Around Whittier

first_imgPICO RIVERA — Delia Alvidrez, a longtime Pico Rivera resident and educator, has been appointed to replace Raul Salcido on the El Rancho Unified School District school board. Salcido, a 30-year school board member, died of a heart attack in August. Alvidrez, 65, will complete his term, which ends in November 2007. A former parent volunteer, she later became an instructional aide, then a teacher before becoming principal at South Ranchito Elementary School until her retirement. 4 California colleges rated good for Latinos AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 LOS ANGELES — UCLA and USC rank among the nation’s top MBA programs for Latinos, according to the September edition of Hispanic Trends magazine. The national magazine ranked the two schools among the “Top 25 MBA Programs for Hispanics” for 2005 for program quality, Latino student support programs and outreach to diverse communities. The magazine did not individually rank the top 25 programs. Stanford and San Diego State University also made the list. Senior fair offers health screenings, services CERRITOS Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Lakewood, will hold her annual senior fair from 9 a.m. to noon Monday at the Los Cerritos Center Mall, 239 S. Los Cerritos Center. There will be free health screenings and information on services provided. Sanchez will be there to speak to seniors. For more information, call (562) 429-8499. Sugar-skull events honor Day of the Dead PICO RIVERA In celebration of Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the Pico Rivera Centre for the Arts will hold two hands-on sugar skulls workshops from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 15 and 22 at the center, 9200 Mines Ave. The creation of sugar skulls is a traditional folk art from central and southern Mexico. Participants, who must be at least 8 years old, will make and decorate their own sugar skulls to take home or display at the center’s community altar. The fee is $15 per person. For more information, call (562) 801-4300. Senior Outreach to hold ice cream social WHITTIER An ice cream social will be held at 2 p.m. Friday in the Posada Whittier lunch room, 8120 S. Painter Ave. The event sponsor, Senior Outreach Network, will provide a presentation on the Scan Health Plan and the upcoming changes on Medicare Part D. For more information, call (562) 945-2651. Attorney to talk at community center WHITTIER — A family law attorney with the Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law will make a presentation at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Los Nietos Community and Senior Center, 11640 Slauson Ave. The presentation is aimed toward low-income residents who need legal assistance with child custody, restraining orders and child support. Walk-in appointments with the attorney will be available on a first-come, first-served basis after the presentation. You must have a photo ID card and proof of current address, such as an electricity or phone bill. For more information, call the Los Nietos center at (562) 699-9898. Seminar to address breast cancer topics LA MIRADA — The American Cancer Society sponsors a free seminar on breast cancer and breast cancer prevention at 10 a.m. Thursday at the La Mirada Activity Center, 13810 La Mirada Blvd. The presentation will cover topics such as risk factors and risk reduction, warning signs and guidelines for early detection. For more information, call (562) 902-3160. — From Staff Reports160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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

New global plan to fight TB

first_imgThe new global TB plan was launched in Pholoshong Primary School in Alexandra. (Image: Bongani Nkosi) The fight against TB has been re-energised in South Africa and around the world with a new campaign launched recently in Johannesburg.International leaders of the Stop TB Partnership launched the “Global Plan to Stop TB 2011-2015” in Alexandra, the densely populated township in the north of Johannesburg, on 13 October 2010.Although there is an existing global TB plan in place, launched in 2006 and due to expire in 2015, the most recent campaign is meant to add new vigour to it, focusing on “setting new and more ambitious treatment targets for the next five years”.The new drive is about “putting a platform in place” for the facilitation of global efforts meant to eradicate TB, said Stop TB Partnership executive director Rifat Atun.The partnership is hoping to raise US$46.7-billion (R316-billion) for various global TB-fighting initiatives between 2011 and 2015.Although billions of US dollars have already been raised, more money is needed to treat the 30-million TB patients across the world, Atun said.According to the partnership, 10-million people in the world run the risk of dying from TB in the next five years. This includes 4-million women and children. “We need to stop these unnecessary deaths,” he said.“This plan will take us further towards universal access” of TB care, Atun said. “TB is curable – it’s unacceptable that it still remains a worldwide scourge.”It takes six months or slightly more to cure TB if a patient completes his or her treatment – a point the South African health department has been emphasising to its patients.The plan “will impact everyone in the world”, said the partnership’s Judith Mandelbaum-Schmid.The funds raised by the initiative will go towards beefing up TB care and vaccine research.There is still no vaccine that prevents pulmonary TB, which is the most common form of the disease, according to the partnership. But “if we execute this plan, we’ll be able to produce at least four vaccines”, Atun said.Many countries still rely on the outdated diagnostic method of testing human sputum for bacteria. Part of the plan is that new, hi-tech methods will be investigated over the next five years.Private and public sector investments will be critical for the plan’s success.Business involvementCorporates have been urged to invest in the plan. John Tedstrom, the president of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/Aids, gave assurance that international groups such as Chevrolet will be involved in new investments for vaccine research.“Business will be part of the solution,” said Tedstrom. “The re-launch of this plan is something that’s desperately needed.”UN agencies offer back-upUN health agencies, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNAids, firmly support the new strategy. Their senior officers attended the launch in Alexandra, where they publicly endorsed it.UNAids’ deputy director Paul De Lay said the agency “stands strongly behind the plan”. “We’ll do everything in our power to ensure that this plan is implemented.”Because HIV weakens the immune system, affected individuals are most susceptible to TB, which attacks as an opportunistic disease. De Lay decried the “terrible link” between TB and HIV/Aids at the launch.The new plan has been endorsed by various international role-players, said WHO’s Dr Mario Raviglione. “It is telling the world what needs to be done and how much money is needed to stop TB.“WHO is fully committed to supporting this plan,” said Raviglione.For those living with TB and HIV this “global plan means hope”, said Carol Nawina Nyirenda, who represents affected communities throughout Africa.SA ideal for launchAlthough South Africa has one of the highest TB rates in the world, the country is making progress in eliminating the disease, said Qedani Mahlangu, MEC of Health and Social Development in Gauteng.In the last year Gauteng, the country’s smallest yet most populated province, has achieved an 82% TB cure rate among patients on treatment.The national HIV Counselling and Testing policy, introduced by the government in April, integrates testing for both HIV and TB, and for diseases such as diabetes. The Gauteng provincial government reported that by July this year more than 300 000 people had been tested.“We’re delighted to have the global plan launched in South Africa … especially in Alexandra,” Mahlangu said.“TB is a global problem and it requires a global solution,” Atun said.last_img read more

Revival of the outdated airfields in Bihar

first_imgGoats and buffaloes routinely patrol the Bhagalpur airport runwayThe popular perception of Bihar is of a state where snails move faster than trains and a 100 metre of bitumened roads without potholes is considered an expressway. But the state’s transportation industry can take heart if recent “discoveries” are anything to,Goats and buffaloes routinely patrol the Bhagalpur airport runwayThe popular perception of Bihar is of a state where snails move faster than trains and a 100 metre of bitumened roads without potholes is considered an expressway. But the state’s transportation industry can take heart if recent “discoveries” are anything to go by. The state Government recently “stumbled” upon 21 airfields, most of them over half-a-century-old that now lie abandoned. Some of these were built during World War II and the Chinese aggression of 1962. The euphoria created by this “discovery” is unmatched and has prompted both Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Modi to say that these have sparked off hopes for the state’s economic revival.The Government is so excited that it asked the officials to draw up plans to revive these airfields and link them to Patna and metros like Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi. It also wants to introduce an air taxi network to connect the Buddhist circuits of Patna, Rajgir, Bodhgaya, Vaishali (Hajipur), Sarnath (Varanasi) and Kushinagar. The Government has plans to use the airfield to review and monitor development activities too. Of the 21 airfields, three are under the control of the Indian Air Force, five have kachcha runways, nine have been classified as “abandoned”, while the rest, though have metalled runways, are without any navigational, meteorological or technical support. Most airfields have no boundary walls, which means that incoming aircraft-as and when that happens-will have to avoid the ubiquitous cows and buffaloes. But Captain Deepak Kumar Singh, joint director, Bihar Civil Aviation Department, says the Government has agreed to convert all kachcha runways into metalled ones and fence the airstrips.advertisementLalu built a helipad and sports complexNot long ago, the then Union Minister for Civial Aviation, Syed Shahnawaz Hussain had helped develop the airport at Bodhgaya into an international one. The airport, which now attracts lakhs of Buddhists annually, is bigger than the one in Patna and is directly linked with Sri Lanka, Singapore and Thailand. Other air fields at Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur and Begusarai continue to rot though Hussain is using his rapport with the current Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel to transform the Bhagalpur strip into an airport capable of handling 70-seater ATR. Situated midway between Kolkata and Patna, it makes sense to develop the airport, which could then be linked with other smaller airfields in the region. Besides, Hussain wants to create a “Silk Route” to connect Bhagalpur (famous for silk) with Varanasi and Delhi.Chief Minister Nitish Kumar feels many airports died an unnatural death due to sheer neglect. Samastipur is just one of them. Surrounded by a number of buildings, the airport has a 3,000-feet runway and was built in 1983. Since then, the airfield is mostly used during elections, when politicians descend from the skies in their choppers. According to Building Construction Department’s Assistant Engineer R.P. Singh, the runway has been reduced to a couple of helipads. This is in contrast to the one at Chhapra, which has a 3,000-ft long metalled runway. Not surprising since the MP who represents the constituency is Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. But like most other airfields in the state, it springs to life only on the odd VVIP visit or during elections.Nitish Kumar,CMDuring the decade-and-half long Lalu-Rabri regime, some of the airports used to witness sporadic takeoffs and landings, thanks to their propensity to hop on to state government planes and helicopters on “social justice” tours. Two helicopters (Lalu called them Uran-khatola, meaning flying cots) belonging to Pawan Hans were kept on 24×7 duty for Lalu. The state Government has three small airplanes, two of them beechcrafts. One was purchased when the state saw a fairly long spell of Governor’s rule. Only when a popular government came to power did the state realise the enormity of the scandal involved in the plane’s purchase. The comptroller and auditor general in his report pointed out: “The Government failed to realise value for money as it purchased a phased-out model of aircraft at the cost of Rs 13.23 crore without inviting competitive bids when a substantially upgraded model of the same was available at a marginally higher cost”.The Nitish Kumar Government, however, chose to ignore the report. Besides, by the standards of scams in Bihar, Rs 13.23 crore seemed like a pittance. As politicians cutting across party lines grouped together to push the scandal under the carpet, the state Government has vowed to develop neglected airfields in the belief that this will turn around Bihar’s commercial and development fortunes. Welcome Aboard.advertisementlast_img read more

Beauty pick: Try pink lipstick this fall Hollywood style

first_imgGet pumped up to wear shades of pink for the fall season as Hollywood celebrities like Emma Stone and Jamie Chung have been proudly flaunting pink pouts.Here’s a list of celebrities who wore rose lip colours best at different events, reports huffingtonpost.com:Emma StoneThe “Birdman” actress looked stunning with a fresh bob haircut, which frames her round face perfectly. Eggplant eyeshadow, black mascara and magenta-coloured lip balm.Emma Stone flaunts a neonish hot pink color but you can really play with the intensityJamie ChungShe sported her signature centre-parted and sleek ponytail, with subtle shimmery eye make-up, winged eyeliner and creamy pink pout.Jamie Chung’s lipstick can be worn as a tint as well as a full blown colorLea MicheleMichele applied enough bronzer, mascara and mauve lip gloss to accentuate her luminous skin.Matte finish lipsticks are always a welcome and so is a pink matte lipstick as seen on Lea MicheleMoran AtiasShe looked glamorous in loose curls, bronze eyeshadow and rose lips.Moran Atias shows off a red based pink on her lips that has warm undertoneslast_img read more