Police discuss Code of Conduct with Essequibo drivers

first_img…deadline given for rectificationRanks of G Division on Thursday met with minibus and hire car drivers to have discussions on the recently implemented Code of Conduct.The meeting saw attendance of the President of the Minibus and Hire Car Association, Mohammed Nazmul, and over 40 drivers from the area.Persons were advised of their responsibilities as drivers, fare structure, and the level of professionalism attached to transporting passengers.It was recommended that the drivers be issued with an identification card, so that they can be easily recognised. Adding to that, the fare structure should be plastered on the front left side of the vehicle’s windscreen.A turn system will be implemented at the park, along with extinguishers and disposal bins for each vehicle. Those who fail to meet these demands by August 28, 2019, will be prosecuted.The document, which has been officially released to the public, is silent on penalties for those who violate the code. It noted that the implementation will be carried out by the Consumers Affairs Division of the Business Ministry, with support from other stakeholders.The other codes are more general and they deal with the playing of loud music and treating passengers with respect. In particular, it mandates that minibus operators must not discriminate against passengers.Most of the codes are actually in accordance with the law. For example, it bans texting while driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, adhering to speed limits, and ensuring all motor vehicle documents are up to date.The practice of minibuses dipping into gas stations with passengers on board is also prohibited.The team met with the drivers and conductorslast_img read more

Pedestrian killed by speeding cop at Mahaicony

first_imgA pedestrian has become the latest road fatality after he was struck by a speeding Police Constable along the Catherine Village Public Road, Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara.Dead is 51-year-old Winston Small of Lot 2 Catherine Village.Based on reports received, the Police Officer was proceeding along the Catherine Public Road on Sunday, alleged at a fast rate, and in an attempt to avoid an uneven patch on the road, he swerved and lost control of the vehicle, which collided with a 13-year-old cyclist.Dead: Winston SmallThe motorcar went on to hit two other pedestrians, including the now dead man, and 43-year-old Lawrence Semple, after which it came to a stop in a nearby yard. The teenager along with Semple and Small were picked up and taken to the Mahaicony Cottage Hospital.Small was pronounced dead on arrival while the teenager and Semple were treated and referred to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC). The driver is also hospitalised. In addition, three other occupants of the car; Delroy Hutson, 35; and Odari Reynolds, 23, both of Eldorado Village, West Coast Berbice, were treated and sent away while a third Fitzroy Goodridge, 23, was admitted for observation.According to persons at the scene, it seems as though the Tactical Service Unit rank was under the influence of alcohol and was driving in a dangerous manner at the time of the accident. The 13-year-old reportedly suffered lacerations to the hand and legs.The Police have launched an investigation into the fatal accident.last_img read more

Bruins don’t want to share

first_imgNo. 4 UCLA completed its first perfect home season in more than a decade by soundly beating Stanford 75-61 in front of 12,001 Saturday at Pauley Pavilion, clinching at least a share of the Pacific-10 Conference title. But it seemed that few Bruins were interested in that. “We don’t play to win co-championships,” Bruins wing Josh Shipp said. “We play to win it outright. This wasn’t about being co-champion. We don’t really care about that. We want to win the championship.” The Bruins (25-3, 14-2 Pac-10) can win the conference title outright for the second straight season by winning Thursday at second-place Washington State or Saturday at Washington. UCLA secured the No. 1 seed in next month’s Pac-10 Tournament with Oregon’s victory against Washington, according to a conference official, but the Bruins’ focus isn’t on getting a prime seed at Staples Center. Instead, they continue to look toward earning a top seed in the West Regional of the NCAA Tournament, and a path to the Final Four that would go through Sacramento and SanJose. “We’ve still got two (regular-season) games left, and those could affect us for the seeding,” Bruins point guard Darren Collison said. “We’re looking more towards the future.” Afflalo led the Bruins with 20points, making 4 of 7 shots from 3-point range. His 3-pointer to begin the second half pushed UCLA’s lead to 39-33, and the party-type atmosphere continued throughout. On everyone’s mind after the Bruins extended their lead to 50-40 on Luc Richard Mbah a Moute’s dunk wasn’t a 16-0 home mark or the program’s 29th conference title, but whether this might be Afflalo’s last game at Pauley Pavilion. As he’s done throughout the season, Afflalo deflected the NBA talk. “I’ve had a fun time here, but I’m just happy to be in the moment right now and competing for this Pac-10 championship,” Afflalo said. Stanford was led by Brook Lopez, who scored 23 points on 11-of-16 shooting, but he was the only outstanding performer for Stanford (17-10, 9-7). The rest of the Cardinal went 13 of 31 from the field and committed 16 turnovers. Second-leading scorer Anthony Goods, who scored 20points in Stanford’s win against UCLA last month, missed his fourth straight game with an ankle injury. “I thought we played good basketball overall,” Stanford coach Trent Johnson said. “We had some ill-advised turnovers. (UCLA) had a lot of engery. They outrebounded us. I don’t like to make excuses, but Anthony is important to our team. But we have to go out and play the game.” UCLA held a double-digit lead most of the second half while rolling to its 20th straight home win. The last time UCLA finished a season unbeaten at home was in 1994-95, during its last national championship season. But that included a loss to Cal in Pauley that was later forfeited by the Golden Bears because of NCAA violations. The last time UCLA actually won all of its home contests on the court was 1974-75, when it finished 15-0 in coach John Wooden’s last season. Of course, the perfection also comes with heightened expectations. Of the nine UCLA teams to go undefeated at home, eight reached the Final Four and seven won the national title. “When I got here, the program was definitely in the rebuilding process,” said UCLA junior center Lorenzo Mata, who finished with eight points and four rebounds in a career-high 33 minutes. “I definitely think we’re one of the elite teams now. We still have a lot of things to work on, and that’s what we’ll do, but we’re only going to get better from here on.” brian.dohn@dailynews.com (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img UCLA introduced its 1967 championship team for an anniversary salute, the Bruins’ student section serenaded junior guard Arron Afflalo with chants pleading for “one more year,” and Stanford completed a festive afternoon by offering little resistance. Overlooked in the ovations for past and current UCLA stars was an achievement none of the Bruins cared about. last_img read more


first_imgDETAILS have been released of the finals of the GAA For All primary schools finals on Wednesday next.In a message to the schools, Odhran Doherty writes:On behalf of everyone involved the GAA for All PEACE III Project I want to thank you sincerely for taking part in the Schools league for the past four weeks, without your help and cooperation it would be impossible to run such a huge event. I hope that you and all the children enjoyed the games and used the league as an opportunity to meet new friends and colleagues from the other schools. It is important to remember that the idea of this league was to celebrate the lives of two great local women from the Letterkenny area, Elaine Winston Friel and Susan Carr who spent their lives promoting the values and benefits of participating in sport and having an active lifestyle. I hope that our coaching programme in your school and your participation in the schools league has provided your children with a platform to take part in Sport and Physical Activity. I hope you all enjoy the day and good luck to your teams! Yours in Sport,Odhran DohertyBOYS: Elaine Winston Friel Memorial Cup Final (12:20 PM) Termon V Lurgybrack GIRLS: Susan Carr Memorial Cup Final (11:30 AM)Gaelscoil Adhamhnain V Scoil Mhuire Gan SmalBOYS: GAA for All Cup Final       (12:20 PM) Scoil Colmcille v GaelscoilGIRLS: GAA for All Cup Final (11:30 AM)    Lurgybrack v TermonBOYS: GAA for All Shield Final (12:20PM) Woodlands v KilmacrennanGIRLS: GAA for All Shield Final (11:30 AM) Illistrin v WoodlandsBOYS: GAA for All Plate Final    Play-Off (10:45 AM) Illistrin v GlenswillyGIRLS GAA for All Plate Final Play-Off (10:45 AM)Ballyraine v Glenswilly   BOYS: Final       (12:20PM) Ballyraine/Glenswilly or IllistrinGIRLS Final (11:30 AM)Ballyraine/Glenswilly or KilmacrennanPLEASE NOTE;The playoff match for both the boys and girls GAA for ALL Plate Final will take place at 10:45 am. All the girls final will be played at 11:30 am while all the boy’s finals will be played at 12:20 pm. Presentations of medals to all participants in the league as well as the cups to the winners of the finals for both boys and girls will be presented at 1:00 pm by representatives from the Friel, Winston, Carr and Mc Granaghan families as well as local representatives. RULES–        30 minutes per game, 15 minutes per half. 2 minute turn around at half time.–        11 a side per team, no limit to substitutions, run on and off.–        Maximum two touch before releasing the ball, e.g. solo & bounce or two solos.–        Kick outs 10 metres from goals from hands–        45’s from the ground or hands 25 metres from the goals–        1 point is awarded for a point and 3 points for a goal– ALL PLAYERS MUST WEAR A MOUTHGUARD WHILE PLAYING–        All players and coaches must line up and shake hands at the end of each gameFIXTURE LIST RELEASED FOR GAA FOR ALL SCHOOLS FINALS AT O’DONNELL PARK was last modified: March 17th, 2013 by BrendaShare 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:FIXTURE LIST RELEASED FOR GAA FOR ALL SCHOOLS FINALS AT O’DONNELL PARKlast_img read more

What number does Dele Alli wear and why does he have Dele on his shirt?

first_img Dele wears the No20 for Spurs and England 2 Dele Alli is one of the brightest talents in England manager Gareth Southgate’s new-look squad.Still only 22, the Tottenham man is hoping to help fire the Three Lions into the latter stages of the World Cup. Getty 2 What number does Dele Alli play for England?The Tottenham star wears the No20 shirt for England.He has this on both his jerseys for club and country and has worn it since his £5million switch from MK Dons.Tune into talkSPORT to listen to the World Cup quarter-final between Sweden v England live, on Saturday, July 7 Alli has overcome a knock and will play against Sweden Getty Why does he have Dele on his shirt?The England midfielder dropped ‘Alli’ from his jersey more than two years ago.When he was 13, he moved out of his family house to live with his friend and fellow MK Dons team-mate Harry Hickford’s family.And he doesn’t feel any connection to the name Alli, having lived apart from his mum since since then.Dele’s mum suffered from alcohol problems and the Spurs man sees the Hickford’s as his adoptive parents.As a result, he has Dele on his shirt for both Spurs and England.last_img read more

Mythology students simulate underworld

first_img “Instead of a final exam, this is what we’re doing,” said Sharon Garvar, English and mythology teacher. “They’re teaching other students about the afterlife through mythology.” In one corner, where gluttony loomed, two girls with pillows stuffed under their shirts rolled around on the ground next to plates of pizza, chips and cookies, bellyaching that they ate too much. Their cries later rang true. During the two-hour performance, the teens had devoured the pizza, cake, pork rinds and some other food on display and complained that they were too full. Nearby two boys battled with swords, each lash representing violence. Next to them, a thief in black lay on the ground like a corpse and then lunged at those who innocently thought so. SANTA CLARITA – Welcome to hell. The voyage through the underworld began with that greeting as teenagers stepped inside the dark and chilly classroom, amid screams, lost souls and one filthy Satan. It was an interactive lesson created by Academy of the Canyons High School students as their final project for their mythology class. In this case, students told the story of “Dante’s Inferno” and depicted scenes from hell through handmade scenes set up around the classroom. Allen Pobirs, 17, played the role of Satan, condemning people who passed by. He pawed at a bowl of messy ribs to simulate eating a person. With barbecue sauce smeared across his face, he explained how he used a computer-assisted drafting program to lay the floorplan for the event. He said students chose him to be the devil, because he’s larger than most on campus, standing at 6 feet tall and weighing about 180 pounds. “I really do think everyone likes seeing this part. The gnawing on ribs, burping and being disgusting,” he said, looking at the barbecue sauce slathered up to his elbows. The Greek underworld was in full swing across the way. Dressed in a green toga, Brit Benjamin, 16, led students through her group’s version of hell. Three judges decided one pleading soul’s fate while another person lay in a coffin. Two fog machines created an eerie atmosphere. The mythology students began working on the project in October, dividing into departments such as construction, costume, art and research. They hit Halloween sales to save money on props and dug through their closets looking for anything else that could fit the design ideas they visualized. Garvar said students came up with the theme of hell on their own and only came to her for help on small details with their projects. Typically students in her mythology class make booths and dress in costume for the final project. Wearing a hooded velvet cloak, Ashley Mathis, 16, guided her peers through the underworld. Her mother that morning helped with her makeup, streaking silver and brown eye shadow across her eyelids to make her look like death. Creating the set summed up what she learned in class this semester and was a great way to teach others about it, she said. “I think it was a good way to tell about what we learned,” she said. “It was a much better way than just putting up some posters.” About 200 students attend Academy of the Canyons, a high school for juniors and seniors on the campus of College of the Canyons. Sue Doyle,(661) 257-5254sue.doyle@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Women’s Basketball Defeats Evansville, 66-39

first_imgStory Links Photo Gallery (Donahue) Drake (20-5, 12-1 MVC) overcame early shooting woes to shut down the Evansville attack after halftime. Senior guard Sammie Bachrodt (Wichita, Kan.) tallied a season-high five steals to lead the defensive effort, along with 11 points. Junior guard Becca Hittner (Urbandale, Iowa) totaled five assists to go along with seven points, six rebounds, and four steals. Junior forward Brenni Rose (Shawnee, Kan.) added 13 points, which is her most through 13 conference games. The Bulldogs got off to a shaky start, but Rhine kept the game close by scoring the team’s first seven points. On her second basket of the game, Rhine surpassed 1,500 career points. Both teams struggled shooting the ball early, especially from beyond the arc. Drake made just 1-of-its first 12 three-point attempts, and the Aces went 3-of-13 in the first two quarters. The Bulldogs will be back in action Sunday at 2 p.m. to take on Indiana State in a rematch of the team’s nail-biting 70-68 victory over the Sycamores Jan. 25. It will be the program’s annual Alumni Game. Print Friendly Version HTML Box Score Indiana State 2/24/2019 – 2 p.m. Preview Buy Tickets Live Stats Praise 940 ESPN+ Full Schedule Roster At the halftime break, Drake led, 28-26, after the two teams traded threes in the final seconds of the period. Rhine totaled 10 points and five rebounds, both of which were game-highs at the break. Evansville outpaced the Bulldogs in points off of turnovers, 11-3, on 11 Drake turnovers.center_img Photo Gallery (Heuer) Evansville continued to struggle from the field, making just three shots in the fourth quarter. The Aces’ 13 points are tied for the third-fewest points in one half allowed in the team’s history. Neither team scored in the last three minutes of regulation and Drake held onto a comfortable lead to close out the game. Watch Live The Aces were led by Marley Miller who had team-highs in rebounds and assists, with seven and three, respectively. Miller also added eight points which were second to Brooke Bishop’s 10 on 5-of-10 shooting. PDF Box Score The Bulldogs came out of the halftime break with defensive intensity, holding the Aces scoreless for the first six minutes of the third quarter. In the third, Evansville scored just three points on eight shots. The three points are the fewest Drake has allowed in a quarter since the NCAA made the switch to quarters in 2015-16. The 39 points are the fewest scored by an opponent this season. Next Game: DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University women’s basketball team defeated Evansville, 66-39, Friday night in the annual Pink Game presented by Mercy One. The win marks five-straight 20-win seasons for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs were led by redshirt junior forward Sara Rhine (Eldon, Mo.), who finished with a game-high 16 points and pulled down eight rebounds.last_img read more

Plant Evolution: Where’s the Root?

first_imgTo Darwin, the origin of flowering plants was an “abominable mystery.”  Recently, some entries on Science magazine’s blog Origins have claimed the mystery has been solved, at least partially, and a full solution is near at hand.  Here is a great test case for evolution.  Angiosperms comprise a huge, diverse population of organisms.  There should be an ample fossil record, and many genes to decipher.  Let’s see if the optimistic claims are rooted in evidence. Beginning to make sense:  Elizabeth Pennisi wrote for the April 2 blog entry that recent discoveries are “beginning to make sense” of the fossil record of plants, and evolutionists are finding out “how, and when, flowers got started—and from which ancestor.”  The blog entry is a summary of her lengthier essay in Science.1  In the short version, Pennisi concluded with a taste of doubt: “Questions still remain, particularly about the nature and identity of the angiosperm ancestor itself,” she said.  But hope reigns eternal after 150 years: “modern botanists are hopeful that the abominable mystery is well on its way to being solved.”Good news, bad news:  In the lengthier article,1 Pennisi began with a praise for the fantastic angiosperm family that so colors our world.  Almost 9 in 10 plants are angiosperms.  They do a world of good:In 1879, Charles Darwin penned a letter to British botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker, lamenting an “abominable mystery” that threw a wrench into his theory of evolution: How did flowering plants diversify and spread so rapidly across the globe?  From rice paddies to orange groves, alpine meadows to formal gardens, prairies to oak-hickory forests, the 300,000 species of angiosperms alive today shape most terrestrial landscapes and much of human life and culture.  Their blooms color and scent our world; their fruits, roots, and seeds feed us; and their biomass provides clothing, building materials, and fuel.Then came the hard news:And yet this takeover, which took place about 100 million years ago, apparently happened in a blink of geological time, just a few tens of millions of years.    The father of evolution couldn’t quite fathom it.  Darwin had an “abhorrence that evolution could be both rapid and potentially even saltational,” writes William Friedman in the January American Journal of Botany, which is devoted to this “abominable mystery.”  Throughout his life, Darwin pestered botanists for their thoughts on the matter, but they couldn’t give him much help.    Now, 130 years later, evolutionary biologists are still pestering botanists for clues about what has made this plant group so successful, as well as when, where, and how flowers got started–and from which ancestor….How can Pennisi bounce back to optimism after that?  She did.  She claims new analytical tools, more fossils, and genomic data are converging on the answer, providing “insights that Darwin could never have imagined,” diluting the abominality quotient of his mystery.  After this buildup of hope, though, better prepare for another letdown. But one of Darwin’s mysteries remains: the nature and identity of the angiosperm ancestor itself.  When flowering plants show up in the fossil record, they appear with a bang, with no obvious series of intermediates, as Darwin noted.  Researchers still don’t know which seed- and pollen-bearing organs eventually evolved into the comparable flower parts.  “We’re a bit mystified,” says botanist Michael Donoghue of Yale University.  “It doesn’t appear that we can locate a close relative of the flowering plants.”It seems the major abominations remain: no ancestor, and no intermediates.  How can Pennisi call this progress?  She investigated some candidate ancestors: magnolias, Amborella trichopoda, water lilies, and Archaefructus (05/03/2002, 02/21/2003).  Each of these, however, had the basic flower-and-seed equipment down.  The only differences were in petals, sepals, and subjective judgments about morphology, such as one species said to have “a primitive look about it.”  And, woe for Archaefructus, it turned out to be too young to be grandpa.  For all the candidates, “These fossils often spark debate because specimens tend to be imperfectly preserved and leave room for interpretation,” she said.  But new techniques with synchrotron radiation are at least bringing the ambiguity into better focus.    The rest of the article presented more problems.  No one has found the oldest flowers.  No one can connect the gymnosperms (including conifers) with the angiosperms.  Even when they try, “These groups’ perceived relevance to flower evolution and their relationships to angiosperms have ping-ponged between camps, depending on how the evolutionary trees were constructed.”  Theories have waxed and waned in credibility.  An evolutionary botanist admitted, “figuring out what’s homologous is quite a difficult thing.”  A popular “anthophyte hypothesis” from the mid-1980s is dead.  Prepare for more letdown:And if the molecular work is correct, then the field doesn’t know in which direction to turn, because in most analyses the genetic data don’t place any living plant close to angiosperms.  The angiosperms group together, the living gymnosperms group together, and there’s nothing in between.  “The nonangiosperm ancestor just isn’t there,” says paleobotanist William Crepet of Cornell.  “I’m starting to worry that we will never know, that it transformed without intermediates.”Since that is tantamount to believing a miracle occurred, Pennisi didn’t want to linger on that comment.  Her next paragraph turned a corner with a triumphant-sounding subheading, “Seeds of Success.”  More bad news, though, was right behind it.  “The exact timing of the angiosperms’ explosion and expansion is under debate, as is the cause,” she continued.  The news has only gotten worse.  Recent molecular clock studies push the angiosperm ancestor even farther back in time.  “There appears to be a gap in the fossil record,” said one researcher.  An astute observation, indeed.  Bang: they appear, and bang: they diversify.  Better call daddy again: “Darwin suspected that coevolution with insect pollinators helped drive diversification, though such a causal relationship is not settled.”    So far Pennisi has not presented one solid foundation for optimism.  Genes didn’t help.  Fossils didn’t help.  Homology didn’t help.  The molecular clock didn’t help.  Why not just assume evolution?  That would get the uncooperative data out of the way.  Maybe plants were just really darn good at inventing things, the evolutionists might say.  Angiosperms evolved because they evolved flexibility that could exploit new ecological niches.  This “set them up for long-term evolutionary success,” Pennisi explained.  She quoted Peter Crane (U of Chicago), who said, “My own view is that in the past, we have looked for one feature,”says Crane.  Now, “we are realizing that this huge diversity is probably the result of one innovation piled on top of another innovation.”  Assume evolution.  Then evolution just happens.    The rest of the article offered nothing more of substance.  A few more suggestions were offered as tentative, heuristic possibilities.  Evolutionists have found that the genetic toolkit is conserved [i.e., unevolved] all the way back.  Maybe there were differences in how genes were employed.  Avocados, for instance, appear sloppy at differentiating between petals and carpels.  Is this a sign of a less-evolved plant structure?  “This sloppiness may have made development flexible enough to undergo many small changes in expression patterns and functions that helped yield the great diversity in floral forms,” she said, as if running an idea up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes.    This was the lengthiest article on angiosperm evolution this month, but it consisted of pessimism sandwiched between optimistic hope.  After 29 paragraphs of despair, the only thing left was faith, hope, and love for Darwin. In his letter to Hooker, Darwin wrote that he would like “to see this whole problem solved.”  A decade ago, Crepet thought Darwin would have gotten his wish by now.  That hasn’t happened, but [William] Crepet [Cornell] is optimistic that he and his colleagues are on the right track, as analyses of various kinds of data become more sophisticated.  “We are less likely to go around in circles in the next 10 years,” he says.  “I believe a solution to the problem is within reach…. The mystery is solvable.”Pennisi update:  A week later, Pennisi wrote a blog entry in Origins announcing that land plant genes have been found in green algae.  This pre-announced the Micromonas genome story reported here 04/13/2009.  Any support here for angiosperm evolution?  No; “No bigger than a bacterium, these minuscule marine eukaryotes have surprisingly sophisticated genomes,” she said.  Problem: this early, “primitive” algae contains genes only found previously in leafy plants.  Those supposedly evolved hundreds of millions of years later:Overall, the Micromonas genome is about 21 million bases long, with 10,000 genes, 2000 more than its much more streamlined relative, Ostreococcus, which has already been sequenced, twice.  About 20% of the genes found in Micromonas but not in Ostreococcus are genes generally thought to have evolved only in land plants, not earlier, her team reports.  For example, the team finds that Micromonas has a gene called YABBY, which is missing from other green algae and even moss, and is thought to be related to the development of leafy plants.  Given that leaves don’t exist in these algae, she thinks YABBY must have played another role early in green eukaryotic evolution.Make like a leaf:  The April 15 entry by David Dilcher in the Origins blog took another angle.  Many of the plant fossils thought to have living counterparts may actually be extinct species.  Improved microscopic techniques are leading some paleontologists to discount the similarity of fossil plants to extant species, even though the macroscopic similarities are striking.  It’s not clear how this helps the story of angiosperm evolution, but Dilcher repeated the Darwin-Hooker story to set the stage.  Darwin’s oft-quoted “abominable mystery” phrase “represents Darwin’s frustration with the paleobotanical record of his time.”  How are things now?    “With the study of detailed leaf venation and leaf epidermal cell characters, it is clear that many of the earliest flowering plants represent extinct species, extinct genera, extinct families, and perhaps even extinct orders,” he said, referring to a paper of his from 1974.  “This paradigm change has caused a revolution in the study of fossil flowering plants which only in the past 40 years has begun to present a realistic record of extinct flowering plants.”  Realism is always nice to have in science.  Presumably it went missing till the 1970s.  But does the new wave of realism shed light on the abominable mystery of flowering plants?  Dilcher offered a paradigm shift that might give Darwin something to smile about (for a change):The success of early paleobotanists depended upon making such matches.  It has taken a philosophical shift in angiosperm paleobotany in order for researchers today to strive to understand relationships between fossil and living plants, based upon detailed characters, rather than feeling the need to find a living genus to which they can name a fossil.  Using character analyses, we now have an emerging new fossil record of flowering plants with many extinct taxa that would have delighted Darwin.  This new record is one he could have understood because it demonstrates the evolution of flowering plants, a major group of organisms on Earth.  We do not yet know all the details, but there is no longer any “abominable mystery” to the origin of flowering plants.Let’s attempt to restate this argument.  Look-alike plants from the past may have gone extinct.  Now we have new look-alike plants.  All of them, old and new, have the whole angiosperm package and appear virtually indistinguishable to the untrained eye.  Dilcher didn’t mention any ancestors, or any transitional forms.  It seems Darwin’s delight at this suggestion would be short-lived.Let’s back up to an earlier epoch and see if evolution does better there.  The first land plants are thought to have colonized land in the mid-Ordovician, but trilete spores, characteristic of vascular plants, appear in the late Silurian.  In today’s issue of Science,2 Steemans et al announced their discovery of trilete spores from the late Ordovician.  This “suggests that vascular plants originated and diversified earlier than previously hypothesized, in Gondwana, before migrating elsewhere and secondarily diversifying.”  Placing complex structures earlier in the fossil record does little to help evolutionary theory, because it compresses the time for innovation.  Notably, they did not discuss how their find helps evolutionary theory.  They hardly discussed evolutionary theory at all.  (Compare a similar story with fossil fish from 03/26/2009.)1.  Elisabeth Pennisi, “On the Origin of Flowering Plants,” Science, 3 April 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5923, pp. 28-31, DOI: 10.1126/science.324.5923.28.2.  Steemans et al, “Origin and Radiation of the Earliest Vascular Land Plants,” Science, 17 April 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5925, p. 353, DOI: 10.1126/science.1169659.Not every reader will want all this tedious detail, but it’s important for showing how the Darwinist tricksters ply their propaganda.  Lack of data has been shielded behind hope: hope in hopeful monsters, like gymnosperm seeds that sprout flowers, and bryophyte spores that sprout vascular systems.  The story is full of miracles (“innovation piled on top of another innovation”) ad infinitum, as if by magic.  They rub their Darwin genie and wish for ancestors and transitional forms that never appear.  They curse the abominable mysteries under their breath, smiling to the media they are really close to solving them.  The only abominable mystery is evolutionary faith.  The only hope-full monsters are the Darwinians.(Visited 55 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

New planetarium opens in South Africa

first_imgCelestial bodies, planets, stars, moons, comets, asteroids – these wonders of space have become more accessible to children. The Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Joburg has opened a new planetarium, a result of a co-operation agreement between the Department of Basic Education and China.“We want them [students] to learn as much as they can from this planetarium,” said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. “The importance of learning about these is mainly how they affect our own planet and its inhabitants currently, and how they could affect it in future.”She opened the planetarium on 7 March.Official opening &visit to the #Planetarium #SciBono #SAChina @Lesufi @DBE_SA @ElijahMhlanga pic.twitter.com/gmtWaPslxF— Gauteng Education (@EducationGP) March 7, 2016The agreement between the department and China covers curriculum development and implementation; science, technology and mathematics education; teacher training and development; vocational education and training; and research and development to improve training.Learning MandarinThe minister also said the process of formalising policy to teach Mandarin at South African schools was advanced.“I am happy to announce that 2 000 textbooks will be donated by the Chinese government to assist in teaching Mandarin in schools until a South African textbook is developed,” she said. “We are also looking at establishing e-learning classrooms for the pilot schools teaching Mandarin.”There are currently 14 schools teaching the language.See South Africa school children sing in Mandarin:Listen 2 PTA School 4Girls sing in Chinese #Planetarium #SciBono #SAChina @Lesufi @DBE_SA @ElijahMhlanga @BodibeOupa pic.twitter.com/R4SVb9q7p8— Gauteng Education (@EducationGP) March 7, 2016Official hand over of 2000 Chinese textbooks @Lesufi @DBE_SA @ElijahMhlanga #Planetarium #education pic.twitter.com/AGUapQYneq— Gauteng Education (@EducationGP) March 7, 2016Source: South African Government News Agencylast_img read more

Fred Brownell and the creation of the South African flag

first_imgBrand South Africa’s new Play Your Part TV series, to be aired on SABC2 from Sunday 15 June at 9pm, features an interview with Fred Brownell, heraldry expert and designer of South Africa’s beloved six-coloured flag. We bring you the remarkable story of Brownell’s development of the flag back in early 1994, when the country was teetering between civil war and – the ultimate outcome – a nation united under one flag.Fred Brownell, the man who designed South Africa’s national flag, with Kabelo Mabalane, kwaito star and the host of Brand South Africa’s Play Your Part TV series, in a still from the show. (Image: Brand South Africa)• Brand South Africa+27 11 483 0122info@brandsouthafrica.comThis is an excerpt from Flying With Pride: The Story of the South African Flag, published by WildNet Africa with text by Denis Beckett. In February 1990 Fred Brownell, the state herald of the Republic of South Africa, was busy lending a neighbourly hand to the about-to-be new nation of Namibia with the design of its national symbols.This was soon after Nelson Mandela had been freed from prison and the African National Congress was unbanned.Fred detected that a new identity would soon be coming up for this own country too. He started turning options round in his mind.For three years he sought a theme for a new South African flag. He selected and de-selected half the colours in the kaleidoscope. He wrestled with one design after another. But he never quite got to the point of crying Eureka!Watch the preview of the first episode of Brand South Africa’s TV series, Play Your Part, airing on SABC2 on 15 June at 9pm:Fred was in a different position to the average amateur flag-designer, who would typically think of designing a flag in the same way as you might design a dress or a poster or a packet. He knew the ground rules.For instance:You must have light colours in between dark ones. Otherwise, when your flag is printed in black-and-white, or viewed from afar, it looks like a blur.You must have a design that people can more-or-less draw. They needn’t get it exact (or the Union Jack would have been a terrible flop) but if they can’t get the essence there’s a problem. The more twirls and curves you give them the more trouble you’re asking for.Getting ambitious, with birds or animals or artworks, is a no-go. Aside from the drawing problem you’re inviting cynics (well supplied in any country at any time) to turn your eagle to a cow or your lion to a tortoise. Whatever “political” colours the nation may have, you’d better be sure to show either none of them or all of them.You can’t rely on the wind blowing. The fatal temptation of flag design is to focus on the full-out flag. Much of the time it will in fact hang limp from its post. You want it to be recognisable then too.Light blue backgrounds get lost against the sky, white backgrounds get scruffy fast, and any hint of subtlety turns to mystery at the top of a flagpole.Flying the flag at Mangaung Stadium in Bloemfontein, Free State, during South Africa’s 2010 Fifa World Cup. (Image: Brand South Africa)Fred also had a solid comparative background, which came in doubly useful in an arena where veering off the straight and narrow meets booby-traps on both sides. For instance, you want the world, including the majority who will only know your flag exists if you win an Olympic medal, to perceive your flag as a flag. You don’t want them to mistake it for a supermarket bag or an escapee from a gallery of modern art.But you don’t want them, either, to confuse it with anyone else’s flag. This is an aim that is often not met. Colombians and Ecuadorians need great eyesight and much practice to tell their flags apart. Were the occasion to arise that Poland, Monaco and Indonesia occupied three adjoining flagposts you’d rub your eyes and wonder if someone slipped something in your coffee.So it’s handy to know that more than half the world’s 193 national flags are horizontal stripes; that a fifth have vertical stripes, a 10th have crosses, another 10th have a central device like the classic Japanese red disc on a white background, and so on.Fred also set out to combine the conservative European flag tradition with the bolder and more colourful African approach, and, of course, to convey the right theme. But the theme wouldn’t come.After three years of thinking it over with no answer in sight, Fred was becoming “somewhat despondent”. Then he went to Zurich for the 1993 International Congress of Vexillology.One percent inspiration, 99% perspiration. Fred Brownell’s earliest thoughts for South Africa’s new national flag were sketched on the back of a programme during a slow evening at the 1993 International Congress of Vexillogy in Zurich, Switzerland. (Image: Flying the Flag)Vexillogy is used to being taken, by the few laypersons who meet its name at all, as the study of why people get vexed. It is, in truth, the study of flags (from, yes, Latin – vexillum = flag) and as with any academic studies its congresses have their duller moments. On the night of 25 August 25 1993 Fred was hungry, tired, and distracted, and fell to doodling. But what he doodled was not just the normal circles or bricks or spiders hanging from the corner of the page. He doodled an idea, on the back of the congress programme.Evolution in progress: Fred Brownell’s initial Zurich design, based on the idea of the convergence of South Africa’s peoples into one nation, was tweaked and changed until everyone was either satisfied or too tired to argue any more. (Image: Flying the Flag)The idea was convergence and unification. “You can say now that it is obvious. But for three years it hadn’t been obvious.” Fair enough. The wheel, too, doubtless became obvious the moment that somebody had invented it. The more Fred looked at his representation of convergence and unification, the more he thought, “That’s it.” He started experimenting with colours, adjusting dimensions, exploring variations, and generally refining the convergence theme.On 7 September that same year the Negotiating Council at the World Trade Centre in Kempton Park appointed a National Symbols Commission to invite public flag submissions, choose a short-list, and present a report. The commission’s short life was not a happy one. The “old” and “new” members experienced little of the inter-personal thawing which was wreaking miracles in other areas of the negotiating process. The time-frame was outlandish – public entries closed on 13 October and the commission was to report on the 19th.For Fred Brownell there was an extra problem. He was appointed to the commission. Being a part of the jury he could not also be a contestant. He did not submit his idea, but in his private time he did keep refining it.On 14 October the commission met. It had received some 7 000 flag designs, which if pasted on the walls at 50-centimetre intervals would mean 3.5 kilometres of walking. The commission had from 11am to 4 pm to decide on six designs for submission to the negotiating council. Precisely how such disdain came to be visited on the 7 000 contributors is a matter of dispute. What is beyond dispute is that a thorough assessment was out of the question: the commission selected its shortlist and within days presented these to the negotiating council and, almost simultaneously, to the media.Response was immediate and unhesitating, from both the council and the public. A mass “no thanks” reverberated throughout the World Trade Centre, where the negotiations were being held. The same sentiment, with a high quotient of caustic epithets, echoed from Beit Bridge to Cape Point.The commission, having fulfilled its mandate, retired hurt.The negotiating council swapped to the opposite tack.The public hadn’t delivered, what about professionals?A selection of graphic design studios were asked to try their hands at flag design, in a hurry. History repeated itself. The negotiators said “no”, politely. The public said “no”, less politely.“Hope you voted” by Flickr user Darryn van der WaltTime was pushing. The negotiating council had other concerns. At the end of 1993 the constitution of democratic South African appeared. What appeared where the design of the flag was supposed to be described was, instead, a naked cop-out: “The national flag of the Republic shall be the flag the design of which is determined by the President by proclamation in the Gazette.”Meanwhile, Fred Brownell was still tinkering with his idea, which had moved steadily onward from the original Zurich doodle. Colours changed, for instance. At one stage there was green at the top and blue below, with red in the middle. Fred imagined critics placing sarcastic constructions on the red paths converging. He upgraded the green to central status.And the red…? This was a thorny one. Red, a strong and striking primary colour, was here in a shape hitherto unknown. There was something very right about that. But red was also full of problematic meanings. Red meant blood, for one thing. To interpret it as blood that has been spilt – the price of the convergence – could be poignant and moving. But one didn’t want to open the way to the cynicism about blood-letting to come. Moreover, red was communism’s colour. Whatever ultimate judgement posterity might pass on communism, it was a philosophy associated with unusually strong feelings for and against. Fred had his brightest vexillological inspiration so far: turn the red to chilli red, the half-orange red, and score two in one.Let those who choose see Marx’s red. Let those who choose see 342 years of symbolic orange continuity. Fred also brought yellow. Yellow was commonly perceived as representing gold, or the nation’s mineral wealth, and green and gold were (obligingly) both South Africa’s sporting colours and two of the main colours of the liberation movements.The casket of Nelson Mandela draped in the South African flag during the legendary statesman’s funeral in Qunu, Eastern Cape, in December 2013. (Image: GCIS)Along the way he did that sensible thing we all do when we have a bright idea. He checked it out with his family, and made further changes – when, for example, his youngest daughter pointed out that one vision of the design, turned on its side, looked like the “ban the bomb” sign. Fred adjusted it to a Y.In February 1994 the negotiators, now statutorily the Transitional Executive Council (TEC) returned to the flag. By now they knew when the flag was going to fly – 27 April. But they didn’t know what flag would fly. There wasn’t as much as a hint or a clue or an agreed avenue to further pursue. A technical committee was appointed with Fred Brownell as convenor. It had a simple brief: find a flag, within a week. The committee met in Cape Town on February 28 1994. The feeling was what was that unity, interlinking or convergence should be the theme. Input came from several quarters and within two days four designs had been prepared – two of these based on the Zurich theme.At this very delicate stage in the whole transitional process the designs were presented to the negotiating parties for behind-the scenes consideration. To have any chance at all, at least one of them needed to enjoy tacit support before formal submission to the TEC for its verdict. Fred had two white lines. They were there as a design feature, to separate dark from dark, but some people would see white as representing white people. If so, there had to be black too. Thus did what had so far been a yellow triangle become a yellow collar on a black triangle, and this is the flag that, after consultation, was to be laid before a TEC meeting on 15 March.Watch Wavin’ Flag by K’Naan, the official song of South Africa’s 2010 Fifa World Cup:By March of 1994 the TEC’s members were heartily sick of all-day political horse-trading. They were weary, and agreeing on issues that a few months earlier would have caused major rows. But they were also flag-wary, after two false starts. It was almost as if they were waiting for a Vision from Above, something that was at first sight so blindingly perfect that they would be relieved of all doubt.Was Fred’s design that thing? We will never know. People are not computers, impervious to chance. We are susceptible to happenstance. That is our strength. All we can know is what did happen. The TEC meeting was to be held in Pretoria; supposedly at 2pm. Fred arrived early and gave the flag, a full-size version, to Roelf Meyer, the government’s chief negotiator. Roelf said he would take it to his ANC counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, and asked Fred to wait around in case there were any questions.This was a closed meeting: no press. It was also a delayed meeting, finally by four hours. When the discussion on the flag was finally due to start, there was an unused chair in front of one delegation. Fred took the chair, overheard the members of the delegation talking, and realided that these were hereditary chiefs from the QwaQwa homeland – one of the less vociferous of the many components of the TEC, and one of the more neutral, especially since they only had observer status.Fred, a Free State farmer’s son from way back, greeted in seSotho. The chiefs were as surprised as is customary to find a pale person speaking seSotho. Hands were shaken and discussion occurred. The chiefs were intrigued to hear about the flag, and wanted a sneak preview. Fred had a small paper version still with him, and surreptitiously displayed it. The chiefs asked about colours, meanings, patterns, and as talk went on they warned – perhaps to what they were seeing, perhaps to a friendly white homeboy who spoke seSotho. Then order was called and the session began.Roelf and Cyril took the floor and showed the flag. There was an agonising silence as the TEC peered at the multi-coloured cloth, cautiously, uncertainly. Fred had a sinking feeling: were they going to veto this one too.Just in the nick of time, enthusiastic clapping broke out. It broke out in one particular corner, the one occupied by the QwaQwa chiefs. It spread, and soon the clapping grew to a crescendo. The flag was in business: the TEC, whether displaying great efficiency or great exhaustion, had accepted it there and then. Then it was off to the assembled pressroom. As Cyril and Roelf positioned themselves to present the flag to the world, Roelf remarked that he and Cyril were holding the wrong sides. Cyril looked. Indeed, he was holding the stripes; Roelf had the black triangle. They changed places, and the cameras whirred. Thereby was expressed a slim but penetrating slice of symbolism.Six colours that helped unite a nation.Was this new society to mean all South Africans as equal citizens regardless of race? Or was it really a merging of nationalisms, and perhaps, like so many mergers, a takeover in disguise? For the first but not last time it appeared that there were fundamentally different ways of seeing the flag. For some, it was joyous, lively, exuberant, a riot of colour on which everyone had an identical claim. For others it was the green, yellow and black of the ANC overlying the chilli-red, white and blue associated with the past.Having instantly adopted the flag, the TEC inexplicably took four of the six remaining weeks before the election to ask the state president to officially legalise it, causing cardiac arrest among the nation’s flag-makers. Meantime, the Bureau of Heraldry was flooded with queries about design, colour codes and symbolism.To those who asked Fred stood firm, explaining that the only international symbolism was convergence and unification, represented by the V starting at the left, coming together in the centre, and proceeding as a horizontal band to the end. For the rest, the colours were just colours, recognising both the flags which had flown in the past and the realities of the present. Still, as he concedes, there is no copyright on the way people perceive their flag. The public was entitled to attach, as it did, whatever meaning it liked to the colours, and to maintain, as it still often does, that the blue ought to be on top “for the sky”.“What mattered,” he says, “was that the flag would find its way into the hearts and minds of the population at large, and became a unifying symbol.”Which is what the distracted sketch made on the back of a programme at a congress in Zurich has indeed done.Compiled by Mary Alexanderlast_img read more