‘Young Guns’ Having Fun

first_imgPINEHURST, N.C. – Three of golf’s brightest young stars stood on the tee box of the treacherous par-3 ninth hole early Thursday afternoon at the year’s most treacherous tournament. This being their last hole of the opening round, it was the point where their nerves should have been completely frayed, where the mental anguish had eaten away at their composure and the frustration had left their scorecards as barren as Pinehurst’s numerous waste areas. Instead, Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama and Rickie Fowler assessed the warm breeze with the patience of a routine practice session. Each of them might have even cracked a little smile – usually forbidden at the U.S. Open – when Spieth broke the silence with a pertinent observation. “Nobody,” he said to playing partners who along with him were a collective 4 under for the round, “is going to beat our score today.’” Consider it the innocence of youth that minutes later both Spieth and Fowler were cleaning up bogeys to conclude their rounds, but that underscores the major theme of their day. In a tournament where it’s so often believed that experience is of the utmost importance, the USGA’s so-called “Young Guns” group included a trio of players who each shot even par or better. Spieth, 20, posted a 1-under 69; Matsuyama, 22, matched that score; and Fowler, 25, shot even-par 70. U.S. Open: Articles, videos and photos U.S. Open full-field scores “It was a lot of fun,” Spieth insisted, using an adjective not often associated with this event. “Both of those guys played really well, so we were able to feed off each other. You just want to see some putts go in at a venue like this. You just want to see any putts going in, so you know you can make them.” Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this group was the not-so-gentle reminder that youthfulness is not synonymous with inexperience. That even though these three combined are still younger than Jack Nicklaus, that doesn’t mean they aren’t seasoned enough to contend for this major championship. Spieth has already shown that ability. Just two months ago, he played in the final pairing at the Masters Tournament and finished in a share of second place. He followed that with a fourth-place result at The Players Championship. Which means that anyone thinking the world’s 10th-ranked player wouldn’t be a serious contender this week clearly hasn’t been paying attention lately. “I’m striking it pretty well; it’s getting close,” he said after a round that included four birdies against three bogeys. “I started missing fairways in the middle kind of second half of the round today. It’s not fun to play out of the weeds, but I got it around. So if I get back on track to the beginning of the round, sure, I think there’s some birdies out there.” Same goes for Matsuyama. The recent Memorial Tournament champion matched Spieth’s birdie and bogey total on Thursday, once again proving himself to be a player ready-made for major contention. In six previous major starts, he’s made five cuts and owns three top-20 finishes. “Putting was the strong part of my game today,” he allowed. “Just one shot at a time tomorrow and just do my very best.” If there was a story in the early-morning hours, it was Fowler arriving at the course in plus-fours with argyle socks pulled to his knees – an unmistakable tribute to the late Payne Stewart, who won this tournament on this course 15 years ago. “It’s cool to be in the position I’m in to wear some attire like he used to wear, to give tribute to him,” he explained. “Obviously he had a special week here in ’99. And I’m off to a decent start.” With a T-10 at last year’s U.S. Open and a T-5 earlier this year at the Masters, Fowler is establishing himself as another young player who has a knack for getting into contention at majors – just like Spieth and Matsuyama. “Jordan is one of the top players in the world right now, Hideki is obviously moving up the world ranks and I’ve kind of been hanging around,” he said. “We’re going to be playing against each other for a long time. And it’s fun to be able to get ourselves in contention at majors. “There are so many good young players out right now, we’re trying to get into the scene a little bit. We’re trying to take some of the majors away from some of the older guys.” It wasn’t long after that final hole of the day, after Spieth proudly proclaimed that they’d have the day’s best combined score and two of them promptly followed with bogeys, that he was retelling the story of this bravado. “I guess I jinxed it,” he said with a laugh. Maybe. On a day when three young stars collectively played the U.S. Open in under par, though, even this jinx couldn’t keep ‘em from laughing about it afterward.last_img read more

Lovemark takes one-shot lead in Web.com Finals opener

first_imgFORT WAYNE, Ind. – Jamie Lovemark shot a bogey-free 6-under 66 in rainy conditions Friday to take a one-stroke lead over Anirban Lahiri in the Web.com Tour Finals-opening Hotel Fitness Championship. Lovemark finished 12th on the Web.com Tour regular-season money list to earn a 2015-16 PGA Tour card and is playing the four-event series in a bid to improve his Tour priority status. ”The rain was moderate for most of the round and it was good we didn’t have any downpours,” Lovemark said. ”The greens were rolling pure this morning and it was easy to make some putts.” The former Southern California player birdied all four par-5 holes at Sycamore Hills. ”Big hitters have an advantage on almost every course, especially when the rough is long because it’s easier to come out of the rough with a wedge than a 7-iron,” Lovemark said. ”The driver has probably been my best club. I’ve been hitting it aggressively off the tee, just like I have been most of the year.” He had an 11-under 133 total. Lahiri, the first Indian player to qualify for the International Presidents Cup team, bogeyed the final hole for a 65. He birdied five of his first six holes, and had only 22 putts – three on his final hole. ”I made a ton of putts on the front nine,” Lahiri said. ”I haven’t putted that good in a while. I was terrible off the tee all day. I hardly found any fairways.” Ranked 40th in the world, he tied for fifth in the PGA Championship. The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com Tour money list, Nos. 126-200 from the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings and non-members of the tour such as Lahiri who earned enough money to have placed in the top 200 had they been eligible to receive points. The top 25 players on Web.com regular-season money list earned 2015-16 PGA Tour cards. They are competing against each other for PGA Tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals and the final leader getting a spot in The Players Championship. The other players are fighting for another 25 cards based on their earnings in the series. Canada’s Brad Fritsch (64) and South Korea’s D.H. Lee (68) were tied for third at 9 under. Fritsch was 37th on the Web.com Tour money list, and Lee finished 15th to earn a PGA Tour card. Patton Kizzire, the regular-season Web.com Tour money champion, was tied for fifth at 7 under after a 65.last_img read more

Iceman Stenson fierce in Open victory

first_imgTROON, Scotland – As Henrik Stenson stepped to the first tee Sunday afternoon – the 40-year-old in the day’s 41st game making his 42nd start in a major – the ubiquitous gloom that had engulfed the Firth of Clyde for two days finally relented. The sunshine arrived just in time for the Swede, who would need a sunny disposition every bit as much as that machine-like swing to win his first major. Stenson is complicated. Boyishly charming off the golf course, brutally tough on himself when he’s on the clock. In 2014 at Royal Liverpool his frustration boiled over in Round 1 when he snapped a club over his knee; and at the ’13 BMW Championship he destroyed a driver and a locker after a bad day at the office. Although each time he would clear away the demons, following his meltdown in ’13 in Chicago with a victory at the Tour Championship to claim the FedEx Cup, those types of outbursts always seemed to be boiling just under the calm surface. That frustration is born from Stenson’s desire for perfection, which is equal parts burden and blessing. “There’s three [swings], good, very good and excellent. Two of those he doesn’t like to accept,” said Stenson’s longtime swing coach Pete Cowen. “He’s comfortable just 33 percent of the time. He could be on very good, but he wouldn’t be happy. He has to try to push it to perfection. Sometimes he does.” Sometimes like on Sunday, when the darkness that can cloud his mind is peeled away through clarity of thought and a singular focus to produce something truly special, it results in a closing-round 63. A scoring record. A major. What some on this side of the transatlantic divide dubbed the “Duel in the Wind,” a nod to the 1977 Open bout between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus, lived up to that lofty association right from the first hole. The Open: Full-field scores | Live daily blog | Photo gallery Full coverage from the 145th Open Stenson and Phil Mickelson, who began the final round a stroke off the lead, teed off at 2:35 p.m., by 2:47 p.m. Stenson was one back, the byproduct of a dart from Lefty at the first to a foot and a sloppy bogey by Stenson. “We bogeyed the first and I thought, ‘Oh no, not today.’ But from there on in he was unbelievable,” said Stenson’s caddie Gareth Lord. From there, the main event evolved into a high-stakes game of tag, with the duo trading the lead like a Scotsman changes socks on a cold and wet summer day. Stenson – an Orlando, Fla., resident via Gothenburg, Sweden – retook the lead with his second consecutive birdie at the third, Mickelson tied him with an eagle at the fourth and the tandem traded birdies at the sixth to move to 15 under, a touchdown shy of the nearest contender. But just as the Masters doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday, this Open didn’t come full stride until the final two-ball turned for home into a healthy breeze. The epic exchange continued with Henry and Lefty rolling in a combined 40 feet of birdie putts at the 10th hole. Stenson blinked with a three-putt bogey at the 11th, the week’s toughest hole and his first miscue on the back nine since Thursday. Mickelson answered with a scrambling par save at the 12th that included a visit to the heather and a 25-foot Hail Mary, and Stenson countered with a 15-foot birdie at the 14th to regain the advantage. All told, there were seven lead changes on Day 4 at Royal Too Much To Be True. The idiosyncratic Iceman put the match away with a downhill 5-footer for birdie at the 16th hole to remain 2 up with two to play – dormie in match play, destiny for Stenson. “The putt on 16 was probably the most pressured one,” said Stenson, who matched the scoring record of 20 under at a major. “Phil missed his eagle putt, so it looked like it was going to go in, and I expect him to make every putt; you have to.” It was all the kind of give and take that some thought Stenson incapable of, considering his penchant for poorly timed implosions and a less-than-reliable putter. He’d won a few weeks ago at the BMW International Open on the European Tour and had certainly given himself plenty of chances to win a major, having finished in the top 5 on seven occasions; but even Stenson acknowledged earlier this week that at 40 his chances were diminishing and the pressure building at an equal clip. “I’m not going to play these tournaments forever and ever,” he said after a second-round 65. “I don’t have another 50 goes at them, so I better start putting myself in position and giving myself chances if I want to make it happen.” The dichotomy of Stenson can be striking. In one moment he can be engaging and entertaining. “I guess I’m one-third Scottish now,” he smiled following his victory. Other times he can be stoic, his emotions locked away behind the wrap-around sunglasses and an expressionless face – a persona that earned him the nickname “Iceman.” But as is normally the case with complex individuals, nothing is as it seems with Stenson. “Everyone calls him the Iceman. I can tell you sometimes he is not, but today he was,” Lord said. Given his track record in the game’s biggest events, it would have been out of character for Stenson to reveal that when he arrived at Royal Troon this week a calm born from unseen, and largely unfounded, confidence gripped him. “I felt like this was going to be my turn,” he said with the claret jug safely perched to his left. “I think that was the extra self-belief that made me go all the way this week.” Even after his bogey at the first Stenson remained convinced. Even as Mickelson, who closed with a bogey-free 65, answered every challenge, he clung to his conviction. The telling moment came quietly late on the front nine when Stenson glanced at Lord who’d just lit a cigarette. About a year and a half ago Stenson bet his bagman that if he won a major Lord would quit smoking. “I knew he felt pretty good because we were going down the seventh [hole] and he looks at me and says, ‘You better enjoy that [cigarette],” Lord laughed. It was obvious that Stenson, the quirky and complicated Champion Golfer of the Year, was enjoying every minute of his major breakthrough.last_img read more

Wiesberger builds one-shot lead at KLM Open

first_imgSPIJK, Netherlands – Bernd Wiesberger of Austria shot his second straight 5-under 66 to take the lead Friday in the KLM Open, one shot ahead of playing partner Joost Luiten, who was one of three players tied for second. Wiesberger opened his round bogey, par, bogey, before recovering with four birdies on the front nine and three more coming home on The Dutch, which is hosting the tournament for the first time. Luiten, the 2013 KLM Open champion, had the lowest round of the day with a 7-under 64. That included a birdie on the par-3 16th thanks to a long, curling putt and also a birdie on the last hole. Nino Bertasio could have snatched the lead late, but bogeyed the par-5 18th to drop to 9-under with Luiten and Mark Foster.last_img

For Woods, post-Masters rest did amount to rust

first_imgFARMINGDALE, N.Y. – A light rain was falling and half of Long Island was scrambling through the mud that has become as much a part of a Bethpage Black major as the course’s iconic caddie logo when Tiger Woods teed off for his second round on Friday. Anticipation rarely matches reality when it comes to Tiger and those expectations have only been tilted further in the wake of his victory at the Masters. All of New York was poised for something special, but he gave them nothing. He scrambled for par at No. 1, bogeyed the second hole from the rough and made an indifferent par at the fourth. There was also a missed 6-footer for par at the seventh. Tiger didn’t hit his first fairway of the day until the ninth hole. It was one of only three. The crowd was poised for an epic charge, the kind that made Tiger appointment viewing every time he nudged within a touchdown of a lead. But by the time he opened his inward loop with three consecutive bogeys to drop to 5 over and two shots on the wrong side of the projected cut, anticipation had been replaced by angst. Tiger started the week at the PGA Championship as the betting favorite. The stars were aligned. He would etch his name into the Wanamaker Trophy for the fifth time. He would tie Sam Snead with a record 82 PGA Tour victories. He would inch to within two Grand Slam victories of Jack Nicklaus’ record haul of 18. PGA Championship: Scores | Full coverage It was perfect. It didn’t happen. Tiger missed the cut at a major for just the ninth time as a professional with a 3-over 73 on Day 2 and a 5-over total, one shot removed from a weekend tee time. “Well, I’m not playing the weekend,” Woods said with a look of resignation etched across his face. Excuses really aren’t Tiger’s thing. In good times or in bad, he’s always clung to a simple truth: play better. He wasn’t going to start conjuring scapegoats just because things didn’t go his way at the new May PGA. But it doesn’t take a deep dive to assess what happened at Bethpage. The PGA Championship was Tiger’s first start since winning last month’s Masters. Although this isn’t exactly out of the ordinary, it does offer a viable explanation for his play. His 15th major triumph at Augusta National released a decade of pent up emotion, and he conceded this week he didn’t want to begin the “grind” to prepare for the Wells Fargo Championship, which would have been his likely start between majors. The issue was compounded by poor weather to start the week. He played just nine holes on Monday in a cold rain, opted for only a range session on Tuesday and didn’t even make it to the course on Wednesday. “I got a little bit sick, so I decided to stay home,” he explained on Thursday. Although he spent a day last week at Bethpage scouting the layout with caddie Joe LaCava, it wasn’t rigorous prep. For a man whose career has been anchored by a work ethic that is often under-appreciated, the simplest reasoning for his missed cut is rust — not that Tiger was having any part of that discussion. Golf Central TT PS: From Masters champ to MC, and that’s OK BY Tiger Tracker  — May 17, 2019 at 7:28 PM A rusty and slightly sick Tiger Woods missed the cut at the PGA Championship. But he’s still the Masters champion. “No, no, no. Definitely not,” he said when asked if his lack of practice impacted his play. “It’s just the way it goes. Just don’t feel well and just not able to do it. But resting would be better, so I would have energy to play. Unfortunately, I just made too many mistakes and just didn’t do the little things I need to do.” Tiger said the same thing when he missed the cut at the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. The ’06 championship was his first start following the passing of his father, Earl, a month earlier. He had gone nearly two months between events. It’s worth noting that Woods won his next major start at the ’06 Open Championship following a more traditional tune-up that included a tournament two weeks before arriving at Hoylake. “It was off today, for sure. But around here, you miss fairways, you can get away with it for a while, but it’s going to catch up with you,” LaCava said. “It wasn’t like he was hitting it everywhere, but 6 feet off the fairway and you’re screwed. And obviously his feel wasn’t that great on the greens. You can see that.” Tiger has repeatedly said that his schedule will be more selective going forward, the byproduct of the understandable aches and pains associated with a back that’s been operated on four times. If that means the occasional clunker interspersed with captivating performances like he produced at last month’s Masters, then so be it. “Hoping to feel a little better, that’s first and foremost,” Tiger said, when asked how he plans to prepare for his next start. “If I get that going a little better, start training and start practicing again and get back up to speed.” For Tiger this is the new reality, a balancing act between staying sharp and game-ready while maintaining his health and being rested. As he made his way up the hill on No. 18, the rain had finally stopped and the sun had peeked through the gloom. The crowd was still hopeful, but for this week, Tiger was finished.last_img read more

Rare Earth Elements and Intelligent Design

first_imgIntelligent Design Can we explain human technology merely by supernova explosions and blind chance? Some do. But in rare earth elements, we find hints of a better explanation. Science Magazine posted a look at the so-called “rare earth elements” of the periodic table. Consider some design implications of these elements. Introducing the rare earth elements (REEs), Thibault Cheisson and Eric J. Schelter call them “Mendeleev’s bane, modern marvels.”The archaeological three-age system (Stone, Bronze, and Iron) organizes the history of humankind according to the central role of metals in technological evolution. From antiquity to the modern day, the exploitation of metals has required technologies for their mass extraction and purification, creating strategic importance for mineral deposits and metallurgical knowledge. Unlike other resources, metals are relatively amenable to recycling and to the creation of circular supply chains. This scenario is evident in historical developments for Fe, Cu, Al, Ti, Zn, Ni, and Sn with recycling rates representing between 15 and 70% of the current usage for those metals in the United States and the European Union. However, in recent decades, new technologies have emerged that rely on metals of previously limited use: lithium, cobalt, and the rare earth (RE) elements, among others. Rare earths are finding increasing use in communications — and display devices, renewable energy, medicine, and other practical applications that affect daily life. In this Review, we examine the past and present separation methods that have developed REs into an industrial sector, with a focus on recent advances. [Emphasis added.]Rare Earths and ChemistryAs Evolution News touched on in January, Dmitri Mendeleev was the key player in describing a natural pattern among the elements that led to the modern periodic table. In his day, only six of the rare earth elements were known. His belief in an orderly universe led him to predict in 1869 that elements in the gaps would be found — as indeed they were  — where he only had question marks. Cheisson and Schelter call these REEs “Mendeleev’s bane” because they frustrated his scheme.To accommodate some of these troublesome elements, Mendeleev himself examined and confirmed their trivalent natures in oxides (RE2O3), materials that were initially assumed to be divalent. In the latter iteration of his Natural System of the Elements, Mendeleev tried to accommodate the known REs in analogy to the d-block metals, but this placement led to inconsistencies. Ultimately, Mendeleev never successfully set the REs in his periodic system, a frustration that may have contributed to his shift in research interest away from the periodic table after 1871. Without easily discernable periodic trends, and owing to the limited characterization techniques of the time, close to 100 erroneous new RE claims were made during the last part of the 19th century. By 1907, all REs had finally been isolated….In spite of these challenges, Mendeleev stuck to his conviction that order would persist. 1907 was the year of Mendeleev’s death, so he had been partly vindicated by the time the REEs were found. Some of the REEs were fit into an “f-block” in the periodic table, consisting of two expanded rows called the lanthanide series (elements 58 to 71) and the actinide series (elements 90 to 103). This maintained the periodicity of the bottom two rows of the table by adding 14 elements between lanthanum-57 and hafnium-72, and 14 elements between actinium-89 and rutherfordium-104 (elements above 94 being artificially created in the atomic age). Specifically, “The REs are a family of 17 metallic elements formed by the group III (Sc, Y) and the lanthanide series (La–Lu).”Considered to be metallic, they are called “rare earths” not because they are all geologically scarce, but because they are hard to isolate. “Chemically, REs demonstrate very similar properties with the prevalence of the +3 oxidation state under ambient conditions, a large electropositivity, and kinetic lability,” the article explains. These factors made them a bane to poor Mendeleev in the 19th century, but we know much more about them now, after years of perfecting techniques to isolate them. Their difficult identification provides a first take-home on rare earths: they were predicted, and eventually discovered, because of a man who believed in an orderly system of chemistry.Rare Earths and BiologyLife uses comparatively few of the 103 natural elements. Most of them are abundant on the earth. The big four are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen. Next in line, according to David Nguyen at Sciencing, are seven other major elements, phosphorus, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, making up about 3.5 percent of our bodies. The last 0.5 percent consists of the 13 trace elements, iron, iodine, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, silicon, tin, vanadium, boron, chromium, cobalt, copper, and fluorine. Despite their minor appearance by volume, “living things would not be able to survive without trace elements,” Nguyen says. So far, that’s 24 of the 94 naturally occurring chemical elements to be essential for the human body.Tin, by the way? Really? It is found in our tissues, but there is no evidence it has any essential biological function at this time, says the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Search the Internet for the body’s need for trace amounts of cobalt, chromium, silicon, and vanadium. It’s quite fascinating. Silicon, for instance, is used in our balance organs, and cobalt is used to absorb and process vitamin B12 and repair myelin around nerve cells.In any event, one cannot always discount an element’s importance by its absence in the body. Not that long ago, scientists identified bromine as a vital element. It doesn’t abide in the body, but takes part in essential processes during the construction of collagen. “Without bromine, there are no animals,” concluded scientists at Vanderbilt University in 2014. They call it the 28th essential element.Do We Need Them?This brings us to REEs and biology. Do we need them? Do we rely on them? Cheisson and Schelter spend most of their article discussing the historical progress of isolating REEs. But then, they describe a new, young field of research looking into this question:Rare earths are used extensively in medicine, especially as imaging agents. But until recently, they were believed to have no natural, biological importance. Surprisingly, Jetten, Op den Camp, Pol, and co-workers reported in 2014 an essential dependence of methanotrophic bacterium on LREs [“light” rare earths, belonging to the Cerium group]. They rationalized this requirement by the replacement of the generally encountered Ca2+ cation by a LRE3+ cation in the active site of the methanol dehydrogenase (MDH) enzyme (61, 62) (Fig. 3A). Following that discovery, RE-dependent bacteria have been found in many environments and have initiated a new field of research.It’s too early to say if humans need rare earths, but now that bacteria — the supposedly most primitive life forms on earth — depend on some of them, the possibility exists that REEs will prove to be vital to all life on earth, perhaps in indirect ways. “Without doubt, these confounding elements will continue to provide surprises and opportunities for the progress of humankind,” the authors say.Rare Earths and Applied ScienceIt’s only recently that rare earths have become vital to modern engineering. Now, they are eagerly sought elements for computers, cell phones, “communications — and display devices, renewable energy, medicine, and other practical applications that affect daily life.” Ions of yttrium and lutetium, for instance, have become useful for identifying and treating cancer. We rely on REEs when we use cell phones and computers and TV sets. While it is true that humans got along fine without REEs during the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age, how much richer our lives have become recently because of the availability of these elements.Rare Earths and GeologyEssential elements cannot just be part of a planet’s makeup. They have to be accessible at the surface. Astronomers say that all the elements heavier than iron-26 had to come from supernovae. What are the chances that sufficient quantities of heavier elements, including the cobalt, copper, zinc, bromine, and molybdenum in our bodies, and potentially the REEs that give humans technological opportunities, would have arrived at the sun or earth from a nearby supernova? What are the chances that they would percolate up to the crust from a molten planet during its formation? These sound look good questions for design scientists.Rare Earths and CosmologyThe same questions apply to other stars and planets. Astrobiology is big these days: NASA tries to look for life beyond the earth. They look for habitable zones around other stars, and get excited when earth-size planets appear to orbit a star at a radius that allows the existence of liquid water. They try to identify biomarkers such as methane or oxygen in an exoplanet’s atmosphere. Many astrobiologists feel it is sufficient to “follow the water,” even speculating that life might exist in subsurface oceans of moons in the outer solar system, like Europa at Jupiter and Enceladus at Saturn. Water is remarkably well-suited for life, as Michael Denton has written in his book, The Wonder of Water. We know, however, that earth life needs far more than H and O. What about the other 26 essential elements? And what about those rare earths? Even though they are apparently not essential for life, did an intelligent creator supply those on the surface of our planet with the foreknowledge that designed beings would someday make good use of them?Rare Earths and Rare EarthIn 2000, Ward and Brownlee published a controversial book, Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe. At a time when most scientists assumed there must be millions of complex civilizations in the Milky Way alone, the authors rained on their parade, arguing that the requirements for complex life are so stringent, living worlds like ours could be rare exceptions — perhaps unique. This brief look into rare earth elements may provide additional support for their rare earth hypothesis. The more stringent the requirements, the better the evidence for design. REEs offer a new generation of chemists, biologists, geologists, physicists, engineers, astronomers, cosmologists, and philosophers opportunities to investigate profound questions about these elements. Why are they here? Where did they come from? Is the naturalistic answer plausible? Do they serve a purpose? The answers could inspire additional chapters to The Privileged Planet. Photo: A sample of cerium, a rare earth element, by Jurii [CC BY 1.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All Recommended Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Evolution NewsEvolution News & Science Today (EN) provides original reporting and analysis about evolution, neuroscience, bioethics, intelligent design and other science-related issues, including breaking news about scientific research. It also covers the impact of science on culture and conflicts over free speech and academic freedom in science. Finally, it fact-checks and critiques media coverage of scientific issues. Sharecenter_img Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Physics, Earth & Space Rare Earth Elements and Intelligent DesignEvolution News @DiscoveryCSCMarch 5, 2019, 4:23 AM TagsAgency for Toxic Substances and Disease RegistrybromineBronze AgecalciumcarbonchlorinecollagenDavid NguyenDmitri MendeleevDonald BrownleeelectropositivityEnceladusEric J. SchelterEuropahydrogenintelligent designIron AgeJupitermagnesiumMichael DentonMilky WayNatural System of the ElementsnitrogenoxidesoxygenPeriodic TablePeter WardphosphoruspotassiumRare Earthrare earth elementsSaturnScience (journal)sodiumStone AgesulfursupernovaThe Privileged PlanetThe Wonder of WaterThibault CheissontinVanderbilt University,Trending Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Sharelast_img read more

Stephen Meyer: “Phil Johnson Had the Guts”

first_img“A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide On an episode of ID The Future, Stephen Meyer, director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, honors Phillip Johnson, the U.C. Berkeley law professor who helped ignite the modern intelligent design movement with the publication of his highly successful book Darwin on Trial. Meyer says Johnson had the courage to speak up when others wouldn’t. Download the podcast or listen to it here.“The overweening dynamic of this debate is fear,” Meyer says. “There are many many many people who have come up to the water’s edge, who have seen the problems with Darwinian evolution, have counted the cost, and recoiled.” But one Berkeley law professor did not recoil. As Meyer put it, “Johnson had the guts.”Photo: Phillip E. Johnson, debating evolutionist Will Provine at Stanford University in 1994, via YouTube (screenshot). Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Evolution Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share TagsCenter for Science & CulturecourageDarwin on TrialDarwinian evolutionfearID the Futureintelligent designPhillip E. JohnsonStephen MeyerU.C. Berkeley,Trending A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to Allcenter_img Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Evolution NewsEvolution News & Science Today (EN) provides original reporting and analysis about evolution, neuroscience, bioethics, intelligent design and other science-related issues, including breaking news about scientific research. It also covers the impact of science on culture and conflicts over free speech and academic freedom in science. Finally, it fact-checks and critiques media coverage of scientific issues. Share Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Intelligent Design Stephen Meyer: “Phil Johnson Had the Guts”Evolution News @DiscoveryCSCNovember 8, 2019, 12:01 PM Recommendedlast_img read more

Citrate Death Spiral

first_imgEvolution Citrate Death SpiralMichael BeheJune 17, 2020, 6:05 AM There seemed, however, to be one interesting exception.4 One morning after more than 30,000 generations of bacterial growth, one flask of E. coli (out of 12 separate flasks that Lenski maintained for comparison and replication’s sake) seemed cloudier than the other 11 flasks. That indicated substantially more bacteria than usual had grown in the nutrient broth. After much hard laboratory work, Lenski’s group showed that a region of the prodigious bacterium’s DNA that was close to a gene coding for a citrate transporter (that is, a protein whose job is to bring external, dissolved citrate into the cell; citrate is a common chemical that cells metabolize) had duplicated.5 The duplication mutation placed the control region of a different gene next to that of the citrate transporter. Richard Lenski, by Zachary Blount [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons The degraded E. coli was eating its dead. References An Interesting Exception? Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share It is rarely feasible to examine evolution in action as organisms invade, colonize, and adapt to a new niche in nature, especially with independently evolving replicates and control populations. In this study, we investigated how E. coli variants with the new ability to grow aerobically on citrate adapted to a novel, citrate-only resource environment in the laboratory. Let me emphasize: the only result from the decades-long, 50,000-plus generation E. coli evolution experiment that even seemed at first blush like it had a bit of potential to yield a novel pathway in the bacterium has resulted instead in spectacular devolution. As Lenski and co-authors wrote in Science in 2019 in their dismissive review of Darwin Devolves(which focused strongly on the clear degradation occurring over the course of the LTEE):7 Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Here’s why that helped. The citrate-transporter gene’s natural regulator causes the gene to be turned off whenever oxygen is around, as it was under the normal laboratory growth conditions at MSU. The second regulator, however, allows the gene it controls to be turned on in the presence of oxygen. The mutation that placed a copy of the regulator of the second gene next to the citrate gene then allowed the citrate gene to be turned on in the presence of oxygen, too. Since for technical purposes there was a lot of dissolved citrate in the nutrient broth, the mutant E. coli could import and metabolize (“eat”) the citrate, which was unavailable to nonmutants. With all that extra food, the mutant grew like crazy, quickly surpassing nonmutants. Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Recommended Exactly. That means the LTEE gives us our clearest insight into the general effects of Darwin’s mechanism, which continues to operate no matter what other processes may also be occurring (I’m looking at you, Extended Evolutionary Synthesis), no matter whether an organism is in a lab or in the wild, no matter which kind of organism — whether microbe, plant, or animal — is subject to its tender care. So, thanks to the Lenski group, we know that devolution is relentless — it never rests. In good times and bad, if a change in a species could help it adapt more closely to its environment, degradative mutations will arrive most quickly by far to offer their assistance. And, of course, under selective pressure a species has no choice but to accept helpful ones, even if that eventually leads to the species languishing. Thanks in very large part to the fine work done over decades at Michigan State we can now be certain that, like the citrate-eating E. coli, as an explanation for the great features of life Darwin’s theory itself is in a death spiral. Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis The “one new” function was the citrate mutation. I had called it a “side show” in Darwin Devolves precisely because the E. coli of the LTEE were accumulating degradative mutations much faster than any mutations that might with charity be called constructive:3 Interesting as it is, the ambiguous citrate mutation that started the hoopla is a side show. The overwhelmingly important and almost completely unnoticed lesson is that genes are being degraded left and right, both when they directly benefit the bacteria and when they do so indirectly in support of another mutation. The occasional, particularly noticeable modification-of-function or gain-of-FCT mutation can’t turn back the tide of damaging and loss-of-FCT ones. A Sick Puppycenter_img Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share There are indeed many examples of loss-of-function mutations that are advantageous, but Behe is selective in his examples. He dedicates the better part of chapter 7 to discussing a 65,000-generation Escherichia coli experiment, emphasizing the many mutations that arose that degraded function — an expected mode of adaptation to a simple laboratory environment, by the way — while dismissing improved functions and deriding one new one as a “sideshow”. (Full disclosure: The findings in question were published by co-author Richard Lenski.) The novel result was widely reported, and the conjecture was floated that perhaps the mutant was on its way to forming a new species.6 As I wrote in Darwin Devolves, however, other, much more ominous, genetic results should have tempered any optimism. For example, the citrate mutant had accumulated many of the same beneficial-but-degradative mutations that had previously spread through the population — the new mutation did not, could not, restore them. And later work showed that several more broken genes had been selected in the mutant, apparently to help it metabolize citrate more efficiently.3 A Great Strength TagsbacteriacitrateDarwin DevolvesDarwinian mechanismdevolutionE. colieLifeevolutionfatty acidsgenesgenetic informationLenski labLong Term Evolution ExperimentmetabolismMichigan State UniversitymutationsoxygenRichard Lenski,Trending “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Michael J. BeheSenior Fellow, Center for Science and CultureMichael J. Behe is Professor of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. Behe’s current research involves delineation of design and natural selection in protein structures. In his career he has authored over 40 technical papers and three books, Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA that Challenges Evolution, Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, and The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism, which argue that living system at the molecular level are best explained as being the result of deliberate intelligent design.Follow MikeProfileWebsite Share Photo: Richard Lenski, by Zachary Blount [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons. In their new paper the Lenski group rightfully points out the great strength of its experimental evolutionary system.1 Lessons to Draw The more molecular evolutionary work that rolls in, the more the above conclusion becomes a mere truism. The new paper now reports on 2,500 generations of further evolution of the citrate mutant, in nutrient media that contains either citrate alone or citrate plus glucose (as for earlier generations). As always with the Lenski lab, the research is well and thoroughly done. But the resulting E. coli is one sick puppy. Inside the paper they report that “The spectrum of mutations identified in evolved clones was dominated by structural variation, including insertions, deletions, and mobile element transpositions.” All of those are exceedingly likely to break or degrade genes. Dozens more genes were lost. The citrate mutant tossed genetic information with mindless abandon for short term advantage. Michigan State University biologist Richard Lenski and collaborators have just published a terrific new paper in the journal eLife.1 Anyone who wants to see a crystal-clear example of the inherent, unavoidable, fatal difficulties that the Darwinian mechanism itself poses for unguided evolution should read it closely. Blount, Z., et al. (2020). “Genomic and phenotypic evolution of Escherichia coli in a novel citrate-only resource environment.” eLife 9: e55414.Lenski, R. E. (2017). “Convergence and Divergence in a Long-Term Experiment with Bacteria.” The American Naturalist 190: S57-S68.Behe, M. J. (2019). Darwin devolves: the new science about DNA that challenges evolution. New York, NY, HarperOne, Ch. 7.Blount, Z. D., C. Z. Borland and R. E. Lenski (2008). “Historical contingency and the evolution of a key innovation in an experimental population of Escherichia coli.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105: 7899-7906.Blount, Z. D., et al. (2012). “Genomic analysis of a key innovation in an experimental Escherichia coli population.” Nature 489: 513-518.Pennisi, E. (2013). “The man who bottled evolution.” Science 342: 790-793.Lents, N. H., S. J. Swamidass and R. E. Lenski (2019). “The end of evolution?” Science 363: 590-590. In a particularly telling result, the authors “serendipitously discovered evidence of substantial cell death in cultures of a Cit+ clone sampled from … the LTEE at 50,000 generations.” In other words, those initial random “beneficial” citrate mutations that had been seized on by natural selection tens of thousands of generations earlier had led to a death spiral. The death rate of the ancestor of the LTEE was ~10 percent; after 33,000 generations it was ~30 percent; after 50,000, ~40 percent. For the newer set of experiments, the death rate varied for different strains of cells in different media, but exceeded 50 percent for some cell lines in a citrate-only environment. Indeed, the authors identified a number of mutations — again, almost certainly degradative ones — in genes for fatty acid metabolism that, they write with admirable detachment, “suggest adaptation to scavenging on dead and dying cells.” The paper concerns the further evolution of a widely discussed mutant strain of the bacterium E. coli discovered during the course of Lenski’s Long Term Evolution Experiment (LTEE). The LTEE is his more-than-three-decades-long project in which E. coli was allowed to grow continuously in laboratory flasks simply to observe how it would evolve.2 As I’ve written before, almost all of the beneficial mutations that were discovered to have spread through the populations of bacteria in the LTEE were ones that either blunted pre-existing genes (decreasing their previous biochemical activity) or outright broke them.3 A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to Alllast_img read more

Diversification is Key in Manufacturing Sector

first_img Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. In a business community hit hard by the recession, several local manufacturing companies are seeing diversification and expansion efforts pay off. Officials from Applied Materials Inc., Plum Creek Timber Co. and Sonju Industrial Inc. spoke at the annual Montana West Economic Development meeting on Oct. 21, highlighting both positive news and challenges facing many businesses in the Flathead.Applied Materials Inc.Larry Murphy, corporate vice president for Applied Materials, told the crowd he was pleased with the progress the company’s Flathead and Libby branches have made since Applied purchased Semitool, Inc. last December.Semitool wanted to ensure that the company that bought it would maintain a Flathead workforce, Murphy said, and Applied Materals was the only one to offer to do so.So far, the relationship has been fruitful. In the past year, the Semitool branch of Applied Materials raked in $250 million in sales, and is projected to hit $300 million next year. The previous record was around $240 million, Murphy said. “We’re actually going off the charts,” Murphy told the MWED crowd. “We’ve added about 200 heads, 200 employees, since the acquisition.”The Birch Grove facility in Kalispell has about 140 employees, and the Libby branch has about 30, Murphy said. There are currently 40 openings waiting to be filled, he added.Applied Materials owes its growth and success to the ever-expanding need for semiconductors and the vast computer chip market, Murphy said. The company manufactures equipment used to make microchips. Electronics are using more computer chips than ever – especially in smart phones and products like Apple’s iPad – and the markets are steadily increasing across the globe.While Americans increase smart phone usage by a rate of 34 percent each year, Murphy said demand in China has exploded by 1,000 percent in the past four years. In Asia, where many areas lack landlines, cell phones have become a necessity.“It’s a necessary item for all of us now,” Murphy said. “That’s what’s driving the growth for Semitool and Applied Materials.”Plum Creek Timber Co.At Plum Creek, manufacturing value-added products has become their bread and butter, said Vice President of Northwest Resources and Manufacturing Tom Ray. “Diversifying – it’s how we’re surviving,” Ray said. Plum Creek, along with many timber companies, was hit especially hard when the housing boom busted in 2008, Ray said. The company had to adjust to a market supported by just 500,000 housing starts a year, when previous years had an average of 2 million starts. To stay afloat, the company is almost entirely tied to high-value niche products rather than traditional building materials, Ray said, and the new products are increasing company sales over last year’s levels.Plywood manufacturing plants, such as the two located in the Flathead, are producing plywood sheets with medium-density fiberboard on the outside, which Ray described as a quality structural product with smooth surfaces. It is used in school furniture and cabinetry. Plum Creek is also producing plywood sideboard with exterior grade quality that can be used in highway signs or on the back doors of delivery trucks, Ray said. The company is exporting this material to Mexico as well, he added.Another new product to hit the market is plywood with camouflage siding for hunters, Ray said. These strategic product changes have allowed Plum Creek to maintain operations, Ray said. “Plum Creek is here, we’re surviving and we’re going to be here for a long time,” he said.Sonju Industrial Inc.At Sonju Industrial, business development director Jon Sonju said its key to success is pursuing excellence within the organization, from the employees up.“I don’t even want my employees to be good, they need to be great,” Sonju said.In a business that manufactures products for the defense and aerospace sectors, such as the fins that go on a series of missiles, Sonju said maintaining quality is imperative. With all the challenges facing small businesses these days, such as cash flow, sales and inventory, Sonju said businesses need to be leaders in new ideas and technology or risk being left behind.“I think the answer is I’ve got to run faster than my competition,” Sonju said. “That’s the only answer.”Though it is tough to run a business in the Flathead right now, Sonju said he believes there is a light at the end of the tunnel.“Even in some of this economic turmoil, I think we can still push forward,” Sonju said.Murphy was also optimistic, noting that maintaining a strong business community is integral to the growth of every company.“Economic development is near and dear to all of our hearts and for Semitool-Applied to be successful we all have to be successful together,” Murphy said. Emaillast_img read more

Bringing Glass Back to Basics

first_imgBarry Hood’s latest evolution as a glass artist started about 14 years ago as he watched a string of molten glass burn through a 2-by-4 piece of wood at Pilchuck Glass School. The next day, he poured glass into a hollowed-out log he found outside, creating his favorite piece, “Earth Hart,” and began his journey using an experimental glass-molding technique. “The first one was so successful,” Hood said. “It’s pretty raw; there’s a huge amount of failure, which I really like.” Hood’s work is featured in the Hockaday Museum of Art’s newest round of exhibits. His show, “Flow,” as well as local metal smith Wayne Hammer’s intricate jewelry, will take over the museum’s main level from Jan. 6 to March 17. The museum is also featuring its first annual emerging artists exhibition, “Catch the Vision: From Dreams to Discovery.” There is an opening reception for all the exhibits scheduled for Jan. 13. In the newly repainted and reorganized permanent collection room, the Hockaday will feature the works of Montana artist Josephine Hale from Jan. 6 through Feb. 26. The latest installations are an indication of a new direction for the museum, one that may include more contemporary artists and opportunities to meet the artists responsible for the work. The idea is to give valley residents a chance to see a different facet of the Hockaday, said Liz Moss, the museum’s executive director. “We are going to bring in a variety of traditional and contemporary work,” Moss said. “I want to get people excited about coming here again.” Hood’s work is particularly eye-catching. His exhibit is set in a two-room installation at the museum, which has been transformed with dark walls and direct lighting to illuminate the art. The first room features pieces from his “Harts” collection. These iconic works are the result of pouring 2,300-degree glass into hollowed wood molds and letting it take shape. The glass burns the wood as it cools, a process that only stops once the oxygen is cut off. The resulting works are rough, strong, pitted, creased and entirely unique, giving them a life and a look all their own. “Big Red Sun Hart” by Barry Hood at the Hockaday Museum of Art. Email Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. The shapes often resemble anatomical organs, and Hood labels them “harts.” “When I started working in this process, it became more of a collaboration with nature,” Hood said. “What happens is sort of beyond my control.” After the molding process, Hood takes the glass back to his studio in Helena and cuts, shapes, sands, smoothes and colors them. Then, if the piece is successful, he creates a stand for it. “It’s a pretty involved process,” Hood said. In the second room of the installation, Hood’s work takes on a different facet with some of his “Extinction” pieces. These pieces feature the outlines of leaves and branches in clear glass. Some have Braille poems engraved on their surface, which Hood said are from the 12th and 13th centuries. “We’re all blind. Most of us are blind to ourselves and we’re most certainly blind to the world we’re living in,” Hood said. The idea of using Braille was initially borne of condescension, he admits, but it evolved into an appreciation for humankind’s creativity. “To me, Braille represents the best that mankind has to offer,” Hood said. “They developed this system that allows blind people to read. That’s a pretty cool thing.” However, anyone interested in taking part of verbal conversation with Hood can attend the “Conversations with the Artists” event. It takes place at 4 p.m. before the opening reception on Jan. 13. Hood began working with glass in 1974 during his career in architectural etchings. He eventually got a degree in ceramics, and his University of Montana ceramics teacher, Rudy Autio, is a major influence on Hood’s art. Hood also spent 15 years in Whitefish during the beginning of his career and said he’s excited to revisit the Flathead. “That’s where my business took off and where I really had some wonderful times and created some really nice things,” Hood said. He said he hopes people come to see the exhibit at the Hockaday, and that it makes them stop and think. “If there’s no risk, there’s no art,” Hood said, later adding, “the best art is the art that involves the viewer.” For more information on the Hockaday Museum of Art and the current exhibits, visit www.hockadaymuseum.org or call 406-755-5268. last_img read more