Hundreds of flowering plant seeds from early Cretaceous strata on two continents show exceptional preservation; how can they be 125 million years old?A paper in Nature reports another example of “exceptional preservation” of biological material, this time of plant seeds. The seeds were found in Portugal and in the eastern United States. They contain embryos and nutritive material, the paper says, yet are thought to be 125 to 110 million years old, the time in the evolutionary story when angiosperms (flowering plants) were rapidly diversifying. Here are some quotes from the paper:Here we report the discovery of embryos and their associated nutrient storage tissues in exceptionally well-preserved angiosperm seeds from the Early Cretaceous.…we analysed the internal structure of mature seeds from about 75 different angiosperm taxa recovered from rich assemblages of angiosperm flowers, fruits and seeds in 11 mesofossil floras from eastern North America and Portugal, ranging in age from Barremian-Aptian to early or middle Albian, about 125–110 million years ago.SRXTM revealed exquisite preservation of three-dimensional cellular structure, often including traces of nuclei and subcellular nutritive bodies. In mature fossil fruits and seeds, the seed coat is generally well-developed and cellular preservation is usually excellent. Softer tissues such as embryo and nutrient storage tissues may be degraded or distorted, but of the roughly 250 Early Cretaceous mature seeds examined about half show cellular structure inside the seed coat.In about 50 seeds, complete or partly preserved embryos occur along with remains of the surrounding nutrient storage tissue. Minimal shrinkage of the seeds during preservation is indicated by the typically straight cell walls and the fact that the nutrient storage tissue often fills out the whole seed volume inside the seed coat.Cellular preservation of the embryos in all six taxa [i.e., those shown in a figure] is excellent.[Figure 4 caption]: …Surface rendering of embryo showing the two small cotyledon primordia. c, Detail of endosperm with nutritive bodies (protein and lipids).Mesofossils preserved in these floras are often exquisitely preserved in three dimensions as charcoalified or lignitic specimens and include complete and fragmentary flowers, as well as abundant fruits and seeds.The authors make a big deal of the fact that the seeds are tiny, as if this represents a primitive condition before the evolution of modern flowering plants. Other statements, however, make it hard to imagine 130 million years going by. Some aspects of these seeds compare well with those found in modern plants:Cells in the nutritive storage tissue often contain small rounded structures (Figs 2a, c and 3) that are most probably remains of the protein and lipid bodies that occur in the equivalent seed tissues of many extant angiosperms.In each cell there is typically a central body about 4–6 μm in diameter (Fig. 2b) that is similar in size and position to the nuclei seen in the embryo cells of extant early diverging angiosperm lineages.Very similar cellular differentiation occurs in the endosperm of modern Sarcandra (Fig. 4a, c) and other extant early diverging angiosperm lineages.As in extant taxa, the contents of the cells immediately around the embryo were apparently consumed very early in the development of the young plant.The distinctive exotestal seeds of taxon 1 and taxon 3 are also indicative of a relationship to Schisandraceae or Nymphaeaceae, and the broad embryo of taxon 3 is very similar to the embryos in seeds of extant Nymphaeaceae.Canrightiopsis is phylogenetically close to the common ancestor of extant Ascarina, Sarcandra and Chloranthus (Chloranthaceae). Comparison of the almost spherical Canrightiopsis embryo with that of extant Sarcandra shows strong similarities and the same cellular features. However, the seeds and embryos of Canrightiopsis are much smaller.The differences between fossil and extant seeds appear slight. The authors confess the “limitations of inferring ancestral characteristics solely by extrapolation from the features of extant taxa.”Again, the authors are frustratingly equivocal about whether the remains are composed of original biological material or lithified remains. It would be helpful if they would state clearly whether the “proteins and lipids” are just that—proteins and lipids—or if they are minerals that replaced them. It seems reasonable to infer, though, that these structures are the original material. The authors say that some of them are “decomposed” but do not say they are lithified. For instance, they say, “The nutrient storage tissue immediately around the embryo is often partly or fully decomposed, but in seeds with particularly good preservation these cells are usually distinguished by their smaller size, thinner walls and lack of nutritive bodies.” Even decomposed biological material is still biological. Given the hubbub over original soft tissue found in dinosaur bones and fossils older than 100 million Darwin years, it would seem they would brag that the fossils are fully replaced by rock if they could. Also, it seems unreasonable to expect that structures as small as subcellular units and nuclei could be lithified. The clearest reference to original biological material is that “Mesofossils preserved in these floras are often exquisitely preserved in three dimensions as charcoalified or lignitic specimens and include complete and fragmentary flowers, as well as abundant fruits and seeds.” (See Field Museum discussion of mesofossils.) The Methods section suggests the specimens are not mineralized: “Fossils were isolated from the sediments by sieving in water, remaining mineral matrix was removed using hydrofluoric and hydrochloric acids, and the fossils were then rinsed in water and air-dried.“Assuming, then, that the fossils are composed of original biological material, is it reasonable to expect it would be preserved for 110 million years or more? Even if it were permineralized, how could such detail be preserved that long? Remember, evolutionists believe that a major catastrophe struck the Earth just 65 million years ago. Undoubtedly there were smaller catastrophes across the eastern US and Portugal from the time those seeds were laid down till now. A lot of geological change can happen in even 1 million years, or 100,000, or 10,000 years. The logical conclusion is that the “Cretaceous” strata containing these fossils are young, not millions of years old. Until that sinks in to open-minded scientists, we can add this paper to the pile of evidence for exceptional preservation of original biological material that cannot be anywhere near as old as claimed. (Visited 27 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
11 December 2006South Africa’s second satellite, SumbandilaSat, will be launched in early 2007 from a submarine off the coast of Russia and carried halfway around the world by a modified intercontinental ballistic missile before being released into low-earth orbit.The 81-kilogram micro-satellite will orbit the earth at a height of 500 kilometres for between three and five years, giving South Africa affordable access to space technology.Its images will enable scientists to monitor disasters such as fires, floods and oil spills, and deliver useful data on climate, dam levels, population density, crop yields and vegetation.SumbandilaSat will be South Africa’s second satellite after SunSat, which was built by Stellenbosch University staff and postgraduate students and launched into low-earth orbit by Nasa in 1999, remaining operational for almost two years.Sumbandila“Sumbandila” is Tshivenda for “lead the way”. The name was chosen from more than 3 000 entries in a competition run among South Africa’s high school students by the SA Agency for Science and Technology Advancement.State-of-the art payloadAlthough the new satellite will be around the same size as SunSat, technological advances mean it will be far more capable, carrying a state-of-the-art imaging payload.According to Allan Duggan, writing in Popular Mechanics, SumbandilaSat’s “six-band onboard multispectral line-scan camera and video sensors, equipped with three different lenses, will scan the Earth at varying angles”.The resulting high-resolution images will be transmitted to a ground tracking station at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR’s) Satellite Applications Centre at Hartebeeshoek bordering the Magaliesberg mountains in Gauteng, with backup stations at Overberg Test Range, Bredasdorp and Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape.“The satellite is equipped with 24 gigabytes of non-volatile memory, allowing it to stream about 6GB of image data every day per unique located ground station,” Duggan writes.The satellite was designed and built by Stellenbosch-based SunSpace, the company that developed out of the success of SunSat. According to Business Day, SunSpace completed construction of the satellite in September and has since put the craft through a series of trials to check its ability to withstand extreme temperature and vibration.Business Day reports that SumbandilaSat’s launch, originally planned for December, was delayed until the European spring to allow for better weather. The new launch window period is in April or May 2007.“Technically, it’s ready, it’s passed all the tests,” department spokesman Nhlahlha Nyide told Business Day.The government has invested R26-million in the project, which is being managed by the University of Stellenbosch.While the university also trains postgraduate students in, and conducts research into, satellite engineering and software development, the CSIR’s Satellite Applications Centre will be responsible for operating, tracking and monitoring the satellite.Essential monitoring toolAccording to the Department of Science and Technology, rural communities stand to benefit from the information gathered by SumbandilaSAT, whose observations will inform decision-making in land use and agriculture, natural resource and disaster management, and infrastructure and urban planning.“Space assets” such as satellites are no longer merely a matter of prestige for a country but “have become essential tools,” the department said in a recent statement.“We need to understand the earth system to improve human health, safety and welfare and to protect the environment, reduce disaster losses and achieve sustainable development.”According to Professor Sias Mostert of the University of Stellenbosch, satellites now monitor “almost all aspects of the world’s climate systems,” including sea and land temperatures, wind, rainfall and vegetation cover.Town planners also use satellite images to help tackle problems such as traffic congestion, illegal building and lack of recreational sites, says Mostert.Mothibi Ramusi, manager of the Satellite Applications Centre at the Center for Scientific and Industrial Research, says the satellite’s communications payload will also enable it to provide certain telecommunications services based on the “store and forward” principle.For example, Ramusi explains, as the satellite passes over South Africa, users with receiving stations will be able to send and receive e-mails. In addition, local data – such as data on dam levels – can be transmitted from ground sensors to the satellite for forwarding on to central authorities.According to Popular Mechanics, SumbandilaSAT will take to the sky during a five-day launch “window” starting on 20 December.SouthAfrica.info reporter and BuaNews Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest We sprayed the last field of corn so that is done. We do have some 360 Y-Drops for our sprayer and we have a couple of fields that we may go back in and add N later. We are going to test to see if we need to put more N on. We did not have a lot of N down early so I don’t think we lost a whole lot early in the season.This week we are going to be getting ready for wheat harvest. I am not sure we will quite be ready to run anything this weekend, but definitely within two weeks. It looks like it is at least a week or 10 days ahead of schedule. It is still hard to tell how the quality will be, but it seems like a really good wheat crop. We’ll bale all of the straw and we bale some for the neighbor.We used to have a double-crop deadline of July 10 to get all of the beans in, but it seems like we have been able to push that later. We’ll try to plant double-crop beans up until July 18.For wheat harvest, it is kind of a rush there for a couple of weeks. We run three small square balers. Most of our straw is sold out of the field so we don’t have to mess with putting it in barns.We plant the beans in the evening or at night while we’re baling. If we didn’t have such a good market for straw, we’d just plant the beans after the wheat because the prices are looking better.We have been really spotty with the rains. We could definitely use some rain this week. There was a little replanting of beans around here. We replanted 16 acres of beans we spotted in. Now we could use some rain.
A team of officials from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) visited the Sun Temple in Konark and the Jagannath temple in Puri, Odisha, on Friday to assess the damage to the heritage structures caused by Cyclone Fani. In a statement here, the ASI said the team of top officials visited Konark on Friday morning and found that there was no structural damage to the monument. But, the team found some dislocation of the scaffolding, which is being put back in place. “More than 200 trees have been damaged which are being cleared. The electrical and illumination systems, including Internet access, have gone out of order, restoration of which will take some time. The monument will be opened to the public in next two or three days. The chemical cleaning and consolidation of the eastern face will be completed on priority. The monument will be restored to normal within about a fortnight,” the ASI said. Later in the day, the team was on its way to the Jagannath Temple.“The State government had sought help from the ASI to assess the damage caused to these world heritage monuments. The team will also suggest the restoration exercise needed for the monuments and the surrounding areas,” the ASI said.
Asserting that the Congress will be losing the Lok Sabha election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday claimed that the party has fielded “two batsmen” to defend the naamdar (dynast). In a veiled dig at Congress leaders Mani Shankar Aiyar and Sam Pitroda, Mr. Modi said they were tasked by the party to take responsibility for its poor poll show. “One says hua to hua (it happened, so what) on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, while the other one, who has been behind the curtains after abusing me during the Gujarat elections, is attacking me again,” he said. While Mr. Pitroda faced the wrath of party president Rahul Gandhi for his remarks, Mr. Aiyar in an article raked up his controversial neech remark against Mr. Modi, saying his comments turned out to be prophetic.‘Live example’ Referring to the huge gathering at the meeting, Mr. Modi said that it was a “live example of what would happen on May 23”. “The Congress has understood this very well. That is why it has started preparing for the results. Now you will think, when the BJP-NDA is winning, what the Congress will prepare? Its preparation is uska thikra, party mein, kiske sir mein phode (on whose head the defeat should be thrust upon),” Mr. Modi said. “The Congress can’t say that they lost elections due to naamdar, which will be against the principles of vanshvad (dynasty). It was only after the fifth phase that the two nearest darbaris (courtiers) of the family started batting on their own,” he added. “They don’t have the courage to not take the field and play the match without asking the captain. There is an exodus in the Congress to become martyrs (take blame).” The Congress, Mr. Modi said, has proposed to do away with the sedition law, which would embolden terrorists, Naxalites and their supporters. “But the BJP will not allow that to happen. Our government attacked the terrorists in their den.” Warning the tribals against mahamilawati (adulterated) thoughts, Mr. Modi said his government was committed to the indigenous people. Two-time BJP MP Nishikant Dubey is contesting from Godda LS seat, under which Deoghar falls, and is facing Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) candidate Pradip Yadav.
I think this might have been the best catch I’ve ever seen Dez make live.It wasn’t the most spectacular or the most highlight-worthy or maybe even the most difficult. But I think it might have been the best.Dez’s stats that game:Six catches — 91 yards — 2 TDIf you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!
Tottenham midfielder Oliver Skipp delighted with full Premier League debutby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham midfielder Oliver Skipp was delighted with his full Premier League debut for victory over Burnley.Christian Eriksen fired Spurs’ injury-time winner on Saturday.With Jan Vertonghen missing with a thigh injury and Eric Dier suffering from a virus, left-back Ben Davies stepped in at centre-back while 18-year-old Academy product Oliver Skipp was handed his full Premier League debut. Fellow Academy starlet TJ Eyoma was on the bench as defensive cover.Skipp beamed, “It’s a great result to get the last-minute winner and it’s topped off a great day for me! “I was happy to have gained the manager’s trust.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Shenzhen-based smart home solutions provider, Skyworth Digital, will showcase its vision for the connected home at IBC.The company will showcase the “digital home of the future” at the show, highlighting how tomorrow’s trends can be integrated and packaged for end-users in the future.Skyworth’s vision will illustrate the company’s answer to the “Internet of Everything” that will incorporate new technologies and concepts like Ultra-High Definition, integrated social media, multi-screen/TV anywhere solutions, home automation and mobile integration.Skyworth said that it will demonstrate the integration of mobile applications and home network control, such as security, heating and lighting – showing how everyday tasks can be enhanced via a single remote control and the TV as a central hub.Skyworth’s vision will explore new ways of managing traditional services such as PVR, catch-up/start-over TV and streamed content, according the firm.Skyworth Digital will exhibit at IBC on stand 5.A31
Youth-skewed content brand Vice has produced a new music-based docuseries The Score about different music scenes around the world.According to a report in The Hollywood Reporter (THR), the six-part series is being streamed exclusively on the music subscription service Apple Music.Accompanying the series will be a new playlist featuring the music from each episode.The first episode, titled Reservation Rap, premiered on March 22 and focused on hip-hop music born out of Minnesota’s Red Lake Reservation and the Ojibwa tribe, the third largest indigenous tribe in North America.Forthcoming episodes will take an in-depth look at music scenes in Brazil, Iceland and Vietnam among others.Apple says it has 11 million subs to its music streaming service.
$188 $(56) 2011 $606 Cash & Equivalents Free Cash Flow $153 $1,000 Revenue 2010 $1,974 $(138) 2009 $66 $777 2008 $3,711 $3,908 $297 $(55) 2007 $(88) $470 Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or on MySpace) for the last two weeks, you’ve most likely heard that social networking giant Facebook filed for its IPO. The form S-1 contains a plethora of information “the Street” had been mulling over for months. Most important was the company’s 2011 net income, which was up 65% annually to $1 billion. Although the company had a net income loss for 2007 and 2008, its earnings growth since has been astounding. Since 2009, the company has averaged annual net income growth of 115%, while revenue has increased on average 80% over the same period. $272 $1,785 $229 $633 $305 Net Income The company has been amassing a treasure chest of cash. With nearly $4 billion at the end of 2011, Facebook can cover operating expenses for two years without any additional revenue, granting investors a wide margin of safety. Free cash flow has consistently grown since 2008, with an average annualized growth of 103%. In addition to the income numbers, the public was able to peek inside Facebook’s user base for the first time. According to the form S-1, the company had 845 million monthly active users (MAUs) and 483 million daily active users (DAUs) at the end of 2011, up 39% and 48%, respectively.(Click on image to enlarge)However, as Andrew Sorkin points out, Facebook is very, should we say, generous when calculating its user base. The main point of contention is that Facebook counts users as “active” even if they didn’t actually visit Facebook.com, which skews the company’s reach and thus the amount advertisers would be willing to pay for ad space.To Facebook, a user is considered “active” if he or she “took an action to share content or activity with his or her Facebook friends or connections via a third-party Web site that is integrated with Facebook.”For example, if you clicked the “Like” button on a New York Times article, shared music on Spotify, or signed into the Wall Street Journal using your Facebook account and left a comment that was subsequently shared on Facebook, you’re counted as an active user, even though none of these actions actually took place on Facebook.com. The catch is that advertisers won’t have an opportunity to market products to these “active” users.Even though Facebook seems to have massaged its active users stats, Nielson estimates that Facebook had roughly 153 million MAUs in December, which is only 8 million off the prospectus estimate of 161 million MAUs. So, the company does have a healthy advertising base and appears to be fundamentally strong. Even so, there are other risks that the company will need to overcome in order to continue its success.Growth(Click on image to enlarge)As the graph above illustrates, growth in key markets such as North America and Europe is already tapering off. Sources claim the US market could already have a saturation rate of 75%. From the form S-1: “We believe that our rates of user and revenue growth will decline over time. For example, our annual revenue grew 154% from 2009 to 2010 and 88% from 2010 to 2011. Historically, our user growth has been a primary driver of growth in our revenue. Our user growth and revenue growth rates will inevitably slow as we achieve higher market penetration rates, as our revenue increases to higher levels, and as we experience increased competition.”Once Facebook’s user base inevitably plateaus, their performance will become increasingly dependent on their ability to increase levels of user engagement, which entails generating new, useful products. However, Facebook still has opportunities for user growth in emerging markets, such as Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.AdvertisingFor 2009, 2010, and 2011, advertising accounted for 98%, 95%, and 85%, respectively, of Facebook’s revenue.Working in their favor is Facebook’s vast knowledge of their users, which could allow the company to deliver ever-increasingly targeted ads. If they can increase the relevance of their ads, they’ll be able to increase their advertising base, along with the price they charge per click, thus providing an opportunity to raise revenues.One caveat to this opportunity is that Facebook is at the forefront of complex and evolving US and foreign laws and regulations regarding privacy and data protection, which could result in regulatory action in coming years. This could entail future restrictions on the data Facebook can gather and use to deliver targeted ads. MobileCurrently, Facebook’s mobile app does not carry advertisements. With more and more users accessing Facebook through mobile devices, the company will need to reevaluate its mobile strategy.Without any leverage in the mobile marketplace, an opportunity is created for Google to push its Google+ social network on Android devices, along with Apple’s recent affinity for Twitter on the iOS. Without a native mobile operating system, Facebook is at a clear disadvantage.However, Google+ has had difficulty gaining traction and currently has “only” 90 million users, while Facebook is still considered a mainstay in the social networking industry.Key-Man RiskLast but certainly not least, the company’s chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg poses a significant key-man risk for the company. Zuckerberg (who was mentioned 113 times in the S-1 filing) owns a large majority of the company’s voting stock and thus has control over key decisions. Placing this much emphasis on one person (regardless of how brilliant) is rarely a good idea.On the flip side, Zuckerberg’s track record proves he can lead a growing, profitable company. But the question is whether he’ll be able to keep it up.