Although financial institutions fell prey to some of the most notable data breach attacks of 2014, no one in the industry was shocked by the events. Credit unions are and will continue to be prime targets for cyber criminals because they maintain databases that contain members’ personally identifiable information. The non-profit organization, Online Trust Alliance (OTA), published their 2015 Security and Privacy Best Practices Report which analyzed over five hundred online security breach attack reports from the first half of 2014 and recommended actions based on their findings. In the report, the OTA highlights the shocking fact that almost 90% of the attacks could have been prevented by implementation of basic information security controls.An All-Encompassing IT Governance, Risk Management and Compliance Management (GRC) SolutionFrom suggested improvements of vulnerability and risk management protocol to recommendations addressing company incident response methods, all of the best practices outlined in the report can be put to action using TraceSecurity’s cloud-based, fully integrated and award-winning IT GRC management software, TraceCSO. For instance, recommendations to implement a vendor management program serve as a reminder that several of the most costly data breaches of recent history could have been avoided through proper vendor management. Enhancements to the TraceCSO vendor management module are currently underway to streamline existing vendor management processes and incorporate risk analysis to empower credit unions to make well-informed, intelligent decisions about their existing and future vendor relationships. Another OTA recommendation that has been reinforced with updated regulation guidance involves an established incident response plan. Upcoming additions to TraceCSO’s incident response module integrate guided workflows that meet newly-published NCUA standards to enable credit unions to maintain compliance with these updates.Whether recommendations instruct credit unions to develop training and testing materials or policies, TraceCSO provides the platform for company policies to be developed and accepted and training courses to be distributed and tested. Finally, recommendations to implement effective vulnerability and password management practices and to enforce least privilege user access and multi-layered firewall protections may be accomplished through TraceCSO’s patch management and network scanning functionality, as well as through the variety of information security services that TraceSecurity offers.Overcome Security Challenges by Leveraging Seasoned Information Security ExpertsOf the attacks evaluated, 60% were either the result of insider activity or social engineering attempts. The OTA recommends performing annual risk assessments to identify credit union assets that contain (or allow access to) sensitive member information and create a framework from which the institution can develop data minimization and least privilege access to these systems. Customers can choose to have TraceSecurity perform any of the various security assessment services offered as well as participate in implementation training that educates the credit union on how to perform risk assessments internally using TraceCSO. Similarly, a social engineering training course is available within TraceCSO, and TraceSecurity provides social engineering engagements designed to test employee response to such attacks – cultivating an institution-wide awareness of social engineering strategies to ensure intrusion attempts are debunked at all levels of the institution.Prepare for a Secure and Prosperous 2015 and BeyondTraceCSO, coupled with TraceSecurity’s extensive information security services, provides an essential combination of resources to develop all components of a successful risk-based information security program. By leveraging TraceSecurity’s services and integrating TraceCSO’s risk, compliance, vendor, and incident response capabilities, credit unions can thoughtfully plan for and greatly diminish the potential of data breach attacks not only in 2015 but also for years to come. 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Madeline Domma Madeline Domma is a Product Specialist at TraceSecurity, a company which took feedback from credit unions and small businesses to build a cloud-based information security program service specifically for this … Web: www.tracesecurity.com Details
Two health officials from the United States have joined other experts at an Ebola conference in Cuba, in the latest sign of cooperation between the long-standing adversaries.The meeting looks at ways to prevent the spread of Ebola in the Americas.It was organised by Alba, a leftist bloc founded by Cuba and Venezuela as a counterweight to US influence.The US military and Cuban medics are already posted in the countries in West Africa worst-affected by the disease.The US maintains a trade embargo on the Caribbean island and the two countries do not have full diplomatic relations.But they have quietly cooperated for years on issues like public health, immigration and environmental protection.Cuba praised“This [the Ebola crisis] is a global emergency and we all have to work together and cooperate,” Nelson Arboleda, a regional official of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters before the meeting.“We’ll make every effort to ensure the quick diagnosis of patients to break the cycle of transmission,” adding that the meeting in the Cuban capital, Havana, would also discuss planning for training medics.The first team of Cuban health workers arrived in Sierra Leone earlier this monthCuba is the biggest single provider of healthcare workers to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, more than the Red Cross or richer nations, the World Health Organization says.It sent 83 doctors and nurses to Liberia and Guinea last week, who joined another contingent of 165 Cuban healthcare professionals in Sierra Leone.The Caribbean nation has been praised for its response to the Ebola crisis, including by the US, and more Cuban medics have been trained to travel there.Its response has also won plaudits from humanitarian workers who say the international community’s reaction has been lacking.A total of 32 countries are represented at the Havana conference, including Mexico, Canada, Brazil and Panama, which are not members of Alba.The bloc – the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – was the brainchild of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s late president.BBC News Tweet Share Share Sharing is caring! HealthLifestylePolitics US attends Ebola conference in Cuba by: – October 30, 2014 Share 387 Views no discussions
Sunday Oliseh has come out to attack his critics which according to him, is made up of his ‘former colleagues’.In new videos released by Oliseh, he described his critics as being insane. He said the critics, who he described as ‘armchair’ critics, are pained and should go for coaching courses if they want to launch their own careers.Watch the video below: –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySports
Loves to face: NonePADRES RHP MIGUEL GONZALEZ (6-10, 4.85)vs. Dodgers: 0-1, 1.50 ERA (6 innings)At Dodger Stadium: Has never pitched here beforeHates to face: Chris Taylor (6 for 10, .600), 2B, RBILoves to face: Joc Pederson (0 for 3), 2 Ks WHITE SOX AT DODGERSWhen: Today, 7:10 p.m.Where: Dodger StadiumTV: SportsNet LA (where available) Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error THE PITCHERSDODGERS LHP ALEX WOOD (14-1, 2.37)vs. White Sox: Has never faced them beforeAt Dodger Stadium: 13-3, 2.26 ERA (135 2/3 innings)Hates to face: None
WEEK 12 NON-PPR RANKINGS:Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | KickerWe also are targeting the Steelers’ matchup this week in Cincinnati. The Bengals don’t have any especially strong areas of their defense, so we believe in both the Pittsburgh running game and potentially James Washington (if he’s the No. 1 WR for Pittsburgh this week). We also return to the Raiders game on the other side of the ball, expecting good things out of Hunter Renfrow.And we shouldn’t forget to point out the triumphant return Baker Mayfield makes to the sleepers list. He’s been a bust a number of times for us this year, so it will be refreshing for him when he surely reads our articles on Saturday night to find himself as a sleeper this time around.WEEK 12 DFS LINEUPS: FD cash | FD GPP | DK cash | DK GPP | Y! cash | Y! GPPKalen Ballage saved our trust in him a week ago by finding the end zone. The same cannot be said for James White or Brian Hill, though. Nick Foles disappointed, too, but he was offset by a good pick on Sam Darnold and his career-high four passing touchdowns. We also didn’t hit on Tre’Quan Smith or Auden Tate, and tight end was pretty much a wasteland. We’re definitely due for some positive regression this week.To see our Week 12 busts, click here.WEEK 12 NON-PPR RANKINGS:Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | KickerLISTEN TO THE SN FANTASY WEEK 12 PREVIEW PODCAST BELOWWeek 12 Fantasy Sleepers: Running backsDerrius Guice, Redskins vs. Lions (Billy Heyen). The Lions allow more fantasy points to running backs than any other team, and after an eight-touch return from injury (and a touchdown), it would make sense for Guice to rise up to 12-15 touches, which is enough to have solid fantasy value in this matchup.Bo Scarbrough, Lions @ Redskins (Vinnie Iyer). The trust factor is really hard here with Matt Patricia’s revolving backfield, but he ran well enough to be the power back of choice in a great matchup.Benny Snell Jr./Trey Edmunds, Steelers @ Bengals (Matt Lutovsky). A few things have to happen for either of these guys to pay off. First, James Conner (shoulder) needs to be out. Second, Snell (knee) needs to be healthy. If that happens, he could easily get more carries that Jaylen Samuels, who will still be involved and have more PPR value. But given the Bengals horrible run defense, 10-plus carries can yield FLEX value in standard leagues. If Snell is also out, Edmunds would be in that spot and be worth a look. WEEK 12 PPR RANKINGS: Running back | Wide receiver | Tight endWeek 12 Fantasy Football Sleepers: QuarterbacksJeff Driskel, Lions @ Redskins (Heyen). Driskel has averaged 25.5 fantasy points per game (FPPG) across the past two weeks. Now he gets to face a Redskins defense that is simply bad across the board. The Lions don’t have much of a running game (besides Driskel’s legs), so expect him to have plenty of weight on his shoulders to produce.Baker Mayfield, Browns vs. Dolphins (Iyer). He’s back in the weekly starting conversation as the offense has looked solid the past two games, and this is a great spot.Sam Darnold, Jets vs. Raiders (Lutovsky). After a decent showing in Week 10, Darnold broke out in Week 11, throwing for 293 yards and four scores against the Redskins. The Raiders come to town in Week 11, and they’re tied for seventh in FPPG allowed to QBs. Darnold will come through again in this spot. MORE WEEK 12:Waiver pickups | FAAB planner | Stock watch | Snap counts | Fantasy playoff SOSWeek 12 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide receiversHunter Renfrow, Raiders @ Jets (Heyen). The Jets allow a ton of fantasy points to receivers, and Renfrow has turned himself into a solid floor player week in and week out. As long as bye weeks are still going, a player with Renfrow’s floor can be useful.Allen Lazard, Packers @ 49ers (Iyer). Here’s taking a shot on him being busy on Sunday night as Green Bay’s probable new No. 2.James Washington, Steelers @ Bengals (Lutovsky). There isn’t much to like about the Steelers’ passing game, but with JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion, knee) and Diontae Johnson (concussion) banged up, Washington has a chance to continue his late-season “surge.” In truth, that hasn’t resulted in huge stats, but he’s received consistent targets and is averaging 16 yards per catch. He could be the de facto No. 1 receiver this week, and that alone gives him value against a bad defense. WEEK 12 PPR RANKINGS: Running back | Wide receiver | Tight endWeek 12 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Tight endsDallas Goedert, Eagles vs. Seahawks (Heyen). This pick is even better if Alshon Jeffery (ankle) is out. Goedert is the second-best receiver Philadelphia has behind Zach Ertz in that scenario, meaning his floor is as high as can be for a No. 2 tight end.Cameron Brate, Buccaneers @ Falcons (Iyer). O.J. Howard looks ready to be removed from the passing equation, and Jameis Winston rekindled his connection with Brate last week. They can do more damage together in the middle of the field.Benjamin Watson, Patriots vs. Cowboys (Lutovsky). The Cowboys allow the fifth-most FPPG to TEs, and Watson was more involved in the Pats offense last week, catching four-of-five targets for 52 yards. Tom Brady will have a tougher time getting the ball to his wide receivers in this matchup, making Watson and James White the most likely safety valves. MORE WEEK 12 DFS: Values | Stacks | Lineup Builder Week 12 Fantasy Sleepers: DefensesTennessee Titans vs. Jaguars (Heyen). Nick Foles looked terrible in Week 11, so I’m happy to assume it’ll happen again. The Titans have enough good individual defenders to believe in their defensive abilities overall regardless.Detroit Lions @ Redskins (Iyer). They preyed on another NFC East rookie quarterback in Week 8 with a scoop-and-score fumble recovery against Daniel Jones, and Dwayne Haskins should make several mistakes here.Oakland Raiders vs. Jets (Lutovsky). The Raiders will give up yards and points, but they can also get sacks (five in each of the past two games) and takeaways (at least two in each of the past three games). Sam Darnold is always loose with the ball, so this is a situation where both the QB and the defense facing him can produce in fantasy. It’s always nice when the top waiver wire pickups line up with weekly sleepers list. That means that those of you who rushed out to pick up Bo Scarbrough and Derrius Guice (or picked up Guice a few weeks ago, when we first started suggesting it) can slide them right into your Week 12 fantasy lineup. That makes for easier easy start ’em, sit ’em decisions at the running back spot, if nothing else.This week’s sleeper list also includes a quarterback and defense playing against each other, and it actually makes sense. Sam Darnold and the Jets offense should continue to score some points against Oakland, but Darnold and company are also susceptible enough to sacks and turnovers to make the Raiders D/ST profitable.
Officials in Palm Beach County have decided to extend the county’s emergency orders until May 1st in an effort to combat the coronavirus. The order originally went into effect on March 13th and was set to expire on April 30th. When discussing plans for a phased reopen last week, Palm Beach County Vice Mayor Robert Weinroth said that the first areas that would see relaxed restrictions would be beaches, parks, golf courses and boat ramps.County leaders are expected to hold a press conference at 4:00 p.m. Monday to discuss the path going forward.As of Monday, Palm Beach County had 2,763 cases with 156 deaths. The county currently ranks third for the most cases in Florida.
Toure may be missing but there is good news in that James Milner is fit to play.PELLEGRINI: James Milner is 100% fit #MCFCB— Manchester City FC (@MCFC) February 23, 2015A 5-0 demolition of Newcastle coupled with good European wins this season see the players in confident mood, according to striker Sergio Aguero, who along with David Silva was superb against the Magpies.LIONEL MESSI DID NOT TELL LUIS ENRIQUE TO SIGN SERGIO AGUERO“When many thought we were down and out in this competition, we defeated Bayern and then Roma in Italy,” Aguero told the club website.“That shows we are growing as a European force and we can do it again,” he added, while £28m January signing Wilfried Bony said it would be a dream to start to his City career if he plays against Barca after making his debut at the weekend.Do you agree with the line-up above and with Toure’s view that if the club are able to overcome the Spanish giants, a place in the final is a real possibility?talkSPORT comes live from the Etihad tonight so for live commentary of Man City v Barcelona listen here from 7pm. Man City v Barcelona is live on talkSPORT on Tuesday 24 February from 7pm.Once again Man City face Barcelona in the Champions League last 16, though this time the belief from both camps is that Manuel Pellegrini’s side are stronger than last year.Barcelona midfield maestro Andres Iniesta certainly thinks so, insisting the players signed by City since the 4-1 aggregate defeat have made them stronger.“Against these rivals and taking into account that we are in the Champions League qualifying stage, as it was last year, it’s these details that could make the difference,” he explained to the tournament’s automotive sponsors, Nissan.‘WE’RE READY FOR BARCA!’ MAN CITY STAR IN CONFIDENT MOODYaya Toure, suspended for the match at the Etihad, has glory in his sights and feels a win over two legs here could see them go all the way to Berlin.“If we manage to beat Barcelona we can go all the way to the final,” he said.SUAREZ RETURNS TO ENGLAND: BARCA HAVE A LEADER IN FORMER LIVERPOOL ACEPossible Man City XI: 1 1 Wilfried Bony, James Milner and Sergio Aguero train
Biology teachers face increasing difficulty from students coming into class with bad feelings about evolution (11/30/2005, 08/30/2005). Many pro-evolution teachers will be attracted to methods that have a demonstrable track record of relieving tensions and facilitating the process of getting students to accept Darwin’s theory. David Sloan Wilson (Binghamton U, NY) has just the thing. Writing in PLoS Biology,1 he introduced Evolution for Everyone, or EvoS for short, with the upbeat title, “Evolution for Everyone: How to Increase Acceptance of, Interest in, and Knowledge about Evolution” (compare 11/01/2005 entry about another suggested method) First, the bad news that made this initiative necessary:Evolution is famously controversial, despite being as well established as any scientific theory. Most people are familiar with the dismal statistics, showing how a large fraction of Americans at all educational levels do not accept the theory of evolution, how efforts to teach evolution often fail to have an impact, and how constant vigilance is required to keep evolution in the public school curriculum. Even worse, most people who do accept the theory of evolution don’t relate it to matters of importance in their own lives. There appear to be two walls of resistance, one denying the theory altogether and the other denying its relevance to human affairs. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Wilson impresses the reader right off the bat with statistics from tests of the EvoS method at Binghamton University, showing a pronounced shift toward acceptance of evolution among students, regardless of religious background, familiarity with the theory, or political persuasion. How did he do it? Wilson describes the multi-pronged approach as focusing on teaching “a sequence of ideas” and helping students “catch the evolution bug.” From the long article, a few highlights stand out. For one thing, EvoS does not shy away from controversy, but embraces it as a teaching opportunity. When students feel threatened by evolution, for instance, the teacher delves right in. “Threatening ideas are like other threats,” Wilson says; “the first impulse is to run away or attack them. Make the same ideas alluring, and our first impulse is to embrace them and make them our own.” OK, so while the teacher is trying to explain how evolution explains the world and helps provide ways to improve the future, a student objects that evolution has produced a lot of bad social policies. Now what? Don’t dodge the question:This requires a discussion of past threatening associations, even before the theory is presented. Evolution has been associated with immorality, determinism, and social policies ranging from eugenics to genocide. It has been used to justify racism and sexism. All of these negative associations must be first acknowledged and then challenged. It’s not as if the world was a nice place before Darwin and then became mean on the basis of his theory. Before Darwin, religious and other justifications were used to commit the same acts, as when the American colonists used the principle of divine right to dispossess Native Americans, and men claimed that women were designed by “God and Nature” for domestic servitude. These beliefs are patently self-serving and it should surprise no one that an authoritative scientific theory would be pressed into the same kind of service. It is the job of intellectuals to see through such arguments and not be taken in by them. Moreover, the deep philosophical issues associated with topics such as morality, determinism, and social equality are increasingly being approached from a modern evolutionary perspective and are among the topics to be discussed in the course. When these issues are discussed at the beginning of the course, students put their own threatening associations with evolution on hold and become curious to know how a subject that they associate with science (evolution) can shed light on a subject that they associate with the humanities (philosophy). Students who indicate exceptional interest are referred to books that are both authoritative and accessible, such as Daniel Dennett’s Darwin’s Dangerous Idea.Wilson teaches evolution not as a choice between theology or materialism, but a third way: a process of change, in which the material organism “becomes a kind of living clay that can be molded by environmental forces that influence survival and reproduction.” This, he explains, enables evolutionary theory to make predictions about how organisms and populations adapt to their surroundings. Wilson encourages discussion groups. As another example of facing a controversial topic head-on, he divides students into groups to discuss infanticide:Choosing the subject of infanticide, I say that superficially it might seem that organisms would never evolve to kill their own offspring, but with a little thought the students might be able to identify situations in which infanticide is biologically adaptive for the parents. I ask them to form small groups by turning to their neighbors to discuss the subject for five minutes and to list their predictions on a piece of paper. After the lists are collected, I ask the students for some of their predictions to list in front of the whole class. They are eager to talk, and reliably identify the three major adaptive contexts of infanticide: lack of resources, poor offspring quality, and uncertain paternity, along with less likely possibilities, such as population regulation, that can be set aside for future discussion. I conclude by attempting to convey the simple but profound message of the exercise: How can they, mere undergraduate students, who know almost nothing about evolution and (one hopes) know nothing at all about infanticide, so easily deduce the major hypotheses that are in fact employed in the study of infanticide for organisms as diverse as plants, insects, and mammals? That is just one example of the power of thinking on the basis of adaptation and natural selection.Lest one think this is just talking about birds and bees, Wilson makes it clear that a key feature of EvoS is encouraging students to see human beings as integrally involved in the evolutionary process:One of the biggest tactical errors in teaching evolution is to avoid discussing humans or to restrict discussion to remote topics such as human origins. The question of how we arose from the apes is fascinating and important, but is only one of any number of questions that can be asked about humans from an evolutionary perspective—including infanticide. If evolutionary theory can make sense of this subject for organisms as diverse as plants, insects, and mammals, what about us? If we operate by different rules than all other creatures for this and other subjects, why should this be so? The most common answer to this question is “learning and culture,” but what exactly are these things? Do they exist apart from evolution, or do they themselves need to be explained from an evolutionary perspective? I raise these issues early in the course, not to answer them, but to emphasize how much is “on the table” as part of the course.Wilson says that for millennia, people have considered humankind categorically different from other creatures in their mental, moral and aesthetic abilities. “We are obviously unique in some respects,” he acknowledges, “but in exactly what way needs to be completely rethought.” Students are encouraged to view human infanticide along the same lines as they did for animals, and to do the same for human warfare, learning, and culture – all of which the teacher can demonstrate are present in varying degrees in the natural world. Such directness might seem worrisome to a biology teacher. Wilson reassures the reader that, in practice, the method actually produces compliant students:It might seem that boldly discussing subjects such as human infanticide (which the students quickly connect to the contemporary issue of abortion), along with other topics such as sex differences and homosexuality later in the course, is the ultimate in political incorrectness. However, I have taught this material for many years in prior courses without a single complaint, and the assessment of “Evolution for Everyone” demonstrates an overwhelmingly positive response across the religious and political spectrum. Clearly, there is a way to proceed that arouses intense interest without animosity or moral outrage. In the case of infanticide, evolutionary theory doesn’t say that it’s right—it is used to make an informed guess about when it occurs. All of the students want to know if the guess proves to be correct for humans in addition to other creatures, regardless of their moral stance on abortion. Moreover, they see that the information can be useful for addressing the problem, whatever particular solution they have in mind. The importance of culture is not denied, but becomes part of the evolutionary framework rather than a vaguely articulated alternative. The picture that emerges makes sense of cases of infanticide that appear periodically in the news (typically young women with few resources and under the influence of a male partner who is not the father) and that previously seemed inexplicable. Nearly everyone values this kind of understanding and thinks that it can be put to positive use, as demonstrated by the quantitative assessment. More generally, including humans along with the rest of life vastly increases students’ interest in evolution and acceptance to the degree that it seems to lead to understanding and improvement of the human condition.Wilson continues; evolutionary changes are not always adaptive, nor are they always benign. “Fitness is a relative and local concept,” he explains. “It doesn’t matter how well an organism survives and reproduces, only that it does so better than other organisms in its vicinity.” Overall, the teacher presents evolution as practical for explaining the observations without making any moral judgments. But then, what about morality? That’s part of our evolution, too, as more group discussion helps the students realize:If behaviors regarded as immoral in human terms are adaptive and “natural,” then aren’t all the fears about evolution justified? No—because behaviors that are regarded as moral in human terms are also adaptive and “natural” under the right circumstances, which can be illustrated with the following exercise of the sort suggested by Nelson and Alters. First, the class is asked to list the behaviors that they associate with morality. The most common items include altruism, honesty, love, charity, sacrifice, loyalty, bravery, and so on. Then they are asked to list behaviors that they associate with immorality, and respond with opposite items such as selfishness, deceit, hatred, miserliness, and cowardice. With these lists in mind, the students are asked three questions: (1) What would happen if you put a single moral individual and a single immoral individual together on a desert island? (The students quickly conclude that the moral individual would become shark food within days.) (2) What would happen if you put a group of moral individuals on one island and a group of immoral individuals on another island? (The students are equally quick to conclude that the moral group would work together to escape the island or turn it into a little utopia, while the immoral group would self-destruct.) (3) What would happen if you allow one immoral individual to paddle over to Virtue Island? (The answer to this question is complex because it is a messy combination of the straightforward answers to the first two questions.)The students learn, then, that situational ethics pop right out of evolutionary theory. “This exercise is simple and entertaining,” he says, “but profound in its implications. It shows that most of the traits associated with human morality can be biologically adaptive.” Students are assured that a quasi-traditional morality, including altruism and honesty (except for the occasional freeloader or non-cooperator) is a natural consequence of natural selection within groups. Alas, the teacher must admit that group selection can lead to “a disturbing corollary. Can’t behaviors that count as moral within groups be used for immoral purposes among groups? The answer to this question is ‘yes,’ which means that moral conduct among groups is a different and more difficult evolutionary problem to solve than moral conduct within groups.” By this time, students understand that scientists should one day be able to figure this out by such a useful, predictive theory as natural selection.The important point is that evolutionary theory can potentially explain the evolution of behaviors associated with morality and immorality. This is vastly different than the usual portrayal of evolution as a theory that explains immorality but leaves morality unaccounted for. The average student is well aware that immoral behaviors usually benefit the actor, that human groups have a disturbing tendency to confine moral conduct to their own members, and so on. When evolutionary theory is presented as a framework for understanding these patterns in all their complexity, including the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly, it is perceived as a tool for understanding that can be used for positive ends, rather than as a threat.So you see, students, evolutionary theory should not be threatening. It’s just a tool, a neutral way of looking at the natural world (including ourselves), so that we can explain a wide variety of observations that before Darwin seemed inexplicable. It’s time to get into the heavy stuff:At this point (about mid-semester), the students are told that they have acquired a conceptual framework that can be used to study virtually any subject in biology and human affairs, which will be used to study particular topics for the rest of the semester. There is great flexibility in the topics that can be chosen, which is facilitated by having the students read, rather than a textbook, well-chosen articles from the primary scientific literature.(It can be safely assumed that Wilson does not have in mind sources like Of Pandas and People). The enlightened student is now ready to think about Darwinian medicine, and topics as diverse as “violence, sexuality, personality, and culture” to see what insights evolutionary thinking can provide. “They realize that they have started to approach the study of humans in the way that evolutionary biologists approach the rest of life, with a common language that can be spoken across many domains of knowledge.” They have arrived. One more thing: the student gets to choose his or her own topic and write it up in evolutionary terms. Suggestions: “adoption, alcoholism, attractiveness, body piercing, depression, eating disorders, fashion, fear, hand dominance, homosexuality, marriage, play, sexual jealousy, sibling rivalry, social roles, suicide, video games, and yawning.” As Dobzhansky famously remarked, “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”To summarize, “Evolution for Everyone” works by establishing a general conceptual framework through a sequence of ideas. The framework is then strengthened and consolidated by applying it to a number of specific topics. Virtually all students respond to the class because they cease to be threatened by evolutionary theory and begin to perceive it as a powerful way to understand and improve the world. Once the theory becomes alluring, the only remaining obstacle to learning is the intrinsic difficulty of the subject. That, it turns out, is not much of an obstacle either. Almost anyone can master the basic principles of evolution and incorporate them into their own thinking, providing both a foundation and an incentive to advance their knowledge in subsequent courses.Speaking of subsequent courses, Wilson is thinking way outside the box of high school or college biology. First, he encourages students who have “caught the evolution bug” to spread their newfound interests into a campus-wide program. The anthropology, psychology, economics and philosophy departments, with help from the administration, can all merge their evolutionary ideas into a cohesive picture, transcending traditional disciplinary boundaries. Special seminars can be held. Students can earn special EvoS certificates by completing required courses. Faculty advisors can counsel each student to “develop a curriculum tailored to his or her interests from the menu of offerings.” One last obstacle: other faculty. Though most of them already ridicule creationism, Wilson contends that most of them don’t yet see the relevance of evolution to their disciplines. His plan, therefore, includes faculty training as well as student training, so that the university becomes “a single intellectual community.” In many ways, this type of experience approaches the ideal of a liberal arts education. It should be especially appealing to small colleges that have difficulty achieving a critical mass in single subject areas. Evolutionary theory is not the only common language, but it is a very good one that will eventually become part of the normal discourse for all subject areas relevant to human affairs and the natural world.That’s “Evolution for Everyone” – one big, happy campus.1David Sloan Wilson, “Evolution for Everyone: How to Increase Acceptance of, Interest in, and Knowledge about Evolution,” Public Library of Science, Biology, Volume 3 | Issue 12 | December 2005.In James Clavell’s chilling tale The Children’s Story, (a must read before continuing this commentary), the New Teacher comes to class after the conquest (presumably a communist takeover). She takes a frightened group of children and calms them into becoming compliant, trusting citizens. In just 23 minutes, she has gently and effectively dismantled their patriotism, their faith, their family loyalty and their most cherished beliefs before they even know what hit them. A well-trained, master manipulator, she is not a teacher: she is a facilitator, a guarantor of compliance with the new regime, an electrician who has cut off power from the resistance. She is just as much an arm of the State as the soldier on the battlefield, and perhaps even more effective. This is not education. It is indoctrination with finesse. David Sloan Wilson is talking about college students, not children. They are a more difficult lot to indoctrinate, but the parallels with the New Teacher are striking. Consider a few:Teach only one side. Wilson’s method depends on carefully controlling what the students hear. The New Teacher’s success depended on first removing Miss Worden, the Old Teacher, before she could say anything. A debate with Miss Worden might have led to very unacceptable results, so it was essential to dispense with her quickly and quietly. With EvoS, unlike with Verhey’s inoculation technique (11/01/2005), which at least gave the students a carefully measured taste of a contrary viewpoint, Wilson acknowledges that evolution is “famously controversial” but gives voice only to the Darwinist propaganda. This is indoctrination by definition. He prescribes “well-chosen articles from the primary scientific literature” (read: DODO, for Darwin-only, Darwin-only). Notice his favorite recommended reading: Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, in which Daniel Dennett advocated putting creationists in zoos, or otherwise eliminating them, since they are a threat to the regime.Eliminate the negative. The New Teacher knew that the children were afraid and had heard bad things about the conquerors, so she was quick to allay their fears by distraction – singing, complimenting the children, disarming them with friendliness, and other tactics – while sidestepping the evils her regime was doing in the background. Similarly, Wilson’s first step is to confront the students’ fears about the implications of evolutionary philosophy (including eugenics and genocide) by soft-pedaling the history and implying “we’re all in this together.” Why look, Christians have done many bad things, too. It’s not like the world was a nice place before Darwin came along. EvoS tries to disconnect evolution from its historic disastrous consequences by selling it as only a neutral, objective, unbiased, useful, scientific, explanatory tool. Sure, some people might misuse it, but that doesn’t make it bad now, does it children?Euphemize. Johnny’s daddy didn’t believe “bad” things, just “wrong” things. Daddy and Miss Worden were not going to concentration camps (or worse), just to “school” (remember how the communists called this “re-education”? A little brainwashing, a little torture, some mind-altering drugs – all very effective). EvoS helps us understand “morality”. It helps us understand how we are all a part of nature. It helps us improve the human condition. The new regime is nothing to be afraid of; why, it is just “a tool for understanding that can be used for positive ends, rather than as a threat.”Confront. The New Teacher stops them in the middle of the pledge and asks them, what does it mean? What does pledge mean? What does allegiance mean? Those are good questions, but she didn’t define them like Red Skelton did in a famous monologue. She asked the questions not to answer them, but to raise doubts about what they had been taught. Wilson confronts the students with questions about abortion and infanticide, not to make them think critically, but to draw them into his net: it’s all about evolution. Evolution explains infanticide. Evolution explains abortion. Evolution explains yawning. Evolution explains everything.Disarm. The New Teacher did not charge through the door as the ogre or beast the children feared; she was dressed neatly, smiled, and greeted them by name. She sang them a song. She sympathized with their fears. She gave them candy, demonstrating that prayers to “Our Leader” are legitimate prayers, but only if a human being actually answers. Under the sweet surface was a hideous assault on their freedoms and values. Similarly, Wilson’s “Virtue Island” game is a subtle form of mind control. It simultaneously oversimplifies the issue of morality and teaches moral relativism, while denying any opportunity for rebuttal. EvoS keeps the tone happy and positive by utilizing discussion groups, giving the students games to play, and rewarding compliant students with certificates for completing the brainwashing. Dismantle. Clavell’s schoolchildren fondled their little pieces of the flag, oblivious to what The New Teacher had done in cutting it up and giving them each a piece of it. Then, amidst shrieks of excitement, the children tossed the flagpole out the window with their own hands. Wilson starts by saluting virtue and pledging allegiance to morality, but then he proceeds to cut it up and hand out the pieces by getting the students to slowly agree that it, too, is a product of evolution. Since people evolved – since everything evolved – then, well, morality evolved, too. Isn’t evolution a wonderful and powerful theory?Think Big. At 9:23, the New Teacher “was warmed … by the thought that throughout the school and throughout the land all children, all men and all women were being taught with the same faith, with variations of the same procedures. Each according to his age group. Each according to his need.” Utilizing techniques appropriate for college students, EvoS promulgates “the same faith” that children and adults will get. While focusing in this article on the college age group, Wilson understands the big agenda of the regime. He sees beyond EvoS to the entire intellectual program of the university, and of the world. Evolution is to become the campus-wide “common language” the “conceptual framework” for the liberal arts and humanities, the lens through which all knowledge will be sifted. Debate won’t have a chance, because the Ministry of Truth will control the dictionary and the history textbook. There will be no controversy, for everyone will have completed the required brainwashing sessions, from freshmen to faculty. It will be… Utopia.If you were swayed by David Sloan Wilson’s article, and thought it sounded like a nice program, there might still be hope, but it will require desperate measures. Brainwashing is a serious mental disorder. Undoing its effects requires rescue and deprogramming. The stakes in this intellectual takeover that the Darwinists are advocating could not be higher. Wilson, PLoS Biology, the NCSE, and Big Science in general have their sights set on nothing less than totalitarian rule. It is not a matter of debating peers, or winning in the free marketplace of ideas. This is an agenda for wage and price controls, for one-party rule, and for dictatorial power over the means of idea production. John Stuart Mill, the atheist-empiricist utilitarian philosopher (a friend of Darwin), the father of the “open marketplace of ideas,” would be appalled. Pay him no mind; he was just a product of evolution, too, and his ideas have no external validity apart from evolution. Evolution is all; all is evolution. Any view trying to encompass morality, philosophy, religion, anthropology, psychology, economics, history, sexual ethics, culture, eating disorders, video games and even yawning has long ceased to be just a biological theory. Evolution for Everyone is a complete and total world view: “a powerful way to understand and improve the world” including “deep philosophical issues associated with topics such as morality, determinism, and social equality.” Like a communist ideal State, it is the machine of history. Students are expendable; they must be molded into obedient pawns of the regime. The first step in deprogramming is to realize you’ve been had. If you still have some control of your rational faculties, consider that this evolutionary indoctrination program falsifies itself. Wilson talks about morality, but makes morality a by-product of a mindless, relativistic, unguided process that succeeds by squashing the unfit. What is “right” or “wrong” in such a world? Obviously, it could be anything, including cruelty or genocide. There is no such thing as a “Virtue Island.” He cannot define groups of moral and immoral people without borrowing vocabulary from a religion or philosophy that believes in absolutes. In philosophical dualism or pantheism, yin and yang are morally indistinguishable. Moral categories are in the eye of the beholder. The immoral group can call itself the moral group without any guilt or contradiction, because evolution is what evolution does. Whatever it does is “good,” whatever that means.Richard Weikart in From Darwin to Hitler underscored the chilling point that Hitler sincerely believed he was doing the right thing. He was not amoral; he did what he did from a deeply held conviction based on what he believed evolutionary ethics demanded (and remember, he got willing compliance from the intellectual leaders and scientists of his day—see 04/07/2005). Hitler’s views are disdained by evolutionists today – but on what basis? If they say Hitler was “wrong” to murder 11 million people, challenge them to define “wrong” without reference to absolute standards of morality. It cannot be done. Weikart explains, “Darwinism provided no basis to consider some forms of morality “better” than any other, or for that matter, it gave no reason to think that morality was “better” in any real sense than immorality” (p. 229). Likewise, Wilson cannot claim moral equivalence between the evils committed by Christians and Darwinists. It is undeniable that so-called “Christians” have committed atrocities. For one thing, however, the differences in scale are mind-boggling (see 11/30/2005 and also the January 2006 issue of National Geographic which, although underreporting communist democides by over 50%, still shows Darwin-inspired communism and Nazism outstripping any religious-inspired murders by orders of magnitude). The body counts simply cannot be compared. Furthermore, it is impossible to derive genocide or other moral evils from the teachings of Jesus Christ, who taught that we should love one another and turn the other cheek and pray for those who persecute us. There is, by contrast, a very logical, plausible line of reasoning from the premise of survival of the fittest to a Hitler or Stalin. This is important to ponder for year 2006. Don’t think for a minute that the atrocities inherent in Darwin-inspired politics were exhausted in the 20th century.The EvoS talk about morality, therefore, is self-defeating and self-refuting. What else do you need to know about Wilson’s utopian vision? How about the way EvoS shields the students’ eyes from all the controversies between Darwinists? EvoS espouses the game-theoretic, environmental approach to evolutionary theory when other ardent Darwinians would disagree strongly with it on numerous points (except for the mantra, “evolution is a fact”). Would you trust any teacher who takes a tattered hodgepodge of chopped-up guts and blood and toxin and packages it neatly to sell as a delicious sausage that will improve your health? Wilson is all bluffing and no credibility. You have been taken in by a cult. It’s a dangerous cult. It is Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. If you listen to the New Teacher and the regime she represents, realize that life will be sweet only as long as you comply. Try to disagree with them after they have achieved all power, and they will put you in the zoo. That’s if you are one of the lucky ones. We can’t afford to be little Johnnys with only a nebulous “hate” that somehow gives us “strength” in the face of some perceived threat we don’t understand but have been told to fear. As Clavell showed, it was only a matter of time before Johnny succumbed. If the regime succeeds in rewriting history, defining terms and violating our rationality, as Orwell showed, it’s only a matter of time before Winston acquiesced and confessed, from his heart, that he loved Big Brother. Sir Francis Bacon said, knowledge is power. Know your history. Know your science. Understand philosophy, theology, the history of ideas, and the art of reasoning. Practice the skill of baloney detecting. Thankfully, the Darwin Borg has not yet become powerful enough to assimilate by physical coercion; this means that, so far, only weak minds are susceptible. Till then, knowledge is the best defense against a seemingly overwhelming force that is turning brainwashing into a fine art.(Visited 110 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
(Visited 56 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 News about the most complex arrangement of matter in the known universe.Hit that curveball: The apparent sudden drop in a well-executed curveball pitch is a matter of output from an algorithm in your brain. If you understand how your body’s GPS works, Science Daily explains, you can avoid being fooled. Did you know you have a GPS system? Yes. Even though it can be tricked by a curveball, its algorithm is quite robust. “This study shows that the solutions that the brain finds for dealing with imperfect information often match optimal solutions that engineers have come up with for similar problems, like your phone’s GPS,” the article concludes.Smell that GPS: Speaking of GPS, the analogy came up in another Science Daily article. The long title sums it up: “Humans’ built-in GPS is our 3-D sense of smell: Like homing pigeons, humans have a nose for navigation because our brains are wired to convert smells into spatial information.” A dramatic animation of the sense of smell, along with other amazing stories of animal navigation, are featured in Illustra Media’s new film, Living Waters: Intelligent Design in the Oceans of the Earth.Social GPS: A “social map” of sorts has been found in the hippocampus, Science Daily says. Researchers at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine found activity in that brain region that “tracks relationships, intimacy and hierarchy within a kind of ‘social map’,” the article says. This capability to map people to places is apparently shared with other mammals, Science Magazine says, although no research work on this subject has yet been done by fat, big-mouthed river horses on the Hippo Campus.Value computation: PLoS Biology has a technical paper about “neuroeconomics”— the way perceptions of value are represented in the brain. It’s an “embarrassment of riches,” the title suggests. The two authors discuss another recent paper that evaluates the role of two brain areas in this function that underlies how we make rational choices. That work “provides valuable insight into the complexity of value computation, and helps set the agenda for future work in this area.”Facial recognition: “How does the brain recognize faces from minimal information?” Science Daily asks. Your fast computing system is part of the answer. “Our brain recognizes objects within milliseconds, even if it only receives rudimentary visual information,” the article begins. “Researchers believe that reliable and fast recognition works because the brain is constantly making predictions about objects in the field of view and is comparing these with incoming information.” The article describes how “predictive coding” works.Sorting illusions from reality: The brain can be fooled, as shown by optical illusions. To make sense of the world, the brain has to solve problems “by inferring what is the most likely cause of any given image on your retina, based on knowledge or experience,” Science Daily says. This ability is shared by other mammals, as experiments on nonhuman primates show. Chimpanzees, however, have never been observed to perform experiments on humans to uncover the workings of their neural circuits for the sheer pleasure of understanding how something works.Complexity of thought: A controversial new theory of thought by Swedish neuroscientists was announced on Science Daily. They question the “prevailing doctrine” that thinking is simple. Known as “sparse coding,” the orthodoxy has been that “the brain has a system to maintain brain activity at the lowest possible level while retaining function.” The number of neurons involved in thinking, and the complexity of their interconnections when we take in information from sensations, is much more widespread than currently believed.Memory locus: Neuroscientists continue to try to understand where memories are stored. Research reported on Science Daily is focusing on neurons in the medial temporal lobe as the location where changes take place in response to learning. But since no one can “see” a memory by looking at neurons firing, “the underpinnings of episodic memory formation is a central problem in neuroscience” that is bound to remain challenging.Calcium memory: We encountered calcium in yesterday’s entry about the “fight or flight” response. Another article, this one in PLoS Biology, introduces calcium as a key component in memory.Every fact or task that we remember—the shape of the utensil we call a fork, the appropriate hand-motion needed to beat egg whites until fluffy, or the sequential steps involved in baking a cake—must be encoded by long-lasting changes in the way that our neurons function and in the strength with which they connect and communicate to each other. Current experimental evidence has led neuroscientists to propose that learning elicits a particular pattern of electrical activity in neurons, which can in turn induce changes in their morphology, their responsiveness to incoming signals, the expression of their genes, and the strength of their connection to other neurons.These changes are the cellular counterpart of what we think of as memory. However, neuroscientists have not found many mechanisms by which a neuron can store information relative to its previous activity. In a study just published in PLOS Biology, Friedrich Johenning, Anne-Kathrin Theis, Dietmar Schmitz, Sten Rüdiger, and colleagues provide evidence that specific electrical activity within neurons induces a long-lasting change in the amplitude of transitory increases of calcium ion concentration (Ca2+ transients) inside dendritic spines—the specialized protrusions of the dendrites of a neuron, which receive input from other neurons via synapses.The Ca2+ ion is a fundamental player in the transformation of electrical to biochemical activity within neurons.Synthesizing the senses: How does the brain combine information from different senses? That’s what PhysOrg wants to know. We take in visual information from two eyes, and auditory information from two ears. That information needs to be combined into a meaningful whole. For vision, that presents a problem called binocular rivalry. “Musicians are ideal subjects for studying the congruence between abstract visual representations because they are familiar with symbolic musical notation, and can therefore experience melodic structure through both sound and vision,” Korean researchers say, so they used musicians in experiments on perception with audiovisual information. “Taken together, these results demonstrate robust audiovisual interaction based on high-level, symbolic representations and its predictive influence on perceptual dynamics during binocular rivalry,” they found.Update 7/07/15: Researchers at Northwestern University have found “the organization of the human brain to be nearly ideal” for information processing. Dmitri Krioukov explains the optimal organization, considering the tradeoffs involved:“An optimal network in the brain would have the smallest number of connections possible, to minimize cost, and at the same time it would have maximum navigability—that is, the most direct pathways for routing signals from any possible source to any possible destination,” says Krioukov. It’s a balance, he explains, raising and lowering his hands to indicate a scale. The study presents a new strategy to find the connections that achieve that balance or, as he puts it, “the sweet spot.”The press release repeatedly gives evolution the credit: “Have you ever wondered why the human brain evolved the way it did?” the article begins. It also gives a historically debunked orthogenetic view of evolution: “The findings represent more than a confirmation of our evolutionary progress.” Krioukov ascribes the match between actual brain and theoretical ideal as an evolutionary product: “That means the brain was evolutionarily designed to be very, very close to what our algorithm shows.” No clarification is provided on how blind, unguided processes correlate to the oxymoron “evolutionarily designed.”Most of these articles had any use for Darwinian thinking (how’s that for an oxymoron: “Darwinian thinking”). Only the last (Update) article spoke nonsense about “evolutionary design”—one of the worst oxymorons possible (see sophoxymoroniac).Science has barely scratched the surface toward understanding the workings of the brain. Think about memory: how many terabytes, exabytes or yottabytes of information are packed inside your skull?I used to be in a marching band and took a liking to band music. Recently, I was listening to Pandora and heard a Sousa march I had not heard for probably thirty years or more. As I listened, I was amazed at how quickly it all flooded back to my mind; I was able to predict most of the next lines even before they played. In fact, had I turned off the radio, I could probably have played back most of the rest of it in my head. It would play in high fidelity, too, not like an old scratchy vinyl record. Somehow, all that information was still encoded in my brain after decades, and could be recalled instantly. Multiply that ability by all the songs you know, all the quotes you can remember, and all the audiovisual experiences you could relive from childhood as if they happened yesterday. Is it not astonishing what our brains can do?We know something about encoding information like this. Samples are taken of a complex, moving waveform, passed through an analog-to-digital converter, and represented alphanumerically on a storage medium. If the medium is not damaged, the information can be converted back into sound for playback. Our brains, though, are not hard surfaces like CD’s or computer memory. They are made up of dynamic, soft tissues—living cells—with electrical and chemical signals whizzing constantly in every direction. How can that kind of living tissue store complex experiences for instant recall decades later?And that’s just memory. Think of the predictive coding, sensory integration, abstract thinking and motor control we take for granted every day. You may have noticed that your brain has a search engine. Can’t recall a name? You struggle for a moment to recall it, but then get distracted onto some other matter. Moments later, while you’re not even thinking about it, the name pops into your consciousness. How does that happen? How does a piano player control her fingers so fast they become a blur on the keyboard? or better yet, an organist with 10 fingers on 3 ranks of keys, and two feet on the pedals? How did Leonhard Euler perform complex mathematical derivations in his head while blind?It’s a shame we complain about the littlest trifles in life. We have been given outstanding audiovisual and computer processing equipment freely by our Creator. The design in nature, in our bodies and in our own heads is so abundantly clear, the only proper response should be gratitude, wonder, and worship.—DC
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest As farmers around the state scouted their withering corn fields this summer, the application of fungicides seemed like a waste of money. Some are now second-guessing that decision.“I should have done a whole lot more fungicides,” said Jeremy Goyings, who farms in Paulding County. “We didn’t want to throw more money at what looked like a 100-bushel corn crop at the time, but it turns out we should have. There were a lot of excellent results with fungicides in this area. It was a little variety specific and those varieties that were more disease susceptible saw more benefit. It drives home the point that we need to be pushing harder on the fungicides on the corn. I think there is money to be made with more blanket applications. There may be years that it does not have that kind of yield benefit, but there are years where it does pay and you don’t want to miss out on it. The plant health is important. Keeping that corn alive a little longer helped capture the larger kernel size.”Jon Miller shared the same regrets in Fairfield County.“Talking to neighbors, it seems like fungicide really paid for itself this year,” Miller said. “I think we’ll probably do more fungicide next year because of how this year went. It was so dry and we didn’t see the disease but there was some yield benefit. With the later rains it might have really helped.”The problem is that the plant health benefits in corn are challenging to quantify and document, particularly when prices are low.“I have heard from some growers and field agronomists about the plant health benefits of fungicides this year. They didn’t have the disease pressure and they are seeing higher yields, but they are also seeing much higher moisture corn,” said Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension corn specialist. “Plant health and fungicides are a touchy issue. I have done work with this, along with plant pathologists, and it is frustrating. We have done the work for several years and not seen any benefits. Then, lo and behold, we have a year like this and we see a response. It would be nice if we knew under what conditions it worked. It is like shooting dice. You never know the year you’re going to see the benefits of these fungicides. When corn is $7 or $8 you can put it on as a risk management tool, but when corn is $3.50 it is a different story. The speculation is that the longer you keep that corn green, the more opportunity you have to extend the filling period for corn. If you kept that canopy alive longer this year it may have translated into higher yields with the rains.”