‘The Church Needs To Invest In Agriculture to Deal with Food Security’

first_imgThe Senior Pastor of Providence Baptist Church (PBC), Dr. Samuel B. Reeves, Jr., has encouraged religious institutions to invest in Agriculture, such as in the cassava sector, to help enhance food security in the country.Dr. Reeves said the involvement of the church would make a significant impact on the lives of many Liberians amidst the evident  food insecurity.The Baptist preacher made the  statement recently when he was called to offer the benediction at the end of the launch of the National Data Collection National Data Collection on Cassava Value Chain and the official opening of offices of the National Cassava Sector Coordinating Committee.The program brought to the fore over 100 farmers across the country, Agriculture Minister Florence Chenoweth and senior officials of the Ministry as well as international partners.Dr. Reeves urged farmers to work together in unity and move from Sustenance or Subsistence Farming to Mechanized Farming to make farming a business.He hailed international partners for helping to sustain food security in the country, describing their help “as from mat to mattress.”He committed the Providence Baptist Church to be the first church to engage in Mechanized Farming beginning with the cassava sector to lift cassava through value addition.Providence Baptist is Liberia’s first church.  It was there that the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 26, 1847 to make the country a sovereign state.“Let me also challenge religious institutions and the church to get involved and let me say to the Cassava Coordinating Committee that if you don’t have any church involved, the Providence Baptist Church will be the first in the process.”His assertions might have stemmed from various speakers’ admonition but especially from the US Embassy Economic Officer Caroline Dow,  who said cassava can contribute to the country’s food security and reduce rural poverty.“Cassava cultivation has the potential to contribute substantially to socioeconomic development both in the rural and urban areas. Investing in it and the value chain has a positive impact on food security to improve livelihoods of farmers, producers, processors and traders,” Madam Dow said. Agriculture Minister Dr. Florence Chenoweth, who also spoke at the program, stressed the need for Liberians to intercrop rubber with cassava to increase production.It is observed that despite the urgent need to improve food production, there are many rubber farmers only engaged in rubber production rather than food crops.The National Cassava Sector Coordination Committee (NCSCC) is a national body set up through a public-private initiative to regulate the activities and development of Liberia’s cassava industry.It was set-up through a European Union fund which is being implemented by ZOA and ADRA in Liberia.The four-year project, which began in 2013, is value about US$2.2 million dollars.The Project, known as the Cassava Value Chain Development, is presently ongoing in Bong, Montserrado, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Gbarpolu Counties.Cassava is a food crop that is entwined in the lives and culture of Liberians and can reduce hunger and a supplement to the country’s stable food, rice.Liberia has a favorable climate to grow cassava in large amounts and processed into a variety of products to be sold in  local and foreign markets.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Referee ‘didn’t hear’ racist abuse of Balotelli

first_img0Shares0000Mario Balotelli complained to referee Nicolas Rainville about racist abuse at Dijon. The French league is investigating © AFP/File / PHILIPPE DESMAZESPARIS, France, Feb 14 – The referee who booked Mario Balotelli while the Nice striker was complaining of racist abuse has said he “didn’t hear insults or shouts from the stand” during Saturday’s match at Dijon.“If I had heard ‘monkey chants’ as indicated in the query by Nice, I would at no point have given Mario Balotelli a yellow card,” Nicolas Rainville said in a statement from French referees’ union SAFE on Wednesday. “I can understand such a reaction from a player affected by these kinds of insults,” he added.Balotelli was booked for gesticulating angrily at the crowd in the game on Saturday. He then complained to the referee that he had been subjected to racist abuse.French football authorities said the league’s disciplinary commission will look into the case on Thursday.An appeal was launched by two French anti-discrimination organisations on Monday for witnesses in the ground to come forward and help identify the culprits.It is not the first time Balotelli, whose biological parents are from Ghana, has been the victim of racist abuse.Last season Bastia were hit with a suspended one-point deduction and three-game partial stand closure by the French League over the behaviour of some of their fans.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more


first_imgThe Mount Errigal Hotel Letterkenny have announced that the smash-hit Disney sensation ‘Frozen’ is coming to the hotel. The Mount Errigal will host ‘Sing-a-long-a Frozen’ on Tuesday December 29th as part of their national tour.Management at the award-winning hotel are delighted that The Mount Errigal is only one of three venues that will host Sing-a-long-a Frozen, when the unique, interactive screening of the worldwide phenomenon Frozen rolls into town as part of a nationwide UK tour. Singalonga Productions are delighted to announce that Disney’s Frozen is the new Singalonga must see!A screening of Disney’s Frozen with lyrics on screen to help you sing along with Elsa and Anna.The evening is introduced by a live host who will show you how to use your interactive prop bag and then just sit back and ‘Let it Go’! YOU the audience can be the stars!Remember to dress up as your favourite character and be a Snow Queen for the day or Olaf the snowman, the coolest iceman ever! Disney’s Frozen has taken the world by “snowstorm” and has become the biggest animated film in the world and fifth biggest film of all time.In this heart-warming tale, fearless optimist Anna sets off on an epic journey, teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven, to find her sister Elsa whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter.Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom.The Academy Award winning song “Let it Go”, which has now sold over 250,000 copies in the UK, will feature as part of Sing-a-long-a-Frozen, along with the rest of the platinum certified soundtrack making this sing-a-long one not to be missed.Sooooo ‘do you wanna build a snowman…..?’ • TOUR DATES:Sing-a-long-a Frozen 12 noon at The Mount Errigal hotel Letterkenny ) on Tuesday 29th December 2015,Tickets on Sale : Saturday 14th March 2015(00353 (0) 7491 22700) Family B&B €100 per nightFamily Ticket, 2 adults & 2 kids €65 + €5 booking feeAdults €18.50 + €1.50 booking feeChildren €18.50 + €1.50 booking feeFrozen is a PG certificate film but the age recommendation for Sing-a-long-a Frozen is 5+ years as younger ones may not be able to fully participateRunning time: 2 hours 40 minutes including interval• FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:• Christine@joegallagherentertainments.com+44 (0) 2871 382876DISNEY’S FROZEN COMING TO THE MOUNT ERRIGAL HOTEL AS PART OF NATIONWIDE TOUR was last modified: March 10th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:BusinessEntertainemntFeaturesnewslast_img read more

Jose Mourinho has no issues with Arsene Wenger ahead of weekend meeting

first_img The pair have endured a combustible relationship since the Portuguese arrived on English soil in 2004 1 Jose Mourinho says there is no need to make peace with old foe Arsene Wenger as there are no problems between them.As the Premier League heads towards a fascinating conclusion, Arsenal need victory against Manchester United on Sunday to bolster their ailing top-four hopes.To do that, under-fire Wenger will need to finally beat Mourinho in a Premier League match at the 13th time of asking on an afternoon when cameras are sure to be trained on the dugouts.The pair have endured a combustible relationship since the Portuguese arrived on English soil in 2004, but the Arsenal boss says he is willing to make peace with his old rival.Mourinho once labelled Wenger a “specialist in failure” and the United manager believes talk of a truce is unnecessary.“He doesn’t need to (make peace),” Mourinho said. “He doesn’t need to because there are no problems.“In the last match at Old Trafford, we shook hands before, after. I remember that I still met him in the corridor for the press conferences, we shook hands again.“He doesn’t need to make peace. When there is peace, I don’t have to have (a) problem.“I am a big boy, I’m in football for all my life. I know that a problem on the pitch, the next day is not a problem anymore.“So for me, no problem at all and I think he will be very, very pleased with me that I am going to change my team to play against Arsenal, so I think he’ll be really happy with me!”United’s team selection on Sunday should be interesting given Mourinho will rest some players with an eye on Thursday’s Europa League semi-final second leg against Celta Vigo.The United boss was pleased with the first-leg performance in Spain but the narrow 1-0 win was not enough to kill the tie in a competition that offers both a trophy and Champions League return.The Europa League is now Mourinho’s main focus as he believes their top-four tilt is all but over, despite sitting fifth and a mere point behind Manchester City.“We are going to try (to win),” the Portuguese said of the trip to north London.“We are going to try, we are not going to Arsenal to say ‘beat us’, or ‘beat us 5 or 6-0’. We are going there to fight for a result.“But it’s impossible like I cannot do it in another way.“If Celta was playing with their best team, if Celta was fighting for important things in LaLiga, we would go in the same circumstances.“But I cannot now play with the same team that played here, and then repeat again on the next Thursday.“So, we have to be human with the players, we have to be sensible and common sense in relation to our situation in the Premier League.“And I think the last match against Swansea was last our last chance to fight for top four, so I am going to rest players, yeah.”The only player Mourinho confirmed would start at Arsenal is David De Gea.The coveted Spain goalkeeper was reduced to a watching brief in Vigo as back-up Sergio Romero produced yet another solid display.De Gea will return to the line-up on Sunday and Mourinho has given him hope of starting the Europa League final should they make it.“I don’t like to say this competition is for one goalkeeper, that competition is for another one,” he said.“Sergio played one match in the Premier League, David played two matches in the Europa League against Fenerbahce and against Feyenoord.“Sergio played also one match in the League Cup, David played the other matches and played the final. I don’t like that complete separation.“Sunday plays David. We have two fantastic goalkeepers, we have a third goalkeeper that I think will be the best Portuguese goalkeeper of the next generation (Joel Pereira).“We have great goalkeepers, and (against) anyone in the world I trust completely.”last_img read more

Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea: Gunners stars rated and slated

first_imgArsenal picked up their 13th FA Cup after securing a controversial win over London rivals Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.The Gunners took the lead thanks to a dubious Alexis Sanchez strike – despite an offside Aaron Ramsey interfering with play – against a disappointing Blues side led by Antonio Conte.Victor Moses’ dismissal for diving in the penalty area looked to have all but sealed an Arsenal win, but Diego Costa levelled the scores with 15 minutes remaining to shock the Gunners faithful.But Aaron Ramsey’s thumping header moments later ensured Arsene Wenger enjoyed a brief respite from his critics after becoming the competition’s most successful ever manager – collecting seven FA Cups during his reign in north London.But how did we rate their individual performances? Click the right arrow above to find out… Granit Xhaka – 6 – Hugely impressive in recent weeks, but the midfielder struggled to stamp his authority on the game. Allowed Pedro and others to influence the game in the second half after his failed attempts at pressing 14 Mesut Ozil – 8 – Enjoyed one of his best games in an Arsenal shirt despite some wasteful finishing. The playmaker showed a surprising defensive awareness to help his side’s cause and caused the Blues countless problems with his free-flowing movement Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6 – Occupying an unconventional fullback role, the England man’s defensive deficiencies were shown up against the likes of Moses. Eventually replaced by Coquelin for the closing stages SUB – Francis Coquelin – N/A – Came on for the final minutes and occupied a left-wingback role as part of a defensive alteration Per Mertesacker – 8 – A surprise selection given his lack of match fitness. But the experienced German international shackled Costa impressively with his positioning and overall leadership Danny Welbeck – 7 – The pacey forward justified his selection ahead of Giroud against a flat-footed Chelsea defence. Prevented the Blues from holding a high-line due to his obvious threat he provided in behind 14 14 14 14 Aaron Ramsey – 7 – Controversially involved in Arsenal’s opening goal by being in an offside position when Sanchez pounced. Looked to have cost Arsenal victory after failing to force home Welbeck’s header – but made amends with a thumping header late on SUB – Olivier Giroud – 7 – Made an immediate impression after coming off the bench after teeing up Ramsey with a beautiful cross in the closing stages Alexis Sanchez – 8 – Gave the Gunners a controversial lead in what could be his last game for the north Londoners. Became the first Arsenal player to score 30 goals in a season since Robin van Persie in the 2011/12 season 14 David Ospina – 6 – Fortunate to deny Costa on a number of occasions due to poor finishing by the Spanish striker. Guilty of allowing Chelsea back into the contest with a feeble attempt of stopping Costa’s equaliser 14 SUB – Mohamed Elneny – N/A – Came on too late to make an impact 14 14 14 14 14 Hector Bellerin – 6 – The attacking fullback has endured a testing season and should have provided breathing space for the Gunners late on. But a lack of composure from a frantic counter-attack ensured Wenger’s side suffered a nervy ending Rob Holding – 7 – Enjoyed a fascinating battle with Costa for the duration of the showpiece final. Gave as good as he got – and while overpowered at times – the young defender continues to impress for the Gunners Nacho Monreal – 6 – The fullback was largely ineffective going forward as his more creative teammates took over attacking responsibilities. Proved to be an important part of a resilient Gunners defence 14 14last_img read more

SAG fights on 2 fronts – inside and out

first_img Membership in the union is all but required to work in films, television and commercials. Many SAG members also belong to the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, which has jurisdiction over the prime-time schedule of major networks. Rosenberg’s agenda mirrors that of the newly elected president of the Writers Guild of America, west. Patric Verrone also ran on a promise to get tougher with studios and also fired his executive director soon after taking office. Both men justified the firings by saying they needed staff who would push their agendas of increasing membership, fighting the rise of reality TV shows and gaining more economic concessions from studios. Rosenberg’s action deepened the geographic rift that already existed in the union. Actors outside Hollywood are not as reliant on residuals from DVDs and other technology, and they are less inclined to endure a lengthy, costly strike over the issue. Those actors also fear Los Angeles-based members, who control the guild because of their numbers, will abuse their power and push through an agenda that ignores the needs of actors in other regions. Rosenberg acknowledges that bridging these differences is his most pressing challenge. “You have people living in all different areas of the country who feel like they’re muzzled and don’t have a voice or are afraid they’re going to be muzzled,” he said. He has visited the New York and Miami branches in recent weeks and plans to visit other locals in the hope of creating a more unified front for upcoming contract talks. “It doesn’t serve us well at all for our employers to know that our union is basically split down the middle,” Rosenberg said. “That gives them a lot of leverage.” Uniting the union will be critical for Rosenberg, who faces his first big test next year when SAG’s contract with advertising agencies expires. The guild’s pact with studios expires two years later. “If we don’t strengthen the core of our union, we’re going to be fighting a losing battle,” said Kathy Christopherson, a Los Angeles actress, writer and producer. Based on new, tough talk from SAG and the Writers Guild of America, media companies have developed contingency plans that would include stockpiling scripts and productions in anticipation of a strike. That move could lead to a slowdown like the one in 2001 that put thousands of entertainment-industry employees out of work. Rosenberg’s election underscored dissatisfaction with last year’s contract talks in which SAG won higher wages but failed to budge the studios on paying a bigger share of the lucrative DVD market. “I think we just walked away too soon and too easily without fighting,” Rosenberg said. “We sent a message of weakness.” Now studios are also experimenting with new sources of revenue, offering TV shows on demand over the Web, without explaining how they intend to pay actors and writers. Rosenberg’s views, especially on the challenges of new technology, aren’t that different from those of Christie or others in the union. But guild members differ over whether they should strike to win concessions. “It’s not going to be the toughest guy at the table; it’s going to be the smartest guy at the table,” Christie said. Fighting over DVD revenue may be a waste of time, Christie said, as the industry looks at new ways to distribute content, including sending movies and TV shows to cell phones, iPods and other devices. “We’re having a fistfight over something that’s going to be a memory in a very short period of time,” he said. “What are the next three of four things beyond DVD? That’s what I want to deal with.” Christie pledged to work with Rosenberg and expressed his support during a testy meeting between Rosenberg and members of the New York branch. Rosenberg’s actions in the next year will have a major impact on the future of the guild. He could try to force through his agenda with the slim majority he has on the national board room, Christie said. “The more difficult choice is to be his own man and do what he can to finally put a stop to this,” Christie said. “If he doesn’t do that, you run the risk of possibly splitting the organization irreparably.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The largest union representing actors has promised a new, tougher stance in contract talks with powerful media conglomerates. But the Screen Actors Guild may self-destruct before it ever gets the chance. The labor union’s long-running infighting has escalated into what could become a mutiny after the election in September of SAG President Alan Rosenberg. Rosenberg and his allies gained a majority on the national board by pledging to squeeze more money from the studios for the sale of DVDs and new technologies, including downloading of films and TV shows. He also pledged to unite SAG’s feuding factions. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Instead, Rosenberg, 55, divided the union even more by almost immediately firing popular SAG national executive director Greg Hessinger. He had been hired by the previous leadership, which Rosenberg accused of surrendering too easily on key economic issues in contract talks last year. Many union members see the firing as an arrogant display of power by Rosenberg that could finally split the union into two groups: one that represents film and TV actors, primarily based in Hollywood, and another mostly of members in New York, Chicago and elsewhere who do commercials and voice-overs. Paul Christie, president of SAG’s New York branch, said talk of a split has heated up since the election of Rosenberg, who was a regular on the TV series “LA Law” and “The Guardian,” and is married to “CSI” star Marg Helgenberger. “I think he’s capable of better things,” Christie said. With 120,000 members, SAG has always been a fragmented labor union, representing both multimillionaire superstars and rank-and-file members with an unemployment rate of more than 80 percent. last_img read more


first_imgFancy going to the movies for FREE? To celebrate that tickets are now on sale for Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie which opens on June 27th,  Eclipse Cinemas in Lifford are giving away a free pass for two to any movie.Simply answer this question. Question: What date does Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie open in Cinemas ?Email answer to info@eclipsecinemas.com WIN A FREE PASS TO D’MOVIES AT ECLIPSE CINEMAS! was last modified: June 18th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:competitionEclipse Cinemaslast_img read more

Supermac’s to create 400 new jobs with new restaurants including Donegal

first_imgSupermac’s is set to create 400 jobs with the opening of six new restaurants across the country.The new outlets in the chain will bring the total amount of the group’s stores in Ireland to 114 in the first half of 2018.The planned openings will be in Donegal Town, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, three in Cork at Ballyvollane, Bandon Rd and Glanmire and one in Naas, Co. Kildare. The jobs do not include another planned restaurant for Port Road in Letterkenny which may not open until either later this year or next year.The company – which currently employs over 2,700 people here – is currently on a major recruitment drive.Supermac’s is looking for management staff in particular but there are “career opportunities at all levels”.“We are looking for staff in the area of managers, store managers, assistant managers and catering assistants,” MD Pat McDonagh said. “We put structured career paths in place for staff that leads to store manager positions as well as site managers and area managers.“Some of the stores that are scheduled to open will be franchised operations and we are looking for people that want a career.”The first Supermac’s store was opened in Ballinasloe 40 years ago and the latest outlet to open was in Headford, Co. Galway.Supermac’s to create 400 new jobs with new restaurants including Donegal was last modified: January 26th, 2018 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Donegal TownjobsletterkennySUpermacslast_img read more

Cosmic Star Formation: When Elegant Theories Are Wrong

first_imgAn astronomer wrote about “cosmic train wrecks” in Science recently.1  Paolo Coppi (Yale) was speaking about galactic mergers, but he could have just as well been talking about current cosmological models.  Things once thought to be understood are coming in for new scrutiny, now that more powerful telescopes can peer deeper into the veiled hearts of galaxies.  One galaxy in particular, NGC 6240, thought to be the result of a merger, was mapped recently in unprecedented detail.     In the middle of a rather straightforward article describing current thinking about what happens when galaxies collide, how stars form, and how black holes behave, he ended one paragraph with a surprise.  It was kind of like the ending word “not” in the slang of young people – e.g., “Astronomers understand star formation – NOT!”Detailed observations of nearby galaxies, the only kind we could carry out until recently, identified two main modes of star formation: powerful and rapid “starbursts” caused by NGC 6240-like collisions and the much less dramatic but quasi-steady formation seen in the disk of our Galaxy.  Because objects like NGC 6240 are rare today, one might speculate that most stars form “quietly” in disks.  The larger, so-called elliptical galaxies, which do not contain much gas, then come from late-time mergers of smaller disk-dominated galaxies that have turned their gas into stars.  Mergers play a minor role, mainly gravitationally scrambling already-made stars.  While elegant, this story seems wrong.The problem is that now it appears most star formation appeared early in the history of the universe.  NGC 6240, with two black holes apparently orbiting its center, and no star formation going on today, may be a “common oddball,” – something that should have been rare, but appears to be representative of the state of the early universe.  Coppi called this “very surprising” and something that creates an “intriguing new problem for us” –Today’s elliptical galaxies are “red and dead” because they contain predominantly old (red) stars and are not forming new ones.  Very surprisingly, some of the elliptical progenitors also appear to be “red and dead”.  Unless we invoke a new mechanism that rapidly and permanently stops star formation, the most massive objects in simulations turn out to be too massive and never sufficiently red and dead.One solution is to include feedback from the accretion of a supermassive black hole in the models.  There seems to be observational support for actively-accreting black holes in systems like NGC 6240, with regions of active star formation going on.  “This plus the surprising discovery that every nearby elliptical galaxy contains a black hole with a mass proportional to that of the galaxy strongly hints that rapid star formation and rapid black-hole feeding and growth are both inevitable and closely connected consequences of a cosmic train wreck like NGC 6240 where gas is gravitationally squeezed into a very small volume.”  But where does the language of observation get distinguished from theory in such a statement?    From that point on, Coppi focused on prospects for improved observations.  The Laser Interferometry Space Antenna (LISA), expected to be operational in 2015, might be able to detect the signature of black hole mergers through gravitational waves they emit.  But there is “considerable speculation,” he said, about whether black holes accrete slowly by feeding on their own stars, or form catastrophically through mergers of galaxies.  He’s not even sure LISA would be able to tell.    In his discussion, Coppi was assuming black holes are real.  Better not tell him about other astronomers who are denying that black holes even exist.  A recent article in ScienceNOW Daily News began,If new calculations are correct, the universe just got even stranger.  Scientists at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, have constructed mathematical formulas that conclude black holes cannot exist.  The findings–if correct–could revolutionize astrophysics and resolve a paradox that has perplexed physicists for 4 decades.There’s no doubt that very massive, compact objects exist in the centers of many galaxies.  Asked what to do with these observations, which lead most astronomers to believe the universe is full of black holes, “‘[Lawrence] Krauss replies, ‘How do you know they’re black holes?”  No one has actually seen a black hole, he says, and anything with a tremendous amount of gravity–such as the supermassive remnants of stars–could exert effects similar to those researchers have blamed on black holes.”    Krauss and colleagues performed detailed calculations taking into account the relativity of time.  They showed that time stops before a singularity forms, meaning “black holes can’t form at all.”  If so, one consequence is that “In essence, physicists have been arguing over a trick question for 40 years.”  Their claim is controversial at this time.  Critics point to other observations which support the “traditional” black hole explanation.  What all might agree on is that the new observations and theories show that the universe is, indeed, getting stranger.1Paolo Coppi, “Inside a Cosmic Train Wreck,” Science, 29 June 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5833, pp. 1852-1854, DOI: 10.1126/science.1139057.The point of this entry is not to take a position on controversies about star formation, black holes or galactic mergers, but to illustrate the difference between real objects and scientific objects.  A scientific object is something about which we cannot know directly through experience: a black hole, a quark, the core of the earth, the interior of the sun, a universal common ancestor, a prebiotic soup, etc.  Nobody denies that cars exist, and that if you drive one into a telephone pole, bad things will happen.  But scientific objects can only be inferred indirectly.  Scientists conceive of their objects as useful entities in equations, and elements of their models in theories.  How real are they?  That is an entirely different question.    Here we have seen astronomers and cosmologists struggling with and arguing over some scientific objects.  There is no question that they “feel” these things are real, and “believe” they are discussing objective reality, but how can they justify those beliefs?  As with Darwinism, new and better observations frequently raise new puzzles and occasionally threaten to overthrow what was formerly thought to be well understood.  As “elegant” as some ideas may seem, that alone does not prove they represent reality.  The universe has no obligation to submit to human measures of elegance.    It may have been elegant to envision galaxies aging slowly, with star formation occurring at a relaxed rate over billions of years.  It may have been elegant to envision ellipticals as relics of mergers that stripped away their gas and left them as museums of already-formed stars.  Now what?  The new observations led Coppi to admit, “While elegant, this story seems wrong.”  Now he has to tweak his scientific objects.  Now he has to envision a new mechanism that “rapidly and permanently stops star formation,” or has to tweak the models to include feedback from gravitational collapse, or has to keep black holes from colliding.  Then Krauss et al come along and claimed black holes are not real.  At what point can they claim their scientific objects are real objects?    Dr. Steven Goldman (Lehigh U) produced an interesting 12-hour series for the Teaching Company on this problem: “Science Wars: What Scientists Know and How They Know It.”  We’ve mentioned the applicability of these lectures before to questions we often discuss here.  In excruciating detail, Goldman gives example after example of controversy in all areas of science for over 2,000 years.  Are scientists talking about truth and reality, or are they merely playing games, like members of a fraternity?  Do the scientific objects they talk about represent reality or not?    Goldman leaves the controversy open.  His only suggestion, offered as a personal opinion in the last lecture, was that we don’t talk about scientific objects as realities, but as actualities – useful entities that allow scientists to make headway in their attempts to understand nature.  Yet it should be clear with a little analysis that this is mere quibbling over definitions.  Unless an actuality corresponds to reality, what is it?  If it isn’t real, or cannot be demonstrated to be real, then what kind of work are scientists doing?  That leads to other serious and troubling questions: should the public pay for it?  If all they are doing is speculating about things they cannot know, then what value does it have over other kinds of inquiry, that we should grant it epistemic authority and millions of dollars in funding?    Goldman illustrates the point that almost everything scientists thought they knew at the turn of the 20th century is now considered to be wrong.  There is hardly any scientific object, whether the earth, the atom, the universe, mass, time, space, the mind, consciousness, or just about anything else from physics to economics, that is looked at the same way today.  A logical corollary is that we have no confidence in 2007 that we understand scientific objects so well that our ideas will not be overturned a hundred years hence.    These kinds of questions need to be considered every time scientists talk about the objects of their study as if they are arriving at “the truth” about the universe.  Better data, better equipment, and better observations are essential.  We are not the ones to judge, however, the point at which our data are so good, and our ideas so solid, that no further scrutiny is needed.  The history of scientific revolutions warns us that even Newtonian physics, the epitome of rock-solid science, was vulnerable.  This is not to say that we must doubt everything.  Rocket scientists, after all, do get spaceships to Saturn at the right spot and the right time.  Scientists must be doing something right.  When observations continue to contradict theory for decades, though, and when the scientific objects involved are especially remote and far from experience, there is one law that actually gains credibility:  Murphy’s.(Visited 48 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Underwater Marvels

first_imgCheck out these amazing creatures that inhabit the liquid universe of planet Earth’s oceans and rivers. Only the first one is a fish.Aquatic hunger games: Archerfish spit the distance for food (Science Daily): “Described as nature’s sharpshooters or water pistols, archerfish inhabit the mangroves of southeast Asia and northern Australia.” Experiments show they can shoot distant targets, but prefer the closer ones.Marine animal colony is a multi-jet swimming machine, scientists report (PhysOrg): Tiny jellyfish that hang together are inspiring multi-engine underwater propulsion systems. The jellyfish, called siphonophores, use a propulsion mechanism that is “relatively rare in the animal kingdom”—squirting from multiple identical orifices. It allows them to “turn on a dime, very rapidly.” Science Daily adds, “This is a highly efficient system in which no developmental stage is wasted…It’s a quite sophisticated design, for what would seem like a simple arrangement.”Giant sea scorpion found in Iowa (Science Magazine): Fragmented fossils of a human-size sea scorpion were dug up in northeastern Iowa, presenting a conundrum for evolution: “Either eurypterids diversified quickly during the early stages of the Ordovician period (which began about 485 million years ago), or their lineage, including yet-to-be-discovered ancestors and kin, evolved more slowly and originated even further back in time during the Cambrian period—possibly during the Cambrian explosion, a period of evolutionary diversification sometimes called ‘life’s big bang,’ which began about 542 million years ago.” Euryptids are arthropods like trilobites.First cephalopod genome contains unique genes involved in nervous system, camouflage (PhysOrg): The genome of a California octopus surprised scientists with its complexity, comparable to the human genome. A one-minute video clip in the article shows the octopus undergoing rapid color changes to match its surroundings, even creating half-and-half patterns.  See also Evolution News & Views on the findings; also here.Rare nautilus sighted for the first time in three decades (Science Daily): The beautiful chambered nautilus (another cephalopod) once graced the seas in large numbers and huge sizes. Now, they are rare. Peter Ward (U of Washington, co-author of Rare Earth) was glad to find a couple of them in the South Pacific after 3 decades without any sightings. “This could be the rarest animal in the world,” he commented.Do whales get the bends? (National Geographic): There’s no reason they wouldn’t, except that they have specialized fat that can absorb the nitrogen bubbles that naturally form when a mammal rises to the surface too quickly. “Researchers from the University of North Carolina Wilmington investigated how marine mammals’ tissues—specifically, fat deposits in the jaws of toothed whales that are used in echolocation—absorb nitrogen gas, one of the gases that contributes to the bends. They found that the makeup of the fat affected how much nitrogen gas dissolves in it—and that different species had different fat compositions.”If you haven’t yet seen Living Waters: Intelligent Design in the Oceans of the Earth, by all means obtain a copy. It’s available on DVD (click the link) and will be coming out in Blu-ray this month. This film delights the viewer with great stories and facts about sea creatures while simultaneously demolishing Darwinian explanations. Filmed in Bermuda, Honduras, Canada, California and other locations, it is loaded with spectacular imagery (including great overhead drone shots), beautiful music and cutting-edge science. (Visited 28 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more