By Dialogo June 15, 2010 The foreign minister of Costa Rica, René Castro, and the secretary-general of the Central American Integration System (SICA), Juan Daniel Alemán, examined the option Saturday of “requesting cooperation” from Colombia and Mexico in the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime. Castro and Alemán met in San José to discuss various regional projects, the Costa Rican foreign ministry announced in a press release. The two “spoke about regional projects to confront the problems of drug trafficking and organized crime, in particular, about requesting cooperation from nations such as the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Colombia, among others,” according to the official statement about the brief meeting. Alemán briefed Castro on the progress of the Central American Integration System (SICA) process and the dominant items on the agenda, including security, the environment, and building regional institutions. Castro explained to Alemán his country’s initiative to promote its fledgling aerospace industry, using public and private efforts. This week Costa Rica officially joined the Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space, which will permit it to launch objects into space.
World Net Daily reported that the body count from Mao’s reign of terror in China has been revised upward to 77 million by R. J. Rummel, a Nobel Peace Prize winning political scientist who had earlier estimated it at half that (38 million). This augments Mao’s Guinness reputation as the worst mass murderer in history. His intentional killings, including policies that intentionally starved tens of millions of Chinese people, exceeded those of Hitler and Stalin. Deaths attributed to Mao’s democide (death by government) amount to over twice the total combat deaths in all wars between 1900 to 1987, including World Wars I and II. Of 174 million killed in 20th-century incidents of democide, 148 million fell victim to Marxist regimes – four times the deaths by combat, estimated at 34.1 million.Rummel, who has chronicled 20th century democides, said, “I’m now convinced that Stalin exceeded Hitler in monstrous evil, and Mao beat out Stalin.” All three dictators were committed to scientific materialism congruent with the Darwinian principles of struggle for existence and survival of the fittest. According to an article by Answers in Genesis, Mao listed two of his favorite authors as Darwin and Huxley. In a quote attributed to the Chinese communist leader on Coral Ridge Ministries, Chairman Mao said, “Chinese socialism is founded upon Darwin and the theory of evolution.” Stalin became an atheist after reading Darwin, and Hitler, though from a different end of the political spectrum, based Mein Kampf on Darwinian principles of struggle and fitness. Such ideas had become very popular among leading German thinkers in the decades after Darwin’s Origin, as documented in historian Richard Weikart’s book, From Darwin to Hitler (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).Visualize how long it would take to read the names of 77 million people. At one every five seconds, day and night, it would take over 12 years just to read their names, without even knowing who they were or the nature of their hopes and dreams – dreams that were strangled in prison, brutal work camps, torture or policy-induced famines. Add another 12 years for those killed under all the other communist leaders, and 3 years 4 months for Nazi deaths – a total of almost 28 years of reading name, after name, after name, day and night. By contrast, reading the names of the 9/11 victims at this rate would take a little over four hours.Some historians have speculated that Charles Darwin’s mysterious illnesses derived at least partly from stress and depression over the possible impact of his radical ideas (see Russell Grigg article). He once wrote, “It is like confessing to a murder.” (See PBS).Darwinism was to Nazism and communism like fuel and spark to fire. Lenin, Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, Pol Pot, Castro, Kim Jong Il and all communist despots past and present have been committed scientific materialists. They shut down churches and promoted atheism, exalted Darwinism and promoted evolutionary theory as the scientific rationalization for the state and the ethical justification for their brutal policies. John West on Evolution News reminded readers about Darwin’s own support of eugenics and racism, and accused the American Museum of Natural History of sanitizing this aspect of his life in their multi-million dollar Darwin exhibit (11/21/2005).This is a stern reminder why the debate over creation vs. evolution matters. We are not talking about some minor issue for scientists and egghead philosophers to speculate about. Ideas have consequences, and as Richard Weikart demonstrated in a lecture worth watching (available from Access Research Network), the same Darwinian principles that motivated Hitler and the communists are alive and well among prominent evolutionary biologists today. Many university professors and evolutionary biologists are avowed Marxists. Let them ponder the horrible results of their belief system, and then ponder the warning of Jesus, “every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” (from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7).(Visited 465 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Artifacts dating from the First Temple period have been found in trenches illegally dug by Muslims on the Temple Mount: for the story, see the Jerusalem Post, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Bible Places. Dr. Leen Ritmeyer has diagrams of where the artifacts relate to the Temple position in his Ritmeyer Blog. The First Temple was built by Solomon (see I Kings 5-8). After the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BC, the Jews returning from exile built a Second Temple (Ezra 3-8). This temple was elaborately enlarged by Herod the Great into the magnificent Temple of Jesus’ day (Matthew 24). That temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. Portions of the Herodian walls from the Temple Mount remain to this day, including the Western Wall, a sacred site for the Jews. The Muslims, however, deny the existence of a Jewish temple on the summit. The Dome of the Rock now sits over the site. The Temple Mount has been off limits to archaeologists and is under control of Muslim police. Muslims have been performing unauthorized and reckless trench-digging with a bulldozer, forbidding archaeologists to examine the trenches. A fortuitous by-product of the illegal digging is that it allowed artifacts from under the present level to be seen for the first time in thousands of years. Although the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) did nothing to stop the reckless trenching, they verified that some of the artifacts date from the First Temple period.The only bright side of this atrocity is providing proof of the Biblical claims of the First Temple. Muslims show no concern for the sensibilities of other religions but react with violence if any non-Muslim approaches their sacred sites. In recent years, they dug into the southeast corner of the Temple Mount into soil richly laden with artifacts, to build an underground mosque. Their level of carefulness and concern was to pile the debris into mounds and toss tons of it over the wall. Dedicated archaeologists have found bits of precious artifacts among the dirt (10/31/2006, 04/17/2005). Who knows what additional treasures lie under the Temple Mount? Archaeologists reveal amazing things at the periphery, but these are only tantalizing glimpses of artifacts that millions of people would rejoice to see, were it not for the bullying and threats of the “religion of peace” to wage global jihad if they dare to look. Where is the U.N. in this blatant example of disrespect for priceless relics from antiquity? Oh, they’re too busy helping the dictators of the world and outlawing righteousness. What’s unfathomable is why the Israeli government and the IAA have been so silent and appeasing. Christians and Jews believe that a Third Temple will someday arise on the Temple Mount. Some orthodox Jews even have the plans and preparations underway. Given the volatility of the politics of Jerusalem, one would think this might trigger a kind of apocalypse.(Visited 29 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
(Visited 41 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 A new fossil species of coelacanth was discovered in Canada. Scientists think from its tail fin shape that it was a fast swimmer–perhaps a hunter. Sadly, it was a “spectacular failure” in evolution. The luck of the evolutionary draw went to today’s slow-moving, docile species.PhysOrg states that the new fossil “rewrites the history of ancient fish.” The discoverers named it Rebellatrix, calling it a “rebel” that “does everything a coelacanth should not do.” Modern coelacanths have broad tails and are fairly docile, but the discoverers think that the forked tail in Rebellatrix indicates it was a fast swimmer with a muscular tail fin. National Geographic pointed out what this means to evolutionary theory:In general, the discovery “shows how plastic and flexible evolution can be,” said John Long, a coelacanth expert at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in California.It really shakes things up “that coelacanths can suddenly deviate what they’ve been doing for 200 million years and occupy a lifestyle that’s radically different from other coelacanths.”Still, the fossil record shows that the slow-moving version of the coelacanth ultimately won out, while the speedy Rebellatrix was replaced by sharks and other cruising predators, study leader Wendruff said.“I like to say Rebellatrix was a spectacular failure.“National Geographic also reminded readers about the historic importance of the coelacanth as a living fossil: “The coelacanth (pronounced SEE-la-kanth) is a type of primitive, slow-moving fish that was thought extinct until its rediscovery in 1938,” the article said. “The modern fish is sometimes called a living fossil, because it apparently existed largely unchanged for 320 million years.” The new find shows that only one species remains from a past diversity – survival of the dullest.Too bad for all the social Darwinists in the 1930s who glorified strength, speed, warfare and might as the evolutionary law of nature. If you’re a modern evolutionist, maybe you should take a cue from the surviving coelacanths and pursue slothfulness (one of the seven deadly sins).Better yet, ditch Darwinism as a falsified Victorian myth. Surviving “largely unchanged for 320 million years” should be a colossal embarrassment. So is imagining these creatures going extinct millions of years ago then finding them doing just fine off the coast of India. Remember, too, that the coelacanth had long been touted as a missing link, its bony fins suggesting it was a transitional form between fish with fins and feet. Now that coelacanths still have those bony fins but don’t use them for anything resembling walking, that notion has been soundly debunked. It’s a survivor; why call it “primitive”?Is something weird about this story? Not if you have a good imagination and ponder “how plastic and flexible evolution can be.”Exercise: Try to find another law of nature that is plastic and flexible. Skinner’s Constant,* perhaps?*Skinner’s Constant: That value which, when added to, subtracted from, multiplied or divided by the answer you got, gives you the answer you should have gotten.
(Visited 408 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Secularists put too much hope on some aspects of Earth-like exoplanets, but sometimes reality keeps their imaginations in check.Titanic blunder: One of the most extreme cases of astrobiological folly in recent memory is the public presentation of Titan as a more habitable place for humans than Mars. Space.com and Fox News Science, fully aware that it’s -290°F at the surface of this large moon of Saturn, joined in this imagination fest, lured by the thought of free energy. Cassini scientist Amanda Hendrix and co-author Yuk Yang look at all the free oil and wind power down there, as if that’s all that matters. No food, no oxygen, and a billion miles of space travel are minor matters to these speculators who will never have to be held accountable for their ideas, since they will be long gone by the time humans leap the technological hurdles to even get there, let alone be able to land without freezing solid instantly. Besides those challenges, future settlers had better not bring or manufacture oxygen, otherwise with all the hydrocarbons present in the atmosphere, the settlement will go kablooey first time someone lights a match.Artwork for one of Cassini’s 127 Titan encountersBlunders like this come from focusing on one aspect of habitability to the exclusion of others. Titan orbits within Saturn’s magnetosphere 95% of the time, where it is exposed to high-energy charged particles. Lacking a magnetic field of its own, it is exposed to the deadly solar wind the other 5% of the time. Furthermore, Titan’s atmosphere is poisoned with acetylene, benzene and other toxins. It has smog, obscuring any view of the stars from the surface. And it is so deadly cold, any life form not continuously heated would die instantly. The ice on Titan is so cold, in fact, it behaves like solid rock. The only places for boat recreation are lakes of liquid methane and ethane. Titan does not seem like a fun place for humans to go, even with all that free oil. The occasional speculations about microbes on Titan seem highly unrealistic. If evolutionists cannot figure out how microbes came into being on an ideal planet like Earth, how can they imagine it happening on a world where all the water is locked up in ice?TRAPPIST Entrapment: A few weeks ago, the news media hyped the TRAPPIST-1 star as a place to look for life. Its seven planets, three within the ‘habitable zone’ where liquid water might exist, excited the imaginations of astrobiologists leaking their hopeful dreams to the press. Now, there’s bad news. Mike Wall reports on Space.com, “The potentially Earth-like planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system may not be so conducive to life after all, two new studies report.” The onslaught of flares and outbursts from the parent star likely destroyed the atmospheres of all these planets, if they have or had them. Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb says with humorous understatement, “This would hurt the chances of life forming or persisting.” The blessings we enjoy on Earth stand out in this excerpt:But it gets worse. Because the TRAPPIST-1 system is so tightly packed, the star’s magnetic field has likely connected with those of the planets, allowing stellar-wind particles to flow directly onto the worlds’ atmospheres, the researchers found. This has probably caused atmospheric degradation, and the worlds may even have lost their air entirely.“The Earth’s magnetic field acts like a shield against the potentially damaging effects of the solar wind,” study leader Cecilia Garraffo of the CfA said in the same statement. “If Earth were much closer to the sun and subjected to the onslaught of particles like the TRAPPIST-1 star delivers, our planetary shield would fail pretty quickly.”The type of star matters to habitability, Phys.org emphasizes. Having studied the destructive power of red dwarf stars, known for their flaring behavior, one co-author cautioned, “our work and the work of our colleagues shows we should also target as many stars as possible that are more like the Sun.”The shooting gallery: A paper in PLoS One examines the biological effects of exposure to space outside the Earth’s protective shield. It begins, “During interplanetary flights in the near future, a human organism will be exposed to prolonged periods of a hypomagnetic field that is 10,000 times weaker than that of Earth’s.” The authors are primarily interested in the source of the magnetic sense in humans and animals, but they acknowledge that “Nonspecific magnetoreception could be of fundamental importance in terms of health risks caused by a chronic EM exposure of humans and biosphere.”This would hurt the chances of life forming or persisting.No fans for popular stars: Another article on Phys.org indicates that “cool stars favoured by exoplanet hunters” are unlikely to be habitable, even though more abundant than solar-type stars. Because an exoplanet’s habitable zone would be closer into a cool star, it would be exposed to coronal mass ejections (CMEs) at closer range. NASA Goddard scientists evaluated one such star (V374 Pegasi) and thought about conditions on a planet in the habitable zone, even if the planet had a magnetic shield:When a CME impacts a planet, it compresses the planet’s magnetosphere, a protective magnetic bubble shielding the planet. Extreme CMEs can exert enough pressure to shrink a magnetosphere so much that it exposes a planet’s atmosphere, which can then be swept away from the planet. This could in turn leave the planetary surface and any potential developing lifeforms exposed to harmful X-rays from the nearby host star….“While these cool stars may be the most abundant, and seem to offer the best prospects for finding life elsewhere, we find that they can be a lot more dangerous to live around due to their CMEs” said Marc Kornbleuth, a graduate student involved in the project.The results suggest that an exoplanet would need a magnetic field ten to several thousand times that of Earth’s to shield their atmosphere from the cool star’s CMEs. As many as five impacts a day could occur for planets near the ACS [Astrospherical Current Sheet], but the rate decreases to one every other day for planets with an inclined orbit.Law of mass action: What if Earth were 50% bigger? Live Science says it would preclude our space program. It already takes 80-90% of the mass of a rocket just for propellant to launch humans into space. At some point, as the mass of a planet grows, it reaches a point of diminishing returns, making escape impossible. Astronaut Donald Pettit used the Tsiolkovsky Rocket Equation to figure out that limit. If earth were 50% more massive, he says, space travel with current rocket technology would be impossible. He didn’t figure what effects the greater mass would have on life, including human life, which would be correspondingly weighed down by excess gravity. If you feel sluggish now, think of carrying that extra weight! This would put a damper on the Olympics.Good news, bad news: Two guys, Batista and Sloan, worked out at the University of Oxford. At The Conversation, they say, “We worked out what it would take to wipe out all life on a planet – and it’s good news for alien hunters.” The good news is that tardigrades (tiny but hardy animals) would probably survive extinction-level events, such as asteroid impacts, supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. The bad news is that humans and sentient beings probably would not. So unless one believes tardigrades are capable of radio astronomy, SETI should not be aiming telescopes at exoplanets that have been hit recently. There’s a lesson for habitability, too: planets subject to frequent bombardment by such terrors probably should not be considered habitable, even if all the other factors are present.What is nature? A product of design or chance? Photo by David CoppedgeDo you get the impression that Earth might be so unique, so special, that it might be designed? (see 7/10/17). Why is that not a scientific conclusion? Must we force all observations into a materialistic, purposeless worldview? Our scientist of the month didn’t think so.
21 February 2008State oil and gas company PetroSA has announced plans to upgrade and expand its facilities around South Africa, both to improve the country’s fuel supply chain and to secure strategic fuel reserves.The company, which operates the world’s largest gas-to-liquid refinery at Mossel Bay in the Western Cape, recently announced that studies had shown that its planned crude oil refinery at the Coega industrial development zone would be able to produce 250 000 barrels of fuel a day, up from an earlier estimate of 200 000 barrels a day..The Coega Development Corporation announced last week that PetroSA had been granted preferred investor status for the land earmarked for the refinery.In addition to the planned refinery at Coega, construction of new facilities and upgrades “will be urgently undertaken at key national locations, including Cape Town, Durban, Gauteng and Saldanha,” PetroSA midstream and new ventures vice-president Joern Falbe said in a statement on Monday.These will include upgrades to PetroSA’s bulk oil storage and import capacity in Cape Town, to its storage facilities in Saldhana Bay, and to the storage capacity of the feedstock tanks that supply its gas-to-liquids refinery in Mossel Bay. In addition, the company will establish a new strategic fuel storage facility in Durban.Also at Coega, PetroSA wants to develop a fuels industry terminal for imports into the Eastern Cape, as well as build new storage facilities.“The successful implementation of these strategic initiatives will go a long way towards mitigating possible future product shortages and reduce South Africa’s dependence on imports,” said PetroSA CEO Sipho Mkhize.Source: BuaNews
The No. 4-ranked McIlroy missed the cut at the U.S. Open last month and hasn’t had a victory in an injury-hit 2017 so far.Jon Rahm, playing in the same group as McIlroy, shot 67 and was a stroke behind leader Daniel Im (67) midway through Day 2.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsThe British Open starts July 20 at Royal Birkdale. LATEST STORIES MOST READ View comments Robredo: 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 Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena #KicksStalker: Throwback to Jordan’s baseball days with J9 ‘Baseball Glove’ Nikki Valdez rushes self to ER due to respiratory tract infection Rory McIlroy hits his second shot on the 18th hole during the final round of play at the Travelers Championship golf tournament Sunday, June 25, 2017, in Cromwell, Conn. (Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant via AP)PORTSTEWART, Northern Ireland — Defending champion Rory McIlroy looks set to miss the cut at the Irish Open in a blow to his preparation for the British Open.McIlroy shot 1-over 73 Friday in his second round over the links at Portstewart and was 1 over for the tournament, which he is hosting to benefit his foundation. He was four shots off the predicted cut mark.ADVERTISEMENT Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’
Love them or hate them, the Los Angeles Lakers long represented the closest thing the NBA had to a proverbial land of milk and honey. For the better part of three decades, the club often had a surplus of star players, a robust record, and the occasional championship trophy.Then they were hit with what equates to a biblical drought for their fans: a five-season stretch without a playoff berth.But on Sunday night, the sky opened up and watered the thirsting Laker franchise, as LeBron James, the world’s best basketball player, chose to join the Los Angeles club as a free agent, agreeing to a four-year, $154 million deal, according to Klutch Sports, the sports management agency that represents James.James’s choice will change the NBA landscape for obvious reasons. LeBron reached eight straight NBA Finals in the Eastern Conference, and his departure from his hometown Cleveland club almost certainly figures to put the Cavaliers back in the cellar, while also giving other teams in the badly diminished East — like Boston, Philadelphia and Toronto — a clearer path to the Finals.But the more pressing issue for the 33-year-old James is how quickly he and the young Lakers can become title contenders while Golden State essentially has a stranglehold on the league.The answer obviously hinges on the route Los Angeles takes next: either a more patient approach that lets the talented yet unseasoned Lakers develop around James, or a more aggressive one that involves trading some of that talent for a proven star like Kawhi Leonard.Regardless of which path the Lakers take, they will be considerably improved if LeBron can stay healthy the way he always has.According to CARMELO, FiveThirtyEight’s NBA player projection system, the current club with James would be projected to win 52 games, with an 11 percent probability of winning it all next season.1This assumes the Lakers would be keeping Julius Randle, who is currently a restricted free agent — one Los Angeles can exceed the salary cap to keep if it wishes. The projected win total would jump considerably, to nearly 60 victories with a 22 percent probability of a title, if the Lakers were to land Leonard in exchange for Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Luol Deng and a first-round pick or two. Such a deal would sting — Ingram has incredible potential, and Kuzma’s an impressive young scorer — and you can bet on the Lakers doing all they can to resist surrendering this sort of haul. Yet Leonard’s stature as a top-five talent when healthy is impossible to deny, and he would quicken any timeline for contention. (The late-Sunday-night addition of Lance Stephenson didn’t figure to help the team much, per our projections, which essentially label the ex-Pacer as a replacement-level player at this point.)The first scenario, in which LeBron plays with the homegrown Lakers, would be a pretty far cry from 2014, when he started his second stint with Cleveland by playing alongside two other established scorers in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love and thrived in a wide-open offense that catered to James’s unique ability to drive and kick. The Lakers ranked near the bottom of the NBA in 3-point shooting and may need to scour the free-agent market for perimeter marksmen.And while Los Angeles boasts a much better defense than the Cavs had last year, the Lakers were similar to Cleveland in that they lacked a true rim-protecting presence on last season’s club. More than 30 percent of Lakers’ opponents shots came from within 3 feet of the basket, tied for the third-highest rate in the NBA last season, according to Basketball-Reference. (The Lakers also agreed to terms Sunday with JaVale McGee, who isn’t the most reliable on D. But he had his moments against James in the Finals and his wingspan helps him around the rim.)There would be at least one clear upside: After a year where James had to dominate the ball in Irving’s absence, he can now share that responsibility with second-year point guard Lonzo Ball. The two could connect quite frequently in transition, given that Ball is known for his uptempo style and long outlet passes, and James — looking to get a breather after some offensive possessions — will occasionally hang back and cherry-pick layups and dunks.Ball figures to be a part of the core going forward, even if the Lakers do push for Leonard. The Spurs — long seen as the league’s most straitlaced team — are rumored to lack interest in Ball, likely due to some of the off-court distractions that surround him. But having Leonard would carry obvious benefits. James — who hasn’t played on a roster without a prime-age All-Star-caliber teammate since the 2009-10 season2The 2015-16 season was the only one in that stretch where none of his teammates made the All-Star team, but Kyrie Irving only failed to make the roster because he was injured that year; his performance on his return was up to his usual standard. — wouldn’t have to shoulder nearly as much of the clutch-scoring burden. Perhaps more important: In a potential matchup with the Warriors, James wouldn’t necessarily have to defend Kevin Durant, as Leonard would be more than capable of handling that task.By no stretch of the imagination are the Lakers a force to be reckoned with yet. But after these last five years, the roughest dry spell in franchise history, this is a welcome shift. Depending on how aggressively Magic Johnson and the team’s front office handles the trade market, they could creep into Golden State’s rear-view mirror more quickly than many suspected. Nabbing LeBron James, even at damn-near 34 years old, will speed up just about any team’s process.— Neil Paine contributed to this story.CORRECTION (July 2, 2018, 12:25 p.m.): An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that LeBron James had not been on a team without at least one other prime-age All-Star since the 2009-10 season. In 2015-16, he was the only All-Star for the Cleveland Cavaliers.