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DD Motoring: Avoid red mist this weekend

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first_imgOne of the disadvantages of living in one of the coolest places on the planet, our own Co. Donegal is that everyone wants to make it their ‘go to’ destination.This holiday weekend, weather permitting the roads in the county will be jammed with a mixture of people in cars with one thing on their mind, to spend a few quality days away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life over St Patrick’s weekend. Advertisement For the majority of motorists, they will plan their journey, no matter how short or long and will include the consideration of delays going through towns that will have their own celebrations for the St Patrick’s weekend.Then there will be those that won’t and will spend their weekend heading where they want to go at the last minute and will harass other motorists on the road.Traffic james and delays all contribute to angry drivers on the road. Photo Brian McDaid.It’s not hard to spot the motorist that has no respect for other drivers on the road.They are the ones who really believe that “their journey” and their time spent on the roads is all that counts. Advertisement Add to this detours and delays that may be in place this weekend these type of drivers will not be happy campersIt’s very hard to walk away from an encounter with one of these types of drivers, especially when you and everyone else is trying to obey detours traffic lights on a busy weekend.How many times in Donegal witnessed a motorist passing a line of traffic and ending up running out of road only to shoe-horning themselves into a space that does not exist.Red MistSo now, if you are anything like me you are not a bit happy with these motorists driving who has put both your life and theirs in danger by nearly causing an accident forcing themselves into the smallest of spaces in front of you.Now you are very focused on the offending motorist, but they are already looking at their next move and are already harassing the driver in front of them weaving in and out, to get them to react. You now mean nothing to them now and even they way they are ignoring an angry wave, the blowing of a horn or the flashing of your lights is having no effect and is just running off them like water off a ducks back.Avoid the red mist on the road this bank holiday weekend and be prepared for the actions of other road users. Photo Brian McDaidAnd just with that they are away again they have spotted their next target or space, and here you are thinking “Jeez am I going to let them away with this?”So, in the heat of the moment you give chase and now you are worse than the car you are chasing because in the eyes of all the other road users both of you have no respect or consideration for anyone.In one split moment of madness, you have turned from a normal motorist in a line of traffic moving at normal speed, to a “hot head” because you feel the victim of someone’s reckless driving. The fact that your passengers are trying to calm you down is even added to the injustice you feel has been served to you by this driver.Make The CallYou the victim are probably more out of control of your car now than the motorist that frustrated you in the first place.They are by now long gone down the road.You have two choices at this point, the first and the one that might help you to settle down a bit is to pull over to the side of the road and report the incident, chances are someone else may have reported the same driver which will give the authorities a chance to build a picture of this person’s dangerous driving style.The second choice is not to report it but reflect on what you are reporting and you may well find that your reactions to this driver may make you as much to blame for escalating the problem.Stop on red the best advice when confronted by another road used. Photo Brian McDaid.Over this first holiday weekend of the year the standard message from the road safety groups and Garda will be posted printed and televised along with these add into your observations while driving on the roads in Donegal ways of avoiding a typical confrontation like this above which happens a lot of drivers on the roads on busy bank holiday weekends.Most of these come to nothing, only a bit of expressed anger, but some escalate with drivers taking the law into their own hands and end up having a mobile argument at the speed which never will end up well.Have a safe motoring weekendDD Motoring: Avoid red mist this weekend was last modified: March 13th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:dd motoringmotormotoringlast_img read more

Origin of Life: Claiming Something for Almost Nothing

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first_imgGetting life to emerge from nonliving chemicals is either a cinch or the most impossible thing in the universe, depending on whom you ask.  Let’s look at a couple of recent papers that suggest the origin of life was no big deal.    A press release from the University of Colorado advertised a paper by Michael Yarus and team in PNAS.1  The team, funded by a $415,610 grant from the National Institutes of Health, concocted a “Tiny RNA Molecule With Big Implications for the Origin of Life.”  It’s the smallest ribozyme yet, with only five nucleotides, and it is able to “catalyze a key reaction that would be needed to synthesize proteins.”  Tom Blumenthal, a colleague working with Yarus, said, “Nobody expected an RNA molecule this small and simple to be able to do such a complicated thing as that.”  By implication, this ribozyme could have been a stepping stone on the way to larger and more complex molecules of life.    Yarus has been a strong proponent of the “RNA World” hypothesis.  The team’s findings argue that RNA enzymes (ribozymes) did not have to be as complex at first to have a function.  He said, “If there exists that kind of mini-catalyst, a ‘sister’ to the one we describe, the world of the replicators would also jump a long step closer and we could really feel we were closing in on the first things on Earth that could undergo Darwinian evolution.”  He refers to the fact that Darwinian evolution by natural selection cannot be invoked till there is a replicator – a system able to duplicate its parts accurately.  Yarus admitted, “the tiny replicator has not been found, and that its existence will be decided by experiments not yet done, perhaps not yet imagined.”    But does this work support a naturalistic origin of life?  A key question is whether the molecule would form under plausible prebiotic conditions.  Here’s how the paper described their work in the lab to get this molecule:RNA was synthesized by Dharmacon. GUGGC = 5’-GUGGC-30 ; GCCU – 5’P-GCCU-3’ ; 5’OH-GCCU = 5’-GCCU-3’ ; GCCU20dU = 5’-GCC-2’-dU; GCC = 5’-GCC-3’ ; dGdCdCrU = 5’-dGdCdCU-3’ . RNA GCC3’dU was prepared by first synthesizing 5’-O-(4,4’- Dimethoxytrityl)3’-deoxyuridine as follows: 3’-deoxyuridine (MP Biomedicals; 991 mg, 0.434 mmol) was dissolved in 5 mL anhydrous pyridine and pyridine was then removed under vacuum while stirring.  Solid was then redissolved in 2 mL pyridine.  Dimethoxytrityl chloride (170 mg, 0.499 mmol) was dissolved in 12 mL pyridine and slowly added to 3’-deoxyuridine solution.  Solution was stirred at room temperature for 4 h.  All solutions were sequestered from exposure to air throughout.    Reaction was then quenched by addition of 5 mL methanol, and solvent was removed by rotary evaporation.  Remaining solvent evaporated overnight in a vacuum chamber.  Product was then dissolved in 1 mL acetonitrile and purified through a silica column (acetonitrile elution).  Final product fractions (confirmed through TLC, 1.1 hexane:acetonitrile) were pooled and rotary evaporated.  Yield was 71%. Dimethoxytrityl-protected 30dU was then sent to Dharmacon for immobilization of 30-dU on glass and synthesis of 5’-GCC-3’-dU.    PheAMP, PheUMP, and MetAMP were synthesized by the method of Berg (25) with modifications and purification as described in ref. 6.  Yield was as follows: PheAMP 85%, PheUMP 67%, and MetAMP 36%.Even more purification and isolation steps under controlled conditions, using multiple solvents at various temperatures, were needed to prevent cross-reactions.  It is doubtful such complex lab procedures have analogues in nature.  They started with pre-existing ribose, furthermore, and did not state whether it was one-handed.  The putative ribozyme function only consisted of one step of a complex multi-step reaction in living organisms: “The small ribozyme initially trans-phenylalanylates a partially complementary 4-nt RNA selectively at its terminal 2’-ribose hydroxyl using PheAMP, the natural form for activated amino acid.”    The team’s interpretation of the significance of their work relies heavily on imagination: “The ultimate importance of these observations may lie partly in the unknown number of other reactions that can be accelerated by comparably small RNAs.”  They simply assumed that a “geochemical source” would be able to produce a suite of other five-nucleotide ribozymes, including theirs.  “On one hand, with this few ribonucleotides to dispose in space, there may not be other similar nucleotide structures that are both stable and capable of catalysis,” they concluded.  But then they relied on future work and imagination: “On the other hand, for obvious reasons, it will be extraordinarily important to look for other tiny RNA active centers, now knowing they can exist.”  Finally, another reason they worked on the RNA-World hypothesis is that they recognized that “it is implausible that primitive peptides were synthesized using already-formed protein catalysts….”  It must be remembered, too, that these chemical reactions, even if they could occur naturally, have no forward-looking capacity.  They have no desire or power to direct their work toward the goal of producing life.  Because natural selection is out of the question before accurate self-replication, any success will be strictly due to chance.    A prerequisite for RNA is sugar.  How did they arise?  Another recent paper in Science might be called the rock candy theory for the origin of life.2  The authors argue that sugars might form naturally in the formose reaction and be stabilized in silicates.  They called this a “bottom-up synthesis of sugar silicates.”  Recognizing that previous work on the formose reaction produced mixtures that were complex and unstable, they argued that “Silicate selects for sugars with a specific stereochemistry and sequesters them from rapid decomposition.  Given the abundance of silicate minerals, these observations suggest that formose-like reactions may provide a feasible pathway for the abiotic formation of biologically important sugars, such as ribose.”  For a summary of this paper, see Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) press release.  The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, Dow Corning Corp. and Schlumberger Ltd.    The formose reaction “is a possible process whereby sugars form abiotically,” they said.  “This reaction converts formaldehyde (HCHO; C1) to a variety of sugars, in the presence of strong bases, organic bases, or minerals.”  Problem is, it “generates a plethora of unstable sugars, of which the key sugar, ribose, is present in a very small proportion.”  And, “An additional drawback is that the products from the formose mechanism are racemic [mixed-handed], whereas sugars under terrestrial biological conditions are homochiral” (one-handed).  Their work showed that some of these limitations can be overcome with silicates.    A look through the paper, however, shows complex lab procedures that are hard to justify in nature.  They claimed that “This bottom-up synthesis of sugar silicates is a plausible prebiotic process,” but noted that the sugars “oligomerize very slowly” and “uncomplexed higher sugars decompose rapidly under alkaline conditions.”  The RSC article states, though, that high alkaline conditions are required for the scenario, and that most of the silicates formed in weathering processes are consumed by other reactions.  To delay the decomposition, the sugars have to be complexed quickly on silicates or clays.  But they did not say how complexing the sugars with silicates might prevent, rather than accelerate, downstream biogenetic reactions.  So in their best-case scenario, some sugars might form in the formose reaction, and be sequestered in silicate complexes.  Ribose (essential for RNA) would constitute a tiny fraction of product (see 11/05/2004).    At some point, something would have had to take the correct sugars out of the silicate cabinet and use them to assemble RNA while preventing damaging cross-reactions occurring with other compounds.  Even then, the problem of sequencing the nucleotides – the key question – has not been addressed.  Where did the genetic code come from?  One ribozyme is not a code.  Unless and until all the ingredients for a self-replicating system are accounted for, none of these suggestive steps constitute progress toward the origin of life.1.  Turk, Chumachenko and Yarus, “Multiple translational products from a five-nucleotide ribozyme,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences February 22, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0912895107.2.  Lambert, Gurusamy-Thangavelu and Ma, “The Silicate-Mediated Formose Reaction: Bottom-Up Synthesis of Sugar Silicates,” Science, 19 February 2010: Vol. 327. no. 5968, pp. 984-986, DOI: 10.1126/science.1182669.Origin-of-life research suffers from a glaring flaw: lack of critical analysis.  Papers and press releases like this should immediately be subjected to unbiased criticism: “Those are not plausible prebiotic conditions!” or “How would nature sequester the desired compounds from damaging cross-reactions without the techniques you used?”  Many more questions should be asked.  Instead, because secular science has a vested interest in making the origin of life sound simple on the way to Darwinism, the journals allow these views to be aired uncontested.  It presents a false impression that science is making progress toward an answer in little, cumulative steps.  Institutions like the University of Colorado also have a vested interest in making their professors look good in the media.    If Big Science would do its job, the creationists and intelligent design community would not have to be cast in the role of spoil sports, showing why these ideas won’t work.  They won’t work anyway, but other insiders, not just the expelled, should be saying so.  After all, much of the work was paid for with taxpayer dollars.  Where are the watchdogs?THE ROCK CANDY THEORY OF THE ORIGIN OF LIFEIn the Big Rock Candy Mountains, science takes a holiday;Your funding comes around once a week and it’s Darwin Day every day.You never have to clean your lab or put formose away;There’s a little white lie you can wink your eye,Notions jump so high they can touch the skyIn the Big Rock Candy Mountains.(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Huge win for Montjane in Gauteng Open

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first_img8 April 2013 “As soon as I realised that she was struggling with her serve and rhythm, I started putting pressure on her with my returns. She also struggled with her forehand, so I hit a lot of shots to her forehand to raise the pressure. Third-seed Montjane beat top-seed Jiske Griffioen in straight sets 6-4 6-1 at the Gauteng East Tennis Centre in Benoni, east of Johannesburg, while world number one Kunieda briefly lost his bearings in the first set before running out a 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 winner over second-seed Fernandez in the Grade I NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour event. MenJapanese star Kunieda was 0-3 down to Fernandez in the opening set, but the world number one managed to dig himself out of the hole with some aggressive shot play and levelled the score in the sixth game. World number one David Wagner initially struggled against second seed Andy Lapthorne, but the American prevailed to win the quads’ singles final 6-3 6-4. An injury in August derailed Montjane’s Paralympic dreams and she launched her come back only recently in January, reaching the quarter-finals of the Australia Open and becoming the first African to compete in a wheelchair tennis Grand Slam event. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material After winning the tie break, the Japanese player was back to form and cruised to his first victory on South African soil after breaking the Argentinean teenager’s serve in the second game. “I have to admit that I was very nervous about this match against Jiske,” Montjane said afterwards. “I had never beaten her and she is a very experienced player. My coach Holger Losch told me to just play my own game and to get a little more aggressive. ‘Fantastic’“It’s been a long road back, but it is really fantastic to play at this level again after all the injuries, and to win again,” Montjane said. VictoryThe South African star then rushed to victory in less than an hour after two breaks of serve in the second and sixth games of the second set. “This victory has given me a lot of confidence going into the Acsa SA Open next week. It’s a Super Series event on the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour and it carries a lot of world ranking points. I would really like to do well next week.” In March, she underlined her growing stature when she reached the finals of the women’s singles and doubles at the Pensacola Open in the United States. ‘Confidence’“I got a lot of confidence after winning the tie-break and everything felt good after that.” World number seven KG Montjane delivered a commanding performance to win her second successive women’s singles title at the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) Gauteng Open, while top seed Shingo Kunieda had to work much harder than expected to lift the men’s title against Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez on Sunday. Looking ahead to the Acsa SA Open, Kunieda said he needs to work on a few things, but he hopes to win back-to-back titles. “I let Gustavo take control in first couple of games,” Kunieda said. “When I got more aggressive and I took more risks, I made a comeback to level the match. I made more first serves and less unforced errors and I took control of the match. Montjane had never beaten the Dutch player before, but she wrapped up the first set 6-4 in 28 minutes after making the crucial break in the 10th game. ‘Work’“Of course, I want to win next week, but you saw in the final with Gustavo, it’s not always easy. I have to work on a few things. My confidence is high because I have had a good year so far. I definitely think I can make it to the final.” Germany’s Lucy Shuker and Whiley won the women’s doubles final against Montjane and Katharina Kruger of Germany in straight sets 6-1 6-4, while men’s first seeds Michael Jeremiasz from France and Britain’s Gordon Reid defeated second seeds Fernandez and Frenchman Frederic Cattaneo 6-3 7-5. SAinfo reporter A three-time Paralympic gold winner, Kunieda arrived in South Africa having won three titles this year in Sydney, Melbourne and Rotterdam. His 382nd men’s singles victory also extended his unbeaten sequence on the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour to 40 matches since mid-June last year. Pressure“After I won the first set, I felt hopeful that I could win the match. I just kept piling on the pressure and I went all out to win.”last_img read more

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