Harrison to make return to ring

first_imgAudley Harrison is to return to boxing in a 10-rounder against Chelsea’s Ali Adams in Brentwood on 14 April.It will be the Wembley heavyweight’s first fight since losing a one-sided world title clash with David Haye in November 2010.Harrison, 40, was crowned Olympic champion in 2000 but has been much maligned during his professional career, and the third-round stoppage by Haye was his fifth defeat.“Anyone can lose but I didn’t lose with dignity. I was never going to retire after that performance,” said Harrison.“I’ll have too much for Ali Adams. I intend to show I still have a future in the game.”Adams, who was born in Iraq, is 10 years younger than Harrison and has a record of 13-3-1.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img

Dinolava Theory Back in Eruption

first_imgMeteor impact or volcanic eruption?  Science Now reports that the volcano theory of dinosaur extinction has rejuvenated, challenging the long popularity of the Chicxulub impact hypothesis.    Notwithstanding all the dramatic animations on science documentaries of a cataclysmic meteor wiping out the dinosaurs, the article by Carolyn Gramling states that “Scientists have long wrangled over the cause of the extinctions….”  A new French study of magnetic alignments of lavas in the Deccan Traps of India, some of the biggest lava fields in the world, suggests that the cataclysmic eruptions occurred over a much shorter time period than previously believed – 30,000 years instead of millions – short enough, they claim, to affect worldwide climate.  Some of the older eruptions may have happened even more rapidly because there is no evidence of weathering between successive layers.    A Dutch proponent of the impact scenario is not convinced, however.  He said we don’t know enough about behavior and variability of the Earth’s magnetic field to make strong arguments based on magnetic alignments in rocks.  Gramling says, “He also questions whether any known geophysical mechanism could have spewed out so much lava in such a short time.”Readers, take note: the Science Channel and all the documentaries present their scenarios as fact, and try to make them seem so certain that all scientists agree.  The dating of events, especially, is rarely if ever questioned.  Here, one side is claiming that the old dates of the Deccan Traps are wrong; the other side is questioning whether we can tell anything from magnetic alignments (even though they are commonly used to convince the viewing public of the precision of dating methods).  Since, in the above article, neither theory overlaps the other (see 10/01/2003 entry), each must independently make its case.  Do you begin to get the idea that neither side knows what on earth they are talking about?  Good.  Your eyes are open.    We need to realize how little we can know about prehistory by empirical methods (cf. 11/05/2003)  We need to acknowledge to what extent the data are subject to being molded to human interpretations and presuppositions.  Data exist in the present, not the past (visualize this).  Scientists build models to incorporate the present observations, but short of a time machine or eyewitnesses (02/17/2003 commentary), the past is forever out of reach, and getting more so all the time.  This is not to overlook that some models are more plausible than others (cf. 04/22/2004).  But while seemingly plausible now, today’s leading model can be (and often is) overturned with the next finding.  The Chicxulub story attained such a consensus in recent years as to be nearly enshrined as The Official Story of the Death of the Dinosaurs, but now look; it’s got major problems (04/10/2003, 09/25/2003, 11/25/2003).  Reporters, TV producers and writers of children’s books have not, for the most part, caught up with this development (see 05/13/2004 example), but it is another case of a popular model becoming a has-been.  Such turnarounds litter the history of science.  Writing with an air of certainty about prehistory, therefore, mars otherwise good books like The Privileged Planet (e.g., pp. 22ff) that speak of events in the unobservable past, including magnetic field signatures, as if recorded on steadily-moving tape to be just read off by the unbiased eyes of scientists.  The Dutch critic here reminds us that we know too little about planetary magnetic fields to speak so confidently.  That goes for other dating methods as well.  Discerning minds do well not to attribute infallibility to mortals.As we have pointed out before (10/06/2004 commentary), it is much safer to play conservative and not extrapolate observed measurements recklessly into the past.  It is easier to set upper limits on time than lower limits.  For example, estimating the lifetime of a comet into the past by a few more orbits than have been observed is reasonable, but claiming it came into existence a million years ago extends the observations far beyond human experience.  The former stretches observed behavior a little way back; the latter extrapolates a few data points into unknown territory by many orders of magnitude.  Who knows what perturbations might have changed the orbit before we observed it?  It’s more justifiable to project how long the comet might last given its present rate of mass loss (an upper limit), than to claim it has had to exist for at least umpty million years (a lower limit).  In the current case, the lack of weathering between layers would seem to place an upper limit to the amount of time that must have transpired during the sequence of eruptions.  An upper limit is, of course, a limit; the actual age could have been much lower.  For more examples, see 05/01/2004 story about tufa formations, and the 05/10/2004 article about caves.The admission about whether any known geophysical mechanism could have spewed out so much lava in such a short time is revealing.  Whatever happened to uniformitarianism?  (Notice: it’s gone; catastrophism rules—see 11/04/2003 and 05/22/2003.)  But don’t let these guys puzzle about that problem only here at home.  Have them tell us why big eruptions should be happening right now on Io (05/04/2004), Triton (06/05/2003), Titan (06/09/2005) and Enceladus (07/29/2005) after billions of years, each of them smaller than the Earth (and therefore possessing less gravitational heat), or why comets should still be erupting after so many trips around the sun (03/27/2003).  It’s not that the moyboys* can’t concoct a good story, but to do so, they must keep inserting ad hoc assumptions to keep processes going that would otherwise fizzle out in far less time.  In today’s case, we see two sides (both naturalistic and evolutionary) undermining the credibility of each other’s tale.  The proper lesson is that neither idea can be trusted, and neither side knows what happened, because they weren’t there.*A new word meaning scientists and reporters who toss around the terms millions of years, billions of years with reckless abandon.    The upshot is that, despite all the appearance of scientific rigor, the measurements and jargon, neither story explains the extinction of the dinosaurs, or why some organisms carried on through the catastrophe as if nothing happened (11/08/2004).  A corollary is that any sufficiently advanced model resting on uncertain premises is indistinguishable from a novel.  After all, a good novel usually takes place in the real world and deals with observable, tangible things.  Some novels even describe historical personages and places in exquisite detail (cf. the detailed measurements of magnetic field orientations in present-day rocks).  It does not follow that the events described ever happened, or even if they did, that they happened when the believer claims they happened, or in the way they happened, or that nothing else happened that might bear on what happened.  Another corollary is that a newer model is not necessarily better.  A fancier mansion built on the same shifting sand has the same underlying vulnerability (see 05/13/2004).  It is a specious response, therefore, to retort, “Well, then, what is your model?”  Some choose not to build on the sand, but on the rock.(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

‘Use technology to improve housing’

first_img1 October 2010The Department of Human Settlements is on a quest to find new technologies that are both cost-effective and quality-oriented to provide better housing for poorer South Africans.The technology needs to be environmentally friendly, sustainable and address other challenges facing housing in the country, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale said this week during the department’s Alternative Building Technologies Indaba in Johannesburg.The two-day indaba brought together officials from all spheres of government, the private sector, regulatory authorities, scientific, research and tertiary institutions.Sexwale called on delegates to ensure that the indaba was more than just a “talk shop”, urging them to make it a productive working session that would give rise to ideas that could be implemented.Green solutionsSexwale said his department was looking for new ways of building better homes, which included new green solutions and mechanisms for responding to climate change.He elaborated that the department was looking for new ideas on issues such as internal electrification, solar panels, improved sanitation, heating and water reticulation systems, and durable roofing.Technology that benefited people needed to be both cost-effective and sustainable, he said. However, the minister stressed that while the department was cost-conscious and looking for cheaper material, quality would not be compromised.Sexwale added that the focus of his department was to build sustainable human settlements. He described these as places where people “stay, play and pray”. The minister said that this integrated approach was aimed at developing proper suburbs, villages and towns.Rapid urbanisationSexwale said that some old technologies that had produced houses that stood strong over centuries should not be ignored. Modern technology needed to complement and build on century-old initiatives.New technologies should also assist in the identification of available land, the minister added.“Given rapid urbanisation and the rate of population growth, with the diminishing availability of land in relation to the growing number of people, it means we have to apply new technologies to build better homes,” he said.Sexwale said South Africa also needed to pay attention to the experience of other countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, China, Angola and Equatorial Guinea, which have made significant strides in the area of human settlements.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Australian cricket team pay homage to Manchester attack victims

first_imgThe Australian cricket team observed a minute of silence to pay their tributes to the victims of the recent deadly terror attack that took place at the Manchester Arena in England.The Australian players halted their training session at The Oval in south London on Thursday to gather in the middle of the ground and acknowledge this week’s tragic event in Manchester.All the players present in the practice session moved from the the nets and the outfield where they were training and gathered in a circle along with the team’s support staff to mourn the incident.Meanwhile, people across the United Kingdom were also urged to pause to remember the 22 people who were killed in the bombing attack. .Besides Australia, England and South Africa also observed a minute of silence ahead of their opening ODI of the three-match series at the Headingley Carnegie in Leeds, which the home side went on to win by 72 runs.”A lot of guys were upset by what happened and we dedicate this game to them,” England allrounder Moeen Ali said following the win.Australia are slated to take on Sri Lanka (May 26) and Pakistan (May 29) in warm-up matches before they begin their Champions Trophy campaign against New Zealand on June 2 at Edgbaston.The Australian cricket team were also in the UK for the 2005 Ashes when London was attacked in the 7/7 bombings.Earlier, the International Cricket Council (ICC) had reiterated their commitment to safety and security of all the teams participating at the Champions Trophy, beginning June 1 at the Oval.advertisementInsisting that the security situation has been very much front and centre of their preparations, the ICC said that it is constantly reviewing their procedures to ensure they are as effective as possible to keep everyone safe.The blast took place on Monday night during a pop concert performed by American singer Ariana Grande, in which 22 people were killed and about 50 injured.The Manchester Police confirmed that a lone male suicide bomber was behind the explosion.The attack is being touted as the worst in Britain in a decade.last_img read more