After days of public outrage over the treatment of a pupil, who was shamed after he turned up to school in Indigenous attire for Culture Day, Mae’s administration has agreed to apologise to the nine-year-old boy.This was during a meeting held on Monday afternoon at the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) Head Office, which saw APA Executive Director Jean La Rose; GIS Specialist & Forest Policy Officer Michael Mc Garrell; Communications & Visibility Officer Nicholas Peters; Mae’s Schools Director Stacey French and Administrator Lucinda Mc Curdy; and the boy’s parents, Jason Chacon and Karen Small, as well as other stakeholders sitting down to discuss the incident.Karen Small recounts the incident during a meeting with representatives from the APA and Mae’s SchoolsAccording to a statement from the APA, French agreed to apologise to the boy and his parents, but made no commitments on a public apology.“After some back and forth on the matter, and with the APA stressing on what culture really means to Indigenous peoples in Guyana, the school’s director agreed that she would apologise to the young man on the turn the incident took and the trauma that he experienced shortly after,” the missive from the APA detailed.However, the Association pointed out that a public apology was necessary, since not only the boy and his family but the Indigenous people were hurt by this incident, which has been denounced across the country.Monday’s meeting, which was organised by the APA, was the first time the boy’s parents had come face to face with the school’s administration since the incident and Small, the mother of the child, was able to recount directly to the school’s top administration how the incident took place and to express her concerns about its impact on the nine-year-old. She also took the opportunity to highlight some inaccuracies contained in a statement released by the school on the incident.Meanwhile, the school‘s representative also said that she too was not happy about inaccurate media reporting that the child was not allowed to enter the school. However, the APA pointed out that the issue was bigger than whether the child was allowed entry or not, it was a matter much larger that deemed a people’s culture as “inappropriate” which in turn resulted in the child feeling that he should dislike his culture after being made to feel uncomfortable in his ethnic dress.Moreover, the organisation posited that the incident should be used both as a teaching and learning opportunity for the students and faculty of the school. To this end, the APA offered to help the school in sensitising students and others on larger issues affecting Indigenous peoples and their role in society.The school has agreed to host a session in collaboration with the Association to inform students and faculty of Indigenous culture and overcoming the negative stereotypes which continue to exist.Nevertheless, the APA sees the outcome of the meeting as a step in the right direction towards not only resolving this particular incident, but also addressing cultural prejudices that may persist today.Apart from this meeting, the school’s officials also met with representatives from the Ministries of Education, Social Cohesion, and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs on Monday.
Linden-Lethem roadSome minibus operators who ply the Mahdia and Lethem routes were forced to halt their services until the weather pattern and the state of the road improves. The road, according to the operators, is almost impassible as a result of the persistent heavy rainfalls.The present condition of the Linden to Lethem road which bus operators are forced to traverse seeking their daily breadOn Monday, minibus owner Calvin Drakes told Guyana Times that his driver was forced to park the bus because the road had become worse over the past few days.“The truth is, he can’t make a trip for now at all…if you see what is going on the trail. It’s terrifying and ridiculous at the same time. I just hoping and praying for some improvement in the weather so that we can make a trip soon because we both depend on this for our livelihood,” he said.This was the case with at least four other operators who said they cannot continue to operate given the circumstances.In an invited comment on the issue Monday, Mayor of Mahdia David Adams said there have been no improvements in the condition of the road and although the rehabilitation of the road does not fall under his council, no works can be done due to the persistent rainfall.Adams last week explained that during the rainy season, some attention needed to be paid to the trail between Mahdia and Mabura which is in dire need of repair works.He noted, however, that there are no plans in place for such rehabilitation works by the council. “Getting in is very difficult and some works have to be done in the short term to offer relief to those traversing,” he had said.The minibus operators since last week have complained bitterly of the deteriorating condition of the trail which they are forced to use to transport passengers and goods as a means of earning their daily bread.The bus operators who had reached out to this publication described the trail as a “death trap” and bashed the Public Infrastructure Ministry for paying zero interest in conducting long-term repairs to that trail which is the only access to those areas.The trail has been in a deteriorated state for years and worsens during the rainy seasons after which minor substandard repairs are done on certain patches and the problem continues to recur.Route 72 minibus drivers said that they were forced to park their buses due to the condition of the road since the risk of making a trip is way more than its gains.They called on the Government to put measures in place for urgent and long-term repairs and maintenance of the road.The drivers said they are suffering since they were forced to use the road in the present state as best as they can in getting passengers into and out of Mahdia just for an income to take care of their needs.They described the situation as unacceptable and called on Government through the Ministry of Public Infrastructure to come up with a plan to commence repairs to the road soon.Meanwhile, it was recently announced by the Public Infrastructure Ministry that sections of the damaged road in Mahdia were being repaired after the recent flash flooding. The bridge at Red and White, which had been washed away, was replaced by wooden planks until those works are executed.Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson had told this publication that the pathway was opened for vehicular traffic on both lanes. Efforts to obtain a comment from him on Monday on this issue proved futile.
According to the Darwinian script, each animal evolved its particular adaptations from an ancestor lacking those adaptations. Take bats. They must have evolved their wings and sonar from mouse-like ancestors that lived on the ground. Is it enough to imagine these things, or should we expect science to provide evidence that is what really happened? Scientific American published a story entitled, “Taking Wing: Uncovering the Evolutionary Origins of Bats.” It sounds like the evidence has been uncovered, now to be revealed for the first time, and we are about to look at it. Actually, reporter Nancy B. Simmons ended with this remarkable admission:Despite many new discoveries about the rise of bats, mysteries remain. Bat ancestors must have existed prior to the Eocene, but we have no fossil record of them. Likewise, the identity of the closest relatives of bats is still unknown. Investigators are also eager to learn when the bat lineage first became distinct from that of the other laurasiatheres and how much of early bat evolution and diversification took place in the northern continents versus the southern continents. We therefore need fossils that lie even closer to the beginning of bats than Onychonycteris does. With luck, paleontologists will find such specimens, and they will help solve these and other riddles about the origins of these fascinating animals.Obviously this points back to Onychonycteris and the other “many new discoveries” that will have to support the evolutionary story across the remaining gaps. What did the article say about these? Simmons started off by discussing the wonder of bats as we see them today. She admitted that “their ascension was hardly a foregone conclusion: no other mammal has conquered the air” with powered flight, though several mammals can glide on outstretched flaps of skin. Powered flight puts severe requirements on many organs, though, and the echolocation found in 85% of these “superb fliers” puts additional anatomical constraints on the skull, mouth, ears and throat. She spent some time describing all the factors involved after saying, “Indeed, exactly how these rulers of the night sky arose from terrestrial ancestors is a question that has captivated biologists for decades.” Then she went into her discovery this year of Onychonycteris finneyi in Wyoming, “the most primitive bat ever discovered” (see 02/16/2008 discovery report). This bat, though possessing shorter forelimbs and longer hindlimbs than extant bats, was still fully capable of flight. In fact, living mouse-tailed bats have a similar wing aspect ratio, she said. The main evolutionary question addressed by her find, then, was not how powered flight evolved, but whether it evolved first, or sonar first, or whether both flight and sonar evolved simultaneously. Earlier fossils did not help in filling the gap, she argued, but Onychonycteris did not appear to have sonar. The flight-first theoreticians win, she claimed. “Still, we lack fossils that establish how bats are related to other mammals,” she said in a section about the diversity of living bats. Genetic studies do not show them related to other gliding mammals. The nearest ancestors, “an ancient lineage known as Laurasiatheria” consists of “such diverse beasts as carnivores, hoofed mammals, whales, scaly anteaters, shrews, hedgehogs and moles,” – none of which are fliers (although there were flying whales in Disney’s Fantasia 2000). This leaves a lot of evolutionary space unfilled:Primitive laurasiatheres, however, were probably mouse- or squirrel-size creatures that walked on all fours and ate insects. Laurasiatheres are thought to have evolved on the ancient supercontinent of Laurasia, which comprised what is now North America, Europe and Asia, probably in the late Cretaceous period, some 65 million to 70 million years ago. The exact position of bats within this group is uncertain, but clearly a considerable amount of evolutionary change separates Onychonycteris and other bats from their terrestrial forebears. Some of this change from land dweller to flier may have occurred surprisingly quickly, if recent discoveries in the field of developmental genetics are any indication. Though short by bat standards, the fingers of Onychonycteris are greatly elongated as compared with those of other mammals. How could this elongation have evolved?Good question. Her answer? Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs). The genes for these limb-growing proteins are expressed differently in mice and bats. If we can imagine gradual changes in gene expression of BMPs, then, we can imagine transitional forms, even if none are found in the fossil record:It is therefore possible that a small change in the genes regulating BMPs underlies both the developmental and evolutionary elongation of bat wing digits. If so, that might explain the absence in the fossil record of creatures intermediate between short-fingered, nonflying mammals and long-fingered bats such as Onychonycteris and Icaronycteris: the evolutionary shift may have been very rapid, and few or no transitional forms may have existed.She apparently did not ask why differences in BMP expression didn’t lead to flying hedgehogs and cows jumping over the moon. On the other hand, maybe they did; they just didn’t leave any fossils. That the gap was filled in with imagination is underscored with her final paragraph, quoted above: “Despite many new discoveries about the rise of bats, mysteries remain….”The only transitional bats in Darwin’s belfry are imaginary ones. Darwin removed the requirement for hard evidence and replaced it with imagination. That’s why nothing makes sense in biology except in the light of evolution; if you can simply imagine the transitional forms that should be there but aren’t, you can make your theory come true without data. Suddenly everything makes sense. Data are such contrary things, anyway. It helps, too, when you also rule that alternative views cannot be heard. This was Hamlet’s undoing; Charlie conquered Claudius, took the throne, exiled Hamlet along with his righteous anger, canceled the play, and produced one of his own, featuring all kinds of fanciful chimeras like imaginary transitional bats taking wing. It was a hit. It had to be. The subjects dared not fail to applaud, cheer and beg for encores. His own play’s the thing to assuage the conscience of the king. Now you know the rest of the play within the play.(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Pakistan’s suspended Test captain and opener Salman Butt says he is confident of having his name cleared in the spot-fixing scandal that shook international cricket.Butt told mediapersons at the National Cricket Academy yesterday that he was looking forward to the appeal hearing being held by the ICC at Doha on October 30 and 31.Salman Butt and fast bowlers Mohammad Aamir and Mohammad Asif were suspended by the ICC in the first week of September while in England.Their suspensions came after the ‘News of the World’ tabloid broke a story claiming that the agent for the three players, Mazhar Majeed, had on video confessed that he had paid bribes to the trio to do spot-fixing in the fourth Test against England at Lord’s.The trio have appealed against their suspensions and the ICC has now scheduled their hearings in Doha under the supervision of Michael Beloff QC.While the ICC is carrying out its appeal process, the three players continued to be under investigation by the Scotland Yard for alleged spot fixing and conspiracy to defraud bookmakers.The 26-year-old Butt, who has played 33 Tests and 78 ODIs, claimed the allegations had disturbed him and his family.”But I am ready to fight on and I am confident of positive result at the hearing,” he added.”Everything was going well when this happened and it was very disturbing and disappointing. But it has also been big lesson for me,” he said.”It has taught me a lot about how to deal with the people around you and how to be aware of the people around you.It has made me realize to differentiate between friends and foes.”advertisementThe opener, who led Pakistan in the Tests in England including two victories over Australia and England before the spot fixing allegations broke out, said he had not given up and was continuing his daily training and practice sessions at the national academy.”I keep on doing my training and practice for two hours daily. Because I want to remain in touch.”Butt didn’t rule out the possibility of getting a chance to play against South Africa in the UAE next month.”I am working hard and doing my bit. The conditions in Lahore and the UAE are the same so I am preparing hard on playing spin,” he said.Meanwhile, the lawyers for Butt and Aamir confirmed on that they had received the charge sheets and all related material and documents from the ICC for the appeal hearing.”We have got details of the charges against the players but it is strictly confidential and we are not allowed to discuss it publicly,” Butt’s lawyer, Aftab Gul said.With inputs from PTI