News story: Reviewing inter-subject comparability

first_imgSubject experts have a shared concern that A level entries in French, German and Spanish and physics, chemistry and biology could be suppressed if students and teachers believe it is harder to achieve top grades in these subjects compared to others. Ofqual has examined these concerns, as well as a wide-range of other evidence, as part of a comprehensive programme of research it has undertaken into inter-subject comparability spanning the past 3 years. This has involved engaging the broadest possible range of interested parties, including Ofqual’s Board and Standards Advisory Group, higher education, subject experts, teachers and students.We are today (Wednesday 21 November) publishing our decision not to adjust grading standards in these A level subjects, based on all the evidence. However, we recognise that perceived grading severity undermines confidence. Therefore, we have committed to working with the exam boards to ensure that these subjects do not become statistically more severely graded in the future.After analysing an extensive base of statistical evidence and contextual data, and having considered a wide range of other evidence, including detailed representations from the subject communities, we have concluded that there is not a uniformly compelling case to adjust grading standards in these subjects.However, we recognise stakeholders have concerns about the impact that the perception of grading severity may be having on take-up of these subjects; and in particular, acknowledge their concerns over the falling numbers studying modern foreign languages. Although we did not conclude that changing grading standards for the qualifications is justified, we will consider with exam boards how we should act to avoid the potential for these subjects to become statistically more difficult in the future. We will implement and review this as part of our normal approach to awarding.Commenting on the decision, Dr Michelle Meadows, Executive Director Strategy, Risk and Research, said: Ofqual have thoroughly investigated this question from a range of angles, recognising that statistical evidence about the difficulty of different subjects is rarely conclusive and can contradict other legitimate sources of evidence.  Much of the concern about subject difficulty appears to be about the declining take-up of certain subjects. In my view lowering the grade boundaries is not the right way to make subjects more attractive to potential students. Work undertakenFollowing considerable discussion with the teaching community, higher education and subject associations about the perceived difficulty and potential grading severity of certain subjects, we considered the relative difficulty of 3 science (physics, chemistry and biology) and 3 modern foreign language (French, German and Spanish) subjects.In looking at these A level subjects, we were building on a significant body of research first begun in 2015 to consider this complex issue. This included looking internationally at how other educational jurisdictions seek to achieve inter-subject comparability, and studies which examined some of the statistical models which attempt to measure the relative difficulty of different subjects. This work also took place in the context of a small adjustment we made to grading standards in French, German and Spanish A levels in 2017 to reflect research into the impact of native speakers taking these qualifications.We considered an extensive evidence base including statistical measures of subject difficulty and stakeholder concerns (including responses from subject associations, exam boards and their senior examiners for these subjects, and representatives from HE institutions, including those directly responsible for teaching first year undergraduates). We also looked at contextual data (such as data on teacher supply, trends in A level entry and research into the motivations behind students’ subject choices).We judged the evidence against 4 criteria, which we applied to determine whether there was a ‘compelling case’ to adjust the established grade standards in a subject. The criteria were: Public perceptions of the difficulty of these subjects is longstanding. However, adjusting grading standards is something we would only consider if there were a uniformly compelling case to do so. We have carefully considered the arguments of stakeholders and closely examined a broad range of evidence against our criteria. We have concluded there is no such uniformly compelling case to adjust grading standards in these subjects. Barnaby Lenon, chair of the Independent Schools Council, said: It is to their credit that Ofqual has committed so much time to researching the thorny question of ‘are some subjects harder than others and if so what can be done about it?’ They conclude that adjusting grades is not the best option. Dumbing-down A level science grades, for example, could lead to students being taken onto degree courses for which they are not equipped. Tom Bramley, Director, Research Division, Cambridge Assessment, said: statistical measures of subject difficulty show evidence of persistent grading severity over several years persuasive evidence of the potential detrimental impact caused by severe grading on those who use the qualification, and on society at large, over several years evidence which shows that those who use the qualification and those responsible for maintaining the grading standard judge an adjustment to be acceptable likely benefit to users of the qualification and society as a whole from a change to grading standards must outweigh any potential negative effects Our research included asking students about the things that influence their decisions about what to study. The evidence shows that perceptions of difficulty were not the most important factor for students, who considered enjoyment and perceived usefulness of the subject to be more so.Our decisions document and reports provide further detail on the 6 A level subjects against these 4 criteria. We did not find sufficiently strong evidence under these criteria to support an adjustment to grading standards.We will now look at the evidence for a potential adjustment to grading standards in GCSE French, German and Spanish. We committed to expand our work on inter-subject comparability to include GCSE languages earlier this year, in light of concerns from some stakeholders that the legacy qualifications were more severely graded than other subjects.last_img read more

Research gives edge to fessing up

first_imgIn a job interview or on a first date, everyone wants to make the best impression possible. So naturally, choosing to volunteer only information that puts you in a good light, while avoiding talk about anything that might be unflattering, seems like a pretty foolproof strategy. Well, think again. When directly questioned, people who withhold negative or embarrassing information about themselves give a far worse impression about their overall character and trustworthiness than those who come clean right away, according to new research by Harvard Business School (HBS) faculty. Across a series of experiments, participants were asked to choose between two people — one who gave truthful but embarrassing answers to questions about drug-taking, bad grades, and sexually transmitted diseases, and one who refused to answer. Over and over, those who “fessed up” were preferred and viewed more positively, even after it was revealed that the withheld information was less unpleasant. Withholding an answer does more damage than most of us even realize, say the paper’s authors, assistant professor Leslie K. John, doctoral student Kate Barasz, and Michael I. Norton, the Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration at HBS. The Gazette spoke with John about the findings.GAZETTE: What did you set out to find?JOHN: The first thing we set out to do was to test whether there is an effect — that you view people who withhold information with disdain. The way we tried to show that is to give people a choice where we say, “Please choose which of two people you’d rather go on a date with.” One, who we call The Revealer, has divulged a lot about him- or herself and the things they’ve divulged are extremely unsavory, like that they frequently forget to tell a partner that they have an STD. The other dating option is what we call The Hider. When they do reveal information, they reveal information that’s just as unsavory, but for some questions [they] opted out of answering. The situation we set up is that The Hider is only — at worst — as bad as The Revealer, so it’s very surprising that people, again and again, they’d rather date The Revealer … [when] there’s a really good chance that The Hider has better attributes.GAZETTE: While withholding information is not necessarily the same as hiding it, your findings show that it’s perceived as the same and somehow indicative of underlying character flaws. Why is it viewed so harshly?JOHN: First, I think that it’s important to delineate the boundary of this effect. It would be wrong to conclude from this research that we should all go out and tell everybody our deepest and darkest secrets. That would be creepy and weird. But what it is saying is that in situations where disclosure is expected — for example, when you’re posed a direct question — it’s expected that you’re going to answer. Where disclosure is expected, when someone does not disclose, we view them with contempt. One reason we find support for is that people have a preference for disclosers and there’s good reason. We know that when you disclose information about yourself, this is a key way of developing intimate bonds with others, which is a fundamental human need. And so, by that logic, it follows that when someone doesn’t disclose information, we tend to like them less and become untrusting of them.When I first started this work, I thought that it was just about the specific information that was missing that people were inferring, “Oh, if they’re not divulging it, it must be the worst possible.” But again and again, we found that does not account for the effect. In one experiment, we asked people “Who would you rather hire?” There are two possible candidates and on their job application they were asked, “What is the worst grade you’ve ever gotten on an exam?” One candidate’s answer was “F.” The other person opted out of answering that question. Of course, they’d rather hire The Revealer. But the really interesting thing is we also asked two additional questions: “From zero to 100 percent score, what do you think each candidate’s worst grade was?” and “Who do you think is more trustworthy?” What we found was people think the Revealer is more trustworthy, but, interestingly, people think the Hider’s lowest score is significantly higher than the person who revealed. So it’s really not driven by inferences about the undisclosed information, it’s this trait-level judgment.GAZETTE: Why do people tend to avoid disclosure? Don’t they realize the consequences?JOHN: That’s a great question. Most of the paper focuses on observers’ judgments of people who abstain. But another important finding is, we ask “If you’re trying to make the other person like you, if you’re trying to get hired, if you’re trying to be asked out on a date, do you make the right decision of whether to disclose or to hide?” It turns out that most people think that the best thing to do in this situation is to withhold the information, when we know from the other studies that they’d make a far better impression if they just came clean. So on the surface level, the effect is driven by when you’re deciding whether to disclose or not, you focus more on the risks of disclosing. This is conjecturing a bit beyond the data, but I think one of the reasons might have to do with the way we learn and the type of feedback we get. When you divulge something really unsavory, you typically get immediate and pretty visceral feedback. If you’re on Facebook and you say something, people will comment and they’ll call you out. Or, if you say something face-to-face, you just look at the person’s face and it’s shock and awe. The risks are very salient, so we learn — appropriately — that we should be guarded about disclosing this stuff. But what we don’t get feedback on is when we fail to divulge information — the trust hit is not so salient. You can’t really see that on someone’s face, their perception of you. So because we don’t see the trust hit of withholding, we underweight it when we make decisions.GAZETTE: How did you test to see if observers were being truthful when they claimed they didn’t penalize those who came clean?JOHN: It comes back to understanding when we’re likely to get this effect and when we’re not. We’re likely to get it when there’s a job application and there’s an explicit question and you opt out of answering. Then it’s salient. Like if you’re asked, “Have you ever done drugs?” on a job application and you opt out of answering, that’s obviously very salient. Contrast that to where you’re in a job interview and you have done drugs, but you’re not even asked about it so you don’t volunteer it. Where you fail to volunteer it, the interviewer isn’t going to notice that you didn’t divulge, so at least in the short run, a better strategy is to not volunteer it.The other thing you’re speaking to is a broader and important question when you do the kind of research I do. Basically, talk is cheap, and so in some of these experiments, maybe people would react differently if they actually had skin in the game. What we did to address that potential concern is an experiment — it’s a classic paradigm from experimental economics called the trust game. We pair people up, Player A and Player B. Player A, we give $5 and we say to Player A, “You can give as much or as little of this money to Player B.”When whatever amount of money is transferred between Player A and Player B, it’s tripled. So if I decide to give $2 of my $5, Player B gets $6. Player B can then decide what to do with the $6. Player B can choose to send some back to Player A if he wants to or not. It’s called the trust game because as Player A, if you trust Player B to be fair and give you half of the spoils, then you’re going to maximize your payout if you trust them with all $5. But if you don’t trust them, you’re not going to give them any money, so this is nicely incentive-compatible. If you appropriately trust the person then you’re going to make more money for yourself. We vary whether when Player A is deciding how much money to transfer, Player A is made aware of whether Player B answered questions. Some Player Bs are randomly assigned to be Hiders, and some are Revealers. As Player A, when I decide how much, if any, money to transfer to Player B, I know whether I’ve been paired with a Hider or a Revealer. We find that when Player As are paired with Hiders, they transfer less money to the Hiders — because they trust them less — than when they’re paired with Revealers. And because they give less money to the Hiders, they get less money back.GAZETTE: Do people have disclosure double standards?JOHN: It seems to be the case. When we put people in the role of judgers, like when you judge someone who doesn’t disclose, you think they’re unsavory. However, when you’re in the position yourself to disclose, or to hide, you actually think you should hide the information.GAZETTE: What should people take away from this research?JOHN: When you’re being asked explicitly to divulge information and you know it is not particularly savory, we caution people to reconsider their natural instinct to withhold because you might be better off just coming clean and sharing that information. I think it also cautions us against being unwarrantedly harsh on those who don’t disclose information.This interview was edited for clarity and length.last_img read more

Netherlands, UK take opposite views on small pension pots

first_imgIn addition, it would reduce costs for pension providers, as they would no longer have to administer large numbers of small pensions.Small pension savings are a particular issue for Dutch workers in the cleaning and hospitality industries, as well as the retail and the temporary employment sectors, where many workers have accrued small savings at several employers.As of next year, pension providers have the right to merge gross annual pension rights of up to €474 accrued as of January 2018, and to transfer these rights to a new provider.Members can’t appeal a decision to transfer rights to a new provider, and can’t take the money out.The new legislation also allows pension funds to cancel annual pension rights of less than €2, which would also reduce administration costs.UK minister shelves ‘pot follows member’ rules Guy Opperman, UK minister for pensions and financial inclusionIn the UK, however, pensions minister Guy Opperman has shelved the so-called “pot follows member” concept.Similar to the Netherlands, the UK has been considering changing rules for small pension pots for some time.In response to a written question about the “potential merits of a system of automatic transfers for individuals who have multiple jobs during their working life”, Opperman said it was “not the right time” to bring in such rules.“The government’s priority for private pension savers in 2018 remains the successful roll-out of automatic enrolment,” Opperman said.He added: “These reforms increase the number of people saving into workplace pensions and ensure confidence in the system. Government, providers, employers and members should focus on these changes. It is therefore not the right time to implement automatic transfers.”Opperman pointed out that all members of defined contribution schemes had “a statutory right to transfer to another pension scheme of their choice”.He also highlighted the development of a pensions dashboard, and said the government planned to publish the findings of a feasibility study for the concept “later in spring 2018”. Dutch pension funds and insurers will be able to automatically transfer small pensions to a new provider after a member has changed jobs and moved to a new pension fund, as of 1 July next year.By then, providers and the Netherlands’ national pensions register will have their IT systems ready to exchange details about small pension pots, according to the Pensions Federation and the Association of Insurers (VvV).Participants will be entitled to value transfer as of 1 January 2019, following the introduction of legislation – known as Wet Waardeoverdracht Klein Pensioen – earlier this year.In a joint statement, the federation and the VvV said the new rules would prevent fragmentation of pension rights and would provide participants with a better overview of their benefits.last_img read more

Grabouski gets record eighth Spring Nationals win on opening night at Beatrice

first_imgJordan Grabouski added a record eighth trophy to his Spring Nationals collection after winning the opening night IMCA Modified feature Thursday at Beatrice Speedway. (Photo by Jim Zimmerline)BEATRICE, Neb. (March 9) – The eighth time was every bit as good as the first Thursday night for Jordan Grabouski.Grabouski won the opening night IMCA Modified feature at his hometown Beatrice Speedway’s Spring Nationals for a record eighth time, earning $2,500.Kyle Brown, 13th starting Hunter Marriott, Jacob Murray and hard charger Dylan Smith rounded out the top five. Smith, a Spring Nationals winner in 2013, had started 18th.Grabouski started inside the second row, passing Brown and Anthony Roth on his way to the front early on. He wasn’t challenged as the 30-lapper wound down.“We had a lot of work to do before tonight. We’ve got a brand new GRT and being able to win tonight made all the late nights in the shop worth it,” said Grabouski, the defending and two-time IMCA national champion and already a 2017 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot candidate.“I used to go to Spring Nationals every year when I was growing up and as a kid can remember drivers coming from all over to race here,” he added. “It’s kind of crazy that I could win this eight times. It hasn’t sunk in yet.”Grabouski’s career-first Spring Nationals victory came in 2008.Two hundred and twenty-nine cars, including 75 Modifieds, from 10 states competed Thursday at Beatrice. The 24th annual Spring Nationals was moved up a day because of the cold weekend forecastAlso Thursday night, Lance Borgman was the Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod winner, Damon Murty topped the IMCA Sunoco Stock Car feature and Brady Bencken paced the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks.Modifieds, Stock Cars, Northern SportMods, Hobby Stocks and Mach-1 Sport Compacts are on the Friday card. Hot laps are at 5 p.m. and racing starts at 6 p.m.Feature ResultsModifieds – 1. Jordan Grabouski, Beatrice; 2. Kyle Brown, Madrid, Iowa; 3. Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo.; 4. Jacob Murray, Hartford, Iowa; 5. Dylan Smith, Osceola; 6. Ricky Alvarado, Delta, Colo.; 7. Jesse Sobbing, Malvern, Iowa; 8. Johnny Saathoff, Beatrice; 9. Chris Abelson, Sioux City, Iowa; 10. Eddie Belec, Arvada, Colo.; 11. Anthony Roth, Columbus; 12. Tyler Frye, Belleville, Kan.; 13. Clint Luellen, Minburn, Iowa; 14. Jay Noteboom, Hinton, Iowa; 15. Shane Hi­att, Rising City; 16. Josh Gilman, Earlham, Iowa; 17. Adam Armstrong, Beatrice; 18. Tyler Hall, Fertile, Minn.; 19. Mike Greseth, Harwood, N.D.; 20. Bob Moore, Sioux City, Iowa; 21. Benji La­Crosse, Green Bay, Wis.; 22. Tim Watts, Beloit, Kan.; 23. Jimmy Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa; 24. Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo.Heat winners were Roth, Murray, Armstrong, Phillips, Abelson, Brown, Grabouski and Alvarado. “B” feature winners were Noteboom, Smith, LaCrosse and Sobbing.Northern SportMods – 1. Lance Borgman, Beatrice; 2. Justin Addison, Norfolk; 3. Colby Langenberg, Norfolk; 4. John Logue Jr., Boone, Iowa; 5. Carter VanDenberg, Oskaloosa, Iowa; 6. Brian Osantowski, Columbus; 7. Jake McBirnie, Boone, Iowa; 8. Benji Legg, Beatrice; 9. Jesse Skalicky, Fargo, N.D.; 10. Mike Tanner, Smithville, Mo.; 11. Arie Schouten, Blair; 12. Lee Horky, Fairbury; 13. Todd Boulware, Jefferson, S.D.; 14. Ethan Braaksma, Newton, Iowa; 15. Jason An­drews, Estherville, Iowa; 16. Nelson Vollbrecht, Stanton; 17. Jarred Hackler, Juniata; 18. Matt Andrews, Seward; 19. Taylor Metz, Washington, Kan.; 20. Brett Meyer, Lytton; 21. Tyler Watts, Beloit, Kan.; 22. Tyler Soppe, Sherrill, Iowa; 23. Austin Heacock, Peosta, Iowa; 24. Austin Luellen, Minburn, Iowa.Heat winners were Schouten, Watts, VanDenBerg, Addison, Borgman, Vollbrecht, Legg and Osan­towski. “B” feature winners were Braaksma, Metz, Heacock and Tanner.Stock Cars – 1. Damon Murty, Chelsea, Iowa; 2. Dustin Schmidt, Fairbury; 3. Randy Brands, Boyden, Iowa; Jay Schmidt, Tama, Iowa; 5. Dan Nelson, Holmesville; 6. Jed Williams, Shickley; 7. Caleb Crenshaw, Fort Worth, Texas; 8. Shane Stutzman, Milford; 9. Dan Mackenthun, Ham­burg, Minn.; 10. Jason See, Albia, Iowa; 11. Heath Tulp, Kanawha, Iowa; 12. Alvie Christofferson, St. Joseph, Mo.; 13. Marcus Fagan, Adair, Iowa; 14. Tyler Phelps, Beatrice; 15. John Meyer, Odell; 16. Jason Kreft, Beatrice; 17. Gary Mattison, Lamberton, Minn.; 18. Jason Schoenberger, Russell, Kan.; 19. Les Lundquist, Sioux City, Iowa; 20. Mike Albertsen, Audubon, Iowa; 21. Shawn Primrose, Norfolk; 22. Jason Rogers, Selden, Kan.; 23. Nathan Chukuske, Welcome, Minn.; 24. Jason Ward, Sioux City, Iowa.Heat winners were Brands, Nelson, Lundquist and Murty. Mackenthun won the “B” feature.Hobby Stocks – 1. Brady Bencken, Oakley, Kan.; 2. Damon Richards, David City; 3. Brendon Stigge, Fairbury; 4. Andrew Borchardt, Mason City, Iowa; 5. Luke Ramsey, Bedford, Iowa; 6. Jeff Ware, Columbus; 7. Nick Ronnenbaum, Onaga, Kan.; 8. Jacob Harms, Beatrice; 9. Corey Mad­den, Avoca, Iowa; 10. Mark Saathoff, Beatrice; 11. Chad Borgman, Beatrice; 12. Taylor Huss, Fairbury; 13. Blake Arends, Little Rock, Iowa; 14. Chad Lonneman, Adrian, Minn.; 15. Greg Gil­bert, Osceola, Iowa; 16. Jeff Watts, Beatrice; 17. Aaron Shearn, Sioux City, Iowa; 18. Tyler Davis, Fairbury; 19. Chuck Madden Jr., Avoca, Iowa; 20. Brandon Wergin, Milford, Neb.; 21. Kevin Bruck, Dunlap, Iowa; 22. Jesse VanLaningham, Beatrice; 23. Roy Armstrong, Beatrice; 24. Nate DeSive, Oneill, Neb.Heat winners were Stigge, Arends, Borchardt, Gilbert, Ronnenbaum and VanLaningham. “B” fea­ture winners were Davis, Richards and Ramsey.last_img read more

The Latest: ASUN Conference postponing all fall sports

first_img August 14, 2020 Associated Press Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___The ASUN Conference says it is postponing all fall sports because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Latest: ASUN Conference postponing all fall sportscenter_img The announcement from the ASUN’s Presidents’ Council on Friday also says that providing a spring season for men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball is a priority.“We’re not in the position today to guarantee it will happen, but we can promise to make every effort to get there. We owe that to our student-athletes, our athletic departments and our institutions,” ASUN Commissioner Ted Gumbart said in a statement.League schools may continue with such activities like training and practice in accordance with NCAA, local and state guidelines.The nine-team league operates mostly in the Southeast and does not play football. It is formally known as the Atlantic Sun Conference. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sportslast_img read more

Govt unsure of funding for expansion of Fire Service

first_imgUpgraded Disciplined ServicesAs part of Government’s efforts to improve effectiveness of the Guyana Fire Service’s (GFC’s) reach and first responder capacity, there are plans to construct a fire station on the West Coast of Berbice.Whether funds for such an undertaking will be made available in 2019 is another matter. According to Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan at a recent press conference, the cost to construct a fire station may be a prohibitive factor.Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan“The nature of things as they evolve in Guyana means that that which was planned about ten years ago may not be able to be done now. Yes, we want to set infrastructure in places that had not gotten it…We want West Coast Berbice to have fire stations….That, of course depends on the budgetary allocation that we will get in 2019. I’ve made the case for it all over the place, but of course the Finance Ministry will want (to exercise) fiscal prudence and say all cannot be gotten in one year,” Ramjattan declared.Throwing his support behind such a stance, Ramjattan pointed to previous constructions and the drain they have had on finances. He pointed to the fact that several fire stations have been constructed recently from monies allocated in the 2018 budget.The first of three initial consultations on the disciplined services was held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) only a few days ago, and attracted various stakeholders.Ramjattan also told the gathering that Government is cognisant of the situation and is working to improve all agencies under purview of the Ministry of Public Security. He explained that improvements have already begun to the Prison Service, Fire Service and Police Force. The need to boost skills and capacity was also noted.Chief Fire Officer Marlon Gentle later explained that consultations would ensure that all are apprised of the state of the proposed plans, and the way forward. Gentle also explained that the Strategic Management Plan, initiated in 2014 and ratified in 2016, has had the Government’s full support.These plans will see construction of five more fire stations and procurement of more equipment, including a fire fighting boat, to service the developments along the banks of the Demerara River.last_img read more

Monday’s QPR quiz

first_imgTest your knowledge by seeing how many of these five QPR-related questions you can answer correctly.[wp-simple-survey-102] 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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Half-time: FC Groningen 1 QPR 0

first_imgJoel Lynch was included in the starting line-up for QPR’s pre-season friendly against FC Groningen in the Netherlands, where the Dutch side lead at half-time.Summer signing Lynch, who did not feature in Friday’s game against PSV Eindhoven, lined up in a back four which also included young full-backs Darnell Furlong and Cole Kpekawa.Juninho Bacuna opened the scoring on 13 minutes when he slotted home the loose ball after keeper Matt Ingram did well to deny Tom van Weert, who had managed to sneak behind Steven Caulker.Rangers, demonstrating a pressing, high-tempo style boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has been keen to introduce, have created some openings.But Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Tjaronn Chery were both unable to find a way past the goalkeeper after finding themselves through on goal.Rangers midfielder Chery, playing against his former side, then teed up Michael Petrasso with a clever pass and the winger fired low into the net but was offside.Petrasso picked up a knock and went off five minutes before the break.QPR: Ingram; Furlong, Caulker, Lynch, Kpekawa; Henry, Doughty; Petrasso (Kakay 40), Chery, El Khayati; Emmanuel-Thomas.Subs: Lumley, Onuoha, Hall, Polter, Borysiuk, Gladwin, Grego-Cox, Bidwell, Luongo, Prohouly, Shodipo.See also:The QPR youngsters trying to make their mark during pre-seasonFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Corning fast pitch team dominating at tourneys

first_imgCorning >> The Flex Fastpitch softball team of Corning, competing in the US Specialty Sports Association, took first place in the FAB 5 Tournament Aug. 27-28 and the Queen of the Hill tournament Sept. 10-11, both in Sacramento.In the Bee Sting tournament in Elk Grove in mid August, Flex Fastpitch came in second place out of more than 12 teams from Sacramento, Reno, the Bay Area and Modesto.Flex Fastpitch players are Lillee Olague, Shelby Flournoy, Lynnea Swearinger, Lyndee Flournoy, Macie …last_img

Crazy Convergences Distort Darwinism

first_imgGet a load of this: Darwinians claim that complex features arose independently multiple times by an unknown process called “convergent evolution.”Giving a name to something is not the same as explaining it. Darwinians have learned how to manipulate language to create vacuous terms that masquerade as explanations. For instance, if two organisms that share the same assumed ancestral line have similar traits, they are called “homologous” traits in Darwinese. But if the traits are similar and are not on the same ancestral line, they call them “analogous” traits. When evolution splits traits apart, they call it “divergence.” When evolution brings separate organisms together, they call it “convergence.” Evolutionists confabulate and confibulate to pretend they are doing science, when they’re actually just playing Jargonwocky. Let’s look at some examples that demonstrate how convergence—an essential ingredient in Darwin Flubber—operates according to the Stuff Happens Law.These bizarre creatures defy what we think we know about plants and animals (Jordi Paps on The Conversation). A particular sea anemone has a similar shape and mode of action as the Venus flytrap, a land plant. How did that evolve? Overcome with the spirit of Darwin, Dr. Paps praises convergent evolution:It is a brilliant example of convergent evolution, where unrelated organisms independently evolve similar adaptations (for example, the wings of birds and bats). In this case, it is an animal that looks like a plant that imitates a carnivorous plant that feeds like an animal.Convergent Evolution of Unique Morphological Adaptations to a Subterranean Environment in Cave Millipedes (Diplopoda) (PLoS One). The abstract says, “Our study clearly shows that morphological adaptations have evolved convergently in different, unrelated millipede orders and families, most likely as a direct adaptation to cave life.” It should be clear, though, that a cave cannot force an organism to adapt. It could “shoo” the organism away, or act as a death trap. Caves are under no obligation to bestow adaptive traits on any organism. This paper masquerades as an explanation, because it only describes similarities between unrelated millipede orders and families, without showing what mutations were selected by a Darwinian mechanism.Ontogenetic and life history trait changes associated with convergent ecological specializations in extinct ungulate mammals (PNAS). These scientists looked into the teeth of some ungulates (mammals that chew the cud). Behold, they had similar teeth, even though unrelated. That proves convergence, doesn’t it? “We show that ever-growing teeth combined with faster molar eruption arose several times during the evolution of these mammals, allowing them to obtain a more durable and efficient dentition in constraining environments,” they declare triumphantly.  “These innovations might represent convergent ontogenetic and physiological adjustments that contributed to their ecological specializations.” Wait a second; who combined them? What made the traits arise, allowing them to eat better? What adjusted them? Look how they respond to four unrelated cases of tall teeth: ” Most remarkably, a crown height increase convergently evolved in four distinct notoungulate clades….” Does this explain the observations, or explain them away?Comparative genomics reveals convergent evolution between the bamboo-eating giant and red pandas (PNAS). We mentioned this Darwinian conundrum last week (2/02/17). Suffice it to say this paper appeals to “convergence” no less than 80 times! The authors also try to make a distinction between phenotypic convergence and genetic convergence, which only doubles the trouble for Darwinian evolution. For why would genes converge without a corresponding change in the phenotype, and vice versa? Notice what they say about convergent evolution in general in the concluding paragraph:Convergent evolution has long interested evolutionary biologists. Classic examples include the wings of bats and birds, echolocation in bats and dolphins, and adaptation of marine mammals to extreme marine environments. Although the functional nature of these convergent specializations is often obvious, the genetic basis underpinning particular examples of convergent evolution is far less clear. Charles Darwin suggested that convergent evolution stems from similarity in independent changes that underpin the same features in different organisms [i.e., Stuff Happens]. Although there have been advances in understanding the molecular basis of such parallel and independent phenotype convergence in recent decades, insights at the genomic level are rare.The Flashlight Fish Anomalops katoptron Uses Bioluminescent Light to Detect Prey in the Dark (PLoS One). Anyone who has studied bioluminescence has probably been struck by the elaborate chemistry and physiology of light-producing organs. This paper describes a striking example of a fish that co-opts luminescent bacteria in its eye sockets, and can switch them on and off like flashlights. Speaking of convergence in marine organisms, none of the eight authors seem to have any qualms about inserting this miracle: “A recent study reported 27 independent evolutionary events of bioluminescence in marine ray-finned fish.”A bizarre Early Cretaceous enantiornithine bird with unique crural feathers and an ornithuromorph plough-shaped pygostyle (Nature Communications). This fossil bird found in China appears too early to have some modern traits found in later Cretaceous birds. What to do? Converge it away: “A plough-shaped pygostyle, like that of the Ornithuromorpha, evolved convergently in the Cruralispennia lineage, highlighting the homoplastic nature of early avian evolution.” Note: Homoplasy is Darwin lingo for convergent evolution; they are saying that convergence is everywhere in the early bird fossil record. Indeed, later they say, “The discovery of this morphology in the Enantiornithes contributes to the tally of numerous instances of homoplasy that characterize early avian evolution.” The authors are struck by the modern-looking pygostyle, which they call an “unexpected homoplasy.”The long reach of the monster plant (Nature). This article about carnivorous plants betrays the “convergent evolution” pseudo-explanation without actually using the phrase. “There are many other species of carnivorous plant worldwide. And in a study released this week… researchers describe how these meat-eating plants rely on much the same genetic recipe, even though the different groups evolved the habit of carnivory quite independently.” So how, exactly, did Darwin work this out? “All were after the same thing: nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus that they couldn’t extract from the meagre soil.” Is this really an explanation? The plants could have avoided millions of years of waiting for the right random mutations to show up; they could have just taken the easy route and gone extinct. Maybe evolutionists should add “convergent extinction” to their explanatory toolkit. See also the press release from University of Buffalo, where the authors say, “The findings represent an example of convergent evolution, in which unrelated species evolve independently to acquire similar traits.” According to the headline, this “sheds light on how carnivorous plants acquired a taste for meat.”In his new book Darwin’s House of Cards (Center for Science and Culture, 2017), veteran journalist Tom Bethell devotes a whole chapter to “The Conundrum of Convergence” (ch. 10). He describes several spectacular examples, such as the origin of flight in pterosaurs, mammals, birds and insects. Evolutionists ought to be dumbfloundering at such observations, but pretend not to be fazed by spewing the mythoid that it proves flight “must be easy to evolve.” That is more than Bethell can take. “Flight is easy to evolve?” he asks in exasperation. “By a series of accidental mutations? Someone should tell Boeing engineers how this was achieved.” It’s doubtful real engineers would fall for such a poof spoof. Concerning this teetering card in the house of cards, Bethell says it is a catch-all explanation that lets Darwinians have all their bases covered. “Animals from different lines can either converge, or evolve in parallel, or diverge… What could possibly falsify such a theory?” (p. 124).Darwin is a naked emperor living in a house of cards in a tornado, expecting his 747 to emerge. (Visited 177 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more