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Report: A’s to recall top pitching prospect for Houston series

first_imgClick here if you’re unable to view the gallery on your mobile device.OAKLAND — A’s top pitching prospect Jesus Luzardo will be promoted to the majors, joining the club in Houston on Monday, according to a report by MLB.com.A’s manager Bob Melvin, asked about it immediately after the team’s 3-1 win over Detroit, said he didn’t know anything about the move.Luzardo, a 22-year-old from Peru, is ranked as the 18th-best minor league prospect by MLB Pipeline and is regarded as one of the game’s …last_img

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Dirt for Physical and Mental Health

first_imgLive Science has an article suggesting that exposure to dirt can improve your mood by boosting the immune system.  This is an unexpected twist on the “hygiene hypothesis” that childhood exposure to dirt and animals helps innoculate the body to certain diseases (see 08/02/2006).  Certain bacteria might not only boost the immune system, but also release neurotransmitters that could fight depression.  “These studies help us understand how the body communicates with the brain and why a healthy immune system is important for maintaining mental health,” said Chris Lowry (U of Bristol).  “They also leave us wondering if we shouldn’t all be spending more time playing in the dirt.”Maybe horses and dogs are onto something.  You can’t give them a bath without them running for the nearest place to roll over in the dirt, to the frustration of their owners.  This is not to imply that pigs set a better example.    Anything can be taken too far.  There are things in some soils that are clearly harmful.  Some locations have to worry about pathogenic roundworms, valley fever, and other risks.  Cleanliness is still a virtue, but it is possible to be too clean.  We were made to live in the great outdoors.  Some African tribes, like the Masai, living close to animals and plants, seem happier than Westerners.  Moderate exposure to sunshine, fresh air, soil, plants and animals is healthy for body and soul.  When was the last time you did some good, hard, sweaty, dirty work outdoors?  Didn’t it feel good when the day was done?  Don’t hire a landscaper to do it all; get out there and do it yourself.  A good shower afterwards is still a big reward when you’ve earned it.  Just don’t use antibacterial soap (see 08/02/2006).    Our bodies are not intended to be hermetically shielded from nature.  There are microorganisms we depend on.  Consider how Adam and Eve would have worked close to the soil, the plants and the animals without covering in an ideal world.  That would have been the norm had things not gone wrong.  Even today, gardening and farming and outdoor work is honorable.  Don’t we all have a place in our hearts for the iconic farmer, outstanding in his field, wiping away the dirt and sweat from his brow as the rooster crows and the sun’s rays spread over the land?  Doesn’t the proverbial milking maid walking through the chicken yard sing cheerfully as she carries the buckets of milk she squeezed with her bare hands?  City slickers driving their Lexi down concrete roads from plastic offices to their townhomes are missing out on a big part of life.  Watch the fun movie City Slickers again and see how some hard work and fresh air and risk-taking transformed a group of dudes in a midlife crisis into handsome, noble, proud heroes for a week, riding their steeds like kings.*    Don’t take this too far; nobody is prescribing mud wrestling.  Some things are dirty in an unhealthy sense.  If you are always depressed and tired, though, maybe your doctor needs to prescribe an oxymoron: clean dirt.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Darwin-Only Advisors Hunker Down to Re-Strategize

first_img1.  Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, “Eugenie Scott Toils in Defense of Evolution,” Science, 5 June 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5932, pp. 1250-1251, DOI: 10.1126/science.324_1250b.2.  Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, “Authors Scramble to Make Textbooks Conform to Texas Science Standards,” Science, 12 June 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5933, p. 1385, DOI: 10.1126/science.324_1385.3.  Douglas C. Woodhams, “Converting the Religious: Putting Amphibian Conservation in Context,” BioScience, June 2009, 59(6):463-464, doi: 10.1525/bio.2009.59.6.2.The hypocrisy of the DODO crowd (Darwin-only, Darwin-only) is so obvious one wonders how they can avoid noticing their own reflection.  They claim creationists have a political agenda but they are right in there at every school board meeting, court case and election, trying to push their people and oust the challengers.  They talk about creationist code-phrases but employ scads of their own: NOMA, punctuated equilibria, Dover (as a symbol for the collapse of ID), and “people of faith” as enemies of practitioners of the scientific method, who obviously are as pure in their motives as the new-fallen snow.    Look who was calling the creationists “enemies” – Eugenie Scott herself, and Yudhijit didn’t bat an eye.  They are at war.  Some tacticians want to shmooze the enemy (like Woodhams), and others want to do battle.  Never is there any shame for their own sins.  Never is there any realization that Darwinism has real weaknesses.  The fossil record?  The complexity of the cell?  The coded information in DNA?  The origin of life?  Those aren’t weaknesses.  Evolution is robust!  Those are just “unresolved questions.”  They even have a magic wand to explain them away.  It does real magic, too.  It produces sudden, unexplained, miraculous innovations of complete new structures and functions without leaving any trace in the fossil record.  It’s called Punctuated Equilibria.  Preach it, bro.    This people-of-faith vs science dichotomy is phony baloney.  What you see above is the People of Froth (10/13/2005, 09/26/2005) preaching to the People of Fluff (09/09/2008).  Don’t give them power because they will never share it.  It’s DODO all the way in their system of Darwin-Only Public Education (DOPE).(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Strict Darwinian materialists are a minority in the United States, yet they enjoy autocracy in educational policy, complete control of scientific institutions, and nearly complete unquestioned support from the mainstream media.  Nevertheless, they have to face living in a country that is predominantly religious.  Once in awhile they suffer setbacks, like the recent changes in textbook policy in Texas that will require more scrutiny of the claims of evolution.  What do they say amongst themselves when strategizing how to handle the public?NCSE strategic plan:  Eugenie Scott was interviewed as a Newsmaker in Science last week.1  Yudhijit Bhattacharjee lobbed friendly softballs to her, like How has this battle changed in the past 20 years?, Why has the ID movement survived the 2005 Dover trial?, and What should scientists do to help the cause?  Her answers were those of a general in the strategy room of a war.  Scott said that “The enemy has become more diverse.”  Enemies have spread from K-12 to “community colleges and even 4-year colleges.”  She mentioned “periodic assaults on science standards as we recently saw in Texas,” and the ongoing threats of antievolution legislation.    Scott used arguments from her standard arsenal, portraying opponents of evolution as those who don’t “understand the nature of a scientific experiment,” but then portrayed evolution as “the big picture.”  She dismissed the Discovery Institute’s “standard creationist arguments” without mentioning any one in particular.    As for what scientists should do to “help the cause,” Scott said, “Universities need to do a better job of teaching evolution because that’s where high school teachers get their training.  Evolution needs to be brought into every course of biology instead of getting tacked on as a unit to the intro class.”  She did, however, advise against presenting evolution in atheistic terms.  “If a professor were to say that evolution proves there is no God, that’s not just bad philosophy of science, it ensures that a significant number of students will stick their fingers in their ears.”    Why, then, did Science, in its Origins blog, parade the poetry of Emily Ballou, whose lines mock the Bible and describe how evolutionary thinking caused Charles Darwin to lose his faith?  In that entry, Claire Thomas quoted this line from Ballou’s book as the stinger at the end of the article: You can safely put God to bed now / the way you can’t your daughter anymore. / Tuck the sheets so tight he cannot move / and lock the bedroom door.  (Cf. 07/12/2006).Texas tech:  Meanwhile, how will evolutionists handle the new rules in Texas?  This week in Science,2 Bhattacharjee continued the discussion by describing how “Authors Scramble to Make Textbooks Conform to Texas Science Standards.”  Before, evolutionary writers like Ken Miller had to work around demands to teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolutionary theory (which Miller interpreted to be “unresolved questions” about evolution, not real weaknesses of the evolutionary edifice).  In fact, in the 2004 Dover trial, defense attorneys pointed out that Miller himself had used the phrase “strengths and weaknesses” in his textbook.  That moment in the trial was “more than a little embarrassing,” Bhattacharjee said.  He revealed an inside scuffle between the two anti-creationist generals:Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, California sees Miller’s earlier revision as a failed “attempt to be clever.”  And she’s worried that history might repeat itself.    “When you put ‘weaknesses’ and ‘evolution’ in the same line, you reinforce doubts that creationists are trying to sow,” says Scott, whose organization monitors the issue as it plays out in state and local districts.  In fact, Scott was so incensed by the revelation at the Dover trial that she confronted Miller after he testified.  “What were you thinking?” she asked him.    Miller’s answer, then and now, is not to get too excited.  The new Texas standards leave plenty of room for authors to explain the robustness of evolutionary theory, he says, and that’s precisely what he and his publisher, Prentice Hall, plan to do.  “The advocates of these standards underestimate the strength of the scientific evidence for structures and phenomena that they mistakenly believe evolution cannot account for,” Miller says.  “The new wording is an opportunity to make biology texts even stronger.”Still, “many scientists view the new version [of the standards] as more insidious than the previous one.” Students must be able to “analyze and evaluate scientific explanations” concerning the complexity of the cell and other areas in which writers claim evolution offers the only explanation – including the “sudden appearance, stasis, and sequential nature of groups in the fossil record.”  How’s Miller going to abide by that requirement?  By introducing students to “punctuated equilibria.”  Steve Nowicki, another textbook author, is also planning to work within the new standards in his own way.  “I understand that there may be a political agenda behind the standards, but I am taking them at face value,” he said.  “If a state thinks students need more information to understand evolution, I am happy to provide that.”  What constitutes “more information” is probably the point of contention.Converting the religious:  In BioScience,3 Douglas Woodhams (U of Zurich) advised his fellow scientists to “frame” arguments for conservation in terms that will motivate “people of faith” to join in efforts to protect biodiversity.  Woodhams, who works with SaveTheFrogs.com, has had to find ways to get religious people in Panama to understand why protecting amphibians is important.  He presumed that their Biblical world view would cause them to believe that “God created nature for unlimited human domination and that nature is passing away and thus lacks any deep value.”  Confronting believers with strictly secular arguments, he feels, is counter-productive.  “Scientists may help convince the religious community of the mandate for biodiversity conservation by pointing the faithful toward their own environmental ethics,” he said.  “Indeed, if scientists appeal to people of faith, our critical information might gain more concerted attention.”  Framing the arguments this way results in a more constructive engagement.    Woodhams was quick to point out that he did not mean to imply any kind of compromise over epistemology:To be clear, I am not suggesting that creationism, intelligent design, or other faith-based theories be supported by scientists.  I am suggesting that science, at its interface with the public, be presented in accessible and socially relevant terms.  Science exists in a value-laden political and social context, and framing our results does not reduce the purity or rigor of the scientific method.  Rather, the frame is merely a decoration to draw attention to the picture.    Framing science applies to any audience; here I focus on the faith community because it is large and many in it are suspicious of scientific claims.  By emphasizing the moral excellence, the virtue, of biodiversity-conservation recognized by scientists and religious adherents alike, scientists may gain a foot in the door and begin to speak through the crack.  We might influence a large audience that was previously indoctrinated against conservation.So in other words, while (like Richard Lewontin said) scientists cannot allow a divine foot in the door, Woodhams is looking for a foot in the door of the “faith community” (as opposed to those who follow the creed of the scientific method) by appealing to their own Scriptures in support of his goals.  He quoted Psalm 104 and other Biblical passages that extol the value of created animals.    Woodhams expressed agreement with Gould’s strategy of NOMA (non-overlapping magisteria) – the idea that science and religion occupy separate spheres.  What was lacking in his essay, though, was any identification of the grounds of his own “scientific” doctrine of moral excellence, virtue, or environmental ethics.  Who gave the “mandate for biodiversity conservation” in his view?  If it didn’t come from the Bible, did he find it in the Origin of Species by Natural Selection?  Presumably Darwinism has brought more animals to extinction than conserved them.  Nevertheless, his article was framed in stark us-vs-them terms, as if evolutionary biologists are keepers of the heart and soul of conservation ethics.last_img read more

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Let’s talk some more about geocache quality

first_img SharePrint RelatedLet’s talk about geocache qualityJune 18, 2018In “News”Results of 2018 Cache Quality SurveyMay 14, 2019In “News”Padlocks, RFID chips, and secret briefcases: an interview with a geocaching maniacMarch 12, 2019In “Geocaching Weekly Newsletter” Earlier this year, we invited you to the beginning of a community conversation about geocache quality. Past projects such as the Geocache Health Score and introduction of Virtual Rewards were aimed at encouraging and rewarding high cache quality. Before considering new projects, we wanted to hear your feedback and ideas.Hundreds of you responded to the invitation in our User Insights Forum, answering questions about what makes up a high or low quality geocache, and offering ideas for what the community and Geocaching HQ might do to improve geocache quality.Now that we have compiled all of the feedback, we hope you’ll join us in the next phase of the conversation by completing this short survey. (The survey is also available in German and French.) The survey is built directly from your feedback in the User Insights Forum. For example, in the forum threads, cachers shared ideas for how Geocaching HQ can improve cache quality. For this survey, we have listed the most mentioned ideas so you can say how helpful you think each of them would be to improving cache quality.While we can’t guarantee implementation of every idea, your survey answers will help us to prioritize potential projects. The survey is open for three weeks, closing on December 28, 2018.Once the survey period is complete and we’ve analyzed the results, we’ll report back to the community with potential next steps for the future. We’re excited about the possibilities and really appreciate your participation in this important project!Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

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Not a single Rohingya entered Mizoram, minister says

first_imgMizoram Home Minister R. Lalzirliana on Sunday said that the State government has not received any report of even a single Rohingya entering its soil till date. The Centre had alerted the State government to beef up security in view of Rhingyas entering North Eastern states adjoining Myanmar in the wake of recent clashes between the Myanmar army and the Rohingya. Mr. Lalzirliana said that security forces guarding the borders were instructed to step up vigil along the Mizoram-Myanmar border and Mizoram-Bangladesh border. The Assam Rifles intensified patrolling along the 404-km-long Mizoram-Myanmar international border and more troops were sent to the border areas. Mr. Lalzirliana said it is unlikely that the Rohingya would come to Mizoram as the community’s home state of Rakhine in Myanmar is quite far off.Meanwhile, around 170 refugees from Myanmar’s Arakan, who entered Mizoram and took shelter in southern district of Lawngtlai, had returned recently. The refugees had fled Arakan due to recent clashes between the Myanmar Army and the Arakan Liberation Army (ALA).last_img read more

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NEC okays 29 projects

first_imgManipur Governor Najma Heptulla said on Sunday that the North Eastern Council (NEC) has okayed the resumption of 29 developmental projects in Manipur which were almost abandoned. She had represented Manipur in the NEC meeting held last week . She further said that she was told that the flying doctor ambulance service would be made operational in Manipur soon. .This will be the first helicopter service in the country which will benefit the neglected people of far off areas.last_img

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