Hubert Lawrence | In any other country …

first_imgIn any other country, there would be dancing in the streets if their ladies 4×200 metres relay team clocked one of the fastest times ever to win at the IAAF World Relays. Jura Levy, Shericka Jackson, Sashalee Forbes and Elaine Thompson would be the talk of the town. This, however, is Jamaica. It doesn’t seem to matter much that Jura, Shericka, Sasha and Elaine demolished the old Jamaica record set at the 2014 Penn Relays by a clear second with their sensational time of one minute 29.04 seconds. Neither does it matter that Jamaica is now the third-fastest country of all time. Given that the world record is held by the old East Germany at 1:28.15, Jamaica would be number two all time if the holders were rightly erased from track history because of East Germany’s well-documented, state organised steroid use. On another note, the official World Relay 4x200m splits promise much. Jackson, the World and Olympic 400 metre bronze medal winner, scurried through her leg in 21.9 seconds and Thompson’s controlled outpouring of speed was a 21.7. These encouraging signs have passed all too quietly. The focus seems to be on a rare baton drop by the men’s 4x100m team and the impending retirement of the incomparable Usain Bolt. It was unfortunate, but as one sage reminded me, the winning time by the US – 38.42 seconds – wasn’t too much faster than the 38.89 clocking by the G.C. Foster College to win the recent Inter-Collegiate Championships. For now, there isn’t too much cause for alarm. UNFORTUNATE LOSS Funnily enough, Jamaica actually lost to the US at the last World Relays in a race that ended with Ryan Bailey’s ‘cut-throat’ dub version of Bolt’s ‘To the World’ sign. Later, in the same season at the 2015 World Championships, Nesta Carter, Asafa Powell, Nickel Ashmeade and Bolt won handily. That should comfort the nerves ruffled by the loss and the eye-opening speed of Canadian whizz Andre deGrasse. The truth is that the 1.29.04 was the best performance of the World Relays. Moreover, it might end the World Relays-Penn Relays period as the supreme piece of sprinting. It was that good. In less windy conditions, the time would certainly have been under 1.29. In the mourning over that dropped baton, we have managed to gloss over the form of Jura, Shericka, Sasha and double Olympic champion Elaine. All four have bright prospects for this World Championships year. In particular, Thompson looks set for a fine campaign. The 4x100m men have proven to be a fast and safe relay unit. Their gold medals and world records, which still stretch all the way back to 2008, speak volumes, but the women are almost as good. In a way, the 1.29.04 may signal the arrival of parity. It might also mean that the brilliant women’s 4×100 world record of 40.82 seconds might be within reach when super sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce returns. – Hubert Lawrence has made notes at tracksince 1980.last_img read more


Flatlife Has More Genes Than It Needs

first_imgThe genome of a placozoan (“flat animal”) shows more complexity than one would expect for a simple life form.  According to evolutionists, it shows that even a barely-differentiated animal presumably ancestral to complex animals had the genetic toolkit of its more-advanced descendents.    Trichoplax adhaerens is a slimy-looking thing that sticks to aquarium walls.  Science Daily has a picture of it.  The article says the genome is “confounding [the] array of complex capabilities” because it “appears to harbor a far more complex suite of capabilities than meets the eye.”  Although the organism only has 4 or 5 cell types and no organs or gut, its genome “encodes a panoply of signaling genes and transcription factors usually associated with more complex animals.”  This includes genes for neurons even though it has no nerves, and hints of genes for sexual reproduction even though it usually divides by fission.  It even has a “parts list” for embryo formation but has not been observed to go through an embryo stage.    Another surprise is that T. adhaerens contains 80% of the same introns as humans – in much the same arrangement.  Introns have been considered genomic “junk” that must be removed during translation.  That these parts are “conserved” (unevolved) from a primitive animal to a human being seems to point to a function for introns and their specific arrangements.  Fruit flies and other advanced life, though, have far fewer introns.    The original paper in Nature1 summarized the surprises:The compact genome shows remarkable complexity, including conserved gene content, gene structure and synteny [i.e., conserved linkage without requiring colinearity] relative to human and other eumetazoan genomes.  Despite the absence of any known developmental program and only a modest number of cell types, the Trichoplax genome encodes a rich array of transcription factors and signalling genes that are typically associated with embryogenesis and cell fate specification in eumetazoans, as well as other genes that are consistent with cryptic patterning of cells, unobserved life history stages and/or complex execution of biological processes such as fission and embryonic development in these enigmatic creatures.One of the authors of the paper said, “Trichoplax has had just as much time to evolve as humans, but because of its morphological simplicity, it is tempting to think of it as a surrogate for an early animal.”Update 08/23/2008: Elisabeth Pennisi, reporting for Science,2 added rhetoric to the “surprise effect” coming from this genome.  Trichoplax “barely qualifies as an animal.” she said.  It is one millimeter long and covered with cilia.  It glides along like an amoeba.  It usually divides by budding or fission.  One biologist was quoted saying, “Yet this animal’s genome looks surprisingly like ours.”  Here are some other quotes from her news report:It’s a puzzle why Trichoplax, a seemingly primitive animal, has such a complex genome.Biologists had once assumed that complicated body plans and complex genomes went hand in hand.  But T. adhaerens’s genome … “highlights a disconnect between molecular and morphological complexity,” says Mark Martindale, an experimental embryologist at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu.  Adds Casey Dunn, an evolutionary biologist at Brown University, “It is now completely clear that genomic complexity was present very early on” in animal evolution.Despite being developmentally simple–with no organs or many specialized cells–the placozoan has counterparts of the transcription factors that more complex organisms need to make their many body parts and tissues.“Many genes viewed as having particular ‘functions’ in bilaterians or mammals turn out to have much deeper evolutionary history than expected, raising questions about why they evolved,” says Douglas Erwin, an evolutionary biologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Washington, D.C. 1.  Srivastava et al, “The Trichoplax genome and the nature of placozoans,” Nature 454, 955-960 (21 August 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature07191.2.  Elizabeth Pennisi, “Genomics: ‘Simple’ Animal’s Genome Proves Unexpectedly Complex,” Science, 22 August 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5892, pp. 1028-1029, DOI: 10.1126/science.321.5892.1028b.The predictions of evolutionists that they would find Darwin’s tree of life in the genomes of organisms has been falsified.  Genomes do not show a straightforward progression from simple to complex, with gradual acquisition of new function over time.  The evo-talk in the article and paper sounds forced and superfluous.  It may be “tempting” to “think of it” as a primitive evolutionary thing, but moral philosophy admonishes us to overcome temptation.    The genetic toolkit appears established early on.  In addition, gene count, chromosome number, and intron content appear indifferent to evolutionary relationships.  Trichoplax shows that simple organisms can have complex genes they don’t use – another contradiction with evolutionary expectations.  The relationship between genotype and phenotype appears much more elaborate than any evolutionary biologist expected.  Whatever is going on, it is time to think outside Darwin’s black box.(Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more


‘Time to prove yourself’

first_imgRobredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games View comments The country finished seventh in its last AWCC stint and a win in their next game would give the Filipinos the same ranking.“Now this is time to prove yourself. We still have one more game. You should not lose to Vietnam. I don’t want to go home without a win,” Vicente told his players after dropping a close match to Iran’s Sarmayeh Bank on Tuesday, 25-23, 25-17, 29-27.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingThe Philippine club, whose core will form the national team, is expected to play Vietin Bank of Vietnam on Wednesday. It has dropped all five games so far including one against the Vietnamese club (25-21, 17-25, 25-20, 25-14) in the group stage.Gametime is 11:30 a.m. Manila time. BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast UST-KAMENOGORSK, Kazakhstan—Let’s not go home without a win.Rebisco-PSL Manila head coach Francis Vicente urged his players to win the team’s last game at all cost and at least match the Philippines’ best finish in the Asian Women’s Club Championship (AWCC).ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV The Philippines has been playing strongly the past two games here but has generally lacked the ability to finish off sets. That weakness was highlighted in the loss to the Iranian side, where the Filipinos could have notched two set wins.“Those two sets, those were ours to lose,” said Vicente. “But then again, these are experiences we have to gain playing in international level. There are plenty more things we need to work on.”Rebisco-PSL Manila’s all-heart brand of play earned it a share of fans at Boris Alexandrov Sports Palace, but it has done little in satisfying Vicente.“Yes you have the fighting heart, but we need more,” added Vicente.Jaja Santiago, a spectacularly agile 6-foot-5 spiker, accounted for 14 points for the Philippines.ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast MOST READ BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games Ceres XI hopes to weave home magiclast_img read more