What makes each individual unique? Nature1 reported a surprising thing about “the” human genome that is becoming apparent as more individuals’ genes are examined. The first part is not surprising; the last part is:When the finished sequence of the human genome was unveiled last year, biologists said that it told a story of harmony for the human family. Every one of us, it turns out, shares 99% of our DNA with all the other people on Earth. But it’s our differences that really fascinate us. And at last week’s annual genome meeting in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, scientists revealed a wealth of data indicating a surprising conclusion about human diversity – much of it might be explained by large structural differences between individual genomes, not by tiny differences in individual genes. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Some of us have more copies of a gene than others do. That’s just the beginning, Erika Check reports from the meeting: “we also have varying numbers of deletions, insertions and other major rearrangements in our genomes.” Check claims that some of these differences are being acted on by natural selection. Europeans, for instance, have an inversion not seen in Africans or Asians that is correlated with having more children, “a classic sign that the inversion confers an evolutionary advantage”. Others at the meeting were also confident that “structural differences are important in human evolution,” and that among sections where there were differing numbers of copies of stretches of DNA, “natural selection is actively working on these genes.”What’s more, he [Duc-Quang Nguyen, U of Oxford] found that many of these genes belong to groups that seem to help us interact with our environment. For instance, many work in the immune system, and affect how we fight off disease. These are exactly the sort of genes that could explain our diversity – why some of us get asthma when exposed to air pollution, or why some of us can eat plenty of cheeseburgers without gaining weight. “We knew these variations existed, but this year we’re asking, do they matter?” says Ewan Birney, head of bioinformatics for the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, based in Cambridge, UK. “The answer seems to be yes.” We’re still one human family, of course; but our DNA landscapes are a lot more varied than we had thought.1Erika Check, “Large genomic differences explain our little quirks,” Nature 435, 252-253 (19 May 2005) | doi: 10.1038/435252b.DNA keeps surprising us. The old picture of a relatively static library occasionally mutating to provide grist for natural selection is out. Now, we see that even among our own species – all of us being interfertile – there are remarkable differences not in just a DNA letter here or there, but in whole stretches of DNA sometimes 100 base pairs long or more. What this all means is not clear. It may be that most of our genomes cannot tolerate much divergence (see 11/26/2004 entry), but a certain fraction can vary quickly to provide robustness against changing environments and diets as people groups migrate into new areas. If so, thank God for this variability. Consider the differences in habitat between the frozen tundra, rain forest, the Sahara, grasslands, Asian steppes, forests and coastlands. The food available, air pressure, climate, insolation and biota can vary considerably. But even that explanation is simplistic; Americans go on vacation to Iceland, China and the Serengeti, don’t they? And international marriages usually produce offspring possessing “fitness,” whatever that is (see 10/29/2002 entry, “Fitness for Dummies: Is it Running in Circles?”). Darwinists cannot claim they understand this variability any more than anyone else; that is why Check calls this a “surprising conclusion.” Thankfully, it is still politically correct for her to say, “We’re still one human family, of course.” But this knowledge through a Darwin filter could feed a new eugenics (compare 04/22/2004 and 10/12/2001 entries). When Darwinists claim that certain genes are being acted on by natural selection, some individuals are going to appear more fit than others. Certain gene patterns may be deemed unfit to reproduce. Don’t think we’ve learned our lesson and are beyond that. One only has to visualize North Korea (02/11/2005 commentary) to consider how such information could be quickly twisted for evil. “Diversity” is the politically-correct word now, but “Unity” is potentially just as potent a rallying cry for demagogues. Associating a DNA inversion to more fecundity is unwarranted. There are many more factors than one stretch of DNA entering the picture of reproduction rates. If that were true, why are Europeans having so few kids, and worrying about their countries being overrun with foreigners? Africans and Asians seem to be overcrowding their parts of the world just fine without the inversion. The claim overlooks the many social, moral, religious, pragmatic and economic factors that go into the equation. Darwinists bluff about selection pressure and genes undergoing active selection when the picture is far too complex to draw such conclusions (see, for instance, 03/28/2005 and 01/17/2005 entries). They can’t even get one mutation in one gene to correlate well with fitness (see 02/04/2005 and 09/07/2004 entries), let alone large structural variations. Besides, the genome itself appears to be a pawn in the hands of numerous, complex epigenetic regulatory factors (see 06/03/2004 and 10/27/2004 entries). The new data about human genomic variability should remain fair game for all honest scientists, especially those outside wearing designer lab coats instead of Darwin-brand straitjackets.(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
President Nelson Mandela, wearing areplica of the captain’s jersey, handsvictorious Springbok captain FrancoisPienaar the William Webb Ellis trophywhen the national team became worldchampions for the first time in 1995.(Image: Rugby World Cup)Devoted Blue Bulls rugby fans in Soweto.(Image: Tarryn Harbour)MEDIA CONTACTS • Yusuf JacksonSARU media manager+27 82 739 7733RELATED ARTICLES• Rugby World Cup: back the Boks• Drive to stamp out doping in SA sport• Bright future for FNB stadium• New drive to spark local sports frenzy• SA becomes business tourism hubChris WaldburgerSouth Africa is a global leader in sports tourism, but this industry can be further maximised through greater marketing efforts and the alignment of sporting events with business tourism.Whilst many purists out there consider the term ‘professional sport’ an oxymoron, there is simply no getting away from the fact that modern sport is big business.With the advent of new media and technology, the public’s demand to watch and experience high-level sporting events has inexorably led to the rise of sport as a multi-faceted billion-dollar (and even more rands) industry.Sport as business has become one of the core features of our new global village and there is no turning back. The main question now is whether such demand can be utilised and streamed for the good of business, and indeed society.It must be remembered, however, that such a question is ultimately a mere afterthought to the exhilaration of supporting one’s national team in a packed stadium, with friends in tow. It is this very human experience, along with the media, that has made the sports industry what it is today.Tourism opportunitiesThe best example of this partnership between human experience and business is the 2009 British and Irish Lions rugby tour of South Africa. Described by rugby experts as ‘rugby’s last great adventure’, a Lions tour is undoubtedly a hardcore rugby fan’s dream.Tourists followed the team from one place to another, creating a rock ‘n roll atmosphere, with the old-world charm of the team and the unique series format ensuring that the sporting experience was unforgettable. The tour seemed amateur in the romantic sense of the word, yet it was a hugely successful money spinner.From a tourism perspective, the tour was neatly translated into opportunity. It has been estimated that the event pumped R1.5-billion (US$221-million) into the South African economy – a miniature and non-bureaucratic stimulus during a recession that went straight to the service sector of our economy.Our rugby administrators were quick to point out their part in this happy state of affairs:“A Lions tour ranks only behind the Rugby World Cup in terms of its scale and appeal,” said Andy Marinos, the then-managing director of the South African Rugby Union.“Such a tour places significant demands on a rugby union and its members, but also brings many benefits, one of the most profound being the economic impact it has on the host nation.”He added: “Preparing, hosting and moving around large numbers of rugby fans is a complex exercise but the most pleasing aspect is that a large number of overseas visitors had an outstanding experience in South Africa.”Investing in human and natural capitalSouth Africa has invested in its natural capital – its magnificent coastline, game reserves, mountains, and bush – and created a tourism trade that is one of the brightest lights in its development offensive. But another field waiting to be maximised is our human and social capital – which finds a unique nexus in the global sport of rugby.When fans from abroad watch South African teams play, and perhaps more importantly, when those fans support these teams, they are immediately drawn to the country as the nation’s mythology and narrative is on display.Take South Africa’s sporting colours and emblems – the green and gold, the Springbok, and the symbols associated with the 1995 World Cup. These have become part of global sporting iconography, and at the same time they are associated with the start of South Africa’s democracy.South Africans’ familiarity with sport has forged a kind of fellowship with fans abroad and creates a common language with which to share experiences. This language can precede a mutually beneficial trade.Various organisations make use of this connection through the operation of travel companies gathered around sporting events. These companies cater for rugby, Formula 1 or even equestrian fans, and provide travel packages for events that take place in South Africa or overseas.Added to the business of tour operation, sport offers opportunities for corporate marketing, combined with corporate hospitality and client-community building. All major stadiums cater for corporate or private suites, and such suites offer an alternative to the tired cliché of conducting business on the golf course.They also have the advantage of being more universal in appeal and less time-consuming. With the obvious attraction of doing business alongside the South African sporting experience, it is clear that there are many more opportunities awaiting discovery.Expert sporting hostsSouth Africa has proven time and again that, despite weaknesses in certain logistical areas of our economy, we are practiced experts in hosting sporting events.This strength can be increasingly exploited, just as sport through media becomes a more expansive and universal pastime (just think of the constant growth of Super Rugby, and the current experiment of staging southern hemisphere rugby matches in cities like London and Hong Kong).It has often been said that investment in South Africa will only follow a local buzz, or wave of investment. The same is true of tourism. What South Africans enjoy, creates a desire and market for international tourists to come and enjoy the same things with us. And one of the greatest experiences in South Africa is the chance to sit inside a full stadium and watch a game.This was again demonstrated when the Pretoria-based Bulls rugby team moved their headquarters to Soweto in the build-up to the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Because their home ground, Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, was under the control of Fifa by the time their Super 14 semi-final against the New Zealand Crusaders was due, they decided to take the game to the township.It was a popular move. Streams of supporters ventured into Soweto to watch the game at the packed Orlando Stadium and the local bars. All of a sudden Soweto became an enjoyable day outing for thousands of white South Africans who might otherwise have never gone there.Not only did sport once again prove to be a great nation builder as it was when we won the Rugby World Cup in 1995, but it also guaranteed a rip-roaring good time, and increased trade for local patrons.
2 July 2013Bafana Bafana’s 2014 Fifa World Cup dream is not yet over. The world governing body handed the South African national team a lifeline on Monday when it sanctioned the Ethiopian Football Federation for fielding an ineligible player against Botswana last month.Bafana coach Gordon Igesund reacted to the decision, saying: “We welcome the decision, which I believe was expected. It was never in doubt because rules are rules, so in our view it is a correct decision.“The decision also gives us a second bite of the cherry. We now have to beat Botswana and hope Ethiopia loses or draws against Central African Republic. But I am very pleased with the outcome.”StatementIn a statement, Fifa confirmed its sanction of Ethiopia for fielding an ineligible player in the match between Botswana and Ethiopia played in Lobatse on 8 June. Ethiopia won the game 2-1, but the match has now been awarded to Botswana following a Fifa disciplinary committee hearing.“The match is declared to be forfeited and awarded 3-0 in favour of Botswana, with the EFF also receiving a fine of R60 000 after the Fifa Disciplinary Committee considered the EFF liable for having breached article 55 paragraph 1 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code and article 8 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ Regulations,” read the statement.“The sanction relates to the Ethiopian player Minyahile Teshome Beyene failing to serve the automatic one-match suspension imposed on him following two cautions received in two different matches (article 17 paragraph 3 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code).”‘Welcome’“We accept and welcome the announcement by Fifa,” said South African Football Association (Safa) CEO Dennis Mumble.“Regarding our issue where we also wrote to them (Fifa) about the same player featuring in our match having not served his suspension, we were not looking for three points but were just inquiring about the status of the player in the qualifiers,” Mumble said.“We would also like to reiterate our coach’s views that there is now much more to play for in the qualifiers as we believe we stand a good chance of proceeding to the next round of play-offs, even though it must be noted that it’s no longer in our hands. But we will go there [Botswana] and do the best we can, and hope for a favourable result in the other match.”PointsBafana Bafana are now two points behind Group A leaders Ethiopia, with one round of group stages matches remaining.However, South Africa’s goal difference is superior to that of the Walia Antelopes, and should the teams finish level on points, with a Bafana Bafana win and Ethiopian draw in the final round of matches, South Africa would, according to the Fifa World Cup rules, advance to the next round of qualifying.The last round of matches takes place on 6 September, with Bafana at home to Botswana and Ethiopia away to the Central African Republic.SAinfo reporter and South African Football Association
Tags:#Google#NYT#web Google has extended its Gmail SMS chat functionality to three more African countries: Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi. Gmail SMS allows anyone worldwide to communicate with fellow Gtalk chat users even when they’re away from their computer. This year, Google added the extension to Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana and Zambia. Africa is a continent of mobile users so this tool seems like a good move by Google. Gmail users can send and receive SMS messages for free using the service. (Non-Gmail users can SMS for regular text charges.)Divon Lan, Google product manager for sub-Saharan Africa, wrote on the Google Africa Blog that the mobile carriers that provide the service include MTN, Uganda Telecom and Orange in Uganda, Vodacom in Tanzania and Airtel and TNM in Malawi. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting curt hopkins Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market
Touch Football Australia’s official footwear sponsor, X-Blades, has another great deal for members through the TFA website and newsletter. When you purchase the new X-Blades Sniper Sonic boots, you will receive free shipping. To take advantage of their great deal, please visit the X-Blades website:www.bladesfootball.com.au/shopStay tuned to the TFA website for more great promotions from X-Blades. Related LinksX-Blades Promotion
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Wilshere: West Ham knew all about this Arsenal weaknessby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWest Ham midfielder Jack Wilshere has questioned Arsenal’s set-piece defending after Saturday’s win.For Rice’s winning goal, the corner was cleared out of the box before the ball was worked back out to Felipe Anderson for the cross.“I think it’s the second phase,” former Arsenal midfielder Wilshere said, as he worked as a pundit for the game.“Sometimes it’s the most important phase in a set piece.“You’ve done your job and sometimes people switch off.“It goes wide and the second ball goes in and there’s someone free.“Declan was free there and he tucked it away nicely.”
KELOWNA, B.C. – The founder of Canada Jetlines is taking over as chief executive of Canadian discount carrier Flair Airlines Ltd.Jim Scott replaces Flair founder and former president Jim Rogers, who will remain an adviser until 2019 after selling his shares in the Kelowna-based company.Scott is a former airline pilot who led Canada Jetlines between 2012 and last year.He will be joined by Jerry Presley, who represents the majority owners, as executive chairman. He was previously an adviser to Canada Jetlines.The changes come more than six months after Flair’s purchase of NewLeaf Travel Company’s assets.Flair Airlines currently flies from seven Canadian cities: Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Abbotsford, Kelowna and Vancouver. It has plans to soon announce an expansion of its fleet and route network.The airline faces the prospect of competition with the launch next summer of WestJet’s discount Swoop airline and Canada Jetlines.Flair operates seven aircraft and plans to add two Boeing 737-800 aircraft later in 2018. Four more planes are slated to be added to the fleet in 2019 to accommodate nearly 1.5 million passengers.
MONTREAL – Canadian National Railway Co. is beginning to recover from a turbulent end to 2017 and deep winter freeze that curtailed its service, the railroad’s interim CEO said Wednesday.Jean-Jacques Ruest told an investor conference Wednesday that February was among the worst months in the company’s history as volume decreased and costs rose.But train speeds have picked up and the railway is moving more freight which will help customer service and satisfaction, he said.“So all these things are saying that the month of March is slightly better,” he told the J.P. Morgan Aviation, Transportation & Industrials Conference in New York.“It will not be enough to cover the month of January and February. But we’re heading in that direction.”The Montreal-based railway hasn’t changed its guidance for the year because Ruest says there is still time to catch up.The company has apologized for failing to keep grain shipments moving reliably by rail, and said it’s mobilizing more train cars and workers to clear the backlog.CN Rail announced Wednesday that it plans to manage congestion in Western Canada by temporarily restricting the flow of rail cars to gain fluidity and speed, particularly between Edmonton and Winnipeg.That includes controlling the flow of empty rail cars into Western Canada, managing flow for frac sand orders to avoid further congestion and returning empty propane cars from short-term staging locations.Ruest said extreme winter weather starting in December isn’t alone to blame.He said CN Rail entered the challenging winter season a spent force after experiencing 14 per cent revenue ton mile growth in the first nine months of 2017.“We entered the fourth quarter without really any gasoline left in the tank. So the last two months of the year we were sort of flat. And we’ve been flat since then.”Ruest said he expects the transportation sector, including trucking, will face capacity pressure from increased volume growth.CN Rail is spending an extra $500 million this year, half of which will be used to upgrade its network and increase transit times between Chicago and the Canadian west coast.The work to add more sidings and double tracks in spots will start in April and be completed by November.It has ordered new locomotives and will have an extra 130 leased units within weeks.It is also hiring 2,000 workers, including hundreds of conductors.Ruest said that by the fourth quarter, CN should be back to where it was 12 to 18 months ago.Ruest was appointed earlier this month to take over from Luc Jobin, who was dismissed after about two years as CEO.The 23-year veteran CN Rail executive said the company’s board plans to take its time conducting a global search from within the rail industry and manufacturing world to lead the country’s largest railway.“The search will be very wide and the board is not putting themselves on any clock,” he told analysts.Follow @RossMarowits on Twitter.Companies in this story: (TSX:CNR)
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is keeping the pressure on congressional Democrats over funding for his promised border wall.Trump tweeted Monday: “We would save Billions of Dollars if the Democrats would give us the votes to build the Wall.” He did not provide any evidence for the savings, but again threatened to close the “entire Southern Border if necessary.”A Dec. 7 partial government shutdown had appeared possible, but Trump told reporters on Air Force One Saturday he would be willing to sign a two-week government funding extension to allow for ceremonies honouring former President George H.W. Bush, who died Friday.Trump had been gearing up for a showdown as he sought billions for the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.The Associated Press
NEW YORK — The start of a new year often coincides with a surge in monthly memberships to gyms.Ride-hailing services are hoping customers will think along the same lines about their transportation needs. Uber and Lyft recently launched subscription plans promising savings for those trips to the gym, to work or around town.The ride-hailing companies stand to gain by increasing customer loyalty in a competitive market and securing more predictable revenue at a time when both are heading into an initial public offering.But you should figure out if the numbers add up before committing to one ride provider.“I think both these things should come with the caveat, ‘buyer beware,’” said Keith Millhouse, a transportation consultant and principal at Millhouse Strategies.Millhouse called Uber’s subscription a “complete mystery,” and he said getting value out of Lyft’s plan was possible, but complicated. Others were more optimistic.“If (riders) know they’re going to be travelling enough or more than enough to take advantage of it, then by all means it’s an opportunity for them to save money,” said Steven Polzin, program director for mobility policy research at the Center for Urban Transportation Research, University of South Florida. “If you’re on the margins, or you’re an infrequent user, then you might not want to.”WHAT DO YOU GET WITH LYFT’S PLAN?Lyft’s All-Access Plan, available nationwide, costs $299 and allows you to take 30 trips valued at up to $15 over 30 days. If a ride goes over $15, you pay the difference. After the first 30 trips, you get 5 per cent off any additional rides.WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM LYFT’S PLAN?Riders who take very frequent trips in the $10-$15 range hit the sweet spot. Without the plan, 30 trips at $15 each would cost $450, so the plan could theoretically save you about $150. At $10 each, you would break even. But if your trips often cost less than $10, you may end up paying more for those trips than you would have without the pass.Another consideration is how many days you need transportation to work. Most full-time jobs include more than 20 work days per month, which means more than 40 trips.A 30-ride plan may appeal to those who occasionally work from home because the alternative — a monthly public transportation pass — often assumes five days of commuting per week so riders may be paying for trips they don’t take.“As more and more people have started telecommuting, all of a sudden those price points (for public transit passes) aren’t necessarily as attractive,” Polzin said.WHAT DO YOU GET WITH UBER’S PASS?Uber rolled out a subscription program called “Ride Pass” in five U.S. cities: Los Angeles, Miami, Denver, Austin and Orlando. It costs $14.99 in all of those cities except Los Angeles, where it costs $24.99. Uber says the monthly fee gives riders discounts up to 15 per cent on all rides and protection from surge pricing, which is higher pricing triggered by peaks in demand during rush hour, special events or bad weather.WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM UBER’S PASS?Uber has been hearing from riders that they want more consistent prices. For example, some customers find that their ride to work is cheaper than their ride home, so having the pass can protect riders from an unforeseen spike, an Uber spokesman said.The surge protection pricing could prove valuable if you frequently take Uber rides during peak times or at popular locations, say if you’re a bartender who works at a trendy night club that has a crush of demand for rides as partiers head home.“With surge protection, that could be a good deal,” Polzin said. “If you knew you were travelling in places and times where there’s surge pricing, you could save real money real fast.”WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES TO SUBSCRIPTIONS?With Uber’s pass, you don’t get to see the price of your desired routes until you pay the fee, and some reviewers on Reddit and Twitter said they got the pass and then paid what they considered to be higher rates for rides.Uber says that should not be happening, and if it is, riders should write to customer support. The company is using the pilot to collect feedback from riders before rolling it out in more cities.Other Uber riders complained that the discounts amounted to pennies on short rides and $1 on a ride worth $60.“Savings are, on average, 15 per cent to 20 per cent, but can vary depending on how busy it is,” said Michael Amodeo, spokesman for Uber, in an email. “For example, savings will typically be higher during commuting hours or nights and weekends when more people are opening up (and using) our app.”For Lyft’s plan, there’s a specific set of riders who would benefit, but if riders don’t use all of their 30 trips in 30 days, they lose them.“Like most of these platforms, they are a bigger benefit to companies when consumers don’t fully take advantage of them,” said Mike Ramsey, senior research director, automotive and smart mobility, at Gartner. “It’s like a gym membership — the gym would be unbearable if everyone used it. Nonetheless, some people take great advantage of very low cost subscriptions.”“In many cases, however, the economic advantage just doesn’t pencil out,” Ramsey said.Cathy Bussewitz, The Associated Press