A Philosophical Double-Helix

first_imgIn 1953, a year after deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was identified as the molecule that carries the biochemical information responsible for the physiology, anatomy and development of a living organism, the scientists James Watson and Francis Crick discovered its now famous doublehelix structure. In 1962, along with Maurice Wilkins they were awarded a Nobel Prize for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids. Decades later, Watson assisted in the creation of the Human Genome Project, a recently completed thirteen year research effort to sequence thedouble- helix’s three billion constituent base pairs. The project is intended to facilitate genetic research in the future, and in particular to provide biomedical scientists with information crucial to ascertaining the role played by faulty genes in causing disease. The results could direct them to a new kind of treatment – gene therapy. This is evidently an enterprise of international significance requiring sustained, open debate based on informed, responsible opinions. It was therefore astonishing to hear James Watson state a few months ago on Newsnight: “I think gene therapy is a good idea because it could help make people more intelligent, and it can’t be nice being stupid.” Why is a scientist responsible for arguably the most important scientific discovery of the twentieth century expressing opinions this misinformed in a debate stemming directly from his work? The answers lie rooted within the history of science and its development as we understand it today. It is only really in modern times that has become meaningful to talk of ‘scientific method’ – an established set of procedures and approaches embodied in a distinctive philosophy of nature. In the past, individuals had to justify their procedures on a metaphysical level, which blurred the distinction between discoveries themselves and their philosophical context. But what does this mean and why is so important? To study nature at all, a few basic assumptions need to be made, such as that the world can be understood rationally in a progression from the simple to the complex, for instance, and obeys ‘laws’ which may be formulated mathematically. The reason science, and physics in particular, takes on these assumptions is not because they are a priori justifiable, but because they seem to work. In the past when an agreed scientific framework did not exist, these issues were open to debate, and were ably fostered by a classical education. However, science has now proved itself so successful that it has become arrogant in thinking that its methods are the only path to truth. This has reached such a level that some scientists believe questions like “what is consciousness?” to be answerable solely in scientific terms based on a mathematical theory and associated qualitative explanation. One physics lecturer at Oxford proclaimed during a lecture “it’s not going to be a philosopher who explains how the mind works.” But how can a scientist do it without knowing the flaws and assumptions inherent in his method? This is indicative of a generation of scientists who are isolated from both the rich historical and philosophical framework of their subjects and also the greater context of man’s attempts to understand his existence. Moreover, many eminent scientists do not believe this context to be important. Richard Dawkins, for example, noted for his dogmatic views, contempt for religion and staunch defence of reductionism, is Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. The appointment underestimates the importance of the way in which a particular scientific discovery should be presented to the public and also Dawkins’ ability to do so. Scientists now have limited means of communicating their discoveries to both the scientific community and the layman, especially in fields which depart significantly from daily experience. Meanwhile, currently unquestioned metaphysical assumptions may need updating and most importantly, scientists need to understand the limitations of their approach to a conception of the nature of the universe. Consequently scientific developments with the potential for significant social impact are often inaccurately represented to the population by the media. James Watson might be a Nobel prize-winning genius, but he is no philosopher or ethicist. We live in an age when science is the most important route to knowledge. Scientists are being asked for opinions on all sorts of questions they do not know how to answer because of their isolation from a meta,physical context. Until this changes science, and the misinformed public, will stumble blindly on believing that real truth is scientific truth and that religion, philosophy and theology are merely intellectual divertissements with no real authority.ARCHIVE: 4th week TT 2003last_img read more

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Christ Church students protest early bop shut down

first_imgChrist Church students protested outside their JCR on Saturday night after their bop was shut down almost an hour early.Students were evacuated from the bop due to the sounding of a fire alarm at 11.15 pm. The JCR was not reopened, and a group of students gathered outside in protest.At the college party, triple vodka oranges – or ‘bop juice’ – were sold at a rate of four for £1 until 10.30 pm. The price was then increased to three for £1.Christ Church introduced bouncers for bops earlier this term and capped the number of students allowed inside the JCR at 175, for fire safety reasons.At Saturday’s bop, this number was further reduced to 130, with a ‘one in one out’ policy to prevent overcrowding. This led to the buildup of a queue outside the JCR.Those waiting in the queue were able to purchase drinks from a secondary bar set up outside, in preparation for the bop.Reportedly, drunk students protested the early shutdown, chanting abuse about the Junior Censor and attempting to reenter the JCR.After this proved unsuccessful, many made their way to an after-party in Peckwater Quad. However, that event was also closed down after fire alarms were sounded in the venue.One Christ Church second-year told Cherwell: “Having so much additional security is a little bit patronising, and treating people like children makes them act like children. I think it’s all a bit stupid.“It’s because they don’t want us to end up in The Sun again somehow.”Saturday’s incident follows a series of recent controversies surrounding Christ Church bops.At the college freshers’ bop earlier this term, up to 100 croissants were handed out to students in order to mitigate drunkenness. Many students also went topless in the JCR.Last Trinity term, a Christ Church student was banned from all JCR events after wearing a pillowcase resembling a KKK hood to a bop.The president of Christ Church JCR declined to comment.last_img read more

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Restoration of Brady’s Dock

first_imgTo the Editor:When will the current Bayonne Municipal Council make any effort toward the comprehensive restoration of Brady’s Dock, including:1) Restoration of presently rotting dock deck, which continues to pose a public safety hazard.2) Restoration of presently rotting timber posts, which are located along the dock entrance-way.3) Restoration of four deteriorating wooden benches, which are located along the park Lexington Avenue entrance.4) Restoration of a large section of the vertical timber fencing, which is located along the eastern most terminus of the pier. The fence section had been lost as the result of the northeast storm named Sandy, which occurred nearly five years ago!The citizens of Bayonne deserve much better. GERALD R. SAVOlast_img

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Visitors’ Departure Brings Out “Locals Summer” in Ocean City

first_imgBy TIM KELLYBrilliant sunshine, temperatures in the 80s and smiling faces are typical of a summer day in Ocean City. Tuesday, though, was anything but typical.Instead of beaches packed blanket-to-blanket, there was plenty of room to spread out. Traffic issues were virtually nonexistent. Available parking, usually just a rumor in the summer months, could be found easily – even near restaurants, beaches and the Boardwalk.One other atypical aspect: local residents were much easier to find than they were just a few hours previously.Welcome to what some people have taken to calling “Locals Summer.” It’s a time when area residents savor the nearly three more remaining weeks of summer, featuring smaller crowds and a slower pace.Beachgoer Jennifer Dagrossa enjoys having room to spread out and relax on the Ocean City beach.And it also must be said that plenty of savvy visitors were still around or had just arrived following the departure of the masses.“It’s as if somebody turned off a faucet,” said Brenda Pedone of Brigantine, who walked up to the counter at Johnson’s Popcorn and purchased a tub of the iconic local treat with virtually no wait.“There’s no problem getting into town, getting out of town or getting around town,” Pedone added.Her friend, Tom Pantalena, also of Brigantine and a native of the Ducktown section of Atlantic City, summed it up: “We came here a couple weeks ago and had to park on Simpson Avenue (five blocks distant),” he said. “Today, there were all kinds of spots on Wesley,” which is just a block’s stroll to the boards.Ocean City residents Ron and Peggy DeFelice catch up on some shopping along Asbury Avenue.For year-round Ocean City residents Ron and Peggy DeFelice, it was a time to window shop and stroll Asbury Avenue’s shopping district hand-in-hand.“What a difference a day makes,” Peggy DeFelice said. “Now is the time of year many locals who are working during the (unofficial summer season) have the chance to get out and enjoy. More locals come out.”She said that she noticed more local families with pre-school age children out and about.“Before now, I think some parents were reluctant to bring the younger kids out when the crowds were so much larger,” she said. “It’s just an easier time for those young families.”Nearby, Debra Filippini, of Cape May Court House, said Locals Summer “is all about parking.”She said she enjoys shopping downtown in Ocean City and also in Stone Harbor. “But that’s almost unthinkable” during the regular summer months, she noted. “It’s beautiful, just look at this weather. I love Ocean City. I just do not love the huge crowds,” Filippini said.Sisters Debra Filippini (right) and Roberta Stopyra revel in “Locals Summer” Tuesday on Asbury Avenue.At the same time, Filippini acknowledged how vital tourism is to the regional economy.  “We love the visitors. We need them,” she said, while adding, “I also love relaxing, and now we can do that.”Her sister, Roberta Stopyra, also of Cape May Court House, was a bit more blunt. “We’re reclaiming the Jersey Shore,” she said, laughing. “When the (masses of visitors) were driving home over the bridge, I waved goodbye.” Ocean City High School juniors Alex Antonov and Birdie Stewart had opposite viewpoints about the post-Labor Day exodus. They were enjoying their last days of summer vacation prior to the opening of school on Thursday.“I miss the visitors,” Stewart said. “It’s more fun and exciting when there are a lot of people around. It can get a little boring sometimes (in the off-season).”Antonov disagreed. “It’s really nice right now,” she said. “It just feels more local and a lot less crowded. It’s easier to relax and spend more time enjoying the town.”Alex Antonov (right) and Birdie Stewart, both of Ocean City, differ on their opinions of Locals Summer.Merchant Helena Hamilton’s consignment store “Could be Yours,” at 715 Asbury Avenue, was buzzing with activity, including a local shopper who declined to be identified, but laughed when she was told about this article topic.“To tell you the truth, I’m a little bit sad to see the visitors go,” Hamilton said, quickly pointing out that it wasn’t so much about her store’s bottom line. “I have absolutely no complaints. It was the best summer ever.”“But we’re open all year, and we do well. I just hate to see people unhappy when they leave,” she continued. “I get it. This is a great place to be and they want to stay longer.  We (locals) don’t have to leave.”On the Boardwalk, retirees Margaret Simon and her husband, Mike, of Galloway Township, were sitting on a bench, people-watching and munching on a snack.“This is a longstanding family tradition, to come to Ocean City on the Tuesday after Labor Day,” Margaret Simon said. “It’s more enjoyable. Most of the businesses are still open. It’s less crowded. It’s less hot.  We’ve been doing this since our (now grown) kids were little.”Margaret and Mike Simon, of Galloway Township, make it a family tradition to visit Ocean City on the Tuesday following Labor Day.Mike Simon, a former air traffic controller at the Federal Aviation Administration’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township, said he was looking forward to attending the annual air show in Ocean City later this month. “We were long overdue to get over here,” he said.On the beach, retired teacher Jennifer Dagrossa, of the Seaville section of Upper Township, reclined on her beach chair and took in the sights and sounds.“I love coming to the beach,” she said. “Sometimes I go to Sea Isle because it’s closer, but today I really wanted to come here and enjoy my Ocean City favorites. I had breakfast at Bob’s Grill and a John’s Lemonade. I had a nice long bike ride. The weather is beautiful and there’s so much more room to just relax and enjoy everything.” Ocean City’s beaches, like this one at Third Street, had plenty of room on Tuesday, 24 hours after having visitors packed blanket-to-blanket on Labor Day.last_img read more

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Former SC Johnson & Son COO to lead Pladis

first_imgMcVitie’s owner Pladis has appointed former SC Johnson & Son chief operating officer Salman Amin as global CEO.Amin, who takes up the role next month, has a strong background in marketing and commercial activities.In an international career spanning 30 years, he has held senior positions, including PepsiCo chief marketing officer and president of PepsiCo United Kingdom & Ireland during his 17 years at the company. He also spent 10 years at Procter & Gamble working in the US, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland.Amin was most recently global chief operating officer for the global commercial division of SC Johnson & Son. Pladis said he had rejuvenated the Johnson brands portfolio, accelerated innovation speed to market and driven growth in operating profit margins. Pladis said Amin would build on its focus to diversify McVitie’s, alongside Ulker and a range of Godiva chocolates exclusively for consumer-packaged goods channels and core markets.“Pladis is just over two years old and already we’re fast becoming a global snacking leader,” said Murat Ulker, chairman of Yildiz Holding, which formed Pladis in 2016 by bringing together its core confectionery and biscuits businesses.“With Salman’s proven track record in driving transformation and growth among global FMCG players, we’re delighted to welcome him to lead our ambitious and entrepreneurial team.”Amin said Pladis had the opportunity to make its local favourites “global stars”.His appointment follows the departure of Cem Karakaş, who left the business last year for family health reasons.last_img read more

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Saint Mary’s announces additional fall semester, move-in policies

first_imgIn a Monday evening email to the student body, Gloria Jenkins, interim vice president for student affairs, announced additional information regarding the fall semester.Students will begin returning to campus Aug. 3 and continue through Aug. 9, with Residential Life and Campus Ministry leaders moving in July 27. Upon arrival, students will be given a two-hour window to move belongings into their rooms and are encouraged to bring their own move-in supplies, including carts and dollies. Each student is allowed two assistants for the move-in process.For the fall semester, off-campus students will not be allowed to visit students in their residence halls, and stoves and ovens will not be available for use.The Health and Counseling Center will be open to provide routine care to students in addition to a separate COVID-19 evaluation and testing center for students who test positive or have been exposed to the virus. A new, 24/7 telehealth service will also be implemented free of charge for students’ physical and mental health needs.Saint Mary’s athletics intends to play its fall league schedule as planned. The Angela Athletic and Wellness Complex will operate under its normal hours with adjustments for capacity, sanitation and physical distancing. Fitness classes and intramural sports will follow these adjustments as well.Regarding student organizations and programs, the email said “Saint Mary’s students may continue to participate in tri-campus activities while following the health and safety guidelines for each individual campus.”First-year students will receive introduction to such organizations and programs during Belles Beginnings, the email said.Students who have any questions regarding these policies are encouraged to email the office of student affairs.Tags: covid policies, fall 2020, Gloria Jenkinslast_img read more

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2020 Themed “Dumpster Fire” Toy Now A Hit Seller On Etsy

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Image courtesy: RexRoi3D / etsy.com/NEW YORK – When life hands you trash, make a product out of it and sell it on the internet.At least that’s what one Los Angeles man did when his 3D printing company started to struggle during the pandemic.Amir Fakharian, the founder and CEO of RexRoi LLC, said after the pandemic caused all his corporate clients to cancel orders for the foreseeable future, he realized it was time to get creative.At first, he started making PPE for hospitals and individual clients back in April, when face shields, masks and gowns were still hard to find. But as soon as big corporations started to produce similar products for half the price, Fakharian was forced to pivot yet again. So, he decided to make and sell 2020-themed dumpster fire toys and Christmas tree ornaments on Etsy.“‘Dumpster fire’ is just the perfect description of the year we’ve had,” Fakharian said. “COVID-19 is like a fire in a dumpster burning everything in sight so we thought this product would really resonate with people.”And so far, Etsy users are loving it.“This ornament is so great and brought some levity to a really tough year,” one customer wrote in a review.Image courtesy: RexRoi3D / etsy.com/“Awesome product and perfect statement on what we all think of 2020,” another wrote.The company is also selling 2020-themed toilet paper ornaments.“It’s been a challenging year,” Fakharian said. “For people to have something to laugh at and make light of during such a horrible year, I’m happy to provide it.”last_img read more

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Rumer Willis Begins Performances in Chicago

first_imgThe name on everybody’s lips is…Rumer. After re-scheduling her start date twice as a result of injury, Rumer Willis will begin performances as Roxie Hart in Chicago on September 21. She is making her Broadway debut in the production and is scheduled to play a seven-week engagement through November 1 at the Ambassador Theatre.Willis is the winner of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars season 20. She has previously appeared on stage in off-Broadway’s Love, Loss and What I Wore, For the Record Live’s Dear John Hughes, Baz Luhrmann’s DBA and FTR: Tarantino. Her numerous screen credits include House Bunny, Sorority Row, Diary of Preston Plummer Workaholics, Pretty Little Liars, Hawaii 5-0 and Songbyrd.The cast also currently includes Amra-Faye Wright as Velma Kelly, Ryan Silverman as Billy Flynn, Raymond Bokhour as Amos Hart, NaTasha Yvette Williams as Matron “Mama” Morton and R. Lowe as Mary Sunshine. View Comments Related Shows Chicago from $49.50last_img read more

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Pumpkin Time.

first_imgWalter Reeves It’s hard to think about frost on the pumpkin when summer’s just heating up. But it’stime to consider these traditional fall fruits. Jack-o’-lanterns take a long time to grow.On “Gardening in Georgia” June 29 and July 1, host Walter Reeves visits withhorticulturist Terry Kelley on how and when to plant pumpkins so they’ll be ready forHalloween.Walter will check on the summer vegetable garden, too. He’ll review the differencebetween male and female squash blossoms. And he’ll explain why it’s best to plant corn ina block rather than in rows.Finally, Walter will show how to make a hood for your garden sprayer so your weedkiller gets on your weeds, not on your good plants.Thursdays, Saturdays on GPTVDon’t miss “Gardening in Georgia” Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. or Saturdays at 10a.m. on Georgia Public Television. The show is designed especially for Georgia gardeners. “Gardening in Georgia” is produced by the University of Georgia College ofAgricultural and Environmental Sciences and GPTV.last_img read more

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Fuerzas Comando 2012 in Pictures

first_img Fuerzas Comando 2012, the Anti-Terrorism Olympiad of the Americas, is an athletic military exercise which seeks to strengthen relationships among the members of the Armed Forces of the Americas, as well as to share skills, techniques, and tactics in the fight against terrorism. From June 6 through the 14, military, law enforcement and civilian personnel from 21 countries will be competing on the grounds of the National Training Center at Fort Tolemaida, Colombia, in an event sponsored by the United States Southern Command and hosted by the Colombian military forces. By Dialogo June 18, 2012last_img

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