They may appear less evolved to Darwinians, but some lizards are world champions.World’s Fastest Tongue: According to National Geographic, the chameleon sports the world’s fastest tongue. The “remarkable performance” of these “motor mouths” astonished the researchers who watched a chameleon nab an insect, using a high-speed camera shooting 3,000 frames per second. This sluggish-looking lizard has the highest acceleration and power of all the amniotes, a group that includes reptiles, birds and mammals.The results showed that not only did the smaller chameleons perform just as well as their larger counterparts, but in many cases their tongues were actually faster and stronger.For instance, the tongue of Rhampholeon spinosus, an endangered chameleon from Tanzania and the smallest in the experiment, produced a peak acceleration 264 times greater than the acceleration due to gravity. If it were a car, the chameleon’s tongue could accelerate from 0 to 60 miles (97 kilometers) per hour in 1/100th of a second.Science Magazine shows a video of chameleons extending their tongues up to twice their body length. Scientists calculate the power output of the tongue at 14,000 watts per kilogram—the highest power output for any terrestrial vertebrate, including cheetahs and pronghorns. But does anyone really need the evolutionary gloss? Is the smaller guy more fit “because small chameleons have evolved larger tongues relative to their body size, handy since they also need to consume proportionally more food to survive”? Live Science quotes an evolutionist opining, “It’s an example of morphological evolution being driven by metabolic constraints.” Then why didn’t horned lizards and snakes get this ability? The evolutionist offered a just-so story without any evidence.Learning Lizards: Monitor lizards called goannas in Australia have been trained not to eat poisonous cane toads, an invasive species that threatens their numbers. The BBC News reports, “the study suggests goannas have the ability to learn from experience and retain that knowledge over a long period of time.” They’re not as dumb as they look for primitive tetrapods newly evolved from the sea, as evolutionists would have it.Gecko Tires: The gecko is well known as a biomimetic icon. What’s new in an article on Science Daily is a creative application of the amazing adhesive power of gecko toes: tires with an adjustable grip. “Imagine a new type of tyres whose structure has been designed to have greater adhesion on the road,” this article based on the European Physical Journal begins. Applying the “fakir” principle that allows a man to lie comfortably on a bed of nails, researchers relied on “a model specifically developed to study the contact between a smooth silicon sphere and textured silicon surfaces featuring a pattern of pillars–both in the micrometric range in terms of diameter and height.” This is similar to the effect of the hairs on the gecko’s feet that can either sit lightly on a surface or press down and create adherence using van der Waals forces. “Nature is full of examples of amazing adjustable adhesion power, like the feet of geckos, covered in multiple hairs of decreasing size.”Intelligent design provided all the impetus to this story: the motivation to study these animals, the astonishment at what was found, and the application to human designs. Darwin, be gone.(Visited 59 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Sub-continent pitches have been known for favouring the batsmen and giving bowlers nightmares, but if the warm-up matches are any indication, the Test nations – barring India’s score of 360 for five against New Zealand on Wednesday – have found it tough to post big totals except when they have played against the minnows.Former and current Indian players believe that it will be the bowlers who will hold the key to this edition of the World Cup and selecting the right bowling combination will definitely give the captains a headache.Former left-arm spinner Maninder Singh, India’s highest wickettaker in the 1987 edition of the World Cup, feels it will not just be about the spinners.”Frankly, one can’t expect the ball to swing in the sub-continent as much as they do in Australia, England or South Africa. But the new Kookaburra ball will definitely swing in the first six or seven overs and the pacers have to ensure that they go all-out to impose pressure on the batsmen,” Maninder said.Their next role will be to get the ball to reverse-swing. In the modern era, all the top pacers have mastered the art of reverse swinging the ball. As a result, the spell from the 28th over to the 34th over will be crucial as the ball will definitely be reversing. This is where the Pakistan bowlers will turn up the heat. Umar Gul and Shoaib Akhtar can never be discounted when it comes to reversing the ball. Even Zaheer Khan has become more of a thinking bowler and he will definitely save up some energy to hurl the reverse-swinging yorkers in the death overs.advertisement”Although the Kookaburra ball doesn’t have a pronounced seam, the spinners will still come in handy as sub-continent wickets grip and turn even in ODIs. So, for me, bowlers will hold the advantage this time round and the batsmen will not have an easy ride – as expected by many.”Maninder also stressed on the importance of part-time bowlers. “The part-time bowlers will need to be used well. While all teams have gone in with specialist pacers and spinners, the part-timers will come into play in a big way as often we will see them being used to check the flow of runs in the middle-overs,” he said.Batting legend Rahul Dravid echoed Maninder’s sentiments saying it was India’s strong list of part-time bowlers that gave them the edge.”India have a well-balanced outfit with a number of spinning allrounders or part-timers. This gives us a big advantage,” he said.Although he was a top-class offspinner himself, Erapalli Prasanna feels the contribution of the pacers can’t be discounted especially on Indian pitches where reverseswing will come in to play.”The nature of the sub-continent pitches will be perennially slow, helping the spinners. But a lot will depend on the pacers as well in the first 10 overs. Also, getting the ball to reverse in the latter stages will be crucial. As far as India is concerned, the crucial factor for me is how Zaheer leads the pace attack in the powerplay and how the spinners and part-time bowlers bowl in the span between the 25th and 40th overs,” he said.Former Test opener Aakash Chopra feels contrary to popular belief, it is going to be the bowlers who will run the show.”The quality of bowling attack will be crucial. Since most teams will be looking to score heavily, it will be the teams that can restrict the opposition who will win the matches. Restriction will be the key,” he said.Former pacer Madan Lal too feels bowlers will hold the key on the slow and low sub-continent wickets. “If the bowlers use their brains and stick to a wicket-to-wicket line, it will be very difficult for the batsmen to score as the ball won’t be coming on to the bat easily. A restricting line can force the batsmen to hit out or get out. Scoring high in the powerplays will also be playing heavily on the batsmen’s mind,” he said.”I feel even the part-timers will be crucial to the success of the teams. Someone like a Chris Gayle will also be useful just like a Yuvraj or a Yusuf.”With Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Smith already criticising the slow nature of the wickets – making batting difficult – it isn’t a surprise that the bowlers will be instrumental to teams’ success in the Cup.
Dr. Clarke informed that 99 per cent of the loans secured from China on behalf of Jamaica are at fixed interest rates of two and three per cent, which “are among the lowest interest rates in our entire loan portfolio”. Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says 90 per cent of outstanding debt to the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China will be repaid in 10 years.Dr. Clarke informed that 99 per cent of the loans secured from China on behalf of Jamaica are at fixed interest rates of two and three per cent, which “are among the lowest interest rates in our entire loan portfolio”.“Loans from China [also] represent a mere 3.9 per cent of the total $2-trillion debt of Jamaica. When you hear a loan being executed of (about) US$200 million from the China EXIM Bank, bearing in mind that at current exchange rates US$200 million is roughly $25 billion and then in a debt size of $2 trillion, it is just about one per cent,” he said.The Minister was speaking at LatinFinance’s third Caribbean Finance and Investment Forum, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on November 1.Dr. Clarke’s sentiments are consistent with those of Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, who, a day before, noted that the loans secured on behalf of Jamaica are done at the best interest rates and that there is no need to fear Jamaica’s relationship with China.“I don’t think that there needs to be any fear-mongering. The Government of Jamaica has been very strategic and the sovereignty of Jamaica is always foremost in my mind. So when we engage, we engage with that as a non-negotiable part of the partnership,” Mr. Holness said.Meanwhile, Dr. Clarke assured the group of regional bankers and potential investors at LatinFinance’s forum that “there is no better place to invest than in Jamaica”.He noted that all the economic indicators suggest that the Jamaican economy “is stronger than it has ever been”.“We have inflation at record lows, but more important than being at record lows is that inflation has been stable over the past four years and is increasingly becoming predictable. On top of that, loan growth is increasing at accelerated levels… foreign direct investments have been steady and capital imports have increased by fivefold over the past six years,” he indicated.Dr. Clarke reiterated plans for the establishment of an independent fiscal council designed to strengthen Jamaica’s fiscal responsibility framework and the modernisation of the country’s central bank, the Bank of Jamaica.Hosted in partnership with the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, LatinFinance’s third Caribbean Finance and Investment Forum brings together global banks and investors to lay out the road map towards achieving sustainable growth and investment.LatinFinance is the leading source of intelligence on the financial markets and economies of Latin America and the Caribbean.The entity’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Taimur Ahmad, acknowledged the ongoing growth in the Caribbean, which has “picked up in recent years, supporting the (existing) view that the region has finally turned the corner”.He said part of the aim of the forum is to explore the promise held by the region, which, he noted, is significant.Themes explored at the finance forum included exploring the new directions in the Caribbean economic outlook, understanding Caribbean fixed-income and Caribbean corporate finance and capital markets integration, among others. Story Highlights Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says 90 per cent of outstanding debt to the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China will be repaid in 10 years. “Loans from China [also] represent a mere 3.9 per cent of the total $2-trillion debt of Jamaica. When you hear a loan being executed of (about) US$200 million from the China EXIM Bank, bearing in mind that at current exchange rates US$200 million is roughly $25 billion and then in a debt size of $2 trillion, it is just about one per cent,” he said.
zoom Greek shipping companies Oceanic Illsabe Limited and Oceanfleet Shipping Limited were sentenced to pay a fine of USD 2.7 million after being convicted of obstructing justice, violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), tampering with witnesses and conspiracy. Oceanic Illsabe Limited is the owner of the M/V Ocean Hope, a large cargo vessel that was responsible for dumping oily waste into the Pacific Ocean during 2015, while Oceanfleet Shipping Limited was the managing operator of the vessel.The vessel’s operator was sentenced to pay a USD 1.35 million fine and make a USD 450,000 community service payment to Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary in recognition of the threat posed by illegal discharges of oily waste to the marine environment.Oceanic Illsabe Limited was sentenced to pay a USD 675,000 fine and make a USD 225,000 community service payment to the reef.Each company was placed on a five-year term of probation and barred from sending ships to United States ports until its financial penalty has been satisfied.The case stems from an inspection of the the cargo ship, conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard at the Port of Wilmington, North Carolina in July 2015, during which senior engineers for the companies tried to hide that the vessel had been dumping oily wastes into the ocean for months.The vessel’s two top engineers were previously convicted and sentenced to serve prison sentences in connection with these crimes.Cassius Samson, 52, the second engineer of the Ocean Hope, was sentenced a term of 12 months in prison followed by a year of supervised release, while Rustico Ignacio, 66, the chief engineer, was sentences to a term of nine months followed by a year of supervised release.