Another Evolutionary Statistic Is Wrong

first_imgMarine invertebrate diversity has not increased dramatically over time, contrary to conventional wisdom.  That’s the conclusion of a team of 35 researchers who spent a decade analyzing seashell fossils from around the world.    Science Daily reported the story July 7.  A week later, on July 14, Science Daily reported a follow-up story, entitled, “Disproving Conventional Wisdom On Diversity Of Marine Fossils And Extinction Rates.”  The later article featured John Alroy (UC Santa Barbara), the principal author of the paper published in Science.1  “There’s been 36 years of people arguing about this,” he said.  “And I feel we finally resolved this debate, which is certainly one of the most high profile debates in the study of diversity of the fossil record.”  95% of the fossil record consists of marine invertebrates (see ICR claim).  The abstract says,It has previously been thought that there was a steep Cretaceous and Cenozoic radiation of marine invertebrates.  This pattern can be replicated with a new data set of fossil occurrences representing 3.5 million specimens, but only when older analytical protocols are used.  Moreover, analyses that employ sampling standardization and more robust counting methods show a modest rise in diversity with no clear trend after the mid-Cretaceous.  Globally, locally, and at both high and low latitudes, diversity was less than twice as high in the Neogene as in the mid-Paleozoic.  The ratio of global to local richness has changed little, and a latitudinal diversity gradient was present in the early Paleozoic.The team painstakingly catalogued 248,816 fossils from around the world and found that things that paleontologists have been saying for 40 years may not be accurate.  Diversity reached saturation early after the Cambrian and Ordovician and remained flat, with minor excursions, over the remaining eras.    The new database suggests that there were only three, not five, mass extinctions.  The number of species recovered quickly, they said.  The sixth and last presumed extinction never happened, they claim, based on their results.    Another researcher explained the utility of the project.  She said, “If we know where we have been, we know something about where it will go.”1.  Alroy et al, “Phanerozoic Trends in the Global Diversity of Marine Invertebrates,” Science, 4 July 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5885, pp. 97-100, DOI: 10.1126/science.1156963.It’s good to know where you have been.  Where you have been, though, does not necessarily predict where you will go.  Do these researchers know the answer to such questions?    Statistics can be misleading.  Good for them that they went at it in much more detail than in previous studies.  They have falsified claims going back four decades.  That does not ipso facto “truthify” their own claims.  Because their work has an incestuous relationship with evolutionary geology and biology, any conclusions borne out have a statistically high likelihood of dementia.(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Morabaraba for your cellphone

first_img2 March 2007A team of South African students have won an international award for developing an online, cellphone version of the traditional African board game Morabaraba.David Vannucci, Teddy Mwakabaga and Rolan Christian from the University of the Witwatersrand’s school of electrical and information engineering received a silver medal for their entry, “Mobiraba”, at the SIMagine Awards in Barcelona last month.“Mobiraba the cellphone game was tested at the 2006 National Morabaraba Trials and received excellent reviews from experts,” said Professor Barry Dwolatzky, the team’s supervisor.Cellphone users can play Mobiraba online by logging on to a game server and chosing between two gaming options. A quick game allows the user to be automatically matched up against another quick game player of a similar skill level, while an organised games allows the user to send out invitations to a chosen opponent.The online server maintains the results of all the players, as well as rankings and a record of each game.Dwolatzky said the invention could be used to develop Morabaraba further in the country, as it would be possible to organise online tournaments. According to Dwolatzky, over 16-million South Africans play the game.“Players could play for communities and clubs in online Mobiraba forums and purchase additional game play credits by simply sending an SMS to a premium rated number,” he said.SIMagine awardsThe annual SIMagine awards, sponsored by SIM card manufacturer Gemalto, aim to stimulate the development of Java-based SIM card applications.The winner of this year’s event was a team from Poland who entered an application called SIMKey, which allows the user to replace all kinds of electronic keys with a single key stored on their cellphone.A Chinese team came in third with their entry “Google SIM”, which enables most of Google’s services – including e-mail, online messaging, calendars and maps – on a user’s SIM card.The competition drew more than 315 entries from companies and universities around the world, of which only eight were selected as finalists.“This is an honour for the School of Electrical and Information Engineering, the university, South Africa and the students,” said Dwolatzky. “They managed to beat competitors from countries with advanced software development and developed information systems.”Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

SKA awards bursaries to five matriculants

first_img15 January 2016Five matriculants from the small rural town of Carnarvon who did particularly well in maths and science in their final National Senior Certificate exams at the end of 2015 are setting off for university in the coming days, armed with full bursaries from the Square Kilometre Array South Africa (SKA SA).Carnarvon, in Northern Cape, is a remote town. It is the closest inhabited place to where the SKA SA radio telescope is being built. The global technology project, with operations in South Africa and Australia, is tasked with mapping the universe. It is an important addition to the town’s economy. Most of the construction is being done on-site and it is providing employment for the area’s citizens and a much- needed economic boost for the town.The project has always strived to give back to the community for allowing the operation and its people to become part of the community, says Lorenzo Raynard, SKA SA communications manager. The bursary initiative, part of the SKA SA Human Capital Development Programme, was started in 2005 and already has helped more than 730 pupils to study in the science and engineering fields at tertiary institutions.#SKAnews Local high school students to receive full university bursary from @SKA_Africa! https://t.co/sgWvHy1Qch pic.twitter.com/dGP2X6DMV2— SquareKilometreArray (@SKA_telescope) January 12, 2016This year, five 2015 matriculants from the local Carnarvon High School have the opportunity to continue their studies in science-related fields thanks to bursaries offered through the programme.The students – Anver Adams, Janethon de Klerk, Kyle Henderson, Cedwill Abdol and Bradley Bosman – all performed well in mathematics and physical science in their final exams, and want to study for Bachelor’s degrees in computer and data science, electrical engineering and physics at various universities around South Africa.“Our goal is to ensure sustainability for the SKA and that site engineers be drawn from the local community,” SKA SA project director Dr Rob Adam said in a statement released on 8 January. “In turn (we want to) provide a way for local young people to achieve their dreams of greatness through science. (This is) the first time learners from the school with support from SKA SA, have obtained matric results with exemptions to further their studies in science related fields.”Itumeleng Molefi, the physical science teacher at the school, cannot be more proud of his students’ achievements. He said some of the learners came from severely challenging backgrounds. “It is only through their own perseverance and determination that they have succeeded.”The students, together with their teachers, as well as with some knowledge and assistance from SKA SA employees, made the effort and worked hard to pass their final exams in November and December 2015 and are now looking forward to starting their new learning [email protected]_Africa gives bursaries 2 five Carnarvon matric learners who obtained exemption. #MatricResults #Matric2015 pic.twitter.com/IsFWh3SrCP— lebotshangela (@lebotshangela) January 9, 2016Bosman has applied to study for a Bachelor’s degree at the University of the Free State. He said he was glad he made the effort to persevere during the year. “It was very difficult at times because we did not have a science teacher in Grade 10. From Grade 11 onwards it was much easier after Mr Molefi joined the school.”Abdol wants to excel in computer science, starting at the University of the Free State. “It is a great privilege for me to have this opportunity,” he said of his achievement. “I am thankful for all the support that I had. I would like to improve my circumstances and will do anything to achieve my dreams.”Henderson was the 2015 head boy at Carnarvon High School, and will be a first year student at North West University this year, studying physics and mathematics. He made special mention of SKA SA in inspiring him to perform well, saying that “my matric year was made easier knowing that I had the support of SKA. (The reward of getting the bursary) motivated me to study harder and put in more effort. I am looking forward to my future because I know that I have excellent privileges and opportunities.”De Klerk, the 2015 Carnarvon head girl, said she was incredibly motivated by the presence of SKA in the town, with its bursary opportunity inspiring her to work even harder for her university degree. “What you put in is what you will gain and I want to work much harder because I do not want to disappoint my sponsors and support team.” She hoped to start her Bachelor’s degree at the University of the Free State. She plans to study science, specialising in astronomy, which might mean she may find herself working with her bursary sponsor sometime in the future.In addition to being a star player in the school’s first rugby team, Adams aced his final exams and now looks forward to going to the University of the Western Cape to start his science degree. “I knew that I had to put in all my effort and pass and the rest will be taken care of (by SKA SA). I am proud of my achievements and look forward to the future,” he said.SKA SA is proud of the Carnarvon five’s success and determination, says Sam Rametse, the professional officer: schools and outreach for the SKA SA Human Capital Development Programme.“We are reaping the benefits of appointing a science educator at Carnarvon High School who took the learners from Carnarvon and surrounding areas under his wing. It is due to his hard work that we see this success and we look forward to supporting the students in their further studies.”Source: News24Wirelast_img read more