Coelacanth: Making the Most of an Unevolved Fish

first_img(Visited 209 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 The coelacanth genome has been sequenced.  Does it show evidence for evolution?  Only to those with a good imagination.The genome was published in Nature this week.  Science Now put the problem with coelacanth into perspective:The coelacanth isn’t called a “living fossil” for nothing. The 2-meter-long, 90 kg fish was thought to have gone extinct 70 million years ago—until a fisherman caught one in 1938—and the animal looks a lot like its fossil ancestors dating back 300 million years. Now, the first analysis of the coelacanth’s genome reveals why the fish may have changed so little over the ages. It also may help explain how fish like it moved onto land long ago.It may, but then again, it may not.  That’s the challenge facing evolutionists.  Why hasn’t this fish changed under the inexorable power of natural selection for 300 million years?  Why hasn’t it moved onto land?  Why does it still lurk in deep underwater caves, not using those lobed fins for walking?So what’s the reason the coelacanth hasn’t evolved in 300 million years?  Answer: “The coelacanth genes changed at a ‘markedly’ slower rate than those from other animals,” Science Now said, without explaining why this fish escaped a natural law of evolution.  Must be some new kind of law:The slow rate at which the fish’s genes change demonstrates that some animals evolve more gradually than others. The coelacanth looks primitive, but looks are difficult to quantify, whereas DNA sequences are not, Ahlberg says. “The fact that their proteins evolve slowly underscores that there is a real phenomenon going on here.“A real phenomenon, like creation?  Like stasis?  Like falsification of evolution?  Yes, there is a real phenomenon there.  As for how this genome might explain how fish moved onto land, the scientists brought in mighty mouse:The authors located a fragment of DNA within the coelacanth’s genome that is also found in land vertebrates but not in fish without lobed fins, such as tuna, tilapia, and sharks. Because researchers cannot study live coelacanths in the laboratory, they inserted the fragment into a mouse embryo in order to learn what it does. The fragment activated a network of genes that forms bones in wrists, ankles, fingers and toes. Although it’s not yet clear what the DNA fragment’s function is within coelacanths, the authors suggest that it was key to forming the ends of limbs that helped a fishlike animal crawl out of the water.But the genes are HOX genes, upstream switches that control downstream development.  They are not going to switch on a radius, ulna, wrist, or digits if the downstream genes aren’t there for them.  These same HOX genes didn’t help the coelacanth develop limbs or crawl out of the water for 300 million years.  So where is the purported “fishlike animal” where it did happen?  The researchers don’t know what these genes do in coelacanths.  If they did nothing, wouldn’t selection purge them instead of maintaining them for no good purpose?  It’s not clear how this experiment helps the evolutionary story.Chris Woolston, writing for Nature about the genome, quoted one of the researchers (Chris Amemiya) saying, “The coelacanth is a cornerstone for our attempt to understand tetrapod evolution.”  Woolston concurred that coelacanth is a living fossil, but he didn’t add anything new to the evolutionary tale, except to debunk an old one:Ending one long-standing argument, analysis of the coelacanth genome clearly shows that it is not the closest living fishy relative to tetrapods, Amemiya says: that honour belongs to the lungfish. However, he adds, the lungfish genome is unlikely to be sequenced any time soon because it is much larger and more complicated than that of the coelacanth.How that helps the evolutionary story is also unclear: a more complicated, larger genome is ancestral to tetrapod genes?  Why would that be?  Woolston described how slow the genome evolution has been between two separated populations of the fish:Scientists already had hints of the coelacanth’s sluggish evolution. In a 2012 study, researchers in Japan and Tanzania compared the DNA of the African and Indonesian coelacanths. Specifically, they looked at HOX genes, which help to guide embryonic development…. Even though the two species separated, by one estimate, perhaps 6 million years ago, their genes are remarkably similar. For these particular genes, the difference between the two species of coelacanth was about 11 times smaller than that between the HOX genes of humans and chimps, two species that parted ways perhaps 6 million to 8 million years ago.The paper says they are 99.73% similar.  To explain this non-evolution, one of the researchers offered this idea: “It is impossible to say for sure, but the slow rate of coelacanth evolution could be due to a lack of natural-selection pressure,” Kerstin Lindblad-Toh said.  Natural selection is not really a pressure, though.  It’s only like a bumper in a pinball game, not one of the paddles operated by the mind of the player.  Woolston said that transposable elements, a form of non-coding DNA, have moved around, but Amemiya quickly added that their role in evolution is “speculative” and its significance is not clear.So even though the genome paper said that coelacanth DNA is “a blueprint for understanding tetrapod evolution,” very little evidence supporting tetrapod evolution was offered.  “The slowly evolving coelacanth” was a major subsection of the paper.  Their last sentence provided only wishful thinking: “Further study of these changes between tetrapods and the coelacanth may provide important insights into how a complex organism like a vertebrate can markedly change its way of life.”That was the 7th use of “may” in the paper, along with 5 instances of “suggest.” Evidence for positive selection was also put off into the future: “A closer examination of gene families that show either unusually high or low levels of directional selection indicative of adaptation in the coelacanth may provide information on which selective pressures acted, and which pressures did not act, to shape this evolutionary relict.”  By “evolutionary relict,” they really mean something that didn’t evolve for 300 million years.Nevertheless, the news media jumped onto the meme that the coelacanth genome “might” provide insight into evolution.  The BBC News said, “The work also shed light on how the fish was related to the first land-based animals” (but it wasn’t related, the researchers had admitted).  PhysOrg had a clever way to spin-doctor the anti-evolutionary evidence: it said the genome provided “Unexpected insights from a fish with a 300-million-year-old fossil record.”  National Geographic focused on the notion that this fish “evolved more slowly” than other animals.  Live Science used the power of suggestion in its headline, “Fish DNA Makes Limbs Sprout in Mice,” even though the HOX genes studied are far upstream of limb formation and have nothing to do with arm bones, wrists and fingers in a fish.None of the media recognized that the evidence contradicts evolutionary theory, even though the coelacanth, with its lobed fins, had been promoted as Exhibit A for evolution by Darwinists before one was found swimming in the Atlantic in 1938.If lies and misdirection were physical crimes, evolutionists would be convicted of terrorist bombings.last_img read more

Third-Party Ownership Rules Residential Solar Market

first_imgResidential solar is enjoying a surge in popularity, but most homeowners aren’t using their own money to install or maintain it. Greentech Media reports that of a total of 1.2 gigawatts of residential solar installed in 2014, 72% of it was owned by someone other than the customer.While the remainder was directly owned by the customers, much of it was financed through loans.Third-party ownership (TPO) comes in the form of leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs) in which customers sign long-term contracts to buy electricity from the panels the provider installs and maintains. The cost of electricity is typically below that of utility power. Both leases and PPAs give customers access to solar with little or no upfront costs.“The U.S. residential market segment has grown 15 of the last 16 quarters, and that’s largely due to financing solutions like leases,” Greentech Media said. “Since TPO took off a few years ago, the offerings have given customers across many demographics and socioeconomic categories the ability to afford a solar installation.”The biggest players in the TPO market, which collectively accounted for 56% of all residential installations in the U.S., were SolarCity (34%), Vivint Solar (12%) and Sunrun (10%), the report said. Report sees more ownership in years aheadLast year was the third consecutive year that the U.S. residential solar market grew by more than 50%, the report says, but third-party ownership appears to have peaked in 2014.Greentech Media foresees a decline in TPO over the next five years as the total of installed solar rises to 5.2 gigawatts by 2020. Other than a slight uptick in third-party ownership in 2017, coinciding with a drop in the total of solar capacity installed that year, the report shows customer ownership rising to 54% by 2020.The report doesn’t explain the trend in any detail, but notes, “More recently, the market has seen a resurgence of direct ownership, with a number of new players introducing a wide range of loan products. The residential solar market is still in its infancy, and the competitive landscape continues to evolve thanks to new market entrants, acquisitions, and constantly changing consumer finance options.”last_img read more

My Gear

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now Earlier this week, Jenny Poore at Sales Engine posted My Start In Sales. She asked me to answer a bunch of questions, most of which I had already answered here. As I read her questions, I pulled the posts I wrote, so that I could give her some content.One question that I hadn’t answered was “What is your current mobile device?”Here is the gear I am using now.My main computer is a Mac Pro (Late 2013). I increased the RAM to 64GB so that I could do some of my video editing, without spending hours and hours waiting. I’ve got this computer connected to 27-inch Thunderbolt displays. All of this gear is sitting on a Geekdesk, standing desk (my posture is way better when I am working at the computer standing up, so it was a worthwhile investment for me).I also have a 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Retina display and 16GB of RAM. This very well may be the very best laptop available today. It’s as powerful as a desktop, and it is an excellent box for anything, including video and audio work. But it is becomes heavy when you carry it through airports. Most of the time, it isn’t worth the extra weight. Depending on where I am going and what my work looks like, I might carry this box with me.For short trips and wandering around town, I use the new Macbook. It’s super thin, super light, and a bit underpowered. That said, it is the perfect laptop to carry if I only need PowerPoint, email, the Web, and for me, Scrivener (the application I am now using for all of my writing). For a short trip, carrying this computer does a tremendous job of lightening the weight of what I carry with me. I bought this computer hoping it would replace the 15-Inch MacBook Pro, but it isn’t anywhere near powerful enough. But it has replaced my iPad).Since everything I do is on Apple, I carry the iPhone 6 Plus with 128 GB of memory. I have just started capturing video for a more serious commitment to my YouTube channel, and I need the space for video. The big screen is one of the best features, and it works for me, especially when I have my contacts in.I also carry the Kindle Voyage. I still like physical books, but the Kindle allows me to highlight text and take notes while I am reading. A lot of people don’t know that Amazon stores your notes and highlights on a private page (which you can share, if you choose to). This private page makes it easy to review your highlights and pull text for writing or presentations. For me, this is better than typing notes into Evernote, or writing on index cards.That’s most of my gear. What are you using now?last_img read more

Yug murder case: Himachal court gives death penalty to three for killing 4-yr-old boy

first_imgA Himachal Pradesh court on Wednesday gave the death penalty to three people for the murder of a four-year-old boy Yug whose skeletal remains were found in a municipal water tank two years later.Shimla Sessions Judge Virender Singh had convicted Chander Sharma, Tajender Singh and Vikrant Bakshi on August 6 for the child’s murder, but deferred the hearing on the quantum of sentence.Yug’s father Vinod Kumar Gupta, mother Pinki Gupta and grandmother Chandralekha Gupta were present in the jam-packed court as the sentence was pronounced.“My son cannot come back but I am satisfied with the verdict of death penalty for the guilty,” Mr. Gupta told PTI.The boy was abducted from the busy Ram Bazar area in Shimla on June 14, 2014 and killed after seven days, even before a ransom call was made.His remains were recovered from a Shimla Municipal Corporation water tank in Kelston area on August 21, 2016, after the probe was handed over to the CID.The prosecution said Yug was tortured, starved and forcibly served liquor before being thrown alive into a water tank.A rock was tied to him when he was thrown into the tank, it said.Yug’s killing had sent shockwaves across the city and residents took out processions and candlelight marches to express rage.Mr. Gupta had filed a missing person’s complaint at Sadar police station the day his son was abducted.A criminal case was registered on June 16, while a letter seeking a ransom of ₹ 3.6 crore was received on June 27.Three more ransom letters were received subsequently.On January 29, 2016, some municipal corporation employees found his skeleton while cleaning the tank after a jaundice outbreak in the city.Public prosecutor Randip Singh Parmar told PTI that statements of 105 witnesses were recorded in the case.The death sentence would have to be confirmed by the high court. The convicts may file appeal against it in the high court within 30 days, he added.last_img read more

Three killed in Bihar over ‘buffalo theft’

first_imgThree people were beaten to death by a mob in Saran district of Bihar on Friday, alleging that they attempted to steal a buffalo, the police said. The families of the victims denied the allegation.Raju Nat, Bides Nat and Naushad Qureshi were attacked at Nandlal Tola of Pithauri village in the Baniapur police station limits in the early hours. Two of them were killed on the spot. Another died of injuries on the way to hospital, Superintendent of Police Har Kishore Rai said. He said two or three people have been picked up for interrogation.Deputy SP Ajay Kumar Singh rushed to the village as a clash erupted between the alleged attackers and the family members of the deceased. The relatives said the victims had gone out to relieve themselves when they were beaten to death.“We can say it with certainty that this is not one of those incidents of mob lynching. The animal allegedly being stolen was a buffalo. The attackers and the attacked belonged to the same social groups,” Mr. Singh said.Police have been deployed in the village, while people from both sides were at the police station to lodge complaints. The families of the victims “created a ruckus” at the Sadar hospital, where the bodies were taken for post-mortem, prompting police to use “mild force” to bring the situation under control, officials said.last_img read more