(BBC) – Captain Eoin Morgan says “more time” is needed, before Alex Hales returns to the England side, saying he could have “derailed” last year’s World Cup bid.Hales has not played for England since being removed from the World Cup squad in May 2019 for an “off-field incident” – reportedly failing a drugs test.England will next week name a training squad of 30 players with a view to playing Test and limited-overs matches.Seamer Chris Woakes said he would be happy to see batsman Hales, 31, return.However, Morgan said: “I’ve spoken to Alex and certainly see an avenue for him to come back – but when there’s a breakdown of trust, the only healer is time.“It’s only been 12 or 13 months since the incident, which could have cost us four years of hard work.“Given it could have derailed a World Cup campaign, it might take some more time.”Cricket is set to return from the coronavirus shutdown in July and, with a revamped schedule likely to be congested, it could necessitate separate Test and limited-overs squads.Nottinghamshire’s Hales averages almost 38 in 70 one-day internationals and was the second highest run-scorer in last winter’s edition of the Big Bash League, Australia’s domestic Twenty20 competition.The men’s T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place in Australia in October and November this year, although the International Cricket Council is set to discuss whether it can still be staged at a meeting today.“It’s obviously not about performance with Alex,” added Morgan.“Playing cricket for England is about on and off the field, values we adhere to and Alex showed complete disregard for them.“He needs to build that up for as long as he can and then hopefully an opportunity will present itself down the line.”
Camellias and the weevils that attack their seeds seem locked in conflict. The thicker a camellia grows its protective woody covering around its seeds, the longer the feeding tube on some weevil to break through and devour. John R. Thompson talked about such “coevolutionary arms races” in Current Biology1 and asked whether such wars can go on forever, leading to increased exaggeration of traits. The answer is, apparently, there are limits. Traits vary in a mosaic pattern across populations. Not all camellias are infested by beetles with the longest boring tools. As with any war, there are hotspots and coldspots. The dynamics of arms races seem to buffer both species against extremes.Collectively, these studies suggest that coevolution is a pervasive process that continually reshapes interspecific interactions across broad geographic areas. And that has important implications for our understanding of the role of coevolution in fields ranging from epidemiology to conservation biology. Many diseases, for example malaria, vary geographically both in parasite virulence and host resistance, potentially creating regions of coevolutionary hotspots and coldspots. The spread of introduced species seems be creating new geographic mosaics of coevolution as some species become invasive and coevolve with native species in different ways in different regions or drive rapid evolution in native species, sometimes in less than a hundred years or so. The results for Japanese camellia and camellia weevils reinforce the developing view that interactions coevolve as a geographic mosaic across landscapes, and it is often difficult for one partner to get ahead of the other (or others) everywhere. (Emphasis added.)1John R. Thompson, “Coevolution: The Geographic Mosaic of Coevolutionary Arms Races,” Current Biology, Volume 15, Issue 24, 24 December 2005, pages R992-R994, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2005.11.046.This appears to provide more slippage on the evolutionary treadmill (see 03/17/2003 entry). Though the word “evolution” is involved, don’t be confused; this has nothing to do with macroevolution, like bacteria evolving into people. Coevolution leads to exaggerated traits between two interacting species, like the beaks of hummingbirds and the flowers they pollinate. As with all other observed forms of microevolution, including Darwin’s famous finches, it involves the modification of existing traits – not the origin of new ones. Notice how quickly changes can result; Thompson referred to rapid “evolution” in native species in less than 100 years after an intruder was introduced. Young-earth creationists could use such concepts to explain the rapid diversification of varieties and species within created kinds, and there would be nothing Thompson or the Darwinists could do to prove them wrong. Studies like this do not establish that coevolution can be extrapolated endlessly into macroevolution. In fact, the quote above seems to indicate otherwise: there are limits to the amount of change in the “coevolutionary arms race.” World War II did not produce Superman. (Visited 65 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Public trust in scientists exceeds their trustworthiness, experts warn.Nature is worried. People trust scientists too much. In the Nature Editorial this week (“Misplaced faith”), the subtitle is suggestive. “The public trusts scientists much more than scientists think. But should it?” On one hand, the editors are glad that polls show the majority of people giving scientists high marks for reliability despite a flurry of scandals in recent news. The recent retraction of that gay-marriage paper (see 12/12/14 and Science Magazine report; see more below) is a case in point. But on the other hand, they know better.Media coverage of the same-sex-marriage retraction was laced with portentous language, claiming that faith and trust in science had been profoundly shaken. Yet, as researchers who follow misconduct issues will know, faith and trust in science have survived worse in recent years.That should not be taken as an excuse to ignore the problem of research misconduct or to minimize its importance. And although high-profile fraud makes headlines, a broader and more common set of unappealing behaviours — from corner-cutting to data-juggling — lie under the surface. Convention says that a tiny minority of scientists cheats, yet academics and researchers frequently make the case that irregularities are widespread. A 2014 survey of hundreds of economists, for example, found that 94% admitted to having engaged in at least one “unaccepted” research practice (S. Necker Res. Policy 43, 1747–1759; 2014).… it seems that the wider public’s view of science and research is rosier than that of many people who are directly involved. For how long can this continue?As insiders, Nature’s editors get a view of science’s dirty laundry that the public is blissfully unaware of. And they’re not alone. Other writers have pointed out reasons to doubt the iconic image of the scientist in the white lab coat, altruistically researching nature’s secrets for the pure love of the truth.Influence or influencer? Anna Gielas, in a PLoS Blog printed on PhysOrg, turns scientific journals into carts pulling the horses. Rather than depicting them as channels for research dissemination, she argues that journals are often instruments that shape science and academia. Tracing the history of academic journals over centuries, she shows them to be dynamic, evolving instruments that often made or broke personal reputations and, sometimes, shaped political decisions. “I wish to learn how we have created this unique and intricate communication system,” she ends, “—and why we have endowed it with so much power.”Measurement power corrupts: What’s science without measurement? In The Conversation, Aussie academics Mike Calver and Andrew Beattie warn that “Our obsession with metrics is corrupting science.” Specifically, the process of ranking scientific papers by citations and other arbitrary measures lets some scientists game the system, and consigns other worthy research into dustbin of obscurity. Ranking has been a poor predictor of Nobel Prizes, they point out. (See also Nature‘s list of “sleeping beauty” papers whose merits were not recognized till after the author’s deaths.) Merlin Crossley, another Aussie dean of science, replies in The Conversation that “All academic metrics are flawed, but some are useful.” Useful to whom? He presents the “best-in-field” fallacy by arguing that it’s “better than the alternative.”Correlation not causation: Speaking of measurement, Science Magazine enjoyed a list of “spurious correlations.” These come about through “a technique known as ‘data dredging,’ in which one data set is blindly compared to hundreds of others until a correlation is identified.” For instance, one can show that “The number of civil engineering doctorates awarded in the United States between 2000 and 2009 was strongly correlated (95.9%) with mozzarella cheese consumption during the same period.” The editors comment, “Presented as a series of graphs prepared from real data sets, Spurious Correlations serves as a hilarious reminder that correlation most certainly does not equal causation.” It also implies that drawing valid conclusions requires honesty and training in logic.Conflict of interest: A Policy Forum statement in Science Magazine shows that scientists are also stakeholders in government decisions. Fifteen academics from Harvard, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Center for Science and Democracy and some other foundations are upset that Congress is making “attacks on science-based rules.” But rules are not discovered by scientists; they are matters of policy decided by parties with competing interests (including taxpayers who have to foot the bill, and legislators who have to prioritize limited resources). Rules might be informed by science or metrics, but as we have just seen, metrics can corrupt if not properly interpreted. These academics vent the emotion of righteous indignation, pretending their own interests are not part of the equation.There is a growing and troubling assault on using credible scientific knowledge in U.S. government regulation that will put science and democracy at risk if unchecked. We present five examples, and the false premises on which they are based, of current attempts in the U.S. Congress in the supposed pursuit of transparency and accountability but at the expense of the role of science in policy-making.A look at their five examples shows it heavily weighted in favor of government regulation and the ability of scientific institutions to police themselves. At whose expense? And for which group’s interest?The scientific community needs to push back. Elected officials respond to constituents, and there are scientists in every congressional district. With leadership from professional societies and scientific organizations, scientists across the country should tell their members of Congress how much they value the opportunity to engage in informing policy and how important it is that these attacks on the process are defeated.They end by claiming they are all for transparency and avoidance of conflict of interest. Their concerns may well be justified in some of the specific cases they cite, but their own comments betray a lack of objectivity.Whose conflict of interest? Policies that attempt to control conflict of interest may themselves be flawed, an article on Science Daily suggests. Some scientists are objecting to the stringent rules of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on disclosure of financial ties to health industries, claiming that “there are negative consequences of such policies.” One thing seems certain; policies will be made by fallible humans who may not be aware of all the influences behind their decisions, or willing to admit them.Scientific fraud made several headlines recently. Most recently, the exposure of Michael LaCour at UCLA as a fraudster for his Dec. 2014 paper on gay-marriage persuasion was noted by Science Magazine (which retracted the paper last month), Nature, and major media outlets. But few are pointing out that his credibility should have been suspect at the start, since he is a gay activist and recruited only gay activists in his “experiments” on interviewing people—and they only tested the ability to persuade people for gay marriage, not against it. That seems hardly a controlled experiment. In other headlines, social psychologist Jens Förster is in deeper trouble after investigators found further evidence he “made up” his data, Science Magazine says (see 5/22/14). Förster still maintains his innocence. Nature reports that Paolo Macchiarini, inventor of the artificial windpipe, has been charged with misconduct for “misrepresenting the success of his pioneering procedure.” And in a PLoS Blog piece posted by PhysOrg, Beth Skwarecki asks an unusual question, “Was it unethical to hoax the world about chocolate as a weight loss ‘accelerator’?” It’s another story about P-hacking (tweaking significance measures) to pull a causation out of a correlation.When you envision a scientist, stop thinking of the cartoon drawing. Picture a real human being, just like yourself, getting out of bed each day and getting dressed to go to work. Like each one of us, the scientist is a complex mix of influences, beliefs, biases and desires. Many scientists usually work in an academic environment that is profoundly leftist in ideology and subject to speech codes or standards of political correctness (we admit exceptions, of course). The scientist has undergone years of rigorous study and practice, part of which constitutes indoctrination into certain ways of thinking. He or she attends conferences with colleagues at which habits of behavior are reinforced by groupthink, where independent thinking is tolerated only to a point. The scientist does not observe nature as a newcomer, but follows years of tradition, working on some specific puzzle in the current paradigm. Scientists are often dependent on government funds, or else support from private industry, which also influence their judgment. Like other humans, scientists desire fame and recognition for their work.Lest one argue that it’s the scientific community that protects against bias and makes science a self-correcting enterprise, let’s get real. A community is a collection of fallible individuals. Academia can reinforce bias as much as prevent it. Look at the articles above; journals, peer review and other aspects of self-correction can end up shaping policies and attitudes, even facilitating fraud. Nature just told us that people have an undue trust for science as it really us. Standards have evolved over the centuries; are we to believe that what Newton or Faraday did in their day was unscientific by today’s standards? Peer review is under attack from many quarters these days. Journals are evolving to adapt to social media. And how can they protect themselves from computer-generated fraud? (see Evolution News & Views article).Never forget that science cannot work without (1) a commitment to truth, and (2) honesty. Those are not discoveries of science; they are prerequisites for science. Logical reasoning requires both. So what are we to expect when evolutionary scientists tell us that crime is a product of evolution? (see PhysOrg). Carried to its logical conclusion, that rationalizes fraud as an evolutionary strategy. Science needs God to say, “Thou shalt not!” (see 5/24/15). The current flood of scientific misconduct is to be expected from a culture that has abandoned Biblical morality for evolving strategies, and truth for pragmatism.So what are honest truth seekers to think of science? We have to judge it based on the evidence and the logic, and on the individual researcher’s character. We cannot take a scientist’s word for anything. We need to be aware of the biases that influence their statements. We need to examine their “materials and methods” that formed the basis of their conclusions. We need the courage to fight a strong consensus when it is wrong. We need to complain when they fail to be truthful or honest. In a sense, we need to be scientists ourselves, if we take the root of science to refer to “knowledge.” Since knowledge is defined as a “justified true belief,” no scientific statement should be accepted at face value because “science says so,” but because its truth is justifiable.(Visited 28 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has declined to transport four elephants from eastern Assam’s Tinsukia to Ahmedabad for the July 4 Jagannath Rath Yatra until the Gauhati High Court resolves the matter and the State Forest Department clarifies an order of the Supreme Court regarding transfer of elephants.Assam-based animal rights activists Urmi Mala Das and Nandini Baruah had on Friday filed a public interest litigation at the high court challenging the Assam government’s decision to transport four juvenile elephants, two of them females, in railway wagons to Ahmedabad. Their PIL followed a petition filed via email to the court by Canada-based activist Sangeeta Iyer.PIL filed“We will not dispatch the elephants unless we receive a clarification sought from the Forest Division on an order by the Supreme Court. Besides, there is a PIL to watch out for,” said Masood Alom, the Additional Divisional Railway Manager of NFR’s Tinsukia Division. Hearing a case related to Kerala, the SC had in May 2016 said: “The state government shall not issue any ownership certificate to any of the persons in possession of elephants. That apart, the persons who are in possession of elephants shall not transfer the elephants outside the state nor shall they part with the elephants by way of transfer in any manner…” Officials of NRF’s zonal headquarters in Guwahati’s Maligaon confirmed the decision not to transport the elephants until the legal issues are resolved. They also trashed reports that the elephants were being dispatched quietly before the PIL is heard on Monday.
Liverpool loanee Kane signs new extensionby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool have penned Herbie Kane to a new contract and extended his loan spell with Doncaster Rovers.The 20-year-old midfielder has starred for League One side Rovers this season, scoring six goals from 26 appearances.”It is massive, coming from a massive club like Liverpool, so I’m happy,” Kane said after signing the new deal.”I was excited to get it done. It took a lot of hard work to get this, but thankfully it is done. Hopefully I can carry on working hard and get to where I want to be.”On his spell with Donny, he added: “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, to be honest, I’m just trying to do as well as I can for myself and help the team, but also trying to improve.”Hopefully people at Liverpool notice that I’m doing well, and hopefully when I come back to Liverpool it will impact it.”My aim is to come back in the summer and try to make a footprint. I’m hoping I come back in the summer and impress the manager in pre-season.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say