Madison Bumgarner addresses trade rumors, future with Giants

first_imgCLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos on a mobile deviceSCOTTSDALE, Ariz.–At his introductory press conference in November, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi ushered in a new era with a bold proclamation.“Everything has got to be on the table.”Even a potential trade of Madison Bumgarner. Four months after Zaidi was hired to lead the franchise into the future, Bumgarner strolled into the clubhouse at Scottsdale Stadium on Tuesday as pitchers …last_img read more

SETI and other Pointless Gimmicks

first_imgAstrobiologist Paul Davies sure knows how to ask interesting questions, and ruffle feathers in the process.  His new book about SETI, The Eerie Silence, reviewed by Leslie Mullen in Astrobiology Magazine, defaced some long-standing notions.  But are his suggestions any improvement?    Davies thinks the Voyager record was a “pointless gimmick.”  He thinks that SETI has been described as a religion.  He argues that it is probably useless to look for life in radio signals.  Yet he thinks we should expand the search for alien intelligence in marks of intervention in our DNA, or in neutrino beams, or in interstellar waste dumps.    At times he seems to be talking like an intelligent design advocate masquerading as a materialist.  Mullin quotes him:To a physicist like me, life looks to be a little short of magic: all those dumb molecules conspiring to achieve such clever things!  How do they do it?  There is no orchestrator, no choreographer directing the performance, no esprit de corps, no collective will, no life force – just mindless atoms pushing and pulling on each other, kicked about by random thermal fluctuations.  Yet the end product is an exquisite and highly distinctive form of order.  Even chemists, who are familiar with the amazing transformative powers of molecules, find it breathtaking.  George Whitesides, Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University, writes, “How remarkable is life?  The answer is: very.  Those of us who deal in networks of chemical reactions know of nothing like it.”Most of the extrasolar planets found so far are gas giant planets like Jupiter, and are not likely to have life as we know it.  Davies says there is nothing in the laws of chemistry or physics to indicate life is inevitable, or even a cosmic imperative.  He notes there is no mathematical regularity to life, revealing some underlying basic law of nature.  Instead, “the chemical sequences seem totally haphazard.”  And yet, life has its own sense of order, since re-arranging those chemical sequences can upend the whole system.“So the arrangement is at once both random and highly specific – a peculiar, indeed unique, combination of qualities hard to explain by deterministic physical forces,” he writes.But in the next sentences, he is talking about some “law of evolution” accounting for the origin of life as well as its development into physicists like himself.  At one moment Davies describes SETI as a religion, but then says the discovery of ETI would be hard on traditional religion.  He deplores the silence on the one hand, but then calls it a “golden silence” to consider how precious it would mean life is.  Whether or not Davies’ beliefs are coherent, they represent a mind struggling honestly with stubborn realities of physics, life and intelligence – and questions that the “eerie silence” are keeping in front of astrobiologists.  Mullins ends, “By stretching our minds to try to envision all the possibilities in our search for aliens, not only may we one day find what we seek, but in the process we also will learn about many other deep and enduring mysteries of the cosmos.”Learn to question glib statements.  Consider that last platitude by Mullins.  Is it always a good thing to stretch your mind to envision all the possibilities of things?  Stretch your mind to consider all the possibilities of pigs flying.  Did that do you any good in the deep and enduring mysteries of flying porcines?  Some minds stretch so far they break.  Some minds stretch in the wrong directions; they consider useless mysteries that do no one any good.  Some stretch to imagine evil things.  Was it good for Eve to consider the possibilities of disobeying God?  Come now; stretch your mind wisely.    The article is worth reading to get a sense of the schizophrenia of the modern mind.  Knowledgeable scientists like Davies cannot deny the complexity of the cell and the seeming “magic” of life’s organization, but they desperately want to hang onto their materialism.  Between his irrational leaps into fantasyland (looking for alien footprints in our DNA, and failing to see it would require I.D. to do so, etc.) Davies is a little more realistic than many astrobiologists about the complexity of life.  His statements in The Privileged Planet are memorable.  Add to those his memorable quotes above, which should be printed on billboards, distributed at school board meetings, and thrown into the faces of the Darwin Party hacks who say intelligent design is not science.  Look at what Davies said!  Life is so organized for function, there is no law of nature or possibility of chance to produce it.  There is nothing like it in regular chemistry.  A high-level, well-recognized astrobiologist said this, not someone affiliated with the Discovery Institute.  What are we to make of this?  Are we to retreat with Davies into the non-explanation that this is just some peculiar state of affairs, a “a peculiar, indeed unique, combination of qualities hard to explain by deterministic physical forces”?  That’s indistinguishable from the Stuff Happens Law.  Remember, explaining something with the phrase “stuff happens,” or its cognates (it emerged, it arose) is the antithesis of scientific explanation.  It is an admission of defeat, disqualification, dropping out of science.  It is a tacit admission that other players need their time at bat.  Let the world hear.  Materialistic science has no answers to the origin of life.  It is time to admit the bankruptcy of materialism and let the debate include those who have been excluded – those who add design to the equation, which makes all the difference, and clears the fog from the mysteries of life.  Are we to let the SETI materialists pursue their quest endlessly, while their critics are forced to disprove a universal negative?  Talk about stacking the deck.  Time to reboot the game and re-initialize the rules for fairness.    Would that Davies would read Signature in the Cell and face up to the fact that he has no way out; there is no chance explanation, law-of-nature explanation, or combination of the two that can produce life without intelligent design.  He knows the science behind this well enough to concede the facts to Meyer.  Is he brave enough to cast his lot with the despised I.D. people?  Pray he does in time, like former atheist Anthony Flew, who died this week (see Uncommon Descent).  Flew had to admit after a lifetime of teaching atheism that the evidence for intelligent design was compelling.  Follow the evidence, then follow the implications.  Yes, there is intelligent life out there, just not what you were seeking, Paul.  Ask your namesake.  You can even find the footprints in your DNA.(Visited 47 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Midmar Mile’s 89-year-old finisher

first_imgOctogenarian Lorna Cochran plans to break the Midmar Mile record for the oldest finisher. The race has been certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s biggest open water race, but there are hopes that even this record will be broken in 2013, the 40th anniversary year. Craig Dietz from the US is taking part in his first Midmar Mile this year. Despite having no arms or legs, Dietz is a competitive open water swimmer and is also a motivational speaker.(Images: Midmar Mile) MEDIA CONTACTS • Wayne Riddin  Event organiser, Midmar Mile  +27 82 570 1951 RELATED ARTICLES • Swimmer’s memoir up for award • World first for SA extreme swimmers • Paralympic dream team • Chilling triumph for SA swimmers Lucille DavieLorna Cochran, 89, will be swimming her 14th aQuellé Midmar Mile this year and if she makes it to the other side, she will be the oldest finisher in the race’s 40-year history. In 1999 Colin Cable finished as an 89-year-old, but he was four months younger than Cochran. She turns 90 in July.The race, recognised by Guinness World Records as the world’s biggest open water swimming event, takes place on 9 and 10 February. It takes its name from the location- the Midmar Dam outside Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal – and the distance of about a mile.People come from all over the world to contest the Midmar Mile, including disabled entrants, company or family teams, and Olympic swimmers. However, they don’t all leap into the water at once – they depart in groups at three-minute intervals, with the fastest going first, in eight separate races over the two days. Swimmers are allocated to certain groups depending on their time in a qualifying event.The race has expanded to distances of 3km, 10km and 25km. This year there’ll be tough competition between some of the world’s top swimmers for first place, with prize money of R10 000 (US1 120).One of the more inspirational entrants for the 2013 event is Craig Dietz from the US. He has no arms or legs but is a regular open water swimmer as well as a qualified attorney and a sought-after motivational speaker. This is his first Midmar mile.Other entrants this year include British swimming star Keri-Ann Payne, Katinka Hosszu from Hungary, French swimmer Sébastien Rouault, and South African Olympian Troy Prinsloo.The defending champion is South Africa’s Chad Ho. Taking her timeCochran takes her time during the swim – she stops and floats for a while, does a bit of breaststroke, then freestyle, and finishes the Midmar Mile in an hour and some change.“I don’t have the stamina and breath anymore,” says a youthful-sounding 89-year-old Cochran, “my age is against me, I’m afraid.”In her earlier years, she says, she used to swim the 1.6km race without stopping, but is now “very slow”. Cochran first took part in the Midmar Mile at the youthful age of 75!She is five years older than the oldest male participant this year, and 12 years older than the next oldest woman. She might have had a serious challenge to the record if 90-year-old Petrus Meyer from Pietermaritzburg had not suffered “a late setback” which meant he had to withdraw this year. Meyer is planning a comeback for next year. Breaking the recordsCochran will be getting into the water with more than 14 000 swimmers over the weekend. The organisers hope that this year the final tally of entrants will be close to 15 000 swimmers, improving on the race’s 2009 Guinness World Record of 13 755 finishers.“We’ve already unofficially broken our own Guinness record for the world’s largest open water swimming event,” says event organiser Wayne Riddin, “but with this being the 40th anniversary of the race, we’re expecting a larger entry than normal to come through because there will be a special medal and cap.”According to Riddin, conditions on the dam can be tough, with mist, waves and high winds. He says that the race attracts a wide range of ages – from six to 89 years, meaning that parents can swim with their young children. “We get a lot of under-10s swimming.”This also makes the Midmar Mile one of the world’s most unusual sporting events, where all ages complete the same distance.Riddin is excited about the participation of the race’s founder, Mike “Buthy” Arbuthnot, who will be swimming his 40th race. He is 80 years old.“Buthy’s participation is always going to be the special moment,” Riddin says. “We’ve been building up to this for a number of years. The question was how good would his health be as Buthy gets older.” Always mad about sportsWhen she first took part Cochran used to finish in 54 to 55 minutes, but now “I can’t get under an hour these days”.She has seven children, 24 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren, and most years swims with some of her children or grandchildren.She confesses that she was really nervous the first time she swam the race, aged 75. That nervousness never leaves one. “I am a bit nervous this time, it’s a big task,” she says, with a laugh.Cochran says she has always been a sportsperson, representing her school in tennis, hockey and swimming. She was at boarding school at St Dominic’s in Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal, and learnt to swim by watching and copying others.She trains on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. “On Wednesdays and Thursdays I don’t train – you gotta live, go shopping . . .” she laughs. Taking up swimming in her 70sCochran was playing club tennis at 74 when she was dropped from the second to the third team, a fact that upset her as she says she beat the player chosen to replace her, the Sunday Tribune reports.Her son Neil comforted her by suggesting she join them doing the Midmar Mile for the first time, “for a bit of fun”.So she started training, doing an hour in the pool, stopping and resting after 50 metres, because she was “very slow”, she says. Her son worked out a training programme for her because he “realised she was serious about the challenge”. She competed in her first Midmar Mile in 1998, and has not looked back.Cochran says she will not swim next year’s race, but then hesitates. “But who knows, I will never give up swimming, it is good exercise.” She says it is sometimes quite difficult, but her attitude is to “take it as it comes”.“I seem to have the genes,” she concludes.And when she’s not in the swimming pool, Cochran does line dancing once a week at the old age home where she lives in Benoni on Gauteng’s East Rand.last_img read more

BilltoMobile Expands Carrier Billing Options for Verizon Customers

first_imgRole of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Tags:#apps#mobile#news What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … sarah perez Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img Multiple mobile payments companies are teaming up to offer expanded direct carrier billing options to Verizon Wireless customers here in the U.S. BilltoMobile, a Verizon partner since March 2010, has signed an agreement with BOKU, a mobile payments company that already provides merchants access to 2 billion consumers worldwide on 230 carriers, including AT&T, Vodafone, Globe and others. Also now on board is Zong, another international mobile payments company known for its integration with Facebook Credits, and more recently, its launch of a carrier billing program for Android developers.BilltoMobile operates a payment gateway that’s tied directly with Verizon’s billing platform here in the U.S., as well as AT&T’s. The new agreement allows BOKU and Zong to access that gateway, in order to provide services to Verizon customers.For Verizon end users, this simply means more options for carrier billing.What’s Carrier Billing?Carrier billing is a term that refers to the ability for mobile purchases, such as the purchase of virtual goods, services or other content, to be paid for via a mobile subscriber’s carrier bill. Merchants often work with mobile payment providers, such as BilltoMobile, to process those transactions, as opposed to working directly with the carrier itself.Direct mobile billing isn’t even limited to mobile phones. With services like BilltoMobile, BOKU, Zong and others, you can actually pay for online purchases via carrier billing from your desktop Web browser, too.BilltoMobile Deal Not Exclusive to BOKUCurrently, the San Jose-based BilltoMobile serves 65% of all U.S. wireless subscribers. Its key investor, Danal Co., Ltd. from Seoul, South Korea, has a long history in this market, having integrated direct mobile billing with 10,000+ merchants worldwide to date. Danal Co. has processed $4 billion in e-commerce mobile transactions since its first carrier partnership back in 2000.BOKU, a San Francisco-based mobile payments startup founded in 2009, doesn’t have an exclusive on this Verizon deal. Zong, a BOKU competitor, has also established a relationship with BilltoMobile. Any other company that wants to bill to Verizon would need to go through BilltoMobile, too.Carrier billing has yet to really take off in the U.S. due to lack of availability, support, and consumer education, but is already popular in many parts of the world. In recent months, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, have all launched or expanded their carrier billing efforts. And with more partnerships like the one announced today, it looks like it will become more of a standard way to pay for purchases in the months ahead. Related Posts The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Domestic Violence: Definitions

first_imgBy Kacy Mixon, M.S., LMFT[Flickr, 2010.05.02 by Andy Simmons,CC BY-ND 2.0] Retrieved on September 17, 2015There are many definitionsrelated to domestic violence that are used depending on the context and type of services offered. For instance, domestic violence is difficult to prove without evidence. Therefore, common definitions used in the civilian legal systems tend to focus on physical abuse, stalking, and/or harassment.The Department of Defense has its own definition of domestic violence where:“…the term ‘crime of domestic violence’ means an offense that has as its factual basis, the use or attempted use of physical force, or threatened use of a deadly weapon; committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent or guardian of the victims.” [1]In the helping professions (healthcare, advocacy field), however, it is common to adhere to a more encompassing definition of domestic violence:A pattern of behavior in which one partner uses the establishment of control and fear through the use of violence and/or any other forms of abuse (emotional, financial, spiritual, etc.) [2]How can an awareness of various definitions help professionals working with families experiencing domestic violence?Understanding definitions utilized in various contexts aids professionals in helping families navigate through and get the most out of services provided. The Department of Defense requires coordinated community responses when assisting military families experiencing domestic violence yet all states have specific definitions of domestic violence connected to laws that set criminal penalties for domestic violence and these often differ from the military definition of domestic violence. Also, local jurisdictions can have additional laws that connect to local services (i.e. batterers’ intervention programs, victims services). Thus, an awareness of the various definitions in each context (i.e. military personnel, mental health/advocacy services, civilian law) aids in streamlining the process of coordinating services between military and civilian communities and beginning to see what’s possible for families seeking services. References[1] Department of Defense. (2011). Domestic Violence Involving DoD Military and Certain Affiliated Personnel. Retrieved on July 14, 2013 from: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/640006p.pdf.[2] Smith, L.B., Mixon, K.A. (2013). Unit 10: Legal & Medical Perspectives. Family Centered Treatment: Domestic Violence Training. [Online curriculum].This post was written by Kacy Mixon, M.S., LMFT, Social Media Specialist.  She is a member of the MFLN Family Development (FD) 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, You Tube, and on LinkedIn.last_img read more