With trick penalty, Barcelona rout Celta

first_imgMADRID (AP):Lionel Messi put on another show at the Camp Nou yesterday, scoring a remarkable goal from a free kick and then helping to set up a hat-trick for Luis Su·rez – including a daring assist from a penalty kick – as Barcelona thrashed Celta Vigo 6-1.Ivan Rakitic and Neymar also scored as Barcelona opened up a three-point lead in the Spanish league over AtlÈtico Madrid, which edged Getafe 1-0. Real Madrid, which beat Athletic Bilbao 4-2 on Saturday with two goals by Cristiano Ronaldo, are four points behind Barcelona in third place. Barcelona have a game in hand.It was an impressive victory by the Catalan club, and the performances by Messi, Suarez and Neymar in the second half neared perfection.”We were spectacular and effective,” Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said. “I’m used to seeing these players. When they train, they are even better.”Messi started the show by curling a left-foot shot over the wall in the 28th minute and then mesmerised the Camp Nou crowd as he helped Su·rez to score in the 59th, 75th, and 81st minutes.EXTRA-SPECIAL GOALSu·rez ‘s third goal was extra special, with the Uruguay striker and Messi fooling everybody after Messi was tripped in the area following a nifty dribble past a defender. Messi was set to take the spot-kick himself, but he just rolled the ball to the side for the in-rushing Su·rez to drive it home.While Celta players looked on in awe, Su·rez and Messi glimpsed at each other and smiled broadly before embracing to celebrate. Luis Enrique tried to cover his mouth while smiling himself at the bench.”Barcelona players, in addition to winning titles, also want to have fun and entertain the members in a fair and spectacular way,” the coach said. “It didn’t surprise me.”The play became famous after Johan Cruyff – a Barcelona idol – executed it while playing for Ajax in 1982.”It’s a legal play. Some will like it, some won’t,” Luis Enrique said. “It will generate a lot of debate.”last_img read more

Grasses Ratchet Their Seeds Into Distance Travelers

first_imgJohn Muir said we should not pity plants as prisoners to one spot.  In their own ways, they travel the world as we humans do.  Anyone who has walked through wild dry grass may have been annoyed at how many foxtails get buried in their socks and how hard it is to get them out.  The seeds were not engineered for socks, but for animal fur.  Once embedded, they become successful hitchhikers.  The shape of the seeds, along with tiny barbs pointing backwards, ensure that the seeds work their way deep into the fur.  The seed may find itself the pioneer of a new land far from where it was born.    Charles Wolgemuth [U of Connecticut) talked about this in Current Biology.1  Many plants do more than just cast their fates to the wind; “some grasses, at least, are not so cavalier and have engineered their seed carrying appendages (spikelets) to increase dispersion and facilitate seed burial by converting periodic or random oscillations in the environment into directed motion.”  Foxtails may look like dead, dry, inert things, but they can hitchhike, walk along the ground and even bury themselves into the soil.  On the ground, they can take advantage of diurnal cycles of moisture and temperature.  Their spikelets, called awns, expand and shrink, ratcheting the seed forward.  Some of them even have spiral tips that can drill the seeds into the ground.    Wolgemuth noted other instances where nature has used ratchet mechanisms to good advantage: snakes, whose skin moves their undulating motions in one direction, and jellyfish and bugs that can use water or air motions to achieve unidirectional travel.  Even inside the cell, molecular motors like myosin, the flagellum and ATP synthase (05/25/2009) ratchet up the random Brownian motion in their environment into linear or rotary motion.  His discussion of ratchets in nature led Wolgemuth to speculate about ratcheting as a general principle of biology.  Unfortunately, this won him Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week :Biology has thus repeatedly found ways of producing net work by rectifying fluctuations with ratchets, and it is interesting to speculate on other areas where this mechanism may play a role.  Evolution is one directly analogous system and a comparison between it and Brownian ratchets has been drawn previously.  Clearly, random mutations in an organism’s genome lead to fluctuations in phenotype.  Reproduction can lock in these variations, and natural selection then acts as a ratchet, reducing the likelihood of maintaining a population that is less competent at reproducing while increasing phenotypic populations that are fitter.  A more tenuous comparison, though, comes to mind when I consider my own thoughts, which all too often seem quite random.  I must consciously work to rectify these thoughts, plucking out the good ones and discarding the bad, in an attempt to construct an understanding of the world about me.  Could my own thinking be working by trapping useful ideas from a pool of noise?  One of the not-so-useful ideas, right?  But, it has been suggested that certain nuclei in the basal ganglia act as a random motor pattern noise generator.  If our brains can create noise, maybe they can ratchet it too.Wolgemuth did not make a distinction between purposeful choice in matters of truth and falsehood, and mindless mechanisms without purpose or goal.  He also did not distinguish between physical ratchet mechanisms and conceptual ones (argument from analogy), and ended up personifying biology as an engineer.  On fitness as a ratchet for progress, see 10/30/2002, “Fitness for Dummies.”Tip: To get foxtails out of your socks, don’t try to pull them out backwards.  Push them through the cloth in the direction their natural ratchet wants to go.1.  Charles Wolgemuth, “Plant Biomechanics: Using Shape to Steal Motion,” Current Biology, Volume 19, Issue 10, 26 May 2009, Pages R409-R410.One of the best videos of the motion of grass seeds is in volume one of Moody’s DVD set Wonders of God’s Creation.  Time-lapse photography shows the seeds moving around like bugs and even burying themselves in the soil.    It’s a shame Wolgemuth had to turn an otherwise interesting scientific discussion about plant engineering into another shallow Darwinian speculation.  If he is unable to separate his own thoughts from noise, why should his readers try to do so?Tip: To get Darwinian foxtails out of your brain, don’t try to pull them out backwards.  Push them through to their logical conclusions, where their blunt pointlessness becomes evident to all.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Qantas launches stunning premium economy seat

first_imgQantas has taken the lead in the premium economy stakes.Qantas has stepped to the fore in cabin innovation for the first time since it introduced Business Class in 1979 with a new premium economy seat that is industry leading.The new seat from another angleThe next generation Premium Economy seat,will be installed on the airlines fleet of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners that are to be delivered from October.Put simply, the seat is more business class than economy and is quite possibly the optimum value in long-range travel.World’s safest airlines for 2017The new premium seat is crammed with features and places to put all the essentials for today’s air travelers.Wider and with more functional space overall, the new seat has a unique recline motion that provides a cradle type seat for sleeping. This feature also means that the seat is not as intrusive on the passenger behind when it is fully reclined.The Premium Economy seat is set in a 2-3-2 configuration with the typically unpopular middle seat 2 inches (5cm wider) and the seats have a 38 inch (96cm) seat pitch which is 7 inches (18cm) more than a typical economy configuration. Overall the Premium Economy seat is almost 10 per cent wider than the airline’s current seat and has increased recline.What will be a popular feature is an ergonomically designed headrest that can be fitted with a specially designed pillow and a reengineered footrest that significantly increases comfort when reclining.The footrest is clever and provides excellent support for the feet and back of the legs, while the seat’s arm rest, adjacent to the aisle, drops down for ease of access.The high-definition Panasonic in-flight entertainment seatback screens that are about 25 per cent larger than existing offerings.The seat has five individual storage compartments and two USB charging points per seat, as well as shared AC power and a personal LED light designed to minimize disturbance of other passengers.Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said that the Boeing 787 will be flying some of the world’s longest routes such as Perth to London and airline has focused on making each cabin the most comfortable in its class.“Our Business Suite has been dubbed ‘mini First Class’ by some of our Frequent Flyers and our Economy seat for the Dreamliner has features that some reserve for Premium Economy.“This new Premium Economy seat has serious wow factor. You have to experience how well it supports you when you recline to realise it’s completely different from anything else in its class.The Qantas Premium Economy seat is based on a prototype by Thompson Aero Seating and heavily customized by leading Australian industrial designer David Caon.“We’ve made sure this seat offers genuine comfort through design elements not seen before on aircraft. There are a number of new bespoke design elements that we hope will really set the benchmark for this class,” said Mr Caon.Qantas said that it will assess updating existing Premium Economy cabins on its A380 and 747s in-line with its fleet planning and product cycles. Qantas will have 26 premium economy seats on the 787.The first of eight Dreamliners will be delivered in October this year with Qantas’ first international 787 services will take flight in December between Melbourne and Los Angeles. Flights between Perth and London, which will directly link Australia and Europe for the first time, begin in March 2018.last_img read more