Kurtenbach: Madison Bumgarner needed San Francisco more than the Giants needed him

first_imgNostalgia is for losers.It’s fun and it’s wholesome, but if you’re present in the moment and winning every day, you don’t have time to reminisce over what was, to think back to the “good times”.But as Madison Bumgarner starts his new chapter in Arizona, nostalgia around his old Bay Area stomping grounds is rampant.And to all of those who are funneling that wistfulness into frustration towards the Giants and anger over San Francisco not re-signing the 30-year-old starter, I think it’s …last_img

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Making Up Facts to Fit a Narrative

first_imgTo be a good evolutionary scientist, write your narrative first. Then observe things. Finally, make up a model that fits the narrative.Many students are taught to believe that scientists draw their conclusions from observations of facts. That’s so old-fashioned. Facts are just incidental to the real fun in science: telling a good story with imaginary facts. The story is more exciting if observations create a crisis, so that the scientist can invent a model to rescue the main plot. We offer three recent examples.Imaginary planet factory:  Narrative: planets form from the bottom up, through a process of accretion of dust. Observation: radio waves were observed in a dust disk around a T-tauri star, inferred to come from objects 2cm or larger. Model: “Astronomers See Pebbles Poised to Make Planets” (Royal Astronomical Society).  (Are other interpretations possible?  Certainly. Assuming the objects are pebble-sized, they could be debris from collisions, but that’s not as sexy a story.)The precocious monkey:  Narrative: monkeys evolved into man, and one sign of it was increasing brain size.  Observation: An old-world monkey fossil had a skull capacity the size of a plum.  Tweak: With a little modeling from a CT scan of the skull, scientists at Duke University could guess at “what the animal’s brain likely looked like” including how many imaginary folds the small brain likely had. Auxiliary hypothesis: the more folds, the smarter the monkey. Model: “Old World Monkey Had Tiny, Complex Brain; Findings offer new clues to how primate brains changed over time.” Visualization: video clip showing 3-D model of folded brain rotating.Whoops; there’s a problem: didn’t Darwin expect brains to get bigger before they got smarter? Bring in the rescue device:“In the part of the primate family tree that includes apes and humans, the thinking is that brains got bigger and then they get more folded and complex,” Gonzales said. “But this study is some of the hardest proof that in monkeys, the order of events was reversed — complexity came first and bigger brains came later.”The findings also lend support to claims that the small brain of the human ancestor* Homo floresiensis, whose 18,000-year-old skull was discovered on a remote Indonesian island in 2003, isn’t as remarkable as it might seem. In spite of their pint-sized brains, Homo floresiensis were able to make fire and use stone tools to kill and butcher large animals.“Brain size and brain complexity can evolve independently; they don’t have to evolve together at the same time,” Benefit said.How Enceladus stayed old:  Narrative: Enceladus formed 4.5 billion years ago (see A.S.S.) as a satellite of Saturn. Observation: geysers at the south pole give off several gigawatts of heat. Crisis: that kind of energy output cannot go on for 4.5 billion years:The source of this energy is believed to be tidal dissipation. However, the observed south polar heat flux cannot be sustained over the age of the Solar System. Furthermore, thermal evolution models suggest that any global subsurface ocean should freeze on a timescale of tens to hundreds of My, sharply reducing future tidal heating, unless large amounts of antifreeze are present in the ocean.Rescue device: James H. Roberts invents a model that won’t give ammo to young-earth creationists:Here I propose an alternative internal structure for Enceladus, in which the silicate core is fragmented, and that the tidal deformation of the core may be partially controlled by interstitial ice. I find that fragmentation of the core increases tidal dissipation by a factor of 20, consistent with the long-term dynamically sustainable level, even when the interior is completely frozen, but only if the interior starts out warm and tidal heating is strong from the beginning. If this is not the case, radioactive heating will be insufficient to prevent the interior from cooling. Although an ocean need not be present in order for the interior to experience significant tidal heating, all models that dissipate enough heat to prevent runaway cooling are also warm enough to have an ocean. Tidal dissipation in the weak core provides an additional source of heat that may prevent a global subsurface ocean from freezing.Resulting model: “The fluffy core of Enceladus” (Icarus). We can’t see the fluff, but it must be there, or else the A.S.S. gets kicked.This is the 21st century way of doing science. Modern audiences love stories. Scientists cannot thrive on epistemic modesty alone; they need to get with the theater generation to make science trendy. The only rule with today’s science theater is never to question the meta-narrative (scientific materialism). That requires never giving aid and comfort to those who question the meta-narrative. The penalty for that is expulsion from the scientific community.___________*”Hobbit man” is not considered a human ancestor by most paleoanthropologists, but a side branch of Homo erectus perhaps (but it seems too recent to fit that narrative).  As for brain size and intelligence, see the 6/26/15 entry.“Science is truth; do not be misled by facts” (Finagle’s Creed).  If you were to look at the observations in each of these articles alone, they would be so narrow as to be boring. It’s essential for the mandarins of science to maintain the illusion that the men behind the curtain have special powers of divination. They can see beyond the empirical evidence into the mystical realms of possibility.The meta-narrative (big bang to man) is Accepted Truth that must never be questioned. And yet anomalies crop up. The job of the scientist is to creatively fit any troublesome observation into a “model” that not only preserves the meta-narrative, but brings glory to the mandarins. This enables the mandarins to finance the outrage industry (a.k.a. Darwin Lobby) against doubters.What? You thought science was about following the evidence where it leads with an open mind? Get over it. (6/25/14) (Visited 180 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Movember surf’s up

first_imgNovember spells Movember, when Mo Bros grow their moustaches to promote awareness of men’s health issues and raise funds for research. It’s a light-hearted global campaign with a serious message.Established in Melbourne, Australia, in 2003 the campaign has since inspired more than 3 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to ‘stache it up across 21 countries worldwide. In 2012 1.1 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas joined the initiative, raising more than R1.2-billion.On November 16, Movember, with beachwear brand Quiksilver, will host the Off the Lip, Mo Retro Surf Jam on Casurina Beach in Tongaat, KwaZulu-Natal.November spells Movember, when Mo Bros grow their moustaches to promote awareness of men’s health issues and raise funds for research (Image: Movember)Kicking off at 10am, the event will have a 70s theme and feature surfing and fancy dress competitions. Surfers are encouraged to don 70s wear as well.The event will accept 60 first-come, first-served, surf competition entries, at R100 each, and surfers can expect to compete in the Larry Layback, Float the Boat and Wave Waster categories.All competitors’ surfboards have to be pre 1980’s single or twin fins. The event format will have 10 six-strong groups take to the water via the traditional beach start, with the top six surfers battling it out in the final heat at 2.30pm.There will also be prizes for the best male and female fancy dress.All funds raised will be donated to Movember’s men’s health partner, the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa), a non-profit organisation that supports research and provides support to people affected by cancer.Shuttle services, leaving from Umhlanga Rocks, have been arranged. For more information visit the website.last_img read more

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Packing Up My Library

first_imgToday and tomorrow I am moving. Tomorrow I am leaving the house I have lived in since 2001 for a new—and very different–house a few miles away. I am not sentimental about houses, even the one where I raised my three children.I am, however, sentimental about books. Yesterday I packed 300 books or one column of eight shelves of the infamous shelves in my office, the office you see in my YouTube videos. It took me a few hours, and during that time, I handled each of the books, reminding me of how much I loved some of them.Between two books, I found the Vietnam Primer by Colonel David Hackworth. When he took command in Vietnam, he wrote down what a soldier would need to know to survive. The small, thin, paperback book is personalized and autographed to me, and last I checked it was worth $1,600. It’s worth more than that to me, and I bought it after reading Hackworth’s Steel My Soldiers’ Hearts, many years ago. These two books are about leadership, and they both helped me recognize the value of leading by teaching people the practical and tactical strategies they need to succeed.In 1995, I was browsing new arrivals in Barnes & Noble, when I noticed a provocative title: The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History. The author was Howard Bloom, the former head of the Bloom Agency, and the publicist for Prince, ZZ Top, Heart, Aerosmith, and almost anyone whose name you know from the 70’s and 80’s. The book is about memetics or how we get infected with our ideas and beliefs. I started emailing Howard, and we have been friends since that time. I attended his 76th birthday party last Friday in New York City.There are five books by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the options trader who predicted the recession in 2008 and a brilliant philosopher. The books are Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, Antifragile, The Bed of Procrustes, and Skin in the Game, a collection he calls Incerto. I have read or listened to Antifragile 4 times, and I will read or listen to it again, as the primary lesson about benefiting from adverse events is a crucial idea for our time. The ideas here might be called post-traumatic growth syndrome, an amazingly useful concept.When I was thirteen years old, my father gave me a copy of G. Gordon Liddy’s autobiography Will. My copy is autographed by Liddy, who served something like 5 years for breaking into the Watergate Hotel. Liddy was afraid of everything as a child, and he systemically addressed each of his fears, one by one, willing himself to become something he was not. The books shaped my beliefs, and like many other books, it showed up in my life at the right moment.There is Patton: A Genius for War by Carlos D’Este, one of my favorite books, and the one that caused me to buy and read Patton’s Papers, an enormous two-volume set of all of Patton’s letters and diaries. Patton’s strong bias was to always be on offense, something worth applying in sales. There is a stack of Stephen Covey, a pile of Tom Peters, and a stack of Peter Drucker, all of which I read a long time ago, and all of which left a mark.I once wrote a post called “An Autobiography in Books.” Packing my library, to me, is like someone else looking through a photo album. So much of my beliefs and my thinking can be traced to what I have read and studied.Now for the bad news. My new house has no bookshelves. I loved the house enough to buy it, but was stunned to walk through a house that had no books. After we move in, the first order of business is to build a wall of shelves upstairs in a cool room outside my new bedroom.You’ll have to wait to see what we do in my office, as there is no way to build bookshelves there, but I have an idea and a vision.What books shaped your thinking and your beliefs? Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

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Tax Court ruling says defrauded foreign workers in Quebec eligible for EI

first_imgMONTREAL — Advocates are hailing a recent Tax Court of Canada decision that recognizes the rights of migrant workers in Quebec to qualify for employment insurance even if they don’t have a valid work permit.The decision rendered this month stems from a case brought by a group of 18 temporary workers from Guatemala who had appealed an initial ruling that their earnings weren’t insurable.That’s because the workers — recruited through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program — were victims of fraud perpetrated by employment firms in Quebec that wrongly told them they could work for different employers.Typically, workers arriving from abroad must work for the company indicated in their documentation. In this case, the employer didn’t respect the terms laid out in the permit, leaving workers scrambling to find other work.The Canada Revenue Agency had considered those hours weren’t insurable, since they didn’t work for the companies indicated in their permits.But the May 10 ruling says that work is in fact insurable under the law, given the state’s obligation to guarantee social security for all workers.Judge Alain Tardif wrote that while his focus was the issue EI eligibility, it was clear the Guatemalans were “victims of an unscrupulous organization whose sole purpose was to enrich itself on the backs of poor … destitute and quite vulnerable people.”Tardif added in a complex, 48-page ruling that the 18 had hoped to improve the lives of their families, and he urged the government to do more to ensure their well-being.“On this issue  … it seems to me totally unacceptable to leave such seasonal workers to themselves,” Tardif wrote. “It is urgent and imperative for the state to set up an organization with the necessary resources to reach all seasonal workers or at least prepare a written kit in the language of those concerned to enable them to know their rights and obligations, thus enabling seasonal workers to get answers to their problems or concerns before they arrive, upon arrival and throughout their stay in Canada.”In the rest of the country, a Federal Court of Appeal ruling in 1998 dealt with the issue and there has since been roughly two decades of case law to back it up.But in Quebec, a lawyer who represented the temporary workers said, the rules had been interpreted differently under the province’s civil code.“Even though it’s employment insurance and it’s federal jurisdiction, in Quebec they are still interpreting the notion of labour contract in a way that is specific to civil law instead of common law,” Richard-Alexandre Laniel of the Association of Progressive Jurists said.“What happened with this decision is that the judge decided in a civil law context, we can determine in certain circumstances that migrant workers who don’t have a valid work permit can still make their hours worked insurable within the employment insurance law.”Advocates have called for an end to the practice of issuing closed work permits, which restricts a worker to a single employer. That provision, along with language barriers and concerns about job loss, leave foreign employees reluctant to file complaints.Thousands of migrant workers make their way to Quebec each year.“It’s a bit soon to determine what will be the impact of this decision on CRA practices,” Laniel said. “But we think they should have a more flexible approach regarding migrant workers.”Federal government lawyers have 30 days to appeal. They did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Trudeau in Manila to pursue deeper trade security ties in AsiaPacific

first_imgMANILA, Philippines – Justin Trudeau landed in the Philippines on Sunday with the goal of raising Canada’s profile in the Asia-Pacific region, especially on security issues and trade.This week, Trudeau will become the first sitting Canadian prime minister to participate in the annual East Asia Summit and is the only one who’s ever been invited, his office said.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said that the East Asia Summit will give Trudeau a chair at the top security table in the region.He will sit alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump during discussions on the security situation involving North Korea, she said.“That is a really big deal,” Freeland said of the forum, which is held in conjunction with the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.“Canada has never been there before.”The ASEAN summit itself will give Trudeau an opportunity to raise concerns about human rights and advance his trade agenda with the emerging bloc of 10 Southeast Asian countries, which is already Canada’s sixth-largest trading partner.Combined, the countries boast a market of 640 million people and an expanding middle class. They have been churning out significant economic growth.With the uncertainty surrounding Canada’s NAFTA renegotiation, the Asia-Pacific has become increasingly important in the government’s eyes.Under Liberal and Conservative governments, Ottawa has taken steps in recent years to increase its presence in the region.Canada named its first ambassador dedicated to ASEAN in 2014. In September, the government opened exploratory free-trade talks with the association.“We are very much positioning ourselves in the Asia-Pacific,” International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in an interview before Trudeau left for his week-long trip to the region.Experts, however, say Ottawa has largely failed in the past to maintain a consistent connection with ASEAN members.David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, believes forging closer relations with ASEAN should be Ottawa’s second-most important priority in the region after Beijing.Canada, however, has struggled to maintain a disciplined focus on the region and hasn’t been as plugged in with ASEAN as Australia or even the United States, Mulroney added.“When we’re at our best, we are a very popular partner in ASEAN,” said Mulroney, who noted that members of the group still recall a time when Canada was more deeply engaged with them, decades ago.“We haven’t given them reason to believe that it’s anything other than nostalgia, but I think Canada could be a very capable player in the region.”He said ASEAN maintains tighter dialogue partnerships with other countries outside the region, like Russia, the U.S. and Australia.“We have yet to kind of crack that inner circle, in part because there are doubts about our commitment and our staying power,” Mulroney said.Former Quebec premier Jean Charest, now the honorary chair of the Canada-ASEAN Business Council, said in a recent interview that Trump’s protectionist story makes the case every day on the importance of diversifying.Compared to China, Charest said ASEAN is a less-complex partner to work with.“Canadians will have more reservations about China, which doesn’t mean that we should not pursue an initiative with China, but it’s just politically more complicated,” he said.In moving closer to ASEAN, Ottawa would still have to navigate the delicate issue of human rights — particularly amid concerns about serious, state-led violence by two of its members: Myanmar and the Philippines.On Saturday, Trudeau was asked whether he intended to challenge Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte about the deadly, anti-drug crackdown by security forces in his country. The campaign has killed thousands of suspects, most of whom are poor.Trudeau has said he has no one-on-one meeting planned with Duterte, who will host the ASEAN summit.“There are a range of issues that I could bring up with him, that I may bring up with him, if we have an opportunity,” Trudeau told reporters Saturday in Danang, Vietnam.“There’s always human rights concerns to bring up with a wide range of leaders.”On Sunday, Freeland said Canada has “some serious concerns about human rights violations and violations of due process in the Philippines.”“If we get the opportunity, we will talk about these issues,” said Freeland, who added that she raised them in a meeting last summer with the Philippines’ deputy minister of foreign affairs.David Welch, CIGI chair of global security at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, said ASEAN countries likely wouldn’t appreciate Canada pressuring them on these issues, which could put Trudeau in an awkward position as he tries to deepen the relationship.“They don’t want us to talk about human rights,” Welch said.The ASEAN bloc includes the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.Trudeau’s visit to Manila is the last stop in his week-long trip to the region, which included an official bilateral visit with Vietnam and the APEC leaders’ summit.—Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitterlast_img read more

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UK car sales fell in 2018 by most since financial crisis

first_imgLONDON — A lobby group for the U.K. auto industry says new vehicle sales in 2018 fell by their biggest rate since the global financial crisis a decade ago.The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said Monday that new car sales during the year were down by 6.8 per cent from the year before at 2.37 million units. That’s the biggest decline since 2008, when the British economy sank into a deep recession in the wake of the financial crisis.Mike Hawes, the group’s chief executive, says “falling consumer confidence, confusing fiscal and policy messages and shortages due to regulatory changes have combined to create a highly turbulent market.”Without directly blaming the fall on Brexit uncertainty, Hawes said these figures “should act as a wake-up call for policymakers.”The Associated Presslast_img read more

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BC chief tells NEB pipeline hearings his people are responsible for their

first_imgMcNeil, the tribal council’s vice president, says the board must understand that the Sto: lo call the Fraser River their mother because it feeds and nurtures them.He says the Sto: lo believe they are responsible for looking after everything they see, including the Chinook salmon that are the main food source for threatened southern resident killer whales.Victor says the Sto: lo want to see justification for the pipeline expansion project, including the completion of environmental assessments that examine risks and impacts of a spill.The new hearings were prompted after the Federal Court of Appeal tossed out the original approval for the expansion, saying Canada didn’t adequately consult with First Nations or consider tanker traffic’s impact on the marine environment. VICTORIA, B.C. – First Nations leaders from British Columbia told a National Energy Board hearing in Victoria that there are serious concerns about the potential impacts of an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline on their homelands.Two leaders representing the Fraser Valley’s Sto: lo Tribal Council say protection of the Fraser River’s salmon, animals and surrounding lands is their eternal responsibility and the pipeline poses risks that could harm their homes and culture.But Chief Tyrone McNeil and councillor Andrew Victor did not say they are completely opposed to the expansion project.last_img read more

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Top 3 poll issues will be jobs jobs jobs Chidambaram

first_imgNew Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday hit out at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government over alleged lack of job creation, saying the three main issues in the upcoming general elections would be jobs, jobs and jobs. “What is worse? Not creating jobs or lying about creation of jobs?” Chidambaram asked in a tweet, alleging that the National Democratic Alliance government was guilty of both. “The top three issues in the elections will be jobs, jobs and jobs.” “Glad that CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) has found its voice and has exposed the government’s bogus claims on job creation. Hope that others also will speak up,” the former Union finance minister added. The CII had on Wednesday expressed concern over the country’s job market amid growing challenges of making a generation employment-ready. However, it had on Thursday said the recent reforms ushered in by the government were creating new livelihoods across existing and emerging sectors.last_img read more

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