Debunker Busters

first_imgOften in science reports, new findings debunk previously held beliefs.  But then, a thoughtful reader might ask, didn’t the previously held belief debunk a belief prior to that?  Sometimes it gets difficult to believe the current belief has any credibility, when the debunkers turn on each other.A dilemma about dilemmas:  Psychologists and philosophers have used moral dilemmas to probe the principles of individuals and groups.  Now, however, Science Daily says that the results may be biased by the way the questions are posed.  A new study indicated, “Small changes in wording can affect judgments in ways that have nothing to do with differences in moral principles.  Psychologists that analyze judgment and decision making in consumer behavior are aware of this fact.  We applied these same methods to this scenario to illustrate that subjects’ responses could not possibly be attributed to any known moral principles.”Educational folly:  Are you a visual learner or a verbal learner?  For some three decades, it has been popular among educators to believe that students vary in their learning styles.  The idea is appealing: teachers need to tailor their pedagogy to the student.  “The long-standing popularity of the learning styles movement has in turn created a thriving commercial market amongst researchers, educators, and the general public,” reported Science Daily.  “But does scientific research really support the existence of different learning styles, or the hypothesis that people learn better when taught in a way that matches their own unique style?” the article asked.  “Unfortunately, the answer is no, according to a major new report published this month in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.”    The team investigating the movement found “those studies have not used the type of randomized research designs that would make their findings credible.”  There are certain criteria in research design to guard against erroneous correlations and conclusions.  “The authors found that of the very large number of studies claiming to support the learning-styles hypothesis, very few used this type of research design.”  There was also little support to show that students did better with learning-style-based education.    Undoubtedly many of the “71 different models of learning styles that have been proposed over the years” were developed with good intentions, but is it possible that “the currently widespread use of learning-style tests and teaching tools is a wasteful use of limited educational resources”?What are you seeing?  In the retina, rods are rods and cones are cones, and never the twain shall meet.  Not so, reported a new study reported in PNAS.1  “Direct rod input to cone BCs [bipolar cells] and direct cone input to rod BCs challenge the traditional view of mammalian BC circuitry,” the title reads.  “This is grounds for revising the mammalian rod/cone bipolar cell dogma.”  Earlier eye researchers must have been dogmatic without scientific grounds for it.  The team’s findings open up the possibility that the retina performs complex crosstalk analysis between rod neurons and cone neurons to enhance vision.  “They provide clear physiological evidence for functional tertiary rod/cone pathways as well as grounds for revising the rod/cone bipolar-cell dogma in the mammalian retina.”Mammoth discovery:  Woolly mammoths were alive not that long ago, reported Live Science.  Based on ancient DNA in Alaskan permafrost soil samples, a team estimates that they survived till 7,600 years ago – nearly half the old 12,000-year figure for the date of their extinction. Oil without dinosaurs:  Science Daily wrote last month, “Scientists in Washington, D.C. are reporting laboratory evidence supporting the possibility that some of Earth’s oil and natural gas may have formed in a way much different than the traditional process described in science textbooks” – that is, the familiar tale that “Prehistoric plants died and changed into oil and gas while sandwiched between layers of rock in the hot, high-pressure environment deep below Earth’s surface.”  The debunking in this Nov. 6 article actually “un-debunks” an old idea from the 19th century that methane and other hydrocarbons might be produced abiotically, without fossil fuels.If long-held beliefs such as these are being overturned, after being held as “scientific truth” for decades or centuries, how do we know that today’s current dogmas are invulnerable to turnarounds?  A future discovery might even debunk the debunkers in these stories – some of whom debunked earlier debunkers.  To paraphrase an old hamburger commercial, where’s the bunk?1.  Pang, Gao et al, “Direct rod input to cone BCs [bipolar cells] and direct cone input to rod BCs challenge the traditional view of mammalian BC circuitry,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, December 14, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0907178107.OK, these are interesting anomalies, but we know that science produces truth, that man is causing the earth to heat up, and that evolution is a fact.  Got it?  A FACT.  Facts do not change.  Facts are real.  Faith is not.  Science generates knowledge by a scientific method that filters out bias.  Peer review ensures that bad science is weeded out.  Science has no room for dogma!  If a strongly-held belief is challenged by science, then out it must go!  (Like evolution?)  Don’t try to get logical with me!  Evolution is a fact!  Got it?  A FACT.Time to revisit the 10/28/2009 entry.(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

George airport goes solar

first_img2 March 2016George Airport is only the second in the world that uses solar energy, following Cochin International Airport in India.The first phase of the George solar project, officially opened by the Department of Transport and the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa), is part of a R16-million plant that converts solar energy into direct current electricity using solar panels. The operation produces 680 kilowatts a day and powers 41% of the airport, with the aim to convert to 100% function by the end of the year.Acsa describes the new project as the best way to reduce energy demand from the national grid and harness solar power to power smaller airports around the country. The initiative is part of the company’s Vision 2030. It plans to open two more solar plants to serve Kimberley and Upington over the next two years.Acsa launches R16m solar power plant at George Airport https://t.co/lOHa1tWmM1 News via @EngNewsZA pic.twitter.com/dpkNgzj4Di— African Construction (@AfriConstruct) February 29, 2016The project falls under Acsa’s strategic environmental objectives which, in addition to reducing energy consumption, include minimising water consumption, increasing waste recycling, eradicating noise pollution and using energy efficient materials in all airports.“Sustainability, in terms of our environment, means that we need to over time be very careful about how we use any form of energy and then also other natural resources, like water,” says Acsa group executive, Andre Vermeulen. “As a company, we have got a plan in terms of our footprint, in terms of how we are going to consume electricity and water – especially electricity. It is about reducing our carbon footprint and becoming a carbon neutral company.”George Airport manager Brenda Vorster welcomed the project, which currently powers the airport’s car rental area, cargo warehousing, flight schools and airline offices, adding that “our second phase will be starting within the next year”.Transport Minister opens George Airport Solar Plant https://t.co/NU4cyI5WWx @DipuoPeters @WCGovTPW @Airports_ZA pic.twitter.com/lhttcDtMOv— Arrive Alive (@_ArriveAlive) February 26, 2016Minister Peters calls the project an enhancement for not only the airport industry, but also for the people of the area. “This is a way of contributing jobs. There were people who worked here during construction and we now know there are about 16 permanent jobs that have been created by this plant at the airport. We are also happy to indicate that the other regional airports will also be looking at how they’ll be able to introduce renewable energy.”Energy and transport were two crucial government portfolios in fulfilling the goals of the National Development Plan’s own Vision 2030 for the development of the country as a whole, she added.Source: News24last_img read more

We Must Develop a Culture of Work – PM Holness

first_img “It is clear that the policy of the Government can’t just be employment. The policy of the Government has to be to create a culture of work. Employment can only happen in a significant way when there is a culture of work where people appreciate the value of their labour. So, it’s not just the employer that must appreciate the value of labour but people themselves and that culture is not always fully spread in the population. So, an agency like HEART has to configure its program to address this issue as to why it is some of its people (who) just don’t want to work and frown upon work and I hear it coming through in some of the criticisms of the BPO industry and I would rebuke those criticisms,” said Prime Minister Holness. Story Highlights Commenting on the increase in Global Services Sector through Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) in the country and the record number of employment, Prime Minister Holness stated that the Government must increase training to support the expansion of the industry. Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the policy of the Government is not just to create employment but to create a culture of work. Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the policy of the Government is not just to create employment but to create a culture of work.Commenting on the increase in Global Services Sector through Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) in the country and the record number of employment, Prime Minister Holness stated that the Government must increase training to support the expansion of the industry.“It is clear that the policy of the Government can’t just be employment. The policy of the Government has to be to create a culture of work. Employment can only happen in a significant way when there is a culture of work where people appreciate the value of their labour. So, it’s not just the employer that must appreciate the value of labour but people themselves and that culture is not always fully spread in the population. So, an agency like HEART has to configure its program to address this issue as to why it is some of its people (who) just don’t want to work and frown upon work and I hear it coming through in some of the criticisms of the BPO industry and I would rebuke those criticisms,” said Prime Minister Holness.The Prime Minister further explained that a culture work creates an environment that limits the chances of nefarious activities.“The truth is that you have to start somewhere, and we must recognise that it is better to be employed than doing nothing becoming candidates for all kinds of nefarious activities,” stated Prime Minister Holness.In the meantime, the Prime Minister charged the BPO industry and HEART NTA to transform the way they do business.“We the Government are very seized and understand that this industry is susceptible to rapid change. My view is that the industry will not go away but it will be transformed. Artificial Intelligence will transform the industry, so Jamaica cannot rest comfortably at the level that it is in the industry. It must increase its performance levels from merely being telephone operators to absorb more of the high-value skills. So, it has to move now, significantly and rapidly from the Business Process engineering and development to more the knowledge process and we can measure how that transformation is going,” said Prime Minister Holness.In that regard, the Prime Minister noted that Jamaica is in a competitive space and must conclude on certain decisions for the greater good of the economy.“We must conclude that we have to give priority to business and investment and we must become efficient in how we give our approvals,” said Prime Minister Holness.The Prime Minister was speaking at the Official Opening Ceremony for the Montego Bay Free Zone Company Limited Data Entry Building Number 7 on Wednesday, January 9.The facility was constructed by The Port Authority of Jamaica in the Montego Bay Free Zone (MBFZ)last_img read more