first_imgCharlie Austin’s powerful header hauled QPR back into what was becoming an embarrassingly one-sided game at Molineux.Austin netted eight minutes before the break after being found by Matt Phillips’ superb cross from the left.The striker’s goal came after Benik Afobe and Kevin McDonald had scored to put Wolves in command.An unmarked Afobe netted from close range on 17 minutes after James Henry’s ball into the box was deflected towards him.Rangers had almost taken an early lead when on-loan Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez fumbled Massimo Luongo’s shot before gathering the ball at the second attempt.After Afobe’s opener, the wet conditions meant Martinez was also troubled by a shot from Tjaronn Chery.But Wolves were otherwise dominant and doubled their lead on 24 minutes when McDonald made the most of the time and space he was afforded by firing into the bottom corner from near the edge of the penalty area.Alejandro Faurlin, back after a third cruciate injury in as many years, returned to the QPR starting line-up.The popular Argentine and former Wolves man Karl Henry were overrun in midfield as the home side had things their own way before Phillips and Austin combined to give the visitors hope.QPR: Green, Perch, Onuoha, Hall, Konchesky, Phillips, Henry, Faurlin, Luongo, Chery, Austin.Subs: Lumley, Doughty, Hill, Hoilett, Gladwin, Polter, Emmanuel-Thomas.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

first_imgA fossil Cambrian arthropod shows a large complex brain, prompting evolutionists to propose that evolution ran backwards from there.“Complex brains evolved much earlier than previously thought, 520-million-year-old fossilized arthropod confirms” is how PhysOrg headlined a press release from University of Arizona that found “remarkably well-preserved brain structures” in a fossil from China.  A similar headline is found on Science Daily:  “Cambrian Fossil Pushes Back Evolution of Complex Brains.”  Science Now announced, “Spider ancestor had big brain.”  The press release continued the un-Darwinian refrain:The remarkably well-preserved fossil of an extinct arthropod shows that anatomically complex brains evolved earlier than previously thought and have changed little over the course of evolution. According to University of Arizona neurobiologist Nicholas Strausfeld, who co-authored the study describing the specimen, the fossil is the earliest known to show a brain.Cambrian arthropods, including trilobites, clearly had brains, but this one preserved the imprint of soft brain matter so clearly that scientists were able to trace the neural pathways from the brain to the eye stalks.  The press release states that it “represents an extinct lineage of arthropods combining an advanced brain anatomy with a primitive body plan.”  They must mean “primitive” with respect to age on the evolutionary timeline, else why would a “primitive” animal need a complex brain?  One of the researchers, Nicholas Strausfeld, said, “In principle, Fuxianhuia‘s is a very modern brain in an ancient animal.”  Live Science suggested “primitive” equates with “simple” – “The rest of the animal is incredibly simple, so it’s a big surprise to see a brain that is so advanced, as it were, in such a simple animal,” Strausfeld told Live Science.In the press release, Stausfeld, a neurobiologist at the University of Arizona, made other statements that run counter to evolutionary expectations, even though he assumed the brain evolved:The fossil supports the idea that once a basic brain design had evolved, it changed little over time, he explained. Instead, peripheral components such as the eyes, the antennae and other appendages, sensory organs, etc., underwent great diversification and specialized in different tasks but all plugged into the same basic circuitry.“It is remarkable how constant the ground pattern of the nervous system has remained for probably more than 550 million years,” Strausfeld added. “The basic organization of the computational circuitry that deals, say, with smelling, appears to be the same as the one that deals with vision, or mechanical sensation.”Another evolutionary expectation was shattered by this fossil.  Fuxianhuia protensa is a malacostracan, a group with complex brains, including crabs and shrimp.  Evolutionists preferred to believe that insects evolved from simpler-brained branchiopods (including brine shrimp).  The discovery of a complex brain deep in the Cambrian explosion shatters not only that expectation but turns evolution backwards:Because the brain anatomy of branchiopods is much simpler than that of malacostracans, they have been regarded as the more likely ancestors of the arthropod lineage that would give rise to insects.However, the discovery of a complex brain anatomy in an otherwise primitive organism such as Fuxianhuia makes this scenario unlikely. “The shape [of the fossilized brain] matches that of a comparable sized modern malacostracan,” the authors write in Nature. They argue the fossil supports the hypothesis that branchiopod brains evolved from a previously complex to a more simple architecture instead of the other way around.The paper in Nature by Stausfeld, a Londoner and two Chinese colleagues stated that “early-diverging arthropods have scarcely been analysed in the context of nervous system evolution.”  This was, therefore, the first and clearest opportunity to analyze it with Fuxianhuia, “exhibiting the most compelling neuroanatomy known from the Cambrian.”  The authors had to make the astounding claim that later branchiopods underwent an “evolutionary reduction” in brain structure instead of the progressive increase as would have been expected.  “The early origin of sophisticated brains provides a probable driver for versatile visual behaviours, a view that accords with compound eyes from the early Cambrian that were, in size and resolution, equal to those of modern insects and malacostracans,” the abstract stated. (Ma, Hou, Edgecomb and Strausfed, “Complex brain and optic lobes in an early Cambrian arthropod,” Nature 490, 11 Oct 2012, pp. 258–261, doi:10.1038/nature11495.)However they sliced it, the authors had to conclude that “the brain and optic lobes of Fuxianhuia suggest that the arthropod nervous system acquired complexity by the early Cambrian.”  The editor’s summary of the paper stated again what this fossil means for evolutionary theory:The Cambrian explosion refers to a time around 530 million years ago, when animals with modern features first appeared in the fossil record. The fossils of Cambrian arthropods reveal sophisticated sense organs such as compound eyes, but other parts of the nervous system are usually lost to decay before fossilization. This paper describes an exquisitely preserved brain in an early arthropod from China, complete with antennal nerves, optic tract and optic neuropils very much like those of modern insects and crustaceans. This suggests that if insects evolved from quite simple creatures such as branchiopod shrimps, then modern branchiopods have undergone a drastic reduction in the complexity of their nervous systems.The authors found about 50 specimens in various orientations, leading them to infer that “the eye stalk assemblage possessed a considerable degree of rotational freedom and thus allowed active vision“.  The preservation was so remarkable that they were easily able to compare structures with those from living malacostracans, insects and chilopods, each group having a similar tripartite brain.  “Indeed, it is expected that optic lobes would have already evolved sophisticated circuits even more deeply in the arthropod stem-group, enabling high-level visual processing of the kind presumed to be associated with large compound eyes belonging to the stem-group arthropod Anomalocaris.”Spin DoctoringIn the same issue of Nature, Graham E. Budd tried to rescue evolution from this evidence, using the worn-out cliche that the fossil “may shed new light” on how brain tissues evolved.  His opening paragraph is a masterpiece of spin doctoring, listing various unexpected fossil surprises as triumphs for evolution:Even to palaeontologists, the fossil record can resemble the chaotic attic of an eccentric relative, stacked with ancient bric-a-brac of dubious usefulness. But the record has recently been throwing up some surprises that are bringing new order to this jumble. Our concept of dinosaurs, for example, has evolved from what were essentially bolted-together lumps of bone into living creatures covered in graceful feathers — and in colour too. Other fossil finds have brought changes to the scale of our understanding of evolution. For example, the discovery of exceptionally well-preserved fossil muscle fibres throughout the record and fossilized embryos from at least the Cambrian period, some 500 million years ago, have provided remarkable insight into the fine-scale evolution of these tissues and life stages. Now, on page 258 of this issue, Ma and colleagues describe preserved nervous tissue from the Cambrian — a find that grants palaeontologists access to the exclusive zoological club of those who study the brain and nervous system.None of these “surprises” were anticipated by evolutionists, yet Budd described them all as providing “insight into the fine-scale evolution” of life stages.  But clearly, in his own words, the only thing that has “evolved” is their “concept” of how evolution works.  How complex muscle fibers and embryos from the earliest parts of the record could provide “insight” into evolution was left unexplained.  His reference to dinosaurs covered in colorful feathers is also dubious.From there, Budd disputed the authors’ claim that complex brains appeared early in the arthropod lineage.  His alternative?  “Convergent evolution” (see 10/08/2012) or else a grab bag of rearrangement options:However, there are two potential alternatives to this far-reaching conclusion. It is possible that the arrangement in Fuxianhuia is convergent to that in the modern crustaceans or insects; in other words, similar brain assemblies to that reported for Fuxianhuia evolved again in later arthropods. Or it may be that we need to rethink the systematic position of Fuxianhuia. That latter option would entail a substantial rearrangement of our present understanding of early arthropod evolution — not least in the highly vexed issue of the ‘great appendage problem’. This refers to the controversial identity of a large anterior appendage found in many Cambrian arthropods, and seemingly also in the Fuxianhuia specimen described here. Discovering which part of the brain this structure is innervated from will add vital information to this debate. Either way, Ma and colleagues’ findings will prompt hasty re-examination of many old specimens, and quite possibly some recasting of recent theories.(Graham E. Budd, “Palaeontology: Cambrian nervous wrecks,” Nature 490, 11 October 2012, pp. 180–181, doi:10.1038/490180a.)We want to help our buddy Budd recast some recent theories without having to do any hasty re-examination of old specimens.  Appealing to the fossil evidence, we point out abrupt appearance of all the animal body plans in the Cambrian explosion, with complex brains evident in the early Cambrian and no transitional forms.  From there, diversification and simplification occurs according to built-in variability and adaptation mechanisms, but the original complex designs endure.  This theory of descent is known as intelligent design.  Reference: Darwin’s Dilemma. (Visited 66 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_img12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… Geeks read. Geeks read books that probe dreams, envision life on Mars, posit hyperspace, reconstruct history, remake the world and reshape the notion of what it means to be human, or even just alive. The great geek works of fiction inspire engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs to dream their biggest dreams – or at least to muster the courage to light the way toward the future. These great books deserve to be celebrated. If you haven’t read all of them, you should.Neuromancer Related Posts While not as fun as Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson’s 1999 novel Cryptonomicon inspired readers to explore the opportunities presented by complex maths, coding, cryptography – and erasing one’s digital footprints.Its heroes are World War II codebreakers and, in an overlapping story, 1990s computer programmer entrepreneurs. The 1990s team takes advantage of outside funding, brings together a group of savvy computer, telecom and math experts – and start-up veterans – and works to build a global digital currency. In the world of Cryptonomicon, it’s always better if you were smart and tech-savvy.Cryptonomicon is a long work, filled with codes, ciphers, scripting, multiple characters – some of them historical figures – and the challenges of tackling major computing problems under incredible time restrictions. Geeks, hackers and engineer-entrepreneurs are revealed to be not only cool, but even world-saving.Great Books RemainWhen Amazon’s Kindle was released, Steve Jobs scoffed at the very idea of it:It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore.  Wrong. Geeks read. The do-ers, the hackers, those boys and girls who stumble upon a great novel and know, from that very day, that it will always leave a mark.No doubt, great works such as those by Connie Willis will be rediscovered by a new generation of budding geeks, via Kindle or in whatever format they are distributed. More recent works, from the Harry Potter series, to the accessible and referential works of John Scalzi, to Jo Walton and her alternate world fantasies, will likewise come to influence generations of smart, determined world-builders. Is there any programmer in Silicon Valley – or anywhere, possibly – that has not memorized Isaac Asimov’s “three laws of robotics?”  Asimov’s work takes place in the 21st century, and intelligent robots are everywhere, taught to value human life above all else.Engineering students that have read I, Robot over the past 60+ years have come surprisingly close to achieving Asimov’s vision. The “positronic brain” is, in our world, the microprocessor – which continues to advance. Great strides have been made in artificial intelligence, even if in forms not imagined by Asimov. Robots – as pets, vaccuum cleaners and autoshop welders – do surround us, albeit rarely in human form.A collection of related short stories, I, Robot not only correctly scouted out much of the present that surrounds us today it inspired geeks to create it. See, for instance, the rescue robots battling it out in DARPA’s virtual robotics challenge.And although Asimov wrote these stories in America in the 1950s, they feature the extremely smart Dr. Susan Calvin, expert in physics, cybernetics and psychology.Cryptonomicon brian s hall 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout Tags:#Book Reviews#books 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App One of the most celebrated works of science fiction ever, William Gibson’s 1984 novel Neuromancer, is devoid of white-collar, IBM-like engineers. Instead, Gibson’s novel is populated with washed-up freelance hackers who associate with nefarious corporate shills wanting dirty deeds done dirt cheap inside the infinite blackness of “cyberspace.” All this burst on the public consciousness at a time when most of the planet had no desire to own a computer and couldn’t even imagine the World Wide Web, still a decade away.Neuromancer gave dystopia a good name. Gibson’s work included the saved consciousness of individuals (in both RAM and ROM states), cybernetic implants, holograms, AI, cloud computing and ninjas. Gibson’s “cyberspace” inspired a legion of hackers.The Shockwave RiderJohn Brunner’s fast-paced 1975 novel features, among other things, “worms” (a term Brunner coined) propagating through massive cloud-like computer systems. It also includes hero hackers, real-time global connectivity, prediction markets, a mobile workforce, genetic engineering, identity theft, cougars and an economy and culture largely guided by Big Data and related algorithms. It is one of the most prescient works of speculative fiction ever written.In The Shockwave Rider, smart people adopt various online personas in part to elude the government surveillance state. They also take pharmaceuticals to help them cope in a world of continuous change.Stranger In A Strange LandThe many works of Robert Heinlein have inspired at least two generations to unleash their inner geeks, hone their tech skills, and to focus less on the business side of things than on where real change happens: in the basement or in the garage, where all the equipment is.Heinlein’s works laud tinkering, inventing and science. His novels, no matter how speculative, were always well-grounded in science. As a forerunner of the soft libertarianism that pervades Silicon Valley, Heinlein was always ready to challenge the standards of his day, and clearly favored individual liberty over all else.Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) is one of Heinlein’s most popular works. The protagonist, Valentine Michael Smith, is quite literally an outsider: the son of astronauts, raised by Martians, he possesses psychic and teleportation abilities – along with highly provocative views on sex, religion, relationships, and those who control government and religion. This book is also where we get the word “grok” from. Go for the uncut version.The Fountains of ParadiseIn 1979, Arthur C. Clarke wrote this novel about the construction of a space elevator using “hyperfilament.” Instead of using rockets, payloads and people – including space tourists – could take the space elevator up to a satellite in geostationary orbit. The plan succeeds despite a man-made hurricane from a hijacked weather-control satellite, which destroys the Earth base station. Clarke was never one to shy away from suggesting how his visions could actually be realized during or shortly after his lifetime. Since its publication, NASA has repeatedly discussed Clarke’s concept, and a successful Kickstarter project from last year is exploring the feasibility of a limited space elevator.HyperionIn 1989, Dan Simmons released Hyperion. High school geeks have never stopped devouring it. Though set in the 28th century, core elements of the world Hyperion envisions – including instant interstellar space travel, AI, galaxy-spanning connectivity, and implants that alter body, mind and emotions – will arise sooner than later. At MIT and Google, NASA and Genentech, for example, geek readers are already working on technologies that connect man and machine, that link the human brain with computing, and which may propel humanity beyond the solar system.A dense, literary work, Hyperion deftly takes the reader on a journey through time, space and almost-magical worlds (possibly insufficiently distinguishable from advanced technology) via a plot that mirrors the The Canterbury Tales of the 14th century.Humanity has spread across the galaxy thanks to the creation of instant interstellar travel via “farcaster” – think Star Trek’s transporter with unlimited distance and without the messy de-materialization. As with a fully connected Earth, a connected galaxy profoundly alters the economy and shifts power to those most capable of manipulating and managing technology – the TechnoCore.Prominent in the book is the Shrike, a deadly humanoid-like creature that appears across the various stories within the story, and may remind geek movie action fans of Predator.I, Robot 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex…last_img read more