Awe at Echolocation? Nah, Convergence Again

first_imgEvolution Recommended Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Intelligent Design Awe at Echolocation? Nah, Convergence AgainEvolution News @DiscoveryCSCOctober 9, 2018, 12:04 PM “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Thomas Kuhn described normal science as a puzzle-solving project, in which members of the guild don’t question the picture they imagine on the box top (the paradigm). So focused are they on making the pieces fit, they could be failing to appreciate the wonders coming to light in the picture itself. You can see an example of this in two papers about echolocation; a discussion of the second of these will follow tomorrow. Think of the awe any sensitive person, even a scientist, should feel as he thinks about biosonar! Imagine the ability to bounce sound off objects in the dark and gain precise information about shapes, textures, and motions. Bats do it. Whales do it. Captain Dave Anderson, who leads whale-watching tours in California, said that a dolphin can tell the difference between a golf ball and a ping-pong ball by sound alone (Illustra Media, Living Waters). That’s not just echolocation. It is “indistinguishable from magic,” in Arthur C. Clarke’s famous comment about sufficiently advanced technology. Illustra’s animation of dolphin sonar reveals numerous complex parts working together to make this possible. Artificial sonar doesn’t come close.Out of FocusHow does echolocation work? Shouldn’t that be a focus in science? It is for some scientists, who eagerly learn all they can about sonar in toothed whales and bats for the sheer pleasure of understanding a complex biological system that works superbly well. It is, too, for some engineers, who explore design principles in biological sonar that might have applications for human technology. But for many evolutionary biologists, there seems to be an obsession with homology. Some Darwinists will strain over the smallest details, down to single amino acids, to force uncooperative puzzle pieces together that might show how bats are related to whales. Do people on a whale-watching boat care about that? Should they?In Science Advances, a team of ten evolutionary biologists from Germany announce finding “Molecular parallelism in fast-twitch muscle proteins in echolocating mammals.” You feel their passion for the puzzle in the opening sentence: “Detecting associations between genomic changes and phenotypic differences is fundamental to understanding how phenotypes evolved.” From there, they dive into the nitty-gritty details amino acids that might hint at evolutionary relationships:By systematically screening for parallel amino acid substitutions, we detected known as well as novel cases (Strc, Tecta, and Cabp2) of parallelism between echolocating bats and toothed whales in proteins that could contribute to high-frequency hearing adaptations. Our screen also showed that echolocating mammals exhibit an unusually high number of parallel substitutions in fast-twitch muscle fiber proteins. Both echolocating bats and toothed whales produce an extremely rapid call rate when homing in on their prey, which was shown in bats to be powered by specialized superfast muscles. We show that these genes with parallel substitutions (Casq1, Atp2a1, Myh2, and Myl1) are expressed in the superfast sound-producing muscle of bats. Furthermore, we found that the calcium storage protein calsequestrin 1 of the little brown bat and the bottlenose dolphin functionally converged in its ability to form calcium-sequestering polymers at lower calcium concentrations, which may contribute to rapid calcium transients required for superfast muscle physiology. The proteins that our genomic screen detected could be involved in the convergent evolution of vocalization in echolocating mammals by potentially contributing to both rapid Ca2+ transients and increased shortening velocities in superfast muscles. [Emphasis added.]Hammer Seeks NailWell! So much for appreciating “an extremely rapid call rate” or “superfast muscles.” This team wants to see homology. It has a Darwin-brand hammer and sees everything as a nail. In order to preserve common ancestry, they are willing to find convergent evolution in function, even when the molecular homology fails.An important aspect to understanding how nature’s phenotypic diversity evolved is to detect the genomic differences that are associated with phenotypic differences. Despite numerous sequenced genomes, detecting such associations remains a challenge. Convergent evolution, which refers to the repeated evolution of similar phenotypes in independent lineages, offers a paradigm to computationally screen genomes for molecular changes that evolved in parallel in these lineages and thus could be involved in the phenotypic difference.The e-word, evolution, saturates this paper. Molecular evolution. Parallel evolution. Neutral evolution. Evolutionary tinkering. Whatever it takes, they are going to keep the Darwin puzzle pieces together, even when homology is not evident in the genes. Withering on the lab counter, meanwhile, is awe for the wonder of echolocation.There is a brief moment of wonder, but it quickly is swallowed up by evolution:Superfast muscles consist of specialized fibers capable of contracting and relaxing at a rate that is an order of magnitude higher compared to the fastest locomotor muscles. To achieve this extraordinarily high rate, superfast muscles have evolved a number of key adaptations….Oddly, the only kind of natural selection they mention is “purifying selection.” Also called negative selection, purifying selection refers to the removal of deleterious mutations. You’ll never build a sonar system that way. To them, it’s OK. They already know it evolved. “Evolution is a fact, fact, FACT!”, as Michael Ruse put it, remember?Photo credit: Dolphins, by werdepate, via Pixabay. Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesiscenter_img Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man TagsArthur C. ClarkeawebatsCabp2Captain Dave Andersonconvergent evolutionDarwinian theorydolphinsecholocationgenesGermanygolf ballIllustra MediaLiving WatersmammalsMichael Rusemolecular evolutionmutationsnatural selectionneutral evolutionparallel evolutionphenotypic diversityping-pong ballpurifying selectionScience AdvancessonarStrcTectaThomas Kuhntoothed whaleswhaleswonder,Trending Evolution NewsEvolution News & Science Today (EN) provides original reporting and analysis about evolution, neuroscience, bioethics, intelligent design and other science-related issues, including breaking news about scientific research. It also covers the impact of science on culture and conflicts over free speech and academic freedom in science. Finally, it fact-checks and critiques media coverage of scientific issues. Share A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to Alllast_img read more

Burkina Faso: gold mining company turns to solar energy

first_img AFD and Eskom commit to a competitive electricity sector UNDP China, CCIEE launch report to facilitate low-carbon development RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Low carbon, solar future could increase jobs in the future – SAPVIA Featured image: Stock REN Renewable Energy (EREN RE) and its partner African Energy Management Platform (AEMP), have signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with IAMGOLD Essakane SA gold mine to complement its existing heavy fuel power plant in Burkina Faso with a 15MWp solar farm.According to a press release, the project, which represents an investment of over $20 million, will enable the mine to significantly reduce its fuel consumption by approximately 6 million litres per year and reduce its annual CO2 emissions by nearly 18,500 tonnes.Located 330km away from Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou, the mine is currently off-grid and relies solely on costly and carbon intensive diesel power.Solar energy projectThe 15MWp solar project is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2017.For large industries such as mining companies, which operate 24/7 and whose energy budget represents up to 30% of their operating costs, the hybridisation of diesel power plants with a renewable energy source reduces energy costs, while improving the carbon and social footprint, the release noted.The project will sell the electricity produced from the solar plant to IAMGOLD Essakane for the length of the power purchase agreement.Commenting on the development, vice-president business development, Africa at EREN RE, Christophe Fleurence, said: “This pioneer project highlights EREN RE’s and our partner AEMP’s valuable technical and contractual expertise in developing renewable energy solutions for isolated customers.“This will be one of the largest hybrid diesel solar PV projects in the world. Together with IAMGOLD, we devoted the necessary time and efforts to achieve a sound and replicable structure. We now intend to further deploy this environmentally sound solution to many large customers in Africa and worldwide.”Energy intensive businessesRichard Duffy of AEMP, added: “…energy intensive businesses are willing to transition to alternative energy options both for economic and environmental reasons, and that convergence between the mining and renewable energy industries is achievable.“This project represents a breakthrough for worldwide industries relying on costly and carbon intensive diesel generation, which, until very recently, has been their only reliable source of electricity.”Featured image: Snowden Generation Previous articleEskom claims bronze for customer serviceNext articleAmazon to install 41MW of solar Babalwa BunganeBabalwa Bungane is the content producer for ESI Africa – Clarion Events Africa. Babalwa has been writing for the publication for over five years. She also contributes to sister publications; Smart Energy International and Power Engineering International. Babalwa is a social media enthusiast. BRICS Finance and Policylast_img read more

South Bend Police Investigating Two Shootings Overnight

first_img (“Police Line / Police Tape” by Tony Webster, CC BY 2.0) A release from the department clarifies that the shootings are not believed to be related, despite all the victims reportedly being the same age.Below is the full press release from SBPD:The South Bend Police Department is investigating two separate and unrelated shootings.In the first incident, officers were responded to Memorial Hospital for a walk-in shooting victim around 8:30 Sunday night. The victim is a 23 year old male suffering from a non-life threatening wound to the upper body.Through the initial investigation, the victim reported being robbed in the area of the 1000 block of E. Ireland Road. During the robbery, shots were fired striking the victim in the upper body.Possible suspect is described as a white male last seen wearing a black hoodie.In the second incident, around 1:10am Monday morning, officers in the area of the 3700 block of Western heard gunfire which was followed by a dispatch to the 400 block of S. Wellington. Officers quickly arrived at a home on Wellington and located two 23 year old male victims with gunshot wound injuries to their upper body. They were taken to the hospital for treatment of apparent non-life threatening injuries.Through the initial investigation, it is believed the victims were injured after a person or persons fired shots towards the home on S. Wellington.Detectives with the South Bend Police Investigative Bureau continue to investigate both of these incidents.Anyone with information can call the South Bend Police Department at 574-235-9201 or Crime Stoppers at 574-288-STOP. Google+ Google+ Pinterest Twitter Twitter South Bend Police Investigating Two Shootings Overnight WhatsApp Facebook Pinterest By Carl Stutsman – December 9, 2019 0 268 Facebook Previous articleMichigan nears deal to legalize sports, online gamblingNext articleMichigan power customers with own solar panels on the rise Carl Stutsman IndianaLocalNewsSouth Bend Market WhatsApplast_img read more