A preliminary hearing is scheduled to be begin later this week in Edmonton, for convicted murderer Joseph Laboucan. Lawyers for the Fort St. John man successfully had the proceedings moved from Fort Saskatchewan to the Alberta capital last week but, Laboucan is not expected to appear at Thursday’s hearing. He’s now charged with second-degree murder, in connection with the 2005 death, of 33 year-old Ellie May Meyer, whose body was discovered in a Strathcona County farm field, in Alberta, on May 6th, of 2005. The now 23 year old Laboucan was also among a group of people convicted, in the 2005 rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl, at an Edmonton area golf course. – Advertisement -He’s currently serving a life sentence in the federal prison in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan but, his lawyers are appealing that conviction. Meyer’s body was just one of many discovered in the vast rural expanses of Strathcona County in recent years and, Laboucan was arrested and charged, as a result of investigations carried out by Project Kare. The joint police task force was formed in 2003, to investigate the deaths of several so-called, “High Risk Missing Persons,” in and around the Edmonton area.Advertisement
The news media, especially National Geographic, BBC News, and Associated Press (see Fox News) have new fodder for human-evolution stories and artwork, now that a partial skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis has been reported in Nature.1 The teeth, cranium, shoulder blades, fingers, inner ear, hyoid bone and other well-preserved parts match “typical African ape morphology.” This is not a new discovery. The research team has been gently extracting the pieces of bone from cemented sandstone for five years. They submitted their initial paper in for publication in April, but estimate it will take several more years to extract remaining fragments from the matrix. Based on tooth morphology, they estimate this specimen to have been a 3-year old female. Because of the species affinity with “Lucy” (though found some 10 km from Johanson’s famous fossil), some are nicknaming this skeleton “Lucy’s baby” (but the discoverers have nicknamed her Salem, “peace”). The skeleton from the waist up is very ape-like, indicating a life in the trees, they claim. Though more complete than previous A. afarensis fossils, it lacks the pelvis; only a foot, pieces of leg bones, kneecaps “as small as a dried pea” provide anatomists with evidence to claim she walked upright – one of the most contentious parts of the debate over the older Lucy fossil. The authors indicated that several parts of the skeleton have been distorted in the burial process: “The cranium is intact except for parts of the frontal squama and significant parts of both parietals, which have broken away to reveal the complete natural brain endocast (Fig. 1d),” the paper states. “The back of the calvaria is slightly distorted, pushing the nuchal region forward (Fig. 1f).” Later, “The articulated postcranial elements in the primary sandstone block include both scapulae and clavicles, the cervical, thoracic and the first two lumbar vertebrae, and many ribs. They are displaced from their original anatomical positions, and are compressed superiorly under the cranial base and the palate, making preparation difficult (Fig. 1b, c).” The scientific papers, furthermore, tend to be less dogmatic than the press releases. The authors only say that this skeleton resembles Lucy, and are tentative about the age, which the popular press state confidently as 3 years old. Furthermore, the authors understand that interpretations of life habits based on bones is not an exact science:Now that the scapula of this species can be examined in full for the first time, it is unexpected to find the strongest similarities with Gorilla, an animal in which weight-bearing and terrestrial knuckle-walking predominately characterize locomotor use of the forelimbs. Problematic in the interpretation of these findings is that the diversity of scapula architecture among hominoid species is poorly understood from a functional perspective.Most surprising, this specimen was apparently buried suddenly in a watery flood along with many other animals:This depositional setting, combined with the remarkable preservation of many articulated faunal remains lacking evidence of preburial weathering, most likely indicates that the juvenile hominin was buried as an intact corpse shortly after death during a major flood event.This is echoed by Wynn et al. who, in the same issue of Nature,2 described the geological setting of the fossil:This depositional setting, combined with the remarkable preservation of many articulated faunal remains lacking evidence of preburial weathering, most probably indicates rapid deposition during major flood events, burying many fossils as intact corpses (including the juvenile hominin).In the vicinity of the skeleton were found bones of catfish, mouse, rat, monkey, baboon, mongoose, elephant, extinct horse, rhino, hippo, pig, bushbuck, giraffe, antelope, impala, gazelle, crocodile, coral snake, tortoise, and other animals. In the same issue of Nature,3 Bernard Wood called Lucy’s baby “a precious little bundle.” He agrees, “The corpse of the infant was buried more or less intact, and the sediment in flood waters must have swiftly covered it.” As to this species’ ability to walk upright, Wood is equivocal:There remains a great deal of controversy regarding the posture and locomotion of A. afarensis. Most researchers accept that it could stand upright and walk on two feet, but whether it could climb up and move through trees is still disputed. Some suggest that its adaptations to walking on two feet preclude any significant arboreal locomotion, and interpret any limb features that support such locomotion as evolutionary baggage without any useful function. Others suggest that a primitive limb morphology would not have persisted unless it served a purpose.Wood leaves any complete understanding to the future. After exploring several questions this fossil opens, he ended, “Whatever the answers to such questions, the Dikika infant has the potential to provide a wealth of information about the growth and development, function and taxonomy of A. afarensis.” He told Associated Press that this find won’t settle the debate among scientists, which he said “makes the Middle East look like a picnic.” National Geographic, though, was all ready with artwork, videos and special features about Lucy on the day of the announcement, and Scientific American went all-out with a special feature, including a clickable diagram of each bone fragment. On the other hand, Carl Wieland, a creationist with Creation Ministries International, considers this good news. The more complete skeleton confirms what critics have alleged for years, that Lucy was a tree-climbing, knuckle-walking ape that did not walk upright.1Alemseged et al., “A juvenile early hominin skeleton from Dikika, Ethiopia,” Nature 443, 296-301(21 September 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature05047; Received 22 April 2006; Accepted 6 July 2006.2Wynn et al., “Geological and palaeontological context of a Pliocene juvenile hominin at Dikika, Ethiopia,” Nature 443, 332-336(21 September 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature05048; Received 24 April 2006; Accepted 6 July 2006.3Bernard Wood, “Palaeoanthropology: A precious little bundle,” Nature 278-281(21 September 2006) | doi:10.1038/443278a; Published online 20 September 2006.When you scrape away the hype and artistic license, most of the details of the actual bones seem to back up criticisms by creationists that this is nothing more than an extinct ape. The only portions of the skeleton that evolutionists use to claim this creature had something to do with human evolution are the least preserved: the leg and foot bones. They interpret these to mean it walked upright, as if walking upright is the main human distinctive. The best-preserved parts of the skeleton, by contrast, are clearly ape-like and argue against this extinct ape being a walker. Read the articles skeptically, without assuming what the evolutionists assume, and the evidence is profoundly unconvincing for the claims made about it. Everything from the backbone up is well within the charts for an ape, not a human wannabee. The paleontologists admitted, also, that the skeleton has been deformed; how does that affect the interpretation, when assessing function from structure is “poorly understood” under the best of conditions? This fossil also creates other problems for the evolutionists. Consider, for instance, how the evidence for arboreal (tree-climbing) behavior, based on the fingers and shoulder blades, scrambles the Lucy story: “The foot and other evidence from the lower limb provide clear evidence for bipedal locomotion [sic], but the gorilla-like scapula and long and curved manual phalanges raise new questions about the importance of arboreal behaviour in the A. afarensis locomotor repertoire.” This means that evolutionists must now either consider the tree-climbing equipment as “evolutionary baggage” or believe that this creature climbed trees half the time and walked upright the other half. (Only human boys exhibit this behavior today, but they quickly grow out of it.) If Darwin’s mechanism could produce instant phyla at the Cambrian, why couldn’t it get rid of its baggage just as quickly? On the other hand, if Baby Lucy was happy in the treetops, why was there evolutionary pressure to make her strut on the ground, when other primates found buried with her did not feel the same pressure? And how can minorities endure the racism implicit in the artwork (see Yahoo) that always shows these alleged primitives with dark skin? The Darwin Party baby shower for Salem is, therefore, highly overblown, as is usual for human-evolution celebrations. They don’t seem to be focusing quite as much on the remarkable collection of animals buried with the little she-ape. If a sudden flood of this magnitude occurred today, burying this many animals in the same graveyard all at once, wouldn’t it be international news? This was not a volcanic landslide; it was a watery catastrophe. Notice how much the media are going out of their way to characterize this ape as a child and a baby when they won’t even afford that dignity to a human embryo. It is time to get rid of the evolutionary baggage and discover the real Peace Child.(Visited 23 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
A news item in the July 15 issue of Nature1 seems to take sides against President Bush’s AIDS policy. The United States, the largest donor for AIDS prevention and treatment, “is promoting a mantra known as ABC: abstinence, be faithful and use condoms.” Although it would seem these simple preventative steps would quickly diminish the spread of AIDS (read Colson’s report on the success in Uganda), Nature instead draws attention to criticisms of the Bush administration’s policy:This approach was widely castigated in Bangkok, where 17,000 scientists, activists and officials have gathered for the AIDS meeting. Activists and some researchers are particularly critical of a congressional stipulation that requires one-third of the money allocated to prevention programmes under the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to be used for projects in abstinence and monogamy. “You’re not doing what countries want or what people with AIDS want,” Gregg Gonsalves of the US activists’ group Gay Men’s Health Crisis told a US official at a panel on 12 July. “You’re trying to please George Bush’s conservative base.”A spokesman for the administration tried to deflect some of the criticism by reminding the group that President Bush is not opposed to the use of condoms. “Condoms are an important part of our overall strategy,” he said. Most of the news article focuses on how to get more funding for research on AIDS drugs, not on preventative measures. An administrator of a nursing school in Botswana claims that public discussion about sex education and condom use is almost impossible in her country, which has the second-highest rate of HIV infection in the world, because “we end up talking to our people in a strange language that they don’t understand.”1Erika Check, “Aid agencies predict victory for HIV unless cash crisis is solved,” Nature 430, 279 (15 July 2004); doi:10.1038/430279a.What part about d-e-a-t-h don’t you understand? Listen to what the gay activist said: “You’re not doing what … people with AIDS want.” What they want is: unlimited sin without consequences. They want to engage in promiscuous relationships, knowing ahead of time the wages of sin is death, but make healthy people pay to find a cure that will allow them to do whatever they want sexually, whenever they want to. An old cartoon stated it well: a character walks right past the danger sign and falls off a cliff. On the way down, he is shouting, “free unlimited health care!” The liberal nurse is making a racist statement. She thinks people in Botswana are too backward to understand the meaning of: “If you engage in this behavior, you risk getting this disease; if you get this disease, you will die.” We think anyone can understand that certain actions can have deadly consequences. Liberals deny that humans have a moral sense and the ability to make choices. They think that people, like animals, are just going to engage in whatever sex they want, and there is no way to stop it, so containment and avoidance is futile. With any other incurable, communicable disease, the medical community would certainly put the highest priority on containment and avoidance (consider SARS, mad cow disease, West Nile virus). But since AIDS overlaps the sexual preferences of some who value their selfish pleasure over safety, and have enough decibels to drown out those with common sense, administrations are threatened to be booted out of office if they don’t throw more money at the problem when containment and avoidance would provide immediate relief. Let’s apply this reasoning to other risky behaviors:I like to hold skunks and squeeze them, but I don’t like the smell. Why doesn’t the World Health Organization recognize the pain of my suffering and provide funds for research on treating my nose and clothes?I’m going to drink and drive. The government should spend money to keep victims out of my way.I demand the right to eat poison mushrooms. I will march on Washington for more federal spending on antidotes.I like to play in snake pits. I demand free government health insurance to cover snakebite and cosmetic surgery.I demand the freedom to jump off cliffs. It’s the government’s responsibility to provide fluffy feather pillows for my landing.I want to drink lots of brown bubbly sugar water. I demand that Health Insurance agencies support my poor nutritional preferences.*I want to eat processed fats and oils. I want Doctors to find a cure for damaged arteries, premature aging and neurological problems.*I have smallpox, and demand the right to cough in public, and I will sue anyone who warns the shopping mall that I’m coming. Instead, the government needs to provide more hospital beds and pain relievers for them.*Sent in by a reader.If you have other examples, write here. Consider this: in California real estate law, realtors are required to divulge to buyers whether a death occurred in the house, or any other incident took place that might render the house “haunted” (believe it or not). There is one exception to this rule. Realtors are forbidden to mention whether a death occurred in the house due to AIDS, unless the buyer asks that specific question point blank. Many AIDS victims are truly victims, and HIV is a global health problem that deserves high priority medical research on the treatment side as well. The plight of millions of orphans left behind demands swift and immediate relief. But surely, much of the global epidemic could be drastically reduced by a strategy of containment and avoidance. This should be obvious whether or not one acknowledges that this strategy just happens to coincide with a Judeo-Christian ethic. This news story is one of many evidences that Big Science and political liberalism are bosom buddies. Any news item or editorial in Nature or Science that has occasion to refer to Bush or other conservatives will predictably cast them in a negative light, and will espouse political or ethical positions that are synonymous with those of liberal politicians; see 09/22/2003 commentary.(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Kayla Hawthorne, OCJ field reporterIn 2012 Brad and Mindy Thornburg bought 11 Angus-Simmental cross cows “sight unseen” through a deal with a friend. Thornburg Cattle was an adventure from the start of the first-generation farm near Barnesville in Belmont County, but they expected nothing less. They have battled through numerous challenges since then and their resulting success was highlighted in January when Brad was named the Young Cattleman of the Year by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association.The Young Cattleman of the Year Award is presented to individuals or couples, typically under 40 years of age, who have demonstrated the initial stages of a successful beef operation and exhibited leadership potential. The recipient is also the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s automatic nominee to participate in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Young Cattlemen’s Conference held in early February.The Thornburgs have worked hard to make their own way in the cattle business, but have relied heavily on the insight and expertise from others in the industry. Neither Brad nor Mindy were raised on farms, but they both had a passion for cattle and they met while working with cattle. Brad got his experience with cattle by working at sale barns and with veterinarians.“I actually had five or six Red Angus heifers I picked up when I still worked at a sale barn — just deals that had come by,” Brad said.Brad was talking to an old friend about the need to artificially inseminate his cattle, not knowing he had a sister in the business.“Probably 10 minutes later she pulled in my driveway and we struck a deal to breed my cows. Within two weeks we were breeding them and had them ready to go,” Brad said. “After that I asked, ‘Hey, what are you doing later? Want to go out to eat?’ ‘Hey, want to get married?’ It kind of went pretty quick. It wasn’t any more than a year I think.”Brad and Mindy started the farm right after they got married and they are each 50% owners. For purposes of efficiency and economics, they bought embryos to place in their 40 cows, instead of breeding unwanted genetics. The Thornburgs still use embryo transfer to improve their genetics. Mindy currently works in animal health for Zoetis and puts her expertise to work in the farm operation.The Young Cattleman of the Year Award was presented to Brad Thornburg of Belmont County.“That’s the fastest way that we know to get your genetic quality up,” Brad said. “We don’t run a bull. We take care of everything through AI and ET.”The Thornburgs have a three-strike rule. If a cow comes back in heat for a third time, she leaves the farm.“We try to get [our calving cycle] at two cycles. So, under 60 days is what we try to keep it at,” Mindy said. “That’s how we decide our culls, if they don’t breed in two heat cycles, they go. Our goal is to calve in January and sell by July 4.”Along with starting from scratch with their cattle, the young couple started from scratch with their land as well. Competition from oil and gas interests in eastern Ohio has made it more difficult to find and purchase land in recent years. The Thornburgs say they were lucky to find the initial land they were able to purchase, but it needed extensive work to be suitable for efficient cattle production.“That limited us on being able to buy any more out here that was actually already half set up for either production or cattle,” Brad said.They initially bought an 80-acre piece of property but 65 acres were wooded. They have since spent many hours clearing the property to maximize the opportunities to pasture the cattle.“Brad and I have started working with the EQIP program to get this farm back in shape. Basically when we got it, it needed a lot of work,” Mindy said. “So we started looking with our local conservation group and trying to build proper rotational grazing and trying to make it sustainable and environmentally friendly to raise these cattle on this land so that it is here for generations to come.”They have been able to add some more ground since then to expand pastures further.“We bought a little farm a couple years ago — about 35 acres or so. And it’s in a rehabilitation process, too,” Brad said. “We ended up realizing that it is going to be a real challenge to get any more ground.”The Thornburgs pasture their 40 cows on all 115 acres they own. Additionally, they rent around 400 acres from neighbors for hay, which they use for their cows in the winter and to sell. Their goal was to build their herd to 100 cows.“We’re at the point that 115 acres is not going to support the operation that we’d like to get to someday with the goal we had in mind,” Brad said.With off-farm jobs, three children and the cattle operation, time is also often a limiting factor for the farm.“We work off farm but we somehow manage to make it happen between the two of us,” Mindy said.The Thornburgs work hard to provide the right nutrition for the cattle produce a high quality end product from their operation with a heavy emphasis on grass and less additional supplementation. Brad wants to continue emphasizing grasses as the operation moves forward.“I would like to graze 365 days of the year — short of some major ice event or 5 feet of snow. The more grass I can raise, the less grain I have to buy,” Brad said. “We’re trying to implement rotational grazing and intensive grazing and even some mob grazing. We tried that this year and it was fairly successful.”Brad is always researching new ideas to improve production through the resources available on their land by extending the grazing opportunities.“We rely on a lot of professionals and all these people who have put out papers and studies about trials,” Brad said. “I’m a reader. I read a lot.”The calves are sold to a middleman who puts together a semi load of black, Angus-based calves, which are sold to a feedlot in the West or on the Internet. The Thornburgs get reports on the calves to monitor the farm’s performance and provide insights in how details can be tweaked for future improvement.“We’re willing to adapt and change for whatever we need to raise and market our cattle the best way we can,” Brad said.Along with the countless hours he spends working directly with the cattle, Brad also takes time to serve as a director for District 7 of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and will finish his two-term limit in 2020. They are also members of the Ohio Valley Cattlemen’s Association for Belmont, Nobel, Monroe, Harrison and Jefferson counties.The Thornburgs were very honored to receive the recent award from the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, but they have no idea who nominated them for the recognition.“We were happy — tickled to death,” Brad said. “But we would like to try to find out who [nominated us] just for the ‘thanks.’”The first generation farm has been built with the Thornburg’s sweat-equity driven by a love of raising cattle and willingness to learn from others.“We’re self-sufficient to try to keep the cost low,” Brad said. “We didn’t have parents who did this. We didn’t have uncles who gave us anything. This came out of my pocket from laying brick and her pocket from breeding cows. We are grateful for all these professionals going before us. We wouldn’t be where we’re at if we didn’t have somebody to learn from.”
The Congress government in Rajasthan has identified a whopping 10 lakh farmers for grant of loans through cooperative banks during the next crop cycle, amid allegations by the Opposition BJP that its “populist measure” of farm-loan waiver had failed to extend the benefit to the eligible agriculturists and led to scams in several districts. State Cooperative Minister Udai Lal Anjana said here on Saturday that the cooperative debt structure was being strengthened for the benefit of farmers who would get the loans without mortgaging their land. Farmers getting themselves biometrically registered under the scheme would be given preference in the loan disbursement, he said. The farm loans will be disbursed in two stages during the next crop cycle of kharif season from April 1 to August 31 and rabi season from September 1 to March 31. Mr. Anjana said the loan recipients would also get the benefit of other schemes operated by the Cooperative Department. The BJP has alleged that the loan waiver scheme, announced by the State government without the Cabinet’s approval, was not clear about the eligible farmers and the process of implementation. BJP State president Madal Lal Saini said the “loan scams” had come to light in several districts, where the loans were picked up in the name of farmers who had never received the amount. The Congress government had announced loan waiver for farmers up to Rs.2 lakh each, resulting in the burden of an estimated Rs.18,000 crore on the Exchequer, on December 19, 2018, two days after being sworn in. The Congress had promised to tackle agrarian distress during its campaign for the 2018 State Assembly election. The entire short-term loans taken by small and medium farmers from cooperative and land development banks without any monetary ceiling and the debts up to Rs.2 lakh due on November 30, 2018, for the defaulter farmers who had obtained loans from nationalised, commercial and rural banks was to be waived in the scheme’s first phase. Registrar of Cooperative Societies Niraj K. Pawan said the farmers who had become members of village cooperative societies several years ago would be among the beneficiaries selected for the crop loan disbursement scheme.
Protests in Tamil Nadu against Sri Lanka took a new turn with Tamil chauvinists on Tuesday demanding that the Indian cricket team not be sent to the island nation for the forthcoming Twenty-20 World championship.While Yuvraj Singh was making a comeback in international cricket after his battle against a rare germ cell cancer representing the Indian team in the second T-20 match against New Zealand, Tamil protesters held a demonstration outside the Chepauk stadium in Chennai on Tuesday evening.The protesters also disrupted traffic near the stadium.Pro-Tamil groups have also issued a warning to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) against sending the Indian team to Sri Lanka.Mainstream political parties in Tamil Nadu have not taken a stand on the matter so far. DMK chief M. Karunanidhi had earlier said that sports and politics should not be mixed.