BioEssays Editor: “‘Junk’ DNA… Full of Information!” Including Genome-Sized “Genomic Code”

first_img A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis How many times have we heard it claimed that the vast majority of the human genome is “junk” and therefore could not have been designed? Even in the face of overwhelming evidence from the ENCODE project and numerous other studies showing that most of our genome has biochemical function, most evolutionists still maintain that our genomes are largely junk. But a few brave scientists, including some rare evolutionists, have been willing to buck that trend. In a new article at Advanced Science News — “That ‘Junk’ DNA… Is Full of Information!” — Andrew Moore, the Editor-in-Chief of the respected biology journal BioEssays, comments on a new BioEssays paper. The paper finds that our DNA contains overlapping layered “’dual-function’ pieces of information,” including a “genomic code” that spans virtually the entire genome in order to “defin[e] the shape and compaction of DNA into the highly-condensed form known as ‘chromatin.’” More about that paper in just a moment. It was written by leading Italian biologist Giorgio Bernardi who played a major role in the discovery of isochores. Isochores are important in this story. But for now, let’s look at Moore’s essay. It has something worth mentioning in almost every paragraph. Moore starts by saying that it should not be surprising that there is more function in the genome than we initially expected:It should not surprise us that even in parts of the genome where we don’t obviously see a ‘functional’ code (i.e., one that’s been evolutionarily fixed as a result of some selective advantage), there is a type of code, but not like anything we’ve previously considered as such.What Side He’s OnFrom an intelligent design (ID) perspective, Moore is absolutely correct: finding more function in the genome “should not surprise us.” But Moore is not an ID proponent; he’s clearly writing from an evolutionary perspective. Even as he describes extensive function in our genome, he frequently adds evolutionary “narrative gloss” just to remind you what side he’s on. But within the evolutionary perspective, his support for mass genomic functionality does not represent the majority. There is a long history of evolutionary biologists predicting that non-protein-coding DNA is largely “junk.” (See “Post-ENCODE Posturing: Rewriting History Won’t Erase Bad Evolutionary Predictions.”) As one example, in 1980 Francis Crick and Leslie Orgel wrote that “Much DNA in higher organisms is little better than junk,” and “it would be folly in such cases to hunt obsessively for” its function. Numerous similar claims have been made over the years.Though clearly evolution-based, Moore’s perspective stands out in an important way: it is open to seeing coordinated function across the entire genome. Moore thus proposes an idea with which ID proponents would heartily agree:And what if it [this other code] were doing something in three dimensions as well as the two dimensions of the ATGC code? A paper just published in BioEssays explores this tantalizing possibility…So there are multiple layers of information in DNA controlling cellular processes that operate in multiple dimensions. Not only that, but as Moore explains, these codes are frequently “overlapping” within our DNA sequence:One of the intriguing things about DNA sequences is that a single sequence can “encode” more than one piece of information depending on what is “reading” it and in which direction — viral genomes are classic examples in which genes read in one direction to produce a given protein overlap with one or more genes read in the opposite direction (i.e., from the complementary strand of DNA) to produce different proteins. It’s a bit like making simple messages with reverse-pair words (a so-called emordnilap). For example: REEDSTOPSFLOW, which, by an imaginary reading device, could be divided into REED STOPS FLOW. Read backwards, it would give WOLF SPOTS DEER.Though highly specified and difficult to produce by chance, overlapping codes are demonstrably present in our DNA. Proponents of intelligent design have long identified overlapping genes as a signature of design. For example, one chapter in the volume Biological Information: New Perspectives argues that “Multiple Overlapping Genetic Codes Profoundly Reduce the Probability of Beneficial Mutation.” The chapter observes that, “DNA sequences are typically ‘poly-functional’” with “overlapping protein-coding sequences” which “can contribute to multiple overlapping codes simultaneously.” But the likelihood of producing such information-rich, tightly constrained sequences by chance is exceedingly low: “it is difficult to understand how poly-functional DNA could arise through random isolated mutations.” The Current SituationHow do overlapping codes relate to the current situation? Moore explains that these “‘dual-function’ pieces of information” are found throughout our genome where DNA can both encode proteins and simultaneously define a “genomic code”:For two distinct pieces of information to be encoded in the same piece of genetic sequence we would, similarly, expect the constraints to be manifest in biases of word and letter usage — the analogies, respectively, for amino acid sequences constituting proteins, and their three-letter code. Hence a sequence of DNA can code for a protein and, in addition, for something else. This “something else”, according to Giorgio Bernardi, is information that directs the packaging of the enormous length of DNA in a cell into the relatively tiny nucleus. Primarily it is the code that guides the binding of the DNA-packaging proteins known as histones. Bernardi refers to this as the “genomic code” — a structural code that defines the shape and compaction of DNA into the highly-condensed form known as “chromatin”.This “genomic code” is thus a genome-wide feature, woven throughout our DNA, including portions of the genome that evolutionists have typically assumed had no function. This code is defined by the “GC” content of a stretch of DNA — the level of base pairs that are guanine-cytosine (hence “GC”) rather than adenine-thymine. In protein-coding DNA, the third base-pair in codons can often vary from AT/TA to CG/GC without affecting the amino acid being specified. Evolutionists have presumed that the precise nucleotide in this third base pair was irrelevant, so long as the codon was “synonymous,” and that variation in the third nucleotide represented an unimportant non-functional feature. But Moore explains that the third nucleotide in a codon can have great functional importance apart from merely specifying the amino acid, and could actually help define this “genomic code,” which overlaps with the protein-code:Protein-coding sequences are also packed and condensed in the nucleus — particularly when they’re not “in use” (i.e., being transcribed, and then translated into protein) — but they also contain relatively constant information on precise amino acid identities, otherwise they would fail to encode proteins correctly: evolution would act on such mutations in a highly negative manner, making them extremely unlikely to persist and be visible to us. But the amino acid code in DNA has a little “catch” that evolved in the most simple of unicellular organisms (bacteria and archaea) billions of years ago: the code is partly redundant. For example, the amino acid Threonine can be coded in eukaryotic DNA in no fewer than four ways: ACT, ACC, ACA or ACG. The third letter is variable and hence “available” for the coding of extra information. This is exactly what happens to produce the “genomic code”, in this case creating a bias for the ACC and ACG forms in warm-blooded organisms. Hence, the high constraint on this additional “code” — which is also seen in parts of the genome that are not under such constraint as protein-coding sequences — is imposed by the packaging of protein-coding sequences that embody two sets of information simultaneously.An Application of Narrative GlossMoore’s evolutionary bias is evident here as he repeatedly adds “narrative gloss,” ascribing functional aspects of our genome to evolution, rather than simply describing the functional nature of DNA and leaving evolution out of it. But the substance of what he’s saying identifies function in an aspect of the genome that evolutionists have frequently ignored as junk. He goes on to explain that this genomic code is not limited to protein-coding sequences, overlapping with the code that specifies protein sequences. The code also persists throughout giant portions of our genome, characterized by repetitive sequences that evolutionary scientists have, again, frequently ignored as junk. Read the following carefully, and try to filter out the gloss. It basically admits that these massive segments of our genome are functional:But didn’t we start with an explanation for non-coding DNA, not protein-coding sequences? Yes, and in the long stretches of non-coding DNA we see information in excess of mere repeats, tandem repeats and remnants of ancient retroviruses: there is a type of code at the level of preference for the GC pair of chemical DNA bases compared with AT. As Bernardi reviews, synthesizing his and others’ groundbreaking work, in the core sequences of the eukaryotic genome, the GC content in structural organizational units of the genome termed “isochores” increased during the evolutionary transition between so-called cold-blooded and warm-blooded organisms. And, fascinatingly, this sequence bias overlaps with sequences that are much more constrained in function: these are the very protein-coding sequences mentioned earlier, and they — more than the intervening non-coding sequences — are the clue to the “genomic code”. … In eukaryotic genomes, the GC sequence bias proposed to be responsible for structural condensation extends into non-coding sequences, some of which have identified activities, though less constrained in sequence than protein-coding DNA. There it directs their condensation via histone-containing nucleosomes to form chromatin.What we see here is that major portions of our genome, traditionally viewed as junk, are actually full of “information in excess of mere repeats, tandem repeats and remnants of ancient retroviruses” because “there is a type of code at the level of preference for the GC pair of chemical DNA bases compared with AT.” The purpose of the code, in short, is to direct DNA-packing in the nucleus. And Now for IsochoresThe genomic code is largely defined by huge GC-biased portions of the genome called “isochores.” When you hear the word “isochore,” think of humongous portions of our genome characterized by repetitive sequences of DNA that most evolutionists have typically ignored as junk, but that ID proponents have predicted as probably having function. Giorgio Bernardi’s paper in BioEssays provides an extensive discussion of the literature. It shows that isochores have “functional importance” and that the GC level of isochores defines a vital “genomic code.” Bernardi explains:[T]he genomic code, which is responsible for the pervasive encoding and molding of primary chromatin domains (LADs and primary TADs, namely the “gene spaces”/“spatial compartments”) resolves the longstanding problems of “non-coding DNA,” “junk DNA,” and “selfish DNA” leading to a new vision of the genome as shaped by DNA sequences.Bernardi’s view is that most of the genome is functional, contradicting the typical “junk DNA” perspective:By the end of the 1980s, our knowledge of the isochore organization of the human genome had not only rejected what had been called the “bean-bag” view of the genome, that is, a collection of genes randomly scattered over vast expanses of “junk DNA”; but it had also indicated that the genome is an integrated structural, functional, and evolutionary system. This view arose from a comparative study of vertebrate genomes, centered on the analysis of their compositional patterns, namely of the compositional distributions of large DNA segments, coding sequences, and introns.Thus, the presence of GC-rich isochores leads us to reject the “junk DNA” view. It indicates that “the genome is an integrated structural, functional, and evolutionary system.” Ignoring Bernardi’s evolutionary gloss, which wrongly assumes that integrated structural and functional systems can arise by blind evolutionary mechanisms, his statement is exactly what ID theory would expect. Bernardi continues explaining how we know that isochores are functional and carry the “genomic code” which “overlaps” with the genetic code:The functional importance of isochores was already evident in the 1980s because of the correlations of their GC levels with all the genome properties tested. It was later confirmed by investigations carried out in the 1990s.  … The first indications that the base composition of isochores was under constraint came from the strong correlations between the composition of interspersed repeats, such as the GC-poor LINES and GC-rich SINES, and the composition of the GC-poor and GC-rich isochores, respectively, in which those sequences were located. The next step was the extension of the compositional correlations to genes (exons, introns, codon positions) located in GC-poor and GC-rich isochores, correlations that affect codon usage and amino acid composition of the encoded proteins. These points were subsequently reinforced, leading to the proposal that a “genomic code” was responsible for the compositional correlations just mentioned. As shown in Table S3, Supporting Information, the genomic code was further extended in the following years to include the sequence distributions, the functional properties associated with GC-poor and GC-rich isochores, and the structure and nuclear location of interphase chromatin. Only recent investigations showed, however, that the genomic code: 1) is a “structural code” in that it directly encodes and molds chromatin structures and defines nucleosome binding; 2) is pervasive because it applies to the totality of the genome; 3) overlaps the “genetic code” and constrains it, by affecting the composition (but not the function) of coding sequences (and contiguous non-coding sequences), codon usage, and amino acid composition of the encoded proteins, as already mentioned.A Striking ConclusionMoore’s article, describing Bernardi’s findings, concludes strikingly:These regions of DNA may then be regarded as structurally important elements in forming the correct shape and separation of condensed coding sequences in the genome, regardless of any other possible function that those non-coding sequences have: in essence, this would be an “explanation” for the persistence in genomes of sequences to which no “function” (in terms of evolutionarily-selected activity), can be ascribed (or, at least, no substantial function).We may marvel at such complicated structures and ask “but do they need to be quite so complicated for their function?” Well, maybe they do in order to condense and position parts of the protein in the exact orientation and place that generates the three-dimensional structure that has been successfully selected by evolution. But with a knowledge that the “genomic code” overlaps protein coding sequences, we might even start to become suspicious that there is another selective pressure at work as well…Moore doesn’t specify what the other “selective pressure” is, but clearly he sees the functionally important “genomic code” as pervasive throughout the genome. So here’s what we have: evolutionary scientists proposing that most of our genome’s sequence has functional importance because it carries a genomic code, controlling the three-dimensional packing in the nucleus. This code even “overlaps” with the genetic code in protein-coding DNA. Such a perspective directly contradicts the evolutionary paradigm of a genome flooded with junk. Why would evolutionary scientists like Moore and Bernardi step outside that paradigm? The answer is simple: Their views are driven by the data. Moore — or rather, more — power to them!Photo by Ann Kathrin Bopp via Unsplash. Recommended Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Casey LuskinAssociate Director, Center for Science and CultureCasey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.Follow CaseyProfileWebsite Share Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos TagsadenineAdvanced Science NewsAndrew MooreBioEssaysBiological Information: New PerspectivescytosineDNAENCODEevolutionFrancis Crickfunctiongenomegenomic codeGiorgio Bernardiguanineintelligent designisochoresJunk DNALeslie Orgelnarrative glossoverlapping codesproteinsselective pressurethymineviral genomes,Trending Intelligent Design BioEssays Editor: “‘Junk’ DNA… Full of Information!” Including Genome-Sized “Genomic Code”Casey LuskinNovember 18, 2019, 4:13 AM last_img read more

Submissions sought from Donegal for major investment fund

first_img News, Sport and Obituaries on Monday May 24th WhatsApp Facebook By News Highland – February 1, 2019 Derry draw with Pats: Higgins & Thomson Reaction AudioHomepage BannerNews Pinterest Twitter Google+ Google+ Twitter FT Report: Derry City 2 St Pats 2 center_img WhatsApp Previous articleKaren Guthrie: Croke Park is a nice way to start the yearNext articlePopes’ visit to Ireland cost 4.2 million euro in Garda overtime News Highland Pinterest RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Facebook Journey home will be easier – Paul Hegarty Harps come back to win in Waterford The Western Development Commission has published a draft five year strategy, and is now seeking comments and submissions from groups and individuals from Donegal to Clare.The commission manages the Western Investment Fund, which has invested €51m in 155 projects, supporting 5,000 jobs.CEO Tomás Ó Síocháin says the new strategy is an important step in the evolution of the commission, which was established 20 years ago.He says the core aims of the WDC are to promote regional promotion, regional leadership and sustainable enterprise, and the strategy is intended to ensure that those goals are met:Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. DL Debate – 24/05/21 Submissions sought from Donegal for major investment fundlast_img read more

Trentbarton’s Red Arrow coach service is 21

first_imgTrentbarton’s luxury Red Arrow coach service between Derby and Nottingham is 21 years old.The operator celebrated the anniversary last week with decorations, birthday breakfasts and beer for passengers on board the coaches and at Derby and Nottingham Victoria bus stations.More than 1m passengers ride on Red Arrow every year, Trentbarton’s flagship route.Last year the service received a £3m boost with nine new luxury coaches, each with free 4G wi-fi and tables at every seat. They also have USB points and bike storage.last_img

Atlanta Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Vortex Theory, Harvicking 2.0, and Three Fingers

first_imgThumbs down for Jimmie Johnson because we feel bad about his start of the season. You’ll find your horseshoe if you keep your chin up, Jimmie. F.E.A.R. not (or F.E.A.R., if you prefer). However, with Kevin Harvick’s dominance of Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend, the term found new life when other competitors described Harvick’s unusual approach to getting around the track, where he’d ease off the throttle earlier than most entering the corners, hug the bottom of the track, then tiptoe back into the gas to produce a strong run off the turn. (Apparently the new definition of “Harvicking” works; Harvick dominated Sunday.) Most would agree that late winter is the worst for driving. The weather is unpredictable and the roads are riddled with bumps and potholes. It turns out when NASCAR races on Atlanta’s heavily-worn asphalt amidst uncertain weather conditions, it’s not too much different. Here’s what earned our thumbs-up and thumbs-down in the race in the Peach State. Thumbs Up: The Vortex TheoryIt didn’t seem likely we’d watch racing from Atlanta with forecasts predicting rain storms throughout the weekend, but, by some miracle, the entirety of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 happened Sunday, much to the surprise of many.Racer-gone-commentator Darrell Waltrip’s “Vortex Theory” — the idea that dozens of race cars buzzing around a circular track at full song wards off bad weather — may not be based on science, but it seemed plausible in our imaginations this weekend. Aside from a delayed start, there was no impactful rain during Sunday’s race until after the checkered flag.Thumbs up for that magical junk-science vortex keeping the weather at bay in Atlanta Sunday. Thumbs Up: Varying Pit StrategiesWhile it was a very Kevin Harvick-looking day Sunday, a few teams tried to play spoiler — most notably Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano, who both tried to make up time by pitting one fewer time under green flag conditions. The strategy wasn’t quite fruitful, especially after a late-race caution racked up the field in the closing laps when Trevor Bayne’s engine did its best fog machine impression. Still, alternating strategy and trying to steal a win by playing the race differently throughout a massive long green flag run felt like a good, old-fashioned classic NASCAR race.I mean, it makes sense on paper. You stop fewer times, you spend less time going slow. Thumbs up for giving it a try anyway. But, much like in 2014, “Harvicking” is very much a thing again — but it’s a variation of the original meaning. We can’t let the original definition die. It’s too good. center_img Thumbs Down: A “Harvicking” ReduxAfter a 2014 post-race brawl, somebody coined the term “Harvicking” in reference to Harvick’s role shoving Brad Keselowski into a post-race kerfuffle. If you pushed somebody into the path of mayhem, you totally “Harvicked” them. Thumbs Down: Hang in there, Jimmie JohnsonAfter a crash in the Daytona 500 and a spin in Atlanta Sunday, Jimmie Johnson finds himself 35th in points, behind the likes of Gray Gaulding, Mark Thompson and DJ Kennington — the latter two having started only the Daytona 500. That means Johnson is currently the lowest-ranked of all drivers who’ve started both races this season.And while it’s silly to read into the points situation after two races, and with 24 more opportunities to improve before the Playoffs begin, it hasn’t been the ideal start of the season for the seven-time champ. Biggest Thumbs Up of the Week: Three Fingers for DaleAfter Kevin Harvick crushed the field en route to Victory Lane Sunday, he celebrated the same way he did in this race 17 years prior — Harvick’s first win substituting for the late Dale Earnhardt — holding three fingers in the air to pay tribute to The Intimidator.WATCH: Harvick pays tribute to SeniorWhile the emotions of the 2018 win differed from the tear-jerking 2001 race, it’s hard not to like seeing three fingers out the window to remember No. 3.A giant thumbs-up for Harvick’s tribute of a tribute. Is it dusty in here, or is somebody chopping onions? Thumbs down for co-opting the term “Harvicking.” last_img read more

Gulmarg to host national winter games from March 7

first_img SUBSCRIBE TO US Written By LIVE TV Press Trust Of India The world-famous ski destination Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir is all set to host five-day national winter games from March 7 under the Khelo India programme, officials said on Tuesday. Sports secretary Sarmad Hafeez reviewed arrangements for the mega event with concerned departments and stakeholders, an official spokesman said. “There will be 30 events under four disciplines including snowboarding, snow skiing, cross country and snow show in which players from across the country would participate,” the spokesman said.Snow cycling and other games will be held for local children on the sedelines of the main event. The meeting was attended by Sports Council secretary Naseem Choudhary, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation Limited (JKTDC) general manager Tabassum Kamli, additional deputy commissioner Srinagar Hanief Balki, tourism deputy director Ideel Saleem and deputy director, information, Shakeela Shawl. The meeting was also attended by former MLA and president Winter Games Association J&K Muhammad Abbas Wani and former Olympian Gul Mustafa Dev. Hafeez asked the officers to make concrete efforts with a professional touch to make the event a success. He asked the concerned officials to constitute committees for putting in places arrangements for the smooth conduct of the event including boarding, lodging and transport facilities for the guests and players, besides publicity of the event.  First Published: 11th February, 2020 19:58 ISTcenter_img COMMENT Last Updated: 11th February, 2020 19:58 IST Gulmarg To Host National Winter Games From March 7 The world-famous ski destination Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir is all set to host five-day national winter games from March 7 under the Khelo India programme WATCH US LIVE FOLLOW USlast_img read more

Darragh Kenny wins in St Tropez while Ireland drawn first to go in Lisbon Nations Cup

first_img 31 May 2018, 21:06 Darragh Kenny wins in St Tropez while Ireland drawn first to go in Lisbon Nations Cup Offaly’s Darragh Kenny has scored Ireland’s first five-star win of what promises to be a busy weekend of equestrian action, after he came out on top in today’s (Thursday) 1.55m competition at the Longines Global Champions League in St Tropez, France.Darragh Kenny and Bablou 41Riding Bablou 41, owned by Jack Snyder, Kenny jumped clear in 73.37 seconds to take the top prize of over €20,000. Tipperary’s Shane Breen also finished among the prizes, finishing eighth with Ipswich van de Wolfsakker. Breen paired up with America’s Jessica Springsteen for Miami Celtics in the Global Champions League and the pair lie in second place heading into Saturday’s second round.Along with Tattersalls International Horse Trials and Mullingar International taking place in Ireland this weekend, an action-packed four day’s of Equestrian Sport also includes three five-star fixtures around the globe, in France, Switzerland and at Langley in Canada where Ireland are in Nations Cup action on Sunday.Ireland will also field a team in tomorrow’s (Friday) three-star Nations Cup at Lisbon in Portugal where Taylor Vard with be Irish Chef d’Equipe.Ireland have been drawn first to jump of 12 teams taking part and line out as follows:Tipperary’s Trevor Breen with Bombay – owned by Willie MattonGalway’s Michael Duffy with Jule Van Den Tinnenpot – owned by Poden FarmsLimerick’s Paul Kennedy with Cartown Danger Mouse (ISH) – owned by Jane KennedyWaterford’s Anthony Condon with SFS Aristio – owned by John Hales & Anthony CondonThe Lisbon Nations Cup starts at 6.30pm Irish time with the second round under lights at 9.30pm Home  »  General  »  Darragh Kenny wins in St Tropez while Ireland drawn first to go in Lisbon Nations Cup Tags:last_img read more

Drought in Western N.C. leaves pines more susceptible to attacks

first_imgPeople often expect insects to be most active in the warm days of summer, but pine bark beetles can be active any time of year.Kelly Oten, forest health monitoring coordinator with the N.C. Forest Service, tells landowners with pine on their property what they should look for so pine bark beetles don’t leave them pining for healthy trees.“One of the first symptoms noticed is needle discoloration in the canopy,” Oten said. “The green needles fade to light green, then yellow, then eventually red. Upon closer inspection, you may see dried pine resin on the bark of the tree. These are called pitch tubes and are the tree’s defense to a bark beetle attempting to bore through the bark.”Adult and immature beetles feed beneath the bark, creating winding tunnels that can be seen if the bark is peeled off, Oten said. These galleries prevent nutrients and water from traveling within the tree, effectively choking it.Most bark-beetle activity occurs in pines that are stressed or weakened by another factor. The current drought in Western North Carolina leaves many pines susceptible to beetle attack. Other factors that may increase susceptibility to attack are nutrient deficiencies, mechanical damage and lightning strikes.There are a few types of bark beetles that attack pine trees in North Carolina. The Ips engraver beetles are likely the most common. They rarely attack healthy trees and generally infest small groups or scattered pines. They can cause branches or the entire tree to die.Generally, the southern pine beetle also attacks weakened trees. However, it can reach outbreak levels and become extremely destructive, Oten said. When this happens, healthy trees are also attacked and a quick response is necessary. This response typically involves cutting down the infested pine trees and surrounding trees to create a buffer.Landowners suspecting bark-beetle activity in their trees should contact their N.C. Forest Service county ranger, who can assist with identification and offer forest management advice.last_img read more

Disney Cruise Line Preview – Week of August 5

first_imgIf you’ve never been on a cruise before, you’re probably wondering what the dress code will be for dinner. While I tend to follow my personal style guide Thurston Howell III for these matters, you may be happy to learn that shorts are permitted at each of the three rotational dining rooms aboard each vessel. Swimming attire and tank tops are not permitted, however, so save those for a quick-service lunch. As we’ve mentioned before, Pirate night is the standard party night on each itinerary, so costumes are permitted to be worn during dinner – just keep in mind the new rules regarding masks. Now, for dining at Palo, guests are “asked to preserve the ambiance of this fine dining venue.” Pants, slacks, and collared shirts are recommended for men, and a dress, skirt, or pants, and a blouse are recommended for women. Jeans may also be worn if in good condition, provided there are no rips or holes. Tank tops, swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, shorts, hats, cut-offs, torn clothing, t-shirts with offensive language and/or graphics, flip-flops, or tennis shoes are not permitted attire. Remy requires formal wear, meaning a tuxedo or jacket for men, with dress pants (ties are optional). Acceptable women’s attire includes evening gowns, cocktail dresses, skirts, or pant suits. If you do not have these garments and would like a cheaper solution to acquiring them, we recommend renting attire from Cruiseline Formal. Rented garments will be delivered to your stateroom for you and then returned to your stateroom attendant at the end of the cruise. That’s one less thing you’ll need to bring aboard and will cost significantly less than purchasing these garments from a clothier.Coffee is a vital portion of my morning routine, and often times a post-dinner treat. Cove Cafe, with locations on all four ships, is the perfect place to relax with a cup of coffee and a novel. The menu features a wide selection of lattes, cappuccinos, espressos, teas, and more as well as a case of pastries or savory foods that change throughout the day. (The snacks are free, even if you don’t buy a drink at Cove Cafe–we’ll keep that as our secret, though!) One of the perks to frequenting Cove Cafe is their Cafe Fanatic rewards card, which earns a free coffee after purchasing six specialty coffees. The Magic and Wonder Cove Cafes include a television viewing area that features news and sporting events to watch while enjoying a latte.Cove Cafe, photo: Daisy Lauren Share This!Welcome aboard for this week’s Disney Cruise Line Preview for the week of August 5th! Brand Glover here. I’ve assembled the latest news, weather, and important tips you need to know before setting sail with the Disney Cruise Line this week. If you missed last week, we previewed the upcoming Marvel Day at Sea, but this week we’re getting into the holiday spirit to discuss one of my favorite itineraries. First, let’s look and see what the weather holds around the world.Ports of Call (High/Low Temperature, Chance of Rain)Disney Dream.Disney Magic 5 August – Day at Sea6 August – Palma de Mallorca (91/74, 0%)7 August – Barcelona (82/72, 0%)8 August – Cannes (86/68, 20%)9 August – Livorno (83/68, 0%)10 August – Civitavecchia (88/69, 0%)11 August – Day at SeaDisney Wonder5 August – Ketchikan (82/57, 10%)6 August – Day at Sea7 August – Vancouver (84/63, 0%)8 August – Day at Sea9 August – Tracy Arm Fjord (69/54, 20%)10 August – Skagway (68/56, 20%)11 August – Juneau (64/53, 30%)Disney Dream5 August – Nassau (91/83, 10%)6 August – Castaway Cay (91/82, 50%)7 August – Port Canaveral (88/78, 40%)8 August – Nassau (91/82, 40%)9 August – Castaway Cay (90/81, 50%)10 August – Day at Sea11 August – Port Canaveral (88/78, 40%)A Castaway ChristmasDisney Fantasy5 August – Port Canaveral (88/78, 20%)6 August – Day at Sea7 August – Cozumel (88/75, 40%)8 August – Grand Cayman (87/82, 50%)9 August – Falmouth (89/80, 50%)10 August – Day at Sea11 August – Castaway Cay (90/82, 40%)Disney Cruise Line: In The NewsNothing is more magical around the Disney parks and resorts than visiting during the holidays. Experiencing Walt Disney World at Christmastime is one of my favorite parts of being an annual passholder, between the Christmas lights, festive foods, and atmosphere provided by the musical sounds of the season. Holidays aboard the Disney Cruise Line ships are just as memorable, packed with a full lineup of holiday goodness. The Disney Parks Blog has posted a preview of the Very Merrytime Christmas itineraries with commentary from the Disney Parks Mom’s Panel. All four Disney Cruise Line ships are decorated from bow to stern for the holiday season, including a Christmas tree and a gingerbread house. If you’ve ever visited the Grand Floridian resort during Christmas, you’ll know that wonderfully familiar smell! Some of the special activities offered during the Very Merrytime itineraries are holiday-themed dance parties, meet and greets with Santa and Mrs. Claus, characters in their “jolly holly” attire, a tree lighting ceremony with Mickey, and more. Passengers traveling on December 24th and 25th will receive Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve, special holiday towel animals, and caroling with the crew. During Hanukkah, there will be a special menorah lighting ceremony each night along with special treats. Very Merrytime Cruise sail dates for 2017 begin on November 10th and 11th. A few years back, my family and I had the opportunity to experience one of these itineraries, and one thing I will always remember was the amount of decorations present. All of the characters were wearing special holiday outfits for photos, and I even observed the menorah lighting taking place at guest services. Not only were there plenty of decorations and special experiences on board the ship, but Castaway Cay had an array of ornaments, a Christmas tree, and even a reindeer-themed tram! You’ll certainly have a Christmas to remember if you choose to sail with Disney Cruise Line this winter.I can’t tell if that’s Dasher, Dancer, or Derek Burgan’s car leaving the Outlets.Halloween is fast-approaching in the theme park world, and Disney Cruise Line is no exception to the spooky fun. The official Disney Cruise Line Twitter posted a teaser for the upcoming Halloween on the High Seas itineraries coming this fall. With sailings beginning on September 2nd, passengers can expect a ghoulishly delightful itinerary featuring Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party, pumpkin carving, ghost stories, an adults-only costume party, and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Sing and Scream, featuring a live appearance by Jack and Sally! Characters will appear in their trick-or-treating attire, and if you’ve been to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, then you know how rare it is to see Jack and Sally. Passengers are encouraged to bring costumes as there will be trick or treating for the whole family and a costume contest for adults. As we mentioned in last week’s preview, the costume policy has been updated to where masks must now be carried while walking around the ship and may only be worn while standing in place taking a photo. I will be sailing on one of the early dates of Halloween on the High Seas, so if anyone has questions regarding this itinerary, then leave them below and we will update you at that time.According to The Disney Cruise Line Blog, Disney Cruise Line has updated its cancellation policy for 5-night sailings beginning August 15th. The previous window for cancellation fees on standard sailings was 74 days, but has been expanded to 89 days; holiday sailings have been pushed back to 104 days from 89 days. We will update you to any more changes as they materialize.Upcoming EntertainmentThe following films are being shown aboard the Disney Cruise Line ships this month:MoanaBeauty and the BeastBorn in ChinaGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesCars 3Spider-Man: HomecomingFor future reference, films debut on the Disney Cruise Line the same day of their initial release in the United States. Show times are available on your Personal Navigator or the official Disney Cruise Line app.Next week, guests on the Disney Magic will be able to experience Stars Set Sail with performances by:Kevin Massey and Kara Lindsay on August 12thKerry Butler on August 19th and 26thAnd in case you missed it, this week on the TouringPlans blog, Tammy Whiting covered the Best Staterooms in Each Category. This is a helpful resource so you can find the best room for your needs.Captain’s Log: Important Tips and InformationCastaway Club is Disney Cruise Line’s membership program that rewards passengers who cruise with Disney for multiple cruises. Benefits of the program include: early booking opportunities before the general public, advance online reservations for select activities, exclusive Castaway Club check-in at the terminal, a Castaway Club toll-free number to call with questions or for reservations, a welcome back gift in your stateroom, and much more! There are three levels of the Castaway Club: passengers earn Silver status after completing their first cruise, Gold after five cruises, and Platinum after ten cruises.A picturesque morning on Castaway Cay. Disney Cruise Line is a destination encompassing the whole family, from age six months and up (or one year depending on distance of the voyage), and there is something for everyone to enjoy. The Youth Clubs onboard provide a specialized experience tailored to the age group’s needs and interests. The It’s A Small World Nursery is a comfortable environment for passengers aged six months up to three years old, themed to the happiest cruise that ever sailed. The Nursery requires a reservation (made before you embark or by stopping by and checking for availability) and costs a fee of $9 per hour, with each additional child costing $8 per hour. For passengers aged three to twelve, the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab are designed with state-of-the-art interactive exhibits as well as character visits, story time, and more during operating hours. Passengers experiencing these clubs will be given a wristband that resembles a MagicBand which allows them access in and out of the clubs. Parents must check passengers aged three to seven in and out of the clubs, but those aged eight to twelve may check themselves in and out if given parental consent at time of registration. For the tween and younger teenage passengers, Edge provides a cool place to hang out for the eleven- to fourteen-year-old crowd. Activities featured at Edge include arts, cooking, and gaming. And for the soon to be adult crowd, Vibe houses activities for the fourteen- to seventeen-year-old crew, including a dance party. But the special fun for different age groups doesn’t end on the ship. Passengers between ages thirteen and seventeen have access to the exclusive getaway The Hideout on Castaway Cay. Scuttle’s Cove is another exclusive hangout for passengers from ages three to twelve who are registered to the Oceaneer Club.Photo by Julia Mascardo.center_img One of the greatest services on board the ships, in my opinion of course, is the 24-hour room service. My father and I found out about this magical experience on our last cruise, as we proceeded to order three cheese plates to the room. Why is this such a great offering? The food is included with your cruise. That’s right, FREE room service (except for gratuity at your discretion)! Menu items include breakfast, lunch, and dinner staples along with additional-fee items such as candy, snacks, and beverage packages. For passengers staying in concierge level or suites, room service includes this menu as well as the complete menu from each of the three rotational dining rooms. So if you just happen to miss your favorite restaurant or even want to try something different from the menu, it’s available to you during the evening!Senses Spa, available on all four Disney Cruise Line ships, is the perfect place for the individual or couple to escape the noise of the vessel for a quiet, relaxing experience. While there are many options for creating the perfect escape, we recommend purchasing the Rainforest Pass. For about $25 per day, passengers can use the aromatherapy showers, sauna areas, and heated loungers. Length-of-cruise passes are limited, so we recommend to buy early upon embarkation or check early in the day for day pass availability.If you have any questions you would like us to answer in next week’s preview, feel free to leave them in the comments below.Are you deciding whether to book a Disney Cruise but are having a tough time deciding which ship fits all of your desires? Well, our own Laurel Stewart has put together a chart that makes it easy to compare all of the options in one place. Also available as a valuable planning and companion guide from authors Len Testa, Erin Foster, and Laurel Stewart is The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line. The companion guide contains a complete overview of each Disney ship as well as Castaway Cay and includes valuable tips on how to save time and money during your cruise!That concludes this week’s preview of the Disney Cruise Line. Join us next Friday as we take a look at what happens in the world of Disney Cruise Line over the next week. In the meantime, check out the latest edition of The Saturday Six from author, illustrator, and masked luchador Derek Burgan. Special thanks to Derek Burgan, my better half Adrian Rowda, Julia of Best Week Ever fame, Rikki Niblett, and Scott Sanders of the DCL Blog for their assistance on this article. You can follow Scott on Twitter @TheDCLBlog for daily updates on the cruise line. Tune in to the Be Our Guest WDW Podcast to hear Rikki discuss topics covering all things Walt Disney World.last_img read more

Photos From Facebook HQ: Free Love, Free Jerky & Freedom for User Data

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting marshall kirkpatrick MySpace’s Max Engel, the 8bitkid, says that MySpace users were generally comfortable with sharing data between AOL and MySpace but showed some confusion about which direction the data was flowing. He also said that “OAuth is the condom of the Open Web,” and noted that “Facebook has free beef jerky!” Facebook front end designer Julie Zhuo said she believes that 3rd party authentication implementations should keep the first screen really simple and delay things like extended permissions to later flows, in context. Plaxo’s John McCrea spells out what it’s all about – free love between social networks. HeHis co-worker Joseph Smarr also presented the most impressive data of the day, a 92% success rate in user completion of Plaxo’s new OpenID login process. That process packed more into a short space than Zhuo seemed to argue was ideal, but in this case it worked. Does Plaxo’s new solution put too much emphasis on established big players like Google? It might, but it might very well be able to use some kind of neutral 3rd party cookie sniffing method like the Google team brought up yesterday to solve that problem.There are lots of questions unanswered but things are progressing quickly. We expect the web to be a very different, and hopefully more exciting, place in the next few years. The people above are some of those we’ll have to thank if these dreams for the future come true. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… After a period of dramatic tension, social networking giant Facebook has joined forces with the OpenID community working for a distributed system of standards-based, non-proprietary user identity. It’s a move we think bodes well for the web and yesterday the first big collaborative event was held since the union was announced. Facebook hosted an OpenID User Experience Summit at its headquarters in downtown Palo Alto.Much like last month’s summit on Activity Stream standards, we believe that yesterday’s meeting was of historic proportion. The social web is maturing right in front of our eyes. Whether it’s activity data or social profile payloads, standardized systems of data portability point towards an era of innovation that will scale to make what we’ve seen to date seem tiny and pathetically slow. So who was at the meeting yesterday and what did they talk about? Read on for some big photos and short captions describing some of the presentations.A big thanks to Plaxo’s John McCrea for taking the photos below, giving them with a permissive Creative Commons license and for live blogging the meeting so extensively. All the photos below are his, with the exception of the photo of McCrea himself, which was taken by Will Norris. McCrea has covered the meeting in far more detail than we have – we just thought the event was striking enough that we wanted to post some pictures and make brief introductions to a handful of the players present. These are some of the folks most instrumental in building the web of the future, right now.Brian Ellin, of JanRain, went through the history of OpenID user interfaces. He shared some of the things people currently type into the OpenID field of existing interfaces, like “elderly,” “I HATE YOU LADY GAGA,” “Hotmail,” and their email addresses.Vidoop’s Chris Messina discussed the differences between identification, as in for blog comments, and authentication, as a method of gaining verified access to user data. That’s something that people are increasingly looking to OAuth to accomplish, or an OAuth/OpenID hybrid.center_img Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Google’s Breno de Medeiros said there needs to be a neutral 3rd party method of figuring out who users’ identity providers are without asking them explicitly, something like how the DNS system works. Tags:#Data Portability#news#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

Webinar: Top 12 Mistakes Young Professionals Make

first_imgJoin us for this co-sponsored event with America’s Future Foundation and State Policy Network featuring Claire Kittle Dixon, Executive Director at Talent Market on “The Top 12 Mistakes Young Professionals Make”. Claire will offer practical advice for professionals just launching their careers, including insight on salary, grad degrees, networking, resumes, and more!Top 12 Mistakes Young Professionals MakeSpeaker: Claire Kittle Dixon – Executive Director, Talent MarketDate: Tuesday, March 14thTime: 7:00pm ET/4:00pm PTRegistration URL: ID: 938-880-259Claire Kittle Dixon has a decade of experience in the talent development field. Claire operated her own headhunting firm for more than three years before transitioning into a career in the free-market nonprofit movement. She joined the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation where she served as the Program Officer for Leadership and Talent Development. While at Koch, Claire managed the hiring process for the Foundation and launched and managed two talent programs – the Koch Associate Program and the Koch Internship Program. Before launching Talent Market, she served as the Vice President and Director of Research of the Buckeye Institute, Ohio’s free-market think tank.last_img read more