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To the surprise of tourists, one of Australia’s seacoast rock formations called the “Twelve Apostles” collapsed into a pile of rubble before their eyes, reported CNN, ABC and other news sources. The fall of the 150-foot high sedimentary formation was caught in before-and-after snapshots by a teenager. Even though standard geology claims the rocks began to form 20 million years ago (see the BBC News story), the remains will probably be washed away by the waves within weeks. Answers in Genesis took this event, and others like it, as evidence that such formations could not be nearly as old as claimed.Let the evidence speak for itself. Anyone infer millions of years with this kind of eyewitness testimony? Here is a candidate for Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week from a tourist, reported by News.com.au: “It’s pretty unbelievable; it’s history in the making today… It won’t be the same sort of photo any more, but it is evolution.” Darwinism wouldn’t generate much of an edifice with this kind of process. If the tourist meant that Darwinism itself is crumbling in a similarly rapid manner, well, then the remark would be rather astute.(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
12 December 2006It’s 6.30 on a misty morning at the Buddhist Retreat Centre near the town of Ixopo in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. Thirty people are stretching through a session of “mindful yoga” in a hall with cool parquet floors and tall windows that frame the greenery outside.Hours later, when the mist clears, they can walk through a forest up a gentle slope to the stupa, or shrine, and look across the valley to the clusters of homesteads that make up Chibini village. The centre is among the most beautiful spots on the planet, with paths winding through a paradise of indigenous trees, rare orchids and tree ferns. Duiker and vervet monkeys live in the forest; otters have been spotted in the dam below the centre; there are horses there, and rescued cats and their progeny patrol the grounds.When Durban-based Dutch architect Louis van Loon bought 140 hectares of derelict farmland in 1970, it was what he describes as a “wild wattle wilderness”.Over the next decade he dug up pine seedlings on the roadside and replanted them on the farm to get a fast-growing forest going. Then he added indigenous trees. There are thousands of them now, attracting 160 species of birds, including the endangered blue swallow. For both accomplishments, the centre has been awarded National Heritage status.It is just as well that the surroundings are inspirational, because the accommodation is spartan. Most visitors stay in a rambling residence – one narrow bed, shelves for clothes behind a muslin curtain, and a shared bathroom across the hall, as in an old-fashioned hotel.Unsurprisingly, cellphones only work – and then sporadically – at the foot of a 5m-high Buddha statue sculpted by Van Loon and set in a small park.But you don’t go to the BRC for mod cons and luxury. You don’t even go there for the fabulous vegetarian food. You go there to chill, or to learn how to live in the moment – a skill most of us lost when childhood ended.Relearning mindfulnessIt is called mindfulness, and can be learnt in a variety of ways. At the BRC, there are structured weekends called “the radiant awareness of being” or “the application of mindfulness” (this for health professionals working in HIV/Aids). But there are also weekends devoted to making and flying a kite; or learning to sketch; or drumming. There’s a very popular birding weekend.The author of the best-selling Quiet Food cookery book runs an annual retreat titled “an introduction to mindful cooking”. Anthony Shapiro, the centre’s artist-in-residence (see sidebar), leads pottery retreats.It’s an unusual programme for an institution devoted to unlocking the spiritual dimension in the individual. And when the centre opened some 25 years ago, the retreats and workshops were not without controversy.How does “mindful birdwatching” qualify as a Buddhist retreat?“Buddhists make it their business simply to sit down on a cushion and notice that that is all that’s happening: that they’re sitting, not standing. And that they’re breathing,” says Van Loon.“This is being mindful – being present in the here and now, however simple and uneventful. It is the perfect antidote to our frenetic, compulsive-obsessive lifestyle.“So why not extend this clarity of experiencing where you are and what is happening from moment to moment to everything else in your life, including watching a bird fly past? Or brushing your teeth?“We can find profound philosophy and meaning in life in the moments when we are truly in touch with things. Sketching, for example, is a powerful way of getting out of our self-centredness, by closely observing something other than our own dramas.”‘ubuntu Buddhism’Van Loon describes what is practised at the BRC as “ubuntu Buddhism”, influenced both by the spirit of Africa, the concept of ubuntu, and the culture of the West. “I think Western science and psychology, African philosophy and art have an incredible richness and depth which can contribute to an exciting new Buddhism,” he says.Is Buddhism a religion or a philosophy? He doesn’t actually answer the question. Some people call it a religion, he says, and some a philosophy. But “Buddhism doesn’t have the usual concepts and doctrines, dogmas, the articles of faith and belief built into its philosophy that most religions find absolutely fundamental, like a firm belief in a creator God, for example. For most people, that disqualifies it as a religion.“It’s not that Buddhism denies or accepts the existence of God, but that it does not find theological concepts like original sin, judgement, heaven and hell, etcetera very useful or meaningful in living our day-to-day existence.”The centre is remarkably laid back, and teachers – who, by the way, donate their services, in Buddhist tradition – also seem to follow Van Loon’s tolerant lead. If you skip a meditation session or a lecture, it’s no big deal. You can go deeply into Buddhist philosophy and meditation practice. Or you can put that aside for another day, another visit, so long as you adhere, at least while you’re there, to the most important stricture: do not cause harm.You can attend every session in the hope that at some point you may be blissed out, if only for a moment or two. Or you can simply drink in the gentleness and joy that seems to pervade the BRC.What’s remarkable is that it works, either way. For weeks afterwards, you’re not concerned about taxi drivers cutting in front of you, and stopping. You just shrug it off. It’s their karma. And it’s not that important.In this worldWhat is, then? “We can’t sit on our meditation cushions and work on our spiritual well-being without incorporating the welfare of those around us,” says Van Loon. The Buddhist principle of living a noble life in the midst of everyday chaos has been applied towards improving the lives of the people in the valley.Thus: Woza Moya (Come Spirit), a non-profit organisation linked to Chibini. The BRC has raised funds to build and maintain both a primary and secondary school. There’s an active HIV/Aids programme, with home-based care workers from the community trained at the clinic in Ixopo and involved in everything from counselling to orphan intervention.Which makes it okay for retreatants to search for their spirituality without feeling hypocritical about contemplating their navel while surrounded by incredible poverty.Nobody stops you from supplementing the pittance you pay for lodging with a donation to Woza Moya – but nobody will harass you for it either. It is, after all, your karma.This article was first published in The Weekender. Republished here with kind permission of Barbara Ludman and The Weekender.
Complexity, likewise, creates problems for the end users. I thought he was going to talk about how difficult it is to get a good building enclosure or mechanical system with a complex design. More than most of us in the industry, though, Robert Bean has a laser focus on the people who live in, work in, and otherwise occupy buildings, so he sees the problem of complexity all the way down to the occupant. It’s certainly important for all the people who work on the building, but as Bean said about operating the systems in a home, “If it’s so complex the consumer has to actually learn the designer’s profession, they won’t use it.”The combustion pigOK, let’s tackle the tough one now. You may be thinking that he said we’ve got to get rid of combustion because of air pollution or because it’s mainly from fossil fuels. You’d be wrong if so. His argument was efficiency — but not energy efficiency. He introduced a quantity that not too many people have heard of — exergy — and said that exergy efficiency is more important than energy efficiency in analyzing how we use energy.I have to admit I don’t understand exergy well. I’ve seen it mentioned in the past but have never jumped in to see what it’s all about. Since catching the presentation last week, though, I’ve been reading about it more and also spent an hour on the phone with Robert trying to get a handle on it.A little bit about heat and efficiencyIt’s hard to talk about exergy without at least dipping our toes into the thermodynamics pool, but I’ll try to keep this at the 3,000 meter level. (That’s ~10,000 feet for you civilians.) First, exergy is generally defined as the maximum amount of useful work (energy) you can get by moving heat from a higher temperature source to a lower temperature sink.For example, you can burn a fuel like coal to create a high temperature, converting chemical to thermal energy. Then you can use the heat to make high-pressure steam, converting the thermal energy to mechanical energy that can be used to turn a turbine that generates electricity. As the energy moves through the system, it does work and the temperature drops. A real power plant doesn’t extract the maximum amount of useful work from the energy because real systems are always less efficient than the ideal.And that, of course, brings us to Sadi Carnot and the maximum theoretical efficiency of heat engines. Carnot came up with the idea of an upper limit for energy efficiency, which is now called the Carnot efficiency. That theoretical efficiency depends only on the temperatures of the source and the sink. (For the record, it’s calculated as 1 – [TC/TH], where TC is the sink temperature and TH is the source temperature.) The bigger the temperature difference between source and sink, the higher the theoretical efficiency.When you multiply the Carnot efficiency by the amount of heat available, you find the maximum amount of useful work you can get from those two temperatures. Go back to the first paragraph of this section and you’ll find that this is exactly what we defined as exergy.Bean’s takeIn his presentation (which you can download from the BSC website), Bean showed calculations of exergy efficiencies for different fuels with different temperatures. For example, natural gas combustion results in an exergy efficiency of 6.1% (slide 172), whereas using solar thermal energy can be done at an exergy efficiency of 20.1% (slide 174). Those are all based on the temperatures of the source energy: 3,400°F for natural gas and 220°F for solar thermal.Based on those calculations, Bean says that we should opt for lower temperature sources of fuel. The way he put it is that it doesn’t make sense to create heat at a temperature of 3,400°F when we’re trying to heat our homes with fluids at a temperature on the order of 100°F. If we used sources with temperatures closer to 100°F, we’d be doing the job with a much higher exergy efficiency.According to Bean, using combustion to heat our homes is like doing backyard gardening with a trackhoe. It’s like hammering in finishing nails with a sledgehammer. It’s like using a Turbo-Thermo-Encabulator Max to harvest dental floss! (OK, he didn’t really say that last one.)My take on Bean’s take is that the temperature of the fuel is the main thing you need to look at because it governs the exergy. Rather than using high-temperature sources of energy, he thinks we need to leave the combustion for industrial processes and let the lower-temperature “waste” heat filter down to the low-grade uses like space heating.My difficulties with the exergy analysisI’m far from the smartest person who goes to Summer Camp. In fact, I was in the bottom half of my class in graduate school and usually have to work hard to understand the more abstract concepts. If I were a Richard Feynman or a Lise Meitner, the deep remifications of exergy would probably be immediately obvious to me. But I’m not and they aren’t, so I’m still sitting here trying to figure it all out nearly a week after Robert gave his presentation.One thing Robert and I went back and forth on when I spoke with him about this was his use of temperatures to draw conclusions. The trackhoe versus trowel contrast above works because of the vastly different capacities of the two tools. But temperature isn’t energy. A burning match at 1,400°F has a lot less energy available for heating than a 10,000 gallon tank of water at 100°F.Who cares, I said to Robert, that a gas furnace burns at a high temperature if it’s a condensing furnace and you’re extracting 96% of the BTUs and using them to heat the building? After spending an hour talking with him on the phone, the best I could make of this is that an exergy analysis doesn’t really help you when you’re looking at a single building. Its best use if for deciding how to use energy on a large scale.In Bean’s view, the best use for high-temperature fuels is for industrial purposes. Then you use the moderate temperature “waste” heat for processes that can’t use lower temperatures. Only at the bottom of the chain do you use what’s left for heating buildings.Now my mind is wandering to entropy and air conditioning and the distribution of electricity. I’m thinking about thermodynamic potentials, statistical mechanics, and the words of David Goodstein:Ludwig Boltzmann, who spent much of his life studying Statistical Mechanics, died in 1906, by his own hand. Paul Ehrenfest, carrying on the work, died similarly in 1933. Now it is our turn to study Statistical Mechanics. Perhaps it will be wise to approach the subject cautiously.My brain is hurting and my self-esteem is waning. But at least I can read the shirt Marc Rosenbaum was wearing on the last day of Summer Camp!Can you? (Hint: It’s his alma mater.) Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, energy consultant, RESNET-certified trainer, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. Check out his in-depth course, Mastering Building Science at Heatspring Learning Institute, and follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard. RELATED ARTICLESA Plethora of Building Science ConferencesAll About Radiant FloorsRainscreen Gaps and IgloosStuff I Learned at Joe Lstiburek’s House, Part 1Stuff I Learned at Joe Lstiburek’s House, Part 2 Why we should consider simplicity during the design phase Building Science Summer Camp was last week. That means I was in Massachusetts with 500 of my closest friends, staying up too late, talking building science out the wazoo, and attending some great presentations from leaders in the world of building science.My big takeaways from Summer Camp this year were Marty Houston’s “hairy hand of quality,” Robert Bean’s three little pigs, and a black toenail. The first was a striking image, the second is the topic of this article, and the third will probably fall off in a few days. (Sorry. If that makes you squeamish, just be glad I didn’t tell you how I relieved the pressure.)The customization and complexity pigsThe three little pigs that Robert Bean was referring to are combustion, customization, and complexity. I’ll save combustion for last because that’s where he used his most sophisticated arguments, including a term you may not be familiar with. Customization and complexity are similar but independent. A customized building can be simple, and a complex building could be standardized. Both customization and complexity, however, end up making sustainability a harder goal to reach.Customization, Bean said, is the opposite of standardization. If a mechanical contractor, for example, provides customized heating and air conditioning systems for every house he works on in a 40-year career, he may be leaving a lot of little nightmares for the service contractors who have to go in later and figure the system out. Here’s how Bean described it:You can take a contractor and plop a box full of parts in front of him, and he will interpret in his own mind with his own creativity how those parts should look when they’re assembled. So what happens is that if you go back twenty years or so, contractor A did it in contractor A’s way for that day on that jobsite. In today’s time, he’s done that for 20 years, and so have millions of other contractors, which means you can’t walk into a mechanical room and find the same system. It’s virtually impossible to go into any mechanical room, if it’s hydronic specifically, and find any standardized method.If you continue that process into the future — 5, 10, 20 years … over a 40-year period you have this smorgasbord of mechanical systems owned by consumers who haven’t got a clue what this is about. If you’re a contractor and get a call to service this system, where do you even begin?… And the sin in all of that is that the guy who did the customization, when he retires, he walks away from the system and he doesn’t care. He’s retired. The person he did the customized work for, they own it for life.
CJ McCollum40.7–– Even in the area where the duos are most similar — long-range sniping — they are still markedly different because of the disparate ways the players come by their threes. Lillard and McCollum have almost exact inverse splits between the percentage of their 3-point makes that have been pull-ups vs. catch-and-shoots over the past four years, per Second Spectrum, while Curry and Thompson’s splits have not lined up quite as cleanly. Despite the fact that these guard pairings have carried similar usage rates them over these past four years (30.7 percent and 26.7 percent for Lillard and McCollum; 31.1 percent and 25.4 percent for Curry and Thompson), the above figures show that they have come by that usage in vastly different ways. This is further driven home by the fact that Curry and Thompson have been assisted on their baskets far more often (52 percent and 82 percent) than have Lillard and McCollum (29.6 percent and 38.5 percent).These differences naturally stem from the high-end talent disparity between the two teams. Curry and Thompson have had the benefit of playing alongside Green and Andre Iguodala for the entirety of their run, and they’ve had Kevin Durant as an additional wingman for the past three years. Lillard and McCollum, meanwhile, have spent the majority of their time playing alongside Moe Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu, as well as one of big men Mason Plumlee, Jusuf Nurkic and Enes Kanter. Those three are all nice players, and they have each proven incredibly valuable for Portland at different times, but none of them brings anywhere close to the brilliance of Durant or Green, none has the versatility of Iguodala, and none is the caliber of playmaker any of the aforementioned Golden State players are.The Warriors thinned out their bench in their series against Houston, but not to the point that Curry and Thompson had less help on their side than Lillard and McCollum do — and anyway, Portland is not Houston. The Blazers don’t have the ability to go small as often or as dangerously as the Rockets did when they put P.J. Tucker at center, which means that Andrew Bogut, Kevon Looney and even Jordan Bell can be on the floor more often. As good as Lillard is, the Blazers don’t have a singular player who has broken the game quite in the same way James Harden. And they don’t have the deep wellspring of wing shooters Houston has, either.What they do have is a star guard tandem and a deep group of players who have supported Dame and CJ on this run to the conference finals. That construction has generally not been enough for teams to beat the Warriors in the past. It may not be now, either. But the Splash Brothers Lite will try to make it work.Check out our latest NBA predictions. Stephen Curry46.7–– This, of course, is the natural result of the contrasting job descriptions of these players, which flow from the differing roster constructions in Portland and Golden State.Thompson is a classic shooting guard like you might have seen in the early 2000s. He works almost exclusively off the ball, flying off pin-downs and flare screens, spotting up when Curry runs pick and rolls or making split-cuts when Draymond Green has the ball in the post. Curry, meanwhile, may be Golden State’s point guard, but he is more of a co-lead ball-handler, along with Green and Durant, because that structure allows the Warriors to better weaponize his shooting abilities.By contrast, Lillard is essentially the prototype of the modern-day attack guard who is at the controls of the offense at all times, while McCollum splits his time: working off the ball alongside Lillard, on the ball as a de facto backup point guard in certain lineups and off the ball again in bench-heavy units alongside Evan Turner or Curry’s brother Seth. By wading into the tracking data on NBA.com, we can see that in each of the past four seasons, the ball has been in Lillard’s hands for a greater share of his time on the floor than Curry and Thompson’s shares combined, and McCollum has had the ball in his hands nearly as often as Curry and usually more than twice as often as Thompson. * Calculated by dividing the number of minutes the ball was in a player’s hands by that player’s total minutes played during a given season.Source: Second Spectrum ––51.3 2017-1821.512.316.04.9 Average22.612.915.84.9 Source: Second Spectrum Damian Lillard60.5%–– The NBA’s splashiest backcourt outside Oakland resides in Portland. Trail Blazers stars Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have combined to make 1,645 threes over the past four seasons, more than any duo in the league besides Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.1The four-year period starts when McCollum was elevated to the starting lineup — after the offseason departures of LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and Nic Batum — and became the Robin to Lillard’s Batman. Steph and Klay are also the only backcourt in the league to average more collective points per game over that span of time than Dame and CJ.The Splash Brothers are still (somewhat obviously) the superior pairing. Curry and Thompson are widely considered two of the greatest shooters of all time, and they completely warp opposing defenses. Thompson is also far and away the best defender of the four players. But when the quartet squares off in the Western Conference finals, which begin Tuesday night, the Blazers won’t just be bringing an inferior version of the Splash Brothers to the table. The Splash Brothers Lite are mostly just different — and there are even a few things Dame and CJ do a bit better than Steph and Klay.For starters, Portland’s guards attack off the bounce far more often than their Northern California counterparts. Lillard averaged 13.3 drives per game this season, per Second Spectrum tracking data on NBA.com, and his 7.7 points per game on drives ranked 17th among the 353 NBA players who appeared in at least 40 games. McCollum, meanwhile, averaged 9.4 drives that created 6.3 points per game, a figure that tied for 28th among the same group of players. Each of the Blazers’ guards averaged more drive-points per game than the Warriors’ backcourt duo combined.2Curry’s 7.7 drives per game created 3.9 points per game, (73rd) while Thompson’s 4.4 drives created 2.1 points per game (132nd), which means they combined for only 6.0 points per game off the drive.This isn’t a new phenomenon, either. The Blazers’ guard duo has consistently been more aggressive in attacking the paint than the Warriors have been — both before and after Golden State acquired Kevin Durant prior to the 2016-17 season. ––84.8 2015-1624.5%15.2%16.9%5.1% Portland’s guards handle the ball moreThe time of possession rates* for each pair of players, 2015-16 to 2018-19 ––36.1% 2018-1921.710.014.14.6 Klay Thompson14.0–– YearLillardMcCollumCurryThompson The Splash Brother pairs shoot their threes in different waysShare of made 3-pointers in the regular season that were pull-up vs. catch-and-shoot, 2015-16 to 2018-19 ––58.7 Pull-upCatch-and-shoot 2016-1722.513.615.94.9
Posted: August 28, 2018 KUSI Newsroom Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers Tuesday were investigating a panga boat that washed ashore at Windansea Beach in La Jolla.Dispatchers received reports of an empty vessel near Neptune Place around 6:30 a.m., San Diego Fire-Rescue spokeswoman Monica Munoz said.It was unclear how many people may have originally been on the small boat.San Diego police and lifeguards were called to the scene to assist with the investigation.A small fishing boat carrying 17 suspected undocumented immigrants and two suspected smugglers was intercepted about 3:45 a.m. Monday around 15 miles west of Point Loma. Updated: 11:06 AM CBP Agents investigate washed-up panga boat in La Jolla August 28, 2018 KUSI Newsroom,