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Showing content with the highest reputation since 06/25/2021 in all areas

  1. 1 point
    Ramble on evolutionary change – why some things seem to (a lot), and others don’t (much/atall). I like the expression, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ (but try telling a motor enthusiast that!). I have about 300 ring binders where I file things away, along with tens of thousands of clear pockets which I insert into them. When I bought the ring binders, I bought them in bulk. About 100 at the time. I wanted 4 ring clips instead of two, for extra security. I think 3 is popular in the US. A ring binder design is a bit like a mouse trap, pretty much as simple as it comes, so I was safe for future growth if I needed to add more. A couple of years passed by and I was full, so I ordered some more. And they no longer did that make in the same style. There were 4 major changes. To me - and I suppose anyone else who likes symmetry, when looking at several book cases full of all the same, white ring binders, having the same was important. The rings were now attached on the back of the binder instead of the spine (and they were, ‘D’ shaped, not, ‘O’ shaped). That meant that the rivets (viewed on the outside) were now not visible on the spine when placed on the shelf (next to the other ones that were visible). The clear display spine pocket which you place your written title file name in, on a piece of card, was now thinner and longer and lower down, losing symmetry with the others. There was now, no longer a clear display pocket on the front, to display an A4 sheet. And there was another alteration/update/change – maybe the size or white colour shade? Anyway, for someone with Autism who is a perfectionist and loves order and routine, this was really bad for me. And the point? Well just that evolutionary change comes in many shapes and sizes, and not all are visual. You’d be surprised at how complex some things can look, yet are relatively simple and not as, ‘advanced’ as other more simple things. There is an ant with a single chromosome, a deer with six. Some plants and protozoans have over 1000, lampreys have 174, hedgehogs have 88-90, whilst we usually have 46. Some species can interbreed with others with a dozen differences in the Chromosome count. So, evolutionary change or advancement is not always so clear. One wonders how finely honed things like sharks, crocs or brachiopods actually are. I don’t think they actually did nothing for so long. Those micro changes might be focussing on strengthening their resilience or adaptation to change or speeding up reactions, hardening body shell, adapting to a new diet or whatever, and very few might be morphologically noticeable, and it is especially difficult to know how much something has changed if the ancestors are long extinct and have left no genetic trace. The ring binder hypothesis of simplicity (like a mouse trap) is not as clear or simple or unchangeable as it might at first appear. There’s O ring vs D ring, back or spine mount, location/size of spine label, 2, 3 or 4 rings? A hole in the spine or not, material, colour, size, thickness? And there’s so many NEW types of ring binder available nowadays that we either didn’t think of, didn’t need or didn’t have the technology or material for then. So when we see, what we might assume is a very simple or perfectly adapted organism, for the organism itself, there is always room for improvement, no matter how small or meaningless it may seem to outsiders. And those simple things may open doors for additional things. Our own imagination, even with the benefit of speeding things up, using computer re-enactment, can’t predict or show all the combinations of possible solutions evolution can actually produce. Not sure if change is good or not. It may be good that something can adapt, and quickly. But it might be better if it was resilient enough not to have to, when things change, because of all the things happening when times were slow. Sort of like saving money when times are good, for when times are bad. One wonders how resilient WE actually are? Given our destructive nature, we’re probably not long for this world.
  2. 1 point
    Well, there's only one post here, and it's from almost three years ago, but the category says Ideas and Suggestions, and since this is both an idea and a suggestion, I'll post it here, atleast to begin with. Here's the idea I had for the Phylogeny Explorer. I'm sure you're familiar with the small, animated GIF that shows the evolution of life from a single cell through early animals, chordates, tetrapods, etc., up through primates, monkeys, and apes, ending with humans. In case you're not sure what I'm referring to, it's a condensed animation from Carl Sagan's Cosmos documentary, and I've included below a frame from the animation, the stage where it's something akin to a dimetrodon. Well, my proposal is that, for every clade in the Phylogeny Explorer, and I know that's a huge number, at every branch point, the project include a small, simple diagram that represents that clade, either a black-and-white line drawing like the one shown here, or a solid, two-tone image. Now here's the fun part: My idea is for a simple application, Flash or Java or whatever, doesn't matter a whole lot, where you choose two (or more, even) endpoints from wherever on the tree they you like (I suspect the majority of people would probably be most interested in modern species at the rightmost end of the tree), and the program locates their most recent common ancestor, displays that ancestor in two (or more) adjacent boxes, and then animates the transition from that ancestor to the user-chosen descendants. It could even use multiple frames, with the visual transitions occurring in the top one while, on the bottom, the tree scrolls right-to-left in synch with the transitions as dots pop up and mark each branch point as it is reached in the animation. Hopefully I'm providing a sufficiently well articulated description of what I'm talking about that you haven't any trouble envisioning it. Coding the application to do the morphing would in all likelihood be the easy part. The hard part would be to assemble the massive number of pictures that would be needed; indeed, it's not merely the sheer number of images required that makes this a daunting endeavour, it's making sure that every one of those images matches its neighbours in terms of size, body layout, etc. That being said, if it allows the layman to understand just how evolution works (i.e.: shuts the Creationists' ringleaders up) by dispelling the notion of modern species being derived from other modern species, and instead shows how multiple modern species evolved from a common ancestor that we can actually point to on a phylogenetic tree, it would, in my opinion, be more than worth the effort. --Alexis Brooke
  3. 1 point
    This specimen was found in San Pedro-Villa alegría, Tehuacan, Puebla, México. On the 24th of October 2021, today (27/10/21) is in a lethargic state and probably becoming a pupae. I have been unable to identify it´s species, even in Biology forums, a genus has been provided but I am doubtful.
  4. 1 point
    Dear Anton. Great questions. I have been writing quite a long answer which may also be worth a wider readership given such interesting and relevant points, so pleaser bear with me, though anyone else is welcome to join in the response. Steve
  5. 1 point
    “New study, re-writes evolution.” How (or) would YOU present a highly technical, specialist article to the general populous? Your editor (who pays you) has deadlines and targets for time, costs, readership and competing rivals’ articles. This blog is in response to (yet) another article which supposedly re-writes the theory of (in this case, shark) evolution. It tries to highlight the problem of and reasons for such article headings, looks at and compares the results of changing them from the origi8nal and asks what, if anything, can or should be done given the circumstances. I owned a shop once and one customer said that it would be nice if we had wheel chair access toilets. We had wheelchair access and wheelchair access toilets were available very close by in a larger shop. The cost of putting them in was prohibitive too, meaning no such shop to use in the first place, thus defeating the object. By trying to offer more, I (and all) would have lost all. Many of the good quality newspapers are struggling right now with such low readership. On the other hand, the British red tops (which are far more popular and reflect the greater national readership population) do pretty well. I’m sure there is a direct correlation between the quality of journalism and the survivability of the press in the UK. Too few want pure quality. Some may recall the Sunday Sport newspaper post I posted some time ago, demonstrating the level it goes to for readership. And true, those wanting it are the driving force of the editor. Spin, exaggeration, scraping the barrel, lies are things that sell. Few want straight facts. And I believe that goes for many of us, here too. In fact I have posted original research here and had little response, but when posting articles (even) from the same said report, as edited in a more popular or simplified magazine or newspaper with graphics and a fancy tag line, it gets views… It also gets read! And it also gets criticised for exaggeration or a misguided title. But it gets read as opposed to not read. If you want a technical article published in a general, miscellaneous, non-academic daily/weekly/monthly, you have to make very significant changes to attract any interest. Yes, even Time magazine, National Geographic and Nature have succumbed to targeting with overly dramatic images or titles which can play into the hands of science deniers. Look at it from the publisher’s perspective – they have to sell, compete, pay staff and survive. Where does one draw the line? It is a difficult one, when one considers all aspects or places oneself in the position of an editor. How many of us subscribe to the journals which publish original work? Would you digest it, understand the words? If competing with an edition of Punch or Private eye, which do you go for? Are you privileged or rich enough to access these journals? Does or did anyone get psychological tiredness, perhaps at university? When you want to do something you enjoy and it not taxing, you are full of energy and up for it. When it comes to study, you suddenly feel really tired. I did and still do. Youtube is a great help and bridge/gap builder! There is similar discussion in Christian and Muslim circles about Holy books. Some traditionalists argue that only the original language should be used, as it is the word of God and should not be changed. But only those few who know those languages can access it, but it is argued that all should learn it). Or should it be translated into many languages and perhaps simplified or adjusted to, ‘meaning related’ context so that more can understand and access it, at the price of some meaning, clarity or eloquence (this is an aspect of hermeneutics). Here's an article (just made up) showing 4 different views and asking which one or style would YOU read or be attracted to, if any, perhaps if the subject matter interested you (which is another trick that journalists try to widen to get readership)?
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  8. 1 point
    I was inspired to sketch this up after watching AronRa interview Robert Schneiker on his analysis of the Sphinx and Gobekli Tepe. One viewer asked the question on whether there were fossils in the Sphinx. This is my rendition of a nummulite which i believe is the kind of fossil they were talking about. I used a photo on wikipedia as reference "Nummulite, Life and Rocks 1894. R A Lydekker"
  9. 1 point
    I was in the military, on guard duty in the jungles of Central America one night. I remember observing, under the yellow tinge of a sodium light, a female praying mantis and its young (or smaller partner?). I spent a while watching them and how such a complex set of decisions (about eating, moving, interacting, protecting, sleeping, mating, defence etc.) were held in such a tiny brain. They would only live for a year, at most, (from being born – no idea how old these were) and I wondered if they were happy or would have a life worth living and how much longer it would have to live. My questions were abruptly answered. My colleague crept up, sprayed them with insect repellent, and laughed. The struggles that these creatures had gone through in their shortened life and the nonsense-icle, purposeless ending, with no justice, karma or follow up to look forward to or face, for them or him. There are numerous other examples that are equally relatable. A youth, rampaging through a flowerbed and pulling them up, feeling proud that s/he has impressed her/his mates, with total disregard for the effort required to create it and no consideration to the defencelessness of his target or the weak, pathetic lack of discipline for her/his actions or thoughtlessness for the consequences or re-creation task. The one I think of, is Galileo Galilei and the Catholic church. The father of modern science needs wide shoulders, to bear all of us who can but stand on them in admiration. And he worked 400 years ago. His solitary achievements, inventions, discoveries and work made him the hero he is, and yet a brute picked him up, incapacitated him and stuck him in prison/confinement for his Copernican supporting enlightenments, prevented him from speaking out, and he died there. One wonders what the church achieved during this incarceration compared to what Galileo would have, alone, if he were free, or what it achieved in his lifetime, worldwide compared to what that one man achieved. The discoveries that followed, because of him, have led to other scientists saving millions of lives and so much more. The Jesuits were supposed to lead the world in scientific enquiry and astronomy, and they did this to this great astronomer. I think something happened about 2000 years ago like this, according to legend. The Catholic church has made attempts to apologise and erect a statue, which was put on hold. In the museum of Galileo in Italy, there is a relic on display for all to see, from the Pope (for which it is but a short distance) up. A reminder of the past. Galileo’s middle finger! Isn’t that ironic. I want to encourage all those who read this, make the most of your life, and be inspired by the many founding fathers of science who mostly achieved so much in such a short time, alone under difficult conditions in ancient times. Don’t waste a year, month, week, day, not even an hour. It is so precious. If need be, get an organiser, manage your time, reward your efforts and move quickly on from failures or disappointments. Prioritise, focus on what’s important and frequently think about what would happen if you left sooner that you expected and what your legacy might be. Will others be provided for or have to sort through a lot of stuff? Don’t have regrets – sort them, put them to rest or make a mass apology and move on. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
  10. 1 point
    https://www.thescienceandspace.com/2019/05/the-high-pollution-in-oceans-is-big.html?fbclid=IwAR0JXtvzRxfmttMYBU1305_-FdUpuIZzXyXB0l5Xrzv88xjhjxrUFJzpqKg
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    Administrator: As an administrator on social media, you will be a responsible authority on the site, forum, group, page or similar. You will be familiar with the rules and past history and be increasingly familiar with members. You will interact, befriend, respond to and monitor use. You will on-board and welcome people, look for disruption, disrupters or bad behavior. You will discuss or clarity any rules that are unclear, warn and if necessary, block or ban people and keep a record of any such action and people (to ensure they do not return as themselves or someone else). You will have a feel for the medium you are administrating and be able to detect odd behavior or force to change the mood. You will be familiar with the aims and subject of the medium and be able to refer or pass on to other parties if need-be. You will know the roles and people in related or associated roles and refer where needed. You will be responsible for moderators working with you and be able to perform their roles where needed. You will have good customer relation skills and people will become familiar with you. You will be free to post and respond to posts and you will become a persona for the medium you administer.You will be responsible to a team or group leader and keep her/him informed of how things are going and of any issues you encounter. You will also be expected to generate or obtain feedback from users/members if required and action or pass this on for action, update or consideration. If you are a team leader, you will be involved in, or responsible for creating or updating rules and protocols, guides and help. You will also learn, assist with or be responsible for developing, updating or changing and monitoring statistics on the medium. You may need to train moderators or other administrators if you are a team or group leader. If you are a team or group leader, you may help with or across with other mediums. Moderator: As a moderator on social media, you will be a responsible authority on the site, forum, group, page or similar. You will be familiar with the rules and past history and be increasingly familiar with members. You will interact, befriend, respond to and monitor use. You will on-board and welcome people, look for disruption, disrupters or bad behavior. You will discuss or clarity any rules that are unclear, warn and if necessary, block or ban people and keep a record of any such action and people (to ensure they do not return as themselves or someone else). You will have a feel for the medium you are moderating and be able to detect odd behavior or force to change the mood. You will be familiar with the aims and subject of the medium and be able to refer or pass on to other parties if need-be. You will know the roles and people in related or associated roles and refer where needed. You may be working with other moderators. You will have good customer relation skills and people will become familiar with you. You will be free to post and respond to posts and you will become a persona for the medium you moderate.You will be responsible to an administrator or team or group leader and keep her/him/them informed of how things are going and of any issues you encounter. You will also be expected to generate or obtain feedback from users/members for your administrator if required and action or pass this on for action, update or consideration. Team Leader: Whatever you are a team leader for/of, you will preferably know the roles of those you lead and be responsible for them, in terms of helping, motivating, delegating, training (sometimes), instructing and meeting with them. You may need to create or update any paperwork or documentation or pass for another group or team to do, including guides, roles, help and protocols. You will work with other teams/groups and be responsible to your group leader. It would help to be familiar with other similar or related/associated areas in case you can stand in at times. Group Leader: Whatever you are a group leader for/of, you will preferably know the roles of those you lead and be responsible for them, in terms of helping, motivating, delegating, training (sometimes), instructing and meerting with them. You may need to create or update any paperwork or documentation or pass for another group or team to do, including guides, roles, help and protocols. You will work with other teams/groups/domains and be responsible to your domain leader. It would help to be familiar with other similar or related/associated areas in case you can stand in at times.
  13. 1 point
    But how would the bacteria know what plastic to eat and what plastic to leave alone?
  14. 1 point
    I am keen to move things forward on the project. One bottleneck is currently a shortage of volunteers, but even more importantly, I need a regular, management-type team to brainstorm, coordinate and take a lead in things. I am looking for a small working/discussion group of people to work with, to help me facilitate things and open the bottlenecks. We are currently entirely voluntary, (so this has different parameters to professional work) with everyone (except myself) only expected to work part time. There are various parts to the project, and whether it is social media, data entry/recruiting scientists or volunteers to fulfil various roles, like mods, admins or whatever, we need to have the infra-structure ready to receive them, with roles, documentation, guides, people to assist/train etc. (or we will disappoint and put people off as being unprofessional and unprepared – many a project downfall). I have a lot of this documentation already, and a range of such structures mapped out, but there may be better or easier ways to do this, and so if you think you may be able to help or help resolve or implement anything, please let me know. We can set up a hangout ASAP (which is easier than writing out a document at this stage). I’ll fill you in, I can take questions and with your help/ideas, we can talk and build some solid, practical stuff and put it into place and set (variable if need be) timeframes or whatever. You don’t particularly need skills in anything. Maybe together we could at least allocate ourselves suitable aspects to do and we can get back to meet. Open to ideas. Let me know.
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