FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – According to Environment Canada, the local airport weather station is likely to record its second significant amount of May precipitation this weekend.It’s projecting a rainfall amount of 15 mm, which would easily lift the monthly total past the May average of 31.9 mm, putting it in the same category as the snowfall and precipitation totals, which blew past their norms last weekend.- Advertisement -However, even if we get it all before midnight, 15 mm will not come close to the May 27th record, which was set 37 years ago.On this day in 1979, the airport station posted the all-time one day May rainfall and precipitation records of 49.8 mm.That was the key to recording monthly totals in May of that year of 57.4 mm of rain and 61.2 mm of precipitation.A 15 mm post today would leave the current month-to-date rainfall total at 39.3 mm, well short of the 1979 amount.Advertisement However, it would also lift the current precipitation total to within 1.5 mm of matching the aforementioned 1979 total, and at 59.7 mm, it would also push the year-to-date total to 135.3 mm.So for the first time in 2016, we would then reach the end of a month, with a year-to-date total that exceeds the average amount for the period in question, in this case the five month norm of 126 mm.Provided what’s predicted to fall at the airport also gets to the wildfires north of the city, this will no doubt come as more good news for those fighting them.In addition, it could well result in more celebrations for local farmers and ranchers who have reason to believe, the arrival of moisture laden La Nina conditions to replace the drought fears of El Nino conditions, could lead to grain and forage crop stems.Advertisement
FA Youth CupFulham, last season’s finalists, were beaten 2-1 by Crewe Alexandra at Gresty Road on Wednesday evening.The hosts went in front midway through the first half when Whites keeper Magnus Norman saved Andre Brown’s shot, but George Cooper snapped up the rebound.Brown doubled Crewe’s lead not long after the break and although Stephen Humphrys pulled a goal back in the 90th minute, Fulham couldn’t muster an equaliser.Hampton & Richmond BoroughDefender Matt Drage will train with the club on Thursday ahead of a planned move from Kingstonian. On-loan centre-back Kieran Murphy has been recalled by Hemel Hempstead Town.London Senior CupHarrow Borough’s 9-8 penalty shoot-out win over Hanwell Town on Tuesday has earned them a quarter-final visit to Beckenham Town. The tie will be played on 27 January.Hendon, who beat London Bari last week, will host one of Bromley, Corinthian-Casuals or AFC Wimbledon the following evening.Hampton SchoolTwo local youngsters have been selected in the Independent Schools England squad for two matches at St. George’s Park this month.Hampton School pupils Tom Phillipson and Matt Wisdom will be part of an 18-strong party, drawn from independent schools across the country, to play against Welsh Colleges on Wednesday 17 December and an unannounced opponent on Thursday 18 December.Harrow School will play host to the ISFA’s first fixture of 2015, against Australia Schools, on 1 February.Steven FinnThe Middlesex bowler took 1-28 in six overs as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 239 in the fifth one-day international in Pallakele.Persistent rain meant England were unable to start their reply, so Finn’s county team-mate Eoin Morgan will hope to guide the tourists to victory on Thursday’s reserve day.Martin GouldThe Pinner snooker star has been drawn to play world number 89 Chris Melling in the first qualifying round for the German Masters.If Gould, ranked 27, comes through that match next Thursday (18 December), he will play either Jamie Cope or Ross Muir the next day for a place in the main draw. The tournament proper takes place in early February.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
Red Bluff >> Though pushed to a couple tiebreakers and a winner-take-all third set, Red Bluff’s Audra Brown still came out victorious on the No. 3 court to help the top-seeded Spartans finish off No. 4 Shasta, 8-1 and get back to the Northern Section team finals. The defending section champions will host Chico at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25. Brown completed the split-set win over Shasta’s Joy Peterson (6-3, 6-7, 7-6). The last two sets both went to tiebreakers, with Brown losing the first …
Ever watch those contest shows for the World’s Strongest Man? Compared to dung beetles, they’re wimps. Scientists at Queen Mary, University of London found that the strongest beetle tested could pull an astonishing 1,141 times its own weight – “the equivalent of a 70kg person lifting 80 tonnes (the same as six full double-decker buses),” reported PhysOrg. The strength of an individual beetle was found to be a function of diet and exercise, just as with humans: “Even the strongest beetles were reduced to feeble weaklings when put on a poor diet for a few days.” From there, the article descended into a lurid story of how this super strength is all due to sexual games.The stuff at the end of the article about beetles battling for sex in tunnels of dung should be understood in context. For one thing, it is not their dung. Their environment, to them, is no worse than gardeners handling fertilizer or plants imbibing our exhaled carbon dioxide. The stuff about sex games is typical evolutionary personification. It commits the fallacy making dumb insects capable of intrigue and selfish strategies. None of it explains their amazing feats of strength and complex organs. Animals and plants need to be understood on their own terms. We do not disparage human strong men by comparing them to beetles. We do not expect them to lift six full double-decker buses. Given their environment and genes, their feats are impressive and honorable in a human context. Be the best you can be with what you were given.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Elaborating on Michael Behe’s refutation of “neutral evolution”by Jerry Bergman, PhDIntroductionPublished March 1, 2019Michael Behe’s new book Darwin Devolves is already number one in new releases on Amazon. To adequately summarize it would take a small book, so I will look at one small section where he reviews the attempts to salvage Darwinism, which he shows always fail. I have also added a few references to support Behe’s conclusions.The main problem in evolution, as stated by the late Harvard Biology Professor William E. Castle, is the origin “of a new organism is one of the least understood of all natural phenomena. Even to the trained biologist it is an unexplained mystery.” This statement is still true over a century later. One attempt to explain the origin of new organisms is the neutral theory of evolution. Neutral theory, along with genetic drift, natural selection and random mutation, is viewed by its supporters to be a basic mechanism of macroevolution.The Neutral Theory of EvolutionA neutral mutation is one that does not adversely affect either an organism’s phenotype nor its fitness. The neutral theory of evolution postulates the accumulation of neutral mutations, such as accidental duplication of a section of DNA that causes no harm. This occurs until a new combination produces a DNA set that, in the future, confers some specific survival advantage to the organism.The theory accepts the view that about one percent of the human DNA codes for proteins, and significant portions of the rest is evidence of, or could be due to, neutral mutations. Later,other lucky mutations could occur in the extra DNA to confer some helpful feature, perhaps a regulatory site. Repeat this scenario many times over, and small populations of bacteria could evolve larger and larger genomes with more and more sophisticated features.The theory proposes that, when environmental conditions change, some of these neutral mutations may have produced a new gene, or a set of bases, that turns out to be beneficial in the new environment. Neutral evolution theory has earned the qualified support of many leading evolutionary scientists, including Arizona State University Professor Michael Lynch, Eugene Koonin of the National Center for Biotechnology, and the late Harvard Professor Steven Jay Gould.University of Chicago evolutionist Jerry Coyne wrote, the two main neo-Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms are natural selection and the genetic variety produced by genetic drift. The theory is anti-neo-Darwinian as explained by one of the early leaders of the idea, Motoo Kimura, who wrote that insharp contrast to the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection, the neutral theory claims that the overwhelming majority of evolutionary changes at the molecular level are caused by random fixation (due to random sampling drift in finite populations) of selectively neutral (i.e., selectively equivalent) mutants under continued inputs of mutations.DNA transcription (Illustra Media)Neo-Darwinism postulates that evolution works by fine-tuning genes that give a slight survival advantage to the population so that it gradually gives the organism a progressively greater survival advantage. Evolution is not the active agent in this scenario. It is a result, not an action. The neutral theory of evolution holds that most evolutionary changes are random, and most of the variation within, and between, species is ultimately not caused by natural selection, but by random genetic drift of neutral alleles originally produced by mutations. Kimura adds that neutral theoryalso asserts that most of the genetic variability within species at the molecular level (such as protein and DNA polymorphism) are selectively neutral or very nearly neutral and that they are maintained in the species by the balance between mutational input and random extinction.He concludes that “since the origin of life on Earth, neutral evolutionary changes have predominated over Darwinian evolutionary changes” (1991, p. 367).Genetic DriftThe basis of neutral theory is genetic drift, which postulates that genomic DNA base pairs change primarily by random genetic mutations and other genetic events. Genetic drift (or allelic drift) is a change in the frequency of a gene variant (allele) in a population that does not confer an immediate selection advantage to the organism. If this event occurs in gametes, the end result is the creation of new genetic variety that may, in the future, be evolutionarily advantageous. Drift can also occur in selective alleles, and can also have a selective disadvantage.A major reason neutral theory was proposed is because “all the central assumptions of the Modern Synthesis (often called Neo-Darwinism) have been disproved.” The late geneticist Dr. Motoo Kimura proposed neutral theory in 1968 because many molecular research findings were “quite incompatible with the expectations of Neo-Darwinism.” A major problem was that evolution from one gene family type to another different family type, has never been directly documented. Furthermore, intermediate gene forms between the old, less-functional or non-functional and new, more-functional, gene by random mutations as proposed by Darwinism, is seriously problematic.Thus, neutral theory “is in sharp contrast to the traditional neo-Darwinian (i.e., the synthetic) theory of evolution, which claims that the spreading of mutants within the species in the course of evolution can occur only with the help of positive natural selection.” Neutral theory also, in contrast to Darwinism, postulates that, if selection occurs, the genes selected in the next generation are more likely to be those genes from a “lucky” few individuals, and not necessarily from those life-forms that are healthier or in some way “better.”Neutral theory supporters accept the conclusion that most mutations are slightly deleterious, but claim that, because these mutant genes are rapidly purged by natural selection, they do not make significant contributions to the variation within and between species at the molecular level. They claim that only neutral mutations, or those that are close-to-neutral, can achieve this.Sanford’s book examines the impact of mutations that are invisible to selection.In contrast to the neutral theory, much evidence now exists for the view that most mutations are not strictly neutral, but near-neutral, meaning not harmful as a single entity, but collectively accumulate, eventually causing disease or death. Aging is the most well-documented example of the accumulation of near-neutral mutations. As all animals age and die, so too does a species by the same mechanism, the accumulation of near-neutral mutations.The Junk and Duplicated DNA ProblemA major difficulty with neutral theory is the assumption that most or at least much DNA is selectively neutral based on the belief that most DNA is non-functional. As Kimura concluded, neutral theory “asserts that most intraspecific variability … is selectively neutral.” Junk DNA was assumed to be a major source of raw, genetic material that can gradually be modified by genetic drift or mutations to change into a gene that eventually becomes functional. However, the ENCODE project has documented that over 80 percent of all so-called junk DNA is actually functional, thus creating a major problem for neutral theory.Biology Professor Nathan Lents admits, even if only one mutation renders a gene broken, repair “is like a lightning strike… The odds of lightning striking the same place twice are so infinitesimally tiny as to be nonexistent…. it’s exceeding unlikely that a mutation will fix a broken gene because, following the initial damage, the gene will soon rack up additional mutations.” He adds, if over half of our genes are broken, how can we survive as a species?Credit: Illustra Media.His answer is “the majority of these pseudogenes are the result of accidental gene duplications [which] .. . explains why the disrupting mutations and subsequent death of the gene didn’t have any deleterious effects on the individual.” This is the common explanation for why most mutations do not appear to adversely affect the genome, a view that was falsified by the ENCODE findings. If one specific base change is very unlikely, the probability of massive changes that result in a new gene that proves beneficial in the future is far less likely.Another hypothesized source of new genes is gene duplication, enabling one gene to continue to carry out the function that it was originally evolved to fulfill, and the other gene to evolve into a new gene that can serve another, new function in the genome. The problems with this view have been well documented. One problem with the duplication theory is that both genes are generally equally susceptible to new mutations, likely damaging both the original and the new gene.Credit: Illustra MediaAnother problem is, if one gene is duplicated and mutations occur in the original, or the copied gene, it will not be selected until, and unless, the new protein the gene produces is functional and confers some selective advantage to the organism. Until then, if it produces a protein, the protein will often be cut up and the parts recycled. The evolution from junk DNA theory faces the same problem. To solve these problems was one reason why the neutral theory was originally proposed.The major problem with the neutral theory is the fact that a non-functional gene is not just useless, but worse. If it does not serve some beneficial function in the organism it could adversely affect the organism. The high cost of duplicating and maintaining the gene is one reason why nonfunctional genes are costly for the cell.Amino acids (Illustra Media)Another problem is mutations are not always random. Most occur in hot spots and tend to degenerate into certain bases, such as thymine, and also into a code for certain amino acids, namely those produced by six different sets of bases such as Serine, which is coded for by TCT, TCC, TCA, TCG, ATG, AGC). Both Arginine, and Leucine are also coded for by six combinations of base pairs. The result is random combinations will code for these amino acids 9.4 percent of the time and those produced by one different base set, such as Tryptophan (coded for by TGG) and Methionine (coded for by ATG) will be produced by chance only 1.6 percent of the time.Gene RegulationTo be functional, a gene requires the proper transcription factors and other regulation and control systems. A gene that has evolved by neutral theory, even if it could produce a useful product, is useless until it has the proper regularity and control mechanisms, including the spliceosome system required to remove introns. Control of both up- and down-regulation of all genes is also critical for cell and organism survival.This is illustrated by the transposition of a gene somewhere else in the genome, such next to a gene that, as a result, is improperly regulated. An example is a housekeeping gene that is transposed to a gene which causes up-regulation of cell division. Also, transposition of a gene next to a regulatory sequence that is constitutively expressed can also cause that gene to be over-expressed, resulting in cancer or other problems.DNA RepairThe DNA repair systems also work against genetic drift. It is now well-documented that “DNA is an alarmingly fragile molecule…. vulnerable to UV light and mutagenic chemicals, as well as spontaneous decay. Life has survived through the ages because enzymes inside every cell ensure that DNA remains in proper working order.” Critical to this survival are the dozen or so DNA repair mechanisms that resist genetic drift, thus working against neutral evolution theory.Gene transcription is tightly regulated by enzymes and repair mechanisms (Illustra Media)The mechanism that repairs DNA to ensure that the molecule is very stable repairs most genetic-drift changes in spite of the fact that without this repair system “under normal conditions, DNA quickly suffers enough damage to make life impossible.”The DNA repair system is highly effective except in cells that have accumulated a large amount of DNA damage, such as cancer cells. Cancer is often due to mutations of key parts of the repair system, such as p53, the so-called “guardian of the genome.” Cells that can no longer effectively repair DNA damage enter one of three possible states: 1) an irreversible state of dormancy known as senescence, 2) cell suicide known as apoptosis or programmed cell death, or 3) unregulated cell division, which can lead to a cancerous tumor. None of these conditions permits the genetic drift that allows for neutral evolution.The Molecular Clock ProblemThe main factors that motivated the neutral theory proposal include two observations that created problems for Neo-Darwinism. One was the so-called evolutionary genetic clock that was based on base substitutions of amino acids that resulted from DNA changes. Functioning of this clock requires a fairly consistent rate of change in most organisms.In large populations, if mutation rates are roughly the same for most genes, then simple, random models will predict a molecular clock. Because both of these considerations are erroneous, the molecular clock is not consistent. The major problem is that the genetic clockmakes no sense in Darwin’s world, where molecules subject to strong selection should evolve faster than others, and where organisms exposed to different changes and challenges from the environment should vary their evolutionary rates accordingly.Gould acknowledged that the “molecular clock is neither as consistent nor as regular as Kimura once hoped.”The molecular clock hypothesis depends on a constant rate of change.The refutation of the molecular clock was only one of several major blows to neutral theory. Kimura referred to the discovery that high levels of variation are maintained by many genes in the population. The problem for neutral theory was too much variation in genetic changesposes a problem for conventional Darwinism because a cost can be associated with the replacement of an ancestral gene by a new and more advantageous state of the same gene—namely, the differential death, by natural selection, of the new disfavored parental forms. This cost poses no problem if only a few old genes are being pushed out of a population at any time.Furthermore, “if hundreds of genes are being eliminated” by natural selection because they are deleterious, then any one organism likely possesses many of the deleterious mutant genes, impairing its survival chances. Consequently,the data on copious variability seemed to indicate a caldron of evolutionary activity at far too many genetic sites—too many, that is, if selection governs the changes in each varying gene. Kimura, however, recognized a simple and elegant way out of this paradox. If most of the varying forms of a gene are neutral with respect to selection, then they are drifting in frequency by the luck of the draw, invisible to natural selection because they make no difference to the organism.Today, the term neutral theory is often defined narrowly in terms of the result of sampling disparities, although this narrow definition is problematic.Neutral Theory Conflicts with DarwinismKimura’s conception of neutral theory obviously posed serious problems for Darwinism. To avoid the problem of directly challenging Darwinism, which could produce enormous opposition to his theory, Kimura does not openly deny it, but rather views the Darwinian “processes as quantitatively insignificant to the total picture—a superficial and minor ripple upon the ocean of neutral molecular change, imposed every now and again when selection casts a stone upon the waters of evolution.” Conversely, orthodox Darwinians, “tended to argue that neutral change occupied a tiny and insignificant corner of evolution—an odd process occasionally operating in small populations at the brink of extinction anyway.”ConclusionsA major evolutionary problem that neutral theory attempts to address is, ever sinceDarwin proposed his theory of natural selection to explain evolution, most evolutionary theories have always been a matter of debate and controversy. The neutral theory was not an exception.Genetics research has progressed well beyond that in Kimura’s day, refuting neutral theory. Furthermore, because “the neutral theory is quantitative, it is able to make testable predictions.” As the late Cornell Professor William Provine and others have documented, the testable predictions for neutral theory, especially random drift, have largely failed. The evidence against neutral theory is now overwhelming, and as a result the theory has been regulated to the dustpan of history. As Alvarez-Valin noted, the predictions of neutral theory flatly do not agree with many of the scientific facts.References Behe, Michael. 2019. Darwin Devolves: New Science About DNA that Challenges Evolution. New York, NY: HarperOne.Castle, William E.. 1916. Genetics and Eugenics. A Textbook for Students of Biology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, p. 4. Tomkins, Jeffrey and Jerry Bergman. 2017. Neutral model, genetic drift and the third way—A synopsis of the self-inflicted demise of the evolutionary paradigm. Journal of Creation. 31(3):94–102Duret, Laurent. 2008. Neutral theory: The null hypothesis of molecular evolution. Nature Education. 1(1):218. Alvarez-Valin, F. 2002. Neutral theory. Encyclopedia of Evolution. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, pp. 815–821; Behe, 2019, p. 99. Behe, 2019, pp. 98-99. Behe, 2019, p. 100. Kimura, M. 1979. “The Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution.” Scientific American. November, 241:98-129. Behe, 2019, p. 104. Coyne, Jerry. 2015. Faith vs Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible. New York, NY: Viking, pp. 139–140..Kimura, M. 1991. Recent development of the neutral theory viewed from the Wrightian tradition of theoretical population genetics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 88:5969–5973, p. 367. Kimura, M. 1991. The neutral theory of molecular evolution: a review of recent evidence. Japanese Journal of Genetics. 6(4):367-386. Kimura, 1991, p. 367.Noble, D. 2013. Physiology is rocking the foundations of evolutionary biology. Experimental Physiology. 98(8):1235–1243, p. 1235.Kimura, M. 1983. The Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution. New York, NY: Cambridge, p. 25. Kimura, 1991, p. 5969. Kimura, 1991, p. 5969. Luskin, C. (2012, September 5) “Junk No More: ENCODE Project Nature Paper Finds ’Biochemical Functions for 80% of the Genome’.” Evolution News. Retrieved June 7, 2018 from https://evolutionnews.org/2012/09/junk_no_more_en_1/ Lents, Nathan. 2018. Human Errors. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. p. 72. Behe, 2019, p. 99. Bergman, Jerry. 2006. Does gene duplication provide the engine for evolution? Journal of Creation. 20(1):99–104Not the first time evolutionists have blundered.Prelich, G. 2012. Gene overexpression: Uses, mechanisms, and interpretation. Genetics. 190:841–854. Retrieved June 7, 2018 from http://www.genetics.org/content/genetics/190/3/841.full.pdf. http://www.genetics.org/content/190/3/841.full.pdf+html.Stokstad, E. 2015. DNA’s repair tricks win chemistry’s top prize.[not a subtitle; only the website’s tease for the article] Science. 350(6258):266, p. 266. Stokstad, 2015, p. 266. Kimura, M. 1987. Molecular evolutionary clock and the neutral theory. Journal of Molecular Evolution. 26:24–33. Kimura, M. 1968. Evolutionary rate at the molecular level. Nature. 217:624–626.Gould, S.J. 1989. Through a lens darkly. Natural History. September, pp. 16–24, p. 17. Gould, 1989, p. 17. Gould, 1989, p. 17. Tomkins, Jeffrey and Jerry Bergman. 2015. Evolutionary molecular genetic clocks—A perpetual exercise in futility and failure. Journal of Creation. 29(2):26–35. Gould, 1989, p. 17. Gould, 1989, p. 17. Gould, 1989, p. 17. Gould, 1989, p. 17. Alvarez-Valin. 2002, p. 821. Alvarez-Valin. 2002, p. 821. Provine, William B. 2014. The “Random Genetic Drift” Fallacy. Published by Author. Alvarez-Valin, 2002, p. 821; Wolf, J.B., E.D. Brodie, III, and M.J. Wade, eds. 2000. Epistasis and the Evolutionary Process. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Dr. Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology at several colleges and universities including for over 40 years at Bowling Green State University, Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in experimental pathology, and The University of Toledo. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 1,300 publications in 12 languages and 40 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored, are in over 1,500 college libraries in 27 countries. So far over 80,000 copies of the 40 books and monographs that he has authored or co-authored are in print. For more articles by Dr Bergman, see his Author Profile.(Visited 1,037 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
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Criteria for an Enterprise Web 2.0 application includes:100% Browser BasedUses Enterprise Best Practices like security and versioningManaged services / GovernanceRadically easy to useMost companies are a long way from deploying Enterprise 2.0. But it’s coming. And it’s happening across all industries, and applications can range from telecom to legal to finance to whatever. SOA has met with success and acceptance because of its ability to meld together so many disparate systems, uniting data by tunneling between isolated information silos. But Web 2.0’s mashup combinations using technologies like RSS, REST and AJAX is achieving the same kind of effect as the more rigorous, typically SOAP-based, SOA. And the speed with which a Web 2.0 mashup can be whipped up outpaces what could be done in an SOA framework.But a big difference between the two approaches is in the reliability. True SOA is based on Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Web 2.0 simply is not. The audience of the two applications are different. Web 2.0 is winning over fans in the consumer world and SOA calls the enterprise its home. While maybe not an example of a Web 2.0 mashup, one comment from a MySpace user that captures the sentiment of what’s happening in the Web consumer space is that MySpace “provides so much of a benefit to people that errors and glitches we find are forgivable”. Another user added, “and it’s free!”. But unpredictable reliability isn’t acceptable in the enterprise. And maybe when the novelty of Web 2.0 applications wears off, people’s feelings in the consumer world will change too.But as people in consumer space see the benefits of Web 2.0, they now are expecting the same things in the enterprise. The move of Web 2.0 capabilities into the enterprise is leading to the distinction of Consumer Web 2.0 and Enterprise Web 2.0. Yahoo! and Google maps won early and wide acceptance by consumers, and those services are also starting to show up frequently in business software demonstrations, like IBM’s QEDWiki and Salesforce.com.
A human rights body here on Monday demanded a fair and impartial probe into the murder of dairy farmer Umar Khan in Alwar district on November 10, while questioning the claim of the police that it was the result of a fight between two gangs of criminals.The National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) said though all evidence pointed that cow vigilantes were behind the attack, the police had described the attackers as members of a gang of robbers.The police have arrested two of the attackers and booked Umar’s companions Tahir and Javed in a cow smuggling case. They have since surrendered at the Govindgarh police station and are at present in judicial custody.The NCHRO, which sent its fact-finding team to the area, took exception to the police chowkis in the Mewat region doubling up as “gau raksha posts” since the BJP government took over. It demanded that Umar’s family be given ₹10 lakh as compensation, the case against Tahir and Javed be withdrawn and a Special Investigation Team (SIT) be appointed to probe into the crime in order to instil faith among the people of Mewat region in the law enforcement system.
The French politician who formally congratulated the mayor of Paris for losing the 2012 Olympics bid to London made perfect sense. The straitjacket of security, he explained, would drive summer tourists away from London towards grateful France. Paris would get the holiday business while London paid the 9 billion-pound bill,The French politician who formally congratulated the mayor of Paris for losing the 2012 Olympics bid to London made perfect sense. The straitjacket of security, he explained, would drive summer tourists away from London towards grateful France. Paris would get the holiday business while London paid the 9 billion-pound bill for the effete glory of a forgettable media event. Win-win for the Eiffel Tower.Boris Johnson, mayor of London, who has delivered all Olympics facilities within budget and a year ahead without being accused of anything more corrupt than an occasional ogle, must have sneered and chortled in response. But there is a major philosophical lesson to be learnt about fate. The lucky, win. The truly lucky know when to lose.A very powerful Congress leader, his demeanour touched by a faraway wistful look, whispered a fantasy to me the other day: that the Congress had chosen to sit in Opposition after winning 206 seats in the summer of 2009. Some crumbly structure would perforce have made a grab for power, doubtless with former Congress allies like DMK queuing up for the telecom ministry as their price for support to a BJP prime minister. Within weeks the whole lot would have been compromised at bargain rates, since they would be trading in used goods. Suresh Kalmadi would have welcomed the return of this version of NDA, since he could have bought out their bigwigs with nothing more expensive than the occasional first class ticket to a sports jamboree. This government would have either sought to sabotage investigations into both the Commonwealth Games and 2G spectrum, or defended them on some silly technical ground, leaving the quiet but well-fed Congress on a high moral plateau. The rackety NDA government would have collapsed in derisive confusion; Congress would win a clear majority in the winter 2011 general elections and Rahul Gandhi would be sworn in as the undisputed prime minister.advertisementThe BJP should be feeling extraordinarily pleased that it lost the last general elections.In 2004 the BJP was unprepared for defeat; but then no ruling party is ever ready for bad news. In 2009 the BJP was unprepared for victory, which is less forgivable. The fault lay not in any individual, but in a more basic flaw: it had not still fully absorbed the extent to which the Indian voter had shifted from an emotional agenda to an economic ambition. In 2009 some of the more media-magnetic BJP campaigners were still behaving as if they were on the sets of a 1950s Bollywood historical melodrama. That age had, paradoxically, exhausted itself with the culmination of the Ram temple movement; once the mosque at Ayodhya was destroyed, it took its emotions along with it. The BJP lost the Assembly elections of 1993 in the very heartland that had sustained its most powerful emotional appeal; Digvijaya Singh became chief minister of Madhya Pradesh that year.Two general election defeats have created a double benefit for the BJP. The voter is ready to empathise again, feeling that enough punishment has been meted out. And the party understands that serious correctives are essential if the show is to go on. The first is happening. There is a visible rise in the BJP vote across the north. The party could shock its enemies and surprise its friends in the next Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. It has stemmed the bleed in Madhya Pradesh and returned to form in Rajasthan, while remaining steadily ahead in Gujarat. The correctives are still a work in progress. Nitin Gadkari’s principal task over the next year will be to put together a viable economic policy for the party which the voter can assess, measure and then identify with.Why has the Congress slipped? Corruption is the easy answer, but not a complete one. The voter is angry about the theft of public money, of course. But he is truly livid at the fact that corruption has derailed economic growth. The first is sufficient cause for the visible and escalating concern that we see around us; the second can lay the seeds for insurrection. The Indian industrialist is talking through his bank account, investing abroad rather than at home. The worker is seeing the gains for which he abandoned the culture of strikes, being frittered away. There is confusion in villages as the landowner demands a share in that fixed lottery called land prices.Protest is a legitimate part of any Opposition’s duty, but that alone cannot convert the BJP into a ruling party. It has to rise above protest and become an alternative; from a trade union into the management structure that the shareholders of democracy can hire when the present management is voted out.advertisementIt tells us something when the language of business becomes perfectly applicable to the business of contemporary politics.