Plant Wonders Are in the Details

first_imgWhen you step on a weed growing out of a crack in the sidewalk, do you have any idea what kind of amazing machinery you stepped on?  Maybe a closer look will help.Communications and switching systems:  When a seed sprouts, it needs to first grow upward in the dark while trying to protect itself.  Then when it reaches the air and light, it needs to spread out leaves and collect sunlight.  Science Daily talked about work at Carnegie Institute on the chemical signals taking place at these critical junctures, saying that “Many components are involved in this developmental switch….”  One of them, a hormone called brassinosteroid, works antagonistically to sunlight in the soil-to-air transition, but only in the presence of another regulator called GATA2.  “The Carnegie team’s new research identifies a protein called GATA2 as a missing link in this communications system,” the article said, not using “missing link” in an evolutionary sense, but in a signal-transduction sense.  “This protein tells developing seedlings which type of growth to pursue” by switching certain genes on and off.  “….It also serves as a communications junction between internal plant systems that are turned on by light and those that are turned on by brassinosteroids.”Wallbuilders:  Cell walls keep seedlings and large trees standing upright with a molecule called lignin – a complex molecule that requires multiple steps, like a recipe, to make (10/26/2001, 05/30/2008, bullet 2).  But lignin cannot be assembled in the kitchen of the cytoplasm.  It has to be assembled in the cell wall.  That means that the ingredients, called precursors, which are manufactured inside the cell, have to migrate outward through the cell membrane to the construction site.  Some of them are temporarily stored in vacuoles (organelles that store substances), requiring additional transport through vacuolar membranes.    It wasn’t clear if the precursors just float to their destinations by diffusion.  Scientists at Brookhaven National Labs found out that, instead, energy-driven molecular machines called transporters ferry the precursors to the construction sites.  PhysOrg reported on a paper in PNAS1 that described how these transporters actively take the materials where they belong, spending ATP energy like fuel.  “The range of assays revealed that pure monolignols move across the cellular membrane while monolignol glucosides move preferentially into vacuoles,” the article said.  “But most importantly, very little of either precursor would move across either type of membrane without the addition of ATP, the molecular ‘currency’ for energy in cells.”  The paper described how the transporters are very selective in their actions: “In the presence of ATP, the inverted plasma membrane vesicles preferentially take up monolignol aglycones, whereas the vacuolar vesicles are more specific for glucoconjugates, suggesting that the different ATP-binding cassette-like transporters recognize different chemical forms in conveying them to distinct sites….”Upward mobility:  Did you ever think about what is required to pump sap from the roots to the tops of trees?  Scientists at the University of Madrid are some of many who have.  Students probably remember the terms xylem and phloem; the former transporting water, the latter, nutrients.  Science Daily described “The objective: to discover the keys to the movement of sap in order to apply these advances to new hydraulic systems or to suction pumps.”    “The main conclusion of this study is that the sap in the trunks of trees is in a pressurized situation,” the article said.  “It demonstrates, then, that when the pressure is positive in the conduits of the xylem as well as in those of the floem [sic], the model expands in the radial direction.  However, when the pressure is negative in the xylem and positive in the floem [sic], which is what is believed to occur during the day, the model contracts in the radial direction.”  What can they learn from this information?  Better ways to extract water or pump it against gravity, for a couple of things.  One of the professors remarked, “Currently – the expert points out – there is no water suction pump capable of raising water more than ten meters at normal atmospheric pressure, but a sequoia tree can raise water to a height of 100 meters, which I think means that anything we can learn from plants is going to be of great interest to people working in this field.”    Scientists at Princeton are also hot on this trail.  Publishing in PNAS,2 they first said, “Plant vascular networks are central to botanical form, function, and diversity.”  Then they described how transporting material requires tradeoffs between hydraulic safety and efficiency.  They developed a model that made “predictions for sap flow, the taper of the radii of xylem conduits from trunk to terminal twig, and how the frequency of xylem conduits varies with conduit radius,” and compared their model with various trees like, oak, maple and pine.  Somehow these trees know how to taper the radius of their vessels from bottom to top for maximum efficiency.    The authors spoke of “evolutionary drivers” in their paper, but really were talking about design requirements – i.e., “(i) space-filling geometries to maximize carbon uptake by leaves and sap flow through conduits; (ii) increasing hydraulic conductance and resource supply to leaves; (iii) protection against embolism and associated decreases in vascular conductance; (iv) enforcement of biomechanical constraints uniformly across a plant; and (v) independence of terminal twig size, flow rate, and internal architecture with plant size.”  Nowhere did they describe a plausible sequence of mutations that might produce the necessary structures; they merely assumed that “selection” would somehow fulfill the requirements.Speaking of plant evolution, another article on PhysOrg summarized another paper in PNAS3 that tried to trace flowering plants to a common ancestor that had cones.  That paper opened with, “The origin and rapid diversification of the angiosperms (Darwin’s ‘Abominable Mystery’) has engaged generations of researchers,” adding in the Introduction, “The evolutionary origin of flowering plants, or angiosperms, remains one of the greatest unsolved biological mysteries.”    So did they solve the mystery?  If the summary on PhysOrg is any indication, they only assumed evolution by couching it in terms of emergence: “New research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides new insights into their genetic origin, an evolutionary innovation that quickly gave rise to many diverse flowering plants more than 130 million years ago.”  The co-leader of the team used similar circumlocutions: “Water lilies and avocado flowers are essentially ‘genetic fossils’ still carrying genetic instructions that would have allowed the transformation of gymnosperm cones into flowers,” said Doug Soltis.  “We show how the first flowering plants evolved from pre-existing genetic programs found in gymnosperm cones and then developed into the diversity of flowering plants we see today,” Soltis continued, hiding the actual evolutionary process in passive voice verbs.  “A genetic program in the gymnosperm cone was modified to make the first flower.”    His explanation also begs the question of how the cone-bearing plant produced the genetic program for flowers in the first place – and why it was not used for that purpose during the prior millions of years in the evolutionary timeline.  In the end, the article filed the answer away in the Stuff Happens folder: “Somehow a genetic change took place allowing a male cone to produce female organs as well—and, perhaps more importantly, allowed it to produce showy petal-like organs that enticed new interactions with pollination agents such as bees.”  But does “allowing” something provide necessary and sufficient conditions for its accomplishment?  If that were true, building permits would by themselves build buildings.1.  Miao and Liu, “ATP-binding cassette-like transporters are involved in the transport of lignin precursors across plasma and vacuolar membranes,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print December 13, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1007747108 PNAS December 13, 2010.2.  Savage et al, “Hydraulic trade-offs and space filling enable better predictions of vascular structure and function in plants,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print December 13, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1012194108.3.  Chanderbali et al, “Conservation and canalization of gene expression during angiosperm diversification accompany the origin and evolution of the flower,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print December 13, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1013395108.A new law of nature, the DAM law, is hereby described.  Any article or paper on the evolution of flowering plants will be accompanied by the phrase, “Darwin’s Abominable Mystery” (DAM).  This is a time-invariant law describing the predicament of not only Darwin, but his disciples down to the present.  For evidence, see entries over the last decade like 11/08/2000, 04/03/2001, 01/30/2002, 05/03/2002, 06/07/2002, 01/17/2003, 03/15/2007, 12/21/2007, 04/28/2008, 09/15/2009, 12/04/2009 bullet 4, and 09/22/2010.    Darwinists are MAD about the DAM law, too; showing the law is commutative: the Mystery’s Abominable Darwin.  Notice that the DAM Law does not assert that the plants themselves are abominable.  No; they are wonderful.  They are incredibly well designed.  The mystery of their origins is only abominable when the premise, Darwinism, is the seed plot of abomination, watered by the toxic rhetoric of things “arising” and “developing” apart from design.  In such explanatory gardens, nothing grows – no mystery there. (Visited 21 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Smart cities need more industry partnerships, less gadget worship

first_imgWhile a dizzying array of connected gadgetry is vying for room on city leaders’ wish lists, industry experts advise less focus on the technology itself and more on industry partnerships that can build out smart cities.At the recent U.S. Conference of Mayors held in Washington, D.C., Joanne Hovis, president of Maryland-based IT consultancy CTC Technology & Energy, said that expanding broadband internet access is vital for turbocharging a smart city’s capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship.“There’s increasingly this understanding that the broadband internet is the platform over which our economy and our democracy ride,” she said. “And that is growing every single day.”But she said local governments often face obstacles to building out these broadband networks, such as in Pennsylvania where state laws limit municipalities’ ability to take the lead on broadband.Closer work with private sector needed?Yet even when cities are hamstrung by regulations or budgetary restrictions, local governments can still move forward with new technology by working closer with private companies.For example, Hovis says cash-strapped local governments can spur innovation by easing the permitting process to make it easier for private firms to make progress on building out broadband networks.This U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge focused on cities forging new partnerships with the private sector and academic institutions.Columbus, Ohio, which won the $50 million prize from the DOT competition, has platformed off that win to build partnerships and attract more than $500 million in private funding.The prize money combined with the private funding is helping Columbus undertake a variety of smart city initiatives including installation of smart sensors to improve traffic flow and building out its transit system.“The greatest challenge of the 21st century is to leverage innovation and technology to help people improve their own lives,” said Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther.Columbus cites the smart transit improvements as directly improving its citizens’ quality of life by reconnecting isolated neighborhoods and allowing residents to better commute to jobs and health services. Related Posts How Connected Communities Can Bolster Your Busi… Tags:#Columbus#Department of Transportation#IoT#Smart Cities#Smart City Challenge Surveillance at the Heart of Smart Citiescenter_img How IoT Will Play an Important Role in Traffic … Donal Power For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In…last_img read more

Cebu City gov’t rallies behind embattled marathoner Tabal

first_imgMary Joy Tabal. FILE Photo from Cebu Daily NewsCEBU CITY—Should Cebuano marathon sensation Mary Joy Tabal be allowed to join in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, the Cebu City government will make sure that she will get the training that she needs for the competition. Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña made an offer for the city to help fund Tabal’s trainings when she visited city hall on Tuesday morning during a courtesy call.She was accompanied by Commissioner Ramon Fernandez of the Philippine Sports Commission, among others.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds View comments LATEST STORIES Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Gabuya delivered a privilege speech during the session of the city council on Tuesday afternoon to ask the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) to explain why Tabal was excluded from the roster of Filipino athletes who would compete in the SEA Games where the Cebuana won silver in 2015.READ: Tabal no longer part of national teamBecause of Gabuya’s speech, the council passed a resolution asking Patafa to include Tabal, the only Filipino to compete in last Olympics marathon, in the lineup.ADVERTISEMENT BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextcenter_img Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV Olympian Ryan Lochte says he thought about suicide after Rio fiasco Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games The city is just waiting for Tabal to make a formal budget request that will include a breakdown of her training needs and costs, said Councilor Jerry Guardo, head of the council’s sports committee.He added the mayor also made a commitment to “fight” for Tabal’s inclusion in the SEA Games.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutCouncilor Eugenio Gabuya, deputy mayor for sports, said the budget for Tabal’s training can be charged to the mayor’s discretionary fund or Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. funds whichever is available.“As to how much (funding is needed) that is still to be determined,” he added. 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 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’last_img read more

Bursitis of the heel

first_imgDefinitionBursitis of the heel is swelling of the fluid-filled sac (bursa) at the back of the heel bone under the Achilles tendon.Alternative NamesInsertional heel pain; Retrocalcaneal bursitisCauses, incidence, and risk factorsA bursa acts as a cushion and lubricant between tendons or muscles sliding over bone. There are bursas around most large joints in the body, including the ankle.The retrocalcaneal bursa is located in the back of the ankle by the heel. It is where the large Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.Repeated or too much use of the ankle can cause this bursa to become irritated and inflamed. Possible causes are too much walking, running, or jumping.This condition is usually linked to Achilles tendinitis. Sometimes retrocalcaneal bursitis may be mistaken for Achilles tendinitis.Risks for this condition include starting an aggressive workout schedule, or suddenly increasing activity level without the right conditioning.SymptomsPain in the heel, especially with walking, running, or when the area is touchedPain may get worse when rising on the toes (standing on tiptoes)Red, warm skin over the back of the heelSigns and testsYour health care provider will take a history to find out if you have symptoms of retrocalcaneal bursitis. Examining your ankle can find the location of the pain. The physician will look for tenderness and redness in the back of the heel.The pain may be worse when the doctor bends the ankle upward (dorsiflex). Or, the pain may be worse when you rise on your toes.advertisementYou will not usually need imaging studies such as x-ray and MRI at first. If the first treatment does not improve the symptoms, your health care provider may recommend these tests. MRI may show inflammation.TreatmentYour health care provider may recommend the following treatments:Avoid activities that cause pain.Ice the heel several times a day.Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (for example, ibuprofen).Try over-the-counter or custom heel wedges to help decrease the stress on the heel.Try ultrasound treatment during physical therapy to reduce inflammation.Use physical therapy to improve flexibility and strength around the ankle, which can help the bursitis improve and prevent it from coming back.If these treatments dont work, your health care provider may inject a small amount of steroids into the bursa. After the inection, you should avoid stretching the tendon too much because it can break open (rupture).If the condition is connected with Achilles tendinitis, casting the ankle for several weeks to keep it from moving can be effective. Very rarely, surgery may be needed to remove the inflamed bursa.Expectations (prognosis)This condition usually gets better in several weeks with the proper treatment.Calling your health care providerIf you have heel pain or symptoms of retrocalcaneal bursitis that do not improve with rest, contact your health care provider for evaluation and treatment.PreventionMaintain proper form when exercising, as well as good flexibility and strength around the ankle to help prevent this condition.Proper stretching of the Achilles tendon helps prevent injury.ReferencesWapner KL, Parekh SG. Heel pain. In: DeLee JC, Drez D Jr., Miller MD, eds. DeLee and Drezs Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2009:section F.Aranow MS. Posterior heel pain (retrocalcaneal bursitis, insertional and noninsertional Achilles tendinopathy). Clin Podiatr Med Surg. 2005;22:19-43.Review Date:8/11/2012Reviewed By:David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., and C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.last_img read more

Paul McCartney To Perform At Robin Hood Benefit

first_imgPaul McCartney and The Robin Hood Foundation today announced that McCartney and his band will be performing at Robin Hood’s annual benefit, to be held May 12 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.Robin Hood is New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization and every dollar raised at the benefit will go to support the most effective poverty-fighting programs throughout the five boroughs.Paul McCartney is no stranger to Robin Hood. Immediately following the 9/11, he generously donated his legendary talents to the Concert for New York City, which raised more than $36 million to provide direct financial assistance to the families of victims who lost their lives in the terror attacks in New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania. In addition, the money raised provided emergency assistance and support, as well as long-term mental health care and other health services to First Responders, their families and low-income New Yorkers who lost their jobs as a result of the attacks.More recently, McCartney headlined the Robin Hood 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief, which raised more than $50 million in one night to help front-line organizations that were helping victims of Hurricane Sandy throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.“I know that with Robin Hood 100% of the money raised goes right to the organizations helping people on the edge,” said Mr. McCartney. “As an honorary New Yorker, I’m proud to help Robin Hood continue their efforts to help the neediest people get the support and tools they need to build better lives for themselves and their families.”“All of us at Robin Hood are honored to have Paul perform at our Benefit,” said David Saltzman, executive director of Robin Hood. We know from past experience he will blow the doors off the Javits Center with a musical performance that should not be missed; we continue to be overwhelmed by Paul’s generosity of spirit and his willingness to use his incredible talents to aid New Yorkers in need.”Please contact Debbie Fife at 212-245-6570 × 20 or benefit@robinhood.org for tickets and table information.last_img read more