Improbable Ape Speaks Randomly

first_img(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 It’s not uncharitable to call someone an ape when he calls himself that.New Scientist entitled a short article, “We Are the Improbable Ape.”  It’s perhaps fortunate that the author(s) did not identify himself, herself, itself or themselves, because it claimed that 3 chance mutations made us what we are, complete with thinking brains (5/05/2012) and language.  One excerpt wins Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:But on another it brings home the sheer improbability of our existence. The essence of humanity largely boils down to a bunch of random mutations, every one of them happening by chance.Richard Dawkins once described evolution as “climbing mount improbable”. It is always worth remembering that humans have climbed the highest.It’s not entirely clear that an improbable ape arriving by the Stuff Happens Law would know which way is up.Maybe the improbable ape who wrote for New Scientist is highest on another level, the “under the influence” level.  The rest of us rational human beings can be content we are on the level on purpose.  Just hope the improbable apes don’t throw their rocks with as good aim as the Swedish chimp reported in PLoS One does.  Both are equally good at practicing deceit, though.last_img read more

Want Clean Indoor Air? Don’t Bank on Houseplants

first_imgFinding articles online that extoll the many air-cleansing benefits of houseplants is a cinch, but the assertions are mostly hype with little grounding in fact. So writes Robinson Meyer in an article posted at The Atlantic as he debunks a popular claim of health bloggers and more than a few magazine articles. Typical of a pitch to buy more houseplants is this assertion from Katie Wells at her website Wellness Mama. “Houseplants are an effective, simple, and inexpensive way to purify indoor air.” Without citing a source for her claims, Wells goes on to specify which plants are most effective. The list includes bamboo palm, the rubber plant, and English ivy, among others. The same  prescription for clean air can be found in any number of magazine articles, like this one in This Old House.RELATED ARTICLESAll About Indoor Air QualityHumidity, Mold, and Indoor Air QualityRanking Indoor Air Pollutants Where did all of this come from? The claims seem to have originated with a NASA scientist named Bill Wolverton, who in the late 1980s investigated whether houseplants would be  capable of removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air in sealed space vehicles, Meyer writes. Wolverton’s 1989 report, summing up two years of research, found that potted houseplants have “demonstrated the potential for improving indoor air quality by removing trace organic pollutants from the air in energy-efficient buildings.” In considering the plight of people sealed into small spaces, Wolverton said, “If man is to move into closed environments, on Earth or in space, he must take along nature’s life support system.” In 1997, Wolverton followed up with a book, How to Grow Fresh Air. He provided a list of 50 plants that could help rid indoor air of such pollutants as ammonia, formaldehyde, and benzene, among others. Other research seemed to support the connection between clean indoor air and houseplants. The public was hooked. A new review is less enthusiastic But, Meyer says, a more recent view of nearly 200 studies shows the benefits of houseplants are significantly overstated. The review by Michael Waring, an engineering professor at Drexel University, and others found that while some plants can remove more VOCs than others in small, sealed chambers, none is very effective in a large room. It wasn’t Wolverton’s original study that was wrong, just that the benefits have since been overstated. Someone would have to be put 1,000 plants in a 10-foot-square room with an 8-foot ceiling to have the same air-cleaning capacity as changing the room air once per hour, Waring said. Even if you chose the most effective VOC-cleansing plant, you’d need one plant per square foot. In a presentation titled “Biowalls and Indoor Houseplants: Facts and Fiction,” Waring describes some of the research that followed Wolverton’s initial study and how the claims have been popularized. “I do not think that houseplants clean the air,” he told Meyer, a point of view echoed by other scientists that the writer contacted. Another study, this one led by Omed Abbass and published in the journal Building and Environment, looked at whether indoor house plants might be effective at removing ozone from indoor air. The result? “Calculations of effectiveness in a hypothetical indoor environment show, at best, modest contributions of about 0.9-9% indoor ozone removal effectiveness …” There are many other benefits to having houseplants — color to counter the drabness of winter, the fragrance of new blossoms, the simple joy of growing something — but cleaner air apparently isn’t one of them.last_img read more

Far Eastern U, San Beda gain top spots

first_imgNATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul LATEST STORIES The Red Spikers looked headed for a trouble-free debut after dominating the Lady Engineers in the first two quarters. But they sputtered in the third, enabling the TIP tossers to steal the set on deuce points.Soltones and Kath Villegas have played their last season with the Lady Stags.Soltones actually helped on the bench as part of Roger Gorayeb’s coaching staff but the Lady Tamaraws, responding to new coach George Pascua, proved too strong for the Lady Stags.“The important thing was we were able to maximize everyone’s potential,” said Pascua, who recently took over from Shaq delos Santos.San Sebastian put a gutsy stand in the second set but Pons and Basas stepped up their attack before the Lady Tams reasserted their might in the third with Pons’ last ace wrapping up the one-sided match.ADVERTISEMENT San Beda edges Lyceum, gains NCAA chess Final Four Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Celine Domingo and Jeanette Villareal also combined for 17 hits for FEU.The Lady Stags scored 24 attack points but yielded 21 points off miscues.Nikka Dalisay paced San Sebastian with 10 points while Daurene Santos and Joyce Sta. Rita combined for 12 points for the Recto-based squad.Earlier, fancied National University whipped San Beda, 25-15, 25-16, 25-18, to join opening day winners La Salle and University of Santo Tomas in the men’s division of the league backed by Mikasa and Asics.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextcenter_img MOST READ “We played as a team and that made it a lot easier for us,” said Pons.It was an all-Lady Tamaraws show right from the start as they imposed their will upfront and pounced on the erratic Lady Stags, who sorely missed the services of former ace hitter and many-time NCAA Most Valuable Player Soltones.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingIn the second game, San Beda recovered from a third-set defeat and thwarted Technological Institute of the Philippines,25-13, 25-18, 25-27, 25-13, to join Arellano U in the Group B lead. Far Eastern University leaned on its veteran crew and clobbered a Grethcel Soltones-less San Sebastian College side, cruising to a 25-17, 25-21, 25-14 victory to gain a share of the Group A lead in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan on Sunday.Bernadeth Pons fired 13 hits, including eight attack points and two aces, while Toni Rose Basas added 11 as the Lady Tamaraws matched the Ateneo Lady Eagles’ straight-set romp over the Jose Rizal U Lady Bombers in Saturday’s opener of the season-ending conference of the Sports Vision-organized league.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’last_img read more