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Human Genome Project: A “Worthwhile Failure”


first_imgThe Human Genome Project (HGP) was filled with promise.  Walter Gilbert claimed in 1992 that it would bring about “a change in our philosophical understanding of ourselves… one will be able to pull a CD out of one’s pocket and say, ‘Here’s a human being; it’s me!’”  Why does philosopher-biologist Sahotra Sarkar consider that prospect laughable?    Michael A. Goldman (Dept. of Biology, San Francisco State) reviewed a book by Sarkar in Science,1 Molecular Models of Life: Philosophical Papers on Molecular Biology (MIT Press, 2005).  Goldman considers Sarkar (U of Texas, Austin), who holds dual appointments in philosophy and integrative biology, “a key thinker in the philosophy of molecular biology”:One of his contentions is that the concept of information flow in biology is problematic.  Sarkar repeatedly mentions the incompleteness or inadequacy of the central dogma of molecular biology.  Although the idea of a genome as a program that spontaneously unfolds to produce a living organism is clearly too simplistic, that hardly renders the notion of information flow without value.  A computer program, too, is totally dependent on its physical context in hardware and an operating system that can interpret it; its output is only as predictable as its input and can be rendered seemingly unpredictable by a temporary power surge or a scratch across a magnetic disk.  We can recognize different inputs–including chance, environmental influences, and developmental context (e.g., maternal cytoplasmic effects)–in the interpretation of the genetic program, and we can even accept that some lines of that program (introns, intergenic regions) are of unknown function, without forgetting the program’s key role in development. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Here is where Goldman touches on Sarkar’s attitude about the Human Genome Project:Perhaps because of his bleak outlook on the nature of information flow, Sarkar considers the Human Genome Project somewhat of a worthwhile failure.  He notes how controversial the idea was even among geneticists and how tenuous the prospects for a full understanding of human biology and an incredible ability to cure diseases were.  In retrospect, the project’s early proponents may be forgiven their exaggerated promises.  Few geneticists have ever proclaimed that day-to-day human behavior could be explained simply by gene interactions, and many have argued against attempts to connect behavioral traits and genetics.  Nor, as Sarkar points out, did we imagine that there were so few genes, such a complex relation between genes and the protein forms they encode, and so much genetic material of unknown function.  Nonetheless, we must understand that we can gain valuable insights from reading the human genome in all its variety.Goldman found the book too incohesive to recommend it, except for the last chapter.  That’s where Sarkar surveyed the history of positivism about understanding human biology and behavior in a reductionist sense.  That’s also where he reacted to Gilbert’ prospect of holding “me on a CD” –“Today the claim seems laughable.  None of the promises of Gilbert’s radical genetic reductionism has been borne out.  Proponents of the HGP promised enormous immediate medical benefits.  Arguably, at least, there have not been any.  Gilbert routinely promised the birth of a new theoretical biology.  Instead, the emphasis now is on informatics….”  On the upside, Sarkar notes that at “the very least, the HGP has killed the facile genetic reductionism of the heyday of developmental genetics.”  His dim view contrasts sharply with Robert Sinsheimer’s recent proclamation that the project “succeeded even beyond our hopes.”That chapter, Goldman feels, is “an ideal capstone reading for my senior undergraduates and graduate students.”1Michael A. Goldman, “Philosophy of Science: Genomic Meanings,” Science, 18 November 2005: Vol. 310. no. 5751, p. 1121, DOI: 10.1126/science.1120191.So two millennia of debate about reductionism and determinism have come to this.  If human biology cannot be reduced to terms of its basic physical components, but rather must be understood as information flow comparable to a computer program, and if that program can only be understood in its context of the hardware and operating system needed to interpret it, well then – it seems like stock in the intelligent design movement is about to skyrocket.  Obtain your intellectual shares now.(Visited 89 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more


Strategies for Building Parent-Child Relationships During Deployment


first_imgUSS John C. Stennis homecoming by DVIDSHUB CC by 2.0On Nov. 3, the Family Development Early Intervention team held a webinar in which we discussed how professionals could work with families to promote parent-child interactions. A recording of that webinar can be found here. During the webinar, questions arose regarding how a professional might help strengthen the parent-child relationship when that parent is deployed. Here are a few strategies to consider:Build A Stuffed Animal That Talks!When my husband was preparing to deploy when our daughter was four, he recorded a message for her on a device that we tucked inside a teddy bear she made. This was something she treasured throughout that deployment and even still today, seven years later! There are commercial stores where one can buy the recorders and even make the teddy bears. However, the supplies also can be purchased through online retailers.Use Instant Technology!During my husband’s most recent absence we used technology that allowed me to quickly send him pictures and videos of our children. He was able to access these items in almost real time. The kids loved hearing me read back their dad’s responses to whatever funny thing they had just done.Child Directed Videos!If children are old enough, give them access to your phone or digital recording device and allow them to create a video diary for their deployed parent. Some older children can be savvy enough to produce really impressive videos!Read Together!Make use of the program United Through Reading (UTR), through which service members can create a video of themselves reading a book for their child. Find out how UTR works and how to participate today!Make Use of the Moon and Stars!For young children it can be hard to understand how far away their parent is during a deployment. Some children may feel like they are worlds or planets away! With my children, they always felt very connected to their dad when they would focus on the moon or the stars at night. When one of them was having a particularly sad night and really missing him, we would look out the window or even go outside and stare at the sky. We would talk about how bright a star looked or the shape of the moon and I would remind them that their dad was looking at the same stars and moon. It helped to shrink that distance for them and they felt more connected to him even though they couldn’t see or touch him.Celebrate!When possible celebrate holiday or birthday moments together with the deployed parent ‘present’ via online videos. Sometimes this can be done live, but at other times deployed parents can record themselves singing happy birthday to their children. ‘Snail mail’ also will do the trick in helping children connect with their deployed parents. My children really enjoyed receiving gifts and cards from their dad when he was gone. Some years he asked me to buy the kids something very specific and give it to them for Christmas — just from him. I would make a very big deal out of that gift being specifically from their dad. The kids never knew (nor asked) if I had bought it or if he had sent it but they treasured whatever it was because it was from him.This is not an exhaustive list, but rather a few simple ways you can encourage your families to remain connected despite geographical separations. What other ideas do you have? What have you recommended or seen? What has worked? What hasn’t worked? We’d love to hear from you in the comments box below!This post was edited by Robyn DiPietro-Wells & Michaelene Ostrosky, PhD, members of the MFLN FD Early Intervention team, which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, and YouTube.last_img read more


Police find owner of Pepsi machine abandoned in New Brunswick potato field


first_imgST. LEONARD, N.B. – Police say they’ve found the owner of a wayward Pepsi machine discovered in a New Brunswick potato field.The vending machine was one of two found abandoned in a field southwest of Grand Falls, N.B., on Sept. 29 by workers clearing a potato field.One vending machine was traced to a local Walmart, but the serial number on the Pepsi machine didn’t match reports of any stolen machines, said RCMP Const. Daniel Levesque of Saint-Leonard, N.B.After their investigation went nowhere, police issued a press release on Wednesday with a photo of an apparently intact machine lying on its back and asked for the public’s help.“In this case, we had a couple vending machines stolen here and there throughout the region, but none of their serial codes was matching the one that we had over here, so we figured the press release would be one last effort to try and find its owner, because nothing was working,” Levesque said.Within four hours, a Pepsi representative had contacted them and helped RCMP track down its owner — the same Walmart in Grand Falls.Levesque said the file — and the Pepsi machine — have now been turned over to local police.He said the machines had been stripped of all contents and money. Both no longer work.“They must have been there for a little bit, because they were damaged by the weather,” he said.last_img read more


Former Esgenoopetitj chief arrested over alleged sex crimes


first_img(Wilbur Dedam. Government of New Brunswick photo)By Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsThe former chief of Esgenoopetitj was arrested by New Brunswick RCMP officers Wednesday on allegations of committing sex crimes dating back to 1977, APTN National News has learned.Wilbur Dedam, 56, was driving back from a trip to the Miramichi, NB, when he was pulled over by an RCMP cruiser before he reached the boundary of his reserve. An eye-witness said he was handcuffed and put into the back of the RCMP cruiser.Dedam is scheduled to appear in Miramichi provincial court Thursday.The RCMP said in a press statement that officers arrested a 56 year-old man from the community on sex crime allegations. The statement said the crimes dated from 1977 to 1996 and that three alleged victims had stepped forward. The RCMP would not confirm the identity of the individual.The investigation began in March.Dedam was running for a councillor spot on the band council at the time of his arrest.He was at the end of a two year ban preventing him from running for council imposed by former Aboriginal affairs minister John Duncan in 2011.The ban was triggered by an investigation into allegations of corrupt practices by Dedam and other councillors around elections.jbarrera@aptn.ca@JorgeBarreralast_img read more


Karnataka CM meets Modi seeks early release of Rs 2064 cr drought


first_imgNew Delhi: Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy Saturday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought early release of Rs 2,064.30 crore funds to provide relief to drought-hit farmers in the ongoing rabi season, an official statement said. Kumaraswamy informed Modi that the state faced drought situation during this year’s kharif season as well but the financial assistance sanctioned by the central government was inadequate. In addition to floods, Karnataka reeled under severe drought both during kharif (summer) and rabi (winter) seasons of the 2018-19 crop year (July-June). “Consecutive droughts, flood has brought farmers under distress and it is the time to rush to their aid,” Kumaraswamy told the Prime Minister. He requested Modi to expedite the process to release Rs 2,064.30 crore for drought relief and mitigation, the statement said. The state government has submitted a memorandum seeking Rs 2,064.30 crore drought relief fund for the ongoing rabi season as crop loss is estimated to be Rs 11,384.7 crore. The state has declared drought in 156 out of 176 talukas. In the meeting, Kumaraswamy apprised the Prime Minister about the pro-active steps taken to mitigate the drought impact on farmers. The state has released Rs 386 crore from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and given priority to ensure drinking water and fodder, besides creating 1.19 crore man-days jobs under the MGNREGA scheme, he added. The state government has advanced Rs 1,351 crore towards payment of pending wage and material bills in anticipation of release of central funds, Kumaraswamy said and requested for early release of funds to make further wage payments. The chief minister further said the central relief funds released to the state for drought faced during kharif season this year was not sufficient. The Centre sanctioned Rs 949.49 crore against the state government’s demand of Rs 2,434 crore as drought relief for the kharif season, which is less than 50 per cent of the input subsidy claim by the state, he noted. The crop loss during the khariff and rabi seasons together is estimated to be Rs 32,335 crore, he added.last_img read more


Gronk Was The Most Efficient Receiver Weve Seen


2Julio JonesWR1,09510,7319.8 6Michael IrvinWR9608,9369.3 7Jordy NelsonWR9248,5879.3 1Rob GronkowskiTE7947,8619.9 9Doug BaldwinWR7226,5639.1 3Malcom FloydWR5705,5509.7 8T.Y. HiltonWR8788,0979.2 Among players with at least 500 career targetsSource: Pro-Football-Reference.com 4DeSean JacksonWR1,05710,2619.7 It was the Instagram post that shook the NFL. New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski took to the social-media platform Sunday night to announce what had been speculated for the better part of two years: He was retiring from football at age 29, leaving the Pats less than two months after New England won Super Bowl LIII. Despite his relatively short career, Gronk seems like an ironclad lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame based on his three championships and many spike-worthy touchdowns. And there’s plenty of evidence that the traditional markers of tight end production undersell Gronkowski’s success. When healthy, Gronk was one of the most efficient offensive weapons in NFL history, notable as much for the nightmares he caused defenses as for the short amount of time his star shone (or his party-loving ways off the field).Not that Gronkowski’s conventional stats are anything to scoff at. He was named to the Pro Bowl in five of the seven seasons in which he played more than half of the Patriots’ games and was the first-team All-Pro tight end in four of those years. In the 2010s, no tight end had more receiving yards, and no receiver of any kind scored more receiving touchdowns. Only two tight ends in history — Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez — have more regular-season career TD catches, and Gronkowski caught 12 more in the postseason, which ties him with John Stallworth for the second-most playoff TDs among all players behind Jerry Rice.On a per-16-game basis, the average Gronk campaign would consist of 72 catches, 1,094 yards and 11 touchdowns — numbers that would rank among the top 25 tight end seasons in history. And Gronkowski sustained that pace for nine seasons.Those numbers are only scratching the surface in terms of how valuable Gronk was to Tom Brady and the Patriots over the years. On a per-target basis, Gronkowksi picked up 9.9 yards — basically an entire first down every time the ball was thrown in his direction — according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. Since 1992 (the first season for target data on PFR), that’s the best of any receiver — wideout or tight end — in the NFL. 5Brandin CooksWR5465,1479.4 Good things happened when you throw to GronkMost career yards per target for NFL players, 1992-2018 10Travis KelceTE5795,2369.0 PlayerPositionTargetsYardsyards per target Remember longtime Vikings WR Cris Carter’s old reputation — “all he does is catch touchdowns”? For Gronkowski, that was closer to being true than for any player of his generation — and it was a very good thing for the Patriots. With 521 career receptions and 79 career touchdown grabs, Gronk hauled in a TD once every 6.6 catches. Only eight players in NFL history with a minimum of 400 lifetime receptions — Don Hutson, Paul Warfield, Tommy McDonald, Art Powell, Jimmy Orr, Wesley Walker, Randy Moss and Lance Alworth — caught touchdowns as a greater share of their total catches than Gronkowski did.With those rates of great things happening whenever he was involved in the play, it’s easy to make a case that Gronkowski was the most efficient receiver (of any type) in NFL history. What’s more, Gronkowski consistently made his teammates more efficient, too.When our colleague Kyle Wagner looked at Gronk’s impact during the 2017-18 playoffs, he found that Brady’s passing efficiency numbers were significantly higher when his favorite tight end was on the field than not, one of the big ways Gronkowski has been a secret weapon for the Pats during the latter phase of their record-smashing dynasty. Since Gronk’s debut in 2010, Brady’s passer rating when targeting Gronkowski is 124.7, but it was just 96.8 when throwing to any other receiver. Even when it came to the greatest quarterback of all time, Gronkowski found a way to make him look much better.And then there was Gronkowski’s effect as a blocker. He frequently graded out as the best blocking tight end in the game, according to ProFootballFocus.com’s ratings. This aspect of his game made Gronk an asset whether the play call was a pass or run — keeping the Patriots from having to sub him in and out depending on the situation, or having his presence tip the Pats’ hand on which type of play was coming. No matter what Gronkowski was asked to do, he generated a mismatch with the defense.(All of this is to say nothing of the fun-loving image Gronkowski cultivated both on and off the field. We’ll leave others to judge his extracurricular activities, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t reference this great description of Gronkowski’s playing style from The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay: He was “six-foot-6, 265 pounds, galloping straight at you in the open field like a pony who just broke loose at a children’s birthday party.”)Gronkowski was still a valuable player in 2018, but there’s no denying that he was a shell of his old self. According to ProFootballFocus, he was ranked 11th best overall at the position. But as he showed in the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory this year, Gronkowski could still be a game-changing player. His 29-yard reception in the fourth quarter set New England up on the goal line, leading to the game’s only touchdown. While Gronkowksi’s impact as a blocker generated great fanfare during the regular season and in the playoffs, he also was the team’s primary downfield weapon after Josh Gordon exited New England, averaging 16.4 air yards per reception, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group. That was more than 50 percent greater than Brady’s overall mark per attempt during the same span.Few Hall of Famers have ever retired before their age-30 season,1In the parlance of Pro-Football-Reference, which calculates its seasonal ages based on the player’s age as of Dec. 31 during the year in question. but Gronkowski is destined to join a group that also includes Jim Brown, Terrell Davis, Kenny Easley and Gale Sayers (among modern2Retiring since 1960. players). Though his time in the NFL was relatively short, Gronk made his mark on the league as a receiver, blocker and all-around offensive terror. The game — and its greatest quarterback — will miss him dearly next season. read more


College coaches crossing the line


Ohio State football players don’t know just how nice they have it.Not only do they enjoy incredible practice and workout facilities, a tradition-rich program and prominent national exposure on a weekly basis, but they don’t even get locked in a shed, verbally humiliated or punched in the face when they screw up.That’s a perk worth more than all the training tables, stipends and bowl gifts put together.In a college football environment that has seen Mark Mangino of Kansas fired for physically and verbally abusing his players (allegedly), Texas Tech’s Mike Leach canned for locking receiver Adam James in a darkened tool shed (allegedly) and the dismissal of South Florida’s Jim Leavitt for grabbing a player by the throat and striking him (allegedly) for a miscue on special teams, these Buckeyes should be counting their lucky stars to have a coach like Jim Tressel.Just ask Ray Small.If anyone on this past season’s OSU team could have benefited from a good lock-down or face smacking, it was him. If Tressel’s policy on missed classes, bobbled punts and smoking weed (allegedly) included such humiliations, Small would have looked like Rocky Balboa after 12 rounds with Clubber Lang.My prediction for Small’s career had he played for coaches Mangino or Leavitt?Pain.Probably a better case for comparison would be freshman Duron Carter’s treatment. His case is a little more salient because, like Adam James, he is the son of a former pro football player who now has the national platform provided by being a television football analyst.In light of his academic failures (allegedly), Carter was merely suspended by Tressel before the Rose Bowl rather than locked away in a janitor’s closet at the RPAC.Tressel has had his fair share of malcontents and miscreants to deal with. Early in his career at OSU, Tressel was forced to decide the fate of senior quarterback Steve Bellisari for driving under the influence. The following season, Louis Irizarry and Ira Guilford were arrested for attempted robbery.Each time, Tressel had a hard decision to make. In Bellisari’s case, it meant benching his starting quarterback for the game against arch-rival Michigan. For Irizarry and Guilford, he had to make the difficult choice to sever their ties with the program. For a man of coach Tressel’s integrity and compassion, that was certainly a difficult decision to make.To be fair, OSU is not unfamiliar to the tactics of a harsh disciplinarian. Some of our campus roads and buildings are named after one of the most aggressive coaches ever to stalk the sidelines of a college football game: Woody Hayes.Just ask Charlie Bauman. He was the Clemson nose guard who had the audacity to intercept a pass in the Gator Bowl and was then on the receiving end of a throat punch delivered by Hayes on the sideline.At that point, OSU officials’ hands were tied and they had no other choice then to let the venerable Hayes go. Just as the athletic directors at Kansas, Texas Tech and South Florida had no choice.Gone are the days of mothers and fathers sending their sons off to task-masters such as Hayes or former Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight to be forged into men in a crucible of fire.In their place are parents like Ken Small and Craig James who are laboring under the illusion that just because their sons lit up the scoreboards for their respective high schools they are somehow entitled to being handled with kid gloves on the collegiate level.Given this level of coddling, once these student-athletes are outside of their insulated, athletic bubbles, they can hardly be blamed for thinking that the world revolves around them.Tressel can’t save every soul that comes under his tutelage. Some are beyond redemption before they ever set foot on campus (See: Maurice Clarett). But his track record is better than most, and for that, Buckeye fans should be proud.So three of the more brutish coaches in the ranks of college football are looking for work and the athletes left behind know that they are the ones holding the trump cards if their new coaches tick them off.Allegedly. read more


No such thing as a bad point for Columbus Blue Jackets


There’s no time to waste in the current NHL season – the Columbus Blue Jackets just need points. So far, they’re getting the job done. The Detroit Red Wings crashed the Blue Jackets’ Monday home opener by tying the game at three with 6:04 remaining in regulation before winning in a shootout, 4-3. The night wasn’t a total loss, though – players in the Columbus locker room found consolation in gaining a point by virtue of forcing overtime against the visitors. That valuable point in the standings gave the Blue Jackets three points through two games (the first two came in Saturday’s season-opening 4-3 shootout win at Nashville). It took the 2011-12 Blue Jackets nine games to make three points and claim their first win. So, while it’s true that the Blue Jackets were a mere 6:04 away from only the second 2-0 start to a season in franchise history, the team is taking a glass-half-full approach to the situation. “For us, (Monday’s game is) still a good point,” Blue Jackets wing Vinny Prospal said after the game. “I think, before the season, if anybody told us we’d have three points after the first two games, we would take it.” Prospal scored his first goal of the season – the would-have-been game winner – with 11:17 to play in the third period to put Columbus up, 3-2. Red Wings veteran center Pavel Datsyuk erased that lead when he jammed the game-tying goal past Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky from close range. After a scoreless overtime period, Detroit center Damien Brunner scored the only goal of the shootout to win the game. A single point isn’t to be taken lightly in the current lockout-shortened, 48-game season. Fewer games mean fewer chances to climb in the standings and a significantly narrowed margin for error when compared to the ample opportunities teams have to improve during the typical 82-game seasons. Another product of the condensed schedule is quick turnarounds – Columbus will play its third game in five days Wednesday against the Phoenix Coyotes. If there was any lingering frustration about letting a win against Detroit slip away, Blue Jackets’ defenseman Jack Johnson compelled his teammates to quickly move beyond it. “You have to let it go,” Johnson said. “We have to get ready for Wednesday … win or lose, you have to put it behind you and get ready for the next one.” A win against the Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz., would give the Blue Jackets five points – it took last year’s team 12 games to reach that plateau, and they were already fading from the playoff picture, having posted a 2-9-1 record during that span. So long as the team doesn’t fade into playoff oblivion again, when and how the points come probably isn’t of much consequence to the Columbus players. The goal, Johnson said, is to simply accumulate points every time out and stay in the hunt. “We’re trying to find a way to get a point in every single game,” Johnson said. “Because every point is so precious with only 48 games.” John Davidson, president of hockey operations for Columbus, agreed. “There’s no such thing as a bad point,” Davidson said. “Not this year.” The Blue Jackets’ Wednesday game at Phoenix is scheduled for an 10 p.m. start. read more


You have to take calculated risks Jean Michael Seri


first_imgThe Ivory Coast and Fulham midfielder is playing for the first time in the English Premier League and he believes he can do wellIvorian midfielder Jean Michael Seri started his professional career in 2010 with ASEC Mimosas.He was loaned in 2012 to Porto B, where he showcased his talents to the Portuguese football fans.That’s why Paços de Ferreira acquired his services in 2013, but he was then transferred to French Ligue 1 side Nice in 2015.After all these moves, he came to the English Premier League in the summer for the first time, and now he’s defending Fulham’s colors.Roberto Firmino, LiverpoolVirgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.“You have to give things a go and take calculated risks: not things that put your team in danger but passes forward to surprise your opponents,” he told The Guardian.“Otherwise you are just a water carrier. It’s not always about a simple pass. Sometimes it’s about being daring. Since I’ve been young, I’ve always had that desire, to look forward and test myself. It is an attitude.”“People talk about the Premier League and its intensity, it’s physicality,” Seri adds.“If you’re not ready, you’ll fail. It’s a championship which demands effort and sacrifices in your everyday life, so you cannot let standards slip. Each training session is like a match. Survival is our objective, to stay in the Premier League where players grow and improve.”last_img read more