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Required reading

Required reading

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityNorthridge Where you live counts Re “DWP: The whole story” (Your Opinions, Oct. 4): I shake my head in bemusement at Fran LeDuc, a Burbank resident, telling me about how my L.A. DWP “gave” money to the city of L.A.. If she were an L.A. DWP customer, she would see that at the bottom of our bill we customers already pay a 10 percent city utility tax. Evidently, some very high-powered lawyers think that they need a “validation” from the courts to “transfer” funds from the DWP to our city budget fund. Perhaps the DWP largesse to the city is entirely legal. The courts will decide. If LeDuc would like to move into the city of L.A., I’ll be glad to help. Re “House of Cards” (Our Opinions, Oct. 7): Great article, too bad it isn’t on the “Required Reading List” for the taxpayers and voters of Los Angeles. How about printing copies of same, and we can hand them out on the street corners of L.A., so our bill payers can see just how their city leaders are almost all in bed with special interest’s money. The recent pay increases for the DWP, and the bureaucrats in City Hall are just examples of how these special interests are in control of the ones who took the oath. Most of the people paying these bills are certainly not getting 20-plus percent increases in their abilities to pay. We all knew it was bad, but DN’s “the House of Cards” reveals to this reader, it is even worse than I ever suspected! – William Conroy – Kurt Fisher Van Nuys City government Re “L.A. vs. The People” (Oct. 4): How effective is our city government? Consider our Department of Water and Power. We can thank the greedy unions and gutless city politicians for the excessive DWP salaries, compared to the private sector. Then we have extravagant hidden taxes in the form of cash transfers to the city general fund from water and power revenues ($100 million to $200 million each year). And now the city plans to increase our DWP rates. Are we voters like lemmings rushing over the cliff? When do we wake up and vote Libertarian? – Bill Lyons Santa Clarita Social Security unfair Re “Poverty is no game” (Business, Oct. 7): No wonder Social Security is headed toward bankruptcy. Your story cites a 47-year-old former drug addict who seldom worked, yet is drawing $1,020 monthly from Social Security and awaiting Section 8 federally subsidized housing. I feel sorry for her plight – but how come she gets Social Security at age 47 while I and others paid in to the fund for some 50 years and had to wait until age 65 to draw out a meager monthly amount? This is unfair. It’s nuts! – Ken Green Burbank Air-traffic controllers Re “Controllers link LAX errors to staff shortage” (Business, Oct. 2): Regarding a shortage of air-traffic controllers, it should be a crime to let this happen. We are talking about hundreds of lives per airplane that could be in jeopardy. This should be the top priority on every city, county, state and federal government’s list. With all the frivolous spending that goes on I’m sure they could direct some of it to this important issue. They should have on the payroll controllers on the sidelines at all times to fill any and all vacancies that occur no matter if it is a sick day, vacation or retirement. Every time I get on an airplane now, I’m going to be thinking “I hope there are enough of you in that tower and you’re not overtired.” – Marie Mull Glendale Water usage Re “H2O woes” (Oct. 9): I commend the Daily News for its water-saving tips story. However, the given advice is but a mere Band-Aid fix. When will someone have the courage to step forward and proclaim the cause of the problem? There are too many people using too many resources in this region. The fix for this problem will require someone with even more courage to step forward and make a few hard changes. – Cesare Consaga Simi Valley Bush out of touch Besides being amazingly heartless, President Bush’s veto of the expanded State Children’s Health Insurance Program proves that he is even more out of touch with mainstream American families than his father was. Here’s a possible solution: Every president should be required to live with a typical American family for at least one week per year during his term in office. – John Blumenthal Westlake Village Nanny state is here State Sen. Jenny Oropeza opines in her guest column, “Law must protect California’s Children” (Their Opinions, Oct. 8) that the state is in charge of the daily lives of our children, not parents. Very scary stuff. Think about it, the left has set the rules on how we discipline (not abuse) our children. And now the state legislates what we can and can’t do with our children in a private vehicle. I’ll bet that soon, legislation will be passed controlling what we feed our children. If this is the case, then I have a suggestion for the Democrats in the Senate – ban the playing of violent rap in a car with a minor. Rap music damages the soul. – Patrick Henry Lake Balboa The seal’s theme Re “County Seal” (Your Opinions, Oct. 8): Martin Korn’s logic in his response re “County seal issue may go to top court” is underwhelming. He bemoans the fact that Muslims, Jews and Hindus were forced to endure having a cross affixed to their official documents. Yet, he is silent about Christians having to endure a pagan goddess of the harvest, which is at least 15 times the size of the little cross, affixed to theirs. Actually, he misses the entire point of the seal representing our history both communally and economically. His animus toward the Christian symbol is interfering with his reasoning skills. – Maureen C. Wiggins Lake View Terrace Political correctness Re “County Seal” (Your Opinions, Oct. 8): Martin Korn basically objects to a cross on the county seal because he believes county government forces the Christian religion on people. The cross above the Hollywood Bowl in the original seal was put there to signify the role of the Spanish priests in the history of California. The pagan goddess Pomona in the previous seal was replaced by an Indian maiden – probably to appease Christians for the removal of the cross. To me this indicates the ridiculousness of political correctness. – Warren Thompson West Hills GOP hypocrites Re “Dem hypocrites” (Your Opinions, Oct. 4): For Craig Hawley’s information, Brian McGough served in Afghanistan, was injured in combat in Iraq, and received the Purple Heart. Rush Limbaugh slimed him as a “phony soldier” for criticizing the Iraq war. McGough has challenged Limbaugh: “Ask me or any other member of VoteVets.org to come on your program. Until you have the guts to call me a phony soldier to my face, stop telling lies about my service.” Limbaugh is a hypocrite with draft deferments who will debate with McGough when pigs fly. – Alexander Freeman Thousand Oaks Don’t criminalize it Re “Don’t give up” (Your Opinions, Oct. 5): Candido Marez thinks that legalizing drugs is “not the answer.” Not the answer to what? This type of muddled thinking is the problem. In one stroke it would answer every problem associated with drugs. People must get over the fact that you cannot legislate morality. Criminalizing behavior just because you don’t approve of it is wrong. What another person chooses to consume is none of your business. If you believe that someone you care about is hurting themselves with their behavior, then by all means help them. Teach your children not to abuse any substance, be it drugs, alcohol or even food – but don’t criminalize it. – Jeff Clarke Simi Valley Win some, lose some For clarification – we won the Iraq war when we deposed Saddam Hussein and captured most of his henchmen, but we seem to be losing the occupation. – Sol Taylor Sherman Oaks Hallelujah Re “Battered Lakers get some time off” (Sports, Oct. 7): The season hasn’t even started yet and the Lakers are beat up already? Kobe finally has his reason to complain now. – Britni Howze Northridge160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! 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Tibetans Evolved Altitude Tolerance in 3,000 Years

Tibetans Evolved Altitude Tolerance in 3,000 Years

first_imgTibetans and other peoples who live at high altitudes possess a remarkable tolerance to the thin atmosphere.  Now, scientists at UC Berkeley have identified some 30 genes related to oxygen regulation that differ in Tibetans from Han Chinese.  Since those tribes are thought to have diverged 3,000 years ago, natural selection for these changes must have occurred in that time.    PhysOrg reported the findings that were published in two papers in Science.1,2    According to Rasmus Nielsen, lead author of one of the studies, “You look for rapid evolution in genes because there must be something important about that gene forcing it to change so fast.”  That’s why they were keen to find genetic differences between the 50 Tibetans and 40 Han Chinese whose genomes they compared.  Surprisingly, Nielsen said that “The new finding is really the first time evolutionary information alone has helped us pinpoint an important function of a gene in humans.”  The way evolutionists talk about their theory as the key to biology, one would think thousands of studies would have preceded this one.    New Scientist called this a “remarkable” case of adaptation at “a record-breaking rate.”  They quoted Nielsen calling it “the fastest genetic change ever observed in humans.”  Still, it is not clear what evolution was doing.  The genetic differences do not result in a different blood concentration of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen to the tissues, from the values for people living at sea level.  Jay Storz [U of Nebraska], commenting on the papers in the same issue of Science,3 spoke of the mutations as representing possible “candidate” targets of selection, but that the functional significance of the changes has not yet been established:In the case of hemoglobin concentration in Tibetans, for example, selection has not favored a trait value outside the ancestral range of variation.  Instead, selection appears to have favored a blunted erythropoietic response such that hemoglobin concentration at high altitude is maintained at the sea-level status quo.  Although the mechanism has yet to be elucidated, it appears that regulatory changes in EPAS1 and other HIF-related genes have recalibrated the set point for hypoxia-induced erythropoiesis in Tibetans.  Andean highlanders have not evolved a similar mechanism for attenuating the erythropoietic response to hypoxia, possibly because of their shorter history of residence at high altitude.    It remains to be seen whether hemoglobin concentration represents the direct phenotypic target of selection in Tibetans, or whether changes in hemoglobin concentration represent an ancillary effect of selection on some other physiological trait that is altered by regulatory changes in the HIF cascade.  These studies of Tibetan highlanders provide compelling proof of principle that the integration of population genomics and association studies can successfully identify targets of recent positive selection.The authors of the two primary papers similarly spoke of “putatively advantageous genes” but did not establish actual functional advantages they confer on Tibetans living in oxygen-poor, high-altitude environments.  Storz thus raised two questions: (1) are the genetic changes related to Tibetans’ altitude tolerance, or just ancillary effects of selection for other traits?  Neutral genetic drift should be ruled out.  (2) If these changes are functional in Tibetans, how do the Andeans tolerate high altitudes without similar genetic changes?    It should be noted that it’s difficult to identify genes under selection pressure.  Scientists sometimes assume that changes are targets of selection without checking to see if those changes produce functional advantages for the organism in its environment.  Last year, three researchers indicated that many studies for “positive selection” are based on flawed methods and statistics (03/30/2009).    A previous study did not link Tibetan altitude tolerance to genes for hemoglobin, but rather to nitric oxide levels (see 10/31/2007, bullet 4).  Furthermore, it appears that only regulatory changes to existing genes, not new genetic information, may be involved.  A more thorough study would compare comparable genes for other mammals, birds, and reptiles at high altitude with their sea-level counterparts, and see whether gradations exist for animals at mid-altitudes.  Before one can claim, therefore, that these studies represent “the first time evolutionary information alone has helped us pinpoint an important function of a gene in humans,” the researchers need to get beyond “proof of principle” and show whether natural selection accomplished anything at all.1.  Yi, Lyang et al, “Sequencing of 50 Human Exomes Reveals Adaptation to High Altitude,” Science, 2 July 2010: Vol. 329. no. 5987, pp. 75-78, DOI: 10.1126/science.1190371.2.  Simonson, Yang et al, “Genetic Evidence for High-Altitude Adaptation in Tibet,” Science, 2 July 2010: Vol. 329. no. 5987, pp. 72-75, DOI: 10.1126/science.1189406.3.  Jay F. Storz, “Evolution: Genes for High Altitudes,” Science, 2 July 2010: Vol. 329. no. 5987, pp. 40-41, DOI: 10.1126/science.1192481.Natural selection may be responsible for the changes, or it may not be.  Researchers assume that mutations are targets of selection.  Scientific rigor demands that those genetic changes actually be linked to adaptive changes.  Darwinian theory would require that the adaptations allow for survival of the fittest – i.e., that individuals lacking the mutations die out.  The study found that only 87% of the Tibetans had one of the leading candidate mutations.  How do the remaining 13% breathe and live up there?  And why did 9% of the Chinese have the mutation, if they were not under selection pressure by living at high altitude?  Furthermore, if this “fastest genetic change ever observed in humans” represents evolutionary progress, why don’t the people in the Andes have it?  How do they live and breathe at their high altitudes?  Responding that the lack of genetic changes is “possibly because of their shorter history of residence at high altitude” is a cop-out.  Evolution can be as fast as evolutionary biologists need it to be to fit their story.    Despite the hype in the headlines, there has been no demonstration of a Darwinian evolutionary adaptive change here.  But even if there were, creationists would have no problem accepting it.  Creationists accept natural selection operating within created kinds producing “horizontal” changes (i.e., adaptive changes that do not add any new genetic information).  The Tibetans are still interfertile with the Chinese, after all, and the time frame for the changes fits easily within a Biblical timeframe.    What evolutionists should be worried about is why some humans did not evolve altitude tolerance hundreds of thousands of years ago.  By now, shouldn’t there be a separate species, Homo everestus, the obligate mountain men?  According to Darwinian expectations of geographical isolation and allopatric speciation, such high-altitude humans should be unable to breed with sea people or even approach sea level without bursting their lungs.  This story looks more and more like a confirmation of the Biblical creation model for human history and origin by design (see the 06/17/2005 entry).(Visited 39 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Growing the organic business

Growing the organic business

first_imgThe demand for organic fresh produce has increased across the world.Khanyi MagubaneEmerging farmers in Kwa-Zulu-Natal will soon be reaping the rewards of the growing worldwide demand for organic products. The South African government has signed an agreement with the Swiss company BioSwiss for the export of high-quality organic vegetables to the US, France and Britain.The eight-year memorandum of agreement with the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs involves three land reform projects in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal. BioSwiss has invested R100-million (US$ 13.2-million) to develop a factory in the area.“We would like to expand this project to other regions of the province, once we see it successful in Vryheid,” says Gwelyn Owen, CEO of BioSwiss.BioSwiss will provide the communities involved in the project with financial backing and the technical skills for growing organic produce. They will also receive mentoring/training and business management, as they will have to deal with international clientele during the exporting process.The three land reform projects form part of the Department of Agriculture and Land Affair’s Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD) project. This is a sub-programme of the land redistribution programme.LRAD has two distinct parts. Firstly, agricultural land is transferred to specific individuals or groups. Secondly, the programme deals with commonage projects, which aim to improve people’s access to municipal and tribal land primarily for agricultural purposes.The term municipal commonage is traditionally given to land owned by a municipality or local authority that was usually acquired through state grants or from the church. It differs from other municipally-owned land in that residents have acquired grazing rights on the land, or the land was granted expressly to benefit needy local inhabitants.What is organic farming?Organic farming avoids the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, plant growth regulators, livestock feed additives and any other form of chemicals in the production process. Organic farmers rely on developing a healthy, fertile soil, and growing a mixture of crops. With respect to livestock, animals are reared without the routine of drugs and antibioticsAccording to the Soil Association, which promotes health and organic farming in England, more people are choosing to buy organic food because it tastes better, is safer from a health perspective and is environmentally friendly. Organic farming also requires that animals be kept in more natural, free-range conditions with a more natural diet.Organic AfricaIn South Africa, the organic farming industry is growing. From an estimated R5-million before 2003, sales of organic food grown in South Africa – domestic sales and exports combined – jumped to R155-million in 2005. This figure was expected to increase significantly in the 2006/2007 financial year.Organics South Africa, a non-profit organisation formed in 1994, engages with farmers, retailers and government. Its main aim is to “increase the awareness of sustainable farming methods and to assist in the recognition of the natural relationship between soil, plant, animal and mankind”.With its vast natural resources, Africa is quickly becoming the preferred supplier of organic foods. Three years ago, a report released by the Advocates’ Coalition for Development and Environment, an independent public policy, research and advocacy think tank, indicated that Uganda was the biggest exporter of organic products in Africa.According to the report, the number of organic farmers increased by 38%, from 28 000 in 2002 to 39 600 by the end of 2004. The report also indicates that Uganda has the largest area dedicated to organic farming (22 000 ha), making it the organic farming leader in Africa and the fourth largest in the world. Uganda’s climate and the fact that much of the land has been not been used for agriculture before makes Uganda ideal for organic farming.Useful LinksOrganic South AfricaSoil AssociationOrganic NewsAdvocates coalition for development and environmentDepartment of AgricultureDepartment of Land AffairsDo you have any queries or comments about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at [email protected]last_img read more

116 Geocaches an Hour and Aliens

116 Geocaches an Hour and Aliens

first_img SharePrint RelatedKlaatu Barada Nikto! — Aliens Among Us (GC1N0B9) — Geocache of the WeekMarch 12, 2014In “Community”Extraterrestrial Geocachers? — Head Alien Series (GC253ZN) — Geocache of the WeekNovember 6, 2013In “Community”Inside Geocaching HQ Podcast Transcript (Episode 19): Annie LoveJanuary 30, 2019In “Community” Annie Love on the E.T. Highway[Editor’s Note: There’s an alien at the end of this blog post]By Annie Love –Imagine: The midnight darkness of the desert is lit only by a pale moon. You’re driving down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere Nevada.  You see the wink of a meteorite falling to Earth.  It’s slower than any you’ve seen before, it’s greenish in hue. The trajectory of the fast moving light shows it landing in the area you’ve been told doesn’t officially exist even though you pretty much know for a fact it does. You feel validated when your friends agrees with you that this might not be a meteorite.  In fact, it very well could be aliens. Yes. Aliens.This would seem weird under normal circumstances.  This doesn’t fall under normal circumstances though. This is geocaching.  Specifically, this is the ET Highway.Annie Love with Moun10Bike, Princess Trouble, dsvaughn, Joe of JoenSueBordering the place that doesn’t exist (Area 51), this geocaching power trail is not for everyone.  It’s the ultimate in power caching. Film canister after film canister at 6,000-7,000 feet in elevation, this trail leads you through some spectacular country.  Originally 2000 geocaches, recently expanded to 2400, this is one of the largest power trails on Earth.  Traveling through this part of the world makes you feel like it’s impossible not to ‘believe.’Knowing that Geocoinfest 2013 was going to be in Las Vegas, I immediately thought ‘I should do the ET Highway.’  Over the nine years I’ve been geocaching, I’ve only found just under 1200 caches. It’s definitely not about the numbers to me.  For me, it’s the experience I have geocaching.  That’s what appealed to me about doing the ET Highway.Before I could make my own plans, I received an email from Princess Trouble (one of the hosts of Geocoinfest).  After a few more emails, a team was formed.  My colleague Moun10Bike, Princess Trouble, dsvaughn, Joe of JoenSue and I had plans to leave bright and early after Geocoinfest.Blazing through rugged Nevada backcountry with our minivan and Jeep, we found the 2400 caches over four days. In our quickest hour of geocaching, we found 116 geocaches. Being in the company of cows, jack rabbits, coyotes, wild horses and fun geocachers made for a truly amazing adventure.Some tips for folks thinking of doing the ET Highway:-Start your planning by checking out the ET Highway owner’s information page:  http://etgeocaching.com/-Plan to bring at least 50 film canisters with logs (for cache maintenance along the way)-We had two stamps with us and these were both nearly dead by the end, so three might be best-Figure out a plan in advance for getting gas or hauling gas with you so you don’t get stranded-Cell phones don’t work on most of the trail, so be prepared with plenty of food, water, flashlights, clothing layers and make sure you have a spare tire in your car-Allow for extra time to find the other really interesting geocaches, visit the Little A ‘Le’ Inn, and check out the ghost town of Belmont along the way Geocache Finds on the E.T. HighwayGroup ShotView of the E.T. HighwayAn Alien “selfie” Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

Chaos ensues as McIntyre wins NXT title in NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III

Chaos ensues as McIntyre wins NXT title in NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III

first_imgMOST READ It was supposed to be a crowning moment for the returning McIntyre, who made his comeback to the WWE umbrella after getting released in 2014. He survived a pair of Glorious DDTs from Roode and reversed the third before hitting the Claymore for the three-count.Unfortunately, his triumphant celebration was ruined after the Cole, O’Reilly, and Fish crashed the party and asserted themselves as the new force to be reckoned with in NXT.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingO’Reilly and Fish earlier made their presence felt as they made a post-match attack after SAnitY dethroned the Authors of Pain to win the NXT Tag Team Championship.Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe have just dethroned the defending champions after they hit a tandem neckbreaker on Rezar, before the indy duo left all of the competitors in a pile of heap. Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next In the night’s other matches, Asuka continued her 504-day NXT Women’s Championship reign as she survived a game challenge from Ember Moon, working on her challenger’s left arm all match long before submitting her with the Asuka Lock.Aleister Black also topped Hideo Itami in a highly physical matchup, which ended after the Dutch star nailed his Japanese foe with the Black Mass.Andrade “Cien” Almas won in the night’s opener after his valet Zelina Vega threw a #DIY shirt on Johnny Gargano, providing the distraction which led to the Mexican star hitting La Sombra on his opponent.ADVERTISEMENT PH finishes 4th in men’s water polo (From left to right) Bobby Fish, Adam Cole, and Kyle O’Reilly made immediate impact at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III, attacking newly crowned NXT Champion Drew McIntyre. Photo by WWE.comDrew McIntyre finally realized his potential after winning the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III Sunday (Manila time), but that may have come with a price.The Scottish star emerged as the biggest target in the locker room, which led to former Ring of Honor champion Adam Cole making immediate impact as he, alongside fellow independent standouts Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish, attacked the newly crowned champion after his grueling match against Bobby Roode.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’center_img Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim View comments LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more