first_imgThe first event on the 6th October for Even Ages and Novice will take place in the Rosses, a welcome return to the area on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the Rosses club.Set against the Atlantic Ocean in one of the most picturesque parts of the country, this race proved most popular in terms of welcome, organisation and participation the last time the event was held here a few short years ago.Similarly, the race for Uneven Ages and Masters to be held in Castlefinn on the 13th October follows on a hugely successful first time hosting last year. Again, for hosting, organisation and an excellent course, Castlefinn will be another welcome return this year.With athletics currently riding on the crest of a wave both in terms of competitive and recreational running, the County Board welcomes athletic clubs from Donegal and further afield to take part in these events.While the races at Juvenile level and Masters are open races, the Novice event is only open to Donegal club athletes.Medals for Juveniles/Masters will be awarded based on 1st,2nd, 3rd finishers and 1st,2nd,3rd Donegal Championship finishers. For many individuals viewing this, you have been attending road races across the county during 2013, experiencing the buzz, excitement, and personal satisfaction of all that athletics has to offer.In the athletics calendar, this autumn/winter period is cross country season and provides for a different type of running experience and ensures a different type of challenge.For many athletes involved in recreational running, Fit4Life Groups, etc, this can be the next step to raise the bar in terms of personal challenges and achievement.Club athletes who started out in Fit4Life Groups achieving personal bests in 5k’s, 10k’s, etc are now important scorers in Novice and Masters club teams.If you’re already in a club, try to take the next step – you might even surprise yourself. If not in one of our registered clubs (Cranford, Finn Valley, Inishowen, Lifford, Letterkenny, Milford, Rosses, Sliabh Liag, Tir Chonaill), just get in touch asap.We look forward to another hugely successful Cross Country in Donegal in 2013.DONEGAL CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS KICK OFF NEXT MONTH was last modified: September 19th, 2013 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:athleticsCross CountrydonegalJunior. SportnewsNovicesschoolslast_img read more

Fishing the North Coast: Boundary changes on tap for Clam Beach

first_imgIn response to public recommendations from the Humboldt Area Saltwater Anglers and Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, the California Fish and Game Commission is proposing to restore the original location of the management boundary at Little River Beach for recreational razor clam digging.Currently, clams may be taken may be taken north of Strawberry Creek between Strawberry Creek and Moonstone Beach only in odd-numbered years, and south of Strawberry Creek between Strawberry Creek and Mad …last_img read more

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

Green Home Appraisal Woes

first_imgPassive solar designs that include generous amounts of insulation can save homeowners a great deal of money in operating costs over the life of the house. But getting banks to approve loans that reflect somewhat higher construction costs can be a struggle, sometimes forcing builders to dial back their plans and deliver a less efficient house.This dilemma was at the heart of a question from a green builder and the topic of this week’s Q&A Spotlight.Danny Kelly was trying to build a house that would qualify for a Gold or Emerald rating from the National Green Building Standard. It included upgraded insulation, high performance HVAC, a solar water heater, tight building envelope, and passive solar design — in other words, all the features you’d like to see in a house.The rub was the appraiser who valued the house for loan purposes. “The appraiser and the bank said they do not give any extra ‘credit’ for green features,” Kelly wrote. “One of the comps they used was over 25 years old, so not even on par with a code house from an energy code perspective… [The] bank does not seem interested in helping much either.”The trouble with finding ‘comps’In setting the value of a house for loan purposes, real estate appraisers conduct field inspections and also must find sales of similar houses in the same area. Those are called comparables, or comps. RELATED MULTIMEDIA Seeing Red on a Green Property Appraisal — Part 1Seeing Red on a Green Property Appraisal — Part 2Seeing Red on a Green Property Appraisal — Part 3Green Building Appraisal and Financing IssuesWhen Green Poses an Appraisal ProblemGetting a Grip on Green-Home Appraisals and InsuranceA Step Toward Fairer Green Home Valuations One Broker’s Take on the Selling Power of GreenMarketing High-Performance Homes Appraisers make adjustments in value based on the age, size, and condition of houses in the same area that have sold recently. It’s part number-crunching and part intuition.“Despite my strong personal feelings, most appraisers’ hands are tied by comparable sales in your area,” writes GreenCountryHomes, a licensed appraiser. “No green comps, no chance for a realistic appraisal.”GreenCountry says an “educated appraiser” gave him a $25,000 green adjustment on a $340,000 property last year, only to have it disallowed by the bank review appraiser.Because comps in the community were so limited, GreenCountry’s $315,000 appraisal was cut to $285,000 by the bank review appraiser and the buyers walked because they thought they were overpaying by $55,000.“Green building, in many markets, is like the $1,000 bath faucet,” GreenCountry says. “The appraiser gives you no extra value for the more expensive faucet that does the same job as the $75 faucet. They have no comparables to justify the market paying more.”Lower appraisal, lower standardsGBA advisor and builder Michael Chandler detailed the shortcomings of this system in a GBA post last year.In his case, a customer was approved for a $400,000 home. Despite having a suitable lot and a design that fit his customer’s budget, the bank appraiser would not approve the actual cost of construction.Because the owners couldn’t come up with any more cash, they had to drop the passive solar and solar hot water features, along with the spray foam insulation that Chandler had recommended. The owners could add a Jacuzzi or a home theater, Chandler complained, but not features that would improve energy efficiency.“Part of the problem is that the appraisers get their data from a [Multiple Listing Service] that doesn’t necessarily show them what green features are included in the homes that have been sold,” Chandler wrote.In a GBA column earlier this year, Richard Defendorf said that rules on finding comparables for appraisals can be a real problem.“In some markets, a dearth of appraisers familiar with green construction — or perhaps even more critically, a scarcity of nearby listings with comparable green features — can frustrate prospective homebuyers and homeowners who wish to refinance,” Defendorf wrote.So how does this problem get fixed?“Find another bank,” says Robert Riversong. “Often local savings & loan institutions are both more in tune with the community and more open to different approaches.”Riversong says he had a client who successfully won a construction loan and a mortgage from an S&L for a super-insulated house even though it was built of rough-sawn lumber with a frost-protected foundation, no central heat and no flush toilet.That’s the power of a local bank that isn’t hamstrung by rigid national policy.David Meiland suggested consulting RESNET, the Residential Energy Services Network, and two offices in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.In the long term, it will take more than the understanding of local banks to fix this problem. Changing appraisal rules to allow more realistic adjustments for utility savings, and educating real estate agents on the value of green buildings also would help.That won’t happen overnight.center_img VIDEO: How To Sell Green Homes RELATED ARTICLES last_img read more