collecting large amounts of metadata, the digital information that accompanies electronic communications, under a controversial national security policy put in place by the Patriot Act in 2001. That information included what phone numbers were on the call, when the call was placed and how long it lasted, which was then saved in a database.The already heated debate over the Patriot Act programs intensified in 2013 when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents detailing the ways in which the secretive US government agency was collecting data. A new system put in place by Congress in 2015 required federal agencies to seek a court order on a case-by-case basis to obtain call data from telephone companies.The USA Freedom Act of 2015, legislation designed to curtail the federal government’s sweeping surveillance of millions of Americans’ phone records, is set to expire at the end of year, if the Trump administration doesn’t ask Congress to renew its authority to continue the program.The NSA and White House didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. 6 Now playing: Watch this: 4:25 NSA Security Tech Industrycenter_img Share your voice Comments Yes, Facebook is still tracking you (The 3:59, Ep. 541) Tagslast_img read more