Snowball Earth Theory Not Set in Stone

first_img(Visited 664 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Give an idea a name, and it can assume a reality in the imagination, even if there’s no evidence for it.Tae Hamm, writing for Glacier Hub, asks, “Was the Earth ever frozen solid?” Hamm, a student in climate science at Columbia University, reveals that a popular theory for the early earth before the explosion of multicellular life is a subject of debate among old-earth evolutionists. The usual story goes, “many scientists are coming up with hypotheses about a global ice age during the Cryogenian, a geologic period that lasted from 720 to 635 million years ago.” But did it really happen? A version of her article was posted May 4 by Columbia’s Earth Institute.  Where did the idea come from?NASA cartoon of “Snowball Earth” as featured in Tae Hamm’s articleRecent research on glacial refugia has been heating up the debate about this ice age, brewing a contention over the extent to which the glaciation covered the Earth. Two main hypotheses are on the table: “Snowball Earth” theory, which argues that ice covered the entire Earth, and “Slushball Earth” hypothesis, where the band of the sea near the equator stayed open, allowing the hydrologic cycle—the evaporation and precipitation of water— to persist.The term Snowball Earth was first coined by Joe Kirschvink, a geobiologist at CalTech in the late 1980s. The theory was based on the early observation that glacial deposits from this time were widely distributed on nearly every continent, with some geologic evidence even suggesting glaciation at tropical latitudes.Kirschvink believed he had theoretical support from two positive-feedback effects that would have accelerated and sustained the frozen earth. What he didn’t consider, though, was a negative feedback loop that would have counteracted the lowering temperatures. Critics of the Snowball Earth hypothesis also point to “glacial refugia,” places where life continued to flourish. Hamm writes,Replica of the article’s use of an AOI image.The debate of hard versus slushy Snowball Earth becomes more enigmatic at the end of the Cryogenic period and start of Cambrian, when the so-called “Cambrian explosion” of animal life occurs. The Cambrian explosion refers to a short interval during which many multicellular animals in diverse forms appeared on the surface of the Earth. Critics of Snowball Earth argue that such a dramatic increase in biodiversity within a short period of time would not have been able to happen in a hard Snowball Earth scenario, as many organisms prior to the explosion would have gone extinct. The supporters of Snowball Earth, on the other hand, argue that the biodiversity is simply the result of the robust micro-organisms that survived the Snowball Earth, evolving in size as well as anatomical complexity through time.The article takes no final position, but relies on futureware. Better climate models are needed, he says, and more study of organisms to figure out what happened. Either way, “Neither of these hypotheses is set in stone, but rather are part of an ongoing debate that requires much clarification.” Hamm does not clarify how short the Cambrian Explosion was. At best, all the major animal phyla appeared in 40 million years. More realistically, the main pulse of the diversification occurred in 5 million Darwin Years, with many new phyla appearing suddenly without any ancestors at all.Update 5/08/18: Shortly after this article went to press, Astrobiology Magazine posted another theory to explain Snowball Earth (which it assumes really occurred). The secret: plate tectonics.In the new study, Stern and Miller provide new insights by suggesting that the onset of plate tectonics likely initiated the changes on Earth’s surface that led to Snowball Earth. They argue that plate tectonics is the event that can explain 22 theories that other scientists have advanced as triggers of the Neoproterozoic Snowball Earth.Two things seem odd about this notion coming out of two universities in Texas. One is that 22 theories were required to explain what could be fake history, a figment of scientists’ need to make things old. The other is their frank admission that “Earth is the only body in our solar system known to currently have plate tectonics.…” Doesn’t that make the Earth stand out as exceptional? It also means that they have no other world to compare to Earth, to see whether or not the onset of plate tectonics triggers a snowball world. In science, explanations for one-off events—untestable and unobservable—should be treated with skepticism.Few readers may notice that Tae Hamm borrowed the illustation “Explosion of Life” (shown above) from a creationist website, Alpha Omega Institute. It was lifted from a blog post, where Brian Mariani at AOI was showing both sides of Cambrian Explosion issue, first the naturalistic/evolutionary perspective (where the illustration was posted on 03 Dec 2003), and then the creationist answer (06 Dec 2003). The poster is apparently from an exhibit at the Denver Museum. Hamm credits the illustration with a link to AOI’s Discover Creation website, suggesting that Hamm (or the editor at GlacierHub) went hunting for an illustration of the Cambrian Explosion, found this one, and reprinted it without necessarily reading or agreeing with Mariani’s article. Interestingly, this image was omitted on Columbia University’s 04 May 2018 reprint of Hamm’s article the following week, suggesting that editors at Columbia noticed this and did not want to give publicity to creationists. It was also omitted on Phys.org‘s reprint. This is just speculation, but seems reasonable, given Darwinians’ policy of ignoring creationists when not lambasting them. We hope Tae Hamm did not get ousted from his degree program at Columbia for this ‘snafu’.The important thing is that the Snowball Earth hypothesis, as he said, is not “set in stone.” Behind the stories told to the public are often vigorous debates hidden behind the scenes, as if the cooks in the kitchen have a knock-down, drag-out fight before serving their steaming dish of pottage with a big smile to the customers. “Snowball Earth” is a made-up phrase, like “Late Heavy Bombardment” or “Cryogenic Period,” that reifies a particular interpretation of the evidence, and conjures up visions of cartoon realities. Cartoon illustrations are models of figments in scientists’ imaginations about the unobservable past, not realities. Evidence for an Ice Age are strong, creationists agree, but when it occurred, and for how long, are matters of interpretation of the same evidence available to all. Creationists find suitable causes for a single ice age in the Flood, during which warm oceans from the fountains of the great deep (Genesis 7:11) would have led to massive amounts of precipitation; indeed, you can’t get low-latitude glaciation from a cold ocean. Creationists also explain the retreat of the glaciers after the Flood, because the climate oscillated back as the oceans cooled again after the heavy snowfall, reaching equilibrium. Evolutionary geophysicists cannot explain how a frozen Earth could ever recover. The reflective ice over a cold ocean would have lowered Earth temperatures further, locking it into a permanent snowball condition.More ridiculous is the evolutionary notion that the end of a Precambrian ice age (whether Snowball or Slushball version) led to an “Explosion of Life!” as the poster teachers. Are visitors to the Denver Museum told this? Are they encouraged to hear both sides of the debate? Are they encouraged to read Stephen Meyer’s book Darwin’s Doubt? Does the museum loop the film Darwin’s Dilemma next to the poster? That will be the day. The curators at the museum probably don’t even quote Darwinians who find the Cambrian Explosion to be a huge, unanswered challenge, because Darwinism must be presented to the public as fact, about which scientists are all in perfect agreement.One can only hope that viewers of this poster will think for themselves, “How could such an amazing diversity of body plans arise in a geological instant?” or “How could a rise in oxygen, or melting glaciers, create complex specified body plans like these?” Darwin envisioned slow, gradual accumulation of beneficial variations by natural selection. This poster shows the fossil reality. All these animal body plans, with articulating limbs, guts, eyes and behaviors, appear at the base of the Cambrian suddenly without ancestors. That’s creation, not evolution.Denver Museum poster of the Cambrian Explosionlast_img read more

Exploring Standard Bank’s glass-fronted green building

first_imgStandard Bank’s new R2.5-billion building, completed in late 2013, has been given a five-star rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa.Standard Banks new ‘green’ building will house 5 000 of the bank’s staff. (Image: Standard Bank)Lucille DavieYou know you’re the most important person in the building when you’re the only one with a formal office, in an 11-storey, five-star-rated green building.The innovative environment-friendly new Standard Bank building on Baker Street in Rosebank, Johannesburg, is set for full occupation by 5 000 employees at the end of March. Its 65 000 square metres will have only one individual office, for bank chairman Ben Kruger. The rest of the building is entirely open plan, supplemented with dozens of meeting rooms and quiet nooks where staff can gather to discuss business.The R2.5-billion building, completed in late 2013, has been given a five-star rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa. The council is an independent, non-profit company formed in 2007 to lead the greening of South Africa’s built environment. Construction experts work with industry bodies, leaders, government departments and professionals to develop green solutions for the property industry. It is one of 92 members of the World Green Building Council.The council rates the sustainability of buildings according to four, five and six stars. Four stars are for “best practice”, five for “South African excellence”, and a six-star rating for “world leadership”. Standard Bank had targeted a four-star rating, so were pleased with the five stars the building received, says Rob Gravette, the head of project management at the bank.Open to the publicStandard Bank has created an attractive public dimension to the place – a green piazza the size of a rugby field open to the people of Rosebank, overlooked by the glass-fronted building. There it has planted 422 trees, all indigenous, as well as flower beds which by next summer will be bursting with blooms. In 2009 the bank cut down a number of established exotic trees on the site, including planes, pin oaks, palms, poplars, jacarandas, and the only indigenous tree, a white stinkwood, which caused a public outcry at the time.A green piazza the size of a rugby field open to the people of Rosebank (Image: Standard Bank)The public can enter the building from the piazza, and grab a meal at the ground floor restaurant. The foyer soars into the sky, with a set of escalators moving quietly up and down, offering views into the striking atrium with its huge hanging Marco Cianfanelli Africa-shaped sculpture, called The Seed, made of plywood stained with different earthy colours.The bank’s head office remains in the Johannesburg CBD, at the southern end of Simmonds Street, which houses 15 500 employees in 200 000 square metres. The dispersed business units have moved into the Rosebank building, although the eighth floor executive level is still to be occupied. This is where the chairman will find his desk.Sustainable constructionConstruction began in May 2010, and by mid-2013 the first bank employees started moving in. The finishing touches are still being applied, but it seems from the relaxed atmosphere inside that people are happy to be there, especially if they’ve come from the cavernous head office in the CBD.Massive triple-glazed glass walls go up 11 storeys, an area equivalent to 50 tennis courts, making optimal use of natural light and giving workers stunning views over the green trees and gardens of Rosebank.The building is in two parts: a nine-storey east wing and 11-storey west wing. And it ticks all the correct green boxes, of course. It has the usual dual-flush toilets, low-flow shower heads and tap aerators. Rainwater is harvested from the roof, reducing potable water demand by 56%. Water flowing into the basement – there are five levels of parking underground – is used for the gardens. There are bicycle lock-up slots for employees who cycle to work, with showers.An energy-saving gas-powered trigeneration plant, installed at a cost of R40-million, runs the building’s lighting, heating and cooling. “Standard Bank Rosebank’s trigeneration plant is South Africa’s second and, at a production capacity of one megawatt of energy, it will significantly reduce the building’s carbon footprint,” the bank said in a statement. There are also five generators, providing the building with full backup power, if needed.A cutting-edge digitally addressable lighting system, or Dali, has been installed in 99.26% of the building. This allows light fittings to be programmed according to use: lights automatically dim or switch off if an area is empty or receiving more sunlight. Lights near windows are dimmer than those towards the middle of the office, where less sunlight penetrates. Each light is linked to a computer, which tracks its performance. “Every light has an IP address,” says Gravette.One of the most impressive features is the windows’ triple-layered glazing, with a shading blind between the layers. The blinds automatically open and close as the outside light changes, taking the glare off surfaces inside the building. More than 65% of the exterior of the building is glass. The system took two and a half years for German experts to develop, says Gravette.Over 60% of the steel used in the building is recycled, while 50% of the timber has been sourced from Forest Stewardship Council certified suppliers. The council is an international not-for-profit organisation established in 1993 to promote responsible management of the world’s forests.At least 20% of the bulky materials used in the construction were sourced from within 400 kilometres of Rosebank, reducing carbon emissions in transporting the materials to the site.And, of course, throughout the building there are recycling bins for office consumables, and others for kitchen and restaurant waste.A studious atmosphereThe large offices themselves have a studious atmosphere, with stacks of white cabinets at the end of each long desk, labelled with the names of those sitting at the desk. Storerooms for files are discreetly tucked away, while air-con grids push out cool air at spaced intervals along the carpeted floor. Light streams in, wherever you sit.Each floor is colour coded, with communal work tables, café-style seating, armchairs and high-backed fabric seating, which is almost sound-proof, allowing for confidential discussions and alternative work spaces.“It’s different, and more relaxing,” says one employee, “I like the view and the office space allows for more interaction. I like to have people close.”Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Maharashtra announces rehabilitation package for submerged villages

first_imgThe Maharashtra government has announced that villages that were fully submerged in the recent floods will be rehabilitated either on State land or private land that the government is willing to buy at market rate, said Chandrakant Patil, Cabinet Minister for Revenue, PWD (Excluding Undertakings) and Guardian Minister for Kolhapur and Pune, on Wednesday.The senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said the plan will be put in place first for over 100 villages on an immediate basis. The first of the villages to be fully rehabilitated on revenue land will be in the vicinity of Pune. “If that is not available, we will rehabilitate the village on private land,” he said.The minister also took stock of the affected areas in the region and said the government is providing all the required assistance, including ₹5,000 as immediate relief and foodgrains. Mr. Patil said the government will do everything possible to rehabilitate over 300 submerged villages in Pune and Kolhapur. “It has also undertaken on a priority basis rehabilitation of damaged bridges. We are informing the victims of State benefits made available after the floods,” he said, after the tour on Wednesday. The Maharashtra Cabinet has already announced ₹6,813-crore assistance for flood-hit people, out of which ₹4,708 crore was allocated to Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara and ₹2,105 crore to the Konkan and Nashik.The State Cabinet has already decided to pay ₹16,602 as compensation towards the destruction of a pucca home while approving ₹5,200 for partial damages. Meanwhile, ₹4,000 will be compensated for a hutment. An estimated 23,000 homes have been destroyed while others have been partially damaged, officials said. Senior officials said the Cabinet has approved ₹222 crore for rebuilding homes and may eventually tap into schemes such as Ramai Awas Yojna and Shabri Gharkul Yojna. The floods have caused damage in over 750 villages, while near 4.5 lakh people have been displaced.last_img read more

In peak shape, Seema Antil hopes to grab the spotlight at the Olympics

first_imgKrishna Poonia versus Seema Antil is not as hyped as many other rivalries in Indian sport. Yet, as D-day nears for the London Olympics opening ceremony, the tall Seema is looking confident.Almost shying away from the media at a party on Monday night, Seema is playing the quiet game. “Talk to my coach please,” she said when a couple of mediapersons approached her.”Insi miliye, yee mere husband hain,” she said again, trying to deflect the attention. However, after the pleasantries, it was time for Seema to talk.Having spent almost 10 months training in California, Seema says she has got stronger and is ready for the big day. The drug spectre has haunted her for long and now she knows it’s all about competing fair and square in the unpredictable weather of London.The small, light-red tilak on her forehead did suggest she has been praying hard and hopes to do well. But at an event as big as the Olympics, nothing is because of chance.”The time has come and I am ready. Nobody can now offer any excuse,” says Seema, looking quite relaxed.Having been through her share of lows as well, when she first tested positive for drugs, Seema is aware what it will be like in London.Seema looked surprised when she was asked how she was feeling.”I am feeling good sir,” said a shy Seema, almost refusing to move away from her husband who stood at attention. “I am in peak shape and no fitness worries,” she added as she again tried to engage her coach to be involved in the conversation.More questions followed, as she was asked if the focus on Krishna Poonia was upsetting her. “People probably don’t know me well but I’m happy to be away from limelight and recently threw 62.30 metres in a competition in UK,” she said.At the same time, Krishna had thrown just close to 61 metres.Seema’s own expectations are that on current form she is hoping to make the final. At this point, finally, coach Tony Ciarelly stepped in.Looking rugged and ready to talk, Ciarelly spoke of how Seema had worked hard. “Yeah, she has worked with me now for almost a year though it could have been longer,” he said.”In my view, the strongest thing about Seema is she works hard. I have been able to work on her technique and tact and she is able to hurl the discus freely. The weather in London may be unpredictable but if it gets slippery, I am confident Seema will still do well,” said coach Ciarelly.”Her fitness is good and she is fully aware of her body which any athlete should be,” he adds.So what is Seema capable of? “Let’s be honest, I’m looking at the finals. At least 4-5 girls are better than the two Indian girls Seema and Krishna who I saw for the first time last week.”It’s bright and sunny now but if the weather changes, count Seema in. She is capable of 64-65m… so you never know,” he said.Seema won bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. This time, she is aware nothing can be left to chance.advertisementlast_img read more