Tag Archives: 上海419

Science Potpourri

first_imgReaders will note some candidates for Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week that got overlooked.Moral evolution:  In the Oct 6 issue, Michael Waldmann reviewed Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong by Marc D. Hauser (Prentice-Hall, 2006) – an odd title mixing metaphors of naturalism and design.  As could be expected, morality is discussed in purely naturalistic terms of natural selection and neuroscience, ignoring centuries of theological and philosophical input on such a sensitive subject so close to the human heart.  This is true even though Waldmann praises Hauser at one point, “Although Hauser is not shy about his theoretical preferences, he presents alternative theories in a fair manner.”  The only alternatives mentioned by the author or reviewer, however, are those based on evolutionary assumptions.It’s painful to leave these articles behind without more detailed analysis, but after all, this is a “Headlines” website.  Readers interested in these topics are encouraged to go to the original sources for further study. Keep the Baloney Detector handy, though.  As the quotes from “Brainy ideas” bullet indicate, evolutionists perennially assume that blind processes of chance can produce exquisitely engineered products.  Once the Darwin Party is forced to back up these claims instead of asserting them unchallenged, the gig will be up, and design science will be back in vogue.    When Darwinism finally falls into the dustbin of history, a fresh new way of looking at the world will open up in art, science, literature, history and every other field of study.  Some of these ideas were investigated in a new book by Benjamin Wiker and Jonathan Witt, A Meaningful World: How the Arts & Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature.  This book is getting rave reviews by leaders in the intelligent design community.  For instance, Michael Behe said, “A Meaningful World is simply the best book I’ve seen on the purposeful design of nature… the authors portray the depth, elegance, clarity and pure cleverness of a universe designed to nurture the intelligent life that one day would discover that design.  A Meaningful World recovers lost purpose not only for science, but for all scholarly disciplines.”  Chuck Colson in his BreakPoint commentary spoke highly of it and included links for further information.(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Interesting articles from recent issues of Science have piled up in the queue.  These might have made separate entries in CEH if time and space were unlimited.Deep Impact:  The team of the Deep Impact mission to a comet published spectral results in the July 13 issue.  “Emission signatures due to amorphous and crystalline silicates, amorphous carbon, carbonates, phyllosilicates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, water gas and ice, and sulfides were found” in the plume of dust flung out by the probe.Keep on rovin’:  Steve Squyres and the Mars Exploration Rover team celebrated two years at Meridiani Planum by Opportunity in a paper on scientific results in the Sept 8 issue.  They argued that “ancient Meridiani once had abundant acidic groundwater, arid and oxidizing surface conditions, and occasional liquid flow on the surface.”  In the Sept 29 issue, Squyres and two colleagues discussed “Merging views on Mars,” about how data from orbiters and rovers is coming together to provide comprehensive models of Mars history.  They speculated, “Both the roughly neutral pH suggested by phyllosilicates and the lower pH suggested by sulfates could have produced habitable surface environments; the former may have been more suitable for the origin of life.”  Yet evidence for surface water appears local, not global.Plume gloom:  A major paradigm shift has been occurring in geology over the theory of mantle plumes and hotspots, and Science has had several stories on the controversy: On Sept 1, a Perspectives article discussed discrepancies with plume theory in its classic case, the Hawaiian seamount bend.  Also in the Sept 1 issue, another Perspectives piece asked if a chain of offshore Japanese volcanoes is “Another nail in the plume coffin?”  Three weeks later in the Sept 22 issue, Richard Kerr asked if plumes are phantom or real: “Seismologists probing the planet’s depths are generating tantalizing images, but whereas some researchers see signs of plumes feeding volcanic hot spots, others see noise.”Radiocarbonization:  Those interested in the assumptions behind radiocarbon dating should check Michael Balter’s article in the Sept 15 issue, “Radiocarbon dating’s final frontier.”  He talks about the “heroic and contentious effort” to calibrate the method to 50,000 years, but unveils how coming up with a “calibration curve” is a controversial matter.  Here’s a sample about Paul Mellars (U of Cambridge) that may raise eyebrows on how the sausage is made:Mellars insists that archaeologists can’t wait for a final calibration curve.  “Are we all really expected to keep studies of modern human origins on hold for the next 5 years, until they decide they’ve finally got the calibration act together?” he asks.  The working group, he argues, “has hijacked the term ‘calibration’ to mean an absolutely agreed, rubber stamped, legalistic, signed, sealed, and delivered curve.”  And even when the experts agree on a curve, Mellars says, it will not be “final and absolute” but “simply the best estimate from the data at the time.”Ocean motion:  Richard Kerr discussed a surprising discovery Sept 22 that plankton are a major factor in stirring the ocean.  This “preposterous” conclusion is supported by measurements of how krill descend into the depths during the day and ascent at night to feed.  The sheer numbers of these swimmers are a major factor in agitating ocean waters, and could be affecting global climate as well.  On Oct. 13, a press release about this was published from Florida State University.Asteroid puzzles:  Robert Clayton gave a summary of asteroid science in the Sept 22 issue.  One puzzle is interpreting oxygen isotope differences in terms of accretion history.  “An additional unsolved problem in planet formation is the possibility of large oxygen isotope differences between the Sun and the inner planets.”  Greenwood et al. discussed this in more detail, also in the Sept 22 issue.  They had to postulate that “intense asteroidal deformation accompanied planetary accretion in the early Solar System” was responsible for the stony-iron meteorites.    In the Oct 6 issue, Richard Kerr asked, “Has lazy mixing spoiled the primordial stew?”  Drawing on the studies of isotopic composition in meteorites, he warned that new findings “indicate that the notion of permanent layering in Earth’s depths may rest on shaky assumptions about the chemistry of the early solar system.”Lab goof?  Elisabeth Pennisi explored whether a previous claim that plants can recover their grandparent’s genomes was due to contamination in the lab, in the Sept 29 issue.  One lab can’t reproduce the other’s and vice versa.  The jury is still out, she concludes.Ribosome in focus:  Scientists continue to resolve more detail in the DNA-translating factory, the ribosome.  The Sept 7 issue had a paper on the structure of the 70S ribosome complexed with mRNA and tRNA, including details of the roles of metal ions and proteins in the intersubunit bridges.  The authors didn’t explain how these could have evolved, other than to say, twice, that they “had evolved” to do this or that function.Brainy ideas:  The Oct. 6 issue featured computational neuroscience, with no less than a dozen articles and book reviews on the subject.  Evolutionary neurologists strive to reduce everything, even human altruism and the moral sense, to the connections of neurons and the actions of neurotransmitters in the synapses.  Peter Stern and John Travis gave an overview of the field in Of Bytes and Brains.    When these articles mentioned evolution at all, most of them merely assumed it, such as this selection from Greg Miller’s An enterprising approach to brain science, which can be considered representative: “This memory-prediction framework has evolved to take advantage of the spatial and temporal structure in our surroundings, Hawkins says, which helps explain why brains easily do certain tasks that give computers fits.”  If you need more examples, here are the only three mentions of evolution in Ingrid Wickelgren’s piece, Vision’s grand theorist: [Eero] Simoncelli’s analyses have already solved several longstanding mysteries in visual science: for example, how the brain assembles a moving picture of the world and why humans drive too quickly in the fog.  He’s also helped explain how evolution may have sculpted the brain to respond ideally to the visual environment on Earth.Next, Simoncelli wanted to link his image analysis to the human visual system.  He hypothesized that evolution may have forced the brain to encode the visual world in the most efficient, mathematically optimal way.  Using that concept, Simoncelli and his colleagues reported in 2001 that the nonlinear responses of neurons, such as those in the primary visual cortex at the back of the brain, are well-matched to the statistical properties of the visual environment on Earth, that is, the mathematical patterns of lightness and darkness that recur in visual scenes.The result may help explain how evolution nudged certain visual neurons to be acutely sensitive to object edges and contours, for example.last_img read more

Major Tenet of Darwinism Found Opposite the Evidence

first_img(Visited 52 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Species do not compete to survive in the same space, a massive study of birds shows.“‘Be Different or Die’ Does Not Drive Evolution” is the game-changing headline on PhysOrg based on a press release from the University of Oxford.  A decade-long study of ovenbirds on several continents shows that similar species can live together in harmony.  The paper, published in Nature, challenges the idea that only the fittest survive in an ecosystem.Ovenbirds are a very diverse group.  By studying the phenotypes and genotypes of 350 species, the Oxford team, with help from other universities, concluded that a key concept of Darwinism is wrong.A new study has found that species living together are not forced to evolve differently to avoid competing with each other, challenging a theory that has held since Darwin’s Origin of Species.…They found that although bird species occurring together were consistently more different than species living apart, this was simply an artefact of species being old by the time they meet. In fact, once variation in the age of species was accounted for, coexisting species were actually more similar than species evolving separately, opposite to Darwin’s view which remains widely-held today.Dr. Joe Tobias (U of Oxford) hastened to resuscitate Darwin, claiming there is plenty of evidence for evolutionary divergence in young lineages.  The findings, they claim, show that species can be very similar if they come into contact millions of years after evolving separately.  Darwinism re-emerges, therefore, once species age is taken into account.  This explanation, however, is circular: it decides which species are young and old based on evolutionary assumptions.  Moreover, it creates other problems.  Why would the songs of species that had been separated for millions of years be similar?Although species living together had beaks and legs that were no more different than those of species living apart, the most surprising discovery was that they had songs that were more similar. This challenges some longstanding ideas because the standard view for the last century has been that bird species living together would need to evolve different songs to avoid confusion.The team focused on beaks, legs, and songs of the ovenbirds – traits that involve modification of existing traits, not the creation of new traits.  Modest as these findings are, however, they confront Darwin’s view that competition is a key driver of evolution.  In fact, the opposite conclusion should be drawn:‘Looking at the bigger picture, ‘be different or die’ doesn’t appear to explain evolution,’ said Dr Tobias. ‘Ovenbird species use a wide variety of beaks, from long and hooked to short and straight, but these differences appear to evolve when living in isolation, suggesting that competition is not the major driving force producing species differences. Instead, it seems to have the opposite effect in promoting the evolution of similar songs.“The reasons for this are difficult to explain and require further study,” Tobias added.  Nothing was said about the evolution of a new organ, tissue, cell type or function.  Despite alleged millions of years, they are all still ovenbirds.Good grief.  Are they telling us that all the justifications for the social Darwinist experiments that left millions dead have just flown out the window?  Oh, if we could just turn back the clock and tell all those German and Russian philosophers, “Hold it!  Stop!  Darwin was wrong!  There’s room for everyone in this town.  We can all be similar or different.  The world will be better with cooperation, not genocide!  Let a million flowers bloom!  Let’s all sing like the birdies sing!”At least we can start over now and try to get it right before the next world war.This is “difficult to explain” and “requires further study,” Tobias says.  Ten years wasn’t enough?  or 150, going back to Wallace?  He has enough information.  He just wants job security.  It wouldn’t be so difficult to explain if he would just take the Charlie & Charlie brand* glasses off.  (*Darwin, Lyell)Incidentally, the millions of years is assumed, not demonstrated.  It is falsified by the similarity of songs.  If isolated populations of ovenbirds can come together after “millions of years” and sing the same tunes, then not only was Darwin wrong, Joe Tobias is singing off-key, too: he thinks the birds re-evolved the same songs!  That makes no sense.  More likely, the bird populations weren’t segregated for so long.  There’s no reason that populations can’t adapt quickly to particular niches.  Adaptation to environments is not evolution as Darwin taught (universal common ancestry by unguided natural processes).  It’s built-in design for robustness.Sing a song of Darwin, the evolution race,Ovenbirds evolve, competing for their space,When the facts come forth, though, the story’s not so cool;Isn’t that a silly song to teach the kids at school?last_img read more

Manmohan Singh named member of Parliamentary panel on Finance

first_imgFormer PM Manmohan SinghFormer prime minister Manmohan Singh, who is hailed as the architect of economic reforms in the country, is a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, it was announced on Tuesday.Incidentally, M. Veerappa Moily, who was a minister in the Manmohan Singh government, is heading the committee on Finance, which also has Congress leaders Digvijaya Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia as its members.Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP’s) Jayant Sinha, the Harvard-educated investor and son of former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, is also a member of the Committee so are S.S. Ahluwalia and Kirit Somaiya of the ruling party.In 1991, Manmohan Singh, as finance minister in the P.V. Narasimha Rao government, had ushered in economic reforms that changed the face of the country.Rahul Gandhi is a member of the Committee on External Affairs, while Congress president Sonia Gandhi does not figure in any of the panels announced. In the last Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi had been a member of the Committee on Human Resource Development (HRD) and Sports.Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge is a member of the Committee on Home Affairs headed by party colleague P. Bhattacharya.There has been a host of senior leaders in the Committee on Defence including BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi, former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda and deputy leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Amarinder Singh.The committee also includes Olympic silver medalist in shooting and Rajyavardhan Rathore of BJP and Indian Youth Congress (IYC) chief Rajeev Satav. Former General B.C. Khanduri, who missed the ministerial bus due to age factor will now head the Committee on Defence.advertisementNationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar is a member of the Committee on HRD while his party colleague Praful Patel is on the Committee for Industry headed by Janata Dal (United) JD(U) leader K.C. Tyagi.Former defence minister and Congress leader A.K. Antony is now a member of the Committee on Railways along with party veteran Motilal Vora.BJP veteran L.K. Advani is a member of the Committee on Information and Technology headed by young Anurag Thakur (BJP). He is also a member of the Committee on Public Undertakings headed by senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar.Former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan is a member of the Committee on Urban Development while former petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyer is a member of the Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas. Ahmed Patel, political secretary to the Congress president, is also a member of the committee.Trinamool Congress member Sugata Bose, who teaches History at Harvard, is a member of the Committee on External Affairs which is headed by former Union minister Shashi Tharoor of Congress. Supriya Sule of the NCP and Kanimozhi of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) are members of the committee.BJP’s Satyapal Singh, who quit as Mumbai Police Commissioner to join politics and defeated Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) supremo Ajit Singh in his home turf of Baghpat in Western Uttar Pradesh, is a member of the Committee on Agriculture.Former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa of the BJP and Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi, are also members of the committee headed by former Union minister Hukmdev Narayan Yadav.Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav is a member of the Committee on Labour while Amar Singh, who was his close associate sometime ago, is on the Committee on Food, Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs.Sachin Tendulkar is a member of the Committee on Information Technology so is Advani. Varun Gandhi, who failed to find a place in Team BJP when Amit Shah took over is also in the Committee along with party members Hema Malini and Paresh Rawal. Young BJP member Anurag Thakur heads the committee.Rekha, a nominated member, is a member of the Committee on Food, Public distribution and consumer affairs.Non-NDA parties which have got chairmanship include Trinamool Congress member K.D. Singh (Transport) former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi–also Trinamool–(Railways), Biju Janata Dal (BJD) member Pinaki Mishra (Urban Development), All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK’s) P. Venugopal (Rural Development), Satish Chandra Misra of Bahujan Samaj Party (Health) and K.C. Tyagi of JD-U (Commerce and Industry).last_img read more

UST enters UAAP Finals, topples La Salle in 5 sets

first_imgUST Golden Tigresses. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMANILA, Philippines—University of Santo Tomas finally ended La Salle’s decade-long reign on Sunday night. ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Rafael Nadal confident arriving in Madrid despite disappointing run Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew MOST READ The Tigresses made the finals for the first time in eight years. They will then face the winner in the other Final Four encounter between Far Eastern University and Ateneo on Wednesday.The celebration looked like a championship already as UST denied three-time defending champion La Salle a finals appearance for the first time in 11 years which saw the Lady Spikers winning six titles.“It’s a privilege for us to face defending champion La Salle. These big teams, La Salle, Ateneo and FEU we learned a lot from them,” said UST coach Kungfu Reyes.UST defeated La Salle twice in a row to earn the twice-to-beat incentive it never had to use. But most importantly, it emboldened the Tigresses to chase the title it last won nine years ago.Some 15,000 spectators inside the MOA Arena and thousands more on TV and internet followed the match.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss And right through the joyous aftermath, it vowed to bring back its own glory days that have been long-time coming.UST woke-up from its usual mid-game stupor to pull off a hard-fought 25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 23-25, 15-10 triumph and make the finals of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at Mall of Asia Arena.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“When I entered college this year my promise was to bring back the glory days of UST because it’s been a long time,” said UST top rookie Eya Laure after dropping 27 points, including the one that clinched the win.It’s still a long way to go, but the 20-year-old spiker at least managed to bring the Tigresses closer to their goal.center_img Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated View comments Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Big chunk of them UST alumni longing for that golden era in late 80s and early 90s where the Tigresses won seven straight crowns.“It’s not over yet. We still have one goal. We want to win the title. We owe it to the supporters, alumni who continue to believe in us,” said UST’s captain Sisi Rondina who fired 17 points.UST gave away 26 points on unforced errors in the third and fourth sets as it got lulled into complacency, something that usually happens this season when it appeared to have the match under control.“I told my teammates let’s not relax. We don’t want to be complacent,” said Laure.But that’s exactly what Tigresses did, allowing the Lady Spikers to get back into the match despite holding a 15-11 lead in the third set.Fortunately, everything clicked for UST in the fifth as it got big points from secondary options like Caitlyn Viray and even setter Alina Bicar.Viray finished with 10 points, while KC Galdones added 11 for UST. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venuelast_img read more

a month agoXavi says Barcelona must persist with Ousmane Dembele

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Xavi says Barcelona must persist with Ousmane Dembeleby Carlos Volcanoa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveBarcelona legend Xavi says management must persist with Ousmane Dembele.The World Cup winner is again on the outer at Barca following the arrival of Antoine Griezmann and a catalog of more disciplinary problems.But Xavi told ARA: “Always trust Dembélé? Yes, he has a huge potential. He is fast, skillful and uses both his feet, which complicates the life of defenders. But if (Lionel) Messi asks from him more professionalism, it must be true. He has injuries. He is a young boy and he has the ability to mature, no doubt. “But it also depends on him. I knew players with a lot of potential who did not evolve afterwards. And at the same time, players with less potential have been in Barcelona for many years. It’s a question of mentality.” last_img read more

5-Star DE Recruit CeCe Jefferson Makes Landshark Gesture As He, Hugh Freeze Bob Heads To Lil Jon

first_imgThe Ole Miss Rebels cheerleaders perform before the first quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the Allstate Sugar Bowl.NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 01: The Mississippi Rebels cheerleaders perform before the first quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)Back in late December, five-star defensive end recruit CeCe Jefferson told reporters that Ole Miss was the leader to land his services this upcoming National Signing Day. Judging by the Instagram video he posted Saturday night, it doesn’t look like much has changed.Jefferson posted a video of himself, four-star linebacker recruit Jeffery Holland and Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze bobbing their heads to a Lil Jon song. He then made the team’s “Landshark” gesture. Freeze followed suit.Turn up coach freeze! With @holland_jeffA video posted by Hi Im Carl (@thatboycece7) on Jan 24, 2015 at 5:59pm PST Jefferson would be a huge get for Ole Miss, which currently has the 17th-ranked class in the country, according to 247 Sports.last_img read more

Former N.C. State Star Julius Hodge Is Not Happy With John Calipari’s Recruiting Tactics

first_imgJulius Hodge talks about John Calipari's recruiting.Twitter/@Follow24HodgeOn Monday, N.C. State received a commitment from three-star forward Shaun King. It did not take long for Kentucky to muddle up this recruitment, offering King shortly after his decision. King did not sign anything tying him to the Wolfpack, and is reportedly weighing his options.Former N.C. State star Julius Hodge is not happy about this develop, and took to Twitter to express his discontent. He doesn’t specifically call out John Calipari, and denies that he is referring to Kentucky, but that is pretty clearly the target here.I remember when there was a time when coaches respected already “committed” athletes. I only had ONE not do so…seems old dogs=old tricks.— Julius Hodge (@Follow24Hodge) April 28, 2015CBB recruiting is a vicious part of the business. It’s the guy trying to get a woman’s phone # and she says “I have a bf” and he says “so?”.— Julius Hodge (@Follow24Hodge) April 28, 2015Why is #BBN on my back? I made no mention of Coach Cal in my tweets. Seems to me Cinderella’s shoe must fit huh? http://t.co/qQebzKBWs2 #WPN— Julius Hodge (@Follow24Hodge) April 28, 2015College basketball is about the perfect fit. Choose the morally hollowed/sexier pick? Don’t be mad when they cheat on you/over recruit.— Julius Hodge (@Follow24Hodge) April 28, [email protected] this argument NEVER gets old.— Julius Hodge (@Follow24Hodge) April 28, 2015“@shacker56: I am not 1 of the fans that trash plyrs 4 who they pick.Trashing a coach is not cool** which coach YOU THINK fit the narrative?— Julius Hodge (@Follow24Hodge) April 28, 2015Hodge has a point, and generally, college basketball recruiting does not get as cutthroat as college football does after commitments occur. However, it is up to Kirk to make the decision that is right for him, and if Kentucky causes him to reevaluate things, so be it.last_img read more

Searching for daycare is an ordeal but economists say dont blame the

first_imgFree market forces have given Canadians the ability to summon meals or cars at the touch of a button and demand a million dollars for an urban bungalow; but, as frustrated parents know all too well, the same forces haven’t solved the problem of finding childcare.The Canadian daycare market has a well-established surplus of demand, resulting in anxiety-inducing waitlists — joined as early as the day a couple learns they’re expecting — and monthly fees that can amount to more than a mortgage payment.“It’s worse than finding a house or looking for an apartment, it’s just insanity,” said Anjali Lowe, a civil servant in Ottawa.Lowe started to worry after nine months of silence from the dozen daycares where she applied through the city’s centralized waitlist system.With her maternity leave ticking down, Lowe widened her search and found a promising home-based daycare, only to lose the position after asking for a police check. She also considered a private daycare that was just adding spots, even though it would add 45 minutes to her commute and cost $2,500 a month.She finally managed to find a space — across the provincial border in Gatineau, Que., that worked as long as she made a temporary office change.“Eventually you find something, you don’t have a choice because you need to go back to work.”Lowe is among thousands of parents searching for childcare spaces every year when there aren’t enough to go around.In 2016, there was room for 28.7 per cent of all Canadian newborns to five year olds in regulated centres, according to a report by the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, a group promoting a universal, publicly funded childcare system.In Toronto, one of the country’s most expensive daycare markets, a 2016 city-commissioned study found demand for licensed spaces outstripped supply by 4,069 spots, or about eight per cent of total demand. This, in a city where the median cost for childcare is $1,758 a month for children under 18 months, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.Economic theory supposes that in a competitive market, such a surge of demand inflates prices to a point where there is incentive for innovation and more providers to come on board. That, in turn, is supposed to increase supply until the quantity demanded equals the quantity supplied, resulting in market equilibrium.But daycare is no ordinary market. Childcare providers say a host of barriers — including strict regulations and tight profit margins — combine to pressure supply and make meeting that demand an expensive challenge.One of the biggest hurdles is finding rental space for a daycare, said Abi Paul, who opened Chapter1 Daycare in Calgary in 2015.Some building owners don’t want to rent to daycares because of the renovations required, while operators who do find space have to pay rents charged to big conglomerates who might otherwise occupy the space, he said.“They’re paying the kind of rent that Tim Hortons or Starbucks or any other major tenant would be expected to pay.”The time and effort to renovate a space and get all of the inspections and approvals completed also adds to the challenge and costs. It takes well over a year to open a space, he said.Once the space is opened, because the business involves the delicate task of taking care of people’s children, there are also numerous regulations, including strict child-to-supervisor ratios that make it difficult to have flexibility in the business when other costs go up, said Paul.“You cannot reduce hours, you cannot lay off staff because of the ratio requirements, so the only avenue you have is raise fees.”Daycare does generally follow market principles, suggests Michael Krashinsky, an economist at the University of Toronto, but the cost of running a daycare means operators do their best to make sure spots are always filled — one of the reasons for the ubiquitous waitlist.“It’s not that supply and demand aren’t operating, in fact they are operating, but it means that you don’t tend to get your spot exactly when you want it.”Use of childcare in Canada shows the variety of ways the market is filling demand. About 31 per cent of parents use a home daycare, 33 per cent opt for daycare centres, and 28 per cent use private care like family or a nanny, according to a 2011 Statistics Canada report.The real problem with daycare isn’t the market, but with the ability to afford the actual cost of care, said David Blau, an economist at Ohio State University who’s studied the issue.“Often when people talk about not being able to find daycare, what they really mean is not being able to find daycare at a price that they’re willing and able to pay.”The question becomes a problem of public policy rather than market principle, said Blau.“The issue isn’t competition, the issue is just that high quality care is costly to provide…that is definitely a social problem, it’s not a problem caused within daycare market,” he said.“It’s a problem of whether the government or society wants to ensure people can have access to high quality care at an affordable price.”last_img read more

Bill just one tool to deter foreign interference in Canadian elections Gould

first_imgOTTAWA — The Trudeau government is fending off accusations that proposed changes to Canada’s election laws will do little to prevent foreign attempts to influence how Canadians vote.Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould says Bill C-76 is just one means to deter outside interference in Canadian elections.Should a foreign entity attempt something on the scale of Russia’s interventions in the 2016 American presidential election, Gould says that would be a matter of national security and the “full breadth” of tools available to the federal government would be applied.She says those include the Criminal Code, sanctions and the Magnitsky Act, which empowers the government to freeze the assets and impose travel bans on corrupt foreign officials who have committed gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.However, Sen. Serge Joyal, chair of the Senate’s legal and constitutional affairs committee, doubts C-76 includes sufficient penalties to deter foreign intervention in elections.He notes that his committee recommended last year that the Canada Elections Act should be amended to allow for the seizure and forfeiture of the assets of any foreign entity that attempts to interfere in a Canadian election.The Canadian Presslast_img read more