Morata’s £60m Manchester United switch ‘to be announced this week’

first_img Real Madrid forward Morata is United’s No 1 target this summer Manchester United hope to announce Alvaro Morata as their new £60million signing by this Thursday. Morata has emerged at Jose Mourinho’s No 1 target after the move for Antoine Griezmann fell through and Zlatan Ibrahimovic was released. The stumbling block could come from Real Madrid’s demands for a figure closer to £80m, well above United’s valuation, according to the Sun. Morata cut short his honeymoon to fly back to Madrid and help the move progress.And on Monday his father Alfonso and agent Juanma Lopez were pictured arriving at the Bernabeu for discussions about the switch to Old Trafford. If the deal is completed by Thursday, Morata will fly out to America to join up with his new team-mates at the club’s summer training base in Los Angeles. 1last_img read more

Henderson, Sullivan survive wild fall spectacular finishes

first_imgSubmitted to the Times-StandardIt was a wild and crazy 2018 season finale Saturday night at Redwood Acres Raceway. The 26th annual Mid-City Motor World Fall Spectacular once again concluded racing at the 3/8-mile paved oval with champions being decided in all of the Acres’ divisions. In addition, the North State Modified Series raced for the third time at RAR this year.The Thunder Roadster cars returned to race with Paul Baker setting fast time with a 17.658. Katina Baker won the trophy dash …last_img read more

Ant What it Used to Be

first_imgA new species of subterranean ant discovered in Brazil is so weird, biologists have classified it as the sole representative of a new subfamily.  The alien creature has been whimsically named Martialis heureka: “the ant from Mars.”  An article about it in Nature News said, “It adds a new branch to the ant family tree which split off from the others extremely early in the family’s evolution.”  Trouble is, it doesn’t look anything like a wasp, from which ants supposedly evolved (see picture on National Geographic).    This has thrown ideas of ant evolution into a bit of a quandary.  Christian Rabeling, the discoverer, found that this ant did not fit into the existing taxonomy.  Scientists are calling this a relict species of a sister family they have named Martialis.  The original paper in PNAS says, “On the basis of morphological and phylogenetic evidence we suggest that these specialized subterranean predators are the sole surviving representatives of a highly divergent lineage that arose near the dawn of ant diversification and have persisted in ecologically stable environments like tropical soils over great spans of time.”  That makes it essentially a living fossil.  “Like the duck-billed platypus is to mammals,” explained Nature News, “it’s clearly a cousin to other ants, yet a weird and ancestral version that took its own evolutionary direction early on.”  This must be what the title of the paper means when it says the discovery “sheds light on early ant evolution.”    A look inside the paper, though, reveals a few problems with the confident assertions about evolution:A robust phylogeny is indispensable for elucidating the evolutionary origin of ants and for exploring the selective forces that have produced their extraordinary specializations.  Previously published studies, however, led to contradicting views of early ant evolution, in part because of high levels of morphological convergence, the secondary loss of characters, and a lack of informative paleontological data.  As a result, numerous taxa have been proposed as the most basal lineage.Recent attempts to find a robust phylogeny have now been dealt another challenge with the discovery of M. heureka.  Their phylogenetic tree shows it on its own branch, all by itself.  Another problem is revealed deep in the paper: “Second, the basal ant lineages seem to have originated in a relatively short period, potentially making the unambiguous resolution of their relationships quite difficult and sensitive to methodological error.”  The only suggestion of light being shed on ant evolution by this discovery is that it turns their attention away from the idea ants evolved from wasps.  What they expected, and what they found, were pointing in opposite ways:Our phylogenetic analyses, combined with the inferred biology of M.  heureka, suggest that the most basal extant ant lineages are cryptic, hypogaeic foragers, rather than wasp-like, epigaeic foragers (Fig. 3).  This finding is congruent with recent molecular studies, which previously suggested the Leptanillinae, another subfamily of subterranean predators, to be sister lineage to all extant ants.  This result has puzzled ant systematists for two reasons.  First, Wilson et al.’s classic study of the Mesozoic amber ant Sphecomyrma postulated that the ancestral ant was a large-eyed, wasp-like, ground forager, creating a strong expectation that the most basal extant ant lineages would also be epigaeic foragers, presumably similar to Sphecomyrma.  Second, the Leptanillinae [blind foragers in Africa] share common morphological and behavioral characteristics with the Amblyoponinae, implying the monophyly of this group.  In contrast, our results and recent molecular systematic studies suggest that blind, subterranean, specialized predators, like Martialis, the Leptanillinae, and some poneroids, evolved early during ant diversification.  We hypothesize, that once these hypogaeic predators adapted to their specialized subterranean environment, their morphology and biology changed little over evolutionary time because their hypogaeic habitat has likely been ecologically stable and provided a refuge from competition with other, more recently evolved, ants.  It is important to note that no definitive statement about the morphology and life history of the ancestral, Mesozoic ant can be derived from our current knowledge about the surviving basalmost ant lineages, because the relative probabilities of evolutionary transitions between epigaeic and hypogaeic habits are uncertain.They explained that the supposition that ants evolved from wasps relies on ambiguous data subject to alternative hypotheses.  One other problem with their suggestion that ants evolved from wasps is that Martialis would make the ant hypogaeic [underground] foraging evolve three times.  That’s why they are suggesting the basal ant was already a hypogaeic forager.  “The exact nature of the ancestral ant remains uncertain,” though, “given that the propensity for repeated evolution of a hypogaeic lifestyle may be higher than for reevolution of an epigaeic lifestyle.”    In short, no clear light seems to have been shed on ant evolution by this discovery.  It was a complete surprise.  What other surprises lie in store?  “This discovery hints at a wealth of species, possibly of great evolutionary importance, still hidden in the soils of the remaining rainforests.”    Stefan Cover, a curatorial assistant at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, had a more humble view.  In the Nature News article, he said that Martialis “jars us out of going with our familiar conceptions… This is a lesson that we could probably import into studies of other groups.”1.  Rabeling, Brown and Verhaugh, “Newly discovered sister lineage sheds light on early ant evolution,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published online before print September 15, 2008, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0806187105.We can suggest some other studies of other groups where evolutionists could import this lesson: how about the Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plantae and Animalia? (the five kingdoms of taxonomy).    The discoverers put their weird little ant in a jar, but maybe the scientists need to be put in one, because Martialis “jars us out of going with our familiar conceptions,” Cover said.  While they’re safely in a jar out of harm’s way (unable to harm us, that is), let’s hunt for more rainforest species with great evolutionary importance.  Jarring evolutionists is fun.  Every new discovery jars them into realizing their neat little schemes are wrong.  They’re like blind hypogaeic foragers, digging around in their own dirt, thinking every new surprise is shedding light on evolution.    That phrase – “Shed[ding] light on evolution” – yields thousands of hits on Google.  We’ve examined dozens of those claims right here.  Can you remember one that has turned up a single photon?  The truth is they are walking in a darkness of their own making.  The light they need to see is the flashing red stop light next to the “Wrong Way” sign they missed back in 1859.(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Saturn, the Bringer of Youth

first_imgMore discoveries of youthful phenomena contradict Gustav Holst’s musical tribute to “Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age.”Recent analyses of Cassini data continue the theme of Saturn’s music, which is more like Peter Pan than Holst. As you interpret the following news stories, keep in mind that the moyboy ages are upper limits. They could be much lower. What surprises planetary scientists is that these phenomena exist at a time when humans can observe them. If they were billions of years old, how could that be?Saturn and its rings as seen by Cassini, April 25, 2016.Young RingsSaturn’s Rings Are Beautiful, But They Won’t Last (Space.com). “But if you could travel 300 million years into the future, you would need to, because by then, chances are those rings would be gone — and they could disappear even faster.”Saturn Is Losing Its Rings (Live Science). “We are lucky to be around to see Saturn’s ring system, which appears to be in the middle of its lifetime,” lead author James O’Donoghue. Ring rain is only one drain on Saturn’s rings, reports Meghan Bartels. The scientists measured such a high rate of loss, it implies the rings are losing “a huge amount of the icy rings, between 925 and 6,000 lbs. (420 to 2,800 kilograms) every second.” But there’s more:The fate of the rings looks even grimmer considering research published earlier this year using Cassini data, which looked at a different, still-more-voluminous, type of infall from Saturn’s rings that’s descending into the planet. O’Donoghue and his co-authors didn’t include that infall in the estimates presented in their paper, but suggested in an accompanying statement that the two phenomena combined could gorge through the rings in more like 100 million years.Saturn is losing its rings at ‘worst-case-scenario’ rate (Science Daily and NASA Astrobiology Magazine). Particles are being drawn into Saturn hourly in a process called “ring rain.” Looking back over time, the scientists give the rings a maximum age of 100 million years – just 1/45th the assumed age of Saturn. What happened so that we see them in the human era of telescopes? See the problem discussed in video clips from NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center. After explaining ring rain, the narrator puts an upper limit on age of 100 million years for the rings. He says, “This means Saturn wasn’t born this way, as the planet is known to be over 4 billion years old.” But is that really known? Nobody was there to measure it. Believing in 4 billion years creates a conundrum of explaining how Saturn got its rings so recently. These are incompatible beliefs.“We estimate that this ‘ring rain’ drains an amount of water products that could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool from Saturn’s rings in half an hour,” said James O’Donoghue of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “From this alone, the entire ring system will be gone in 300 million years, but add to this the Cassini-spacecraft measured ring-material detected falling into Saturn’s equator, and the rings have less than 100 million years to live.This is relatively short, compared to Saturn’s age of over 4 billion years.” O’Donoghue is lead author of a study on Saturn’s ring rain appearing in Icarus December 17.A recent origin for Saturn’s rings from the collisional disruption of an icy moon (Icarus). The latest attempt to solve the ring age problem comes from John Dubinski. In this paper, he calls on the planetologist’s favorite tool – an impact – to get the rings to form just when humans can see them. Simultaneously, it solves the heat problem for Enceladus. Convenient for him, there is no way to prove it, because the Mimas-size impactor was never observed.Dione, Tethys, Pandora and Saturn’s rings from Cassini, Sept 22, 2005Young MoonsEnceladus is mentioned in the above articles as another body constantly losing material to Saturn. “The team also discovered a glowing band at a higher latitude in the southern hemisphere,” NASA Goddard says. “This is where Saturn’s magnetic field intersects the orbit of Enceladus, a geologically active moon that is shooting geysers of water ice into space, indicating that some of those particles are raining onto Saturn as well.” From there, the article sidesteps the problem of Enceladus’ age, preferring a hydrobioscopic dodge about possible life on Enceladus.Long-term stability of Enceladus’ uneven ice shell (Icarus). This paper by European planetologists tries to keep Enceladus old, despite those hundred-some-odd geysers blasting material out to space every hour, creating the E-ring around Saturn and losing some of that ice to Saturn itself. They invent a model that keeps the ice shell in a steady state, but that doesn’t explain why heat flow up to 60 watts per square meter is coming out of that little bitty moon, the diameter of Arizona or Iowa (not that those states are little bitty, but that’s small for a solar system object).Implications of nonsynchronous rotation on the deformational history and ice shell properties in the south polar terrain of Enceladus (Icarus). One of the conclusions of this paper is that “Enceladus’s tiger stripes are on the order of 100,000 years old.” That’s a wildly young age for standard views of the age of the solar system. Why did it happen that recently instead of billions of years ago?Artwork of the Cassini spacecraft flying through the geyser plumes of Enceladus.Orbital evolution of Saturn’s mid-sized moons and the tidal heating of Enceladus (Icarus). Here’s another attempt to keep Enceladus old, this time by Japanese scientists using N-body simulations. Right off the bat, though, they identify two problems: tidal forces that should pull the inner moons into Saturn over time, and the Enceladus geysers that shouldn’t be there. Tidal heating, they say, is “orders of magnitude” too low to keep that small moon’s inferred ocean liquid. Their simulations “may” explain how these problems could be surmounted, but their model falls far short of proof. In the end, they call for ‘future study” of the possibilities.The formation and orbital evolution of Saturn’s inner mid-sized moons – Rhea, Dione, Tethys, Enceladus, and Mimas – are still debated. The most puzzling aspects are 1) how the Tethys–Dione pair and the Mimas–Enceladus pair passed through their strong 3:2 mean-motion resonances during the tidal orbital evolution, and 2) the current strong heat flow from Enceladus, which is a few orders of magnitude higher than the tidal energy dissipation caused by the present orbital eccentricity of Enceladus.Saturn’s moon Dione Covered by Mysterious Stripes (NASA Astrobiology Magazine). Parallel lines and intersecting lines on the surface of Dione are “unlike anything else we’ve seen in the Solar System,” says one planetary scientist. The material making the lines, dubbed “linear virgae,’ could be coming “from Saturn’s rings, passing comets, or co-orbital moons Helene and Polydeuces.” Ignore the astrobiological speculation inserted without justification. Whatever the stripes are, “they are among the youngest surfaces on Dione” says Alex Patthoff, co-author of a paper on Geophysical Research Letters. The paper says, “Here we seek to constrain whether the linear virgae are endogenic, suggesting that the surface of Dione has been geologically active recently or if they are exogenic, suggesting a recent, or even ongoing, process in the Saturn system.” They argue for the latter, but either way, they’re young.Next Young Object?Looking ahead, the New Horizons spacecraft that found Pluto looking much younger than expected (16 July 2018) is due to reach its next target, Ultima Thule, on New Year’s Day (BBC News). The 30-km-wide object will be the most distant body in our solar system seen up close. Any bets on how young this object will appear?They’re still not taking our proposed compromise. We’ll give them 100 million years, if they accept that as the age of the solar system. No takers? Strange. Must be because that is not nearly enough time for Darwinism on Earth.I’ve been following the ring problem for many years. I wrote my first paper about it in a solar system astrophysics class back in December 1989, 29 years ago this month. I read each article about it by ringmasters Jeff Cuzzi, Larry Esposito, Carolyn Porco and others in Sky and Telescope and Astronomy magazines. When the internet made scientific papers accessible, I followed the current thinking each year. At JPL I got to meet some of the ringmasters and hear their talks. They knew of all the erosional processes since Voyager days, but kept hoping a mechanism would be found to keep the rings old. Nothing worked. As a member of the Cassini team, I followed the new discoveries about ring age. Now, we see that the erosion is faster than earlier thought. The evidence is now unquestionable: the rings are young. These articles didn’t even mention micrometeoroid bombardment, sputtering, collisional spreading and other processes that should destroy the rings in short order.Are you seeing a trend in the solar system? Everything seems to be “younger than thought.” In biology, complex organisms and traits keep appearing “earlier than thought.” Both trends bring bad news to old-age Darwinian materialists. (Visited 515 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

McKinney nominated for USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Indiana Agriculture Director Ted McKinney was nominated for Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a new post created under the 2014 Farm Bill.“NCGA has long advocated for a dedicated position at USDA focused on increasing global demand for U.S. agriculture, and pushed for this in the last farm bill. We thank the Trump Administration for listening, and continuing to move that process forward. Trade is more important than ever for farmers to overcome this challenging farm economy,” said the National Corn Growers Association in a statement. “Mr. McKinney is an excellent choice to fill this new role. He has a longstanding record of service to the agriculture industry, and will be a strong advocate for U.S. agriculture on the global stage. We urge the Senate to move quickly to confirm him, so that our industry is in the best position to capitalize on increased global demand for our products.”last_img read more

Four labourer buried alive while repairing tunnel in Rajasthan

first_imgFour labourers, repairing a tunnel in Rajasthan’s Sirohi district, died after being buried alive under debris, the police said on Saturday.The victims were trapped under the debris on Friday which fell due to vibrations generated by a poclain machine at the site on Beawar-Pindwara national highway, they said.The family members of the deceased, identified as Devi Singh, 32, Uttam Kumar, 23, Mahendra Kumar Meena, 27, and Mahendra Hiragar, 30, have refused to accept the bodies till they are provided compensation by the private firm which was carrying out the repair work, Sirohi collector Babu Lal Meena said.The bodies have been kept at a mortuary. The State government has announced ex-gratia for the kin of the deceased. A case has been registered against the company and the driver of the poclain machine, the police said.last_img read more