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Tue, 16 Oct 2018
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Beaker

Nobel chemistry research validates intelligent design concept of irreducible complexity

michael behe

Michael Behe, in a scene from Revolutionary: Michael Behe and the Mystery of Molecular Machines
My Discovery Institute colleagues and I have observed that the recent Nobel Prize in chemistry, awarded to Drs. Frances H. Arnold, George P. Smith, and Gregory P. Winter for the ingenious engineering of biomolecules, rewards research that is crucially dependent on the inference to design in biochemistry and to intelligent design as a method of science. The Nobel laureates (implicitly or explicitly) inferred design in cellular structure and function and used random genetic variation of molecules to design highly effective biomolecules. It's beautiful bioengineering - using random variation in biomolecules to design better molecules. It's beautiful work in intelligent design science.

Coyne Is Aghast

Predictably, Darwinists are aghast. At Why Evolution Is True, Professor Jerry Coyne is exasperated: "I have no words," he says. He then goes to write:
I presume that Egnor thinks that Frances Arnold [one of the Nobel laureates] is God. Either that, or he fails to understand that humans mimicking evolution in the lab isn't the same thing as a designer being humanlike and creating plants and animals.

And the first ID prize?

"Linus Pauling's groundbreaking work on protein structure in the early 20th century (for which he won the Nobel Prize) depended critically on his correct inference that the structure of a protein must account for the purpose the protein serves in cellular metabolism."

That all turns on the ambiguous meaning of "purpose", and this is a prime and a rare correct example of "begging the question". For Egnor, "purpose" presupposes a God rather than being shorthand for "what the protein does as well as the nature of the reproductive advantage conferred by evolutionary changes in that protein."

Comment: Coyne is an idiot. Purpose means purpose, something that is impossible in a materialistic - and thereby non-teleological - universe.


Coyne misunderstands design science. Intelligent design is two scientific inferences: 1) design is the most reasonable explanation for some aspects of biology, and 2) inference to design in biology is a powerful tool in scientific methodology. These Nobel laureates used the second inference - that inference to design is a powerful tool in biological science - to guide their research.

Bulb

Camera captures light in slow motion: 10 trillion frames per second

light speed measurement
© Caltech Optical Imaging Laboratory
The trillion-frame-per-second compressed ultrafast photography system.
Light is the fastest thing in the universe, so trying to catch it on the move is necessarily something of a challenge. We've had some success, but a new rig built by Caltech scientists pulls down a mind-boggling 10 trillion frames per second, meaning it can capture light as it travels along - and they have plans to make it a hundred times faster.

Understanding how light moves is fundamental to many fields, so it isn't just idle curiosity driving the efforts of Jinyang Liang and his colleagues - not that there'd be anything wrong with that either. But there are potential applications in physics, engineering, and medicine that depend heavily on the behavior of light at scales so small, and so short, that they are at the very limit of what can be measured.

Network

Telecoms firm Orange collaborating with Google to lay private undersea cable between France and US

The 6,600km undersea cable will open in 2020 and is one of seven Google is building over the next two years

undersea cable US France

The cable will provide Orange alone with a capacity of ‘more than 30 terabits per second, per [fibre] pair’ – enough, the company says, ‘to transfer a 1GB movie file in 30 microseconds’.
Telecoms firm Orange has teamed up with Google to work on a private undersea cable connecting the Atlantic coasts of France and the United States.

Measuring 6,600km in length, the undersea cable will be named Dunant after Henry Dunant, the first Nobel peace prize winner and founder of the Red Cross. When it comes online in 2020, it will provide Orange alone with a capacity of "more than 30 terabits per second, per [fibre] pair" - enough, the company says, "to transfer a 1GB movie file in 30 microseconds". Neither Orange nor Google released information about the total capacity of the cable, nor how they would allocate it between them.

The cable will be the first new submarine cable between the US and France in 15 years. It's Google's fourth completely private undersea cable, following two short-distance tests, named Alpha and Beta, and the long-distance Curie cable - named after the famed physicist Marie Curie - that links the US west coast to Chile. That cable, which will come online in 2019, will make Google the first major non-telecom company to build a private intercontinental cable. It is also the first subsea cable to land in Chile in almost 20 years, and will be the largest single data pipe connecting the country to the rest of the world.

Cassiopaea

Milky way could be spreading life from star to star

milky way
For almost two centuries, scientists have theorized that life may be distributed throughout the Universe by meteoroids, asteroids, planetoids, and other astronomical objects. This theory, known as Panspermia, is based on the idea that microorganisms and the chemical precursors of life are able to survive being transported from one star system to the next.

Expanding on this theory, a team of researchers from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) conducted a study that considered whether panspermia could be possible on a galactic scale. According to the model they created, they determined that the entire Milky Way (and even other galaxies) could be exchanging the components necessary for life.

The study, "Galactic Panspermia", recently appeared online and is being reviewed for publication by the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The study was led by Idan Ginsburg, a visiting scholar at the CfA's Institute for Theory and Computation (ITC), and included Manasvi Lingam and Abraham Loeb - an ITC postdoctoral researcher and the director of the ITC and the Frank B. Baird Jr. Chair of Science at Harvard University, respectively.

Comment: See also: Also check out SOTT radio's:


Galaxy

Cosmic uncertainty: Scientists wondering is the speed of light really constant?

speed of light physics
© Henrik Sorensen/Getty
The universe's ultimate speed limit seems set in stone. But there's good reason to believe it might once have been faster - and may still be changing now

The speed of light in a vacuum is the ultimate cosmic speed limit. Just getting close to it causes problems: the weird distortions of Einstein's relativity kick in, so time slows down, lengths go up, masses balloon and everything you thought was fixed changes. Only things that have no mass in the first place can reach light speed - photons of light being the classic example. Absolutely nothing can exceed this cosmic max.

We have known about the special nature of light speed since an experiment by US physicists Albert Michelson and Edward Morley in the 1880s. They set two beams of light racing off, one parallel and one at right angles to the direction of Earth's rotation, assuming the different relative motions would mean the light beams would travel at different speeds - only to find the speed was always the same.

Comment:


Fireball 5

Earth just narrowly dodged bulk of Draconids meteor storm

DRACONID METEOR OUTBURST

Here it is, showing Earth shooting the gap between two filaments of comet dust
On Oct. 8-9, Europeans outdoors around midnight were amazed when a flurry of faint meteors filled the sky. "It was a strong outburst of the annual Draconid meteor shower," reports Jure Atanackov, a member of the International Meteor Organization who witnessed the display from Slovenia. Between 22:00 UT (Oct. 8) and 01:00 UT (Oct. 9), dark-sky meteor rates exceeded 100 per hour. In eastern France, Tioga Gulon saw "1 to 2 meteors per minute," many of them shown here in an image stacked with frames from his video camera:

"It was a rare and impressive event," says Atanackov.

It could easily have been 10 times more impressive. In fact, Earth narrowly dodged a meteor storm.

The European outburst occurred as Earth skirted a filament of debris from Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. If that filament had shifted in our direction by a mere 0.005 AU (~500,000 miles), Earth would have experienced a worldwide storm of 1000+ meteors per hour. These conclusions are based on a computer model of the comet's debris field from the University of Western Ontario's Meteor Physics Group.

Comment: We've been relatively lucky up until this point, but there will become a time when the meteor threat will become very real indeed:


Telescope

19 more mysterious deep-space 'fast radio bursts' detected

The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) Telescope
© ASKAP
The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) Telescope
A huge haul of newfound fast radio bursts (FRBs) may help astronomers finally start to get a handle on these mysterious and powerful blasts from deep space.

A new study reports the detection of 19 previously undiscovered FRBs, including the closest one to Earth and the brightest one ever seen. The results boost the total tally significantly; just three dozen or so FRBs had been known previously, with the first detection coming in 2007.

FRBs are brief (millisecond-long) but intense emissions of radio light, which can pack as much energy as our own sun produces over the course of nearly a century. Their source is the topic of much discussion and debate. For example, some researchers have suggested that FRBs could be generated by advanced alien civilizations, though most astronomers favor natural explanations, such as fast-spinning neutron stars.

Comment: Further reading


Brain

US military project: Drones operated by mind control

dronesoldier
© Reuters
But a direct man-machine interface is a long way off.

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has tested an implant that allows an operator to simultaneously control, with their mere thoughts, up to three unmanned aerial vehicles. The technology could one day lead to a direct interface between human beings and UAVs.

But full mind-control for drones is still a long way off. Loosely controlling one small UAV is one thing. Directly controlling several sophisticated drones, with full two-way communication, is quite another.

The mind-control trials took place in Pittsburgh between June 2016 and January 2017, according to DARPA. Using what the agency called a "bidirectional neural interface," a volunteer named Nathan Copeland was able to simultaneously steer a simulated lead UAV and maintain formation of two additional simulated aircraft in a flight simulator, said Tim Kilbride, a DARPA spokesperson.

Eye 1

Lab-grown retinas reveal how color vision develops

Retinas
© Medium
Biologists at Johns Hopkins University grew human retinas from scratch to determine how cells that allow people to see in color are made.

The work, set for publication in the journal Science, lays the foundation to develop therapies for eye diseases such as color blindness and macular degeneration. It also establishes lab-created "organoids" as a model to study human development on a cellular level.

"Everything we examine looks like a normal developing eye, just growing in a dish," said Robert Johnston, a developmental biologist at Johns Hopkins. "You have a model system that you can manipulate without studying humans directly."

Johnston's lab explores how a cell's fate is determined - or what happens in the womb to turn a developing cell into a specific type of cell, an aspect of human biology that is largely unknown.

Here, he and his team focused on the cells that allow people to see blue, red and green - the three cone photoreceptors in the human eye.

Dig

Gargantuan 70 million y.o. dino skeleton found in the Gobi Desert

dinosaur bones
© CCO
The fossil is believed to be the remains of a sauropod dinosaur, a member of the huge herbivorous species that lived on our planet millions of years ago.

A team of Japanese and Mongolian scientists has discovered a skeleton of a giant dinosaur in Gobi Desert in Mongolia, the Japan-based news agency Jiji reports.

The fossil is thought to belong to a 70 million-year-old sauropod dinosaur. Sauropods were long-necked, four-legged plant eaters that inhabited the Earth in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. This genus includes the largest creatures ever to walk the Earth; in particular, the colossal Argentinosaurus, which scientists believe to have been over 36 meters long and over 21 meters tall.