Darwin As Prognosticator

first_imgHow good was Darwin at making predictions?  A good scientific theory should make predictions, at least according to a common assumption about science.  PBS thinks Darwin hit a home run, according to an interactive feature on the website for Judgment Day, the documentary about evolution vs intelligent design shown on Nova this week (11/14/2007).  The commentary below will analyze these 13 predictions, but some other recent stories from science journals show Darwin scoring a much lower batting average:Island dwarfism:  Evolutionary biologists have long believed that animals trapped on islands would evolve into smaller versions of their mainland counterparts.  Not true, say researchers from Imperial College, London.  A catalog of island species shows no such trend; many factors are involved in the size distribution of island species.  The details can be found at PhysOrg and Science Daily.  (Note: the articles do not attribute the prediction to Darwin himself.)Arms race:  If Darwin intended his theory of natural selection to express a law of nature that applies everywhere, it might be difficult to correlate opposite results.  Many evolutionary biologists speak of predators, prey and parasites leading to an “evolutionary arms race” that drives speciation and adaptive radiation, leading to Darwin’s branching tree of life.  An article in Science Daily, however, says that predators and parasites can drive “evolutionary stability.”Parental guidance suggested:  The environment is supposed to drive evolutionary adaptation.  Offspring, facing the mean old world, should get by with the random genetic mutations that improve their survival – not a parental handout.  Taking loans from mom or dad’s genes would indicate a dependency on pre-adaptive resources, innate in the genetic information of the species.  A study at University of Virginia suggests, however, that maternal influences do help offspring adapt to their environment.Birds don’t talk:  What drives speciation in birds?  It should be Darwin’s mechanism of natural selection – of which the Galapagos finches are the textbook example.  In Science last month,1 however, Loren Rieseberg reviewed a new book by Trevor Price, Speciation in Birds, and found that even the textbook case is not open and shut:Of perhaps greater interest are Price’s conclusions about the roles of ecology and social selection in speciation; these remain relatively unexplored subjects about which birds have much to offer.  Closely related species of birds often differ in ecologically important traits–such as body size, habitat preferences, and feeding and migratory behaviors–that are also likely to contribute to both premating and postmating reproductive isolation.  These observations, combined with classic studies of ecologically driven speciation in Darwin’s finches and crossbills, imply that ecological selection likely contributes to most speciation events in birds.  However, Price cautions that divergence of most co-occurring bird species is too ancient to make inferences about the causes of speciation and that studies of recently diverged species, such as Darwin’s finches, highlight the fragility of ecological reproductive barriers.  He concludes that “it is unclear if ecological causes are sufficient or even important in many speciation events.”  This somewhat negative assessment of the role of ecology in speciation is tempered by speculation in later chapters that rapid ecological speciation may account for short branch lengths detected early in the evolution of many bird genera.That sounds like Price debunked Darwin’s speculation, only to replace it with one of his own.  “Interestingly, social selection appears to be more generally important in speciation in birds than sexual selection, despite the emphasis in the literature on the latter,” Rieseberg continued, only to accuse Price of doublethink: “Price also argues that ecological factors are a major cause of divergence in socially selected traits, an assertion that, while strongly supported, seemingly is at odds with his earlier pessimistic assessment of the importance of ecology in speciation.”    Earlier in the review, Rieseberg also noted that Price did not put much credibility in another evolutionary hypothesis, the so-called “founder effect” (i.e., that new colonizers drift genetically into new species).  Whatever the causes of the origin of species, they appear more complex and inscrutable than Darwin had imagined.Opportunity lost:  The genes of 12 species of Drosophila were compared in a massive test of evolution, published in Nature.2  How much opportunity was there for evolution since the species diverged?  The team wrote, “the evolutionary divergence spanned by the genus Drosophila exceeds that of the entire mammalian radiation when generation time is taken into account,” so for the number of generations during which mammals went from mice to giraffes and whales, these little flies should have had ample opportunity to evolve by Darwin’s theory of natural selection.  (Note: the only kind of natural selection of interest here is positive selection for functional advantage; purifying selection gets rid of harmful mutations, and balancing selection tries to offset them.)    The paper mentions evolution and selection numerous times.  A search for innovation turns up empty, though, and examination of instances of positive selection shows no clear cut example of something new and improved arising.  The geneticists looked for markers of positive selection indirectly – fast-changing base pairs in otherwise unchanging sequences.  It is not as straightforward, however, to correlate these changes with new genetic information that provides a functional advantage for the fly.  The clearest example of positive selection they could find was for “helicase activity,” which seems like merely an adjustment in the rate of operation of existing hardware.  They said, “Despite a number of functional categories with evidence for elevated omega [i.e., an indicator of positive natural selection], ‘helicase activity’ is the only functional category significantly more likely to be positively selected.”  In other words, not only are all the 12 species of Drosophila still fruit flies, none of them seemed to exhibit a single clear-cut example of a new functional innovation – despite as many generations as the mammals had for their assumed evolutionary radiation, with all the new capabilities possessed by bats, skunks, hippos and aardvarks.  What was Darwin doing all that time?  It would seem if clear indications of innovation that would vindicate Darwin had been found, it would be the news of the decade.    In the same issue of Nature,3 Ewan Birney commented on the Clark et al study.  “The analysis of positive selection by Clark and colleagues is undoubtedly the broadest and most detailed investigation performed in any clade of multicellular organisms.”  Two species of Drosophila in the study are as different genetically as humans are from other primates, he said.  Though he claimed that the team identified a third of fruit fly genes apparently undergoing positive selection (mostly for the existing immune system and olfactory functions), he did not identify any example of an “upward” change that gave any species a new organ, system, or innovation that would indicate Drosophila was evolving into something better than a plain old fruit fly.  Instead, he indicated that future studies on primates would be required to understand positive evolution: “Clark and colleagues’ findings suggest that, to understand the fascinating adaptive changes among primates, including those unique to humans, we probably need to sequence the genome of every extant primate (and, where possible, any extinct primates with recoverable DNA), using optimal sequencing strategies to obtain both population-level data and accurate genome sequences.”Fossils to the rescue?  Is Darwin’s tree rooted in the rocks?  Gene Hunt undertook a study of “The relative importance of directional change, random walks, and stasis in the evolution of fossil lineages,” and found a lot of stasis.  After his “large-scale, statistical survey of evolutionary mode in fossil lineages,” involving some 250 sequences of evolving traits, he wrote in PNAS,4 “The rarity with which directional evolution was observed in this study corroborates a key claim of punctuated equilibria and suggests that truly directional evolution is infrequent or, perhaps more importantly, of short enough duration so as to rarely register in paleontological sampling.”  Darwin did not predict punctuated equilibria.  The core of his theory was that changes occurred imperceptibly, gradually and cumulatively.  In addition, he knew that the fossil record was characterized by large gaps, but predicted that the new fossil discoveries would fill in those gaps, revealing his hoped-for branching evolutionary tree.  Hunt found only 5% of fossil lineages could be attributed to directional evolution.  Of the rest that showed change over time, it was mostly for body size, not body shape.  This does not seem to be a vindication for Darwin’s prognosticative powers.  In the evolutionary rat race, if a bigger or smaller rat wins, it is still just a rat.Scientific literature does present occasional successes for Darwin, such as this claimed vindication at Queens University for Darwin’s controversial hypothesis of sympatric speciation.  But the score is mixed.  One study never undertaken is how Darwin’s predictions would rank against those of astrology.1.  Loren H. Rieseberg, “…And a Partridge in Allopatry,” Science, 12 October 2007: Vol. 318. no. 5848, p. 198, DOI: 10.1126/science.1147892.2.  Clark et al, “Evolution of genes and genomes in the Drosophila phylogeny,” Nature 450, 203-218 (8 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06341.See also an article in Science Daily that lamented the difficulty this study uncovered about identifying what is a gene.3.  Ewan Birney, “Evolutionary genomics: Come fly with us,” Nature 450, 184-185 (8 November 2007) | doi:10.1038/450184a.4.  Gene Hunt, “The relative importance of directional change, random walks, and stasis in the evolution of fossil lineages,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published online before print November 14, 2007, 10.1073/pnas.0704088104.We have reported numerous times when Darwin predicted something and the opposite was found (e.g., 11/13/2007, 11/09/2007, 10/17/2007).  Charlie has struck out again and again, yet his fans never give up.    The PBS Judgment Day program (11/14/2007) made a big deal about how “scientific” Darwin’s theory was.  For support, the PBS website offered an interactive feature listing 13 of “Darwin’s Predictions” that supposedly came true.  This was presented to trick students and visitors into thinking Darwin has an impressive batting average.  Let’s look at them and see if Charlie can make it to first base at least.  The PBS feature begins with a dramatic star spangled banner, asking Jose if he can see the Darwin’s early light:Ahead of his time is putting it moderately for Charles Darwin.  The father of evolution had conjectures that were only proved, or greatly substantiated, decades after his death in 1882, in some cases not until recently.  Today, evidence that unequivocally supports his theory of evolution by natural selection, as well as other surmises he had, comes from an array of scientific disciplines, including paleontology, geology, biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, and, most recently, evolutionary developmental biology, or “evo devo.”  “The notion that all these lines of evidence could converge and give a common answer to the question of where we came from is truly powerful,” says Brown University biologist Kenneth Miller.  “This is the reason why scientific support for the theory of evolution is so overwhelming.”A pretty dramatic overture indeed, provided there is power behind the sound system.  Here are the 13 pitches for Darwin to swing at.  Keep in mind these are all supposed to be predictions by Darwin that were confirmed by science.  Unfortunately, since the Darwin Party owns the stadium and both teams, which are sworn to make Charlie look good, all we can do is umpire from the sidelines when they break the rules.Evo-devo:  “Evolution happens,” the first entry announces triumphantly.  Something else on bumper stickers also happens, but we won’t press the point.    Right off the bat, we notice them including evo-devo in the victory circle with little more than an unsupported assertion followed by the favorite Darwin Party quote that nothing in biology makes sense except in the darkness of evolution.  Last month, however, Ron Amundson, in a Science Magazine book review (318:5850, pp. 571-572, 10/26/2007) portrayed evolutionary genetics and evolutionary embryology (of which evo-devo is the latest incarnation) as antagonists in a long tug-of-war between biologists about where the seat of evolution lies.  This is essentially the battle between saltationism and gradualism in embryo.  So for PBS to claim evo-devo is a friend of Darwin is a little like Coriolanus embracing Aufidius.  They are reluctant allies who would as soon stab one another except for the common enemy, the creationists.Verdict: this is not even a pitch; it’s just Darwin fans rooting in the stands.Natural selection:  “Evolution happens through natural selection,” the next entry states.  We thought that was the question at issue.  Ever hear of begging the question?  This is no prediction; it assumes what needs to be proved.  There it is, right before your eyes, a totally begged question, complete with another favorite D.P. quote that natural selection is “the greatest idea anyone ever had,” followed by a Big Lie by Niles Eldredge that nothing in 175 years has contravened it (even his own competing theory of punctuated equilibria?).Verdict: this is a little dance on the pitcher’s mound getting applause from the Darwin fans again.  No ball has been pitched yet.  We’re getting impatient.For rebuttals that show natural selection does not work as advertised, and has been essentially falsified, see 11/29/2004 and, more recently, 11/13/2007 and 10/17/2007. Galapagos finches:  This was no prediction.  Darwin found the finches while a creationist, then much later worked them into his evolutionary theory.  But even if you allow a postdiction to count as a prediction, it is irrelevant, because even young-earth creationists allow for the microevolution seen in finch beaks.Verdict: When are you going to pitch a ball, PBS?  We want a pitcher, not a Lucy itcher.  We’re starting to boo from the sidelines while the hysterical fans go ape.Genetics:  Finally, a pitch.  Darwin swings and misses.  His theory of pangenesis was discredited almost as soon as it hit the shelves.  He knew nothing of DNA, and did not predict anything like a code in the cell which, to him, was a simple blob of protoplasm.Verdict: Strike one.  For the Darwin party to give Charlie credit for DNA and molecular biology as a prediction of his theory is like giving Walt Whitman credit for the internet.Antisupernaturalism:  What?  That is the very question under consideration.Verdict: Foul!  Illegal procedure!  This is no pitch; it is another egregious case of begging the question.Embryology:  This is indistinguishable from #1.  It’s evo-devo again.  PBS failed to point out the Haeckel’s embryo hoax that sprang right out of Darwin’s own speculations.  The shared genetic toolkit is no prediction of Darwin’s theory; it is an evidence that complex design was there from the beginning.Verdict: No pitch.  Sending the evo-devo clown out on the field for another cheer from the fans is a distraction.Sexual selection:  OK, here’s a real pitch.  Darwin did predict sexual selection would drive sexual dimorphism.  (Actually, this is just another postdiction, because peacocks were already well known in his time.)  The theory is controversial (02/26/2003), but at best, a peacock with radical tail feathers is still a peacock, not a new animal.  Sexual selection does not explain the origin of new species.Verdict: Ball One.Common ancestry:  Ken Miller states, “Despite the extraordinary diversity of life, all living organisms share a nearly identical set of essential genes, reflecting their evolutionary development from a common ancestor.”  Yet Darwin’s view was one not of “immortal” traits, nor of anything that has “survived essentially unchanged for over two billion years.”  Darwin’s world is a fluid picture of gradual, incessant change, not stasis.Verdict: More evo-devo.  More begging the question.  Common ancestry is the question under debate, not a prediction!  They are not learning their lesson.  This elicits a cheer from the fans in the stands, but no ball was pitched.Human evolution:  “Humans evolved from an ape-like ancestor,”  the next slide announces triumphantly, again begging the question.  As support, the slide borrows an ancient 1863 Huxley drawing, and then repeats the discredited whopper that human and chimpanzee genes are 99% similar (see 06/29/2007).  No fossil evidence is presented.  They repeat Darwin’s speculation that “the difference between the mind of man and that of a chimpanzee or gorilla is a matter of degree, not of kind.”  What did they do to interpolate this, interview Lucy or something?  It’s not like creationists have failed to notice similarities and differences between humans and apes for thousands of years; so what has Charlie done to prove his condition that we evolved from them?Verdict: Begged question, no evidence.  Ball Two.Modern humans arose in Africa:  Evidence is presented from phylogenetic trees and alleged hominid bones, most of which were found in Africa.  This argument fails to recognize the selective effect of doing most of the digging in Africa, and the circular nature of finding Darwin trees in the genes, when unbiased analysis finds no tree (10/08/2007) and declares phylogenetic tree-building a function of assumptions (01/18/2006).Verdict: the ball curves chaotically through the batter’s box, making any contact with the bat a matter of luck, not skill.  Ball Three.Old earth:  This was not a prediction of Darwin.  Hutton, Lyell and other geologists had already decided long before The Origin to believe in an old earth, and they began interpreting the strata through that lens.  Regardless of debates on the age of the earth, Darwin gets no credit for predicting it.Verdict: Strike Two.Fossils:  Precambrian fossils?  Missing links?  Gaps filled in with transitional forms? (see 10/15/2007 commentary on the PBS offerings, under numbered bullets #1).  The gall of these people to use the most damaging evidence against Darwin’s theory as support for it!Verdict: Strike Three.Moth tongue:  OK, Charlie struck out, but we’ll entertain his final little just-so story, his lucky #13, as he walks to the dugout.  He predicted a pollinator with a foot-long tongue would be found to pollinate a peculiar orchid, and by golly, one was found 40 years later.  Awesome, dude.  Cowabunga.  Way to go.  Ahem.  The moth was still a moth, not some other animal, and the orchid was still an orchid.  None of this is germane to the question of the origin of species.  Since even young-earth creationists allow for dramatic variations of traits within kinds (look at dogs), this pitch is too little, too late.Verdict: Don’t quit your day job, prognosticator.  Go breed some pigeons.  Be sure to use intelligent design.So Charlie is out.  He has failed to hit a single pitch from the list of predictions.  He couldn’t even walk to first base, because the pitcher kept dancing on the mound.    We hate to hurt a guy’s feelings when he’s down, but must point out that even if he had struck a homer, it wouldn’t have mattered.  You see, scientists and philosophers have known for a long time that predictability is no assurance of validity.  There is an inherent logical fallacy in making and fulfilling predictions, called the fallacy of Affirming the Consequent (see Wikipedia for a convenient summary): “If P then Q; Q is true, therefore P is true.”  This is a non-sequitur; there are other things than P that could have been the cause of Q.  Example: Columbus told the natives that their gods were angry because of their treatment of his sailors, and were going to punish them by turning the moon blood-red.  It happened!  Columbus was good at predicting a lunar eclipse, but the natives believed the gods were angry, and treated him with much more respect.  If you take a placebo because the experimenter tells you it will make you feel better, and you feel better, it doesn’t mean the placebo cured you.  Astrologers and pseudoscientists for centuries have used this fallacy to their advantage.    The problem is even more serious at a deeper level.  Philosophers of science since Pierre Duhem (late 19th century) have pointed out that theories are underdetermined by facts.  No matter how many facts your theory can incorporate, or how many successful predictions it can make, there are always a nearly infinite number of other theories that could account for the phenomena.  That’s why Popper proposed falsifiability as a criterion for good science.  Many would argue that Darwinism has already been falsified, but then Popper is not the last word, either.  Philosophy of science, the attempt to give a rational justification for scientific claims and discriminate good science from pseudoscience, has undergone multiple revolutions in the 20th century alone.  There remains no consensus even today.  All agree now, however, that the ability to make predictions is neither necessary nor sufficient to claim a theory is scientific.  So even if Charlie had hit the ball, the game wasn’t valid in the first place.  There is no joy in Dudville.  Mighty Charlie has struck out.  The officials, meanwhile, had already abrogated the game and declared it nugatory.(Visited 32 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Beware of Starstuff

first_imgStars can be dangerous.  They spew out deadly particles, unless you are protected from them in a safety bubble – like Earth has.  The Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere only let in the life-giving part of sunlight.  Studies of other stars, and our own moon, show that things could be far worse.Record flare:  A little star 16 light-years away in Lacerta just went whoosh!  On April 25, it “unleashed what is considered the brightest burst of light ever seen in the universe from a normal star,” reported Space.com.  If that is normal, be glad our sun is abnormal (see 03/07/2007).  A NASA scientist said, “Flares like this would deplete the atmospheres of life-bearing planets, sterilizing their surfaces.”  Science Daily called this star “the mouse that roared.”  For an artist conception of a planet near a roaring star, see Astronomy Picture of the Day for 5/21/2008.Electric dust:  Future moon astronauts will have new challenges only briefly experienced by the Apollo crews.  NASA Science reported that the moon flies through Earth’s magnetotail once a month.  That’s a stream of charged particles from the sun that flows around Earth’s magnetic field and hits the full moon.  The Apollo astronauts never felt the full brunt of this stream.    Physicists believe that electrons from the sun can charge moon dust and make it levitate above the surface.  Not only that, it can start moving from one hemisphere to the other in a kind of lunar wind, depending on charge differences.  The Apollo astronauts learned a little about the hazards of moon dust.  It scratched visors, got into everything, stuck like glue and smelled like gunpowder.  Future astronauts living through magnetotail crossings may get the full brunt of hazards that electrified dust will throw at them.Question: if dust like this has been dancing around the moon for billions of years, would it alter the appearance of lunar features?Our waterful, airful world is such a blessing, we often take it for granted.  Skeptics can argue all they want that if it weren’t this way we wouldn’t be here arguing about it.  Don’t be such an ingrate.  Thank God for that blue sky with its ozone and magnetic shield.  It’s not just a necessity for survival; it’s a blessing that didn’t have to be.(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

InniBos: Lowveld Arts Festival

first_img25 June 2004A bright new star shines in South Africa’s arts festival circuit. The Lowveld National Arts Festival, InniBos (literally: In the Bush), takes place in Nelspruit from 30 June to 3 July, with over 60 productions set to take place amid the Lowveld’s magnificent scenery and amazing winter climate.InniBos is based on the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival and Aardklop Festival, but with its own unique packaging.In essence, InniBos is an Afrikaans arts festival – though with a strong Portuguese component, due to the fact that the Lowveld is situated ideally to serve the Mozambican and Gauteng Portuguese-speaking market.Other South African cultures will be involved in some of the productions, like jazz and classical music productions that pay no heed to cultural borders.A symphony concert, Afrikaans rock and satirical acts also feature among over 60 productions in 12 different venues. There will also be an extended arts and flea market, and multiple open stages to supply endless entertainment to festival goers.For more information on the festival programme, venues, bookings, accommodation and bushveld adventures on the side, visit the InniBos website – available in Afrikaans, Portuguese and English.SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

Wood County farmer files lawsuit challenging LEBOR legality

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ohio Farm Bureau Federation has pledged its support to member and Wood County farmer Mark Drewes, who today filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality and legal status of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights. Toledo voters yesterday approved creation of LEBOR during a special election. Drewes’ suit was filed in the Federal District Court for Northern Ohio.LEBOR grants rights to Lake Erie and empowers any Toledo citizen to file lawsuits on behalf of the lake. It gives Toledoans authority over nearly 5 million Ohioans, thousands of farms, more than 400,000 businesses and every level of government in 35 northern Ohio counties plus parts of Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada.LEBOR was passed despite the prevailing legal opinion that many of its provisions are unconstitutional.Drewes is a long-time member of Ohio Farm Bureau and is on the board of directors for The Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association. Drewes Farm Partnership is a family crop operation in Custar, Ohio with a significant history of being dedicated to improving water quality.“Mark’s farm is an example of the right way of doing things” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “He’s employing a variety of conservation practices, water monitoring systems, water control structures and uses variable rate enabled equipment and yet he’s vulnerable to frivolous lawsuits. We are proud that our member has stood up against this overreach, and his efforts will benefit all Farm Bureau members, farmers and protect jobs in Ohio.”OFBF has historically engaged in precedent setting court cases that potentially affect its members. Farm Bureau will actively assist Drewes and his legal team throughout this litigation to ensure our members’ concerns are heard. OFBF’s legal staff will monitor developments, lend agricultural expertise and provide supporting information about agriculture’s efforts to protect water quality.Drewes is represented by the law firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, which has extensive experience fighting against onerous government action.Thomas Fusonie, a partner at Vorys and one of the counsel for Drewes, explained, “The Charter Amendment is an unconstitutional and unlawful assault on the fundamental rights of family farms in the Lake Erie Watershed – like the Drewes’ 5th generation family farm. The lawsuit seeks to protect the Drewes’ family farm from this unconstitutional assault.”The suit argues LEBOR violates federal constitutional rights, including equal protection, freedom of speech and is unenforceable for its vagueness. A request for preliminary and permanent injunction was also filed seeking to prevent enforcement of the law.“Farmers want and are working toward improving water quality, but this new Toledo law hurts those efforts. Mark Drewes understands this, and it’s Farm Bureau’s job to back his important actions on behalf of Ohio farmers,” Sharp said.last_img read more

Paint your wall with vibrant shades this monsoon

first_imgLatika KhoslaThe monsoon is a multi-sensory cultural phenomenon. Even before the first drops of rain strike terra firma, the plant kingdom is pregnant with the promise of new life. But our homes don’t take to rain as well as we do, so it’s best to prepare our interiors for the,Latika KhoslaThe monsoon is a multi-sensory cultural phenomenon. Even before the first drops of rain strike terra firma, the plant kingdom is pregnant with the promise of new life. But our homes don’t take to rain as well as we do, so it’s best to prepare our interiors for the monsoon. Black and grey chiaroscuro colour schemes have been a favourite in edgy urban dwellings for some time now. Shades like ochre and lemon yellow are scaling popularity charts and are likely to carry forward to the next seasonCurrent interior decor trends point to a strong bias towards neutralhued spaces punctuated with stunning pieces. Yellow-green shades set against grey backgrounds have become an acceptable as well as safe combination for accessories. You can spice things up further by introducing textural contrast in accent pieces. It’s a great idea to place rough grey concrete against felt; gloss against glass; papier mache against the patina of metal or patchwork against pleating and come up with fantastic pairings.Other popular colours for soft furnishings are slushy mango and saffron”Water has unfailingly played the prima donna in an annual ballet cued by nature,” says poet Soni Somarajan. But as much as we welcome the rains, once we are in the midst of the full-blown deluge, we long for a hint of colour in our interiors.Just when the drab and listless landscape becomes a reality, interiors need to be transformed with a glowing colour palette. The season calls for vibrant interiors primarily because the outdoors are often held captive by sudden showers. Rich teal-blue tints in furniture and accessories will help you soak up the flavours of the monsoonAs a result, we are forced to stay indoors for long spells. To escape the dampness, snuggle into crisp fresh linen flaunting a mixture of verdant and light tones.Also, we are now entering a decade when the colour yellow will influence us for a long time. Shades like ochre, amber, sepia and russet are a great way to perk up your home when it’s pouring outside. Also, these shades are scaling the popularity charts and are likely to be carried forward to the next season.Accessories need to sport vibrant tonesMonsoon is also loved for its delightful fragrances and diffused light. The fantastic play of colours in nature adds to the season’s visual appeal. The ominous, grey clouds; glossy green leaves; a gentle hiss of indigo rain; deafening cobalt thunder and the drama of purple lightning flashes create a fresh colour palette for you to revel in.Taking a cue from this shade card, design a cocooned space at home. Rich teal blue and mauve accents in both textiles and furniture will help you soak up the flavours of the rain. advertisementSplashes of toxic yellow creates effervescent interiors when it pours outsideEnlivened by light-toned woods and flashes of fiery red and yellow upholstery, your interiors will keep the monsoon blues at bay. Also, these warm colours tend to make a space appear clutter-free and impart a stream-lined look. In addition, they contrast sharply with the grey tints dominating the skyline.Monsoon is truly a season of contemplation. Vibrant linen, furniture crafted from light-coloured wood and cheerful accessories act as the perfect foil to tide over rough weather.last_img read more

Market Challenges Cut Milahas Quarterly Earnings

first_imgzoom Qatar-based marine transport and logistics conglomerate Qatar Navigation (Milaha) has seen its net profit drop by some 33 percent for the first quarter of the year ended March 31, 2017.Namely, the company ended the quarter with a net profit of QAR 236 million (USD 64.8 million), significantly lower than QAR 352 million (USD 96.6 million) reported in the same period in 2016.Milaha’s operating revenues also decreased to QAR 648 million for the first three months of the year, compared to QAR 767 million reached a year earlier, representing a decrease of 15 percent, while its operating profit dropped by 27 percent to QAR 185 million from QAR 256 million in the respective periods.“We are continuing to face the same market challenges as in 2016, but we remain confident in our ability to drive growth and capitalize on new opportunities while exercising financial discipline,” H.E. Sheikh Ali bin Jassim Al Thani, Chairman of Milaha’s Board of Directors, said.Additionally, Milaha Maritime & Logistics’ net profit declined by QAR 14 million, mainly as a result of continued rate pressure in the company’s container shipping unit, while Milaha Gas & Petrochem’s net profit plunged by QAR 46 million mainly driven by a global downturn in shipping rates that impacted all major sectors.Similarly, Milaha Offshore reported a drop in its profit as well, which decreased by QAR 25 million, with QAR 22 million of that related to impairments.“Given the difficult environment we are working in, we posted solid operational results. We will continue moving ahead with our multi-year growth strategy to build a stronger and more sustainable business,” Abdulrahman Essa Al-Mannai, Milaha’s President and CEO, said.last_img read more