Dinosaur Extinction Rewritten Again

first_imgWho will go back and fix the animations?If the Chicxulub meteor finished off the dinosaurs, they were already on the edge anyway, a new theory proposes. The BBC News says dinosaurs were on the decline 50 million years before the impact. And why was that? With apologies to Bob Dylan, “A team suggests the creatures were in long-term decline because they could not cope with the ways Earth was changing.” Yes, music lovers, the times they were a-changing, just like climate change afflicts us today. “Your sons and your daughters /Are beyond your command,” Darwin told T. rex. “Your old road is rapidly agin’ / Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand / For the times they are a-changin’.” T. rex didn’t have much of a hand to lend anyway. Climate change had determined that it was time for the mammals to take center stage.The asteroid impact is commonly thought to have paved the way for mammals to take over. But the new study suggests that mammalian supremacy might have occurred eventually, without a space impact.Co-author Prof Mike Benton of Bristol University, told BBC News: “World climates were getting cooler all the time. Dinosaurs rely on quite warm climates and mammals are better adapted to the cold.“So there might have been a switch over in any case without the asteroid impact.““Might” makes right in evolutionary storytelling; the power of suggestion raises the perhapsimaybecouldness index. Earth needed to make “room for mammals,” Science Daily says. What better way than to chill out the dinos?Those interested in the case for dino decline can look at the paper in PNAS. It begins, “Whether dinosaurs were in decline before their final extinction 66 Mya has been debated for decades with no clear resolution.” But by using a “Bayesian phylogenetic approach to model the evolutionary dynamics of speciation and extinction through time,” they guarantee an evolutionary outcome (see DIGO in the Darwin Dictionary).Back to the Drawing BoardThis is most unfortunate for Darwinians, since they thought they finally had a flag up the pole everyone could salute: an asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. A team is even out there right now trying to drill into the impact site in the Yucatan. Is their work in vain? Not completely; the new study has a partial role for the impact, just not a complete one. It just gave dinosaurs the final shove.Brian Switek on National Geographic took the opportunity to review past “wild ideas” about the death of the dinosaurs. First, though,Here’s his list of previous “crazy conjectures” that came and went:Dinosaurs put too much energy into being big and spiky.They had a predetermined lifetime as a species, and time was up.They developed slipped discs.Their hormones got out of control.Their sex drives declined.They all got sick.They were afflicted with cataracts and couldn’t see the mammals taking over.They were just stupid.Caterpillars ate all the vegetation.They took up smoking [actually, that was Gary Larson’s theory on The Far Side]Before the laughing is over, Switek admits that the impact theory has problems of its own:While the giant impact is the most likely weapon in this ancient murder case, we know surprisingly little about how the strike translated into widespread death and destruction. Paleontologists have debated aspects of the impact’s ecological fallout ranging from blazing wildfires to an impenetrable cloud of debris in the atmosphere. But exactly what happened and how such environmental shocks would have killed some species while sparing others is still up for debate.Will future paleontologists consider the impact theory just another crazy conjection? Not likely; it has too much momentum to not survive this latest crisis. Previous studies, after all, had suggested the dinosaurs were not in decline; they were doing just fine up till the day of destruction. Others promote their pet theory that volcanoes did it. A new theory claims a “trickle of food” kept deep sea creatures alive during the catastrophe (Science Daily). That, however, doesn’t explain the land animals that survived. Whatever the theory, it has to explain the selective extinction of particular reptiles on land (dinosaurs), in the ocean (plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs) and in the air (pterosaurs), while leaving mammals, birds and everything else able to carry on amidst all the carrion.Selective OutrageSpeaking of climate change, the lead paleontologist promoting the new extinction theory found a way to blame humans. “Our study strongly indicates that if a group of animals is experiencing a fast pace of extinction more so than they can replace, then they are prone to annihilation once a major catastrophe occurs,” Dr. Manabu Sakamoto preaches. “This has huge implications for our current and future biodiversity, given the unprecedented speed at which species are going extinct owing to the ongoing human-caused climate change.” Those wishing to hear some diversity in opinion may wish to see Dr. Richard Lindzen, emeritus professor of atmospheric science at MIT, explain the current climate change debate in a short video on Prager University.Why is it, incidentally, that the scientific consensus is so intent on blaming the current apex predator (humans) for climate change, but never accuses the dinosaurs of the same ecological sin? Maybe they passed too much greenhouse gas. And why are impacts so bad, if they kickstarted life on Earth? (see Christian Schroeder thank comets for life on The Conversation).How Many Dinosaurs?Most dinosaur species are still undiscovered, Brian Switek says in another National Geographic piece. In a PLoS Paleo Blog, Jon Tennant shows diagrams from a new study that tries to count the species we know. Based on ecological models, researchers think we have probably found far less than half of the dinosaur species that existed—unless you count birds, which Tennant considers “just mostly a bit smaller and fluffier than their Mesozoic ancestors.”Evolutionists have a love/hate attitude about impacts. Asteroids and comets bring life, but they also destroy life. They do whatever the storyteller needs them to do; that’s why they are so useful for professional storytellers like Darwinians.The Flood model does a better job explaining (1) the selectivity of the extinction, (2) world-wide observations by humans of dinosaurs after the Flood, (3) the high level of intelligent design in dinosaur anatomy. But since it is not atheistic/materialistic, it cannot get traction in the Big Science cabal. (Visited 69 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Apple iOS 8 Preview: Everything We’re Expecting

first_imgWhat it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces dave smith Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Tags:#Apple#iOS#iOS 7#iOS 8#iOS 8 apps#iOS 8 features#iOS 8 release#iOS 8 release date#new iOS Related Posts center_img In less than a month, Apple will kick off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. Apple typically uses this event to unveil new versions of its mobile and desktop operating systems, and WWDC 2014 should be no different.See also: How iOS 8 Will Fix Apple MapsAt last year’s event, iOS 7 was easily the star of the show. The new version of Apple’s mobile operating system was packed with the most striking visual and functional changes since the very first iPhone launched in 2007. iOS 7 was the first version of iOS directly managed by Apple’s lead designer, Sir Jony Ive, who took over “human interface” duties in late 2012 after longtime iOS chief Scott Forstall got the boot following the disastrous launch of the Apple Maps app as part of iOS 6.Considering iOS 7 was generally betterreviewed than its predecessors, iOS 8 is expected to arrive with plenty of polish as well as some new features. (Apple typically releases the latest version of iOS to the public just a few days before launching its newest iPhone, which usually takes place in the fall.) But what can users actually expect from iOS 8, even before its presumed unveiling at WWDC 2014?Return Of The MapsTwo years ago, Apple replaced Google Maps with its own homegrown solution as the default navigation app in iOS 6. In short, it didn’t go so well: Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a public apology, and the company fired Forstall, as well as the manager directly responsible for Maps in iOS 6.Apple didn’t have much time to focus on Maps in time for last year’s release of iOS 7—an effort that required borrowing engineers from the Mac team in order to ship on time. But this year, Apple is expected to release a major update to its Maps app that will reportedly accommodate local businesses and those that commute via subway, bus, train, taxi, biking or walking.Apple bought a host of mapping companies in 2013, no doubt to help bolster its Maps offering in a year’s time. Apple purchased Locationary, HopStop, Embark Inc., WiFiSLAM, and may have also purchased a company called BroadMap, which prided itself on managing, sorting and analyzing maps data. See also: Apple’s Next EarPods Could Be The Ultimate Wearable DeviceThe WiFiSLAM acquisition could mean Apple plans to offer indoor maps for malls and other public places. According to a patent issued to Apple in 2011, Apple has envisioned augmented reality functionality for Apple Maps that would allow users to see visible points of interest nearby using the compass embedded in every iPhone. In other words, it could be Apple’s version of Street View—one that doesn’t require cars with Apple logos to drive around and take pictures.Making Health An Open BookMany believe 2014 will be the year Apple finally lifts the curtain on its health-oriented smartwatch. But Apple first has to add the health functionality to its mobile operating system before anyone can use these much-rumored iWatch features.In March, 9to5Mac posted “complete recreations of screenshots” of a new iOS app called “Healthbook,” citing “multiple sources working directly on the initiative’s development”: Besides Siri, Apple may also unify its Notification Center, doing away with the “All” and “Missed” categorizations, while Game Center could actually disappear as a standalone app, instead turning into a feature integrated into games themselves. CarPlay, Apple’s integration with built-in car displays, will also reportedly get support for Wi-Fi connections so users don’t need to rely on a Lightning cable.One More ThingThere’s one more rumor out there, though it’s a bit of a long shot. In January, the Wall Street Journal suggested Apple would tie a mobile payments system to its Touch ID fingerprint scanner, which was introduced in last year’s iPhone 5S and will likely be included in this year’s round of iPhones, as well as iPads.In an earnings call with investors in January, Cook said mobile payments is an area “we’ve been intrigued with,” adding “it was one of the thoughts behind Touch ID.”Touch ID can currently help iOS users purchase digital music and video via the iTunes Store and App Store. In iOS 8, Apple may expand this functionality to payment for physical goods and services through a number of partner apps. If you’re wondering which companies Apple might partner with initially, look no further than the apps available for Passbook, which features airlines like Delta, American and United, sports associations like the MLB, ticketing companies like Fandango and Ticketmaster and Starbucks.Correction, 11:45 a.m. PT: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Healthbook screenshots had first surfaced on the Chinese social network Weibo. Thanks, Mark! The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Healthbook, like the existing Passbook app, is expected to offer biometric information based on your sleep and and physical movements in simple cards with tabs for different health and fitness components. According to the images, iOS 8 users might be able to access information about their blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate, hydration levels, oxygen saturation and respiratory rate—directly from their mobile device.Obviously, one big main question is how Healthbook will get its data. The M7 motion coprocessor within the iPhone 5S—and, one would assume, the next-generation iPhone—can measure several movement-based biometrics. But it’s likely the new Healthbook app will pull data from a first-party accessory—the iWatch, or possibly even Apple’s next-generation EarPods—as well as third-party apps and accessories like the Nike Fuelband and Jawbone Up.iTunes TweaksLast year, Apple introduced its streaming music service, iTunes Radio, as part of the Music app in iOS 7. For the release of iOS 8, however, the site 9to5Mac has reported that Apple will separate iTunes Radio from the rest of the music app to increase the visibility of the ad-supported service (iTunes Match subscribers don’t have to listen to ads as they stream music).Apple is also expected to add song recognition capabilities to the Music app thanks to a partnership with Shazam, the popular song identification app. That integration would presumably give users the option to purchase a newly identified song through iTunes.An Expanded iCloudIntroduced in 2011, iCloud lets users store documents and files and have them sync across all Apple computers and mobile devices. According to 9to5Mac, the company is reportedly building mobile versions of Preview and TextEdit, the company’s apps for PDF viewing and simple word processing, respectively, in time for the release of iOS 8. Other ImprovementsApple’s voice assistant Siri may be able to tap into a new slew of third-party apps in iOS 8, as reported by The Information. Apple has a few unique partnerships with OpenTable and WolframAlpha to help power Siri, but Apple might be working on enabling third-party integrations that don’t require custom business deals.last_img read more

Five dead in West Bengal as heavy rain lashes State

first_imgIncessant rains due and the subsequent deluge claimed five lives in Kolkata and adjoining districts on Tuesday. While two persons died when parts of an old dilapidated two storied building collapsed in the Taltala area in central Kolkata three others died in the districts of south Bengal.According to Kolkata Police at around 12.25 pm the old building collapsed. Three fire engines along with personnel of disaster management group were pressed into rescue operation, which went for several hours.“At around 4.25 pm the bodies of two persons-Himadri Pahar (38) and Hansa Shaw (20) were extricated from the debris and sent to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital for legal procedure,” a statement by Kolkata police said.Meanwhile, the situation remained grim in Birbhum, Purulia, Bankura, and Hooghly district of south Bengal. While two persons died in Purulia when a wall collapsed on them, one person died in Birbhum when he was washed away during the day.In Purulia two persons-Sikandar Mirza (30) and Siaz Khan (12)- died and five got injured in the Nanduara village in the district’s Raghunathpur sub-division when an earthen boundary wall of a house collapsed on them, District Magistrate of Purulia Alokesh Prasad Roy told The Hindu.He also said that so far waterlogging has not turned out to be severe in the district with only some areas of Jhalda I and Barabazr block witnessing some waterlogging.In Birbhum one person has died due to drowning in the afternoon in the Hatiea village of Labhpur block. While locals said that the situation in Labhpur has become “grim” with about 17 villages facing heavy waterlogging, the District Magistrate P.Mohangandhi claimed otherwise. “Labhpur being a low lying area, there is waterlogging in some areas. But so far it is not a cause of concern,” said Mr.Gandhi.As for Hooghly a senior district police official said that was a breach in an embankment on the Rupnarayan river at the Dhannobadi village under the Khanakul Assembly seat. “As a result nearly 16 villages in the area are facing severe waterlogging. The district administration is keeping an eye on the situation,” he said. One person Shyamal Sengupta (38) got washed away on Monday. However, Superintendent of Police Sukesh Jain said that “Mr.Sengupta’s body has not been found yet.” Areas such as Khanakul, Goghal, Arambagh in the district are facing severe waterlogging.In Bankura 1,000 people had to be to be shifted to relief camps due to severe waterlogging. “ There is severe waterlogging in Bankura II, Joypur, Kotalpur, Patrasayer, Mejhia and Onda blocks. We have set up six relief camps,” District Magistrate of Bankura Moumita Godara said.Meanwhile State’s Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee accused the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) for releasing waters from dams “without consulting” the State government. “The situation has become a cause of concern for us. Despite our repeated letters the DV is releasing water without consulting us,” he said. According to the Indian Meteorological Department, Bengal is likely to receive heavy rain at isolated places on Wednesday.last_img read more

NRC: Assam citizens may get to offer new proof

first_imgThe Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed to agree with the Centre’s proposal to let 40 lakh people, excluded from the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, to produce additional documents to prove their legacy.Justice Ranjan Gogoi orally observed that the court agreed with the suggestion made by Assam NRC Co-ordinator Prateek Hajela in his report that those left out of the draft NRC could submit any one of the 10, of a total 15 documents in List-A of the Centre’s draft Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for claims and objections.He said claimants could submit any of the 10 documents, provided they were authenticated by the relevant authority which issued them. “We are allowing only 10 because the other five can be cooked up,” Justice Gogoi told Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal. The Bench gave the government two weeks to respond to Mr. Hajela’s suggestion. The court deferred the process of receipt of claims and objections, and posted the next hearing for September 19.The court further refused to provide a copy of the full report of Mr. Hajela to the Centre.“We are extremely interested in having a copy,” Mr. Venugopal submitted.To this, Justice Gogoi replied that “you may be interested, but we have to balance it. The court has called for the report, now it is the discretion of the court to give it to you or not. First you respond to this suggestion (of Mr. Hajela), then we will see about it”.Later, in the court’s order, Justice Gogoi recorded that “the Attorney General has sought a copy of the co-ordinator’s report. We are of the view that what has been set out in the order (of the court) would be sufficient for the Union of India, stakeholders to indicate their views on it”.last_img read more