A skeleton of an extinct creature was found on the coast of Peru. Evolutionists are all calling it a walking whale.In Current Biology, a team led by Olivier Lambert announced a skeleton of what they call an “amphibious whale” or a “quadrupedal whale” they found off the coast of Peru. When the story (complete with artists’ conceptions) hit the press, reporters took the bait and ran with it without asking any questions, printing blow-ups of the artwork as the leading tease under their breathless headlines.Credit: Brett MillerAncient, four-legged whale with otter-like features found along the coast of Peru (Cell Press).Ancient Four-Legged Whale Swam Across Oceans, Walked Across Continents (Live Science).Amazing four-legged fossil shows how walking whales learned to swim (New Scientist).Fossil of ancient four-legged whale found in Peru (BBC News).Ancient four-legged whales once roamed land and sea (The Conversation).The lead discoverer was ecstatic about the evolutionary implications of his discovery. “This is the first indisputable record of a quadrupedal whale skeleton for the whole Pacific Ocean, probably the oldest for the Americas, and the most complete outside India and Pakistan,” said Olivier Lambert of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.The team believes the date of the fossil fits the assumed evolutionary transition between artiodactyls and cetaceans, provided it was able to cross the ocean from Pakistan, where the other alleged ‘walking whale’ specimens were found. The discoverers embedded their interpretation into the name, calling it Peregocetus pacificus, “the traveling whale that reached the Pacific.”Comparative sizes of humpback whale and its presumed land ancestor. Credit: Illustra Media.Experience through many years of reporting overhyped claims by evolutionists teaches one to remain skeptical. First of all, the beast does not resemble a whale. It has a long snout, and probably a long tail, and some possible webbing in its four feet. But so do seals, sea lions, beavers, and otters. It is not really that different from the extinct animals in Pakistan that have long been touted as transitional forms, except that this one was found on the west coast of Peru. It may have been about four feet long, but whales are among the largest animals that ever lived.Since the news media are not doing their duty to ask questions, let’s do it for them.How do they know it is a whale? They don’t. That’s their interpretation. It would be like calling a platypus a duck because of its duckbill, or a snake because of its poison spur.How could it be a non-whale? Many other animals have some of these traits: webbed feet, long snouts, and an amphibious lifestyle. The authors say that the creature shared some traits with beavers and otters. Extinct animals often display a mosaic of traits.How is it unlike a whale? It is not an obligate marine mammal, where every function has to be performed in water 24 x 7. That’s a huge change in lifestyle, requiring many simultaneous adaptations.Is it really a transitional form? Many mammals with amphibious lifestyles are not considered transitional forms to whales: manatees, hippos, sea lions, beavers, otters, humans. Nobody watched how this animal lived, because it is extinct.Did it really cross the ocean? The authors claim that Africa and South America would have been closer when this animal lived. That proves nothing. It would still be a long, long way for a fish-eating amphibious mammal to travel that far. With only one specimen known, there’s too little evidence to make a case. Many types of animals are known to be cosmopolitan. Maybe this one was, too, but we lack enough fossils to know. You can’t build a story on one fossil. You can’t say it swam from Pakistan to Peru in order to evolve into a new creature on its way to whalehood.Why not believe it was a transitional form? In the Illustra Media documentary Living Waters, Dr Richard Sternberg points out irreducibly complex traits like the male reproductive system that would need relocation inside the body plus a complex cooling system to prevent sterility. That, and many other systems, would require complete overhauls for obligate marine living, involving numerous genetic changes. And yet the probability of getting just two coordinated mutations, he calculated, is 100 million years, far longer than the time allowed for alleged “whale evolution” to occur. This consideration alone blows the story out of the water, so to speak.Epistemic modesty should keep scientists from spinning elaborate yarns about great transformations in evolution. The whale story is one of the biggest. It’s sufficient to say that ‘We found another unknown animal in the fossil record, and here are its features.’ (Visited 557 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
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Gulf aviation group Etihad is pressing ahead with plans with travel group TUI AG to create a new European leisure airline operating a fleet of about 60 aircraft and offering 15 million seats annually.The move, which is still subject to approval by aviation regulatory and anti-trust authorities, is also part of a restructure by financially struggling Etihad joint venture partner airberlin to improve its bottom line.The new Vienna-based leisure airline is expected to begin operation in April to take advantage of the norther summer season and will service key holiday markets such as Balearics, Canaries, mainland Spain and Greece.It aims to take advantage of Etihad’s aviation experience and TUI’s tourism expertise to keep overheads low. Ports in Austria, Germany and Switzerland will include Hanover, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich, Nuremberg, Baden-Baden, Hamburg, Basel and Vienna.Under the deal, Etihad Aviation Group’s board agreed to pay 300 million euros for a 49.8 per cent stake indirectly held by airberlin in subsidiary airline NIKI.Etihad’s holding company will contribute its share in NIKI to the new leisure airline while TUI will convert its subsidiary TUIfly to the joint venture. This includes 14 aircraft operated by TUIfly for airberlin under a wet lease agreement (where both the aircraft and the crew are leased).The deal will see TUI holding 24.8 per cent of the shares in the new company, Etihad with 25 per cent and the remaining 50.2 per cent by the existing NIKI private foundation.It will also see airberlin, which has a market value of 68.9 euros but has made losses of 1.27 billion euros over three years, adjust its European city network to concentrate on year-round business travel in the German, Nordic and Eastern European markets.The German carrier will from next year’s northern summer transfer slots for “certain touristic destinations’’ in Southern Europe, North Africa and Turkey to NIKI. This exclude slots in Italy but include the Canary Islands and Madeira.Long-haul destinations in the US, the Caribbean and Etihad’s home base of Abu Dhabi will remain with airberlin.Airberlin chief executive Stefan Pichler said airberlin would invest further in its business travel offering, network connectivity and the expansion of profitable long-haul routes, particularly to the US.“We are delivering a decisive step towards our new strategy. This transaction simplifies our business, reduces our exposure to seasonal destinations and improves our financial position,’’ he said. “Step by step, we are transforming airberlin into a network carrier focused on domestic and European traffic to feed our two long-haul hubs in Berlin and Dusseldorf.”Airberlin said its current schedule remains valid and available for booking and it would inform customers should scheduled flights be operated by NIKI.The German carrier, a member of the oneworld alliance and 29.21 per cent owned Etihad, flew more than 30.2 million passengers in 2015 and operates hubs at Berlin-Tegel and Dusseldorf.
Photo: American Airlines. US safety authorities are looking into the sudden death on Wednesday of an American Airlines first officer as a Boeing 737-800 was about to land in Albuquerque, New Mexico.The aircraft had flown as Flight 1353 from the airline’s hub in Dallas-Fort Worth and was two miles (3.2 kms) from landing when the captain declared an emergency and cited a medical issue, US media reports said.The captain landed the plane safely and attempts were made on the ground to revive the stricken pilot, identified as William “Mike” Grubbs, by administering CPR.The airline said in a statement a that it was “is deeply saddened” by the death and it was taking care of the pilot’s family and colleagues.“Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time,” it said.Pilots are subject to health checks and it is rare for one to collapse at the controls.A 57-year-old American Airlines captain who suffered from heart problems died in October, 2015, flying an Airbus A320 between Phoenix, Arizona, and Boston. The plane diverted to Syracuse, New York, and landed safely.In October, 2014, an Air New Zealand pilot collapsed at the controls of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner as it landed in Perth, Australia. She later died in hospital.
Of all the environmental problems we’re causing as a species — including air pollution, water pollution, soil erosion, ozone depletion, and climate change — loss of biodiversity is the most permanent. Ecologists point out that it can take hundreds of thousands or even millions of years of evolution to fill ecological niches that are being vacated by the extinctions we are causing.There are various indirect ways that green building can help protect biodiversity — by building smaller (to use less materials), by using less energy (to reduce fossil fuel extraction), and by making sure that any tropical lumber we use comes from Forest-Stewardship-Council-certified forests. We can also help preserve biodiversity directly by protecting and restoring the site and ecosystem where we build or where we live. That’s priority #7 for my top-10 list.Learn about your siteWith larger sites, particularly forested land, hire a forester or ecologist to learn about the land and ecosystems that are present. A good landscape architect with knowledge of native ecosystems can help you identify opportunities for maintaining and improving natural habit around your home.Build on the edge of a lotWhenever possible, we should build on the edges of lots, particularly with larger sites, and maintain the rest as permanently protected open space. The (more usual) practice of building in the center of a site means a longer driveway, greater ecological disturbance, and a larger proportion of the land that’s in the “development zone.”Restore the siteEcological restoration should be an important part of green building — especially in rural and suburban areas, but even — on a small scale — on urban lots. In many places invasive plant species have taken over the landscape, and their proliferation becomes a vicious cycle because they usually prefer disturbed sites. Removing these plants can allow native plants that support birds, butterflies, and other wildlife to return and help re-create healthy ecosystems. In some cases, nature will need a hand bringing back native plants; look for sources of locally sourced native plants, or collect seeds of native plants in your area, and plant them on the site you are restoring. Try to achieve diversity in your plantings.Reduce lawn areaA good place to start with ecological restoration is to reduce the amount of lawn. Most turfgrass is Kentucky bluegrass — which isn’t from Kentucky at all; it’s native to Europe. Maintaining vibrant green lawns in many parts of the country requires extensive use of herbicides, chemical fertilizers, and irrigation water. Non-turf landscaping using native plants avoids the need for these inputs.Provide for wildlifeAs our larger landscape has become more and more broken up with roadways and development, wildlife has increasingly been forced out. On larger sites, learn about wildlife corridors that may exist (or have existed) and try to maintain or re-create them. Look for opportunities to connect patches of protected wild areas so that wildlife can pass back-and-forth freely. Plant trees and shrubs that provide food for wildlife. The National Wildlife Federation offers useful information for enhancing backyard wildlife habitat.Help homeowners enjoy natural areas and wildlifeIn our design of homes and the landscapes around homes, look for ways that will help the people living there (or visiting) appreciate nature and want to protect it. Provide outdoor living spaces with patios, decks, and screen porches, and design indoor spaces with windows that look out on nature. Such efforts may help build appreciation for — and incentive to protect — natural areas.The top-10 list of priorities so far:#7. Protect and restore the site#8. Use green materials#9. Create resilient, climate-adapted buildings#10. Make it easy for homeowners to be greenIn addition to this Energy Solutions blog, Alex writes the weekly blog on BuildingGreen.com: Alex’s Cool Product of the Week, which profiles an interesting new green building product each week. You can sign up to receive notices of these blogs by e-mail — enter your e-mail address in the upper right corner of any blog page.Alex is founder of BuildingGreen, LLC and executive editor of Environmental Building News. To keep up with his latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feed.
TORONTO – UPS Canada is launching a new cargo bike delivery pilot project in Toronto this week as part of a broader green initiative.The shipping company says the pilot will run for six to eight months using a custom-made cargo bike to deliver packages in and around the York University area in the north part of the city.UPS says outcomes from the pilot will determine the company’s strategy for cargo delivery by bicycle on a larger scale in Toronto and potentially other cities across Ontario and Canada.The company says the initiative is part of a broader UPS ambition to bring sustainable practices and services to the communities they serve.In the longer term, UPS says it wants to test and potentially deploy electric motorized bicycles to boost the efficiency of this delivery mode.UPS says the success of its bike delivery pilot program was first demonstrated in 2012 in collaboration with Hamburg, Germany.
EDMONTON – Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says her government is suspending talks with British Columbia on the purchase of electricity from that province.She says it’s the first step in Alberta’s fight against the B.C. government’s move to obstruct the Kinder Morgan oil pipeline expansion project.She says $500 million annually for B.C.’s coffers hangs in the balance.Notley says she met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Edmonton today on the pipeline issue and is calling on the federal government to end the dispute.She says the federal government needs to be specific about what it will do to ensure that the pipeline expansion moves ahead.The B.C. government has said it plans to ban increased shipments of diluted bitumen off the province’s coast until it can determine that shippers are prepared and able to properly clean up a spill.
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission says it is investigating a series of earthquakes that took place Thursday evening in the province’s northeast.The commission says the seismic events struck between 16 kilometres southwest and 25 kilometres southeast of Fort St. John.It says operations in the area were immediately shut down as a precaution and mitigation strategies will be put into place for any operations linked to seismic events. Earthquakes Canada reported a 4.5 magnitude quake just before 5:30 p.m. Thursday that was felt in Fort St. John, Taylor, Chetwynd and Dawson Creek.Honn Kao of the Geological Survey of Canada says the probability is “very high” that the earthquake was caused by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the process used in oil and gas extraction.He says his organization is working with the oil and gas commission to conduct further investigation.
FiveThirtyEight’s editor-in-chief, Nate Silver, discussed our NCAA men’s basketball tournament predictions Tuesday with “Good Morning America’s” Josh Elliott.If you missed it, here’s the clip:
Ohio State redshirt junior guard Kam Williams attempts a shot in the first half against Maryland at the Schottenstein Center on Jan. 31. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Sports DirectorWithout sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle available, the Ohio State men’s basketball team knew it had its hand full at No. 21 Maryland, who beat the Buckeyes just two weeks earlier.OSU dug its way back from several double-digit deficits, but couldn’t close the gap, as the Buckeyes (15-11, 5-8 Big Ten) fell 86-77 to the Maryland Terrapins (21-4, 9-3 Big Ten) in College Park, Maryland, on Saturday.Senior forward Marc Loving led all scorers with 24 points for the Scarlet and Gray, as junior forward Jae’Sean Tate added 20. Freshman guard Anthony Cowan led Maryland with 19 points as freshman guard Kevin Huerter had 18.In the final four minutes, both teams caught fire from beyond the arc. Down 77-66 with 3:41 remaining, Loving hit back-to-back 3s to cut the Maryland lead to five. Terrapin freshman guard Kevin Huerter answered with a 3 of his own, but redshirt junior guard Kam Williams answered for the Buckeyes to make it 80-75.On the next possession, the Buckeyes needed a stop, but Cowan had other plans. He effectively put the game away for Maryland with a 3 with only 41 seconds remaining to increase the lead back to eight.Sophomore guard C.J. Jackson had 13 points in his third start of the season, and redshirt junior center Trevor Thompson had 11 points and 10 rebounds for his 10th double-double.The Terrapins came out firing from the beginning, knocking down four of their first six shots and led 9-0 at the first media timeout. But the lack of OSU offense wasn’t from a stagnant offense, shots simply weren’t falling despite the Buckeyes grabbing five offensive rebounds in the first four minutes.OSU stopped the bleeding by scoring 11 points over the next four minutes, but a Maryland 8-0 run out of the second media timeout slashed a deeper deficit for the Buckeyes at 24-13.From there, Maryland continued to build to its lead. After back-to-back dunks by backup center Michal Cekovsky, the home team led 40-24, its largest lead of the game.OSU trailed 45-31 at the half behind 20 bench points and seven 3-pointers from the Terps.In the second half, Maryland’s quick-hitting offense continued to overwhelm the Buckeyes. Freshman center Micah Potter narrowly missed a shot that would have cut the Terrapin lead to six, as he watched his 3-point attempt rattle in then out. On the other end, Potter watched freshman guard Kevin Huerter drill a 3 right in front of him, extending the Terps lead to 12.After that, the Buckeyes began to make a comeback. Redshirt junior guard Kam Williams knocked down a jumper and senior forward Marc Loving made a 3 to slim the deficit to seven. A few possessions later, sophomore guard C.J. Jackson made his second 3, making it a six-point game with 13:05 left.OSU continued to fight throughout the half, even withstanding a couple double-digit deficits. In the end, the effort wasn’t enough, despite shooting 60 percent in the second half.Potter and Thompson each fouled out with four minutes to go. Loving and Tate scored 15 and 14 points in the second half, respectively.OSU outrebounded Maryland 32-30, but committed 14 turnovers and were outscored 33-0 in bench points.Up NextOSU plays a second consecutive conference matchup on the road Tuesday at Michigan State at 9 p.m.
After their win against Vermont, field hockey players Aisling Coyle and Aisling McKeon ran over to the sideline, practically finishing each other’s sentences. Coyle, a sophomore midfielder from Glasgow, Scotland, and McKeon, a junior midfielder from Galway, Ireland, are just two of the international students on the team this year. While growing up within a nine-hour drive from each other, they had similar experiences while starting their hockey careers. For example, both started playing for club teams when they were around 7 years old. “Club back home is a lot more intense,” Coyle said. “Girls play at a high level on club teams when they are in their teens.”Hockey is not as intense at the university level in Europe as it is in America, Coyle said. McKeon and Coyle took advantage of opportunities to play at Ohio State in order to continue playing at the level they were used to in European club play. Coyle talked to every big hockey school before deciding to come to OSU, she said. She noticed OSU had quite a few international players, and even Scottish players on some teams. “I knew I would have something in common with others,” she said. “There were people I would relate to.”McKeon’s decision to play for OSU was made a little differently. “I had family and friends that lived in the States and brought the idea to my parents,” she said. “Everything was predetermined and pre-organized.”Coyle and McKeon are enjoying their time in the states, but admit hockey is a little different in America. In America, “hockey is a lifestyle,” McKeon said. “In Europe it is your hobby.” One of the biggest adjustments they had to make was getting used to America’s on-the-go lifestyle. “I remember eating and having to take my meal to go one time, wondering what in the world was going on,” McKeon said. “Back home we have more time to sit and enjoy a meal, more time to relax and talk.”“Now we have gotten used to it and tell the others to hurry up,” Coyle added.The popularity of the sport is also different. In Europe, most kids participate in field hockey, Coyne said. The lack of a men’s national field hockey team illustrates the lack of interest in the sport in America, they said. America “is the only country to not have a men’s team,” Coyle said.After spending the last few years in America, both Coyle and McKeon said they could envision field hockey becoming a more popular sport in the States. “You have money, you can afford the best coaches,” McKeon said. Coyle and McKeon have both started each of the team’s eight games this season. Coyle ranks third on the team with 10 points.Both plan on returning home after graduation.