Natural Selection Is Not Predictable

first_imgEvery once in awhile, biologists argue over whether evolution is predictable. The latest flap over stick insects sticks up for predictability, but flops.An international group of scientists, publishing in the journal Science, studied stick insects—those long, skinny walking insects that try to blend in with plants by mimicking twigs. In their paper, “Natural selection and the predictability of evolution in Timema stick insects,” they do their best to estimate the trajectory of these bugs. Laura Zahn, however, in a summary of the paper in the same issue of Science, has this to say:Evolution results from expected effects, such as selection driving alleles toward fixation, and stochastic effects, such as unusual environmental variation and genetic drift. To determine the potential to predict evolutionary change, Nosil et al. examined three naturally occurring morphs of stick insects (see the Perspective by Reznick and Travis). They wanted to determine which selective parameters could be used to foresee changes, despite varying environmental conditions. One morph fit a model of negative frequency-dependent selection, likely owing to predation, but changes in other morph frequencies remained unpredictable. Thus, for specific cases, we can forecast short-term changes within populations, but evolution is more difficult to predict when it involves a balance between multiple selective factors and uncertainty in environmental conditions.According to Zach Gompert at Utah State University, one of the authors, the predictability is hardly surprising: brown stick insects would be found on brown plants, and green stick insects would be found on green plants. The reason is that birds can more easily see the out-of-place morphs and eat them. This explains why out-of-place insects would be missing, but says little about the arrival of the camouflaged species. A USU press release says that the team analyzed 25 years’ worth of data to try to figure out if evolution is predictable.“With the green versus green-striped morphs, the cause of selection was simple and well understood facilitation of predictability,” Gompert says. “In contrast, with the melanistic morph, natural selection was more complex and tied to variation in weather and climate, making it harder to predict from past patterns of change.”The scientists compared their results to better known studies, including Darwin’s finches and the scarlet tiger moth, both of which were also not very predictable.“Our findings support previous discoveries and suggest evolution of morph frequencies in these stick insects is indeed a result of selection,” Gompert says. “They also suggest poor predictability of environmental variation and how it affects selection, rather than random evolutionary processes, might be the main limits on predicting evolution.”While we can use the past to predict change, he says, we’re constrained by our lack of knowledge of the future and complex ecological processes that contribute to change.c. Brett Miller. Used by permission.It’s hard to characterize any of this data support for evolution being predictable. They’re basically saying, ‘evolution is predictable except when it isn’t.’ Reznick and Travis sum up the results:Evolution is like population dynamics because evolutionary change over time can be governed by multiple factors, the relative influence of which vary over time. Nosil et al. used a series of observational data taken over 25 years on natural populations in combination with experiments to show that in one case, evolution can be predicted very well, but in another, it cannot. More generally, they show that without deep biological knowledge, we cannot understand either past or future, much less predict the future from the past.The problem is not just with stick insects. It extends to all of biology:Questionable predictability is not specific to stick insects. Nosil et al. analyzed data sets for other long-term studies of evolution in various species, including Galapagos finches and the peppered moth, and show that they also offer low temporal predictability. In these cases, the likely cause is also multiple forms of selection the strength of which varies over time.Interesting that they would present finches and peppered moths, both of which are “icons of evolution” featured in the list by Jonathan Wells, yet say they were subject to ‘multiple forms of selection.’ Why not simple ‘natural selection’ that strikes so many evolutionists as intuitively obvious? Now, we find, things are not so obvious after all. It’s complicated to predict even one thing on which natural selection might act:These results show that an iconic example of a simple trait subjected to a single agent of strong selection is actually much more complicated. Similar lessons have been taught by other seemingly simple phenomena. For example, the complex ways in which known agents of selection on the color polymorphism of Cepaea snails meant that “each population is subject to a unique explanation”. This is in stark contrast to studies of microbial, viral, and immune system selection, for which evolution seems to be highly predictable. Why this is the case, when it is not so in organisms such as stick insects and others, is a new challenge for evolutionary biologists.So the environment is unpredictable, selection is unpredictable, and mutations are clearly random. Adding three random factors together does not improve on randomness. After 158 years of Darwinian evolution, what has been accomplished to improve scientific understanding other than to say, “Stuff happens”?We like to periodically back up our claim that Darwinism reduces to the Stuff Happens Law. It explains everything; it explains nothing. This is how a stupid idea can put on invisible royal robes and masquerade as an emperor of understanding. Look at these proofs of the Stuff Happens Law we presented earlier. Don’t you feel wiser knowing them?Why the Stuff Happens Law is ScientificIt is reductive: all events can be reduced to this law.It makes predictions: Stuff will happen.It is universal: Stuff always happens.It is normative, not just descriptive: Given matter in motion, stuff must happen.It is falsifiable: If nothing happens, the law has been disproved.It is practical: If something happens, you know you will find stuff around.Corollaries can be derived from it: e.g., Stuff happens at the worst possible time, Bad stuff happens to good people, Murphy’s Law, etc.Impressed?  Darwin’s laws of nature are about as helpful to the understanding of nature as the Stuff Happens Law. Your science might be healthier with a bit of Cole’s Law (i.e., thinly sliced cabbage). (Visited 606 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Ohio Ag Weather and Forecast, January 23, 2019

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Rain moves across Ohio through the day today. A cold front is pushing this through, and the cold air behind the front likely does catch up to the moisture later this afternoon and evening, allowing the rains to end as snow. We are keeping our projection of 1-3 inches of snow in central and eastern ares before all is said and done tonight, while western and NW areas see a coating to an inch. That will be after rain totals for the event of half to 1.4″ over 90% of Ohio. This will be soggy day. Temps will be well above normal into this afternoon, but when that front finally arrives, we see those temps crash hard. The maps below show storm total liquid equivalent precipitation (which includes what fell late yesterday) and also the snow as this thing ends. These maps are through tomorrow early morning.We turn much colder air for the rest of the week. We can’t rule out some lake effect snow in northern and especially northeast Ohio areas tomorrow, but the threat looks smaller than our previous forecast. Friday, we keep strong north winds around, but only minor chances for morning lake snows. The rest of the state will see at least partly sunny skies both days. Two quick hit “clipper” systems move through the state and the eastern corn belt this weekend. The first comes after midnight Friday night and goes into Saturday afternoon. That front will have the potential for a coating to an inch over about 60% of the state, skewed more to the north. A second wave on Sunday brings similar totals to the northern half to third of the state. There can be a bit of wind, but we really don’t think either event is anything to get too excited over. Our next front is still on the way for early next week, although it may come in just a bit sooner, late Monday into Tuesday. This front still has the potential to bring at least 1”-3” snow potential to 70% of the state. Then another round of bitter cold air takes the state for Wednesday and Thursday as we finish out January, and that likely squeezes out a few flurries in that period, even with no good moisture source. We are leaving the rest of the forecast unchanged through early February For the extended period, we have a chance of rain or snow for the 2nd and 3rd. Available liquid with the system still looks impressive, but perhaps not quite to yesterday’s levels, with half to 1.5” possible. Still, with that much liquid available, we better pray for rain…because if all snow, it would pack quite a punch. Another round of Canadian air rushes in for the 4th, bringing lake effect snow back to the region, and then another front can produce snow, potentially significant, for the night of the 5th through the 6th.last_img read more

Soybean problems showing up

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University Extension plant pathologistWe have multiple planting dates in Ohio this year with soybeans in all different growth stages. This can create challenges when management decisions are based on the stage of crop development.For soybeans that are flowering, there was a confirmed report of frogeye leaf spot. If the soybeans in the field are in good health then managing this disease is often cost effective on susceptible varieties. Scouting between R2/R3, if frogeye is easy to find on the newly expanded leaves a fungicide application is warranted. There are many fungicides available with fair to very good efficacy. The one caveat is in Ohio we have identified strains of the fungus that causes frogeye leaf spot that is resistant to strobilurin fungicides, so choose a product that has another mode-of-action.For soybeans that are in the early seedling stages that have continued to get these saturating rains, damping-off is occurring. So these fields will continue to decline until about V2, then the resistance in the plant will take over. So continue to monitor stands in these fields. If stem rot develops at the later stages, then that is from Phytophthora sojae. In these cases, a better variety is needed for the future that has higher levels of quantitative resistance.last_img read more

Why My Pebble Smartwatch Beats The Samsung Galaxy Gear Hands Down

first_imgSamsung just announced its Galaxy Gear smartwatch … and the neurons in the early adopter lobe of my brain lit up like a Christmas tree. One look into its deep black 320-pixel square abyss and I was lost in a futuristic fantasy world, one where people don’t cower from me like the Terminator when I wear Google Glass—and one in which people need things like smartwatches. (Being me, naturally I need all of them.)See also: Galaxy Gear: The Dumb Thing About Samsung’s SmartwatchAs my prefrontal cortex wrestled those overstimulated brainparts into submission, I was left with one question: can anyone really need a smartwatch? Given the Galaxy Gear’s smartphone-sized price tag, let’s check the most important facts for a moment, shall we? Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch:$299, on sale in the U.S. in OctoberCompatibility: At launch, only the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Tab 10.11.63-inch Super AMOLED display, 320 x 320 resolutionSix wristband colorsA 1.9 MP cameraA speaker and two microphones25 hour battery lifePebble Smartwatch:$150, available nowCompatibility: Any Android or iOS device with Bluetooth1.26-inch black and white e-paper display, 144 x 168 resolution 5 wristband colors3 axis accelerometer with gesture detectionBattery lasts about 1 week (168 hours)A Pebble Owner Reflects My Pebble smartwatch was an impulse buy. After missing the original Kickstarter campaign, I forgot about the buzzy little wristbound thing altogether.But a few weeks ago, far afield from the urban technology bustle, I noticed a whole gaggle of Pebbles hanging limply on a Best Buy rack in some kind of indiscriminate “quantified self” aisle. I hate Best Buy with the fire of one thousand suns. But a gadget in the hand is worth a pre-order in the bush, so I bought one.See also: Samsung: Galaxy Gear Will Eventually Play Nice With Rival PhonesMy biggest surprise so far? I actually love it. But that doesn’t mean I needed one—or that anyone does. Sure, we arguably don’t need any of consumer tech that we gobble up, but the smartwatch concept seems to weigh in far heavier on the side of convenience than that of utility.Given that, a smartwatch really needs to be, you know, convenient. The Galaxy Gear boasts a measly battery life of a single day. That alone isn’t just a strike against the Galaxy Gear—it renders the device an absurdity considering the way that we humans want to use things like wristwatches. Like, every day.More Smartwatch Bang For Your BuckAfter testing one for a few weeks, I realize that a smartwatch is a strange little contraption. Though handy at times, it’s largely superfluous. If I hadn’t needed a new watch—like, a dumb watch that just tells time, I mean—I probably couldn’t justify having one at all. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Related Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#Kickstarter#Pebble#Samsung#smartwatch#wearable#Wearable Computing taylor hatmaker Being roughly the same price as a nice dumbwatch, the Pebble lays some solid groundwork for the emerging wearable category. But the Galaxy Gear? At $299, twice the price of the Pebble, the purchase would be nigh impossible to justify. The Pebble isn’t overpriced, but it isn’t cheap enough for me to recommend to my non tech-obsessed friends, either.Smartwatches inject our day to day lives with a couple ounces of sweet, sweet convenience. And that’s pretty much it. I use my Pebble to get texts and emails so I don’t have to reach for my Nexus 4 or subject the world to Google Glass. I use it to flip songs on Rdio on the speakers in my living room. I look at the time. It’s a nifty little gadget, but it is by no means essential. All Eyes On AppleAt its big event next week, Apple may well release an iWatch. In true Apple fashion, the smartwatch concept will likely see its most refined iteration to date. Still, until we can cram $299 worth of technology onto a platform the size of a postage stamp, a smartwatch priced like a full-fledged smartphone will remain a luxury perched in the upper echelons of early adopterdom.Next week, if Apple really wants to pop the cork on the smartwatch craze for mainstream consumers, it’ll price an iWatch even lower than the $150 iPod nano, which wasn’t too shabby as a modded proto-smartwatch. If Apple doesn’t do it, I guess we can sit back and wait for Amazon or Google to get interested and take smartwatch pricing to the chopping block, like those companies did with tablets. Or better yet, we can resist the smartwatch siren song altogether and forgo plugging in yet another device at night so it can greet us bright and early.Until the price is right, that is.Lead image courtesy of Pebble; image of Pebble smartwatch by Taylor Hatmakerlast_img read more

5 Key Metrics You Should Be Tracking in Your Business

first_imgVinnie FisherCEO & Founder at Fully Accountable Revenue to Expense Ratio Vinnie fisher is an entrepreneur, author, husband, and father of 4. A lawyer by trade, for almost ten years, Vinnie focused on tax planning, corporate formation and operation of closely held businesses. Vinnie was a principal partner in his law firm that he wound down to pursue a career as an entrepreneur. After the creation of a series of successful internet and e-commerce companies, he discovered a much needed service for business owners.In 2014, Vinnie opened Fully Accountable, an outsourced accounting and finance firm for e-commerce and digital businesses. Today he serves as the CEO of the company. Fully Accountable a cutting edge firm that offers done for you services that includes everything from master bookkeeping to fractional CFO services. We are digital experts specializing in high transaction businesses. Our clients are all over North America. We offer a complete accounting back office for your business costing less than the price of an entry level person in your company. Our data analysts and accountants do the work and provide the proactive, forward thinking feedback you need to make the right decisions to increase your growth and double your profit margin. How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culture The current ratio is somewhat similar to your debt to equity ratio, and will also be calculated using information from your company’s balance sheet. The current ratio is calculated by dividing your total assets (what you own) by your total liabilities (what you owe). This will help illustrate whether or not your business is financially solvent. If your business has significantly more liabilities than assets, you will have a difficult time securing further lines of credit. Furthermore, assuming that at least some of your liabilities are actively accruing interest, a weak current ratio can also have a negative impact on your profit margins. While having some debt is usually considered a good thing, it still needs to be carefully managed.ConclusionIn order to make decisions that are truly in your business’ best interest, you will want to get as full of an understanding of your financial situation as you possibly can. By paying attention to these valuable metrics, your business will be able to decide whether assuming a new project is actually a good idea. For further guidance and expertise, you may also want to consider hiring an eCommerce bookkeeping specialist. Customer Retention Related Posts Both your revenues and expenses can be immediately taken from your business’ annual income statement. While net income (revenues less expenses) will be an important metric, it only paints a partial picture of your business due to the fact raw income figures are not appropriately scaled. Looking at the ratio of your business’ revenue streams to your expenses will help you determine if you are moving in the right direction. In order to maximize the usefulness of this ratio, you should actively track it over time. If expenses have increased without corresponding revenues, then it may be time for your business to reevaluate its overall strategy. There are many different ways that your business can establish a competitive advantage. Some of these methods will be much more accessible than others. For example, while some business strategies may require a large amount of capital up front, creating a competitive advantage through better accounting practices is something almost all businesses can immediately do for free.By constantly striving to improve your business’ accounting practices, you can consistently enhance your bottom line and operate more efficiently. Though accounting and bookkeeping can often feel quite tedious, their universal importance should not be ignored.Investing in outsourced accounting solutions can help your business thrive. This is because in order to improve your approach to bookkeeping, your business will need to pay close attention to certain details provided by experts. In this article, we will discuss five of the most pressing accounting metrics for your business to pay attention to. We will also cover how focusing on these metrics can give your business the competitive edge you’ve been looking for. Current Ratio Using your business’ balance sheet—which provides a “snapshot” of your business at a specific point in time—you will be able to determine your assets, liabilities, and total equity (assets less liabilities). The debt to equity ratio is calculated by dividing your total liabilities by your total equity. Ideally, your business will have a greater level of equity than debt, though this is rarely the case for new businesses or businesses that are planning a major expansion. Still, by using the debt to equity ratio, you will be able to determine your general financial status and current level of profitability. This ratio will also be very useful when deciding whether applying for new debt can be financially justified. Tags:#customer retention#Debt#Inventory#Revenue#Turnover In order for your business to operate as efficiently as possible, developing productive inventory practices will be absolutely necessary. Good inventory practices will be even more important for businesses operating in the restaurant industry, where inventory will have a limited usable lifespan. In general, you should aim to keep your working inventory somewhat low while simultaneously making sure you avoid inventory shortages. By paying close attention to your inventory turnover, you will be able to decide which inventory practices are best (FIFO vs. LIFO), where capital can be used more efficiently, and which products have the highest levels of demand. Debt to Equity Ratio Inventory Turnover As any experienced business owner will surely agree, it is much easier to keep an existing customer than it is to go out and find a new one. Because of this, your business will want to retain each of your customers for as long as you possibly can. Looking at retention rates will help illustrate your customer’s level of satisfaction more accurately than customer surveys or other more traditional metrics (though these are still useful). If possible, you may also want to consider tracking the “lifetime value” of each of your prospective customers. With this information in hand, you will be able to develop a notably more precise marketing strategy. Trends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industry China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who … What Nobody Teaches You About Getting Your Star…last_img read more

Phenomenon called Shammi Kapoor refuses to die down

first_imgYears of hard struggle, patient perseverance and even hard-hitting brickbats created the “Shammi Kapoor phenomenon” which is remembered by his fans even after he bade adieu to the silver screen.Being son of Prithviraj Kapoor and brother of “showman” Raj Kapoor was not easy to carve a niche for Shammi.When he embarked upon his acting career, he had to live up to a lot of expectations.Shammi was aware that comparisons will be drawn because his brother was already an established superstar and an acclaimed filmmaker. He knew that if he needed to make a mark, he should be as different from his brother as possible.However, making his debut in 1953, Shammi’s initial film portrayed him as nothing more than a mere shadow of his brother Raj.Films like Rail Ka Dibba, Chor Bazaar, Shama Parvana, Hum Sab Chor Hain, Memsaheb and Miss Coca Cola had Shammi in a completely different get-up, especially his hairdo, his moustache, and even his on-screen antics resembled to those of Raj Kapoor to a considerable extent.It was only in 1957, with Nasir Hussain’s Tumsa Nahin Dekha, that the actor finally tasted success.He sported a new look sans whiskers on the lines of the contemporary Hollywood greats like Elvis Presley and James Dean; and a star was born.Shammi often discussed with his friends on how best to present himself, especially when his flicks bombed at the box office one after another.Bunny Ruben came up with the title rebel star, struggling to make a space against the reigning trio of Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar.advertisementTumsa Nahin Dekha was also Nasir Hussain’s directorial debut and its success prompted the Nasir-Shammi pair to follow up with several blockbusters.One of the main highlights of the film was its foot-tapping music, and boisterous, smooth and easy dancing style of Shammi that gained immense popularity and literally became his trademark over the years.Incidentally, Shammi was happily married to well known actress Geeta Bali even before he became a star. And his marriage didn’t affect his popularity even a bit.But unfortunately for him, Geeta Bali passed away too soon due to illness.In 1959, the Nasir-Shammi combination delivered yet another superhit, Dil Deke Dekho which was also the launching pad for Asha Parekh. Shammi never looked back ever since.He finally hit big time in 1961 with the all-time classic, one of his most popular films till date – Junglee – directed by Subodh Mukherjee.The film also attains significance for giving him the image of ‘The Yahoo Yuppie’. Junglee regarded as a ‘cult classic’ was incidentally one of the first romantic films to be made in colour.Shammi’s persona as a fun-loving, boisterous, romantic and rebellious hero worked very well and contributed to the success of many of his movies including China Town, Dil Tera Deewana and Professor.Aware of the kind of hysteria he generated among the youth, most of his films were hero-centric and youth-oriented.Filmmakers would cast new heroine opposite him to add freshness to the film. Some of the prominent ladies who made their debuts against Shammi later went on to become stars like Asha Parekh, Saira Banu and Sharmila Tagore.The Nasir-Shammi combination struck gold at the box-office with Teesri Manzil, one of the most unforgettable films of Shammi’s career.Shammi sashayed his way into young hearts aided by melodious, memorable music composed by RD Burman in the murder mystery directed by Vijay Anand.It was also one of Shammi’s biggest hits. Despite his increasing weight, An Evening In Paris, Brahmachari and Tumse Achha Kaun Hai did reasonably well.Salubrious music of these films had as much to contribute to their success. One of Shammi’s last films as a hero was Ramesh Sippy’s Andaz, where he was paired opposite Hema Malini.Despite his successes, critics of that time would dismiss his films as lightweight tales and criticise him for his acting. But he replied to criticism with sensitive performances in Brahmachari and highly charged Teesri Manzil.He donned the hat of a director, making Manoranjan in 1974, a film based on Irma La Douce. Two years later, he made Bandalbaaz. However, both the films didn’t do well at the box office.Shammi never really bid adieu to the big screen, appearing in films time and again giving an opportunity to the next generation of stars to share screen space with him. He starred with Shah Rukh Khan in Chamatkar (1992) and played Salman Khan’s grandfather in Janam Samjha Karo (1999).His latest onscreen stint was a cameo in grand nephew Ranbir Kapoor’s yet-to-be-released film Rockstar directed by Imtiaz Ali.advertisementHis love for the cyber world was well known. Shammi was the founder and chairman of Internet Users Community of India (IUCI). He also played a major role in setting up internet organizations like the Ethical Hackers Association and maintained a website dedicated to the Kapoor family.-With PTI inputslast_img read more