Dinosaurs Placed in Big Tree

first_imgDinosaurs didn’t take advantage of the big rise in diversity at the end of the Cretaceous, say British researchers.  Their big “supertree” of dinosaur evolution shows that the dinosaurs were just evolving at a regular speed while flowering plants, social insects, birds and mammals were evolving like crazy.    Science Daily and New Scientist were among popular media reports that printed the supertree diagram and stated the claim without question.  An examination of the original paper,1 however, shows something interesting:In order to obtain a well-resolved tree, we undertook some post hoc taxon pruning where poorly constrained species, producing unacceptably high numbers (more than 5000) of equally probable supertrees, were removed.  Choosing a tree for diversity analyses was based on overall supertree support.In fact, numerous subjective decisions were made to come up with the supertree.  The authors had to decide which fossils qualified as distinct species, for instance.  They also ran various tree-building software programs and had to decide threshold values for agreement: e.g., “To enforce MIX to run a compatibility analysis, the threshold parsimony option was set to 2.  One hundred heuristic searches were performed, and characters were weighted (as described above) using a specifically generated weight file.”  Subsequent paragraphs show even more subjectivity.  Here is one selection from the “Materials and Methods” section, to give a taste of the tweaking behind the result.  Some definitions of terms were added in brackets.Phylogenetic shifts in diversification were detected using SYMMETREE v.  1.0 (Chan & Moore 2005).  Analyses of tree shape are biased when a group is paraphyletic [composed of some but not all members descending from a common ancestor], as a particularly speciose clade (in this case, birds) is represented by a single terminal (Archaeopteryx).  A modification was thus required in order to account for the absence of birds.  Although it was not feasible in the present contribution to include all birds, a hand-drawn phylogeny of the better-known Mesozoic taxa (72 species in total) was inserted at the node subtending Archaeopteryx +Jinfengopteryx, effectively making the tree a Mesozoic time slice.  (This placement of Jinfengopteryx is based on the original description (Ji et al.  2005), but more recent analyses, e.g. Turner et al. (2007), have placed it within Troodontidae.)  Polytomies [divisions into three or more parts] were treated as soft, with the size-sensitive ERM [equal-rates Markov] algorithm set to perform 10000 random resolutions per individual node and 1000000 random resolutions for the entire tree.  Internal branches within the phylogeny on which diversification shifts are inferred to have occurred were identified using the Delta-2 shift statistic.  This process was repeated for time slices of the whole tree as described in Ruta et al. (2007) to avoid violating the ERM model.The tree was also fitted to the geological time scale, which assumes the very evolutionary story that the researchers were trying to discern.  Then, they added missing data (a kind of oxymoron), or “ghost ranges,” to get a smoother result:Ghost ranges, minimal basal stratigraphic range extensions implied by the geometry of the phylogenetic tree, indicate missing fossil data, and allow us to correct diversity profiles for the group through the Mesozoic and to compare diversification rates, the proportional change in observed species richness as a function of time, at different points (figure 2b, solid line): note how the addition of ghost ranges smoothes the curve.  In particular, peaks in observed diversification rate in the Norian and Campanian-Maastrichtian (bins 3 and 12) are greatly reduced when ghost ranges are introduced.  This is a minimal correction that does not take account of unknown taxon ranges before the first appearance of the older of a pair of sister groups.  In addition, this correction does not address possible upward range extensions.  However, peaks in the earliest, Middle and Late Jurassic are still observed after introduction of ghost ranges (figure 2b, dashed line).Did anyone ask whether selective judgments in software settings and subjective decisions about which species to include and exclude would generate reliable inferences about an unobservable past assumed to be over 100 million years ago?  Could this kind of tweaking be guaranteed, instead, to reproduce the authors’ own biases?    The authors did try to correct for some known biases, such as sampling error.  They also discussed uncertainties that are hotly debated among evolutionists, such as whether diversification typically occurs early in a radiation or not.  “The fossil record of continental vertebrates is clearly patchy, with large temporal gaps between sampling horizons.  The seriousness of sampling bias is debated,” they also granted.  Even so, they had to admit, “It follows that the fluctuations in diversification rate may not necessarily reflect evolutionary signal, and these must be tested rigorously.”    When all was said and done, after repeated rounds of tuning the knobs, the signal that dinosaurs did not take part in the alleged “Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution” was weak.  The popular science articles, though, reported it as a discovery of science.1.  Lloyd, Davis, Pisani et al, “Dinosaurs and the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution,” Royal Society Proceedings B, 0962-8452 (Paper) 1471-2954 (Online), DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2008.0715.You have just watched professional divination in action.  What these scientists did has no more relation to the true history of the world than the tea leaves in a fortune-teller’s bowl reveal about the origin of tea plants.  This is pure hocus, foisted on a gullible public under the guise of science (i.e., knowledge).  We provided detailed quotes from the paper to reveal how the trickery is done.  You don’t have to understand the jargon.  Just look at how subjective it is.  Why do the popular media publish the bottom-line claims of these wizards as if knowledge has just been gleaned from the world?  This is nothing but Darwinist imagination masquerading as scientific research.    Notice how the project was saturated with evolutionary religion from start to finish.  The fossils (admittedly scanty) were first placed into the millions-of-years evolutionary story.  This step has already been falsified by the discovery of soft tissue in dinosaur bone, bringing the millions-of-years assumption crashing down (see 04/26/2008).  Unabashed by that inconvenient fact, the authors continued their vision quest by borrowing other published evolutionary-diviner chants and spells.  It’s only polite, after all, to reference one’s sources.  Then they used Darwin-divination software.  They selected only the tea leaves and lighting guaranteed to support their story.  They published their resultant horoscope in a Darwin-divination journal, then handed it to the Darwin-inebriated press to herald to the unwashed masses.  A colorful image of the Magic Supertree Diagram was displayed to lend an air of mystical authority to the announcement.    All these shenanigans are designed to create a sense of numinous awe in the public consciousness.  Readers are supposed to bow down and confess that the diviners possess The Wisdom of The World, and that they are to be heeded instead of those wicked, nasty, evil, insane Creationists who proclaim a different message: that the complex bodies of birds, mammals, dinosaurs and insects reveal design, not chance, and that mythical “Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolutions” are incapable of forcing undirected matter to invent complex organs and functions.    Get wise to the tricks of the wizards.  This is not science.  It’s not even magic.  It’s deception.  The deceivers who believe their own lies are the most to be distrusted.(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Statement: Department of Energy condemns attacks on foreign nationals

first_imgSouth Africa’s relationships with our sister African countries have allowed us to electrify more than 6-million households since 1994, such as these homes in the township of Vosloorus. (Image: Lebogang Lekwae) The Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson and her deputy, Thembisile Majola, join President Jacob Zuma in strongly condemning the current attacks on non-South Africans in parts of our country.• Download the Department of Energy media statement in PDFThe Department of Energy reminds all South Africans that it is imperative that we stand together to build and develop our continent. To achieve this, the department is already working with a number of countries on the continent to improve energy capacity for all Africans.Among these potentially transformative and life-changing projects is the Great Inga Hydropower Scheme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which, when complete, will produce power for Southern Africa Development Community countries such as South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, Namibia and Angola over the long term.Sasol, a major South African energy company, currently accesses gas from fields in neighbouring countries, providing energy for South African industries and households, and sustaining thousands of South African jobs.Most of the crude oil used in South Africa is imported from other African countries, such as Nigeria and Angola.More than this, South Africa also has long-standing reciprocal energy-production relationships with our neighbouring countries, from whom we procure both electricity and the water needed to run our power stations.South Africa’s relationships with our sister African countries have allowed us to electrify more than 6-million households since 1994. Today, the government has a programme of action to reduce the backlog of connections and remains committed to connecting all households to an electricity supply.“Our common African history and bonds of fraternity and unity is what gave impetus to the liberation struggles of South Africans,” said Joemat-Pettersson. “We treasure this history, and call on all South Africans to embrace our brothers and sisters and, to condemn attacks on foreign nationals in all its manifestations.”Issued by the Ministry of EnergyFor more information, please contact: Mediadesk@energy.gov.za Tel: 012 406 7481last_img read more

SQL Injection Hacker Attacks Are On The Rise. Here’s How To Defend Your Servers

first_imgdan rowinski 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Last week, a hacker group claimed that it breached computer systems at 100 major universities. Team GhostShell gained access to servers at Stanford, Harvard, and the University of Michigan, among others. The technique used, SQL injection, is not new or complex, but reportedly it’s becoming increasingly common. Here’s a quick guide to defending your servers.Basic BasicsWe asked researchers at security firm Sophos to explain what an SQL injection is and how it can be stopped. Before launching into that, though, for laymen, here are a couple things you need to know about an SQL injection before learning how to stop one.SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It is an international standard for interacting with databases. Statements in SQL can retrieve, insert, create and otherwise change data in a database. Code injection is a technique used by hackers to exploit vulnerabilities in a website. “SQL injection is an old, well established method of attacking systems,” said Sophos threat researcher Fraser Howard. “It consists of inserting malicious SQL statements into an application to cause it to perform some undesirable function.”Mechanics Of An AttackUndesirable action sounds nasty. What does it mean exactly? Here are a few examples:Dump table (i.e., return a dump of the entire contents of a database table). This is a great way to steal data. Could be used to gain access to a system (dump admin password, then access the system etc.)Drop table (delete table contents). Destructive. Attackers do not necessarily gain access to the data, but they can break the system. Data may be irretrievably lost.Modify table. Insert additional data into the database table.Basically, once a SQL injection has its hooks in your database, it can do whatever the heck the malicious hacker behind it wants. Steal your data (most commonly), delete your data, change your data. “Imagine a website where page contents are stored in a database,” Howard wrote. “When you browse the site, the database is queried, and the page shows you whatever information is relevant. For example, a shopping site. You search for carrots, it queries the database and gets the price. The page you view displays this price.” A malicious hacker using SQL injection could download the store’s entire stock list, wipe it out, and/or change all the prices (or any other category of information).One further problem with SQL injection not related to theft: Hackers can change the query instructions for a Web application. So instead of the application querying its own server and obtaining information, the query can be sent to a server of the hacker’s choice. This can lead to malware infecting a user’s computer. Scary stuff, huh?How To Defend Your ServersAccording to Howard, defense against this type of attack is all about the Web application that is the door to the server. Protect that application and you protect the server. In theory, at least. Most organizations likely will remain vulnerable to a dedicated, sophisticated hacker no matter what they do. Not all hackers are so single-minded, so it makes sense to be prepared. Here are the steps Howard recommends to defend against SQL injection attacks:Secure programming. Design applications securely from the start. SQL injection is not new, and there are many books and online resources to help developers build applications that are secure against this attack. The most common vulnerability is an application that doesn’t sanity-check user input such as data entered into Web forms. If the input is not checked, an attacker can use such forms to inject malicious instructions.Firewalling. This does not replace secure programming. However, it can add a layer of defense in front of your Web server. Web application firewalls can help to block most attacks.Many organizations are vulnerable to SQL injections because they outsource their Web application development, rush production, test poorly and take little regard for security. “Recipe for disaster,” Howard said. “Lots of easy targets out there.”In security, the guidelines are usually pretty simple: Take your time, factor security into everything you do, and use common sense. Security might seem like the boring part of what you do, but if you do not pay attention to it, there is a hacker just waiting to break into your databases and steal, destroy, or alter your data. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#biz#security last_img read more

Money Monday

first_imgBy Dr. Barbara O’NeillWhat are some types of scams that have defrauded military families?Many types of scams are targeted toward military families. Some examples include fake insurance policies, affinity fraud investment scams (i.e., scams that target people with a common bond), the sale of used cars with questionable titles, predatory loans, work-at-home schemes for military spouses, and door-to-door sales of burglar alarms, new roofs, and home repairs. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.An example of a typical fraudelent email.Urge military families to check out unfamiliar products and services and to investigate the background of salespeople (e.g., investment advisors) who are urging them to make a purchase. Some fraudsters wear fake military insignias in an effort to bond with military families and establish an aura of trust. Pitches to spend money quickly or “lose out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” are particularly suspect and should be avoided. Browse more military personal finance blog posts and webinars by experts.Follow Dr. O’Neill on Twitter!This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network Blog on July 1, 2013last_img read more

Shahabuddin acquitted of triple murder

first_imgRJD leader Mohammad Shahabuddin was acquitted on Monday by a Jharkhand court in a triple murder case, involving a railway contractor and a Youth Congress leader 28 years ago, due to lack of evidence.Shahabuddin, now in Tihar Jail in Delhi in connection with a double murder in Siwan, was produced before the court of Additional Sessions Judge Ajit Kumar Singh here through video conferencing. The triple murder had taken place at Jugsalai here in 1989. An FIR had been lodged against unidentified persons based on the statement of Brahmeswar Pathak, bodyguard of murdered Pradip Mishra, the then East Singhbhum district Youth Congress president.But Shahabuddin, a member of the national executive of the RJD and a four-time MP of the party from Siwan in Biahr, was later made the accused in the case along with eight others in the killing of Mishra, railway contractor Anand Rao and his associate Janardhan Choubey. Pathak and K.T. Rao, an aide of the railway contractor, had been injured in the incident.While four of the accused were killed in police encounter and gang rivalry, the other four were acquitted by the court for lack of evidence in 2006 barring Shahabuddin, who did not appear before the court. Altogether nine eye-witnesses, including two doctors and an investigating officer were examined in the course of the trial, no evidence could be established against Shahabuddin and he was acquitted.last_img read more

PBA is here to help its players on and off court, says Willie Marcial

first_imgPBA Commissioner Willie Marcial. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMANILA, Philippines—Call it revolutionary or not but the PBA took a step in helping players not only take care of their physical bodies but also their mental health.During the league’ Players’ Orientation Friday at Meralco Theater, PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said his office opened its doors to any player in the league who wants to have an avenue in regards to maintaining his mental health.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town LATEST STORIES US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes Marcial said the league’s motto for the 2019-2020 season of “Laban kung laban” isn’t just about basketball but also about the whole well-being of the players.“Our theme ‘Laban kung laban’ isn’t just about basketball, this also pertains to your studies, whatever you’re going through your life, even in your love life,” said Marcial in Filipino.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption charges“We will fight with you when you’re depressed so that theme also applies to the players’ mental health.”Marcial added that the Players’ Orientation wasn’t just for the athletes’ education on handling finances and making sure their future is in good shape, it’s also about presenting themselves to the public especially to the younger generation that look up to them. PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Now FEU’s No. 2, Lycha Ebon channels inner Bernadeth Pons to lead team to victory “For me it’s a big thing for players to present themselves well in public because they’re essentially role models for the younger generation,” said Marcial.The Players’ Orientation was technically a crash course for the league’s athletes in how to dress in public and how to handle their finances once their playing days are over.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes Private companies step in to help SEA Games hostinglast_img read more