first_img(Visited 56 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Fantastical scenarios with no evidence – sometimes contrary to evidence – continue to get good publicity in science venues.Imagining Dyson Spheres:  No one has ever seen a Dyson sphere (a theoretical way for an alien civilization to conserve all the energy from a dying star).  No one has seen an alien civilization, for that matter.  It didn’t stop Live Science from describing the “incredible technology” of Dyson spheres and how they will enable SETI researchers to find aliens.  Live Science took another step into Fantasyland by posting an “infographic” about objects we have no information about.  What would its editors think of an infographic about heaven, which arguably has more information from multiple sources?  Would that qualify for a science news post?  Yet Dyson spheres (imagined by futurist Freeman Dyson) were described as devices by which “advanced civilizations would conquer the galaxy.”  Presumably they would have to be intelligently designed, but ID is shunned by Live Science except for ridicule.Imagining superhabitable worlds:  National Geographic posted a discussion about planets that are more habitable than Earth.  None of these are known; they are only supposed as possible.  To its credit, the article gives views of skeptics who think the question is vacuous.  Still, “If superhabitable planets exist, and if we develop the means to find them, they may turn out to be more common than Earthlike planets,” the article speculates.  Just thinking about it “could broaden our chances of discovering life on other worlds,” the speculation continues, “because it opens up the possibility that there may be some super-Earth planets with appropriate conditions for life.”Imagining many ways to unguided life:  An extremely optimistic article about the origin of life was printed by Science Magazine on January 17.  In a response to pessimistic thoughts recently expressed by Steven Benner (see 8/28/13, 9/07/13 and 12/31/13), Jimmy Gollihar, Matthew Levy and Andrew D. Ellington are highly confident that science is on the verge of finding the way life evolved.  Indeed they are impressed with the “many paths to the origin of life” that create an embarrassment of riches:The origin of life remains a daunting mystery in part because rather than knowing too little, we increasingly know about too many possible mechanisms that might have led to the self-sustaining replication of nucleic acids and the cellularization of genetic material that is the basis of life on Earth.To speak so optimistically, they have to virtually leap over conceptual canyons.  Difficulties with homochirality, adverse reactions forming tars, the problem of compartmentalization and other daunting challenges (such as the improbability of reaching functional information from nonliving chemistry) are treated as low hurdles that primordial cells would rush forth to conquer like Olympic athletes.  Those cells could have even used teamwork:As RNA or an alternative precursor nucleic acid begins to self-replicate, protection from molecular parasites and the low concentrations of needed substrates become paramount in propagating chemical information content. Compartmentalization of the genetic/catalytic machinery would have necessarily been an early invention or co-option of a self-replicase. The demonstration of protocell division based on simple physical and chemical mechanisms lends credence to the idea that nucleic acid and vesicle replicators got together for mutual benefit.In closing Gollihar, Levy and Ellington point back to the Miller experiment for inspiration:The great benefit of the demonstration of prebiotic amino acid synthesis from a simple gas mix and an electrical spark was not that it was a cookbook for how things occurred, but rather that it was the identification of a plausible path to an origin of life that would continue to bear experimental fruit.Being translated, an experiment that failed to serve as a cookbook inspired other cookbooks that so far have cooked up only imaginary scenarios after 50 years of trying by intelligent cooks in the kitchen.This last article was ungodly awful; Baloney Detector apprentices should use it as a case study.  Its perhapsimaybecouldness index saturated our meters: 4 could‘s, 4 may‘s, and 5 might‘s in the short article (and those are only the overt indicators).  Faster than a speeding bull**it, more powerful than a “loco” motive, able to leap tall futilities in a single bound, it’s absurd.  It’s insane.  It’s Supermad.  Yet it was published in Science Magazine, not Marvel Comics.  These delusional sciopaths simply imagined solutions to every show-stopper the more realistic scientists and philosophers have wept over their beer about.  It “is easy to imagine how such simple replicators might have evolved in complexity,” they said.  (Speak for thyselves, dreamers.)  Later “an origin can be imagined that involves” blah blah blah, till, “Ultimately, a fully functional RNA polymerase should evolve from the heady broth of reactions in the primordial soup.”  Ah yes, primordial soup.  Old mythoids die hard.The perceptive Baloney Detector finds instances of personification scattered throughout the scenario: “it is possible that prebiotic analogs of these enzymes might have assisted in chemical syntheses” (contrary to the laws of chemistry), they presume; “millions of years of a poor replicator (a blink on the geological time scale) might well have been necessary to craft a feedback cycle” (there’s the moyboys‘ magic wand); replicators “got together for mutual benefit,” while a better replicator arises “that could better feed itself by directing the chemistry around it.”   Imagine that; a non-living molecule with a mind, will, and even leadership!  In other places they hid their Tinker Bell fairy in passive voice, speaking of “the evolution of,” or how things “arose” or “led to” this or that.Where is the science?  Realize that the actions of intelligent agents in a chemistry lab have nothing to do with their subject matter.  They are using intelligent design!  Listen: “Ribozymes have been crafted that make carbon-carbon bonds, glycosidic bonds, phosphodiester bonds, and others, and it is possible that prebiotic analogs of these enzymes might have….” blah blah blah, and so on, and so forth, etc.  What’s another word for “crafted,” students?  Intelligently designed!  How about “possible” and “might”?  Speculation!  You can’t design a robot and then speculate that rocks can do the same.  (Well, you can, but don’t call it science.)At one point, the authors used the word “unguided” properly: “Initial insights that biological compounds could be generated by prebiotic means quickly ran up against a gap in our understanding of how unguided syntheses could result in defined templates for replication.”  That’s what they are stuck with: unguided processes.  They need to keep their intelligently guided hands off the story and watch it implode.  These unguided molecules are simply not going to do what they need them to do.  (Notice that words like “prebiotic” build evolutionary assumptions into them by the power of suggestion.)It is atrocious that imagineers without a leg to stand on empirically can get away with dreaming on the job in science magazines and websites.  These are the same ones who refuse to consider intelligent design, which has tons of empirical backing for its scientific principles (e.g., archaeology, cryptology, forensics), as they repeat ad nauseum the long-debunked canard that if something is not 100% materialistic, it must be religious.  It’s about time to declare Tinker Bell worship as a religion: the preferred “mystery religion” of the scientism crowd.last_img read more

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The nation’s two leading dairy organizations applauded the introduction of a bipartisan bill to help reverse the decline of milk consumption in schools.The School Milk Nutrition Act of 2017, introduced by Representatives G.T. Thompson (R-PA) and Joe Courtney (D-CT), would allow schools to offer low-fat and fat-free milk, including flavored milk with no more than 150 calories per 8-ounce serving, to participants in the federal school lunch and breakfast programs. The bill allows individual schools and school districts to determine which milkfat varieties to offer their students.The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) strongly support the bill and encourage Congress to pass it. Once enacted, the bill would make permanent the administrative changes in the school lunch program proposed earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, in one of his first official actions earlier this year, supported giving school districts the option to offer a variety of milk types as part of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs.“Congressmen Thompson and Courtney recognize the nutritional role that milk plays in helping school-aged children to grow and develop to their full potential,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA president and CEO. “We appreciate their steadfast commitment to reverse declining milk consumption by allowing schools to give kids access to a variety of milk options, including the flavored milks they love.”The legislation includes a pilot program to test strategies that schools can use to increase the consumption of fluid milk.  This could include ways to make milk more attractive and available to students, including improved refrigeration, packaging and merchandising.“Milk is the number-one source of nine essential vitamins and minerals in children’s diets, and when its consumption drops, the overall nutritional intake of America’s kids is jeopardized,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “When kids don’t drink milk, it’s extremely difficult for them to get sufficient amounts of three of the four major nutrients most lacking in children’s diets:  calcium, potassium, and vitamin D.”He pointed out that in just the first two years after low-fat flavored milk was removed from the school lunch program, 1.1 million fewer school students drank milk with their lunch. The Act also includes a provision to allow participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, to have access to reduced-fat milk for themselves and their children.“Expanding options for WIC participants will encourage mothers to help their young children grow up strong and healthy,” Dykes said.last_img read more

first_imgThe impact of soldiers reporting positive experiences in seeking assistance and the positive impact of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Dr. Britt discusses research on civilian employees which found that CBT was related to decreased time away from work to acquire mental health treatment. This has good implications for soldiers who may feel that they are letting down their unit by being away to receive treatment. Furthermore, exposure to positive experiences with CBT may work to lessen the stigma associated with mental health treatment seeking.Research now shows that getting help early on will improve resilience. Some may get the idea that if they require and seek out mental health treatment, it means they have failed to be resilient. Consider this counterargument: if military personnel get treatment early when the problems are not severe, then getting early mental health treatment can be seen as a contributor to resilience rather than a failure to be resilient. One of the problems is that the culture we’ve talked about highlights mental health treatment as a last resort. If it could be emphasized that the early treatment for these problems is a contributor to resilience and if leaders create a climate within the unit where this is encouraged, then perhaps we can begin to view mental health treatment as an asset rather than an indicator of failure.Misconceptions military members have about mental health medications, and how participating in therapy will influence their ability to remain in the military. In each focus group, there was an example of one of the NCOs who basically said that one of their soldiers went to Behavioral Health, got put on medication, and came back as a “zombie”. That one highly visible case study can create a whole perception within the unit that psychotropic medication is addictive and it can harm your performance. Misinformation can be put within the units.The military’s efforts to improve mental health care and reduce stigma. While there is still progress to be made, it is important to note that leadership in the military is working hard to combat stigma associated with mental health treatment seeking. By: Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT & David Lee Sexton, Jr.Beyond Staying Strong by Seeking HelpOn Thursday, April 19, 2018, Dr. Thomas Britt from Clemson University facilitated a webinar capturing the barriers and facilitators to military mental health treatment-seeking.Dr. Britt started the webinar off with this: “It probably doesn’t take much to convince everyone that we have a situation here, where because of the nature of their work, military personnel get exposed to traumatic events and these traumatic events have been linked to the experience of mental health problems… at the same time, there are effective mental health treatments that are available to service members if they would go and get them. If they would go and get them early, there’s evidence to suggest that their problems would not get severe and interfere with their family life as well as their personal life.”Why Don’t Service Members Seek Help? Stigma! Stigma is the primary factor that has frequently been discussed as a deterrent to treatment seeking. Stigma surrounding mental health is problematic even for civilians, but for military service members who are expected to endure hardships most of us can’t even imagine, stigma can be even more burdensome.Why Dr. Britt Got InterestedDr. Britt became interested in mental health treatment seeking among service members and stigma due to an experience he had in 1996. During that time, the military wanted to screen service members coming back from the peacekeeping deployment to Bosnia by assessing their medical and psychological health and proactively intervening to address any problems that were emerging before they became severe.When involved in the screening, service members completed medical questionnaires and then they completed mental health questionnaires. If they screened positive for a medical issue, they stood in one line to be seen by a medical provider and if they screened positive for a mental health issue, they stood in another line to be treated by a behavioral health provider. The service members soon figured out which line was associated with mental health and which one was associated with medical problems. There were jokes about soldiers having to go to the “loony line” and it was common to hear “I’m gonna have to take your weapon before you talk to the person”.  This conveyed to Dr. Britt a visible stigma associated with having a mental health problem which led him to the initial study.This led Britt to a startling revelation, but one that is seen over and over again: those service members MOST in need of help are those who perceive the highest level of stigma associated with getting mental health treatment.High risk occupations like the military have a culture that deters getting help for mental health problems. Resilience is highlighted over and over in the military and there’s an expectation that soldiers will show resilience. Any sign that you’re not resilient is perceived as a mark on your record.Insights from the webinar:Stigma prevents military members from receiving needed mental health services. “The association of stigma as a determinant of why military personnel don’t get treatment has, at times, proved elusive to document. But, certainly, that is the primary factor that has frequently been discussed as a deterrent to treatment seeking.” Britt shares terminologies associated with the stigma of getting help: Public Stigma, Self- Stigma, and Label Avoidance. In addition, it is important to note the significance of having support from family, leaders, and peers when seeking mental health treatment.Need for increased visibility of mental health professionals. This was a recommendation that came out across the different studies that Britt and colleagues have conducted. Greater visibility and accessibility of behavioral health providers may help to encourage reaching out for help.Ways in which unit leaders can be trained which may increase support of their members. Unit leaders are very influential in a service members inclination to get help if they have a problem. If the leader is supportive, then service members are much more likely to get treatment than if the leader views treatment as a waste of time.Video training resources are available. Dr. Britt shared information about the unit training they developed in order to increase the support that soldiers would show towards fellow unit members who needed mental health treatment. They knew they needed to target the smallest unit in which the soldier was embedded. The training delivered to squads was designed based on the qualitative and quantitative research described earlier in the webinar. The training developed is heavily populated with the unique organizational culture of the military. Areas of training and the format of the training are described on slide 25 of the presentation.Link to YouTube playlistlast_img read more

first_imgAdam Gilchrist rolled back years to come up with a superlative century helping his team to an impressive 111-run win against Bangalore during the 63rd IPL match on Tuesday. Score | PhotosBatting at the picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala on Tuesday, he and countryman Shaun Marsh also put up the highest T20 partnership scoring a massive 206 runs for the second wicket.In the face of a daunting 233-run target, Bangalore lost the plot early.Opener Chris Gayle went back without opening his account to a Ryan Harris ball in the second over and soon one-down batsman Virat Kohli followed in the fourth over. He became Harris’s second victim when the total was 17/2.The other opener Saurabh Tiwary departed on the last ball of the sixth over off Shalabh Srivastava and the next over saw Asad Pathan walk back, caught David Hussey, bowled Paul valthaty when the team total was 43/4.Mohammad Kaif was the next to take a walk. A turner off leggie Piyush Chawla beat him and Gilchrist removed the bails in a jiffy. He was the fifth wicket to fall from the Bangalore camp and the score at the time of his departure was 72.Chawla then came around to get rid of Arun Karthik AB de Villiers to reduce Bangalore to 89/7.With seven wicket back in the dugout, the rest was easy for the Punjab bowlers who quickly wrapped up the tail emerging triumphant by 111 runs with three overs to spare.Punjab inningsPunjab skipper Adam Gilchrist hit a century helping his team 232 against Bangalore – the highest total of IPL-4.advertisementCaptain Gilchrist and Shaun Marsh, who remained unbeaten on 79, scored 206 runs for the second wicket – the highest in T20s so far. Earlier, Punjab captain Adam Gilchrist won the toss and elected to bat in this 63th IPL match of the season.Despite a good start, they lost their opener Paul Valthaty to a Charl Langeveldt ball in the fourth over when the team total was 25.But post that wicket, the two Aussies, Adam Gilchrist and Shaun Marsh got going against the Bangalore bowlers. Soon the run rate shot up to more than 10 an over and by the 10th over the Punjab total was an impressive 99/1.The two started dealing in boundaries and over-the-fence shots making the opposition – Bangalore, table-toppers in the IPL so far, look like a team of novice players. Chris Gayle, who has been impressive both with the bat and the ball this season, too could not much for the team’s cause as the two Aussies went about their business with ease.Punjab crossed the 200-run mark in the 17th over off Johan van der Wath that witnessed as many as 16 runs being scored in it. A much better performance by Van der Wath compared to his last over that went for 30 runs.Gilchrist went on to complete his first IPL-4 century hitting a four off Charl Langeveldt on the second ball of the last over.But the captain’s innings came to a tame end on the penultimate ball of the innings when he prodded an away moving ball to Chris Gayle at short third man. His 106-run innings came off just 55 balls and was decorated with eight four and nine over-the-fence shot.The Gilchrist-Marsh 206-run partnership proved to be the highest in all T20s so far. And the score 232 was the highest of this IPL season. Marsh remained unbeaten on 79.last_img read more

first_imgLionel Messi is the greatest player of all-time, according to his former Barcelona team-mate Samuel Eto’o.Messi was named in the FIFPro World XI on Monday, but missed out on being in the top three for FIFA’s Best Men’s Player award.Real Madrid and Croatia star Luka Modric claimed the main prize, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! Regardless, Eto’o – who played alongside Messi at Barca from 2004-09 – said the Argentina star was the greatest of all-time.”Leo, for us, will always be the best player in the world ever,” he said.”The human beings have to choose and they chose those three players, who have done well this year too.”But for people like me and others, it doesn’t change the fact that Leo is the best player in the world ever.” Leo #Messi, in the FIFA FIFPro World XI for the 12th consecutive year! #ForçaBarça https://t.co/tNxmRvmsV3— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 24, 2018Messi has won nine La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns among numerous other trophies at Barca, while he is a five-time winner of the Ballon d’Or.However, the superstar and his long-time rival Ronaldo drew fierce criticism for their decision to skip out on the awards event.last_img read more

first_img Match stats 10 Maddison 12 Digne Share on LinkedIn 1 Pickford 1 Schmeichel Leicester (s 80′) Share on Twitter Everton 25 Ndidi 12 Ward Lineups 26 Davies (s 86′) EVE LEI 5 Morgan 17 Gueye 20 Bernard 43 Kenny EVE51LEI49% 18 Amartey 6 Evans 6 Leicester Off target 9 Everton 2 Leicester On target 8 Everton 9 Vardy Substitutes 14 Tosun 11 Albrighton (s 67′) 31 Ghezzal Match previews (s 90′) 21 Iborra 10 Sigurdsson Share on Pinterest (s 71′) Share via Email 10 11 2 10 31 Lookman Leicester City Topics Corners 20 Okazaki 8 Iheanacho 15 Maguire Fouls 30 Richarlison Substitutes (s 90′) Everton 18 Schneiderlin 3 Chilwell 22 Stekelenburg 29 Calvert-Lewin 3 Baines Possession 4 Keane 11 Walcott Goal attempts 5 Zouma Twelve months ago this fixture marked the beginning of the Claude Puel era at Leicester City. They won 2-0 that day against an Everton side in crisis but Leicester’s hugely impressive performance was not exactly a sign of things to come. Things are looking up at the moment, though, after three successive wins in all competitions. Everton, in contrast, have lost two of their past three. Bernard, the Brazilian international who moved to Goodison Park on a free transfer in the summer, could make his first Premier League start. Stuart JamesSaturday 3pmVenue King Power StadiumLast season Leicester 2 Everton 0Referee Andre MarrinerThis season G6 Y18 R0 3.00 cards/gameOdds H 13-10 A 13-5 D 5-2LEICESTERSubs from Ward, Jakupovic, Iborra, Albrighton, Silva, Evans, Ghezzal, Söyüncü, Okazaki, Fuchs, Benalouane, Choudhury, Diabaté, SimpsonDoubtful NoneInjured Gray (ankle, Nov), James (achilles, unknown)Suspended NoneDiscipline Y12 R2Form WWLLWWLeading scorers Maddison, Vardy 3EVERTONSubs from Stekelenburg, Mina, Coleman, Baines, Holgate, Jagielka, Schneiderlin, Dowell, Bernard, Niasse, Calvert-Lewin, Lookman, BaningimeDoubtful Coleman (foot), Mina (foot)Injured Gomes (hamstring, 20 Oct), McCarthy (leg, Nov)Suspended NoneDiscipline Y10 R2Form WDDLLWLeading scorers Richarlison, Sigurdsson 3 2 Holgate Share on Messenger Reuse this content news Share on Facebook Premier League Share on WhatsApp 28 Fuchs 14 Ricardo Pereira 24 Mendy 51 49last_img read more

first_imgPamela Anderson has sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown urging him to slash the budget and combat the drought by cutting meat from the menus of state prisons — and offering to serve lunch to inmates as she did at a vegetarian jail in Arizona.“As a resident of Los Angeles, I’m proud of your admirable prison reform efforts, designed to reduce the rate of mass incarceration,” she wrote. “Over the past three years, they’ve inspired other states to follow California’s lead. I have a suggestion that dovetails nicely with the progress that you’ve made so far while also addressing the state’s budget and water crises. Since California has more than 127,000 inmates, you could save taxpayers about $4.3 million a year and greatly improve the health of the prisoners by switching to nutritious vegan meals in correctional facilities.“These huge tax savings are based on the $273,000 in reduced costs reported by the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona, when it switched to all-vegetarian food for its 8,000 inmates. Last year, I went there with representatives of PETA to serve lunch to the prisoners and can report that they were impressed by the freshness and quality of the food. Beans, rice, lentils, pasta, potatoes and other vegetables, and oranges and other fruits have all the nutrients that a person needs but at a fraction of the cost of meats and cheeses. If California follows Arizona’s lead in switching to meat-free meals in prisons, I’d be happy to inaugurate the program by helping cook lunch and serve it to inmates.“By taking meat off the menu in all 33 state-run prisons, you’d be dramatically reducing the amount of water used to produce prisoners’ meals. It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce just 1 pound of meat. I recently posed for this ad for PETA in order to draw attention to the meat and dairy farms that drain half our country’s water.“It’s heartening to know that you’re improving the state’s prison system. I hope you use this suggestion as one way of achieving that end while also addressing the budget and water crises. PETA and I would be happy to work with your team in order to create a low-cost meal plan for your correctional facilities, as we did in Arizona. I hope to have the opportunity to help you launch it.”last_img read more

first_imgLiverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he won’t pressure his players to rack more goals, with his focus on picking up on points.The Merseyside club leapfrogged Premier League champions Manchester City to go top of the table after a 4-1 win over Cardiff on Saturday.Klopp’s men are three points clear of the Citizens but Pep Guardiola’s side can regain their advantage with a win against Tottenham on Monday night, because they possess a better goal difference than Liverpool but Klopp insists closing that gap is not on his mind.He said, according to Mirror Football: “At this stage it makes no sense to think about things like that.”divock origi, liverpoolReport: Origi cause Klopp injury concerns George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Divock Origi injury in today’s game against Newcastle is a cause for concern for Jurgen Klopp.Perhaps with one eye on Tuesday’s trip to Italy…“You have to score as often as possible. Against Cardiff, we have plus three but you can never lose respect for the other team.“Of course, you want more and we will have will have games where we score more if we are greedy.”“It is not too likely that it will happen again next week but it will happen from time to time if we stay in a good shape.”“We chase goals. That’s their nature, they want to score goals. You don’t have to put pressure on them.“First, we have to collect the most points and if we can do that then everything is fine. If not, we have to think differently.”last_img read more

first_imgPolice on Saturday recovered the body of a man who went missing on Wednesday from Maijvag village in Sylhet’s Gopalganj, reports UNB.The deceased was Amjad Ali, 55, son of late Asab Ali of the village.Locals spotted the floating body in a pond in the village and informed it to police, said AKM Fajlul Haque Shibly, officer-in-charge of Gopalganj model police station.Later, police recovered the body and sent it to Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital for an autopsy.last_img

first_imgNASAHurricane Ike as seen in 2008 from NASA’s Earth Observatory.Every time Houston recovers after a flood, the topic of future mitigation projects dominates the news and local conversation, at least for a little while. At Houston Public Media we have reported on several plans — from protecting wetlands to installing massive water channels underneath I-10. It seems like everyone is always talking about what we could do. After Harvey, many are hoping all that talk will finally result in action.“We’ve had this kind of crazy policy in the United States of recovery, which is a policy of failure if you think about it,” says Dr. Bill Merrell at Texas A&M University Galveston. “‘We’re gonna fail to protect you, so we’re gonna help you recover.’ Well hell, protect me.”In 2008 Merrell watched Hurricane Ike from the Galveston Strand. “I looked out at my wife and said ‘The Dutch would’ve never put up with this,’” he said. Merrell immediately thought of the Dutch because they have a lot of flooding risks similar to Texas, and they have developed a system of seawalls to protect themselves.That’s how Merrell came up with the idea for a “coastal spine,” also known as the ‘Ike Dike,’ and he has spent the last nine years planning it. The project is not cheap — it would cost just under fifteen billion dollars to complete what is essentially just a wall with a few gates, so the idea’s taken a while to gain momentum. But after Harvey, Merrell’s big idea is beginning to look a little closer to reality.“We need to stop talking, and quite frankly we need to start designing and building,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner as he gave his support for the “coastal spine” at a recent press conference. Turner has been pushing hard for the project since Harvey hit and he hopes to tap federal funds. He’s not the only one.Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush brought up the idea during the last state legislative session, but it didn’t go anywhere. In August, Bush requested the fifteen billion dollars in a letter to President Trump. Several dozen towns and community organizations signed that letter.Fifteen billion dollars is a lot of money, but advocates say a direct hit from a hurricane could cost much, much more. Without the spine, a flood could cause the price of gas to skyrocket and shut down most of the military’s supply of fuel. A flood would shut down — at least temporarily — the Houston Ship Channel, which generates hundreds of billions of dollars in trade each year.But Merrell says the coastal spine isn’t the end-all-be-all solution to flooding in the region. The Coastal Spine would only protect from storm surge, not the freshwater runoff that drains out of Houston’s bayous. “There are solutions to freshwater that need to be looked at, obviously,” said Merrell. “In combination you want to prevent either type of flooding as best you can.”Because the spine would block much of the Bay from the Gulf of Mexico, it could disrupt the ratio of saltwater to freshwater. More freshwater from rainfall runoff could throw the Bay’s ecosystem off balance.Bob Stokes is the president of the Galveston Bay Foundation. He says the research on what the project would do to marine life in the area is not yet complete. It’s up to the Army Corp of Engineers to do those studies before the spine is built. But even with its potential flaws, Bill Merrell still hopes to see the project completed. “There are solutions,” Merrell said. “They’re not easy, they’re not cheap, but there are solutions. I think in the long run, we’re better off protecting our economy, our homeowners, the lives of our citizens.”The ‘coastal spine’ is estimated to take four to five years to complete. That’s if someone can find the fifteen billion dollars, of course. X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share 00:00 /03:56 Listen last_img read more