Georgia to Teach Evolution, but Avoid the E Word

first_imgIt’s not “evolution,” it’s “biological changes over time,”  asserts Georgia Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox.  But sometimes good intentions can make both sides of a dispute upset, reports MSNBC News.  Pro-evolutionists think the state is trying to water down the teaching of evolution, and anti-evolutionists think changing the word does not change the meaning.  Cox explained that the suggestion does not alter textbooks or forbid teachers from using the E word.    No one seems to like the idea, however.  Former President Jimmy Carter was incensed: “As a Christian, a trained engineer and scientist, and a professor at Emory University, I am embarrassed by Superintendent Kathy Cox’s attempt to censor and distort the education of Georgia’s students.”  A Democratic Congressman thought the move was throwing a bone to the conservatives, but a Republican reacted negatively for different reasons: “It’s stupid.  It’s like teaching gravity without using the word gravity.”  The suggestion appeared in a draft of a revised science curriculum, to be debated in public hearings and voted on by the Georgia school board in May.In the cartoon strip Hagar the Horrible, the Viking marauder once warned his shipboard cook, the milktoast born loser Lucky Eddie, that the crew was so sick of fish balls for breakfast, lunch and dinner, that if he didn’t come up with a new recipe he would be tossed overboard.  Later, with a look of triumph, he lifted the cover on his latest concoction.  “What’s that?” the curious crew members inquired disdainfully.  Lucky Eddie proudly announced, “fish cubes!”  (Last frame deleted due to violence.)    The problem with evolution is not the E word itself.  It’s the content associated with the word.  When Darwin wrote The Origin of Species, the word evolution was not even in vogue; most called it “transformism” or common descent.  The issue is, do we want students to be taught a philosophy (naturalism) as science?  Do we want them hearing one side of a very controversial idea, that humans evolved from bacteria, an idea not only lacking proof but contrary to the best established scientific laws?  Then teach the controversy about the concept of evolution rather than try to remove controversy through euphemism and appeasement.    The only thing dumber in this story than Cox’s proposal is President Carter’s reaction to it.  If he really were embarrassed by the censorship and distortion going on in Georgia public schools, he would advocate the overthrow of the Darwin Party’s totalitarian regime that forbids debate over evolution.  And if he were a true Christian or scientist or both, he would be incensed at science falsely so called.(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Powering towards a green economy

first_img11 October 2010South Africa plans to build a massive US$21.8-billion, 5 000 MW solar park in its semi-desert Northern Cape province as part of an aggressive push to grow its highly industrialised economy and reduce poverty without increasing its carbon footprint.Depending on investor interest, construction could begin as early as 2012. With the help of a World Bank loan, Eskom, South Africa’s primary energy utility, is already developing a 100 MW concentrated solar power plant, estimated to cost about $1-billion, in the same region. And a smaller-scale solar installation is on the cards for Robben Island, the place Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for many years. Cleaner coal, alternative sources South Africa’s strategy is to make cleaner, more efficient use of the country’s abundant, low-cost coal reserves in the near term while at the same time expanding the use of low-emission energy technologies and renewables.This strategy will be in the global spotlight in 2011, when South Africa hosts the 17th annual UN Framework Convention on Climate Change conference. New global emission targets are also likely to be discussed at the gathering.This year, the World Bank granted Eskom a $3.75-billion loan both to help build the country’s biggest coal-fired plant, Medupi, and to finance renewable energy projects such as the solar power plant as well as wind farms. With the help of the loan, Medupi will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology to produce more power with less coal. ‘Green’ tariffs Private sector investment in other renewable energy plants is also encouraged through generous feed-in tariffs, which were approved by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa in late 2009 and rate among the most attractive worldwide.According to Stefan Gsanger of the World Wind Energy Association, South Africa is the first country in Africa to introduce a feed-in tariff for wind energy.“Many small and big investors will now be able to contribute,” he says. “This will help South African communities to invest in wind farms and generate electricity, new jobs and new income.” ‘Green’ buildings, vehicle emissions tax Another renewable energy scheme is Eskom’s solar water-heating programme, in which consumers who replace electric geysers with solar-powered ones are given a substantial rebate. The government has also launched a massive drive to install low-energy lighting in thousands of buildings it owns, which will save some $845-million in electricity costs every year.The state-owned Central Energy Fund’s newly built headquarters are emblematic of new energy priorities. The four-storey building has sensors which switch lights off when no-one is in a room and dim them when there is enough daylight. A magnetic motor-operated lift uses 80% less electricity than a hydraulic one. Two 250 000 gallon solar heaters provide hot water.In September, the government introduced an emissions tax on new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. South Africa is the first country in the world to include the latter in such a regime, which aims to encourage individuals and businesses to buy smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.The government also plans to develop a massive crude-oil refinery to produce quality petrol and diesel to international standards by 2015. Nuclear technology Nuclear technology will also be added to the mix, as a key way of “generating enough electricity in a responsible and sustainable fashion to support higher economic growth levels”, the Department of Energy says.Five to six new nuclear stations will be built over the next few decades, fuelled by South Africa’s uranium reserves. Announcing the ambitious plan at a recent power summit, Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters said a series of nuclear plants would be more cost-effective than a single large one.The plants would be placed near points of demand, reducing reliance on comparatively inefficient cross-country power lines that transmit electricity from distant coal fields.This article first appeared in South Africa Now, a six-page supplement to the Washington Post produced on behalf of Brand South Africa. Download South Africa Now (PDF, 2.12 MB).last_img read more

Chef cooks up a way out of trouble

first_imgKelvin Joel (far right) and his group of student chefs at the food garden at the Westbury Youth Center. (Image: Johannesburg Culinary and Pastry School) There is nothing like someone who has done wrong and then turns his life around and does something right to make sure future generations do not walk he path he walked.Such a person is Kelvin Joel, pastry chef, co-owner of the Johannesburg Culinary and Pastry School, and recipient of the South African Chefs Association’s 2010 Achievement Award.A youngster with no guidance, Joel got mixed up in drugs in his youth. But he is now making sure the youngsters in his home suburb of Westbury, in western Johannesburg, do not get enticed by the allure of selling drugs to escape poverty.“Everyone who lived there had challenges at home and school,” he said, “even the community itself. I got an opportunity to change my life.”Joel started his Chefs Project in 2013 to give these and other troubled youth an opportunity to change their lives through cooking, if they wanted to do so. “Basically, cheffing changed my life. There are youngsters out there who would also like to do it, but don’t have the opportunity. So we want to create the opportunity for them to excel.“We just try to guide them to make it easier for them to understand. In the fast-paced industry everyone just works to get their job done, and interns don’t get a chance to ask questions. Now they can see if they really want to be a chef, acquire a skill and then have something to sell.”Watch Joel at explain his childhood and the origins of the Johannesburg Culinary and Pastry School :Are you playing your part in transforming South Africa? If so, submit your story or video and let us know what you are doing to improve the country for all.last_img read more

Apple And Samsung Both Lost. So Did Buyers

first_imgTags:#Analysis#Android#Apple#mobile Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Related Posts The fallout from Apple’s win over Samsung in a California patent court has been an extension of the rhetoric that took place within the court. Apple, smug after its billion-dollar settlement, claims the whole case was about values. Samsung still holds to the line that Apple’s design patents are frivolous and the real loser is the consumer. Neither side is wrong.As much as Apple and Samsung want everybody to believe that one is on the side of good while the other is completely evil, the reality is that that is just not true. It is possible to not be right while not precisely being wrong. Apple’s “Values”Apple’s CEO Tim Cook called the victory a triumph of values. “For us this lawsuit has always been about something much more important than patents or money. It’s about values. We value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. And we do this to delight our customers, not for competitors to flagrantly copy,” Cook wrote in a memo leaked to 9to5 Mac. Cook is not wrong, but he is not correct. Apple is right to defend itself against copying. But, it is not like Apple was defending the invention of fire. It was defending design patents based on the size and shape of the iPad and iPhone as well as utility patents used in iOS.None of the patents that Apple fought tooth and nail over in the name of values are particularly innovative.The utility patents may have some functions specific to iOS, but the Android manufacturers have already figured a way around most of those because it was not the function that Apple patented so much as how the function is performed. Companies like HTC, Samsung and Motorola have been working on ways to circumvent those patents through design and functional updates to their devices, and Apple will have little grounds in court to sue the Android manufacturers over these same functions again.The patents themselves are just weapons against Samsung and other Android manufacturers.The settlement money is also of no concern to Apple. This is a company that is one of the most valuable in the history of the world, sitting on a $100 billion in liquid assets. But taking a billion dollars from Samsung was a reward in itself.Cook’s comments about values is public relations. Most journalists, analysts and tech enthusiasts have a better understanding of Apple’s motivations under the surface. Apple’s two biggest motivations were to set a precedent for all its upcoming patent cases and to slow the Android ecosystem’s growth. The more Apple can hobble Android, the more iPhones and iPads it can sell. With Apple’s extraordinarily high margins, there is a lot of money on the table.The effect on Samsung is marginal in the short term. This case was mostly about Samsung’s long product tail, with devices that had been on the market a year or more running software that has been completely overhauled to avoid these specific Apple patents. Samsung will likely appeal the judgment, mostly to avoid the precedent that the case sets. This is not the last time these two companies will meet in court over patents. Apple’s win makes it more likely that its similar patent cases against Samsung and other Android manufacturers will result in injunctions against Android devices. Samsung needs to negate that precedent.Samsung: “Loss for the American Consumer”After the announcement of the verdict, Samsung issued a statement:“Today’s verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer. It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices. It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies.”It is difficult to believe both companies. Samsung says that Apple’s win is bad for innovation. Apple said it is good for innovation. Again, neither company is right, but neither is wrong.When Apple speaks of innovation, it is not talking about the broad scope of technology innovation. Apple is talking about its own innovation. Innovation that has been called into question many times over the years. Apple is seen as a company that makes technologies better and sexier and prices its devices higher than the competition to pad its margins. Samsung is essentially saying that Apple’s designs and its legal claims are frivolous. It is implying that if Apple can improve on technologies and not be found guilty of copying, then so can we.Samsung certainly has a high opinion of itself. By calling the verdict “a loss for the American consumer” it is saying that its products are so good that the U.S. consumer will suffer for the loss. It is the same tactic that Samsung has used in most of its court cases against Apple across the world. “This bully is bad for us, bad for you, bad for everybody.” Samsung itself is a bit of a bully. It has the manufacturing might to flood the mobile market with so many devices at so many price points that it is squeezing not just Apple, but the other Android manufacturers. Motorola’s market presence is almost non-existent at this point and HTC is flailing. Samsung, not Apple, is the biggest culprit behind Nokia’s fall from grace. Samsung’s shotgun strategy works and cannot (or, cannot without great difficulty) be replicated by any other Android manufacturer. Samsung’s own rhetoric is as hypocritical as Apple’s. While Samsung claims it did not copy Apple in the slightest way (and it has a case for that, despite the jury’s verdict), there is no question that some of Samsung’s smartphones do look very similar to the iPhone. The Winner? NobodyIn the end, the outcome was predictable. Can anyone say that Samsung could win a case with a Californian jury in the shadow of Cupertino? Samsung never really stood a chance. The battle of rhetoric does neither company justice. Apple comes off with a morality play that is almost laughable. Samsung sounds like a whining, arrogant twit that insists it did nothing wrong. With this decision, all Android manufacturers lose, not just Samsung. In the end, that is how the American consumer loses too.That means Google loses, too, right? That’s not necessarily the whole story. Apple could be doing Google a favor with its courtroom war.  What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …center_img dan rowinski The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaceslast_img read more