Cop still on duty 5 days after pedestrian’s death

first_imgEBD fatal accidentA 61-year-old pedestrian, who was attempting to cross the McDoom Public Road, East Bank Demerara (EBD), last week was killed after being struck by a vehicle driven by a Police Constable.Dead is Colin Crawford of Lot 111 Covent Garden, EBD.Reports are at about 17:15h, the Police rank, who is stationed at the Brickdam Police Station’s Impact Base Unit, was driving motorcar PLL 9532 along the EBD road on the eastern driver’s lane of the western carriageway when the accident occurred.The three-lane procedure for vehicles traversing the EBD roadway was active at the time of the incident.According to reports, the policeman was proceeding south along the eastern side of the western carriageway in the vicinity of Stoby’s Jewellery at McDoom, when Crawford was seen standing on the western side of the eastern carriageway close to the median that separates the eastern and western carriageway on that road.The police in a statement said that the rank told investigators that he was about to pass the pedestrian who “suddenly jump over the said median” and attempted to cross the western carriageway from east to west.According to the police, the constable alleged that upon seeing Crawford trying to rush across the busy roadway, he applied brakes to avoid a collision with the man, but due to the short distance between the vehicle and the pedestrian, it was unavoidable.The 61-year-old is said to have collided with the left side front fender of the constable’s motorcar.As a result of the impact from the collision, Crawford fell onto the front windscreen of the vehicle and then bounced onto the roadway.This publication understands that the injured man was picked up by the police constable with the assistance of public-spirited persons and taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) for medical attention.He died some three hours after the accident.At the time of the accident, a breathalyser test was conducted on the police constable and no trace of alcohol was found in his system.According to the police, checks were made around the McDoom village for witnesses and to obtain any CCTV footage from residents in the area but these attempts proved futile.Meanwhile, the fate of the police constable who was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident is still to be determined.This is according to Deputy Police Commissioner and Traffic Chief, Linden Isles, who told this newspaper on Saturday that the rank has not been charged to date.“Because he would have spent his 72 hours, as a member of the Force, under close arrest. So he was in custody for 72 hours, and after that 72 hours have elapsed, there is a procedure that has to be followed before any action can be taken. So he is on duty pending the investigation and when we are done investigating we will send the file for advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on the way forward.”last_img read more

Indoor pot farm allure is growing

first_imgA crackdown on meth, tighter border controls, no-money-down mortgages and the lure of large profits are behind the rise of indoor pot farms in the San Gabriel Valley and elsewhere, according to authorities. Since March, police have raided almost two dozen homes and businesses converted to large-scale marijuana farming operations. Officials believe many of the farms, which employ an assembly line-style operation and can generate up to six harvests a year, are funded by entrepreneurial gangsters looking for easy money during hard times. “My spin on it is Asian \ and Caucasian biker gangs have developed a form of marijuana that is double the potency of Mexican marijuana,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Dennis Werner. “The more expensive the product, the more money they can get out of it.” Narcotics officers from Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties as well as agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and detectives from the Pomona and Azusa Police Departments participated in the seizures. In all, the 23 houses and one business accounted for a street value of more than $50 million worth of pot. As with any good business model, pot growers need an outlet. Economic forces create a market. Crackdowns on methamphetamine labs provide a knowledgable work force; easy-to-obtain mortgages furnish the land; medical marijuana dispensaries and a re-emergence of the ’60s pot culture supplies the customers, said Gerald Caiden, a USC professor of economics and political science who specializes in political corruption and organized crime. Beyond that, “It’s not too difficult to come up with a little capital and use a little entrepreneurship,” said Lt. James Whitten of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The history of one house, at 1512 Eldertree Drive in Diamond Bar, that was raided on March 21 is typical of the grow homes, Whitten said. The house sold for $823,000 in January, according to records from the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office. The buyer, who has not been identified by authorities, apparently put together a purchase loan with little money down and made no payments for insurance or taxes. Inside the home, detectives found marijuana valued at $12.5million and an elaborate system of lighting and irrigation rigged to bypass municipal utility service. The unidentified buyer also owns a home at 7715 Emerson Place in Rosemead that deputies raided two days later and seized less than $1 million worth of drugs, Whitten said. A similar setup was employed there, officials said. Again, the home was purchased with very little money down and retained little or no equity. “We think the facts resemble a series of cases in Northern California,” Werner said, “where grow homes were bought with 100 percent financing.” The typical arrangement consists of the buyer obtaining a mortgage for 80 percent of the purchase price and then a silent second for the remaining 20 percent, Werner said. Kiet Chung, 40, of San Francisco was arrested in the Eldertree Drive house and charged with cultivation of marijuana for sale. He is being held at the Pitchess Detention Center without bail. The unidentified homeowner has been in contact with detectives through an attorney, Werner said. Although many of the houses display similar links and purchase patterns, detectives have been unable to nail down any threads tying them all together. While Asian gangs, known as drug trafficking organizations or DTOs, seem to control much of the San Gabriel Valley trade, Werner said biker gangs and other criminal organizations are also involved. A recent series of six busts in Palmdale involved African- American suspected gang members. Four were taken into custody and 690 plants were seized, Werner said. The varying ethnicity of suspects all the more proves the profitability of such ventures, Caiden said. “This is a terrific business and marijuana is a great cash crop,” Caiden said “The profits are enormous. If it wasn’t so profitable, it wouldn’t be worth the risk.” Links to the San Gabriel Valley crop up in many other busts. Last Monday, San Bernardino County deputies uncovered a grow home in Yucaipa. They arrested Huaiwen Zhu, 24, of Rosemead and Minghua Liang, 29, of Rowland Heights. A check of public records indicates Liang is connected to the now defunct Ever-Union Trading & Investment Inc. The company, which authorities claim swindled investors in Taiwan, was busted in October by Taiwanese officials and detectives from the Sheriff’s Fraud Bureau. Liang had been missing ever since, authorities said. Police said the men arrested in many of these cases refuse to talk. Most of the homeowners they interview claim to have little knowledge of the activity. “Several of the owners are elderly, in their 60s or 70s,” Werner said. “Who knows? They may be straw buyers. In a couple of cases, \ said they had posted \ at a laundry. Somebody moved in and they get cash every month. Each case is different.” Similar to meth labs, grow homes present a variety of poisonous perils from the merely mild to considerably lethal. “These houses become toxic waste dumps,” Werner said. “Mold permeates the walls. … They dump gallons of liquid fertilizer. It’s a horrible health hazard to the community regardless of how you stand on marijuana.” There is also a criminal element the farms seem to attract. An indoor farm in Azusa began to draw the attention of authorities because of the people it attracted. “I noticed different people, weirdo-druggies walking down the alleyway,” said Sherri Wells of Glendora, who works in a bakery supply company in the same complex. “After the fact though I realized how crazy it is that you don’t notice something like that until after it happens.” Authorities said some of the product might find its way to medical marijuana dispensaries, like one busted by authorities in West Covina on Monday. “They have to get their product somewhere,” Whitten said. “It would be a good venue for them to sell. Right now though we have no actual information leading us to any one of those places.” If dispensaries are the ultimate destination for the tons of marijuana produced at area grow homes, police might be overstepping their bounds, according to Bruce Margolin, head of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Margolin said the law protects pot grown for purely medicinal purposes. “But, the law is only as good as those who interpret it,” Margolin said. “Sometimes you have rogue cops. They want to go out and kick in the door and seize the product. Very few, if any, \ have been prosecuted.” But grow farm operators are choosing houses in the outlying suburbs because it suits their immediate needs. “Working out of a house cuts down the risks,” Caiden said. “When you cut down the transportation costs and any exposure to antiterrorist measures, you increase profits.” frank.girardot@sgvn.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2717 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

LORETO COMMUNITY SCHOOL CONNECTS WITH CHINESE EDUCATION SYSTEM

first_imgThe delegation from Irish post primary schools wh0 were received by the RDFZ , the number one Chinese School in Beijing. Ms. M. Corless is photographed with representatives from the RDFZ school and five Irish post primary school Principals.STUDENTS at Loreto Community School Milford are set to learn Mandarin Chinese as part of their transition year.As well as the language, the students will also have the chance to learn aspects of Chinese customs and culture.Loreto Community School teacher, Ms Margaret Corless, travelled with five head teachers during the midterm break to Beijing as part of The Principals and Chinese Programme Co-ordinators Official visit to China 2014. The excursion was organised by the UCD Confucius Institute under the sponsorship of the Hanban Confucius Institute Headquarters.The group, accompanied by Mr. Chang Zhang, visited two secondary schools in Beijing and several key attractions.Chinese is potentially a new course in the proposed new Junior Certificate curriculum.   LORETO COMMUNITY SCHOOL CONNECTS WITH CHINESE EDUCATION SYSTEM was last modified: November 4th, 2014 by Brenda3Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:LoretoMandarinMilfordlast_img read more

Bulldogs Advance on First Day Of MVC Championship

first_imgDrake Individual Men’s Results60 Meters (Prelims)5. Caulin Graves, 6.908. Demetrius Shelton, 6.94 Saturday Results (PDF) Saturday Results (HTML) Long Jump15. Johnathan Osifuye, 22-7.25 #MVCTF CHAMPION! @reedfisch wins the title in the men’s 5k pic.twitter.com/AUo3sTcCgE— Drake TF & XC (@Drake_TFXC) February 26, 2017 The 5,000 meters was one of just a handful of final events on Saturday with the bulk of the competition being preliminary heats. Five Bulldogs advanced through those preliminary rounds to Sunday’s finals. Pole Vault13. Erik Olson, 14-8 Drake Individual Women’s Results60 Meters (Prelims)15. Mariah Crawford, 7.7923. Ebele Okoye, 8.00 Story Links Mary Young (Urbandale, Iowa) was one of those to move through to Sunday as she posted the third-fastest 60-meter hurdle qualifying time of the day in 8.38, just one-hundreth of a second off of her personal best. However, the times ahead of her, set by Wichita State’s Nikki and Taylor Larch-Miller both bested the previous fastest times run by an MVC runner. 400 Meters (Prelims)7. Rai Ahmed-Green, 56.8620. Ebele Okoye, 59.81 5,000 Meters (Final)1. Reed Fischer, 14:21.4512. Kyle Brandt, 15:00.01 Bas Van Leersum (Zaandam, The Netherlands) finished sixth in the qualifying heats of the 400 meters in 49.24 to move on to Sunday’s final. 800 Meters (Prelims)13. George Webb, 1:56.8214. Cory Erickson, 1:58.1215. Alec Bognar, 1:58.31 800 Meters (Prelims)10. Meghan Kearney, 2:18.5716. Danielle Griesbaum, 2:22.37 CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Drake University senior Reed Fischer (Minnetonka, Minn.) added another laurel to his decorated career with a Missouri Valley Conference championship in the men’s 5,000 meters during the first day of the MVC Championship Saturday, Feb. 25. Fischer, who earlier this season set the school record in the event, bested the field by nearly five seconds to win in 14:21.45 without being challenged at any point during the race. The title is the first for Fischer on the track after claiming the MVC cross country title in the fall. Fischer’s teammate, Chris Kaminski (New Lenox, Ill.) set a blistering pace to open up the race for Fischer. 200 Meters (Prelims)10. Caulin Graves, 22.1813. Bas Van Leersum, 22.3220. Demetrius Shelton, 22.82center_img MVC ChampionshipCedar Falls, Iowa – UNI DomeFeb. 25, 2017 Mile (Prelim)13. Chris Kaminski, 4:27.69  Print Friendly Version 60-Meter Hurdles (Prelims)11. Hudson Priebe, 8.3413. Dominic Lombardi, 8.42 400 Meters (Prelims)6. Bas Van Leersum, 49.2418. Malik Metiver, 50.3620. Blair Barrow, 51.6221. Dominic Lombardi, 51.7123. Hudson Priebe, 52.55 Rai Ahmed-Green (Irvine, Calif.) also advanced for the women’s team with the seventh-fastest time in the 400 meters at 56.86. “Last year I had to take it out myself and paid for it and finished second. We were trying to mix that up and take it out hard and see if I could hang on,” Fischer said. “It feels good. Getting that first title in cross country was a weight off the shoulders, but at the same time puts a heavier burden on you because everyone is aiming for you.” The Bulldogs return to the UNI Dome oval for the final day of the MVC Championship at 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 26. 200 Meters (Prelims)10. Rai Ahmed-Green, 25.2112. Mary Young, 25.3114. Mariah Crawford, 25.4622. Ebele Okoye, 26.07 The 5,000-meter title is the fourth for the Bulldogs in the past six seasons and Fischer will try to add to his title haul on Saturday in the 3,000 meters. Distance Medley Relay4. Cole, Coombe, Giuliano, Garcia, 12:17.98 The men’s team had two competitors advance in the 60 meters with freshman Caulin Graves (Kansas City, Mo.) dropping a huge personal best with a time of 6.90, beating his previous personal best time by more than one-tenth of a second, to finish fifth in the qualifying heats. Demetrius Shelton (Markham, Ill.) was eighth in 6.94. 60-Meter Hurdles (Prelims)3. Mary Young, 8.3813. Victoria Coombe, 8.84 Long Jump9. Taryn Rolle, 18-4.59. Brittani Griesbaum, 18-4.5 Distance Medley Relay7. Cozine, Priebe, Lechleitner, Yeager, 10:33.63last_img read more

DERRY CITY OFFER BARRY MCNAMEE TWO-YEAR DEAL

first_imgBarry McNamee has been offered a two-year contract at Derry City, but may be tempted to move elsewhere.Derry City have offered influential midfielder Barry McNamee a two-year contract in the hope the Ramelton man decides to stay at the Brandywell. McNamee is being courted by several other League of Ireland clubs with both Sligo Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic keen to acquire the services of the talented central midfielder.McNamee was left out of Peter Hutton’s starting XI for the Ford FAI Cup Final at the Aviva Stadium last month. It was reported at that time that McNamee wasn’t fit to start the final, however when he was introduced as a second-half substitute he showed no signs of any injury and delivered a quality performance.It’s since been reported that he was fit to start the final, and his nose has been put out of joint at the decision to drop.Manager Peter Hutton is desperate to hold on to McNamee and have offered him a two-year deal in the hope he’ll commit to Derry for the next two years.Hutton said, “Barry has been one of our most consistent players this season and while a groin injury certainly didn’t help him before the cup final, he’s been a superb young professional. “He’s a quality player, a big favourite at the Brandywell and having already spoken to him, he wishes to sit back and have a look at his options before making a decision.However, with St Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers on the hunt for his services McNamee may opt to leave the club over the coming weeks.His brother Tony McNamee has recently signed for Finn Harps, after a spell at Irish League club Glenavon didn’t work out.Ollie Horgan would certainly love to add McNamee to his playing panel for the forthcoming season.However, it’s very unlikely McNamee would want to drop down a division, plus Harps probably wouldn’t have the budget to tempt him to Finn Park. DERRY CITY OFFER BARRY MCNAMEE TWO-YEAR DEAL was last modified: November 21st, 2014 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Barry McNameeDerry City FCHome-page Sportnewssoccerlast_img read more

Greater fishing rights demanded for Donegal’s island communities

first_imgDeputy Thomas Pringle called for greater fishing rights for Island communities in Donegal and the rest of the country.He made his call while speaking on the Island Fisheries (Heritage License) Bill 2017 in the Dáil.He said “I worked hard alongside my colleagues in the Fisheries Committee to produce a comprehensive Report in 2014 with a number of recommendations calling for greater fishing rights. “However, the Committee Report has fallen on deaf ears and four years since its publication the Report continues to be ignored by Fine Gael today.“I feel that now is the time to address the cultural and sustainability issues plaguing our islands in Ireland today which deal with mass depopulation, emigration and job losses on a continuing basis.”He added that he was reiterating what he has repeatedly called on the Government to do and that is to ring-fence non-transferrable fishing quotas for small-scale coastal fishing.He said “I believe that by making a special provision for rural and coastal communities they may still have time to save their culture, heritage and communities. “I have continuously met with IIMRO and residents on Árainn Mhór and Tory Island and see what they have to endure to keep the community going. Their way of life is at threat due to the blatant disregard the current Government has to their needs and the lack of investment by consecutive Governments to date.“With cross-party support for the Bill today I’m hoping the socio-economic challenges facing these communities will be adequately addressed and that the sustainability of island and rural coastal living can become a reality” concludes Pringle.Greater fishing rights demanded for Donegal’s island communities was last modified: February 2nd, 2018 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Deputy Thomas PringledonegalFishingislandslast_img read more

Humboldt State’s late run falls short, eliminated from postseason play with loss to Sonoma State

first_imgArcata >> Thursday night was ‘Blackout Night’ at Lumberjack Arena, unfortunately for the Humboldt State women’s basketball team, the Sonoma State Seawolves made the plays down the stretch to turn out the lights on the Jacks’ postseason chances.Sonoma State held off a fourth quarter rally to down HSU 62-51, ending Humboldt State’s bid to be the eighth and final team in the upcoming California Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament.Entering Thursday’s game, Sonoma State (13-12 overall, 9-10 …last_img

How NASA scientists paid homage to 49ers’ receivers after successful landing of Mars craft

first_imgAnd, as of Monday, out of this world — thanks to some choreographed … The touchdown celebration dates back to 1965, when New York Giants receiver Homer Jones caught an 89-yard touchdown pass on the first play of a game and punctuated the deed by spiking the football in the end zone.That’s according to a 2009 Bleacher Report story, and I think we should stick with it.Since then the TD two-step has become one of the foremost examples of cultural and artistic expression in the world.last_img

Fishing the North Coast: Smith, Chetco only options for steelhead

first_imgFollowing a fabulously wet February – and with a “Miracle March” in the making – options for winter steelhead fishing have been limited to say the least. If it wasn’t for the quick-clearing Smith and Chetco rivers, we’d be you know what. Not only are those two rivers the only game in town, they’re both kicking out some quality, fresh steelhead. The same cannot be said of the rest of the coastal streams as they’ve remained high and muddy after last week’s deluge.We aren’t forecasted for any big …last_img

Dust a Major Problem on Non-Earth Worlds

first_imgYou can’t just beam down to a planet and start walking around. That dust under your feet can cause major problems.As the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 approaches next year, the moon landings sound like ancient history to many people alive today. Fewer still remember the fear of lunar dust that occupied planners of the moon missions. “It was a real concern,” remembers JPL scientist Dr Henry Richter, whose team prepared for the Surveyor missions—the first soft landings by robotic spacecraft. A minority of scientists, including Dr Thomas Gold, warned that the craft might slowly sink out of sight in the deep dust. That was not the case when Surveyor 1 landed in 1966, reassuring Apollo astronauts in training. We remember the old videos of the astronauts hopping around on a solid surface, kicking up a little dust with their feet. No problem, right? Wrong.David Stacey of the University of Western Australia, reports Phys.org, worries about a “dust dilemma” facing future lunar astronauts.The world’s foremost authority on lunar dust is suggesting the powder-like substance, which is finer than talcum powder and more abrasive than sandpaper, remains a major risk-management problem hampering upcoming space expeditions.Lunar dust is considered the number one environmental problem on the moon and can cause unpredictable hazards for both robots and humans operating on the dust-covered surface.In 2014, China’s little Yutu rover became incapacitated soon after landing, most likely due to the dust. It was a “wakeup call needed to change half-a-century of complacency towards the problem.” The Apollo moonwalks were relatively short (the longest being 7.25 hours by Apollo 17 astronauts), but even with that short an exposure, the astronauts fussed about the dust. It got into everything, covering the spacesuits and jamming equipment. The moon buggies kicked up dust onto them, and once the astronauts got back inside the Lunar Module, the dust irritated the astronauts’ eyes and skin.“Past expeditions have been plagued by dust with issues arising from clogged equipment and zippers, wrist locks, faceplates and a leaking spacesuit. The most alarming characteristic was how quickly and irreversibly problems could strike,” he said.Ceremony on the Plain at Hadley, by Alan BeanLunar dust forms from breakup of rocks by high-speed particles impacting the surface. With no atmosphere or wind, the grains follow ballistic trajectories, but can soar around the surface from distant impacts. The dust grains tend to be sharp and jagged under a microscope. Because there is no surface water, the dust collects static electricity, too, making it cling to objects.Astrobiologists recently got all excited about widespread “water” on the moon (Space.com), but what they mean by water is not wet stuff you can use to wipe off the dust. It’s mainly attached to minerals in the form of hydroxyl ions (OH–), concentrated in ices at the poles in perennially shadowed craters. Scientists believe that it is produced by the solar wind impacting oxygen atoms in the dusty regolith. With sufficient technology, space colonizers might be able to collect enough of the stuff to make water and fuel that could sustain an outpost, but they will still have to deal with the inescapable dust.Some cosmogonists, according to another Phys.org article, wonder how the discovery of widespread ‘water’ will affect lunar origin stories. Did the moon start out wet? Some of them have figured out ways to tweak their impact models for the moon’s origin to allow for more hydrogen and oxygen. But according to the Murphyism “Every solution breeds new problems,” they now have to figure out “why the Moon is depleted of potassium, sodium, and other volatile elements.” Maybe the Earth took it all, some of them surmise; “Or potentially they were part of the Moon when it first accreted from the post-collision disk but were later lost.”Mars, TooRemember NASA’s Phoenix Lander on Mars? It landed near the north pole in 2008 and outlasted its 90-day mission, continuing to work for five months. Orbiting spacecraft can still see it down there, says Space.com, with its parachute and heat shield off to one side. Comparison photos taken years apart show something interesting: Phoenix is being covered with dust. “Dust May Be Burying NASA’s Phoenix Lander on Mars,” reports Mike Wall. The photo caption says, “In the latter photo, dust obscures much of what was visible two months after the landing.”The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), still in orbit, took a photo on December 21, 2017 of the little dead craft. Scientists, by using “an animated-blink comparison with an image from about two months after the May 25, 2008, landing shows that patches of ground that had been darkened by removal of dust during landing events have become coated with dust again.” That was just in nine years; how much dust accumulation would occur in billions of years?Mars weather sometimes entrains dust in global dust storms that make the entire Mars surface appear indistinct from Earth. Another article on Space.com considers that the planet’s dust could have contributed to the loss of its atmosphere. The dust storms tend to throw hydrogen off into space, leading to more dryness over time. Previous research on Martian dust devils suggests that static electricity is a severe problem there, too, as it is on the moon (30 October 2006, 2 August 2006).Dust and HabitabilityAstrobiologists continue speculating about life on other planets beyond what the data will bear. Certainly dust, static electricity and dry conditions must be considered in any model of habitability. For instance, Saturn’s moon Titan suffers from a similar static cling problem (31 March 2017) that should dampen hopes for life there. It should, but it doesn’t. The storytellers continue to tease the public with suggestive headlines like “Does Titan’s Hydrocarbon Soup Hold A Recipe for Life?” by Lisa Kaspen-Powell of Astrobiology Magazine. After a large telescope located in Chile’s Atacama Desert discovered spectral lines for vinyl cyanide in the Titanian gooey lakes, astrobiologists went nuts with speculations that it could form a basis for a hydrocarbon-based life – a kind of life completely unknown by scientific observation, but only knowable through the eyes of imagination.Speaking of the Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth, astrobiologists are using it again for astrobiology propaganda. Recent measurements reported in PNAS show that indigenous bacteria can live in this hostile place, even though it only gets rain every decade or more. Headline writers who don’t know any better, like someone at Fox News, and Jonathan Amos at the BBC News, chirp out fake optimism, saying things like “Bugs found in the driest spot on Earth could indicate life on Mars.” and “Atacama’s lessons about life on Mars.” The blame goes to lead author (and lead propagandist) Dirk Schulze-Makuch, who titillates reporters with phony comparisons, like the following:These hardy organisms are of interest because they may serve as a template for how life could survive on Mars.“All the stresses you have in the Atacama, you have on Mars, too – just a little tick more,” TU Berlin’s Dr Dirk Schulze-Makuch told BBC News.No evidence, in other words, for the claim about life on Mars: just a high perhapsimaybecouldness index. But even that speculation is built on a flawed syllogism, i.e., Major premise: Earth life can thrive in hostile environments. Minor premise: Mars has hostile environments. Conclusion: Mars has life. Astrobiology fails here on two counts: empiricism and logic. Schulze-Makuch and the lemming reporters who follow him off the logical cliff are not even thinking about the other problems, like deadly dust and static electricity.Encela-dustThe lemming reporters are also following secular astrobiologists off a cliff at Saturn’s little moon Enceladus. First, the headlines:Could methane on Saturn’s moon Enceladus be a sign of life? (Fox News)Alien life in our Solar System? Study hints at Saturn’s moon (Phys.org)Could Methane on Saturn’s Moon Enceladus Be a Sign of Life? (Mike Wall, Space.com)We may have already found signs of alien microbes on Enceladus (Andy Coghlan, New Scientist)Good grief; now what? Here’s the empirical data: scientists detected some methane in the geyser plumes of this little moon. What this shows is that reporters can get drunk on methane as well as on Darwine. At first, the excitement was all about water coming out (even though it consists of salty ice crystals and dust). Now, it’s a gas:To be clear, study team members aren’t claiming that Enceladus’ methane is biological; after all, the substance can be produced geologically as well (by reactions between rock and hot water, in fact). But the new results could help inform the search for life on ocean moons in the solar system, Rittmann said.This reasoning, too, is based on a flawed syllogism: Major premise: Some “methanogen” life forms on Earth can metabolize hydrocarbons and give off methane. Minor premise: Enceladus has methane. Conclusion: Enceladus has life.“From an astronomical perspective, future missions to Enceladus or other icy moons should be equipped to be able to detect methanogenic biosignatures related to methanogens, like certain lipids or ratios of certain carbon isotopes,” he said.Isn’t that what the hype is all about? Equipment needs manufacturing. Missions with equipment need a space program. Astrobiologists need a reason to have a job. The public needs hype to influence the government. NASA: Send more money!From dust the astrobiologists came; to dust they will return. Their bad ideas will follow them. Truth abides forever.(Visited 604 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more