A’s pitchers Sean Manaea, Jharel Cotton make progress toward return to roster

first_imgSEATTLE — The Oakland A’s rotation has taken blow after blow through the first half of 2019. But with the All-Star break on the horizon, there was finally a bit of good news.On Monday, Oakland ace Sean Manaea will make his first rehab start since undergoing offseason shoulder surgery.Manager Bob Melvin said Manaea is slated to pitch three innings for Class A Stockton and progress from there.“Obviously it’ll be incremental each time,” Melvin said. “We have to get him to a point where he’s …last_img read more

Solar System News

first_imgA flurry of discoveries about the Sun’s family has some scientists smiling and others furrowing their brows.  Astrobiologists, as usual, are wielding their divining rods, looking for water.  Some of these reports surfaced at the European Planetary Science Congress last week at Potsdam, Germany; see agenda and press releases at Europlanet.Basalt assault:  How did small objects in the solar system get hot enough to melt?  The European Space Agency is baffled to find evidence of basalt on asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, reported Science Daily.  Dr. Rene Duffard said, “We do not know whether we have discovered two basaltic asteroids with a very particular and previously unseen mineralogical composition or two objects of non basaltic nature that have to be included in a totally new taxonomic class.”  See also the Space.com report.    The Dawn Spacecraft, scheduled to launch Sept. 26, may be able to find out more about the asteroid belt when it orbits Vesta in 2011 and Ceres in 2015.  Basalt has been observed on Vesta, an asteroid considered large enough to sustain internal heating.  Before now, basalt-containing asteroids were thought to be fragments from Vesta.Comet panspermia:  Chandra Wickramasinghe (Cardiff U) is still pushing panspermia, claiming comets are cosmic storks that seeded the Earth with life.  PhysOrg discussed his investigation of comet interiors based on the Deep Impact and Stardust missions, and quoted his conclusion: “The findings of the comet missions, which surprised many, strengthen the argument for panspermia.  We now have a mechanism for how it could have happened.  All the necessary elements – clay, organic molecules and water – are there.  The longer time scale and the greater mass of comets make it overwhelmingly more likely that life began in space than on earth.”Jupiter: Earth’s protector?  A report on News@Nature questions whether Jupiter is Earth’s bouncer, shielding our planet from impacting comets.  This was a claim in Ward and Brownlee’s book Rare Earth and was also listed in Richards and Gonzalez’ book The Privileged Planet as an indicator of Earth’s good fortune.  Now, the case does not seem as clear cut.  National Geographic also reported on the study presented at the European Planetary Science Congress last week.  Astronomers Jonathan Horner and Barrie Jones concluded that Earth is no better or worse off with Jupiter present.  Their model found, strangely, that the highest risk to Earth would have come if Jupiter were about the mass of Saturn.  Many factors affect the risk analysis, so some disagreement remains.  Science Now mentioned that asteroids and different classes of comets respond differently to the gravitational pull of Jupiter.Comet bomb:  Speaking of comets affecting Earth, PhysOrg presented a story from scientists at UC Santa Barbara that “a large comet may have exploded over North America 12,900 years ago, explaining riddles that scientists have wrestled with for decades, including an abrupt cooling of much of the planet and the extinction of large mammals.”  They based this on iridium levels and microspherules with traces of gas said to be of extraterrestrial origin.  The cometary explosion would have affected ocean currents, ice sheets, and global climate, they claimed.Enceladus no aquarium:  Don’t count on finding life at Enceladus, the erupting moon of Saturn, reported a press release from the University of Illinois.  A new model by Susan Kieffer invokes non-watery processes that don’t require a hot interior.  Her model is being added to the mix of possible explanations for this small moon’s activity.Sharp moon:  The European Space Agency is using images from the SMART-1 spacecraft to try to piece together a story of our moon’s volcanic history.  They claim that “Different ‘pulses’ of volcanic activity in lunar history created units of lava on the surface,” yet did not mention a mechanism that would re-awaken the moon periodically between long periods of silence.    The BBC News reported that Arizona State University is scanning Apollo moon photos at high resolution and releasing them on a new Apollo moon archive website.  These ultra-sharp orbital photos, taken from Apollo 15, 16, and 17, have been “locked away in freezers by Nasa [sic] to preserve them.”  Digital scanning at high resolution and contrast depth will allow these rarely-seen images to be widely viewed for the first time since the 1970s.Uranus ring circus:  Now that the rings of Uranus can be seen edge-on for the first time in 42 years, scientists are taking advantage of the rare alignment to study them, reported EurekAlert, the European Southern Observatory and the BBC News.  A group at UC Berkeley was surprised that “their images show that the rings are changing much more quickly than researchers had previously believed.”  In particular, the inner rings are more prominent now than they were when Voyager 2 flew by in 1987.  A press release from UC Berkeley mentions that similar, dramatic changes have been detected in the rings of Neptune and Saturn, because a lot of forces act on the small dust grains in the rings.  “These forces include pressure from sunlight, drag produced as the dust plows through ionized plasma around Uranus, and even drag from the planet’s magnetic field.”  Impacts from larger bodies can also affect the rings.Martian life redox:  A German astrobiologist is claiming that life could still exist on Mars, provided it uses hydrogen peroxide and water.  Science Now reported how Dr Joop Houtkooper of the University of Giessen, Germany, looked at the Viking soil test results and speculated that “hydrogen peroxide may have been more suitable for organisms adapting to the cold, dry environment of Mars.”  A 1979 Viking image adorned Astronomy Picture of the Day along with Houtkooper’s “speculative question.”  While admitting “such speculation is not definitive,” it justified the story thus: “debating possibilities for life on Mars has again proven to be fun and a magnet for media attention.”  But Ker Than reported for Space.com that other scientists consider Houtkooper’s claim “bogus.”  Norman Pace (U of Colorado) said, “I don’t consider the chemical results to be particularly credible in light of the harsh conditions that Mars offers.”  He also noted that hydrogen peroxide is deadly to terrestrial cells except when cells produce it locally to combat bacteria.Titan your seat belts:  When the Huygens probe descended through Titan’s atmosphere in January 2005, it had a bumpy ride.  EurekAlert reported that Cassini scientists working with weather balloon specialists are getting a handle on understanding how turbulence affected the probe’s descent.  The feedback from Titan may actually help improve weather balloon sensor design.  “We went to Titan to learn about that mysterious body and its atmosphere,” said Ralph Lorenz (Johns Hopkins U); “it’s neat that there are lessons from Titan that can be usefully applied here on Earth.”  The Cassini site also echoed the story that originated from the European Space Agency.    Another story on Titan from the European Planetary Science Congress concerned the erosion of Titan’s methane (see Europlanet press release).  Vasili Dimitrov said “The conditions of Titan’s accretion and evolution are poorly understood,” admitting that the long-term storage of methane on the giant moon is a problem.  “Methane drives the chemical reactions in Titan’s atmosphere but, because it’s so highly reactive and therefore short-lived, it must be replenished,” he said.  He suggested that it might be stored in water-ice clathrates, like crystal cages, but the best packing ratio would require temperatures close to absolute zero.  How and where Titan’s methane reservoir was stored is an unsolved problem.All you wanted to know about Hyperion:  The Cassini mission released a PDF presentation about Hyperion by James Bauer (JPL) and Peter Thomas (Cornell), describing all that is known from Voyager and Cassini about the “sponge moon” and its anomalous carbon dioxide deposits on surface.  Notable facts include the low density (40%), the dark deposits on crater floors, and the apparent match between the dark material on Hyperion and on Iapetus.  Speaking of Iapetus, Cassini is aimed at a super-close flyby of the black-and-white moon on September 10.  On the way it will make fairly close passes by Rhea and Titan on August 30 and 31.  Cassini’s last good look at Iapetus was from more than 76,000 miles away in 2005.  In less than two weeks, the spacecraft flies within 1,000 miles of one of the most intriguing moons of the solar system.Saturn mysteries:  Charles Q. Choi wrote for Space.com that the mysteries at Saturn are mounting.  He catalogued some of the mysteries that Cassini has revealed and so far been unable to answer, including the north polar hexagon, the purity of Saturn’s ring material, the well-defined structures within the rings, the spin rate of the planet and the tugging effect by the little moon Enceladus, and the “energy crisis” of unexplained heat in Saturn’s atmosphere.  Dave Mosher wrote last week in Space.com about another Saturnian mystery that scientists cannot explain: the electrically-charged torus around Saturn is “a lopsided mess.”  For those wanting to just enjoy the pictures, Space.com posted a “Best Cassini Image” gallery for visitors to vote on.Something nu under the sun:  “After 4.5 billion years, sunshine finally figured out,” said Andrea Thompson in her headline for Space.com.  That’s odd, since recorded human history only extends back about one millionth of that time.  Anyway, Princeton researchers using an Italian neutrino detector have detected the low-energy neutrinos expected from current models of solar fusion reactions.  Neutrinos are notated by the Greek letter nu.    Solar energy was blamed for stripping Mars of its water, according to Space.com.  Scientists reporting at the European Planetary Science Congress said that “The water might have been blown into space long ago by strong gusts of solar winds, new satellite observations suggest.”  Effects of solar flares were studied by four spacecraft simultaneously: NASA’s Mars Express, Venus Express and Earth-orbiting GEOS satellite, and the European Space Agency’s SOHO solar orbiter.  High-energy particles were detected at Venus, Earth and Mars simultaneously.  The Earth’s atmosphere is protected by its global magnetic field; Mars is not so blessed.Want to see the stars from Earth any time?  Go to the new Google Sky addition to the popular Google Earth, reported Space.com.  It shows Hubble Telescope images against starry backgrounds and gives you a virtual tour of outer space.These are great days for discovery about our solar neighborhood.  So much is happening in planetary science, it’s hard to take it all in.  Be sure to separate the observations from the speculations.  Sometimes that’s like trying to unbutter toast.(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Evolutionist Learns from “Neo-Creationists”

first_imgNeo-creationists: the Intelligent Design (ID) people as well as the active old creationists, are still to be despised and expelled, thinks an evolutionist.  That doesn’t mean, though, that they aren’t making some good points.    The evolutionist is Gordy Slack, a science writer from Oakland, California, who previously wrote a book about the Dover trial.  Writing for The Scientist, he admitted that they’ve gotten some things right.  Here are some lessons he has learned by hanging around them:Origin of life:  “First, I have to agree with the ID crowd that there are some very big (and frankly exciting) questions that should keep evolutionists humble,” like the origin of life.  He admitted that scientists are “in the dark” about this question.  He rejected, though, the idea that biologists can ignore it and start after life began:Still, I think it is disingenuous to argue that the origin of life is irrelevant to evolution.  It is no less relevant than the Big Bang is to physics or cosmology.  Evolution should be able to explain, in theory at least, all the way back to the very first organism that could replicate itself through biological or chemical processes.  And to understand that organism fully, we would simply have to know what came before it.  And right now we are nowhere close.  I believe a material explanation will be found, but that confidence comes from my faith that science is up to the task of explaining, in purely material or naturalistic terms, the whole history of life.  My faith is well founded, but it is still faith.Complexity of the cell:  Another valid point made by neo-creationists is that life is far more complex than Darwin could have imagined.  Slack again expressed faith that natural explanations will be found, “But scientists still have much to learn about the process of evolution if they are to fully explain the phenomenon.”  He even allowed for major surprises – like finding “compelling evidence for a designer,” though he doubted that would happen. Inner knowledge:  Another observation that Slack has trouble computing into his materialism is the fact that so many people find creation obvious.  “Millions of people believe they directly experience the reality of a Creator every day, and to them it seems like nonsense to insist that He does not exist,” he noted.  “Unless they are lying, God’s existence is to them an observable fact.”    He admitted that he can’t deny his own “psychological empiricism.”  No amount of persuasion by cognitive neuroscientists, for instance, that neurotransmitters give him the illusion of free will could make him doubt that he really loves his children.  Material explanations may look good on paper, but “I have too much respect for my own experience.” He did not elaborate on whether reason itself could be reducible to physics and chemistry.Blind faith:  The most striking point of agreement he saved for last.  Are evolutionists the unbiased, white-lab-coat objective empiricists seeking knowledge and finding evolution to be the clearest explanation?  No; many are blind followers, just like the ID people claim.  He has empirical evidence for this.A few years ago I covered a conference of the American Atheists in Las Vegas.  I met dozens of people there who were dead sure that evolutionary theory was correct though they didn’t know a thing about adaptive radiation, genetic drift, or even plain old natural selection.  They came to their Darwinism via a commitment to naturalism and atheism not through the study of science.  They’re still correct when they say evolution happens.  But I’m afraid they’re wrong to call themselves skeptics unencumbered by ideology.  Many of them are best described as zealots.Not that he is against zeal, but Slack says “its coincidence with a theory proves nothing about that theory’s explanatory power.”Demarcation:  On an unlisted point in his conclusion, Slack conceded that “Looking for evidence of design in the natural world isn’t itself unscientific” – it would even be “big and fascinating news.”  He thinks, however, that a designer would be necessarily “supernatural” (assuming he knows how to define “natural”).1Liberal-minded modern as he is, Slack upholds the freedom of outsiders to “pursue their very eccentric and outlying theory.”  After an article full of modest agreement, it was surprising to hear Slack describing neo-creationists as people who would dismiss evolution as “hogwash” while holding to an “improbable hypothesis” (see online book).  He praised evolution as the “cornerstone of modern biology.”  Maybe that is why The Scientist allowed him to publish it.1.  Intellectual historian Charles Alan Kors (U of Pennsylvania) has said, “there are few terms more equivocal, more ambiguous, that have more multiple meanings, than the term ‘nature.’”  For each sphere of phenomena a philosopher would wish to circumscribe with this slippery word, clever interlocutors could find appeals to phenomena outside the sphere.  These, by definition, would also be supernatural – meaning, above, or beyond “nature,” whatever it is.  If nature is defined as that which is open to sense perception, for instance, are black holes and unobservable entities like strings, quarks or dark matter extra-natural?  If nature encompasses only particles and forces, what of reason or the laws of logic?It was unusual of the dogmatic Darwiniacs to allow one of theirs to say something deferential about their most despised enemies.  We appreciate the gesture, but it’s not enough.  We demand complete and unconditional surrender.  They have no ground to stand on empirically, philosophically or ethically.  False humility and crocodile tears are a ruse (as in Michael Ruse).  The Darwiniacs took scientific institutions through deceit and manipulation, so until and unless they relinquish power, they are still at the top of the Most Wanted Ideologues.    A key part of the neo-creationist strategy must be a protracted siege.  No longer will we allow them to raid theistic presuppositions under cover of darkness.  Since they cannot grow their own self-consistent presuppositions within their worldview castle, they will eventually starve or demand our help, which we will only grant provided they acquiesce all power and confess their sins.  Don’t expect that anytime soon.  It will be a long siege.  Freedom, scientific integrity, honesty and self-consistent rationality are worth waiting for.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Stallion, Ilocos eye breakthrough triumphs

first_imgMatthew Nierras scored in the third minute of stoppage time to salvage the stalemate for Stallion—a result that has the Laguna side oozing with confidence.“The morale is really high after Matthew’s equalizer gave us a draw against Global,” said midfielder Terrence Linatoc. “We’re coming in fresh. We know that we can’t allow JPV to play their game.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingWith three points from its first three matches, JPV seeks to pick up its second win of the season, following its 3-2 win over Davao Aguilas on May 14.“It’s a very important game for us if we want to catch up with the leaders,” said JPV coach Dan Padernal. “We were able to prepare well for this match.” Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Over in Vigan, Ilocos United hosts Kaya Makati at 7 p.m. in their second home match of the season at Quirino Stadium.Ilocos, which hasn’t played since the 1-2 loss to Meralco on May 13, will miss top striker Graham Caygill to injury. But coach Ian Gillan will still have captain John Kanayama, Dominic Del Rosario and Angelo Marasigan to lead the attack.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games LATEST STORIES BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP View comments Wangs scores first win via huge comeback Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Stallion Laguna and Ilocos United seek breakthrough victories when they host JPV Marikina and Kaya FC Makati respectively on Wednesday in the Philippines Football League.Coming off a gutsy 1-1 draw with Global Cebu on May 20, Stallion hopes to nail maximum points this time in the 4 p.m. kickoff against a JPV side that suffered a 0-1 defeat to Meralco Manila in its last outing.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READlast_img read more

ROUND 6: Adrien Broner connects with quick uppercut

first_imgPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Pacquiao hits again but this time a jab in the middle of the ring.Broner throws a quick 1-2 combination that Pacquiao easily dodges.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsPacquiao then hits with his own 1-2 and follows it up with a couple of uppercuts.Broner closes the round with a quick uppercut. Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte LATEST STORIES Lacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem ROUND 5: Pacquiao still the aggressor in an uneventful round PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Manny Pacquiao, right, blocks a punch from Adrien Broner during WBA welterweight title boxing match Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, in Las Vegas. APMANILA, Philippines—The pace of the action remains the same midway through the fight.Adrien Broner lets out a wild left and Paquiao hits him straight in the jaw that put the American to the corner.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more