More Original Dinosaur Protein Found

first_imgThis time Mary Schweitzer’s team found keratin protein on a claw of an ostrich-sized dinosaur from Mongolia.If you put a chicken under a sand dune, will it last for 75 million years? That’s what a report on PhysOrg seems to imply. Like some bird claws, the claws of dinosaurs have a keratinous sheath that covers the digits. Some of the protein from that sheath has now been detected in a fossil of “an emu-sized dinosaur that lived in what is now Mongolia during the Cretaceous period.”Keratin makes up hair and fingernails on us humans. It comes in two forms, alpha-keratin and a more durable beta-keratin. The researchers who dug up the “exceptionally preserved” specimen noticed the similarity of this dinosaur’s claw sheath to that of a living ostrich’s claw sheath, so they ran some tests to see if it could be original protein. Alison Moyer is a PhD candidate from North Carolina State who is now doing a postdoc at Drexel University.IHC [immunohistochemical] testing utilizes antibodies that react against a particular protein. If the protein is present, the antibodies bind to small regions of the protein and indicate where the protein is located in the tissue. Moyer used beta-keratin antibodies derived from modern bird feathers. In initial IHC testing, results were inconclusive, which led Moyer to look more closely at the specimen. She found an unusually high concentration of calcium in the fossil claw – much higher than would be found in claws from the living birds used in comparison or from the sediment surrounding the fossil. Theorizing that the calcium might be affecting results, Moyer removed the calcium and did further IHC testing on the claw sheath material.After the calcium was removed, the antibodies reacted much more strongly, indicating the presence of beta-keratin and preservation of original molecules.NC State is the home institution of Mary Schweitzer, who caught international attention in 2005 with discovery of soft tissue in a T. rex femur (see 3/24/05 and CBS 60 Minutes interview). Since then, many examples of original biological material have been found in creatures thought to have died tens or hundreds of millions of years ago. Most scientists had thought that biological tissues could not last a hundred thousand years, let alone millions. The authors say as much in an indirect way:Although conventional wisdom challenges the preservation of endogenous molecular remains, our combined data support the presence of original, proteinaceous material associated with this specimen, and add to the literature supporting molecular preservation in fossil materials across geological time.Those with access to the Royal Society journals can look up the paper for details. Schweitzer is listed as a co-author. The abstract says, “The fossil sheath was compared with that of extant birds, revealing similar morphology and microstructural organization.” It suggests that calcium acted as a preservative. The presence of hydrophobic amino acid residues cross-linked by disulfide bonds may have helped, they say. Unfortunately, the methods used precluded sequencing the protein to compare it with modern keratin.There are some who are not surprised to find soft tissue in fossils. Outspoken creationist Mark Armitage, who recently won a settlement against California State University for having fired him when he published a peer-reviewed paper on soft tissue in a Triceratops fossil he himself dug up and analyzed (10/04/16), believes the evidence not only refutes millions of years but supports the Biblical account of dinosaurs and all life.Breaking News 11/10/16: Another feathered dinosaur fossil has been reported from China. An exceptionally-preserved “mud dragon” (see Fox News) has its head arched back in the common “dinosaur death pose” indicative of suffocation. The open-access paper in Scientific Reports does not mention any soft-tissue preservation in this specimen of an oviraptorosaur, nor any impressions of feathers. Paleontologist Stephen Brusatte thinks it was a winged, flightless creature that got stuck in mud, but he was not present when the fossil was uncovered by workmen using dynamite in a building project. “Many of these discoveries are not found by professors or academic scientists with PhDs, but by farmers and workmen. This new discovery is a prime example of that.”We’re still waiting for the moyboys to tell the world how so much soft tissue can last for millions of years. This was not their prediction. It was a complete surprise. Now they are in rescue mode, trying to salvage their precious millions of years against the evidence of science and reason. Too much is at stake for them to admit defeat, so they have to ignore the implications of this powerful evidence. We’ll just keep putting it out there and letting common-sense people figure out what it means.Think about this, too: If the millions of years collapses for dinosaurs, it collapses for the story that birds evolved from dinosaurs. So what if this Mongolian dinosaur had similar proteins in its claws to extant birds? Big deal. Birds and dinosaurs were contemporaries, not ancestors or descendants by a Darwinian just-so story. Humans have keratin on their fingernails, too. Keratin is found in all kinds of reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals. All it proves is that animals have a common designer.(Visited 69 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Iron Lady of manganese takes on mining’s big boys

first_imgDaphne Mashile-Nkosi is the owner of a multimillion-rand manganese mine in the arid Northern Cape town of Hotazel and one of a handful of women in South Africa’s mining industry. Battle-hardened by her experiences in the struggle against apartheid, she’s not afraid to tackle those who stand in her way.Daphne Mashile-Nkosi is not only a successful businessperson but is also an activist for women’s rights. (Image: Kalagadi Manganese) Shamin ChibbaHotazel, as its name suggests, lies on an arid savannah in the Kalahari region of the Northern Cape, the scorching sun beating the dusty plains. Dominating the town’s landscape is a massive, nondescript plant: the Kalagadi Manganese Mine, said to be the largest in the world, but also one of the most eco-friendly.Standing on the top floor of the site’s seven-story sintering plants, which processes the manganese ore, the mine’s owner Daphne Mashile-Nkosi, known as the iron lady, looks out over the arid landscape. She recalls the time she and her now late husband, Stanley Nqobizizwe Nkosi, got the land.“Before we built the mine, this was a game farm,” she said. “When my husband and I approached it, there was a locked gate. The farmers wanted to put the dogs on us.”The Nkosi’s eventually received their licence to prospect for manganese in the Kalahari Basin in 2005 and started what is now a R7-billion venture. Mashile-Nkosi is the chief executive and founder of Kalahari Resources, the holding company for the Kalagadi Manganese Mine in Hotazel.For well over a century South African mining has been dominated by white men, so it is rare to find a black woman among the major players in the industry. “The mining industry has not been an easy road, especially for a black woman,” Mashile-Nkosi said at the 2014 African CEO Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, where she was named CEO of the Year.“I have persevered and succeeded in surmounting the many obstacles that have been placed in my path. Where there is no pain, there is no gain.”But Mashile-Nkosi is not all business. She is also involved in women’s rights and upliftment, and environmental sustainability. She is a trustee and the chairperson of the Women’s Development Bank Trust and chairs the Women’s Development Bank Investments Holdings.At her speech in Geneva, she counted these as her successes, part of the work that earned her the award. That award, she said, “also acknowledges that an African woman can make her mark in the historically male-dominated mining industry.”The Stanley Nqobizizwe Nkosi Sinter Plant at the Kalagadi mine that processes the manganese mined in the area. (Image: Kalagadi Manganese)The making of a woman minerIn 2001, Mashile-Nkosi and her husband established Kalahari Resources with the intention of mining manganese on the game farm. The opportunity arose from new mining legislation designed to bring historically disadvantaged individuals, especially women, into the industry.The mine has brought some relief to an impoverished part of South Africa, creating up to 3 000 jobs in the Northern Cape. And it looks after the people in those jobs: Kalagadi has on-site accommodation and state-of-the-art ablution facilities. According to Mashile-Nkosi, the mine first completed a prefeasibility study through JSE-listed construction firm Group Five to determine the housing needs of its workers.In an interview with Leadership magazine, Mashile-Nkosi said women employees at Kalagadi are treated as equals to men, and often have high-level responsibilities. “We have ensured that women are given meaningful and critical roles at Kalagadi Manganese – especially in the fields of finance, geology and engineering.”Kalagadi has an estimated 960-million metric tons of manganese as deep as 340 metres underground. The plant’s advanced mining and processing machinery allows it to produce as much as 2.4-million tons of manganese per year. Mashile-Nkosi said the life of the mine could be more than 300 years.The mine unearths some 3-million tons of ungraded ore a year, 38% of which is made up of manganese. The sintering plant then processes ore and dust into a high-grade agglomeration known as sinter, 47% of which is manganese, which is then ready for the smelter.Resilience born from the struggleBorn in Pilgrim’s Rest in Mpumalanga, Mashile-Nkosi grew up in a poor household that included two brothers and a sister. After completing her schooling in 1976, she became a committed anti-apartheid activist. Her experience of the struggle cemented her determination to develop black communities and women to this day.She was a founding member of the Detainees Parents’ Support Committee, which in the 1970s and 1980s gave moral and material support to families of detainees and political prisoners. She was also involved in the formation of the United Democratic Front in 1983, chaired the Soweto sub-region of the ANC Women’s League, and was later the general-secretary of the Soweto branch of the South African Communist Party.In 2008 Mashile-Nkosi’s battle-hardened attitude served her well, when her husband died. He went to Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg to treat a pinched nerve in the neck. But according to reports, poor nursing and a botched throat operation left him choking to death. She worked through the trauma well enough to take on the mining business on her own and turn it into a multibillion-rand venture.Her steely personality came to the fore again during a dispute with Kalagadi’s major shareholder ArcelorMittal. The steelmaker had not fulfilled its funding obligations. Kalahari Resources took them to the South Gauteng High Court and won the case, forcing the steel giants to pay R285-million within five days.In that time, Mashile-Nkosi did not succumb to the pressure of the court battle, and thanks her resilience. This trait, she told DestinyConnect.com, are the qualities of a leader. “She rates resilience, self-motivation, tenacity, courageousness, vision and patience as her strengths,” said the writer.Source: Kalagadi Manganese.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

XBRL: Financial Content Management Language

first_imgOver the last week Jon Udell of InfoWorld has had a podcast and a number of blog entries about XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language). Since 2000, many have expected to see a revolution in the accounting and financial industry because of XBRL.  It just didn’t happen though because industry acceptance was lacking.  But that seems to be changing.  In October 2005, the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Federal Reserve Board launched an XBRL project that mandates banks to submit quarterly reports in XBRL format.  8300 banks are now participating.  The SEC is also moving towards standardizing XBRL as the language for exchange and reporting of financial information.  EDGAR Online is providing company financial statements in XBRL format.  And XBRL is gaining ground in Europe too.XBRL as a standard exchange format will revolutionize the way financial data can be communicated, often shaving days or even months off of existing processes.   Company financial records can be consolidated.  Manual re-entry or data transformations will be eliminated.  XBRL will further commoditize/standarize datasets operated on by accounting software and ERP packages.Further, XBRL will form the foundation for software tools and applications that will help corporations provide the greater transparency that compliance regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley have been demanding.  Financial comparative analyses of companies can be run at the push of a button. This will be a huge plus for securities analysts and investors.Technologies like XBRL and ECM (Enterprise Content Management) document and records management are key towards giving companies and their auditors greater control in finding corporate information.last_img read more

Open Thread: Is China Really Threatened by U.S. Social Media?

first_imgOne of the breakthrough moments for Twitter came in June 2009, when people in Iran used Twitter to protest the country’s election results. This gave Twitter a lot of exposure in western mainstream media. But more than that, other countries where democracy is tenuous sat up and took notice.The Chinese government started to view social media services as a way for “subversive” citizens to cause trouble. The New York Times recently reported that a January 24 editorial in People’s Daily, the Communist Party of China’s official newspaper, blamed “online warfare launched by America, via YouTube video and Twitter micro-blogging” for sowing discord amongst the Iranian people. China currently blocks prominent U.S. social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. However, it’s arguable how important those services are to Chinese citizens. As digital consultant Wei Wang guest blogged on ReadWriteWeb in November, “every social media category has a Chinese equivalent that is tuned to the particular needs of the mainland Chinese market.”Kaiser Kuo, a leading commentator about the Chinese Internet market, gave us further context in a comment on an August 2009 article on ReadWriteWeb:“Yes, there are some Chinese who use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media services that have been blocked in China. But the overwhelming majority of people interested in SNS will use, say, QQZone, or Xiaonei (recently rebranded Renren), or the very popular SNS Kaixin001, or 51.com. Youtube is blocked, but long before that Youtube was a distant also-ran in the Internet video race, far behind sites like Youku.com and Tudou.com. Microblogging sites like Jiwai.de, Fanfou, and Zuosa — all of which, lamentably, are now out of service in the aftermath of Urumqi — all boast(ed) user numbers that dwarf the number of Twitter users in China.” It’s clear that the Chinese government really is threatened by the rise of social media, because those services give citizens a voice in media – and that voice can potentially reach a global audience. But let’s be realistic: how much of a threat to freedom of speech is banning Twitter in a country where other types of social media are much more popular anyway.What do you think – are we in the West making too much of an issue of China banning Twitter, Facebook and similar social media sites? Just because they’re popular with us, doesn’t mean they’re as popular (and therefore dangerous) in a country like China. Are we over-reacting to the Chinese government’s moves against U.S. social media? There’s no doubting the impact of social media on our day-to-day lives in 2010. In the western world, most big brands have Facebook and Twitter accounts nowadays, many TV journalists “write a blog” about their beat every day, and services like YouTube are widely consumed. However it’s the rise of social media as a tool for social activitism that has really brought these technologies to the fore. Sometime over the past year, it reached the point where some governments became threatened by social media and started cracking down on it. China has been the most high profile example recently. But does the Chinese government really care about Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as much as we in the west think they do?Comment Highlights:Joel: China “will restrict the foreign original and support a more easily regulated domestic alternative.”Gabriela: “While it is true that there are Chinese alternatives, those sites are not nearly as open.”key: “China govt blocks websites not according to their popularity, but to their degree of freedom.” Tags:#international#Open Thread#Social Web#web richard macmanus Related Postslast_img read more

J&K Education Dept. withdraws ban on ‘pheran’

first_imgA ban order barring officials from wearing pheran, a long woollen winter dress, to the office of Zonal Education Officer (ZEO) in north Kashmir’s Langate, which triggered a massive online campaign against it, was withdrawn on Thursday. Chief Education Officer, Kupwara, Mohammad Shafi War, said the order issued by the Langate zonal officer, Agha Abdul Rasheed, “has been withdrawn.”“Pheran is part of our culture. The earlier order was passed after some employees would come to work in their night dresses,” said Mr. War. The earlier move evoked sharp responses from politicians and civil society in Kashmir, which is experiencing a cold wave with sub-zero temperatures. The pheran is preferred attire to battle the cold. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday uploaded pictures wearing a pheran to protest against the ban. “ My father and I have worn pherans to official functions and will continue to do so,” said Mr. Abdullah, as he uploaded pictures of his father Dr. Farooq Abdullah, and himself, in pictures wearing the dress.Roohi Nazki, a restaurateur, started an online campaign in favour of the pheran, garnering a massive response from netizens in Kashmir and abroad.last_img read more