Category: mtmfn

Dutch team proposes flood hazard maps as 1st step to risk management

first_imgAlthough Guyana is not in a position to set up a full risk management system to solve its drainage problem and alleviate the impact of flooding, Dutch experts have proposed that Guyana develop flood hazard maps as a small step towards a full-fledged risk management system.The report, titled “Risk Approach”, indicated that a full risk management approach was not possible in Guyana at the moment, owing to a lack of data and modelling capacities, but a good first step would be to consider the various elements of the drainage system as interconnected elements of a system, and to look for its weakest elements.The Netherlands’ Risk Reduction Team, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder, Deputy Mayor Sherod Duncan, National Task Force Commission head, Retired Major General Joe Singh and other members of the task force at a press briefingIt stated that it would also be a good step to consider drainage system improvements (concrete projects) as investments that need to be in accord with the value of what is being protected. Adding that it makes no sense to invest in protecting an area that has little value, the report suggested that it was more beneficial to invest in protecting high-value areas.In addition to these more general requirements, a first step towards working with a risk management approach would be to prepare flood hazard maps. These are maps of certain floodprone areas showing what could happen under 1/10, 1/50, or 1/100 years conditions (rainfall, river and sea levels). It will provide information for now and for the future on a number of climate change scenarios.“Flood hazard maps differ from flood maps such that they are projections for what can be expected under extreme conditions with a specific frequency of occurrence. It is a first step towards a risk approach in decision-making. Flood hazard maps can be used for planning purposes and to compare areas. They can also be used for investment purposes as they show which areas may be more favourable than others,” the report said.It added that after local personnel has gained experience in working with flood hazard mapping, “a next step can be made towards the development of a full risk approach for the drainage system of Georgetown and other low-lying coastal areas in Guyana”.Without drainage systems, flood damage will occur multiple times per year and the avoidance of this damage is the monetary benefit of the drainage system. These benefits are not only monetary, but also refer to health and safety issues. Under extreme flood events, resulting in rapidly rising water or strong flow velocities, deaths may occur as a result of drowning and during inundation, water from the sewerage system may get mixed with the surface drainage water and result in serious health threats.The report purported that having an adequate and well-functioning drainage system thus prevents economic damage and reduces the number of casualties.It stated that Guyana’s practice in proposing improvement measures seemed to be primarily project-based, without an assessment of the whole drainage system, implying that the chosen measures may in the end not have the largest reduction of the flood risks.The Netherlands has developed a Rational Risk Approach to deal with their drainage system. It is a consistent method that analyses all elements of the flood defence system; it computes failure probabilities of each element under a wide variety of extreme conditions and computes the (monetary and non-monetary) consequences of any such failure.“ Either way, it has proven to be an effective method to steer spatial developments and to prioritise measures that have the largest contribution to flood risk reduction,” the report indicated, referencing that the Flood Risk document (FLORIS) prepared by the Dutch government on how a Rational Risk Approach has been developed and applied on all water defences in The Netherlands.last_img read more

Liberia’s Ebola Challenge and Opportunity: Research Toward a Vaccine

first_imgAs they used to say at Cuttington, when Walter Traub (now Dr. Gwenigale) was there, this is nothing short of “metaphysical” or “far-fetched.” But we at the Daily Observer strongly believe it is NOT: that it is decidedly DOABLE: Liberia should begin NOW the research toward finding a vaccine for Ebola.We admittedly do not have all the scientists in the world, but for starts, we have Dr. Gwenigale himself, Dr. Vuyu Golakai, a surgeon, Dr. Emmett Dennis, a microbiologist, Dr. Billy Johnson, a gynecologist and obstetrician with a PhD in Medicine, Dr. Wilhemina Jallah, Dr. Sam Brisbane, Dr. Abraham Borbor and Dr. Roseda Marshall, Dr.  Lily Sanvee; Dr. Bankole Jarrett, Dr. Kate Bryant and her scientific sister Tidi Bryant, all three of whom, though now retired, still can help with their contacts in the United States; Dr. Varney Freeman, a surgeon; Dr. Jerome Washington, a heart specialist, Dr. Juliette Phelps Maxwell, a surgeon, Dr. James Elliott, Dr. T.K. Slewion, Dr. Adama Sirleaf and Dr. Estrada Bernard II,  all practicing in the USA; and all the other Liberian scientists and medical doctors practicing around the world, especially in the USA and Europe.These, we think, are a good start.  Dr. Gwenigale and Dr. Bernice Dahn, Liberia’s Health and Social Welfare Minister and Chief Medical Officer, respectively, and Dr. Johnson, Chief Medical Officer at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, should lead the charge.  They should consult with all our scientists on the ground, convene a retreat and put on paper a basic research design and circulate it to their colleagues around the world.  All Liberian scientists, wherever they are, would be interested and could grab the idea and go running with it, making contacts with their fellow scientists wherever they are, to help research this deadly disease toward developing a vaccine against it.The scientists at the Liberia Institute for Tropical Medicine (LITM) in Charlesville, near Roberts International Airport, would be a good place to start. As we have always said, MONEY is NOT the problem.  Long before one cent is raised, people want to see a concrete and challenging IDEA whose time has come.  If they are convinced that it is a worthy cause, they will find the money.  We are positive that the few Liberians with money, such as Bill Morris, Benoni Urey and Emmanuel Shaw; and George Soros (Open Society), Bill Clinton and Tony Blair–friends of Ellen, all–and philanthropists Bill and Malinda Gates, the Amazon and Google people and so many other wealthy and good-hearted ones, would heartily embrace this idea and help support it.The three monied Liberians mentioned–Morris, Urey and Shaw—could begin by financing and hosting the first retreat–probably at Cuttington, Du Side Hospital or some other appropriate venue, and contribute the seed money to start this important project.  The Daily Observer would be happy to provide all the necessary publicity and promotion for the project idea.Others, seeing that we have cast our buckets where we are, would join in and help carry the idea forward.We pray that Drs. Gwenigale, Johnson, Dahn and all our other scientists on the ground would put aside whatever doubts and fears that may arise, embrace this idea and start the ball rolling.  As mentioned earlier, this idea is NOT far-fetched; it is decidedly DOABLE.Once we start, scientists in Guinea, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where Ebola started, will join in.Let us seize the initiative NOW, rather than wait for others to do what at least we can START doing for ourselves!Here, meanwhile, is an opportunity to develop a data base of ALL Liberian scientists in the USA, Europe and elsewhere who we are sure would welcome the idea to come forward and do something good for Africa.  We call upon Drs. Bryant, Jarrett, Washington and Phelps-Maxwell, Elliott, Slewion, Bernard II and Adama Sirleaf, all of whom are in the USA, to begin now putting together the Liberian scientists’ data base.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

UG hosts Career Day

first_imgThe University of Guyana (UG) on Friday held its annual Career Day at the Turkeyen Campus on the East Coast of Demerara.Despite the light showers of rain, students and teachers from various secondary schools across Guyana graced the event so as to educate themselves about the career paths that some businesses and intuitions have to offer. A number of booths were set up by representatives of entities to effectively communicate what can be expected from them, as well as advise on future career plans.A chemist explaining to students the science behind his careerA representative of the Business Ministry booth, Gillian Edwards, explained the importance of this event, stating that students should be aware of the career path they would like to pursue, as the unemployment rate in Guyana is very substantial.“We’re trying to steer youths here to think about what they’re going to do when they leave school. Most likely, they have to create a job,” she said.Many of those present were students who were attending the event for the first time, and they detailed that it was an amazing experience for them.St Rose’s High School student Tonya George related, “This is my first time here, and since I’ve been here, I’ve been to the booths and I’ve seen different things; and it’s helping to develop my mind to see what career path I want to actually take, because before I came here I didn’t know what I actually wanted to do. Since I’ve been here, I’ve got a lot of ideas, and it’s been great.”There was also a booth set up by the University’s Berbice Campus, featuring the agricultural science faculty with the main focus being entomology and soil science.Agricultural science student of the Berbice campus, Daniel Jacobs, told this publication that many persons are not aware of what that campus has to offer. As such, the campus would like to enlighten the young students on the services being offered, and illustrate the resources it presently has. Samples of the books at the library were on display for students who are desirous of studying at the Berbice Campus.At the end of the day, many students had an idea as to what career path they might be interested in.last_img read more

Kitty teen to face Judge, jury for fruit vendor’s murder

first_imgMurdered: Richard Noel…charge against father dismissedA 54-year-old man and his 20-year-old son, who were charged in 2018 for the murder of a fruit vendor, on Friday made another court appearance before Principal Magistrate Faith McGusty, who made final rulings on the Preliminary Inquiry (PI).The duo, James McKenzie and Timothy McKenzie, both of Lot 126 Thomas Street, Kitty, Georgetown, were charged with the capital offence of murder. The charge stated that on June 4, 2018, at Stabroek Market, Georgetown, both men murdered Richard Noel, of Lot 39 William Street, Kitty.In handing down her decision after the completion of the PI, Magistrate McGusty stated that a prima facie case was made out against the younger McKenzie and hence she committed him to face a trial at the Demerara High Court.Meanwhile, the senior McKenzie had the charge dismissed against him as Magistrate McGusty explained that the testimonies of witnesses supplied by the prosecution contained no evidence for a case against him. The elder McKenzie exited the courtroom a free man while his son remained in prison.Police reports indicate that the murder reportedly stemmed from an old grievance between the now dead man and the younger McKenzie.The grievance involved the sister of Noel, who the younger McKenzie had reportedly hit, and that resulted in a fight between the two men.However, on the day of the murder, the men reportedly crossed paths and McKenzie was heard asking Noel if he “wanted a problem”.It was reported that Noel walked away, which aggravated the man, who went after him and stabbed him twice to his chest. McKenzie’s father was allegedly with him at the time of the incident. When Noel fell, the men reportedly proceeded to stomp on his chest.Noel was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries one day later.Freed: James McKenzieRemanded: Timothy McKenzielast_img read more

Harambee Stars technical bench sent packing

first_img0Shares0000Harambee Stars first coach Stanley Okumbi consults with his assistants Frank Ouna and John Kamau during a training session at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on June 2, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – After failing to win in their last two FIFA International friendly matches, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has sent packing the Harambee Stars technical bench with interim coach Stanley Okumbi ‘redeployed’ as the U20 head coach.Harambee Stars, who are yet to jet in the country from Morocco where they played the two friendly matches, drew 2-2 against Comoros before losing 2-1 to lowly ranked Central African Republic. Okumbi was named interim head coach after Belgian Paul Put resigned in February 19.According to FKF communications director, Barry Otieno, the federation resorted to re-organise the technical bench so as to pave way for the new head coach set to be unveiled in May.Okumbi has been in the Harambee Stars technical bench since 2015 when Nick Mwendwa was elected FKF President and has faced criticism from football stakeholders.Since his appointment, Okumbi has only managed five wins out of 19 matches that he was in charge.Harambee Stars, who lost their opening 2019 African Cup of Nations Qualifier away to Sierra Leone, will welcome the Black Stars of Ghana in their second match in September before facing Ethiopia.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Carson unhappy with latest effort

first_img“He is a tremendous athlete,” Sula said. “When we had them stopped, he was able to make something out of nothing. His team looks to him to make plays and that’s what he did. That’s why they were able to stay close for so long.” Carson (6-2, 3-0) only trailed for 1 minute, 42 seconds in the game, but couldn’t manage to put a lot of distance between it and Washington over the game’s first three quarters. They seemed poised to do so with first-and-10 on the Washington’s 12-yard line and less than a minute left in the third quarter. But instead of a touchdown to give the team a 14-point advantage, a scrambling Blackman saw his pass to Keenan Smith deflect off a defender’s helmet, over Smith’s right shoulder and into Kingdwayne Solomon’s awaiting arms. But Carson’s defense made sure Washington’s last gasp was a short one. On the first play of the drive from Washington’s 1-yard line, defensive tackle Poti Amisone recovered a Shawn McCoy fumble to give set up Carson with first-and-goal from the 2-yard line. Sula promptly ran in the ball for the first of Carson’s three fourth-quarter scores. “That fumble was really important because it was a short margin in points between us,” Sula said. “Whenever we’re in the red zone we expect to score and when that didn’t happen, our defense had to step up and they did.” david.saunders@dailybreeze.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“We were atrocious,” Carson coach Mike Christensen said. “I know that sounds strange after you score 56 points, but we have high expectations of ourselves, maybe too high, and we didn’t live up to them.” Quarterback Dominique Blackman completed 13 of 20 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Jack Sula had 134 yards and five touchdowns on 25 carries and an interception on defense. But he seemingly couldn’t have been less satisfied on a career-scoring day. “We started off on the wrong foot and took our opponents too lightly and they made us pay for it,” Sula said. Regardless of sentiment, Carson did win the game despite the struggles of its defense to stop the big play and the man who had a hand in nearly all of them. Washington quarterback LaVail Littleton finished 13-for-24 for 252 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran six times for 31 yards and two touchdowns and even recorded a 31-yard reception. Four of Littleton’s plays were for more than 30 yards for Washington (4-3, 1-2). MARINE LEAGUE: Colts’ win does not meet their high standards as they fail to contain the Generals’ Littleton. By David Saunders STAFF WRITER Rarely do you hear coaches and players uniformly lambaste a 28-point victory, but that’s exactly what happened after Carson’s 56-28 Marine League win over host Washington. last_img read more

DDTV: JIM McGUINNESS APPEARS IN SUICIDE AWARENESS VIDEO

first_imgJim McGuinness (Donegal Manager), Alan Quinlan (former Irish International Rugby player), Finian Hanley (Galway GAA Captain), Adrian Logan (BBC sport presenter), Kevin Keane (Mayo GAA Team player and IT Sligo Student), and FAI International Young Player of the Year 2013 and IT Sligo Student, Emma Hansberry, are amongst a group of sport starts featured on a new video about suicide awareness produced by three IT Sligo students.The video was launched today at IT Sligo by Armagh GAA player Oisin McConville.Given that Ireland has one of the highest rates of suicide amongst young males in Europe, the students focused their message at this group and sought out some of Ireland’s top sporting starts to encourage those at risk to talk to someone close to them.Thought provokingly called ‘Who Would You Tell?’ the video was produced by Stephen Doak (Creeslough, Donegal), David Mackin (Dundalk) and Stephen Sullivan (Coole, Westmeath) as part of their final year project in the BSc in Public Health and Health Promotion at IT Sligo. If he was feeling suicidal, Donegal GAA Team Manager Jim McGuinness says he would tell ‘a family member of a friend’; Connacht Rugby Player John Muldoon says he would tell his girlfriend; Galway GAA Captain Finian Hanley said he would tell his parents and his girlfriend; and Mayo GAA player Kevin Keane would tell his parents and his girlfriend.“There is such a taboo around suicide and that’s what we wanted to tackle in this video,” said student Stephen Sullivan. “People who feel suicidal feel they can’t talk about it, and those who are worried about friends are afraid to broach the subject with them. But talking is the best medicine and that’s what we are trying to promote in this video.”Jim McGuinness encourages people to speak out about their problems on the video; “My own community has been devastated by it in the last number of years, old and young,” he says. “It’s something that just stops you in your tracks. You wish that you could do something, or that you could have known or helped by the reality is sometimes you don’t and that’s why it’s so important that if you’re any way down or carrying anything, or if you feel depressed, to try to seek people out. Don’t carry it yourself, try and move forward with the help and support of other people. That’s the key thing,” he said.Rugby player Alan Quinlan echoes these sentiments; “There’s no doubt about it that people tend to sweep their problems under the carpet and not open up. But they escalate and get worse and times does on. There is no shame in speaking out and opening up to someone,” he says.John Muldoon says suicide is ‘crippling society; “Don’t be macho. Don’t be afraid. Don’t think that people will think less of you…if you’re in a bad place, talk to someone,” he said.Mental Health Promotion/Suicide Resource Officer with HSE West Mike Rainsford, is also quoted on the video. “There is an invisible barrier associated with suicide,” he said. “Those feeling suicidal don’t want to burden people by talking about it and their friends and family don’t know how to raise it with them. The only way we can help is to communicate to each other, to our friends or with support services. A problem shared really is a problem halved, so the very simple message about communication underpinning this video is very important.”The BSc in Public Health and Health Promotion at IT Sligo is an innovative and practically-driven degree programme which equips students with a variety of skills to promote health amongst specialised and applied health areas and populations. Lecturer Maire McCallion said practical projects are a core part of the programme; “The students have received tremendous support from the sporting community in this project,” she said.” Videos are powerful communication and promotional tools and the students are hoping that this video will be used by schools and sporting and community groups to promote suicide awareness and the importance of mental health.” For more information see www.itsligo.ieThose who are affected by suicide or suicidal thoughts should contact their GP. Other sources of support also include the Samaritans 1850 609090, 1Life 1800 24 7 100 and Stop suicide 1850 211 877. DDTV: JIM McGUINNESS APPEARS IN SUICIDE AWARENESS VIDEO was last modified: February 27th, 2013 by BrendaShare 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:DDTV: JIM McGUINNESS APPEARS IN SUICIDE AWARENESS VIDEOlast_img read more

Fulham v Cardiff line-ups: Whites man ruled out, Christensen fit, three Cardiff changes

first_imgFulham midfielder Tom Cairney has been ruled out after picking up an injury in the win over Preston on Tuesday.He is replaced in the starting line-up by Emerson Hyndman, with Luke Garbutt coming in for Tim Ream and Richard Stearman replacing Ryan Fredericks.There is good injury news for Fulham however, with Lasse Vigen Christensen – who has not played since 13 February – named on the bench.Cardiff are without Anthony Pilkington, who limped off during the draw with Burnley, but Peter Whittingham and Craig Noone return after being rested.Fulham: Bettinelli; Stearman, Madl, Amorebieta, Garbutt; Tunnicliffe, Parker, Ince, Hyndman; McCormack, Dembele.Subs: Lonergan, Fredericks, Burn, Baird, Christensen, Woodrow, Smith.Cardiff: Marshall; Peltier, Morrison; Ecuele-Manga, Malone; Noone, Gunnarsson, Ralls, Whittingham; Lawrence, Immers. Subs: Moore, Fabio, Connolly, Dikgacoi, O’Keefe, Zohore, Saadi.See also:Fulham are not safe yet, warns JokanovicFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

“Evidence-Based” Findings May Not Be

first_img(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Patients are encouraged to seek only “evidence-based” treatments for disease, but a look behind the scenes of clinical trials reveals some of the same human foibles that plague any science: shortcomings in honesty and transparency.Finding cause-and-effect relationships in medical science is notoriously difficult.  Supposedly, the path to reliable findings is to use randomized clinical trials, where a proposed new therapy goes through three distinct phases of testing on large numbers of people.  Sounds good in theory, but what happens when investigators find less-than-full disclosure and potential conflicts of interest?  Those issues were addressed in Science Insider recently.  Violations are, unfortunately, more common than expected.We’ve heard of studies funded by tobacco companies that prove cigarettes are safe.  Give a researcher enough money, and it’s tempting (though not necessarily guaranteed) his or her findings will corroborate the company’s claims.  How are conflicts of interest avoided?  How are standards for reporting maintained?  Science Insider attended a recent International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication in Chicago, and reported some red flags: (1) “Published trial results often differ from those initially posted“; and (2) “Potential conflicts of interest often go unreported.”The honor system, such as merely deploying forms asking researchers to list all conflicts of interest, is insufficient.  Despite years of reminding researchers how important it is to maintain transparency about potential conflicts, many still fail to disclose them.  Often it is left up to the researcher’s own judgment whether such conflicts are “relevant” to the trial.  Ignorance of the need for high standards, the Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication found, is sadly widespread.Although most of the doctors disclosed relationships they had with the firm funding the published research, fewer than half shared relationships they had with industry competitors. And despite all the talk in recent years about conflicts, 16% who had a financial tie to a sponsor or drug manufacturer leading the study didn’t report it. One example cited by Rasmussen: a physician who was an advisory board member and speaker for AstraZeneca, maker of the drug being covered by the paper, who declared he or she had no conflicts.“I was actually very disappointed” by this, says Vivienne Bachelet, editor-in-chief of the journal Medwave in Santiago, who was not involved in the study. In her country, she says, the “level of awareness is just nil” about conflicts of interest. Medical societies in particular get substantial funding from drug companies but almost no one—the societies themselves, drug regulators, or the individual doctors—see this as something that should be disclosed, Bachelet says. “If they’re not disclosing over there,” in Denmark, “what’s to be expected in Chile?”Regarding publication discrepancies, a survey of thousands of papers revealed frequent inconsistencies between public reports and journal publications about results of primary endpoints (main purposes of the trial) and secondary endpoints (serendipitous findings):For 21% of the primary endpoints, what appeared in the journal wasn’t exactly the outcome described on ClinicalTrials.gov, and in 6%, the Yale group suggested that this difference influenced how the results would be interpreted.For secondary endpoints, the difference was even more dramatic: Of more than 2000 secondary endpoints listed across the trials, just 16% appeared the same way in both the public database and the published article along with the same results. Results for dozens of secondary endpoints were inconsistent. “Our findings raise concerns about the accuracy of information in both places, leading us to wonder which to believe,” Becker said.The director of ClinicalTrials.gov at the National Library of Medicine called the website a “view into the sausage factory” of how research results are reported.Speaking of randomized clinical trials (RCT), Nature reported that little more than half of them produce treatments better than the standard of care – and that’s as it should be, given that RCT outcomes are unpredictable.  Progress is incremental but steady.  There’s no question that cancer patients are surviving much longer on average than they were a couple of decades ago, thanks to clinical trials.The slowness of the process, though, is frustrating to patients, especially those with cancer, who can’t wait a decade for all three phases to complete before government approval is given.  Medical Xpress raised the question of whether clinical trials are always necessary.  Sometimes phase III (comparing the new treatment with the standard treatment) might be superfluous if a new therapy has already shown benefit, and patients are out of options.  Another recent trend is toward individualized care based on genetic screening or specific tissue sample characteristics.  Trends like that may not jive with randomized clinical trials, because each patient is treated as a unique case (a sample of one).  Alternatives to RCT may need to be devised for such new developments.In the philosophy of science, nothing like peer review or RCT (as practiced) is set in stone.  As practices and findings change, policies and procedures need to keep in step with them.  One thing that should not change, though, is a scrupulous insistence on honesty.Update 9/14/13: Medical Xpress reported that leading medical societies in Britain and America are poised to start publishing negative findings.  This is important, be knowing what doesn’t work can be just as important as knowing what does.   “It is ethically correct for pharmacologists working in academia, industry and the health services to publish negative findings,” the head of the British Pharmacological Society said.  “Openness not only ensures that the research community is collectively making the best possible use of resources, but also that clinical trial volunteers are not unnecessarily exposed to likely ineffective or potentially unsafe treatments when evidence may already suggest that the drug target in question is flawed.”  The lack of openness about negative results can waste time and resources if researchers unknowingly repeat a failed trial. “Historically, negative findings have tended to remain unpublished,” one journal editor noted with apparent regret.  Another expert feels that all clinical results, both positive and negative, should be in the public domain.No science can survive without honesty.  We are often told that science is self-checking.  The problem is that the checking is inconsistent, and often found out long after damage has been done.  This is shameful.  In medical clinical trials, people’s lives are on the line.  How can the public have confidence in findings, when they lose confidence in the honesty of the researchers?  Miracle treatments are promised that might actually be hyped by the drug company funding the research, or the researcher is on the company’s board, but refuses to disclose the conflict of interest, considering it (in his opinion) “not relevant.”  Then there is the temptation to announce breakthroughs to advance one’s career or the reputation of the institution.  Now we hear about the actual very low rate of honest reporting.  To put it mildly, “What they found was not particularly encouraging.”This is not to disparage the many honest, hard-working individual researchers with pure motives, or the reputable institutions that succeed in finding and helping patients with new effective treatments.  It just goes to show that scientific research is nothing without honesty.  The answer is not to run from “evidence-based” research toward unproven alternative therapies, many of which have even less evidence and are riddled with deeper conflicts of interest (such as hyped claims motivated to sell a product).  There are quacks who prey on the desperate, but conspiracy theories alleging collusion with drug companies to keep alternatives off the market are sometimes a ploy to mislead by undermining the credibility of competition.  In the morass of potential pitfalls, is anything better than clinical trials?  The answer is to improve the system: require independent checking for compliance, publicly humiliate violators, and financially punish institutions found culpable.Randomized clinical trials offer the best hope for establishing cause and effect in medical research, but sometimes the anecdotal reports of alternative treatments have merit; we should remain open to them and check them with a skeptical yet inquiring eye, weeding out conflicts of interest as best we can, investigating the reasonableness of the correlation.  As these reports show, “evidence-based” reports sometimes fail to live up to their ideal.  Honest researchers will keep an open mind about alternatives.  There’s much human beings do not know.  Things that work for some individuals do not always work for others.One other lesson: if correlations are this difficult to establish in humans, of which there are 7 billion to test, how much more error-prone are claims about the unobservable past supposed millions of years ago – especially when certain researchers have a conflict of interest to maintain their secular worldview?last_img read more

Saturn-Day and Moon-Day Arrive

first_imgLast Saturday, we looked at news about Saturn and its rings. This Saturday we look at news about Saturn’s moons.The planet Saturn just surpassed Jupiter in number of moons. Twenty more moons were discovered in Cassini data, Science Daily says, bringing the total to 82, compared to Jupiter’s 79. NASA is calling on the public to help give them names. But actually, Saturn has so many moons, they could never be counted. Within the rings are “propeller” moons that, while not obvious, leave evidence of their existence in propeller-shaped wakes consisting of disturbed ring particles. And actually, every ring particle is a moon orbiting Saturn, some as large as houses, some mere specks of dust. Here we concentrate on two of the most noteworthy moons of Saturn: Titan and Enceladus.Titan’s theoretical interior (NASA).Titan NewsLakes on Saturn’s moon Titan are explosion craters, new models suggest (Science Daily). Some of the small polar lakes on Titan have steep rims hundreds of feet high. A new model that might account for them considers them craters where frozen nitrogen exploded upward, contributing to Titan’s nitrogen-rich atmosphere. In order to keep Titan billions of years old when they know the atmosphere cannot be sustained that long, some planetary scientists like Jonathan Lunine (whose prediction of a global ethane ocean was falsified by Cassini) are now envisioning “cycles” —Over the last half-billion or billion years on Titan, methane in its atmosphere has acted as a greenhouse gas, keeping the moon relatively warm — although still cold by Earth standards. Scientists have long believed that the moon has gone through epochs of cooling and warming, as methane is depleted by solar-driven chemistry and then resupplied.This, however, amounts to special pleading, and could not work. By now (if the current atmosphere were at most 10 million to 100 million years old, as they believe), there would have been 45 to 450 cycles of methane depletion and resupply over the assumed age of the solar system. We know, however, that the methane is subject to the solar wind 20% of Titan’s orbit. Nothing is going to resupply it. And the ethane should have formed that global ocean over billions of years, as Lunine had predicted; it would be going nowhere, so where is it?Cassini explores ring-like formations around Titan’s lakes (European Space Agency, via Phys.org). Cassini found “around 650 lakes and seas in the polar regions of Titan—300 of which are at least partially filled with a liquid mix of methane and ethane.” Some of the lakes have steep-walled rims, as noted above, and some have broken rims. But others “are surrounded by ramparts: ring-shaped mounds that extend for tens of km from a lake’s shoreline” that completely enclose the liquid. How did these form? So far they cannot tell if the ramparts are “old” or “young.” They may have to wait for the next mission, named Dragonfly, to look from ground level instead of from orbit.‘Bathtub rings’ around Titan’s lakes might be made of alien crystals (Science Daily). Cue the Twilight Zone music: the rims of Titan’s lakes “might be encrusted with strange, unearthly minerals, according to new research being presented here.” Once again, though, confirmation of these features, which resemble rings of precipitated salt around salty lakes on Earth, will await more data from the next mission. They might consist of butane, acetylene and benzene, which are known to precipitate in Titan’s atmosphere. These alien crystals, though, appear to form snowflakes with ethane molecules captured inside.Flying on Saturn’s moon Titan: what we could discover with NASA’s new Dragonfly mission (The Conversation). Think of what scientists could see with a drone flying around Titan above the surface, instead of from orbit. That’s the plan for a follow-up visit to Titan. The mission is named Dragonfly. To promote it, Christian Schroeder (U of Stirling) has learned his propaganda well. Insert the L-word life to trigger public drooling.Flying on other worlds is the next leap in the exploration of our solar system. The Mars Helicopter will piggyback on the NASA Mars 2020 rover mission to demonstrate the technology. But this is only the start. The real prize will be the Dragonfly mission in 2026, sending a drone to Saturn’s largest moon, Titan – as just announced by NASA.For a craft to become airborne, it needs air or, more generally, an atmosphere. Only a handful of objects in our solar system fit that bill. Titan boasts an atmosphere thicker than Earth’s, which has shrouded this world in mystery for a long time. Studies have shown Titan may be able to host primitive lifeforms and is the ideal place to study how life may have arisen on our own planet.SMU’s ‘Titans in a Jar’ could answer key questions ahead of NASA’s space exploration (Southern Methodist University). This university long ago went from “Methodist” in the tradition of John Wesley to “Methodological Naturalist” in the atheist sense. As such, its research department will spend its $195,000 NASA grant looking for evidence of a naturalistic origin of life.Before the rotorcraft lands on Titan, chemists from SMU will be recreating the conditions on Titan in multiple glass cylinders — each the size of a needle top — so they can learn about what kind of chemical structures could form on Titan’s surface. The knowledge on these structures can ultimately help assess the possibility of life on Titan — whether in the past, present or future.Saturn’s moon Enceladus with “Tiger Stripes” fissures where geysers eruptEnceladusSaturn’s Icy Moon Enceladus Is Likely the ‘Perfect Age’ to Harbor Life (Live Science). Astrobiological fervor about Titan is only exceeded by the fervor of looking for life on Enceladus. As we saw last week, the evolutionary moyboys that control planetary science these days need to keep these moons old in order for life to have time to emerge by chance (as if time helps). They realize that just a few tens or hundreds of millions of years is far too short for that. One way they keep them old is just to declare them old, hoping nobody will notice that it’s an evolution-based assumption, not a measurable fact.Below the ice-covered surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus hides a vast ocean.This sprawling ocean is likely 1 billion years old, which means it’s the perfect age to harbor life, said Marc Neveu, a research scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center last Monday (June 24) during a talk at the 2019 Astrobiology Science Conference.In order to appear sciency, the chief wizard Neveu ran some computer simulations with contrived parameters to make Enceladus look just old enough for the time he thinks would be needed for the miracle of life to happen, if you had carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen available (Enceladus has lots of water ice, but very little of anything else). Yet Neveu has to admit that it’s rather surprising Enceladus would have an ocean left after all this time.One of Cassini’s major discoveries was that Enceladus had an ocean filled with hydrothermal vents. “It’s very surprising to see an ocean today,” Neveu told Live Science after the talk. “It’s a very tiny moon and, in general, you expect tiny things to not be very active [but rather] like a dead block of rock and ice.”Neveu needs the moon to be the right age. So he imagines it, guided by evolutionary magic.If the ocean is too young – for example, only a couple of million years old – there probably wouldn’t have been enough time to mix those ingredients together to create life, he said. What’s more, that’s not enough time for little sparks of life to spread enough for us Earthlings to detect them.On the other hand, if the ocean is too old, it’s as if the planet’s “battery” is running out of juice; the chemical reactions needed to sustain life might stop, Neveu said.In this world, the elements that needed to dissolve would have dissolved, all the minerals needed to form would have formed, he said. The moon would’ve then reached an equilibrium, meaning that the reactions to sustain life wouldn’t take place.That means Enceladus’ ocean may be the perfect age to harbor life.How he got to that non-sequitur isn’t clear. In the meantime, his computer simulations continue running.Organic Compounds Found in Plumes of Saturn’s Icy Moon Enceladus (Space.com). Ready to supply some building blocks of life for the astrobiologists, this article triumphantly announces “organic molecules” in the plumes of Enceladus, but doesn’t say what they are. (Note: many deadly poisons are “organic molecules”). It only teases readers that “Similar compounds on Earth take part in the chemical reactions that form amino acids, which are the organic compounds that combine to form proteins and are essential to life as we know it.” Were any of these things found? No.Saturn’s moon Enceladus is having a snowball fight with other moons (New Scientist). Now here’s a finding that should put the moyboys into clinical depression. The geysers of Enceladus are spray-painting other moons white with icy snow. The amount of snow is not trivial, either:Look how tiny this moon is!Alice Le Gall at the University of Paris-Saclay in France and her colleagues analysed these radar observations and found that three of the moons, Mimas, Enceladus and Tethys, seem to be twice as bright as we previously thought. They presented their work this week at at a joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the Division for Planetary Sciences in Geneva, Switzerland.That can be partly explained by Enceladus: it has huge geysers that spew water from its subsurface ocean into space, which then freezes and snows down on the nearby moons and Enceladus’ surface. Le Gall and her colleagues calculated that this layer of ice and snow should be at least a few tens of centimetres thick.“Now we know that the snow is actually accumulating, it’s not just a thin veneer but a much thicker layer of water ice,” Le Gall says.Could that go on for billions of years? Enceladus, remember, also builds a huge E-ring around Saturn, but this tiny moon is only about the diameter of Washington State. Neveu in the previous article said that this small moon should be like a dead block of rock and ice after all this time. As usual, the scientists completely ignore the age implications of this discovery. Spray cans give out after a while of continuous spraying.Diagram of Saturn’s E-ring created by EnceladusWhy are the planetary scientists ignoring this? They will never admit defeat. Charlie & Charlie* are too important in their pantheon to disgrace. *Lyell, Darwin (Visited 333 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more