Bacteria to the Future

first_imgBacteria used to be considered so boring, they were passed over by scientists eager to look where the action was: eukaryotic cells.  That was then.  Now, Nature reported,1 the little rods and spheres and spirals have lots of tricks up their sleeves worth investigating.  “Long dismissed as featureless, disorganized sacks, bacteria are now revealing a multitude of elegant internal structures.”  These include spiral skeletons (“sophisticated internal structures that give them shape, and help them grow and divide”) and actin-like motors that control magnetosomes (iron-containing structures) that give bacteria a sense of direction.    Until recently, bacteria appeared to have featureless interiors, even when viewed through electron microscopes.  New techniques, particularly cryo-electron tomography, are disclosing wonders that were previously invisible.  The discovery by Jeff Errington in 2001 that bacteria do indeed have a cytoskeleton was “one of those few times in a scientific career when you do an experiment that completely changes your way of thinking.”  Errington imaged filaments of tubulin wrapped around the inner wall of the cell like the stripes on a barber pole.  One theory is that the scaffolding “tells the cell wall’s enzyme contractors outside the cytoplasm where to lay new bricks” (see 01/16/2003).  The filaments and associated proteins are also involved in quality control during cell division, and help organize the magnetosomes into sensory organs.    Eukaryotic cells themselves were assumed by 19th century biologists to be featureless blobs of protoplasm.  That view, of course, changed dramatically throughout the second half of the 20th century.  History seems to be repeating itself with respect to the tinier cells that comprise the most numerous life forms on earth: “For more than a century, cell biology had been practised on ‘proper’ cells – those of the eukaryotes (a category that includes animals, plants, protists and fungi),” Ewen Callaway wrote.  “….Hundreds to thousands of times smaller than their eukaryotic cousins, and seemingly featureless, bacteria were rarely invited to the cell biology party.”  These discoveries about “simple” bacteria are helping to change that.  “We know very little,” said Dyche Mullins [UC San Francisco].  The discovery of the cytoskeleton proved that “There was a lot of organization in bacterial cells we were just missing.”  The field is just now opening up after decades of neglect.  “There’s a lot of unexplored biology,” he said – and this article didn’t even touch on the subject of the bacterial flagellum.1.  Ewen Callaway, “Cell biology: Bacteria’s new bones,” Nature 9 January 2008 | Nature 451, 124-126 (2008) | doi:10.1038/451124a.  Also published on [email protected] cognitive dissonance in this article was worth noting.  Throughout the text, scientists were admitting how little they know about bacteria – and this is with millions of the little cells right under their noses, in real time, in the present.  But then, right in the middle of the article, a just-so story was inserted about a mythical past that would be unobservable even in principle:As cytoskeletons evolved, they took on new chores and snowballed in complexity.  At some stage after eukaryotes branched off from bacteria, the eukaryote cytoskeleton seems to have frozen in time.  From yeast through to people, its proteins do many of the same jobs, such as towing sister chromosomes to opposite ends of a dividing cell or making sure the endoplasmic reticulum nestles up against the nucleus.  More complex eukaryotes might use actin to flex muscles and keratin to make hair, but those tasks are variations on a theme.    Not so with bacteria, says Mullins.  Actins that determine cell shape work differently across the bacterial world, and some rod-shaped bacteria, such as tuberculosis, don’t even have them.  Due to their vast numbers and unicellular lifestyle, “bacteria can play around with fundamental mechanisms for doing things in a way that eukaryotes can’t”, he says.This is how the Darwinians get away with calling evolution a “fact” (see next entry).  They simply declare it a fact and treat it as if it were a fact.  Those only makes sense if f.a.c.t. stands for Fictional Account Creatively Told.  It doesn’t have to actually be a fact in the old-fashioned sense.  As long as everyone is trained to think it is a fact, the Darwin Party can remain in power, the trains run on time and there is peace in the streets.    The downside is that people’s minds are enslaved to a myth and science suffers.  Did Darwinian assumptions hold back progress in bacterial biology?  Arguably so.  According to the Darwinian mindset, bacteria were just primitive, featureless blobs, till new techniques revealed what is really going on.    A design-theoretic biology might have motivated a different approach.  For an organism to be this small yet maintain all the functions necessary for life, there must be incredible nano-engineering and miniaturization going on inside those cells.  Let’s find out.  Maybe we can even learn some principles that can help us with our micro-engineering questions.  The evolutionary paradigm is revolting.  Time for a design revolution.(Visited 21 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

How Darwin Storytelling Permeates Society

first_img(Visited 574 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Everywhere you go, you get Darwin Just-So Stories. You can’t travel or read the newspaper without them.The BBBB (Big Brother Bearded Buddha) is the totalitarian dictator of science. His doctrine is never questioned. Whatever you observe in nature, “it evolved” according to the Stuff Happens Law (i.e., natural selection). No alternative explanations are ever given a hearing, because they have all been expelled. When society’s doctors, teachers, park rangers and tour guides have all been steeped in the teachings of Charlie & Charlie (i.e., Lyell & Darwin) since their youth, that’s all they know. They have also been trained to mock ‘creationists’ and Darwin doubters vehemently in knee-jerk fashion. Just look what happens whenever a politician meekly professes belief in God as Creator. The BM (Big Media) go nuts in mockery of anyone who does not bow the knee to BS (Big Science) that, despite its creationary origin, has sold out to Darwin. For a politician, it could be a career-limiting move.Few are the reporters who can look at a Darwin just-so story logically, and show that it is just silly.Here’s a recent example from a local Sunday paper (30 Sept 2018). A reader asks a question, and a local Darwin priest (in this case, Keith Roach, M.D., a contributing editor to the paper) is ready with his storybook. There is always one answer: Whatever exists, it evolved. Even in the case of private parts, no intelligent design can be claimed.There is a question that has intrigued me for years: What is the purpose of underarm and pubic hair? I guess, for that matter, what is the purpose of any body hair, and hair on your head?ANSWER: Hair provides protection from the sun, and regulates body temperature. Many evolutionary biologists believe our distant ancestors began losing most body hair when we began walking upright.Axillary (underarm) and pubic hair are thought to be conserved [against natural selection] because they reduce friction, wick moisture away from the skin, and provide a small degree of protection and as part of sexual selection, possibly due to pheromones, hormones that act outside the body to attract others.Notice that the reader asked about the purpose of something. Does Darwinism know anything about purpose? The doctor acknowledges several good functions for hair, but attributes them all to evolution. Why not thank our Maker, that He thought of everything for our comfort? Oh, but that would be religious! That would be a denial of science! Silence! Bring in the “evolutionary biologists” bearing the imprimatur, and let them give the official ‘scientific’ version of what happened. The priests of Darwin close their eyes, envisioning deep time. They see unknown apes turning into humans, climbing out of the trees. The beings stand upright. Their hair falls off. At least, most of it falls off. Darwin has been vindicated again!How silly is Dr Roach’s story? Let us count the ways.How do you get purpose out of a purposeless process?What does walking upright have to do with loss of body hair? Nothing. Naked mole rats crawl underground. Pigs have very thin body hair, but walk on all fours. Meerkats stand upright often, but have body hair all over. Humans actually have body hair almost all over their skin, even on the smooth parts, but much of it is short, thin, and nearly invisible (vellus hair).Gorillas spend little time in the trees. Why didn’t they lose their body hair, if this is a law of nature?Why would blind evolution not ‘conserve’ the very thing—hair—that regulates our body temperature and provides protection from the sun?Because of the ‘cost of fitness,’ every hominid who kept its body hair had to die.If hair loss was a consequence of human evolution, why do males have beards and more body hair than females? Are they less fit?What hairy female hominid would date a naked male? Wouldn’t she think it was weird? She would be repulsed by the freak.Is reducing friction so vastly important to human life as to require the death to all who lacked axillary and pubic hair?How many women are attracted to underarm BO?If underarm pheromones attract mates, why do we use deodorant?Dr Roach, please list all the mutations that were selected in this change from full hair to limited hair.If loss of body hair is such a good thing, why haven’t all mammals evolved into naked forms by now?Who cares what “many evolutionary biologists believe”? How many did he ask?Is Dr Roach aware of the criticisms of sexual selection among evolutionary biologists themselves? (e.g., 30-Jan-2016).Why not invite critics of Darwinism into this explanatory exercise?This is not an exhaustive list by any means. If a list like this were given print space in the newspaper, people would laugh out loud at the Darwin story after thinking about it. Instead, it gets passed off to a vulnerable public as “scientific explanation” giving the world “understanding” – thanks to Charles Darwin, the BBBB.A little thought shows that an evolutionist could explain anything by the same storytelling method. He can appeal to the same ‘mechanism’ of natural selection (in quotes, because it is not a mechanism at all, but a post-hoc rationalization) to explain opposite things: full body hair, and nakedness. Darwinian explanations are vacuous.If you look at the actual functions of even these mundane realities, you would come to a drastically different explanation: that whoever made us took great care and concern for our pleasure. He reduced the chafing in parts of the body that see skin-on-skin contact. He wicked away moisture in those parts, too. He made the human sexes distinct, each beautiful in their own way, to be attractive to one another. Even small benefits that do not necessarily increase survival were provided for, showing evidence of a loving, caring Creator.Of interest to men: Have you ever noticed that the two testicles are asymmetric on two axes? One hangs lower, and one is a little farther from the body. This asymmetry appears to reduce collisions, which could cause discomfort or pain during running and other activity. The Darwinian explanation would have us believe that every male without these small adaptations perished until they became established in the population. Doesn’t it make more sense to see that our Creator thought of everything, even small things that don’t appear to affect survival? Remember that in Darwinism, every tiny beneficial change, down to the level of the fold in every protein, had to happen by accident. Think of the trillions of beneficial mutations that would have to occur out of nowhere. Each one, furthermore, would have to be ‘selected’ far enough to predominate in the entire population of evolving humans, or they would evaporate. Dr Roach tries to have it both ways. He wants gradual mutation and selection to cause every change from ape-like ancestors, but he wants other things to be “conserved” against Darwin’s inexorable force. Until enough people see the fallacies in Darwinian stories, and rise up and laugh out loud, the nonsense will continue.last_img read more

South African web use surges

first_imgThe report – “South Africa’s Exploding Internet” – states that the number of South African internet browsers increased by 121% in the last two years, from 1.8-million in May 2005 to 3.8-million in May 2007.Over the same period, the number of South African web page “views” grew by 129%, from 91-million to 207-million.Affordable internet connectivity has been boosted recently, with state-owned telecoms company Telkom offering ADSL and broadband, cellular operators like Vodacom and MTN offering 3G and HSDPA access, and other companies like Sentech and iBurst offering wireless broadband.South Africa’s second fixed-line network operator, Neotel, is expected to offer similar services once it becomes fully operational.“In terms of the number of people using the internet, the most developed markets in the Northern Hemisphere have seen a plateauing of growth over the last year or so,” says Nielsen/NetRatings analyst Alex Burmaster.“In contrast, South Africa has seen phenomenal expansion – growing by around 50% in each of the last two years.“This type of growth is, of course, something we have seen across all markets as the internet has taken hold and moves away from being a niche activity to a very mainstream form of media and an integral part of life.”African language potentialThe majority of South Africa’s internet population speaks English, and the vast majority of South African online content is English.However, while the South African internet is experiencing huge growth in this area, Burmaster believes the opportunity for future “hyper-audience” growth lies in targeting African language speakers.English is generally understood across South Africa, being the language of business, politics and the media, and the country’s lingua franca. But it only ranks joint fifth out of 11 as a home language.According to the 2001 census, isiZulu is the mother tongue of 23.8% of South Africa’s population, followed by isiXhosa at 17.6%, Afrikaans at 13.3%, Sepedi at 9.4%, and English and Setswana each at 8.2%.Nielsen/NetRatings’ research report made the following findings on the demographics of South African internet surfers:SA’s internet population is split 54% male (2.15-million people), 45% female (1.79-million people)At 1.42-million people, South Africa’s 25- to 34-year-olds are the most dominant age group, accounting for 36% of the country’s online population – closely followed by 35- to 49-year-olds (1.37 -million: 35%).English is the dominant language – being the home language of around 2.10-million online South Africans (52% of SA’s internet population). Afrikaans follows at 1.11-million (28% of SA’s internet population).Burmaster says South Africa’s internet population is more concentrated around 25- to 49-year-olds than is the case in other English-speaking internet countries.“In South Africa this group makes up around 70% of the internet population, compared to less than 50% in the UK, around 45% in Australia and 40% in the US,” he said.last_img read more

County fairs find relief in Clean Air Bill

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Kolt BuchenrothOhio House Bill 6, dubbed the “Clean Air Bill” passed out of the House of Representatives yesterday with a vote of 53-43. The act deals primarily with power generation and the creation of a clean air fund. However, the bill has a provision that will relieve Ohio’s county fair’s of nearly half of their electricity bills, said Representative Don Jones (R-Freeport).“The problem is that county fairs are on a demand rate. Basically, they pay their electric bills for the week of the fair, but then they have to pay for what it costs to generate that power for the other 11 months. Typically, it’s double what that electric bill is for that one week,” Jones said.Representative Jones cited the example of a fair that used $20,000 in power for the week of the fair. Utility companies, Jones said, were charging fairs $40,000 over the other eleven months of the year to maintain their equipment to provide that much power.Jones, who represents Ohio’s 95th house district, was drafting legislation to fix the issue when House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) found the provision to be a priority.“This has been a problem for several years. There have been meetings held with Farm Bureau, there have been meetings with the utility companies with no end in sight. I was drafting legislation when the speaker and I had talked about it. [Speaker Householder] took it upon himself to put this into the bill to make it happen,” Jones said.Before taking office, Jones served for 18 years on the Harrison county fair board, nine of which were spent as the board’s president. He recognizes the unique challenge that agricultural societies face.“They’re going to break small county fairs. Financially, it’s  very difficult for small county fairs to pay that demand. Fairs don’t complain about what they use the week of the fair for electricity,” Jones said. “They have a problem with is what they’re paying the other 11 months of the year when they don’t have a fair.”Jones noted that the initial reaction from county fairs around the state has been positive.“They were very pleased. It’s going to save a lot of county fairs a lot of money. Running a county fair is a tough enough job as it is. We deal with weather. We have one week out of the year that we put all of our effort into and three, four, or five days of rain could ruin a whole year’s worth of planning,” he said. “The reaction we’ve had so far has been very positive. They were excited because it’s going to allow them to do things and make upgrades to their  fairgrounds and put that money back into the fair and the community where it belongs.”Howard Call, Executive Director of the Ohio Fair Managers Association praised the legislature for the bill’s passage.“The Ohio Fair Managers Association is pleased that the House of Representatives favorably passed HB 6,” Call said. “Among many provisions, the bill offers protections to Ohio’s fairs from unfair demand riders. We were happy to offer our support in the effort to passed HB 6 and look forward to the Senate process.”The bill now moves across rotunda in the Statehouse for the Senate’s evaluation.last_img read more

Sanity Check on an Unvented Roof Assembly

first_imgMapping out the roof assembly for a new house in Climate Zone 6B, Steve Mackay has settled on long I-joists insulated with a mix of closed-cell spray polyurethane foam and blown-in fiberglass. He doesn’t plan on venting the roof, and he wants to be certain his design will be problem free. Here’s what it looks like: 14-inch I-joists with 5 inches of closed-cell foam sprayed on the underside of the roof desk. The balance of the insulation will be fiberglass (Mackay wants to use the BIBS system) with no interior vapor barrier. In all, he gets R-67 in the roof cavity, with R34 coming from the foam, and R-33 from the fiberglass. Mackay has read an article on the topic by GBA’s Martin Holladay, and he’s confident the assembly will work. With an inside design temperature of 68°F and an outside design temperature of 22°F (an average of the three coldest months of the year) and a relative humidity of 35%, the inside surface of the spray foam will be about 45°F. That’s well above the dew point of the air and safe from the threat of condensation.RELATED ARTICLESHow to Build an Insulated Cathedral CeilingA Researcher Looks at Insulated Roof AssembliesAll About Attic VentingAll About Vapor DiffusionCalculating the Minimum Thickness of Rigid Foam Sheathing “I’m very confident this will work well,” he writes in a Q&A post. “However, the ccSPF [closed-cell spray polyurethane foam] is expensive and the insulation contractor suggested using 2 inches of ccSPF under the roof deck and then using ocSPF [open-cell spray polyurethane foam] to get the R-value I’m looking for.” The assembly would be cheaper than Mackay’s original plan. But does this change his calculations on where the first condensing surface is? And with the change, does the risk of condensation inside the assembly go up? That’s where we start this Q&A Spotlight. Don’t reduce the thickness of the closed-cell layer Citing research by the Building Science Corporation, Brendan Albano cautions that the ratio of closed-cell foam to open-cell foam should be the same as it would be for closed-cell foam to blown-in fiberglass. “So,” he writes, “for Climate Zone 6, my understanding is that you would still need 50% of your R-value to be in the ccSPF regardless of if the layer below is ocSPF or BIBS in order to comply with the code requirement in table R806.5.” The reason that the open-cell foam doesn’t count as an “air impermeable” insulation for code purposes is a code provision specifying that any air impermeable insulation “shall be a Class II vapor retarder” in Climate Zones 5 and up. Yes, but take in mind the rest of the language in that passage, adds Jon R: “…or shall have a Class II vapor retarder coating or covering in direct contact with the underside of the insulation.” Meaning, that a smart-retarder such as CertainTeed’s MemBrian would satisfy the requirement. Jon R also suggests that reversing the order of the insulation–spray the open-cell foam first, then add a 2-inch layer of closed-cell foam to act as the vapor retarder–would allow the assembly to meet code. Another option, he adds: 6 inches of recycled EPS with 2 inches of closed-cell foam, then the balance filled with fiberglass. Reduce spray foam as much as possible Add some rigid insulation and reduce the amount of foam you need, says Akos. “If you don’t need the full 14-inch depth to support your span, you might be able to save a bit by going with cross purlins and some rigid insulation above,” he suggests. If Mackay were to use 11 7/8-inch I-joists instead, he could add 2×3 purlins on edge with 2 1/2-inch-thick polyiso between them. Then, he could reduce the spray foam to about 3 inches. “For lowest cost, it’s is best to design spray foam completely out,” he adds. “Go with a vented roof or unvented with exterior rigid insulation. Spray foam should be the last resort.” Go ahead and vent the roof Mackay, in fact, needs the full 14-inch I-joists because of the long roof spans. Given that’s the case, Dana Dorsett suggests that he include a 1 1/2-inch air gap under the sheathing then install 12 1/2 inches of half-pound open-cell foam. That would yield about R-46 at center cavity, he says, but the assembly would still meet the IRC code minimum on a U-factor basis because I-joists have much less thermal bridging than rafters made from dimensional lumber. Plus, this assembly uses less polymer than 3 1/2 inches of closed-cell foam and would protect the roof deck effectively, Dorsett says. “If a minimum R-49 at center cavity is a must,” he adds, “0.7 lb foam would deliver R-50 at 12 1/2 inches and still uses less polymer than 4 1/2 inches of 2 lb. foam.” If the ceiling is going to be finished with gypsum board, a half-inch layer of foil-faced polyiso between the drywall and the I-joists would bring the assembly up to the code minimum on an R-value basis when using the half-pound open-cell foam. “There isn’t much financial rationale to going better than code-min performance with that roof assembly,” Dorsett says. “The difference in performance between an open-cell R-49 and the more expensive hybrid unvented R-67 using closed-cell foam delivers less energy value than spending the upfront cash cost on rooftop PV solar.” When a roof valley becomes an issue By adding chutes to the flanges of the I-joists, Mackay would create the 1 1/2-inch ventilation gap below the roof sheathing. Spraying the underside of the chutes with closed-cell foam and filling the remainder of the cavity with open-cell foam is one approach. Another, which Dorsett advocates, would put the vapor impermeable layer to the interior of the assembly. But in this particular case, venting will be a problem because the design calls for a long valley. “Yes, a valley is a problem,” Dorsett says. “That makes it effectively impossible to vent unless the gap is much deeper than the TJI flange, and vent holes can be drilled in the TJI webs to allow air to flow parallel to the beam (on both sides) at the bottom of the valley. “Valleys in low-slope roofs (vented or unvented) are also a terrible idea in high snow load areas,” he continues. “Even on higher slope roofs valleys become snow-traps.” Mackay notes that he didn’t want any valleys in the roof, but between his architect and a couple of builders was talked into it. “That’s the roof I have,” he says, “and so I’m stuck with it now.” If that’s the case, and venting is not possible here, what’s the best approach? Dorsett suggests that the most economical approach is an R-49 assembly consisting of 4 inches of closed-cell foam (the type with an HFO blowing agent to lower greenhouse gas emissions) followed by 5 1/2 inches to 6 inches of half-pound foam. That gets the assembly to R-49. “Don’t even bother filling the remaining 4 inches,” he adds. “Use it as your electrical chase … Take the cost savings from that and apply it elsewhere. The difference in energy use would be more than covered by spending that money on an expanded PV array, but there may even better bang/buck elsewhere in the design.” Our expert’s opinion Here’s how GBA Technical Director Peter Yost sees it: Steve Mackay has a 2.5:12 roof pitch on his project so with or without what happens to venting in roof valleys, recent building codes only allow unvented roof assemblies for pitches 3:12 and greater (IRC 2015 Section R806.5.2.7). PETER YOST NOTE JUNE 28, 2019: This is an incorrect statement yet left intact so that the comments below make sense. In my recent Wingnut testing of ridge vents (see posts here and here), roof pitch does seem to make a big difference for roof ventilation driven by both stack effect and wind. I am seeing more and more complex, low-slope roof assemblies on new homes in cold climates — particularly combined with no rake or eave overhangs. While this is good for the building investigation business, it’s just not a good mix from the moisture management side of things. Having said that, an airtight ceiling lid for low-slope, unvented roof assemblies is critical, so both Albano’s and Dorsett’s assembly recommendations are dead-on. See the illustration and table below from the Building Science  reference cited by Albano. I have two additional cautions: Spray foam is the only building product we manufacture on our job sites, and you have to get the chemistry right. For more on that topic, see this article from Building Green: “Foam-In-Place Insulation: 7 Tips for Getting Injection and Spray Foam Right.” Measure and manage interior relative humidity in the winter. Keep it at or below 35% (at a reference temperature of 68°F).last_img read more