Sports Briefs

first_imgMore support for FIFA candidate InfantinoGENEVA (AP):Gianni Infantino is having the best week of any FIFA presidential candidate for public pledges of support to succeed Sepp Blatter, and got South America on his side on Thursday.The 10-nation body known as CONMEBOL said in a statement that its executive committee agreed to give the UEFA general secretaryunanimous support in the February 26 election.On Monday, Infantino was backed by the seven federations from Central America, and Trinidad and Tobago also endorsed him on Thursday despite mistakenly referring in its video message to him as “Giovanni” Infantino.Infantino can count on a big majority of the 53 members in Europe – already giving him more than 70 of the 209 FIFA votes if public promises hold up in the polling booths in Zurich.A two-thirds majority of eligible voters is required to win in the first round, and a simple majority will clinch the presidency in subsequent rounds.English FA boss leaving over reformsLONDON (AP):The English Football Association chairman, who set the national team a target of winning the World Cup by 2022, is leaving in July.Greg Dyke announced yesterday that he will not stand for re-election this year because of friction which he expects will result from attempts to modernise the FA’s decision-making structures.”I had already decided that if no reform was possible, I was going to leave anyway this summer, a position I had shared with a number of colleagues,” Dyke said. “What I now see is that even if we get the reform through, which will be a difficult and divisive process, although essential, I am probably not the best person to pick up the pieces following the inevitable discord.”Since arriving at the FA in 2013, the former BBC director general has been trying to ensure that England has a pool of players capable of turning England into World Cup winners for the first time since 1966.Dyke has also been a leading critic of Sepp Blatter at FIFA.Sri Lanka recall FernandoCOLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP):Fast bowler Dilhara Fernando has been surprisingly recalled by Sri Lanka after more than three years out, for three Twenty20 matches against India next month, Sri Lanka Cricket said yesterday.The 36-year-old Fernando last played for Sri Lanka in July 2012.Sri Lanka Cricket says Dinesh Chandimal will lead the team as Lasith Malinga is out injured.Seniors Angelo Mathews, Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, and seam bowler Nuwan Pradeep will also miss the series due to injuries.The series, preparation for the World Twenty20 which will also be held in India, begins on February 9 in Pune.Squad: Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Seekuge Prasanna, Milinda Siriwardana, Dhanushka Gunathilaka, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Asela Gunaratne, Chamara Kapugedera, Dushmantha Chameera, Dilhara Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Binura Fernando, Sachithra Senanayake and Jeffrey Vandersay.last_img read more

‘Light Your Bike’ campaign announced by North West Greenway Network team

first_imgThe North West Greenway Network is organising three bike light set giveaway sessions to promote the use of lights while cycling on the roads.Commencing on Tuesday 3 December, the ‘Light Your Bike’ campaign rolls into the Guildhall in Derry before cycling down to the ‘Tinnies’ sculpture in Strabane on Wednesday 4 December, before finishing at the Gap Café in Bridgend on Thursday 5 December. Project staff will be at each location daily from 4.45pm-5.45pm giving out light sets on a ‘first come first served’ basis.  Emma Hagger, Active Travel Officer for the project said: ‘It is now law – both in the north and south – for cyclists to have front and rear lights during lighting-up times. “But more importantly, to cycle safely cyclists must be seen, both on rural roads and around the city, which mean lights are essential. “Since we want more people to consider the bicycle as their mode of transport, this is a small but tangible step to making people think differently about cycling as their mode of transport.”As stocks are limited, drop down early to collect your set of lights and to discuss all things cycling with Emma and Ronan Gallagher, the project’s Communications Officer. ‘Light Your Bike’ campaign announced by North West Greenway Network team was last modified: November 25th, 2019 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Myth of Objective Science Busted

first_imgStudents and citizens are taught a very distorted view of what science is and how it actually works.Basic science is not an unbiased knowledge generator. Daniel Sarewitz pulls no punches in Nature this week. “Kill the myth of the miracle machine,” he shouts in his column that stabs one of science’s most treasured sacred cows: the value of “basic science.” The very, very few cases where undirected investigation has actually produced some worthwhile findings do not justify calls for non-targeted political funding, he argues, nor do the leftist attacks on funding cuts for basic research justify labels of a “war on science.” Science is not some kind of “miracle machine” where you turn a crank of scientific method and out pops knowledge. “Exceptional science is produced not by a miracle machine, but by institutions that tie scientific curiosity to problem solving,” he says. In fact, promoting the myth of the miracle machine can actually backfire.Vast improvements in the scientific system could be had if science agencies strengthened the ties that link research agendas to societal needs, and counteract the perverse incentives that commit scientists to careers measured by publications and grant dollars rather than the creation of socially valuable knowledge.Impact factor has been a counter-productive measure. Speaking of killing old myths, Nature is also glad to read an obituary for the dubious measure of scientific value called “impact factor.” What was supposed to provide a “bibliometric” measure of scientific value actually did the opposite. “It should never have been used and has done great damage to science,” complains Richard J. Roberts. “Let us bury it once and for all.”The impact factor is often used, improperly, to provide a mathematical measure of a scientist’s productivity, on the basis of where they published their results. It has proved popular with bureaucrats, and even with many researchers, because it seems to offer an easy way to determine the value of a scientist’s output for someone who is either unable or too lazy to read that scientist’s papers and judge their true worth (see P. Stephan et al. Nature 544, 411–412; 2017).Science is not supposed to be a money prize. The Editors of Nature worry about perverse incentives at work in China, where the government rewards scientists too quickly with grants and bonuses for what they consider successful research. “Don’t pay prizes for published science,” they argue. “For one thing, it creates a culture in which scientists look at their research as a means to make quick cash.” It also “rewards science that is not yet proven.” Like impact factor, metrics for what constitute successful research are often “greatly overblown.”Scientists are not above data manipulation. We asked last month (6/12/17), “If science is superior, why does it need fixing?” More evidence that scientists are like other fallible humans led Nature to complain about the problem of “image doctoring” in scientific papers – a problem that has mushroomed with the rise of digital manipulation tools like Photoshop. Publishers and editors do not always catch the digital trickery, and algorithms to detect image doctoring are not good enough yet. “By both human and technological means, research organizations, researchers and journals need to do more to counter the image-manipulation challenge.” But wait; weren’t we all taught the myth of the unbiased scientist seeking only truth for its own sake?Models do not always catch important details. Mathematical models, frequently used in science, try to simplify reality by focusing on pertinent details. But which details are pertinent? Researchers decided to check a popular “quarter vehicle” model used by auto manufacturers to gauge ride dynamics. They added in other factors omitted by the model and compared the results. They found that omitted details do make a big difference. Their paper in PLoS One says,The results clearly indicated that these details do have effect on simulated vehicle response, but to various extents. In particular, road input detail and suspension damping detail have the most significance and are worth being added to quarter vehicle model, as the inclusion of these details changed the response quite fundamentally. Overall, when it comes to lumped-mass vehicle modeling, it is reasonable to say that model accuracy depends not just on the number of degrees of freedom employed, but also on the contributions from various modeling details.What other models in science, for the sake of convenience and simplicity, are failing to consider significant details that could fundamentally change the conclusions? The more complex the problem, such as with global climate, the more it seems the simplicity is the enemy of accuracy – especially when conclusions are not readily testable as they were in this case.Language can manipulate rather than enlighten. We shared examples recently (7/02/17) of leftist bias in science. Sometimes leftist researchers are open about their manipulation. Phys.org reports on psychologists who found that saying “climate change” instead of “global warming” reduces the “partisan gap by 30 percent in U.S.” This is a clear attempt to nudge voters rather than educate them (6/11/17). We can also add to the list another manipulative article posted by Phys.org that claims, “How bills to replace Obamacare would especially harm women.” Conservative researchers could easily argue the exact opposite conclusion from well-grounded data; so why don’t they get the microphone of Phys.org or The Conversation?Bad definitions of science prevent scientists from finding truth. The editors of Nature tried to be nice to Catholics on May 15, only to be shouted down by a reader, who repeated the myth of scientism in the June 22 issue of Nature. According to Frank W. Nicholas, the editors forgot to be naturalistic enough:Your Editorial suggests that Pope Francis’s meeting with patients and researchers is evidence of “a new openness [of religion] towards science”, in the spirit of his 2015 encyclical Laudato si’ (Nature 545, 265–266; 2017). This is tempered by your view that the encyclical nevertheless illustrates “a chasm between religion and science that cannot be bridged”.In my view, the encyclical’s most fruitful comment on science and religion is that they have “distinctive approaches to understanding reality” (paragraph 62; see go.nature.com/2swk22m). The essence of this distinctiveness is that the modern scientific approach never invokes God as an explanation for any phenomenon. This restatement of ‘methodological naturalism’ is not science being anti-God: it is science being science. All scientists adhere to this approach, including scientists who believe in God. In the religious approach, by contrast, God is at the heart of phenomena.It follows that the fundamental distinction between science and religion has nothing to do with the question of whether or not God exists.These insights can inform the debate around what should and should not be taught in science classes on, for example, evolution. In shedding light on the nature of the “chasm” between science and religion, these insights can also inform the new openness to which you refer.It seems lost on Nicholas that methodological naturalism of this sort is guaranteed to come to wrong conclusions if God does exist and was involved. For instance, if God did create life, all the efforts and funds to find a natural origin are doomed to failure. If evolution is false, then all the published papers about natural selection creating man from molecules are also false. By excluding intelligent causes, would Nicholas insist on a natural explanation for Stonehenge? Would he insist on unguided natural causes as the only tools to explain his own righteous indignation? If so, his arguments would implode.Nicholas bought into the NOMA myth of Stephen J. Gould without apparently being aware of its weaknesses. His letter illustrates the unchallenged assumption of a particular philosophy in scientific institutions – methodological naturalism – which, as intelligent design advocates have frequently argued, becomes indistinguishable in practice from philosophical naturalism (for some of the debate, search on ‘methodological naturalism’ at Evolution News). Causation is a long-standing debate where the extreme positions obfuscate the productive middle ground. Surely no theistic scientist is going to attribute the precipitation of chemicals in a flask to the direct intervention of God. But neither should an atheistic science rule out convincing evidence for intelligent causes just to maintain his materialist philosophy. That could guarantee a false conclusion.The list above reports only some of the most recent debunkings of the myth of scientism from secular sources themselves. Big Science is a political force that once in awhile discovers interesting facts about nature, just like Big Education is a political force that once in awhile teaches something valuable to a student, or like Big Labor is a political force that once in awhile helps a worker. The real contributions usually come not from the top, but from the individuals who, through their own integrity and moral character, decide to help their fellow man. (Visited 688 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more