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Teen gets president’s award for volunteerism

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first_imgLA MIRADA – Volunteerism for 17-year-old Justine Rosenberg of La Mirada started seven years ago when her cousin was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. But it didn’t end there. Rosenberg, a senior, has spent the past four years at La Mirada High School giving her time to help poor families, or going to middle schools to help educate students about the dangers of drugs. Now Rosenberg has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. The award is well deserved, said Oscar Diaz, founder and adviser for the high school’s Positive Alternatives Outreach Club, who also nominated Rosenberg for the award. “She’s just a leader,” he said. “She puts everything together. If we have something going on, I can depend on her. She strives for nothing short of perfection.” Rosenberg joined the Positive Alternatives Outreach Club as a freshman and is now the club’s chief executive officer. She also belongs to the school’s Key Club and is the senior-class representative on the school’s Girls League. Rosenberg has sung Christmas songs at school assemblies, talked to middle school students about not using drugs, delivered baskets of toys to the low-income families, and worked at pancake-breakfast fundraisers. Principal Don Jones said she is the epitome of the student volunteer. “She’s always trying to help,” he said. Rosenberg said she started volunteering after her cousin’s diagnosis. “It’s really been tough on the family, but it’s inspired me to try and do everything I can,” she said. Her father, Lon, became involved in the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Justine followed right along. “We have walks and stuff for the association. I was 16 when I became a counselor at muscular dystrophy camp, where you’re assigned a camper for a week. I really kind of dove right into it,” she said. When Rosenberg entered high school, she joined the two campus service organizations. She also has performed in several plays and also was varsity song captain this year. Somehow, she manages to easily fit volunteerism into her school schedule and other activities. “I have a little black book. It’s my calendar that tells me where I’m supposed to be,” she said. “It’s tough and I’m tired a lot. But I just keep smiling. “I feel that one of my purposes in life is to give back to those who aren’t as blessed as I am,” she added. Rosenberg said she would like to attend USC after graduating later this year. She wants to become a psychologist or a psychiatrist. “I would be still helping people,” she said. “That’s when I’m happiest – helping others.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022160Want 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

No, These Findings Do Not Support Evolution

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first_img(Visited 729 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Evolutionary Biology: A New Home for the Powerhouse? (Current Biology). In this Dispatch article, Ryan Gawryluk has some bad news to share. Contrary to a long-held belief, “mitochondria do not descend from within Alphaproteobacteria, as typically thought, but from a still undiscovered sister lineage.” Once again, we see evidence that contradicts evolution, and yet evolution itself is never questions. This author comes close, though. The take-home quote from this paper is where Gawryluk says,The study presented here is certain to spur significant discussion, controversy and further research; but perhaps above all it highlights the power of species discovery in questioning evolutionary dogma. Our understanding of microbial life is heavily biased towards easily cultured organisms, and species associated with human health and disease. Yet, most microbes are refractory to laboratory culture, and exist in environments that are foreign to us. High throughput — and low input — sequencing technologies are dramatically enhancing our capacity to reconstruct high quality genomes from microbial communities and single cells. And in one stroke, Martijn et al. have expanded a relatively well-studied class of prokaryotic life, and challenged a widely held view on mitochondrial origins. This work will not represent the final word on the provenance of mitochondria, but it does emphasize that mitochondria may have been forged in the undiscovered prokaryotic majority, of which there is much left to explore.Mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cells, are the home of ATP synthase—the incredible rotary engines used by all life that creationists tout as an icon of intelligent design.If you think for a minute that the Darwinians will repent of their sins, ditch their dogma and explore non-Darwinian explanations for these observable facts of the world, you don’t yet fathom the grip of their materialistic belief. Evolutionary biologists keep giving Darwin credit for discoveries that actually militate against his theory.Cross species transfer of genes has driven evolution (Phys.org). Darwin’s theory relies on random variations that are naturally selected and inherited – not on existing genetic information from outside. What, pray tell, does this article have to do with evolution? It says, “Far from just being the product of our parents, University of Adelaide scientists have shown that widespread transfer of genes between species has radically changed the genomes of today’s mammals, and been an important driver of evolution.”How did genetic parasites overcome natural selection for billions of years? (Phys.org). In this article, Lisa Zyga wonders how parasites could have evaded natural selection for billions of years.The discovery that genetic parasites are so ubiquitous and abundant is one of the many surprising findings in the field of genomics, but many questions remain unanswered. One of the most basic questions is simply how genetic parasites have managed to persist for so long, despite the evidence that they are harmful at evolutionary timescales. Typically, natural selection results in deletions of harmful genes, so the main question is, why hasn’t natural selection wiped out genetic parasites?In a new study published in EPL, researchers Jaime Iranzo and Eugene V. Koonin at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, have found that horizontal gene transfer may be one of the keys to understanding the persistence and spread of genetic parasites over evolutionary timescales.In the end, Zyga rescues Darwinism with a very un-Darwinian mechanism: horizontal gene transfer. That is the sharing of existing genetic information, not the creation of new information. But innovation from molecules to man requires the creation of new genetic information. So why are we told that these evolved? She doesn’t even bring up the point that some “genetic parasites” like transposons may actually be mislabeled. Some are finding important functions in these assumed “junk” (non-coding) regions, suggesting they are beneficial parts of the genome, not parasites.How do jumping genes cause disease, drive evolution? (Science Daily). Similar to the above article, this one poses a puzzle to evolution, yet gives credit to evolution. “Jumping genes” have been a puzzle for evolutionists since they were discovered more than six decades ago. Why must we assume they evolved? If they are harmful and cause disease, why has natural selection not removed them in hundreds of millions of years? Why are we told that Carnegie Institute’s findings “are likely to be important for understanding mammalian evolution and disease as well”? Why is that likely instead of a non-Darwinian explanation? Why not look for a function in these mysterious regions of the genome that have the ability to move around?How lizards got their big feet (Nature). The editors of the world’s leading science journal hold this just-so story up as an example of “natural selection in action,” but it’s really a story about the elimination of lizards, not the creation of new traits. Just like some people have bigger feet than others, some Caribbean lizards have bigger toes than others. The ones with smaller toes get swept off the islands in hurricanes.Serendipity can go only so far. The researchers hadn’t marked the lizards, so they couldn’t identify and track the fate of individuals. But they found clear trends of natural selection in action. In general, anoles found after the storms had bigger toepads, longer forelimbs and shorter hindlimbs than did lizards collected before the storm.The scientists further showed their misunderstanding of Darwin’s theory by blowing existing modern lizards with leaf blowers! Of course some individual lizards would be able to hang on longer than others. But do you really think the scientists watched lizards evolve longer legs? They didn’t prove anything about evolution except the bias of Nature to promote any silly story that sings praises to Darwin.How California’s sea stars are evolving past a devastating pandemic (Phys.org). As in the prior story, this one shows no evolution. Some sea stars were able to outlive a devastating pandemic. But the survivors did not invent any new information. They are not only still sea stars, they are ochre sea stars – members of the same species. Where is the “origin of species” in this tale? Yet the reader is told, “It provided scientists with a natural experiment in evolution and an opportunity to explore how a species responds to a cataclysmic population collapse.” Darwin’s tree is not going to grow by lopping off branches.Solving the cave shrimp mystery: Geology and evolution in action (Phys.org). Shrimp that live in caves have lost eyes and pigment. How many times must reasonable people say that Darwin cannot win by losing? There’s no upward progress here; the cave shrimp in this story are still shrimp of the same kind as before. “Living fossils” are the opposite of what Darwin needs!“Typhlocaris species are ‘living fossils’, remnants of an ancestor shrimp species that existed in the ancient Tethys Sea, millions of years ago“, explains Dr. Tamar Guy-Haim, lead author from GEOMAR and National Institute of Oceanography in Haifa, Israel. “They have survived since then under isolated conditions in a unique ecological system, cut off from the external environment”, Gy-Haim continues.Eye evolution came easy for simple sea creatures (Nature). Observation: eight unrelated groups of cnidarians (jellyfish, sea anemones and corals) have eyes. Conclusion: “They evolved.” Corollary: eyes must be easy to evolve. What? This is clearly an example of belief in evolution driving the conclusion in spite of evidence, not because of it. But with Darwin Flubber, evolution can accomplish any miracle:Among the descendants of that eyeless ancestor, at least eight separate evolutionary events gave rise to eyes, including some with lenses and others with simple structures called eye cups. At least two major types of cnidarian eye use different molecular systems for light detection, suggesting that different lineages co-opted ancestral genes independently to enable vision.Look at the illogic of this story: random mutations and natural selection have no power “to enable vision.” In Darwin’s view, there is no goal, no purpose, no plan. Animals did not “co-opt ancestral genes independently” in order “to enable vision.” They weren’t thinking about it. They weren’t even hoping it would happen. The story is equivalent to belief in miracles. The Popeye theory of evolution has returned: eyes just pop into existence somehow, and Darwin takes credit. Those who want to watch the blind lead the blind and hear all the details about which eye popped into existence where can read the graduate level just-so story in Current Biology. Don’t look for any mention of mutation or natural selection there, though, unless you want to get hit with a hard punch of reality.last_img read more

SA key as Africa moves centre stage

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first_imgClimate change and ‘biodiversity footprints’ It is fitting that Africa should play a key role in the search for a global trade-off on climate change, as Africa has the lightest carbon footprint of any region, yet stands to lose most from the impact of climate change. But there is a twist in the tail here. As the industrialised world focuses increasingly on management of the corporate carbon footprint, it may well be that the “biodiversity footprint” – which focuses on maintaining the balance in the entire eco-system – is even more relevant for Africa because of the greater diversity of species on the continent. It may therefore be a priority for African countries to re-consider their growth patterns in order to ensure the preservation of this diversity.Emerging market blocs China, South Africa, India and Turkey are now leading the way in the development of Africa, while traditional trading partners and investors – such as Britain, the US, France and Germany – battle to maintain their share of market. The new grouping of promising emerging markets known as the CIVETS – Columbia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa – already include two countries from the Africa continent. The rest will follow in time, starting with Mauritius, Namibia, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Senegal, etc. Africa is fast approaching the tipping-point, but it has not quite registered in the industrialised club of nations. South Africa’s position as voice and advocate of the African cause in the shifting sands of global economic power and institutional reform now becomes even more critical as it takes its place both in the BRICS and the UN Security Council.South Africa’s trade shifts east, south As the shift in global economic power gains momentum, South Africa’s trade is moving eastwards and southwards in what has become a clear pattern which both reflects the global trend and is helping drive it. It is no coincidence that since the beginning of 2010, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has paid his first state visits to India, Russia and China. In July 2010, Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva paid his first state visit to South Africa following a working visit by Zuma earlier in the year. There is no doubt in the minds of either China or African nations that Zuma is speaking not only on behalf of South Africa but the whole African continent on these trips abroad. Even the notion that the much smaller South African economy could join four mega-economies in BRIC would have been unthinkable a decade ago. While attending a UN conference on trade and investment in Beijing in mid-September 2010, South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said South Africa would prioritise China and India as export destinations of choice as these countries were now its biggest export markets. Two-way trade between China and SA reached R119.7-billion in 2009, surpassing the US as the country’s largest trading partner, according to South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry. South Africa’s exports to India reached R5-billion in 2010, while imports totalled R2-billion, in favour of South Africa, the department’s trade statistics show.South Africa and China The fundamental shift in South Africa’s trading patterns was also clear from statements made by Zuma during and after his state visit to China in August. South Africa, Zuma said, would look to China for investment in meeting its infrastructure projects, including transport systems, freight transport, renewable energy projects and mining. The agricultural sector and car manufacturing were also potential recipients of Chinese investment. In the past three years, while the pace of Chinese investment has been slow, it has been strategic and clearly paving the way for accelerated investment in the future. In 2007, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) bought a 20% stake in South Africa’s Standard Bank for R36-billion, making it China’s largest foreign investment to date. In 2009, China announced that the African headquarters of the China-Africa fund would be in Johannesburg. China has more recently invested in a South African platinum mine and a cement factory, and one of the most concrete agreements emerging from the state visit to China in August was the intention to build a high-speed rail link between Durban and Johannesburg. But the most consistent message that Zuma conveyed during his state visits to China and Russia was that South Africa wanted to learn from both countries on how to ensure high levels of beneficiation of South African mineral wealth, to ensure that the country was able to speed up development, create more jobs and roll back poverty. Zuma also stressed that South Africa needs to balance its trade with China to reduce the heavy deficit in China’s favour. He also foresaw co-operation between the two countries in reforming the global architecture and multilateral institutions. The growing relationship with China is seen both as a means to boosting South Africa’s global trade and of accelerating the development of the Africa continent. With its world-class financial sector, deep experience in African markets and an extensive corporate footprint on the African continent, South Africa is well placed to lead an African miracle similar to China’s achievement over the past 30 years. John Battersby is UK Country Manager of the International Marketing Council of South Africa. Yingni Lu is a London-based business development professional specialising in clean technology and renewable energy. She writes for the online magazine ReconnectAfrica 26 January 2011 There are periods in the dynamics of global power when the shift in trends is of such a scale that it is almost impossible to perceive the full impact of the moment. This was certainly the case with the phenomenal rise of China as a major global economic power. And it is happening again with the rise of Africa as a priority investment destination, as it moves into a similar position that China was in three decades ago, when that country began opening its economy to global forces. The key elements in China’s economic miracle have been an integrated market, special economic zones with incentives for foreign investors, and widespread reform of the agricultural system, which has freed up more labour for economic development. Africa is moving in the right direction on these key elements, but there are fundamental differences with China, and the evolution of Africa’s economic miracle will be different. China’s lifting of 400-million people out of poverty in the space of three decades, maintaining 10% gross domestic product (GDP) growth for three decades, the helter-skelter rate of urbanisation at almost 20-million per year, and now the unprecedented growth of the middle-class – mainly took the West by surprise.Africa: the reality-perception gap Africa’s greatest disadvantage is probably in the area of perceptions. The huge deficit between the reality of Africa and the Western media’s obsession with negative stereotypes of conflict, famine and failed states undermine the continent’s potential. The mainstream media has dominated the grand narrative for the past four decades, and through selective – rather than inaccurate – reporting has buttressed Africa’s negative trends at the expense of its potential. But the reasons why Africa’s growing potential as an investment destination should be conventional wisdom are multiple: In the past few decades, Africa has taken significant strides towards more democratic governance, more transparent economic systems and eliminating some of the more crippling bureaucratic barriers to trade and investment. Although Africa still falls far short of constituting an integrated market, the trend toward integration and more transparency is undeniable.The invitation of South Africa to become the fifth member of the BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – and the South African seat on the United Nations Security Council will ensure that Africa has a voice in all key global fora and will accelerate reform of the UN and global financial, developmental and trade architecture.The credit crunch and global economic recession have created a fundamental crisis of confidence in the international financial system, which has both removed any moral high ground that the Washington-consensus institutions had and opened the way for an ongoing review of the current architecture.The potential of Africa as an investment destination has been long recognised and supported both in terms of investment and soft loans by China – now the world’s second-largest economy – and with strategic investments from South Africa and rising economies such as India and Turkey.There is ample evidence of Africa’s potential to leap-frog constraints such as fixed-line telephones with the revolution of mobile technology in Africa. The next breakthrough will need to come in the field of energy and electricity provision. Africa’s hydro-electric potential could play a key role here.In a world where there is growing consensus that future wars will be fought over food and water resources – rather than territory or ideology – Africa is well-placed to play a key role with its huge water reserves and vast tracts of arable land.With a population approaching 1-billion, Africa represents the world’s third-largest market after China (1.3-billion) and India (1.1-billion) and is rich in largely unexploited mineral and natural resources.center_img South Africa played a key role in rescuing the 2009 climate change summit (COP15) in Copenhagen. There was enough progress at Cancun in Mexico at the end of 2010 to ensure that the next critical session of the COP17, in Durban in November 2011, could broker the breakthrough that world so badly needs.last_img read more

Fannie, Freddie Hold Firm on PACE Program Impasse

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first_imgIt’s final – at least to the extent any government agency’s pronouncement is final: homeowners who borrowed money through Property Assessed Clean Energy funding programs to pay for energy efficiency upgrades, including solar power installations, can’t refinance their mortgages without first paying off their PACE loans, according to guidance issued this week by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which underwrite most of the mortgages approved in the U.S.The ruling was announced on Tuesday despite several weeks of negotiations between the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie and Freddie, and advocates of PACE programs, which have been implemented in 22 states.The principal point of contention remains PACE liens’ super-priority status, which gives them priority over whatever private financing a homeowner may have, including a conventional mortgage. As we noted in a previous post, FHFA worries that these energy-related liens will further burden taxpayers if PACE-participating homeowners default on their mortgages. PACE loan obligations, however, are attached not to the borrower but to the property, with which they remain if the property changes hands. The loans have terms of up to 20 years.A sensitivity to riskBecause of the popularity of PACE in many communities and its potential to reduce long-term energy costs, the Fannie/Freddie ruling, which surfaced in an initial iteration in May, prompted consternation, disappointment, and, eventually, an outcry among many elected officials. A recent New York Times Green blog points out that pro-PACE arguments raised during negotiations, and in lawsuits filed by the state of California and the Sierra Club, have gone nowhere with the FHFA, whose acting director, Edward DeMarco, said in a letter to Representative Ed Perlmutter, Democrat of Colorado, that “PACE programs are implemented state by state and locality by locality without uniform standards for consumer protections and appropriate underwriting. FHFA found this particular initiative threatening to the safe and sound operations of its regulated entities and directed that appropriate steps be taken to address such risks.”Janill Richards, a California supervising deputy attorney general, indicated the state will maintain its adversarial approach to the FHFA ruling, telling the Times in an e-mail, “It’s absolutely clear now that the FHFA is not at all interested in working out a solution that would allow PACE to proceed — the agency appears intent only on obstructing the program.”Richards went on to direct attention to a key feature of PACE loans that seems to weaken the FHFA position: “This is another example of the agency treating PACE financing as loans, where, under state law, they’re assessments, and under law, the obligation to pay runs with property and passes on sale.”A legislative remedy?A PACE program resource website, PACENow, is currently configured to serve as a resource for supporters of a bill called the PACE Assessment Protection Act of 2010 (H.R. 5766), which is, according to its preamble, designed to “ensure that the underwriting standards of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac facilitate the use of property assessed clean energy programs to finance the installation of renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements.”The bill was introduced by Rep. Michael Thompson, a California Democrat, and has the support of 48 cosponsors. PACENow’s strategy is to further raise the profile of the program and make rescuing it from its FHFA imperilment more of a priority for lawmakers. To that end, the service has developed a “Federal Action Grassroots Toolkit,” which encourages voters to contact their legislators about the issue and to promote the bill through local media and municipal resolutions.last_img read more

All About Flashing

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first_img This article is only available to GBA Prime Members Of all the construction-related topics that young builders need to master, one of the most confusing is flashing. If you don’t yet have much job-site experience, you’ve probably got loads of questions: Where do I need to install flashing? What materials should I use? How do I know if a particular product is appropriate or durable enough for a certain application?It takes many years to understand proper flashing techniques. I have never come across a comprehensive guide to flashing; that book has not yet been written. (That said, my 2003 edition of Architectural Graphic Standards for Residential Construction has an excellent chapter on flashing.)In light of the fact that flashing manufacturers come out with new products every year, most students of flashing practices will have to make do with a variety of cobbled-together resources, articles, and videos to master this subject.We install flashing to prevent rain from entering a building through cracks. Most of the cracks that require flashing are found where dissimilar materials meet — for example, where a chimney meets roofing, where roofing meets a wall, or where siding meets a window — or at the exposed perimeter of surfaces like roofs and walls.Originally, flashing was made of sheet metal. When I got my first job as a roofer in 1974, peel-and-stick products did not yet exist — or if they existed, they were still unknown on most job sites.The roofing company I worked for used four kinds of flashing: galvanized steel for drip-edge flashing, aluminum for step flashing on asphalt shingle roofs, copper for most purposes on slate roofs, and lead for chimney counterflashing.Many (but not all) types of metal flashing include a bend in the sheet metal to direct water in a certain direction — generally, away from the building and out. Sometimes… Start Free Trial Already a member? Log incenter_img Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details.last_img read more