Will Gavin is in the hotseat this Wednesday morning as we discuss Russia’s suspended disqualification from Euro 2016.We’ll also be reviewing yesterday’s action as Iceland held Portugal to a 1-1 draw aswell as continuing our build-up to tomorrow’s Group B clash between England and Wales.We’ll also get the latest from Queens Club and Royal Ascot.
Are pigeons like parrots? Are hummingbirds like hawks? And are falcons unlike eagles? Scientists are all a-flutter after results of a massive genetic comparison of birds has put some members in unlikely pigeonholes. “The largest ever study of bird genetics has not only shaken up but completely redrawn the avian evolutionary tree,” said Science Daily. “The study challenges current classifications, alters our understanding of avian evolution, and provides a valuable resource for phylogenetic and comparative studies in birds.” That last clause seems unjustifiably optimistic considering what news reports are saying about this study. Here is a short list of quotations gleaned from Science Daily, New Scientist, Reuters, and the blog Living the Scientific Life. They give you a sense of the upheaval among scientists upon finding out that birds’ appearances tell little about their supposed evolutionary history.The findings challenge many assumptions about bird family relationships and suggest many biology textbooks and bird-watchers’ field guides may need to be changed.One of the lessons we’ve learned is appearances seem to be very deceiving. Things that are quite different-looking sometimes end up being related.[Sushma] Reddy said these quick changes have made bird evolution hard to pin down, and several smaller prior studies have led to conflicting results. “We didn’t have a good sense of how any of these major bird groups were related to each other,” said Reddy, who worked with researchers at several other labs.Their findings suggest birds can be grouped broadly into land birds, like the sparrow; water birds, like the penguin; and shore birds, like the seagull. But there are many paradoxes within these groupings.This analysis effectively redraws avian phylogeny, or family tree, thus shaking up our current understanding of the early, or “deep”, evolutionary relationships of birds.So why is avian taxonomy suddenly in such a state of upheaval?These analyses reveal two major findings: First, the classifications and conventional wisdom regarding the evolutionary relationships among many birds is wrong. Second, birds that have similar appearances or behaviors are not necessarily related to each other.Shorebirds are not a basal evolutionary group, which refutes the widely held view that shorebirds gave rise to all modern birds.This research also affect publishers and birders because biology textbooks and birdwatching field guides will have to be rewritten.This new tree contains several notable surprises. For example, falcons are more closely related to songbirds than to other hawks and eagles. The closest kin of the diving birds called grebes turn out to be flamingos. And tiny, flashy hummingbirds, according to the new tree, are just a specialised form of nighthawks, whose squat, bulky bodies make them an unlikely cousin.In fact, the new tree ended up regrouping about a third of all the orders in earlier phylogenies of birds.For example, the new tree puts an order of flying birds, the tinamous, squarely in the midst of the flightless ostriches, emus and kiwis. If true, this implies either that flightlessness evolved at least twice in this lineage, or else that the tinamous re-evolved flight from a flightless ancestor. “A lot of us actually don’t believe their result,” says [Joel] Cracraft, who says that further studies will be needed to resolve the issue.Similarly, distinctive lifestyles (such as nocturnal, raptorial and pelagic, i.e., living on the ocean or open seas) evolved several times.The results of the study are so broad that the scientific names of dozens of birds will have to be changed, and biology textbooks and birdwatchers’ field guides will have to be revised.So what are scientists to believe – their eyes or their phylogenetic software? The results defy common-sense arrangements. They render morphological classification (the way Darwin and his followers did it before genetics became a science) unreliable. That is why Cracraft and others are finding it hard to believe. The anonymous writer of the “Living the Scientific Life” blog tried to explain why the data are so confusing:So why is avian taxonomy suddenly in such a state of upheaval? The precise evolutionary relationships between major groups of birds have long been contentious because they underwent an explosive radiation event sometime between 65 million and 100 million years ago. Nearly all of the major avian groups arose within just a few million years — a very short period of evolutionary time. As a result, those groups of birds, such as parrots, doves and owls, that are united by distinct morphological characteristics seem to have appeared suddenly because there are few, or no, known evolutionary intermediates that provide clues to their deeper relationships with other avian groups.She thus tried to “save the appearances” within the evolutionary framework by appealing to a lack of data. The hidden events that led to the “emergence” of groups of birds left no trace in the record. What’s more, the new phylogeny requires more appeals to “convergent evolution” Now, scientists will have to believe that unlikely events occurred multiple times in unrelated groups. The five-year “Early Bird” study was part of the “Assembling the Tree of Life” (AToL) research project funded by the National Science Foundation (10/30/2002, 09/08/2006).This entry falls in the category of “Everything you know is wrong.” Throw out the field guide and forget everything your teacher told you about how birds evolved. Now we know “the truth” about bird evolution. Evolutionists play this game every once in awhile to look busy. It provides job security. You need the evolutionist to interpret the world for you lest you be misled by your senses and common sense. Evolutionary theory is looking more and more like divination (cf. 06/12/2008). The mystery religion of understanding the deep relationships in Darwin’s mythical tree requires faith in the professionals. Ordinary bird-watchers should not try this at home. It requires the skill of the duly possessed shaman who alone has the power to conjure up the image of Charlie in the crystal ball of the genes. (Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Search operations continued on Thursday at an opencast coal mine of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) in Odisha’s Talcher where three workers are feared trapped.A 30-member National Disaster Response Force team is trying to trace the workers under massive heaps of coal and debris. Rescue operations have been affected due to intermittent rain.Mound collapseThe accident had taken place around 11 p.m. on Tuesday when a portion of an earthen mound caved in and trapped several workers. While nine persons were rescued, one body was recovered. The public sector firm had said that labourers working on the night shift at Bharatpur opencast mine in Talcher Coalfields had come under a dump slide due to a strata failure. MCL (Technical/Operations) director O.P. Singh said sincere efforts were being made to trace the trapped workers.The incident was also raised in the State Assembly with Senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra saying that the MCL authorities should be taken to task for their laxity, apart from giving adequate compensation to the kin of the victims.
Options in other seasons for these states.Arunachal PradeshArunachal Pradesh Tourism Centre, Arunachal Bhawan, Kautilya Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi; tel: (011) 2301 3915; Itanagar: (0360) 221 4745; www.arunachaltourism.inSpring at Bhalukpong: A scenic town on the way to Tawang, Bhalukpong is where you can tackle the mahseer at the Kameng river or trek in the glorious mountains that surround you. The orchidarium at Tipi, nearby, houses more than 7,500 varieties. Nearest big town is Tezpur in Assam, 60 km away.Summer at Tawang: Visit the world famous Tawang Monastery, the second largest in Asia and the biggest draw of the state. Explore the Tawang village and drive to nearby Shonga-tser and Panga-teng lakes. About 180 km from Bomdila.Winter at Namdapha Wildlife Sanctuary: Rising in tiers to a height of 4,500m, Namdapha is the only sanctuary of its kind in India and offers a rare chance to spot the clouded leopard and the snow leopard. Fly to Dibrugarh and enter from Mia, 112 km away.DelhiDelhi Tourism Development Corporation, 18-A, D.D.A. SCO Complex, Defence Colony, New Delhi; tel: (011) 2464 7005, 2469 8431, 2461 8026; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.delhitourism.nic.in Spring in Old Delhi: Spring is the best time to dig into mouth-watering food at Old Delhi in Chandni Chowk. Take the Delhi Metro and make your way to Paranthewali Gali to dig into piping hot paranthas that are available in many delicious flavours. Also visit Karim at Jama Masjid for those succulent kebabs and mutton burrahs. Karim; tel: (011) 2326 4981 or visit www.karimhoteldelhi.com.Summer at nightclubs: While its burning in the day, step out in the evening when it is cooler to experience the city’s hip nightlife. You can head to Blue Bar at Taj Palace or Aqua at The Park for a quiet drink, but if you are looking for something hipper make your way to LAP. This is a VIP lounge and hip club rolled into one and is one of Delhi’s most happening places now. Blue Bar, tel: (011) 2611 0202; Aqua, tel: 2374 3000; LAP, tel: (011) 2410 3762.Monsoon for mall crawl: While it is pouring outside take refuge at Delhi’s malls and fill in your shopping bags. Select Citywalk in Saket is an upscale shopping destination housing over 150 brands and F&B outlets under one roof. But if it’s the international designers you are looking for head to DLF Emporio in Vasant Kunj which has brands like Armani, Gucci, Burberry, Fendi, Dior and more. Visit www.selectcitywalk.com and www.dlfemporio.com for more details.Winter for heritage walks: Re-live the history of Delhi through heritage walks which are organised at 10 locations including The Nizamuddin Shrine, Chandni Chowk and Hauz Khas village. Each tour will take walkers being guided by experienced individuals who have a passion for Delhi’s heritage. Visit www.delhiheritage walks.com for details.Jammu and KashmirJammu and Kashmir Tourism, Tourist Reception Centre, Srinagar; tel: (0194) 245 2690-91; e-mail: email@example.com; www.jktourism.orgSpring at the Tulip Festival: During the months of March and April, The Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar is a riot of colours with over 1.2 million tulips of 70 varieties in bloom. At this time, a Tulip Festival is held for 10 days. The location could not be better–at the foothills of Zabarwan range, overlooking the Dal Lake, this festival is the one of its kind in the country.Summer at Hemis National Park: Summer is the best season to go for a trek at the Hemis National Park, located in the moonscapes of the Eastern Ladakh region. Enthusiasts go here in search of the elusive snow leopard though all you may be able to spot is the kiang, ibex and Tibetan antelope. As many as 16 mammal and 73 bird species can be found here. Contact Deputy Conservator of Forests, Hemis National Park; tel: (01982) 225 0953Winter at Gulmarg Snow Festival: During the winter season, Gulmarg is covered with snow and the best way to experience this haven is by taking part in the Gulmarg Snow Festival organised by J&K Tourism. Held in December, this festival officially starts the winter sports of the season. The Gulmarg Snow Festival has a variety of sporting action like snow baseball, rugby, snow cycling, night skiing and ice skating. Gulmarg is two hours from Srinagar. Visit www.jktourism.org for more information.ManipurTourist Information Centre, Imphal; tel: (0385) 245 0038. In New Delhi: (011) 4575 0800Spring at Loktak Lake: The largest freshwater lake in the North-East, Loktak is famous for the floating islands called phumdi, and their wild inhabitants, the sangai or brow-antlered deer, only found here. About 50 km from Imphal. Winter for the city: Explore the city of Imphal when the winter sun is out, the perfect time to explore the ruins of Kangla Fort at its heart and to shop at Ima Keithal, the largest market in Asia run by women. MizoramGovernment of Mizoram, Aizawl; tel: (0389) 233 3475/ 4474; www.mizotourism.nic.inSpring for celebrating Chapchar Kut: Be anywhere in the first week of March in Mizoram and you will find celebrations of Chapchar Kut on in full swing… People turn up in traditional attire and you can witness the Cheraw, the local bamboo dance of Mizoram.Summer atop the Phawngpui Peak: Located within the Phawngpui National Park, this is the highest peak in the state. At 2,360m, trekking up to the summit is a challenging but rewarding experience as you witness the stunning Blue Mountains. Over 300 km from Aizawl and needs overnight stay.Winter at Dampa: Dampa Tiger Reserve is the biggest wildlife sanctuary in Mizoram and the rolling hills and rippling streams cut a pretty picture. You can spot the tiger, leopard, sloth bear and the Himalayan black bear and, of course, the hoolock gibbon. 127 km from Aizawl.TripuraTripura Tourism Development Corporation Limited, Swetmahal, Agartala; tel: (0381) 222 5930/ 3893; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://tripuratourism.inSpring at Agartala: Enjoy the city when the sun is still mild, walking around the Kunjaban Palace gardens and the one kilometre-long Ujjayanta Palace, home of the erstwhile royalty.Winter for the Orange Festival: Witness the undulating hills of Jampui in the north district of the state come alive during the Orange Festival, usually held in November. Join the festivities or just marvel at nature’s colourful spread. 250 km from AgartalaWest BengalWest Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Ltd; Hemanta Bhawan, 4th Floor, 12 B.B.D.Bag (East), Kolkata; tel: (033) 4401 2086/2082; e-mail: email@example.com; www.westbengaltourism.gov.in Spring for the melas: The Gangasagar Mela, a three-day fair that is the largest festival of the state, is held at Sagar Dwip during Makar Sankranti. At the same time, in Birbhum, is the Kenduli Mela, where a large number of baul singers fill the air with delightful music.Summer for Darjeeling: For the tea estates and for the hills, Darjeeling is the best summer getaway from West Bengal. Explore the town, ride the DHR or visit the monasteries. Fly to Bagdogra and drive the 100 km.Monsoon at Santiniketan: Santiniketan takes on an added poetic charm during the monsoon. Visit the laidback city, make a stop at Uttarayan, the complex where Tagore lived, and see the museum and art gallery. 212 km from Kolkata.Winter for the Kolkata Book Fair: Started in 1976, this is the largest book fair in Asia and a big draw to the city. Winter is also the best time to explore Kolkata’s many charms–while away hours on Park Street and New Market and enjoy the famous street food.advertisementadvertisement
Allegations of match fixing have once again clouded the Pakistani cricket team after former wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider, who had fled to London alleging he had been threatened by bookies, demanded a formal probe into the team’s defeat to India in the ICC World Cup semi-final.Saying he was not surprised by Pakistan’s poor performance and defeat in Mohali on Wednesday, Haider questioned poor performances by several players including wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal. He alleged that fixing has been part of the Pakistani cricket culture.He accused the Akmal brothers of controlling the way the national team functions and alleged that they did not allow any player to settle down in the team.Speaking to Pakistani channel Dunya News from London, Haider said he had run away from the team hotel in Dubai after being harassed by Kamran’s younger brother Umar Akmal. Haider questioned why Kamran was still in the Pakistani team despite dropping a number of catches.Haider had fled from the hotel in Dubai, where the Pakistani team was staying, alleging threat from a fixer in November 2010.He alleged that some national selectors took money from players to select them. He urged the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), government and the International Cricket Council (ICC) to look into the assets of the selectors to get to the bottom of the truth.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s two first-half goals in 10 minutes helped Portugal to a 7-0 demolition of Estonia on Wednesday in the hosts’ last warmup game before the European Championship. (Full Euro 2016 coverage )Ronaldo marked his return to the Portugal squad after a two-game absence by scoring with a powerful header in the 38th and then shooting home from inside the area, extending his Portuguese record tally to 58 goals. He has 126 caps – one shy of Luis Figo’s record.The Portuguese captain showed no signs of the muscle problems that appeared at the end of last season with Real Madrid. Ricardo Quaresma also scored twice, while Danilo and Eder got second-half goals. Karol Mets’ own-goal completed the rout. (‘Ronaldo fully fit for Euro glory’ )Ronaldo took the role of center forward before his halftime substitution but roamed freely and often dropped back into midfield. The Portuguese beat Norway 3-0 and lost 1-0 against England in recent warmups. No player appeared to be injured in Wednesday’s match.Portugal is in Group F at Euro 2016 and plays its first game against Iceland on Tuesday. Austria and Hungary are also in the group.Estonia did not qualify.Despite producing some of Europe’s top players, Portugal has never won any silverware. It was the losing finalist against Greece at Euro 2004, a tournament it played on home turf.
Facebook will begin testing the breakup protection on mobile devices in the US before deciding whether to offer it to all of its 1.5 billion account holders worldwide. Image Credit: CBC Advertisement Facebook is trying to ease the heartache of breaking up.A feature announced Thursday will allow people who have split up with a spouse or partner to turn on an option that spares them the emotional pain of constantly seeing their ex-lover’s posts and pictures in their news feed on the world’s largest social network.Facebook will begin testing the breakup protection on mobile devices in the US before deciding whether to offer it to all of its 1.5 billion account holders worldwide. – Advertisement – The option is designed for people who don’t want to risk offending a former husband, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend by taking the more extreme step of ejecting or blocking them from their Facebook network.After changing their relationship status on Facebook, people will also be allowed to remove their names from past posts linking them to a former partner.[related-posts]“This work is part of our ongoing effort to develop resources for people who may be going through difficult moments in their lives,” Facebook product manager Kelly Winters wrote in a blog post.The breakup protection serves as another reminder of how deeply ingrained Facebook has become in society. More than 1 billion people now hang out on Facebook at least once a day and those who have the network’s addictive mobile application installed on their smartphones tend to visit even more frequently.The Menlo Park, California, company has incentive to try to keep its users as happy as possible. People who become upset with what appears in their Facebook feeds are more likely to avoid coming to the network, depriving the company of the opportunity to collect more information about their preferences and show them ads aimed at those interests.The formula has turned Facebook into a huge success story since Mark Zuckerberg founded the service in a Harvard University dorm room more than a decade ago. Facebook’s market value now stands at $300 billion.[Gadgets]