If the latest salvo in a long-standing Darwin debate hits, then the idea of evolution growing more complex with time suffers a big blow.Sponges or Comb Jellies?Sponges look simpler than other Cambrian animals. Thinking Darwinly, evolutionists would expect they were the earliest animals. Perhaps sponges sparked the Cambrian explosion, resulting in all those starfish, worms, and corals that burst on the scene, they imagine. That Darwinian thought may be under attack itself, says Live Science, when Laura Geggel asks, what animal represents the oldest branch on Darwin’s tree?The sponge has long been a crowd favorite because its body is extremely simple when compared with other animals. But a new, detailed genetic analysis revealed that the delicate predator the comb jelly (a ctenophore) evolved first, the researchers in the new study said.Vanderbilt University pipes in: “Forget sponges: the earliest animals were marine jellies,” reports David Salisbury.Now, a team of evolutionary biologists from Vanderbilt University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have devised a new approach designed specifically to settle contentious phylogenetic tree-of-life issues like this. The new approach comes down squarely on the side of comb jellies.The method and its application to this and 17 other controversial phylogenetic relationships were published online April 10 by the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.This counterattack follows close on the heels of the advance of the sponge-bobs, who last month declared in Current Biology that sponges were first. Amy Maxmen in Nature, reporting on the “Battle of the Branches” from the battlefield, says that the sponge-bobs declared sponges the winners by “using an unprecedented array of genetic data to deduce that they were the first to branch off from the animal tree of life.” Both sides seem unwilling to admit defeat.The Vanderbilt press release claims that 95% of phylogenetic cases resolve well. Looking into the uncooperative 5% with their ‘new approach,’ the genetic detectives led by Antonis Rokas came to this conclusion:In this fashion they determined that comb jellies have considerably more genes which support their “first to diverge” status in the animal lineage than do sponges.The Problem With Comb Jelly AncestorsMaxmen gives one prominent reason why evolutionists don’t want comb jellies first in line:This arrangement rattled evolutionary biologists because it upended the idea that animal complexity increased over time. It implied that nerves and other characteristics evolved independently in different lineages, and were subsequently lost in sponges. Since then, studies have supported or contradicted the rearrangement, but all have been plagued by problems.According to their paper, the Rokas team used their new approach to try to resolve other contentious phylogenetic relationships. The press release explains:Another contentious relationship the researchers addressed was whether crocodiles are more closely related to birds or turtles. They found that 74 percent of the shared genes favor the hypothesis that crocodiles and birds are sister lineages while turtles are close cousins.In the course of their study, they also discovered that in a number of contentious cases, one or two “strongly opinionated genes” among all the genes being analyzed appear to be causing the problem because the statistical methods that evolutionary biologists have been using are highly susceptible to their influence.In some cases, such as controversies regarding the origins of flowering plants and modern birds, they determined that the removal of even a single opinionated gene can flip the results of an analysis from one candidate to another. In cases like this, the researchers were forced to conclude that the available data is either inadequate to support a definitive conclusion or it indicates that the diversification occurred too rapidly to resolve.“We believe that our approach can help resolve many of these long-standing controversies and raise the game of phylogenetic reconstruction to a new level,” Rokas said.—a new level of hostility, perhaps. If relationships can flip over a single ‘strongly-opinionated gene’, all indications are that the battle will wage on. The strongly-opinionated rivals can always argue about which gene needs flipping.Notice the revealing term Rokas used: “the game of phylogenetic reconstruction.” Evolutionists are fond of using game theory to show how evolution works, so let’s follow their example. Our game theory: the rival teams of evolutionists need to continue their battleship games to avoid boredom.Games of chance never really resolve to “the truth” about something. That’s why neo-Darwinism, the incarnation of the Stuff Happens Law, provides endless fun for the gamers. Notice what one of the jelly-first evolutionists says in the Nature article: “’By chance, lineages accumulate genetic similarities not due to a shared history but due to random change,’ explains Michaël Manuel, an evolutionary biologist at the Institute of Biology Paris-Seine, and the study’s senior author.”Keep rollin’ those dice. Give them to Popeye (4/01/17); maybe he will come up with snake eyes. (Visited 111 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
One thing I like about trade shows is that I get an opportunity to talk to customers and potential customers. But the cool part is that all I have to do is be honest and answer questions. There’s no real sales pitch because I’m confident that Green Building Advisor can help them. If not, I point them to the publication that can — _Environmental Building News_, _Fine Homebuilding_, or the bookstore right next to our booth where _GreenSpec_ is on sale.A very skeptical engineer was humoring me as I tried to work into my ‘non-sales pitch.’ He wasn’t skeptical of green building, he was skeptical of green building information. He thought we were greenwashers.I knew this engineer wasn’t interested, so I just struck up a conversation and abandoned the pitch. I pulled my hands away from the laptop and backed away. “Show me what you think is coolest on this site,” he said, so I dug in to the encyclopedia of green building, which is something I spent a lot of time on during development. I showed him the landing page for the Green Building Encyclopedia and explained that we organized the information the way people build houses rather than the way Green Rating systems rate them. This made sense to him.He seemed a little surprised at the sheer number of articles; when he saw the depth, he started to get it. He asked me who wrote all this stuff and I told him former _Fine Homebuilding_ editors, except the landscape section, which was written by a former _Fine Gardening_ editor. This struck a chord with him because he has a lot of respect for Fine Homebuilding.I clicked into a page that I had already visited (water heating ) because I knew it would load quickly — we had a not-so-fast wireless connection. He was drawn in further. “Let me look at something that’s applicable to me,” he said, so I let him drive. He clicked into the slab page and saw good informational preliminaries.Then he scrolled down. There he saw some construction detail thumbnail images. “Are these some of the construction details you have?” Yes, would you like to have a look at that library?” We clicked Strategies and Details and then worked into the slab section. He liked the details, and began muttering things like “Wow” under his breath.When I showed him My GBA, he said “Wow” again, but loud enough for others around us to hear. Another guy that had walked up just moments before started paying closer attention. “Is this any good?” the new guy said; the engineer said, “Yes, this is very cool.”Nice to get good feedback from skeptics.
The Centre on Monday held another round of talks with the NSCN-IM, the major insurgency group in Nagaland, aiming to hammer out differences, particularly on the outfit’s demand for a separate flag and Constitution for the Nagas, and inch closer to a solution to the seven decades old problem, officials said.A team of the NSCN-IM, led by its general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah, and Centre’s interlocutor and Nagaland Governor R N Ravi discussed here the possible ways to find an “honourable” solution by resolving the sticky issue of a separate flag and Constitution for the Nagas.As talks were progressing with the NSCN-IM, a grouping of seven Naga outfits which is pushing for an early solution to the Naga issue has urged elected representatives to avoid a “neutral stand” and make clear their position.The issue of a separate flag and Constitution for the Nagas has become the main bone of contention between the two sides with the NSCN-IM strongly pressing for it.“The dialogue, which lasted for more than four hours, remained inconclusive and both sides agreed to meet again soon. However, a final agreement between the NSCN-IM and the government is unlikely to take place by October 31,” an official privy to the development said.Mr. Ravi, in a statement, had said last week that a mutually agreed draft comprehensive settlement, including all the substantive issues and competencies, is ready for signing the final agreement.“Unfortunately at this auspicious juncture, the NSCN-IM has adopted a procrastinating attitude to delay the settlement raising the contentious symbolic issues of separate Naga national flag and Constitution on which they are fully aware of the government of India’s position,” he had said.Mr. Ravi’s statement bears significance in view of the central government’s August 5 announcement abrogating the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370. With the annulment of the special status, the separate flag and the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir cease to exist.The interlocutor said the NSCN-IM has “mischievously” dragged in the framework agreement and began imputing imaginary contents to it.The framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015 by NSCN-IM’s Muivah and interlocutor Mr. Ravi in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years, with the first breakthrough in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland which started soon after India’s independence in 1947.The central government has already rejected the NSCN-IM’s demand for unification of Naga inhabited areas — located in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. The three Northeastern states also vehemently opposed it.Noting that the the Centre was keen on finding a solution, the grouping of seven organisations called Naga National Political Groups (NNPG) made the appeal to the elected representatives in a statement released by its media cell on Sunday night. The NNPG has been holding separate talks with the Centre since 2017.In the statement, the NNPG asserted that the elected representatives of Nagaland should not be maintaining a neutral stand on the matter, now that the government was keen on finding a solution.“Unresolved matters should be decided through political and democratic process…. The position and status of elected representatives of Nagaland cannot remain lukewarm. They cannot choose to hide behind the boulders blocking the way,” it said.The Centre had set a deadline for conclusion of peace talks in the wake of the Naga society’s demand for an early solution to the six-decade-old issue, the statement said.“It is time for political parties in Nagaland to clear their stand in the interest of the Naga people…. If the political parties of Nagaland fail in their constitutional duties and obligations, they should resign and allow the Election Commission of India to derecognise the parties,” the NNPG said.The interlocutor, Mr. Ravi is expected to hold dialogue with the NNPG in the coming days too.
Thanks to our friends at STUDIOCANAL, Touch Football Australia has 10 double passes to the new Dwayne Johnson movie ‘Snitch’, only at the movies from May 16.In the fast-paced action thriller, Snitch, Dwayne Johnson stars as a father whose teenage son is wrongly accused of a drug distribution crime and is looking at a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years. Desperate and determined to rescue his son at all costs, he makes a deal with the U.S. attorney to work as an undercover informant and infiltrate a drug cartel on a dangerous mission — risking everything, including his family and his own life. For your chance to win a double pass to Snitch, send an email to [email protected] telling us why you’d like to win tickets to this film. The best 10 answers will receive a double pass and TFA will be in contact with you if you are a winner. Related LinksMovie Promotion
Is it easy to find you on Twitter and Facebook? Include links to your profiles on your website, email newsletters, and staff email signatures. Always include a short description about your organization and a link back to your website in your social media profiles’ “about” section. Think about social media as a way to open the doors of your organization to new guests and friends. But unlike hosting guests at your home for an hour or two, social media is open to guests 24/7. Because of the constant accessibility of social media, keeping profiles tidy all the time is a must. Here are some tips and ideas for social media housekeeping that you can tackle right now:Your social media avatar/profile pictures should mesh with your nonprofit brand and be recognizable to fans of your cause. Consider creating a special page on your nonprofit website that is solely dedicated to visitors from social media. Don’t let replies and comments linger—use them as an opportunity to engage your community. Set up alerts to use social media as a listening platform: @ mentions, hashtags, keywords about your cause, etc. Start tracking and planning your organization’s tweets. Programs such as HootSuite, TweetDeck and Sprout Social can help you plan tweets in advance and monitor replies, mentions, and hashtags. Is your nonprofit’s Facebook profile picture just as good as your cover image? While this may be obvious, it’s worth stating that your Facebook profile picture will be seen more often than your cover image. Be consistent with your hashtags. One small typo could add your tweets to a hashtag conversation that you didn’t intend to join! Don’t forget to post pictures. Photos help your Facebook posts stand out on your fan’s news feeds. Use compelling images to make an emotional connection and engage more supporters with your cause. Encourage more likes, shares, and comments. More likes and shares increase the odds that your post will be seen by friends and friends of friends. Start analyzing the types of posts that get shared the most by exporting your Facebook insights and taking an hour or two to dive into the data.
Sometimes nonprofit fundraisers and marketers need to take a deep breath and then…rock out. Ok maybe not “rock out,” but listening to music can help spark creativity, help you relax, or pump you up. I reached out to some of my nonprofit friends on Twitter and asked them what they listen to at work to get them “in the zone.” You can see who contributed song ideas in this Storify. Nonprofit Pros! Share with me: what’s your fave song to get you in the “zone” at work?— Liz Ragland (@lizragland) July 28, 2015 The responses were varied: some prefer quiet background music, others want something a little more groovy or fast paced. Whatever your music tastes might be, I think you’ll enjoy the playlist we crafted just for you! Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Nonprofit Love playlist. Thanks to everyone who answered my call for suggestions!
Posted on July 17, 2014November 2, 2016By: Katie Millar, Technical Writer, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick 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 email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)This post is part of our “Supporting the Human in Human Resources” blog series co-hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force and Jacaranda Health.To enrich the “Supporting the Human in Human Resources” blog series, a round-up of recent literature on the subject is here aggregated as a useful tool for public health practitioners. Let us know how these articles are helpful and about other human resource topics that interest you.Landmark articles:Systematic Review on Human Resources for Health Interventions to Improve Maternal Health Outcomes: Evidence from Developing CountriesHUMAN RESOURCES FOR HEALTH: foundation for Universal Health Coverage and the post-2015 development agendaHuman resources for maternal, newborn and child health: from measurement and planning to performance for improved health outcomesHuman resources for maternal health: multi-purpose or specialists?Recent Publications:Time to address gender discrimination and inequality in the health workforceFactors affecting motivation and retention of primary health care workers in three disparate regions in KenyaTask-shifting and prioritization: a situational analysis examining the role and experiences of community health workers in MalawiHRM and its effect on employee, organizational and financial outcomes in health care organizationsHope and despair: community health assistants’ experiences of working in a rural district in ZambiaReaching Mothers and Babies with Early Postnatal Home Visits: The Implementation Realities of Achieving High Coverage in Large-Scale ProgramsCommunity Health Workers in Low-, Middle-, and High-Income Countries: An Overview of Their History, Recent Evolution, and Current EffectivenessHome visits by community health workers to prevent neonatal deaths in developing countries: a systematic reviewExpansion in the private sector provision of institutional delivery services and horizontal equity: evidence from Nepal and BangladeshPerformance-based incentives to improve health status of mothers and newborns: what does the evidence show?Building capacity to develop an African teaching platform on health workforce development: a collaborative initiative of universities from four sub Saharan countriesRetention of female volunteer community health workers in Dhaka urban slums: a prospective cohort studyShare this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on October 16, 2014August 10, 2016Click 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 email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The maternal health community has made great strides towards improving the health of women and newborns around the world, but as global efforts have scaled up interventions quickly, the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) has often paused to consider the quality of this work.To evaluate this, Ana Langer and Anne Austin from the MHTF joined experts from around the world to create the Quality of Care in Maternal and Child Health supplement, published by the Reproductive Health Journal in September, 2014.Three of the five articles in the supplement have been highly accessed, which demonstrates high interest in quality of care in the community and untapped momentum that may be used to fill the identified research gaps.We talked to Dr. Zulfi Bhutta, lead researcher for the series, and asked him a few questions about the research process and how we as the maternal health community should move forward with the results.Q: What prompted the research team to take on the systematic reviews that make up the series?Despite recent progress, about 273,500 women died of maternal causes in 2010. Furthermore, the share of neonatal deaths among all under-five children increased from about 36% in 1990 to 44% in 2012. These deaths have occurred disproportionately in low-income countries or among the disadvantaged in high- and middle-income countries. It is particularly acute where access to and utilization of skilled services for childbirth and newborn care is lowest.Evidence shows that poor quality of care for these women and newborns is a major factor for their elevated morbidity and mortality rates. Understanding underlying factors that impact the quality of maternal and newborn health (MNH) services and assessing the effectiveness of interventions at various health care delivery levels is crucial.The collection assesses and summarizes findings from systematic reviews on the impact of various approaches to quality of care improvements. The focus was two-fold: identify the evidence base and information gaps and assess approaches that enable health providers to adopt and implement patient-centered, evidence-based interventions that improve quality of care during childbirth and immediately after.Q: What gap does this series fill?This series systematically reviews the evidence of interventions aimed at improving care at the community, district and facility level. It also highlights knowledge gaps, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The gaps point to priority research questions to pursue to improve quality of care in these settings.The findings can help governments, stakeholders and donors to form policies and develop health care models applicable to various levels of healthcare. This could enable community- and facility-based health care providers and district-level program managers to implement patient-centered, evidence-based interventions, which will improve childbirth and postpartum quality of care delivery.Q: Which result stood out most?At the community level, packaged care involving home visitation, outreach services, community mobilization, referrals, women’s support groups and community health worker and traditional birth attendants training showed improvements in MNH outcomes.Mid-level health worker (MLHW) based care not only demonstrated outcomes comparable to routine non-MLHW care delivery but also showed better results for some outcomes. At the district level, user-directed financial strategies—especially conditional cash transfers and voucher schemes—increased MNH service utilization. District level supervision also found positively influenced provider’s practice, knowledge and awareness. At the facility level, in-service training, standardized or individualized social support programs and continuity of specialized midwifery care throughout pregnancy, labor and the postnatal period have the potential to improve perinatal, maternal, and labor specific indicators.The findings demonstrate that community-based improvement interventions have been widely assessed for MNH outcome effectiveness in LMICs. However, many district- and facility-level interventions have been evaluated mainly in high-income country settings. Given the differences in low-, middle-, and high-income county healthcare infrastructure and systems, findings across countries in district- and facility-based care are not generalizable. There is also an information gap on the effectiveness of these interventions on different subgroups that may represent within-country disparities. Few of the studies provided evidence on sustainability and scale up. Generating evidence on the sustainability of proven interventions—including implementation feasibility and scale up in various settings in countries with constrained resources and weak health systems—is needed.Q: What is the series’ biggest take-away?In addition to the effectiveness of specific quality improvement interventions on MNH, as I mentioned above, there is a dearth of evidence on district- and facility-level interventions, particularly those specific to quality of maternal health and MNH outcomes. Further evidence is needed to evaluate the best combination of strategies.Q: Given the research gaps you’ve identified, what are the priority areas for future research?Future research in LMICs should focus on factors affecting interventions’ sustainability and cost-effectiveness when scaled up. District- and facility-level interventions—including social support, specialized midwifery teams and staff skills mix—have proven to improve MNH outcomes in high-income countries; we need further research on implementation feasibility in low-resource settings. We also need qualitative data describing the individual components of interventions for reproducibility, which would make the interventions invaluable for scale up and sustainability in low-resource settings. Strengthening health information systems, one of the strategies that evaluate interventions’ effectiveness over a time period, should be established in LMICs. Further evidence is now needed to evaluate the best possible combination of strategies and healthcare models to suit specific groups.Share this:
Posted on September 30, 2016November 18, 2016By: Sarah Hodin, Project Coordinator II, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick 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 email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Delivery in a health facility is one of the indicators being used to measure progress in global maternal newborn health under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, research from numerous settings has illustrated that an increase in facility-based birth does not necessarily result in fewer maternal deaths or neonatal deaths. High quality of care is essential for improving health outcomes and ensuring that women continue to seek care throughout their current and future pregnancies. There is huge variation in quality of care and maternal mortality across facilities, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, but research in this area is scarce.In a recent study published in The Lancet Global Health, Kruk and colleagues used nationally representative health system surveys to examine the quality of maternal health care provided in facilities in Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda in relation to volume of deliveries and surgical capacity. Quality of care was evaluated using a set of indicators that measured the facility’s availability of 24-hour skilled staff, referral system, electricity, safe water, equipment for infection control, and ability to administer oxytocin, antibiotics and magnesium sulfate when necessary.The overall quality of care in the sample of 1,715 facilities was low. Nine out of ten facilities providing obstetric services in this region did not have the capacity to perform cesarean sections. The majority of primary facilities—facilities that did not offer cesarean sections—lacked the capacity to respond appropriately to common obstetric emergencies such as pre-eclampsia/eclampsia and postpartum hemorrhage by administering magnesium sulfate and oxytocin, respectively. Only 47% of primary facilities had skilled staff available at all times, 39% had referral capacity, 36% had safe water and a mere 11% had electricity. Although secondary facilities—facilities that offer cesarean sections—generally had better quality of care compared to primary care facilities, only 60% of secondary facilities had adequate safe water supply and 66% operated with electricity.Consistent with findings from high-income countries, higher delivery volume was associated with better quality of care in primary and secondary facilities in these sub-Saharan African countries. Primary facilities with fewer than 500 deliveries per year tended to have the poorest quality of care.The indicators used in this study reflect just a few of the most essential resources and practices necessary for providing high quality maternal health care. Basic infrastructure including electricity and safe water and medicines such as oxytocin and magnesium sulfate are essential elements of high quality care. This study also raises an important question: What steps can be taken to ensure that facilities provide quality care regardless of delivery volume?While increasing facility-based delivery may drive improvements in maternal and newborn health outcomes, what happens when a woman arrives at the facility is critical. A focus on understanding and improving the quality of maternal health care is crucial for reducing preventable maternal mortality and morbidity.—Read about the paper in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health news.Hear from Margaret Kruk in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health podcast: Is any care good care? Explore the new standards for improving quality of maternal and newborn health care from the World Health Organization.Check out the Obstetric Emergency Drills and Training Kit designed to help facilities in low-resource settings prevent and respond to obstetric emergencies.Learn about respectful maternity care, another key component of high quality maternal health care.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
REGINA – The City of Regina’s executive committee has voted against paying a mandatory base wage of $16.95 per hour to all civic employees and anyone contracted for work by the city.Wednesday’s vote came after a report from city administrators that recommended against bringing in a so-called living wage for hourly employees.The report says it would cost the city about $1.1 million to make the change, which would have to be covered by a property tax increase of 0.5 per cent.The living wage for Regina — as determined by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in 2016 — is for a family of two working parents with two children.Currently, all of Regina’s permanent employees make more than the living wage, but 379 casual employees who work 300 hours per year or less earn below that level, although they make more than the provincial minimum wage of $11.06.Mayor Michael Fougere says the city is a good employer and is not paying its workers the bare minimum.“Every salary is above minimum wage here … our employees are well-paid,” he said.Coun. Andrew Stevens, the only executive committee member who spoke in favour of the proposed change, said he didn’t see enough in the report about the positive social and community benefits of a living wage.He pointed to six other municipalities across Canada that have adopted such a policy, with New Westminster, British Columbia being the first in 2011.“This notion that we shouldn’t be, or we can’t, or maybe this is beyond our jurisdiction … that’s patently false,” said Stevens.Peter Gilmer with the Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry argued that the proposal would help reduce the wage gap between women and men, boost spending in the local economy and create a ripple effect, inspiring other employers to follow suit.Marilyn Braun-Pollon with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said a survey of members on the idea showed 74 per cent of small business owners oppose it.She said the majority already pay well above minimum wage, noting that there’s a misconception that a living wage will create jobs.“The best social policy is a job,” said Braun-Pollon, arguing that there’s a need for entry-level positions, mostly held by 15 to 24-year-olds.The living wage proposal will face a final vote at city council’s next meeting later this month. (CJME, CTV Regina)