Controversial decisions put San Francisco Giants’ culture under a microscope

first_imgThe San Francisco Giants took a ride to the mountain top three times this decade, but as the 2010s draw to a close, the team is farther away from the peak than it could have ever imagined.Three consecutive losing seasons knocked the Giants down to earth and the view from the bottom of the baseball world has left fans disappointed and dismayed.It’s not just the sub-.500 records and the general void of hope that’s led to widespread frustration. It’s the manner in which the Giants have …last_img

Art as Propaganda for Evolution

first_imgShould a scientific theory be propagated by appeal to scientific evidence, or by appeal to emotions through visualization?  Nature this week contained two articles that shamelessly praised art as propaganda for evolution.  Surprisingly, one of them mentioned Charles Darwin as someone “at the cutting edge of visualization.”Endless Forms:  Carl Zimmer reviewed an exhibit currently at the Yale Center for British Art, Endless Forms: Charles Darwin, Natural Science and the Visual Arts.1  The title is taken from the last sentence in the Origin where Darwin said that endless forms most beautiful are being evolved from so simple a beginning.  Zimmer said that in the 19th century, “artists shaped the way scientists saw nature, and thought deeply about how science changed the nature of art.”    The exhibit examines the history of art as Darwinism was overtaking traditional religious beliefs.The exhibit does a good job of showing how differently people saw the world at the dawn of the nineteenth century.  Nature was replete with signs of divine design.  A painting of Noah’s flood was considered historical art.  Yet Darwin was able to learn a great deal from art of this time, whether he was studying illustrations of geological formations or marvelling at the paintings of French�American naturalist John James Audubon, who Darwin met as a teenager.   As Darwin developed as a scientist, he made some modest art of his own.  On his journeys in South America, he painted the rock strata of the Andes in watercolour.  On his return to the United Kingdom, he began to scribble odd little tree diagrams in his notebooks – a visual expression of his great epiphany that species are related through common descent.  Darwin worked closely with artists to illustrate his books.  This may surprise readers of On the Origin of Species – a book with a single illustration showing the branching of species.  But his other books were lavishly illustrated….    Darwin was at the cutting edge of visualization.  His 1872 work The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals was one of the first books ever to be illustrated with photographs – including pictures of faces distorted by electric currents, produced by the work of French physician Guillaume Duchenne.Zimmer claims that Darwin did not use pictures merely to illustrate ideas, but to investigate them.  For instance, “the very notion of beauty was something Darwin wanted to explain: the beauty of orchids actually masked a complex contrivance for getting pollen onto insects; the beauty of an Argus pheasant’s feathers was the result of sexual selection.”  Artists, in sympathetic vibration, paid attention to Darwin.  “They replaced sentimental scenes of nature with bleaker portraits of the struggle for survival.”    Zimmer was glad the exhibit did not shy away from difficult subjects.  “….some [artists] wrongly took it [evolution] as justification to elevate whites over other races, cloaking their freak-show voyeurism in the guise of anthropology.” Why Zimmer gives the exhibit “great credit” for this was not explained.  Is he glad that the dark side of evolutionary thinking is being exposed?Scopes Cartoons:  Another article by Michael Hopwood in Nature “applauds an account of how US scientists used images to counter creationism and promote public understanding of evolution in the 1920s.”2  Sure enough, artists during the Scopes trial, rather than being scorned for misleading the public, are praised in this book review of God – or Gorilla: Images of Evolution in the Jazz Age by Constance Areson Clark (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008):God – or Gorilla hints at a larger clash of visual cultures between modernists and fundamentalists: Neanderthals versus Adam and Eve, church frescoes depicting ascent from protozoa against a ‘picturable God’.  That would be a great topic for further research, which would need to pay religious icons more attention, but this highly readable book is valuable as it stands.  It is also timely.  The 1920s shaped pictures of evolution, and of evolutionary debate, that are still in our heads.  As biologists work with illustrators to communicate science, and creationists attack textbook icons,3 it is helpful to reflect on the struggles of that decisive decade.Hopwood thus identified the evolutionist imagery as useful to science, whether or not it was accurate.  Clark, for instance, said “Cartoons played on images of the Scopes ‘monkey trial’, and people joked about missing links.”  In museums, tree diagrams and misleading sequences like the fossil horse series were presented as “unvarnished facts.”  Hopwood did not condemn any of this.  For instance, he disparaged the attempts of Henry Fairfield Osborn to imply that evolution was compatible with religion.  “This theistic evolutionism repelled secular scientists and fundamentalist Christians alike, but was often presented as the scientific consensus.”  Hopwood seems to imply that the scientific consensus allows no such accommodation – it must be anti-religious and materialistic. 1.  Carl Zimmer, “Drawing from Darwin,” Nature 458, 705 (9 April 2009) | doi:10.1038/458705a; Published online 8 April 2009.2.  Nick Hopwood, “A clash of visual cultures,” Nature 458, 704-705 (9 April 2009) | doi:10.1038/458704a; Published online 8 April 2009.3.  This seems to be a direct reference to Icons of Evolution by Dr. Jonathan Wells (Regnery, 2000).Visualization is one of several pedagogical aids that can enlighten or propagandize, depending on how it is used.  There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with cartoons, simplified illustrations, and diagrams if they illuminate the truth.  However, wrong inferences can be made – such as Darwin’s photos of people expressing emotion being used to infer they inherited these capabilities from apes.  Art and visualization can distract, mislead, mischaracterize, or create emotional responses in lieu of scientific evidence.  Darwinists have been very skilled at this propaganda since their master wrote his materialist manifesto.  They should be scorned, not praised, for pretending that peppered moths prove humans had bacteria ancestors, or for piecing together unrelated fossils into a story of evolutionary progression.  Awareness of the danger of visualization is the best defense, and the best offense is to unmask it as propaganda.  Truth needs illumination, not varnish.(Visited 149 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Mozilla Shows Off First Screenshots of Firefox for Android

first_imgWhat it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Tags:#Browsers#mobile#news#web frederic lardinois Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts Currently, the Android version is still missing a number of core features and Vuki?evi? still has to work out quite a few bugs (the keyboard doesn’t work, for example). Now that the team has managed to create a working prototype, however, Vuki?evi? expects the development process to speed up significantly. Mozilla is Taking Aim at the Mobile Browser MarketFirefox is clearly working at creating a stronger presence on mobile platforms like Maemo, Windows Mobile, and Android. For now, however, Opera still has a stronger presence in the mobile market, with apps for Windows Mobile, Android and virtually every other major mobile platform. Mozilla is still a step behind here, but hopefully we will soon see a lot more competition in the mobile browser market. Mozilla doesn’t currently have any plans to develop a browser for the BlackBerry, Symbian or iPhone platforms.[via Android Central] Just a few days after releasing Firefox for the Nokia N900 handset, Mozilla just announced that it is also making good progress on an Android version of Firefox. According to Firefox developer Vladimir Vuki?evi?, development of Android for Firefox is progressing quickly. While there are no plans for the release of an official alpha version just yet, Vuki?evi? has already managed to compile and install an early version of Firefox for Android.Currently, the Android version is still running the standard Firefox desktop user interface and not the Firefox Mobile/Fennec interface. According to Vuki?evi?, this is meant to ensure that Firefox will work on any Android device, including those with larger screens. Here is the first screenshot of Firefox running on Android (in an emulator): Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Courting glory

first_imgThe Centre Court audience rises to its feet to congratulate Tsonga and cheer Federer at the 2011 Wimbledon ChampionshipsOn a clear, perfect, eye-blue day, 15,000 breathless souls gaze in wonder as the magic unfolds on grass. Two adversaries, dressed head-totoe in matching white, face off in one of the world’s,The Centre Court audience rises to its feet to congratulate Tsonga and cheer Federer at the 2011 Wimbledon ChampionshipsOn a clear, perfect, eye-blue day, 15,000 breathless souls gaze in wonder as the magic unfolds on grass. Two adversaries, dressed head-totoe in matching white, face off in one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious sporting tournaments. As the green ball, at the players’ beck and call, flies from one end of the grass court to the other, anticipation builds. Then a much-awaited scream bellows, “OUT!” and the crowd roars to its feet. The Rolex clock on the scoreboard stops ticking. The match is over. The underdog has eliminated the champion. The crowd cheers not only the victor but the spirit and vitality of a contest steeped in 125 years of tradition.Wimbledon is an anchor of the human psyche. A competition that sees the very best pitted against another, battling on a surface unlike any other for the right to be crowned grass court king. Where technological advancements change perceptions quicker than lightning, there are few living monuments that haven’t been re-christened or re-booted in an effort to reflect the fickle tastes of successive generations. Wimbledon’s remarkable adherence to its core values make it a cultural landmark of continuity.Perhaps this is why Rolex and Wimbledon have forged such a successful partnership over 33 years. Since 1978, Rolex has been the official timekeeper of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club’s Wimbledon Championships and, by all indications, the partnership looks set in stone. Even Rolex’s official green blends invisibly into Wimbledon’s viridian legacy.Much of the success of Wimbledon and Rolex’s unique relationship can be attributed to their shared values: excellence, discipline, sportsmanship and focus. While most organisations would be satisfied to use these as marketing buzzwords, often forgetting the responsibility the ideas carry, Rolex has staked its reputation time and again on reflecting these principles in its products and presentation. The Rolex suite nestles in the Centre Court building offering the best in hospitality and a grand place to lounge between matchesEven the individuals selected as brand ambassadors by Rolex are respected for more than just success in their respective fields. In a long list that includes Indian luminaries Anoushka Shankar and Vijay Amritraj, one name encompasses the gamut of Rolex values and, arguably, stands alone as the greatest ever in his field. That man is Roger Federer, winner of more grand slams and acclaim than anyone in history.My journey started with an invitation from Rolex to attend the quarterfinals of the 125th Wimbledon Championships. For a person who grew up reserving the same level of worship for names like Becker, Graf, Navratilova, Ivanisevic, and Sampras that ancient Greeks would for Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, or Hermes, this wasn’t just an assignment but a dream come true.One of the most visible ways in which Rolex abides by its value system is by its presence at the world’s most prestigious sporting events, especially tennis, golf, and yachting. In this regard, Rolex has been developing its hospitality plan since 2005, building luxury experiences for its customers at these amazing gaming events.Strawberries and cream are a beloved staple of the Wimbledon experience, most arriving from Kent for the tournamentThe day begins with a sumptuous lunch at the Rolex suite, located inside Wimbledon’s Centre Court building. The balcony affords a view of the main entrance and scoreboard, allowing the visitor to enjoy the hospitality Rolex has to offer while being able to follow the on-court action. After calming giddy nerves with Lansom Black Label Brut champagne, and downing several glasses of a 2009 Chassagne Montrachet to go with a roast rack of Welsh lamb, the Rolex invitees are ushered to their seats at Centre Court. Not too far right of the Royal box, the view from the Rolex stand is just right: not so close that one needs to keep turning one’s head to follow the ball, and not so far as to make the play unintelligible. The seats look to the court at a 45 degree angle (and also give a dead-on view of the Rolex scoreboard), which makes it the perfect vantage point to watch every nuance of a lofted ball getting slammed at 120 km/hr.The quarterfinal clash sees living legend Roger Federer take on celebrated upstart Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Coincidentally, both Federer and Tsonga are Rolex brand ambassadors. Dramatically different in playing styles, Tsonga is known as a passionate and powerful player, capable of elevating his game under pressure, whereas Federer is a master of every form of the game.While Tsonga has a few fans in attendance, the crowd is here for Federer and Federer does not disappoint, taking the first two sets almost effortlessly. As the crowds file out after a shock defeat for Federer at the hands of Tsonga, Kipling’s words engraved at the entrance of Centre Court sum it all up, “If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same.”Rolex brand ambassadors, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Roger Federer, face off in Centre Court at WimbledonAfter the match, the guests return to the Rolex suite to complete the experience with the final (and most famous) component of the Wimbledon experience: strawberries and cream. During the 14-day tournament, more than 28,000 kg of strawberries dunked in 7,000 litres of cream are consumed.As we enjoy dessert, the giant scoreboard indicates that India’s mixed doubles team of Rohan Bapanna and Sania Mirza have moved onto the quarterfinal and the Indian contingent share a few warm smiles. Looking around, we can see that while the essence of Wimbledon remains steadfast, small technological changes are creeping in. The courts use the hawk-eye system to challenge umpire decisions, the finals will be broadcast in 3D and Centre Court has a retractable roof. The changes are not glaring, but rather sewn neatly into the existing fabric of Wimbledon history. The same philosophy applies when Rolex brings subtle changes to its pieces, always building on what previously existed. A long term vision, immune to fashion and trends, is at the heart of Rolex’s “evolution in continuity” approach and that’s what makes it a befitting partner for Wimbledon. DatejustRoger Federer describes his favourite watch as a classic model that incorporates a modern touch. Here are a few features of the Rolex Datejust II.Cyclops: The unique magnifying Cyclops eye allows easy view of the date through an aperture on the dial, a Rolex design standard.Oyster case: Hermetically sealed to the case with a massive torque of five newton metres, the back of any Oyster creates an environment that protects the movement from shocks, pressure, dust, water and any other intrusive element.Superlative: Chronometer The movement of this watch has endured 15 days and nights of testing by the Contr´le Officiel Suisse des Chronomtres. To receive the famed COSC certification, a watch must demonstrate extreme precision in a variety of positions and temperatures.advertisementadvertisementlast_img read more