Raiders Straight Talk: Gauntlet of premiere passers awaits

first_imgALAMEDA — The Raiders have momentum for the first time since Jon Gruden came back as head coach with back-to-back wins in distant locales.It’s almost enough to pull the bandwagon out of the garage and get it cranked up for the first time since the Raiders were coming off a 12-4 season and then started 2-0 in 2017.Before that happens, the Raiders have a serious quarterback problem to address — and this one has nothing do with Derek Carr.The Raiders are coming off two wins over 2018 playoff …last_img read more

Can Evolution Be Programmed?

first_imgSome researchers are employing “evolutionary computing” as an algorithm to solve problems.  But is it really evolution?Evolved machines:  A company called Evolved Machines in Palo Alto announced a 40-teraflop machine that will be used for the “artificial evolution of neural circuitry” (see press release on United Business Media).  “It is self-evident that in biological brains exquisitely complex neuronal circuits wire themselves together,” The Evolved Machines website says.  “Further, neuroscience research has recently established that these neural circuits continue to rewire themselves during life, embedding information about the outside world and internal activity alike.”  Examples are the brain, the olfactory organ, and the eye.  OK, so what does this have to do with evolution?  The press release states, “Simulated evolution can be used to guide the selection and parameterization of these mechanisms in simulations of highly neural circuit fabrics, provided an enormous amount of parallel computing power can be applied.”  They call this “reverse-engineering circuitry in the brain to enable a new class of self-wiring devices that perform in the complexities of real-world environments, for both artificial olfaction and visual object recognition.”Selecting natural laws:  Can a computer running an evolutionary algorithm play Isaac Newton?  That’s what an article on Science Daily suggests: Evolution is helping Cornell scientists discover natural laws.  “The researchers have taught a computer to find regularities in the natural world that become established laws – yet without any prior scientific knowledge on the part of the computer.”  The Cornell researchers trained their algorithm to look for “invariants” while computing derivatives of every variable in a system.  “Then the computer creates equations at random using various constants and variables from the data,” the article explains.  “It tests these against the known derivatives, keeps the equations that come closest to predicting correctly, modifies them at random and tests again, repeating until it literally evolves a set of equations that accurately describe the behavior of the real system.”    But can this really be called evolution?  “All equations regarding a system must fit into and satisfy the invariants,” said Michael Schmidt, a specialist in computational biology.  “But of course we still need a human interpreter to take this step.”  Some other “cheating” was involved:The researchers point out that the computer evolves these laws without any prior knowledge of physics, kinematics or geometry.  But evolution takes time.  On a parallel computer with 32 processors, simple linear motion could be analyzed in a few minutes, but the complex double pendulum required 30 to 40 hours of computation.  The researchers found that seeding the complex pendulum problem with terms from equations for the simple pendulum cut processing time to seven or eight hours.    This “bootstrapping,” they said, is similar to the way human scientists build on previous work.Can this be compared to what biology does, or did?  The researchers said the computer takes care of the grunt work, “helping scientists focus quickly on the interesting phenomena and interpret their meaning.”Evolving war:  French scientists got a virus and a bacterium to undergo a co-evolutionary arms race, reported Science Daily.  By running some “experimental evolution” using Darwinian selection, they watched the predator and prey evolve to outwit each other.  The evolution, however, seemed limited to whether the bacteria formed a biofilm or sat at the bottom of the bottle.  Both forms may already have been present.  It seems that one form or other was resistant depending on the conditions under which the predator virus was added to the mix.  Either way, it was just a game of last bacterium standing, without knowledge of how they succeeded.  They said, “What makes prey resistant or predators capable of attacking them again remains poorly understood.”Speaking of biological computation, Live Science wrote up something for baseball fans: “How Baseball Players Catch Fly Balls.”  Apparently good players know how to gauge the vertical acceleration of the ball to determine whether to run toward the ball or away from it.  Counter-intuitively, almost all players start by running toward it.  The reason may be to accentuate the measurement of vertical acceleration.  “A faster rise of the optical acceleration above the detection threshold may outweigh a possible initial step in the wrong direction,” the article explained.  “Making an initial step forwards is not only easier than making an initial step backwards, but might also be a better choice.”  Coaches should be patient with Little Leaguers, the article ended, saying that “Their brains may still be learning the math.”Amazing as some of the research results are, this entry gets the Dumb category for assuming this is like evolution.  Anything that involves intelligent selection of outcomes is as far from Darwin as an earthquake from city planning.  Material particles do not understand and interpret natural laws, nor do they build systems.  The equivocation of the word “evolution” in these intelligently-designed research programs with what Darwinists are talking about is perverse.  It amounts to a snow job, stealing glory for Charlie from ID projects.  Darwin gets no more credit for these interesting results than Kim Jong Il for inventing democracy.  Progress in the creation-evolution debate can only be made by everyone agreeing to definitions and terms and rules of argument.  Researchers, get your purposeful hands off the apparatus.  Care nothing about what happens.  Don’t select outcomes or interfere in any way.  Then, as everything collapses in a heap of entropy, you will begin to understand the resources available to the kind of evolution Darwin preached.  For a taste of common sense to melt the snow job, read this article by The Country Shrink.  Notice especially the quote by D. L. Abel.(Visited 31 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Where Can I Find Good Advice?

first_img Start Free Trial Already a member? Log in This article is only available to GBA Prime Members Donald Wulfinghoff is an energy consultant who works in Maryland. In 2015, he published Super House, a 700-page book that explains how an ordinary person without architectural training can design a superinsulated home that (he claims) will use only 10% to 20% as much energy for heating and cooling as a conventional home.The book is lavishly illustrated and comprehensive. Right off the bat, the author shares his lack of respect for architects: on the first page, he writes, “Is it really possible for a person with no prior experience to design a home that is far ahead of contemporary residential architecture? It certainly is.”Even for readers who are put off by Wulfinghoff’s exaggerated energy savings predication or his architect-bashing, the book (at first glance) shows a lot of promise. Wulfinghoff is a big believer in superinsulation. Much of his advice aligns with recommendations from energy-efficiency researchers and experienced builders. For example:BOOK REVIEWS BY MARTIN HOLLADAYCarbon Emissions By the Construction IndustryHenry Gifford Publishes a BookIn Search of a DIY Guide to Rooftop PVBuilding Science Information for BuildersRural Construction Methods in Tropical CountriesBooks for Homeowners Interested in Saving EnergyNew Books on Green BuildingCarl and Abe Write a TextbookBooks on Insulation and Energy-Efficient BuildingThe Uncertain Future of Phoenix and Las VegasSo far, so good. The advice quoted above resembles advice from many experienced builders of high-performance homes.But once readers dig a little deeper into the book, they start to notice that much of Wulfinghoff’s advice is idiosyncratic. He’s like a cranky uncle with firmly held but arbitrary opinions:Some of these opinions are defensible, of course. But after a while, readers get the impression that Wulfinghoff’s personality is a little — how shall I put it? — inflexible.So… center_img Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details.last_img read more

Maharashtra Assembly polls: Another NCP MLA set to join Shiv Sena

first_imgMaharashtra Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Dileep Sopal on August 26 announced he will soon join the Shiv Sena and contest the forthcoming Maharashtra Assembly polls.Mr. Sopal, who represents Barshi Assembly constituency in Solapur district, served as a State Cabinet minister in the previous Congress-NCP coalition government.A close aide of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray also confirmed that Mr. Sopal will be joining the saffron party. Last month, NCP MLA Pandurang Barora, who represented Shahapur Assembly seat in Palghar district, joined the Shiv Sena, which is an ally of the ruling BJP at the Centre and in Maharashtra.On August 25, rumours were doing the rounds that the NCP’s former Minister and heavyweight leader from Konkan region, Bhaskar Jadhav, may join the Sena. The speculation gained ground after Mr. Jadhav, a former Shiv Sainik and sitting MLA from Guhagar constituency in Ratnagiri district, visited Mr. Thackeray’s residence ‘Matoshree’ in Bandra here and held a closed door meeting. However, Mr. Jadhav later said, “These are just rumours. I will remain with the NCP.” On August 24, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis virtually extended an invitation to NCP’s Satara MP and Maratha royal Udayanraje Bhosale to join the BJP. Mr. Bhosale had accused the previous Congress-NCP government of creating “obstacles” in the progress of his constituency.He is one of the NCP’s four MPs from Maharashtra. Recently, his cousin and NCP’s Satara MLA Shivendrasinh Bhosale deserted the Sharad Pawar-led party and joined the BJP along with other legislators like Sandip Naik and Vaibhav Pichad.The State Assembly polls are due in September-October.last_img read more

Canada 150 began at Cape Spear as Newfoundland boat cruise sang and

first_imgST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A boatload of 75 early risers headed out on the North Atlantic off Newfoundland to be among the first to welcome Canada Day as dawn broke over the country’s eastern edge.Rain and low clouds blocked the sunrise over the flashing lighthouse at Cape Spear but that didn’t bother the flag-waving crowd.They cheered and danced to music onboard the Iceberg Quest vessel Capo de Espera as they celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday.“There’s no sun but there is plenty of mist and rain and cold, which kind of makes it a pretty extraordinary experience,” said Craig Simons. He and his wife, Jennifer, moved to St. John’s a year ago from Houston.“It has been a wonderful experience for us and the kids. It’s nice to see how much Canadians love their country.”The early-morning tour was especially moving for Gerry Cantwell who’s descended from five generations of lighthouse keepers at Cape Spear.He said it’s a day of reflection and gratitude for the men and women who have helped protect Canadian rights and freedoms.Canada Day starts in the province each year on a sombre note with services to remember how the Newfoundland Regiment was decimated July 1, 1916.Of 801 troops who went over the top at Beaumont-Hamel as the Somme campaign began during the First World War, just 68 answered roll call the next day. Families across Newfoundland were stricken with grief and shock.“We’re very fortunate to live in a country with the freedoms that we have and, on July 1, to remember the people who gave us our freedom,” Cantwell said.Kellie Loder of St. John’s sang “O Canada” as the vessel pulled in front of Cape Spear. There was a moment of silence after to remember those who have fought and died in battle over the last 150 years.Loder said as the boat passed through the Narrows from the St. John’s harbour, she thought of those who once sailed the same route not knowing if they’d ever make it home.“I think it’s definitely more than a party,” she said of Canada Day. “It’s more than the festivities and the excitement.“It’s about appreciating what was done before and is still being done around the world.”Capt. Barry Rogers of Iceberg Quest stood in the wheel house after the vessel docked and smiled like a man who knows his own good fortune.“To all you Canadians out there, stand proud. We’ve got a great country and a great province,” he said. “Newfoundland and Labrador is probably — not probably — it is the best place to live in the world. No question.”Follow @suebailey on Twitter.last_img read more

The Elders Statement On US Reintroduction Of Global Gag Rule

first_imgThe Elders have expressed concern at the decision by the new US Administration to reintroduce the so-called “Global Gag Rule” that cuts US funding to organisations that help provide abortion services.
 
When the rule has been enacted by previous US Presidents over the past three decades, it has jeopardised the health and wellbeing of the world’s most vulnerable people.
 
Gro Harlem Brundtland, Deputy Chair of The Elders, said:“This decision puts the health of women and children at risk. We know from past experience that when the Global Gag Rule is enacted, health care clinics are forced to close and services for hard-to-reach populations eliminated. If this happens again, vulnerable people will die unnecessarily.”Mary Robinson, Elder and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, added:“The decision to re-impose the Global Gag Rule risks reversing progress on maternal, child and reproductive health in the poorest countries and poorest communities. In September 2015 the United States committed to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. I hope the new Administration will continue to support aid that helps cut poverty, promote gender equality and build a more prosperous future for our shared planet.”last_img read more

The fight to stop drilling in the Gulf of St Lawrence grows

first_imgAPTN National NewsA First Nations alliance says legal action may be the only way to stop oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.The Innu, Maliseet and Mi’kmaq Alliance is teaming up with other coalitions.They met Thursday to brainstorm ways to continue their fight to protect what scientists call an ecologically sensitive area.APTN’s Trina Roache has the story.last_img