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Shadowing the Supreme Court

first_imgWhile some Harvard students use the break between semesters to relax and recharge, others go for something a little more intense, like the chance to work on a legal case with sweeping implications.For the past several years, Harvard Law School (HLS) students have spent their break time in Washington, D.C., parsing reams of heady data and crafting nuanced legal arguments to cases headed for the U.S. Supreme Court.“The idea of the clinic is to get students exposure to working on actual Supreme Court cases at various stages,” said Kevin Russell, a lecturer on law at HLS and a partner in Goldstein & Russell, P.C., a small Washington firm that focuses on practicing before the Supreme Court.Russell and his partner, Harvard Lecturer Tom Goldstein, run the annual HLS Supreme Court Clinic that pairs small groups of students with the firm’s lawyers. For three weeks, the teams draft certiorari petitions — documents asking the Supreme Court to review cases ­— or briefs in opposition to certiorari. The students also work on merit and amicus briefs in support of a case, and on preparations for oral arguments.Last month, third-year HLS student Caitlin Halpern and her team helped to write a merit brief for a case involving a federal bank fraud statute. The court will hear Loughrin v. United States in April.Halpern and her teammates pored over similar cases, researched relevant statutes, and wrote a draft of the brief, with help from their instructor. The final step involved a rigorous, line-by-line edit of the document to hone its message. Halpern’s biggest takeaway from the clinic was the need to simplify.“My team went into the briefs thinking we wanted to answer every question and address every counter-argument. And our editing process involved a lot of focusing on themes and making things very straightforward … and not necessarily including every single detail.”Last year, students help to compile an amicus brief for the landmark case involving the Defense of Marriage Act. While at the clinic in 2007, HLS graduate Elizabeth Prelogar worked on a petition for certiorari concerning whether detainees at Guantanamo Bay had habeas corpus rights and whether legislation that stripped the federal courts of jurisdiction over claims by those detainees was constitutional.“I can’t imagine a better setting as a student to learn how to craft persuasive legal arguments in real-world cases,” said Prelogar, who is now an appellate attorney for the firm Hogan Lovells. “I learned a tremendous amount about effective brief writing and oral advocacy during the Winter Term, which helped me realize how much I love the process of litigating an appeal.”In addition to the bank-fraud case, this year’s students worked on two certiorari petitions involving prisoner’s rights. One addressed the question of whether prisoners can get exceptions to restrictions on hair length of they grow it long for religious reasons. The other focused on whether a person sentenced to death has the right to know the planned method of execution.While the clinic involves long days and late nights writing and revising briefs, as well as discussions with instructors about areas of Supreme Court practice, it also involves meetings with officials who help to decide federal policy and law. Students lunch with judges on the D.C. Circuit of Appeals and meet with members of the  U.S. Solicitor General’s office, which represents the federal government in cases before the high court.“They get to meet all these interesting people and kind of see the process from a practitioner’s perspective, which is, I think, fairly different from what you get in a lecture course where you are kind of reading the end result of that process,” said Russell.This time, the students also attended a moot court session at Georgetown University and traveled to the Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in the same case. Hearing the nine justices pose pointed, probing questions to each other, discuss complicated statutory issues, and suggest hypothetical scenarios was a highlight for Halpern.“It was really fun to see how the justices spar with one another … they came off as so smart and balanced.”Halpern said she also enjoyed seeing some of the members of the court live up to their reputations. Associate Justice Stephen Breyer was witty and professorial, at one point offering a lengthy explanation of the history of hay. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia had a minor outburst when he realized that the government hadn’t provided him with a part of a statute.Later that day the group spoke with Associate Justice Elena Kagan, the former HLS dean. She discussed her work with the court and how it differs from her time as U.S. solicitor general, when she was on the opposite side of the bench, arguing cases on behalf of the government.Another type of interaction stood out for HLS student Eden Schiffmann, who worked with Halpern on the bank-fraud case. Schiffmann said the chance to meet with Kevin Loughrin, a plaintiff convicted in Utah of bank fraud and sentenced to three years in prison, was a high point of the clinic.“Oftentimes, Supreme Court practice is described as monastic, where you don’t really have much interaction with the facts of the case or the events that gave rise to it,” said Schiffmann. “It was really great to be able to speak with the person whose life experiences gave rise to the case, and to understand how it will affect them if, hopefully, we win it.”The clinic’s pace is hectic. An early packet of information sent to the most recent attendees included a note stating that their free time would be limited. Halpern said their days usually began about 9 a.m. and included time for lunch, a dinner break around 7 or 8 p.m., followed by a few more hours of work. “It’s definitely been a demanding schedule,” she said. “We are certainly having time to eat and sleep, but not so much time to sightsee and hang out.”But the HLS students agreed the rewards were well worth it. Schiffmann called his experience invaluable.“I am grateful to Harvard for giving me the opportunity to do something that I think is exceptionally unusual, and was the kind of thing that I didn’t even know would be possible when I applied to law school.”last_img read more


Big data, big impact on lending: Engaging the right members

first_imgLenders process enormous quantities of data every day while serving their customers – and have a growing need to effectively harness that data to efficiently manage their business and meet accelerated customer expectations. Big data – the vast amount of data organizations are mining to reveal insights, trends and patterns – is making a big impact on lending.Lenders have always had data points to help them make decisions, but technology enables an enterprise-wide, 360-degree view of customers and the lending operation. Data is collected through multiple databases, channels, products and services across an organization, but the key is to bring all pertinent data together in a logical, intuitive way. Data can help lenders engage the right customers with the right solutions at the right time, ultimately driving increased loan activity, profitability and efficiency.Data can help lenders engage the right customers with the right solutions at the right time, ultimately driving increased loan activity, profitability and efficiency.Using data, lenders can understand what products to offer individual customers – and at what price point they will be effective, thereby maximizing profitability. In the same way, understanding what mix of products and delivery channels leads to better acceptance from consumers and impacts marketing and growth strategies. If a lender learns certain loan products lead to greater delinquencies or increased collection activity, that knowledge can impact risk management. continue reading » 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more


Germany ramps up coronavirus tests to 500,000 a week

first_imgGermany has boosted its coronavirus test rate to 500,000 a week, a virologist said Thursday, adding that early detection has been key in keeping the country’s death rate relatively low.”The reason why Germany has so few deaths compared to the number of infected people can be explained by the fact that we carry out an extremely large number of laboratory diagnostic tests,” said Christian Drosten, who heads the Institute of Virology at Berlin’s Charite University Hospital.”Estimates from the last days show that we are carrying out half a million tests a week,” he added. Topics : Drosten also highlighted Germany’s dense network of laboratories spread across its territory as a factor contributing to early detection.Meanwhile the research ministry said it would commit 150 million euros (US$164 million) to improve communication between hospitals and laboratories about coronavirus patients’ health data, hoping the information exchange could feed into development of a vaccine.Official data compiled by the disease control agency Robert Koch Institute show that 36,508 people have been infected in Germany, including 198 who have died from the disease.At 0.54 percent, Germany’s death rate is far lower than the 7.3 percent in Spain where 4,089 deaths were recorded for 56,188 confirmed cases. center_img France has also recorded 1,331 fatalities of 25,233 confirmed infections — a death rate of 5.2 percent.Besides the large-scale testing, experts in Germany also said that the virus has largely affected a younger, healthier section of the population compared to elsewhere.At the same time, experts have repeatedly warned that in the country where almost a quarter of the population is over 60, the number of deaths could still skyrocket if people do not stick to measures to help halt contagion. Lockdown measures are in place across Germany, preventing people from leaving their homes except for essential trips, while most shops, restaurants and bars are closed. last_img read more


Ronaldo strikes as Portugal down Russia at Confederations Cup

first_imgRonaldo’s goal was the highlight of the first period, although he forced Akinfeev into a save from point-blank range with a shot midway through the half.Soon after the break, Akinfeev kept Russia in the game with a one-handed reflex save from four metres out to deny Andre Silva’s bullet header.However, the hosts were unlucky not to force an equaliser after a string of chances in a strong second-half display.They started to shade the midfield battle after the break as Alexander Yerokhin was introduced in place of defender Roman Shishkin.Russia upped the pace and Fedor Smolov just failed to connect with an Alexander Samedov cross as the hosts attacked in waves with the home crowd urging them on.Defender Georgy Dzhikia headed over the bar from the game’s final corner in added time with Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov agonising on the sidelines.#RUSPOR #ConfedCup Full TimeFinal Score:#Russia 0 – 1 #Portugal (@Cristiano at minute 9) pic.twitter.com/0WxNFB5hA1— ConfedCup?2017 (@ConfedCup2017) June 21, 2017Share on: WhatsApp Moscow, Russia | AFP |  Cristiano Ronaldo brushed off the tax storm clouding his Real Madrid future by scoring the only goal of the game as Portugal beat hosts Russia 1-0 at the Confederations Cup on Wednesday.The 32-year-old netted after just eight minutes to give the Euro 2016 winners their first victory in Group A as they leapfrog Russia in the standings.Group rivals Mexico and New Zealand meet later in Sochi.The Portuguese camp had insisted ahead of this game that their skipper was focused solely on matters on the field in Russia despite the speculation surrounding his future at Real.He has been accused by Spanish authorities of evading 14.7 million euros ($16.5m) in tax and has been summoned to appear in court next month in Madrid.The four-time Ballon d’Or winner — the world’s highest-paid athlete according to Forbes magazine — has said his “conscience is clear” in the matter but has reportedly threatened to leave Real.Despite the off-field disruption, Ronaldo picked up the man-of-the-match award in Portugal’s opening 2-2 draw with Mexico on Sunday.And he was all smiles escorting a young mascot in a wheelchair out onto the pitch in Moscow before he netted his first goal of the tournament inside eight minutes at the home of Spartak Moscow.Raphael Guerreiro’s towering cross from the left flank hung in the air and found Ronaldo, who rose at the far post to head back across Igor Akinfeev.It was a miserable start for the Russian skipper, who was making his 100th international appearance.last_img read more


Functional Barcelona to play Conte’s Chelsea at their own game

first_imgBarcelona may be happy to play Chelsea at their own game, sustained by their crucial away goal and confident that, given the chance, Messi and Suarez can land the knock-out blow.– Iniesta key, Messi well rested –Captain Andres Iniesta will be key and the Spaniard appears to have won his battle to be fit after recovering from a hamstring strain. He was included in Valverde’s squad on Tuesday.“We know what Andres brings to the team, not only on the pitch but as a captain,” Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets said.“You give him the ball and he always knows what he has to do to create chances.”Conte conceded Chelsea would have to play the “perfect game” to reach the quarter-finals and they will need Eden Hazard to deliver too.The best training images before # BarçaChelsea ? https://t.co/hvqV5I9a7R ?? # ForçaBarça pic.twitter.com/CtxcCq214T— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 13, 2018Hazard has grown frustrated in recent weeks with his lone role up front but when asked to compare the 27-year-old Belgian with Iniesta — who will soon be 34 — Conte seemed to lay down a challenge.“We’re talking about two different players with different careers,” Conte said. “Iniesta won a lot in his career, Hazard has to start winning important trophies.”On the impact of Iniesta’s possible return, Conte added: “I like to compare him with Andrea Pirlo. We are talking about a genius of the football.”Barca are still unbeaten in La Liga and Messi will be well-rested, having sat out Saturday’s win over Malaga to attend the birth of his third child.The Argentine arrives with five goals in his last four games.“He will be fine,” Busquets said. “In fact he will be more motivated than what we are used to and physically he is going to be great, after having an extra game’s rest. I hope that this is perfect.”Share on: WhatsApp With Philippe Coutinho ineligible, Paulinho is likely to start against Chelsea, and the midfielder will bring athleticism and energy in place of Coutinho’s creative spark. Atletico Madrid, as much renowned in defence as Barca have been in attack, have conceded only one goal fewer than the Catalans in La Liga all season.Chelsea, however, enjoyed success at Stamford Bridge with a dogmatic approach, when only Messi’s equaliser spoilt what was otherwise a controlled Blues performance. Willian’s opener means Conte’s side take a 1-1 draw to the Camp Nou.“We come to do exactly the same job as we did at Stamford Bridge,” Willian said on Tuesday.“Without the ball we have to stay compact like we did at Stamford Bridge, we have to do the same job. We know here the pitch is big and we have to stay together and to not concede goals and go for the counter attack as well.”But it remains to be seen how bold Barca will be. They beat Atletico 1-0 at home earlier this month to move eight points clear at the top of the table but it was not an eye-catching display.center_img Barcelona, SPAIN | AFP | Antonio Conte’s Chelsea will aim to frustrate Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday but they may find an opponent less expansive than they expect.Barca have set the standard in recent years for the most glittering style of football but Ernesto Valverde has instilled a new style this season, built on resilience, organisation and hard graft.With Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez left to their own devices up front, Barcelona’s midfield has become more conscientious and its back-line harder to breach.last_img read more


A-Rod banned for 2014 season, arbitrator rules

first_imgIn this Aug. 20, 2013 file photo, New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez reacts after striking out in the second inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)NEW YORK (AP) — Alex Rodriguez was dealt the most severe punishment in the history of baseball’s drug agreement when an arbitrator ruled the New York Yankees third baseman is suspended for the entire 2014 season as a result of a drug investigation by Major League Baseball.The decision by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz on Saturday cut the suspension issued Aug. 5 by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig from 211 games to this year’s entire 162-game regular-season schedule plus any postseason games. The three-time American League Most Valuable Player will lose just over $22 million of his $25 million salary.Rodriguez vowed to continue his fight in federal court to reverse the decision.“It’s virtually impossible. The arbitration will stand. I think it’s almost inconceivable that a federal court would overturn it,” said former baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent, a graduate of Yale Law School. “The arbitration is itself an appeal from the commissioner’s judgment. How many appeals do you go?”Rodriguez is the most high-profile player ensnared by baseball’s drug rules, which were first agreed to in 2002 as management and union attempted to combat the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. In sustaining more than three-quarters of Selig’s initial penalty, Horowitz’s decision will be widely viewed as a victory for the 79-year-old Selig, who has ruled baseball since 1992 and says he intends to retire in January 2015.A 14-time All-Star, Rodriguez has been baseball’s highest-paid player under a $275 million, 10-year contract. He has spent parts of the last six seasons on the disabled list and will be 39 years old when he is eligible to return to the field in 2015. He is signed with the Yankees through the 2017 season.Rodriguez admitted five years ago he used performance-enhancing drugs while with Texas from 2001-03 but has denied using them since. He already sued MLB and Selig in October, claiming they are engaged in a “witch hunt” against him.“The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “This is one man’s decision, that was not put before a fair and impartial jury, does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement, and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the United States because they are false and wholly unreliable.”The Major League Baseball Players Association had filed a grievance last summer saying the discipline was without “just cause.”The 65-year-old Horowitz, a California-based lawyer who became the sport’s independent arbitrator in 2012, heard the case over 12 sessions from Sept. 30 until Nov. 21. Technically, he chaired a three-man arbitration panel that included MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred and union General Counsel Dave Prouty. The written opinion was not made public.In Rodriguez’s only partial victory, Horowitz ruled he is entitled to 21-183rds, or about 11.5 percent, of his salary this year, a person familiar with the decision said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the decision was not made public. That comes to $2,868,852.46.Baseball’s drug agreement says the amount of lost pay shall match the number of regular-season games suspended, regardless of days over the season, which is 183 days this year.Despite the ban, baseball’s drug rules allow Rodriguez to participate in spring training and play in exhibition games, although the Yankees may try to tell him not to report.New York figures to be happy with the decision, which eliminates uncertainty and gives the Yankees additional money to sign Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka or other free agents while remaining under the $189 million luxury tax threshold.MLB was largely pleased.“While we believe the original 211-game suspension was appropriate, we respect the decision rendered by the panel and will focus on our continuing efforts on eliminating performance-enhancing substances from our game,” MLB said in a statement.The union said it “strongly disagrees” with the ruling but added “we recognize that a final and binding decision has been reached.”“We respect the collectively-bargained arbitration process which led to the decision,” the union’s statement added.Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch testified in the hearing after reaching an agreement with MLB to provide evidence.“Tony Bosch doesn’t take joy in seeing Alex Rodriguez suspended from baseball, but he believes the arbitrator’s decision was appropriate,” his spokeswoman, Joyce Fitzpatrick, said in a statement.Bosch is to appear Sunday on “60 Minutes” along with MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred. In an interview with “CBS Evening News on Saturday,” Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes” said Bosch told him he administered six banned substances to Rodriguez, including testosterone and human growth hormone.Picked first in the 1993 amateur draft, Rodriguez reached the majors at age 18 with Seattle and was an All-Star by 20. He seemed destined to become one of the greatest players in the history of the game, and appeared in line to break the career home run record — he ranks fifth with 654.“This injustice is MLB’s first step toward abolishing guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round, instituting lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy, and further insulating its corrupt investigative program from any variety of defense by accused players, or any variety of objective review,” Rodriguez said.“I have been clear that I did not use performance-enhancing substances as alleged in the notice of discipline, or violate the Basic Agreement or the Joint Drug Agreement in any manner, and in order to prove it I will take this fight to federal court. I am confident that when a federal judge reviews the entirety of the record, the hearsay testimony of a criminal whose own records demonstrate that he dealt drugs to minors, and the lack of credible evidence put forth by MLB, that the judge will find that the panel blatantly disregarded the law and facts, and will overturn the suspension.”Rodriguez has claimed Selig was on a vendetta to smear him as a way of burnishing the commissioner’s image following the Steroids Era. Both sides have admitted paying for evidence as they prepared for the hearing.Fourteen players were penalized following the Biogenesis probe, and they all accepted penalties. Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun sat out the final 65 games of the season, the other players were given 50-game suspensions.A-Rod’s drug penalty was for “his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone over the course of multiple years,” MLB said last summer. His punishment under the labor contract was “for attempting to cover up his violations of the program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the office of the commissioner’s investigation.”Rodriguez’s penalty was more than double the previous high for a PED suspension, a 100-game ban given last year to San Francisco pitcher Guillermo Mota for a second offense. Kansas City infielder Miguel Tejada was given a 105-game ban last summer following a third positive test for amphetamines.last_img read more


Mancini tips Man City to pip Chelsea and Liverpool to the title

first_imgRoberto Mancini tipped his former club Manchester City to win the Premier League even after seeing his Galatasaray side outplayed by Chelsea.The Blues went through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League by beating the Turkish team 2-0 at Stamford Bridge and 3-1 on aggregate.Chelsea were hugely impressive, showing the kind of form that has put them top of the table, four points clear of second-placed Liverpool.But Mancini still believes City, currently fourth but with three games in hand, will regain the title they won under him in 2012.The Italian said: “Manchester City are the best team and have the best players.“Liverpool are doing very well at this moment but I think it will be a fight between Chelsea and Man City and I think City has the best chance.”See also:Mancini: I was confident before the gameFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more


Mother of DeMarcus Cousins’ son says he threatened to kill her: report

first_imgFormer Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins stands accused of threatening to “put a bullet in” his ex-girlfriend’s head, according to a report from TMZ Sports.The report includes audio of a man Cousins’ ex, Christy West, says is the NBA star who signed with the Lakers earlier this offseason. The disagreement was reportedly over whether West would send the former couple’s child to Cousins’ wedding, which TMZ said was over the weekend.The Los Angeles Times says the NBA is investigating the …last_img read more


News for the Birds

first_imgOur amazing feathered friends range from tiny hummingbirds to fast-running ostriches, from penguins to pigeons.  In both living and fossil forms, they provide endless opportunities for study and fascination.  Here are a few recent examples of news for the birds, in both good and bad connotations of the phrase.Star Wars goshawks:  Fast-moving goshawks and some other species zip through the forest like the Millennium Falcon through an asteroid field or speeder bikes in the forests of Endor, never crashing into tree trunks.  According to New Scientist, a team at MIT has calculated a theoretical speed limit at which they are guaranteed to crash.  “The team believe that birds avoid this fate by gauging the density of their environment and adjusting their speed accordingly, knowing that they can always find a gap to fly through,” the article states.  Like skiers looking for the openings in front of them, “This allows a bird to fly much faster than if it just relied on the limits of its vision.”  Researcher Emilio Frazzoli believes mimicking this strategy would allow unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to fly faster through obstacles without having to add more sensors.Don’t pass up the stunning video clip on Live Science.  It’s a literal bird’s-eye view of a goshawk, “the master of maneuverability,” flying through the forest at high speed.  The bird banks left and right, pulls in its wings, spreads its tail and flies effortlessly between tree trunks, threading the smallest gaps in a split second.  “No aircraft invented comes anywhere close.”Optical illusion bowerbirds:  Male great bowerbirds spend a good deal of their 30-year lifetimes building elaborate ground nests called bowers to attract hens.  Two Australian scientists have figured out that the winning males are the ones who create the best optical illusions of a type called forced perspective.  The bowers have a tunnel-like entry that leads to the nuptial chamber.  Live Science reported that the male bowerbirds adorn the entryway with shells and pieces of bone, and “arrange items in such a way that the court appears uniform and small to a female viewing it from within the avenue, which makes the male appear much larger and more impressive than he really is.”  They put the large pieces at the end of the tunnel farther apart to make the tunnel look uniform.  If the pattern is disturbed, they will put things back the way they were.  The best illusionists got the best sex.  According to the researchers, this is the only known case of an animal using an optical illusion to attract mates.The study by Kelley and Endler was published in Science magazine (20 January 2012: Vol. 335 no. 6066 pp. 335-338, doi: 10.1126/science.1212443).  Barton Anderson in the same issue of Science (pp. 292-293) was not ready to concede that the link between bower illusions and mating success has been proved: “Have male bowerbirds mastered the laws of perspective and learned to manipulate them to achieve lascivious ends?” he asked.  “Although this possibility is intriguing, the current data are not yet sufficiently rich to sustain this remarkable hypothesis.”  In the Live Science article, John Endler commented, “it’s amusing to think that forced perspective was invented by bowerbirds millions of years before humans.  Bird art has a bigger history than human art.”  He did not explain why the females didn’t figure out the trick in those alleged millions of years.  The BBC News article has a good photo of a bower and the bird, but reporter Ella Davies made the odd comment that “Although this is the first time such a display has been positively linked to mating success, Dr Kelley believes the trick could be employed across the animal kingdom.”  In all the studies on sexual selection since Darwin, no one ever examined this idea before?  We already know this capability can be found in humans.  Look at the movies; John Wayne had movie sets built to a smaller scale so that he would “appear much larger and more impressive than he really is.”  Whether that was the cause of his having four children has not been established.Pigeon-monkey IQ competition:  Birds can do math, Live Science reported last month.  “Pigeons may not be so bird-brained after all, as scientists have found the birds’ ability to understand numbers is on par with that of primates.”  Pigeons are not alone in IQ power; crows can make tools by several steps (4/20/2010), and Clark’s nutcrackers can remember thousands of places where they have stashed seeds (2/17/2004).  Damien Scarf’s work on pigeons shows that the birds can use numerical rules to count up to nine.  It was a puzzle to him how such distantly related animals as pigeons and rhesus monkeys could have evolved this capability independently.  “What’s the origin of the ability?” he asked.Pigeon puzzle:  “What we found through this study is that birds that are only distantly related to each other can have very similar traits, and others that are very closely related to each other can look quite different in terms of their traits.”  That’s what biologist Michael Shapiro [U of Utah] is trying to figure out with pigeons, according to Science Daily.  The traits don’t always match the genetics.  Why?  He notes that Charles Darwin was fascinated with pigeon breeding, and that the variations achieved by artificial selection were formative in his notions of natural selection: “pigeons have an important place in the history of evolutionary thought,” he said.  Pigeons are among the most diverse animals known; they “differ in color, color pattern, body size, beak size and shape, structure of the skeleton, posture, vocalizations, feather placement and flight behavior.”  Shapiro’s genetic findings could help humans understand alleged racial characteristics, too: “the race categories we use are quite imperfect and there is a lot of overlap genetically between populations,” he said.  “So there would be many instances in which a black person would be more similar to some white people than to other black people.”  Science Daily echoed these sentiments.Black Archaeopteryx:  One would think by now that everything that could be said about one of the world’s most famous fossils, Archaeopteryx, has been said already in the 150 years since its discovery.  Opinion has swung back and forth about whether this feathered creature could fly.  Now, PhysOrg reported, Ryan Carney and colleagues at Brown University, using a scanning electron microscope on a fossilized feather found in 1861, have determined that the flight feathers were black, and were “identical to modern bird feathers down to the smallest detail” (see Carney say this in the embedded video interview).  The melanosomes in the feathers that give the black color provide clues to answer one of the main questions about this creature: “The color and parts of cells that would have supplied pigment are evidence the wing feathers were rigid and durable, traits that would have helped Archaeopteryx to fly.”Both PhysOrg and Live Science insisted on calling these birds “winged dinosaurs,” even though it would require believing that “that completely modern bird feathers evolved as early as 150 million years ago” as if out of nowhere.  Carey believes the feathers “would have been advantageous during this early evolutionary stage of dinosaur flight,” even though he admitted in the video clip that the “origin of birds and flight is something scientists have been debating for centuries.”  He admits being fascinated by Archaeopteryx as a child, learning to view the fossil as a “missing link” or “transitional form” between dinosaurs and birds, but now his own research on the feathers shows them being identical to those on modern flying birds.Like bacteria in milk or bird droppings on the windshield, these otherwise fascinating scientific stories about birds are defiled by evolution-ese.  Look at this sentence from the PhysOrg article on Archaeopteryx: “The team also learned from its examination that Archaeopteryx’s feather structure is identical to that of living birds, a discovery that shows modern wing feathers had evolved as early as 150 million years ago in the Jurassic period.”  Does everyone see how crazy that sentence is?  It makes absolutely no sense unless one is drunk on Dar-wine.  They are asking us rational, reasonable, common-sense members of the public to believe that modern feathers popped into existence 150 million years ago, and either were not used for flying (incredible that evolution would produce a complex flight feather for running along the ground) or were used for flying (incredible, considering all the hardware and software required to go along with flight), and didn’t evolve ever since in terms of basic structural plan.Do you realize how complex feathers are, with precisely-interlocking barbs, barbules and hooks, providing lightweight yet strong surfaces for flight? Feathers are completely different from reptile scales.  We must stop letting the evolutionists spew forth their opinions as scientific facts and use some basic logic.  Carey and his Dar-wino friends did not watch feathers evolve 150 million years ago.  They found a perfectly modern flight feather in German limestone.  That is the science; the rest are bald assertions of Darwinism (B.A.D.).  Common sense requires filtering scientific evidence from corrupt interpretations drawn out of (or in spite of) the evidence.  Now, watch that video of the goshawk speeding through the trees again and enjoy it free of polluting notions.(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more


20 Years of Freedom exhibition opens in Pretoria

first_img30 January 2014South Africa’s 20 Years of Freedom celebrations get under way in Gauteng province on Thursday when the live, interactive Building the Legacy: 20 Years of Freedom exhibition opens at the Tshwane Events Centre in Pretoria.One of the biggest exhibitions of its kind undertaken in the country, the exhibition is unique in that it offers the public an interactive view of the last 100 years of South African history since the 1913 Natives’ Land Act was passed.In addition to the 12 truckfuls of artefacts, expo material and props that make up the exhibition, the public will be informed and educated by a team of professional actors and performers who bring the past alive – complete with anecdotes of forced removals and other injustices under apartheid – while highlighting the progress the country has made since 1994.The exhibition builds on the Reversing the Legacy exhibition created last year by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to mark the centenary of the 1913 Natives’ Land Act.Chief Land Claims Commissioner Nomfundo Gobodo, speaking to SAnews last week, said the exhibition would give people an opportunity “to walk through the history of South Africa and actually feel like you were there … to experience life [as it was] before colonialisation, during the apartheid era and through the dawn of democracy to where we are currently celebrating Nelson Mandela’s legacy.”“Through this exhibition … we will be showcasing what we’ve achieved since the dawn of democracy in 1994,” Gobodo said. “We know that we still have a lot of work to do ahead of us, but for now we are celebrating our 20th anniversary.”The exhibition runs in Pretoria until 9 February, after which it will travel to other provinces. It runs from 9am to 5pm daily and is free to the public.SAnews.gov.za and SAinfo reporterlast_img read more