Mechanical Engineering in the Skeleton

first_imgNote: While the editor is out of town, we are bringing you readings of interest from creation books associated with CEH.Wonders of the Immune System, by Dr Henry Richterfrom Spacecraft Earth, a Guide for Passengers (CMI, 2017, ch. 2, “The Spacesuit: The Amazing Human Body,” pp. 42-44).The elbow is a marvelous piece of mechanical design. It is an articulating joint between two bone structures that allows movement of the arm along two different axes (hinge movement and some rotation). An elbow is essential for people to be able to manipulate their surroundings. It’s just one example of the hundreds of joints in the human body. Fingers have three joints each. The wrists have gliding joints that allow motions in two dimensions, allowing the hand to move up and down or side to side. The shoulders have ball-and-socket joints. The legs have joints at the hips, knees, and ankles. Feet have dozens of joints; the bone structure of the foot is “a biomechanical masterpiece” one news report said.The elbow is a ‘hinge joint’ that connects the humerus of the upper arm to the radius and ulna of the forearm. It actually consists of three joints in one. The humeroradial joint is a ‘ball and socket’ joint that complements the hinge-type humeroulnar joint. The bone ball is perfectly matched to the cavity of the socket. Cushioned with cartilage, it permits smooth, easy movement while being held in place in this captured position. Cartilage provides a smooth, very low friction surface between the ball and the socket. Then there is a gland, which secretes the perfect lubricant to the cartilage, thus ensuring low friction between the ball and the socket. Figure 1 shows the basic components.We must wonder, again, how all these parts could have come together through a series of random mistakes (mutations). If they required numerous small, gradual changes one-by-one, then how did rudimentary bone joints function before all of the necessary features were in place and working in concert?   How could a mutation creating a ball provide any fitness benefit before its matching socket arrived?  A square ball and a square socket certainly wouldn’t work. If the first production of a ball at the end of the bone was not approximately spherical, then how could the joint move? If the joint didn’t move, it would be useless, and the survivability of the body would be very much in question. If the first product of an elbow were so crude as to not allow much movement, then how did that body survive and produce countless generations in order to let random chance produce a more perfect joint?The elbow is not only able to bend like a hinge, but also to rotate in the upper radius-ulnar joint, rotating the hand with it. This requires an additional set of muscles, the radius bone fitting into the socket and controlling the ball at the end of the humerus bone. That’s amazing.Henry Richter’s book is available for $12 from, or $8 each for 5 copies. It is also available in eBook formats.The same can be said for all the other articulating joints in the body. It is interesting to me that all of the joints are so similar in function and design. If an elbow came about through a long chain of random, gradual variations to individual elements, then how come our two elbows are identical, yet mirror images of each other?  If one of them developed through a long series of spontaneous aberrations, it seems remarkable that an identical set of aberrations would have happened to the other elbow to create an identical design with the opposite orientation. Even if, (as evolutionists believe), these came about by master-switch genes far upstream of the details, why would these master switches create symmetry between left and right parts of the body?Consider just one elbow. How did its development progress having to simultaneously produce a bone ball and matching socket, the cartilage just right to cushion movement, and the lubricating fluid to maintain the cartilage?  Each is necessary for the proper working of the whole. If any one of these elements was missing or improperly shaped, that early organism would have had a very difficult time of movement and survival waiting for random chance, again through countless generations, to supply the missing cartilage, fluid or exact matching shape of the ball and socket.That lubricating fluid, by the way, has been called “nature’s most effective grease.” The substance, called lubricin, is a protein with tiny “feet” that attach themselves to virtually any surface. The proteins assemble into a dense, carpet-like layer between the joints that cushions the bones as well as reducing friction as they slide past one another. Without this amazing substance, bones would wear out much faster and our movements would be painful and stiff. Instead, they allow us to operate like a ‘well-oiled machine’. Was the origin of this highly effective lubricant just one more accident of nature?We do not see imperfect or missing forms around us now, except in rare circumstances—and those are usually caused by genetic defects. Yet genetic defects are supposed to be the raw material for improvement in living things! Genetic defects are overwhelmingly deleterious. Even if a beneficial mutation did arise, it would not add novel genetic information which is required for organisms to progress from simple to complex. Most likely, it would be useless (and quickly removed) if the matching parts had not arrived by another mistake in the same individual in a population.The same series of questions can be asked about the dozens of other joints in our elbows, knees, hips, fingers, and toes. It is certainly interesting that all of them are identical in design but come in mirror-image pairs.Similarly, think of the spine, with its capability to move up and down along most of its length. The spinal joints between vertebrae display a different design altogether. Being hollow, they provide a protective conduit for the nerves. It would be bad news if our nerves ran outside the protection of the spine!  But protected inside, they allow signals to pass from the brain down the neck, through the vertebrae, and then throughout the body, all the way to the ends of the fingers and toes. It’s an absolutely marvelous piece of design engineering!(Visited 304 times, 2 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Increasing on-farm energy independence requires careful consideration

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest It has always been present in fields and farmhouses — a spirit of independence, and self-reliance that has been etched like laugh lines in the face of American farms. For modern farms with an interest in the independence and self reliance that comes with getting off the energy grid, there have been steady improvements in solar technology that make it a viable option for some operations, but there is plenty to consider.“Solar energy can be used on farms directly and/or sent to the grid and used to offset electricity use later in the year via net metering,” said Fred Michel, associate professor of biosystems engineering in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. “In addition, these systems result in the emission of almost no greenhouse gases, reducing a farm’s impact on climate change. Due to decreases in the cost of solar panels, state and federal incentives for renewable energy, and the experience of Ohio solar installers, the lifetime costs for solar electricity are now usually less than for electricity from the grid. This helps agricultural producers reduce their costs and their environmental impact, both of which are essential to their future productivity.”John Lindner, of Clark County, recently added solar panels for a 32,960-kilowatt system on his small farm operation and has been very pleased with the results, but it was not an easy undertaking.“I don’t want to be tied into the system. This lets me be more self-reliant. I don’t want to have to count on anyone else. Now we can heat the hogs and make electricity during the day. We have a small farm with 100 sows in a farrow to finish operation, 10 or 15 cows, some chickens and 235 acres of corn beans and wheat and a little hay. We feed all of our corn, sell the beans and buy in bean meal to feed,” Lindner said. “I don’t like leaving a mess. We are interested in renewable energy when we can make it work. In 2012 or 2013 we started looking at solar energy.”Lindner had seen information about the potential for solar on a visit to the Farm Science Review and was interested in the potential, so he began to do some research.“There were several companies with solar panels. There are a lot of guys doing it and a lot of ways to get into this. You have to find the right guys to do this,” he said. “I just started looking on the Internet and reading more about it. I got four estimates.”Eventually, Lindner decided to work with James Groeber out of Springfield for the project.“We had to show them all of our electric bills. I was using so much electric I was getting discounts in the winter. He looked at my bill and told me I shouldn’t do it because he saw my discounted bill. Then when he saw my bill in the summer, it made more economic sense when I wasn’t getting the discount,” Lindner said. “Now I guess my bill will be around $150 or so a month for my house and the farm use will be covered by the solar. I was using 60,000 kilowatts annually for the heat bulbs for the hogs, the grain dryer, the ventilation fans that are running most of the time, feed augers, and the fans on the wood burners heating the barns.”The initial look at the economics of the electric use was just the first step in the decision process. The next step was looking at the available grant dollars and tax incentives to help offset the initial cost and make the project viable.These solar panels on the roof of John Lindner’s hog building were producing an average of 150 kilowatts a day in August.“James had the grant process in mind before we started, but he told me that we were not guaranteed the grant before we started and he wrote me a quote without that grant. It was a Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant through USDA — those can be for energy efficiency, wood burners, and other things for farms, but not residential. It does apply for rural small businesses. REAP is competitive for federal dollars allocated by USDA to the states,” Lindner said. “In the grant you need proof from your bank for funding, an interconnection agreement with the local utility, proof of ownership of the farm and other things. James and I sat at the kitchen table trying to figure out that grant and it was three-quarters of an inch thick. We started that last fall. It was challenging, but it sounds like it has gotten a little easier since then. The grant was for 25% of the cost not to exceed $500,000. There is also a 30% federal tax credit on the money for the project after the grant, then you can depreciate it so 85% of the project can be depreciated.”Once the grant was approved, after around eight months, the supplies were ordered and the construction could begin.“He had stuff ordered within the week and they were setting it up in 10 days. With a good crew it goes fast,” Lindner said. “It was done in three weeks or so in mid-August of 2015.”Lindner has been very pleased with the new solar panels mounted on the roof of his hog building.“It has been wonderful so far. They did a wonderful job. Right now we are still buying a little energy through harvest and through the winter. The days are shorter and cloudier,” he said. “August was the honeymoon month. We were averaging 150 kilowatts a day in August but it may be a third of that in the winter. We were using maybe 110 or 120 kilowatts a day. We average maybe 130 kilowatts a day for the farm so we’ll still have net energy use in the winter. If we can break even in seven years in terms of reducing energy costs we’ll be doing well. You’re just paying all of your electric bill at once as far as I look at it. The inverters are warranted for 12 years.“I did put new a roof on the buildings and I would suggest doing that before you mount the solar panels on the roof. There is a four-inch stainless anchor that goes through the sheet of metal and the truss. If the solar panels come off the roof we have a bigger problem. It looks like it has a really good seal. I hate putting holes in a roof but that looks like it will hold pretty well. It was $10,000 to put the new roof on but they needed to be done anyway.”The farm’s electric use and generation are monitored by a bi-directional meter on the farm.A bi-directional meter on the farm monitors the farm’s electric use and generation.“When the arrow points left on that meter we are generating more electricity than we are using and providing energy for the grid. We like to see that,” Lindner said. “Farmers need to talk with the utilities about what they are doing so they can take appropriate action with the transformer if needed, though there may be extra costs associated with the project.”There is plenty of potential for solar use on farms, particularly livestock operations with a more consistent farm energy use, but Lindner advises that the decision be made carefully and thoughtfully.“I have been hearing more buzz about this and you are seeing more out there. The technology is changing fast and when you get on board with this you may end up with something different than what you started trying to do,” he said. “I paid for this with my tractor money and sometimes I really wish I had that new tractor, but this has worked well so far. We try to treat our animals and the environment with respect to take care of what God gave us. This will help us to do that.”last_img read more

The Science of Saving Energy

first_imgI’m fresh off of the road attending the US Department of Energy’s National Weatherization Training Conference in Indianapolis last week. This was my first trip to the Circle City, and I was pleasantly surprised. Clean, great architecture, nice bars, including an authentic 1897 German Rathskeller beer hall (I went there twice in three days).I was also surprised by the information presented at one of the conference sessions. Michael Blasnik of Blasnik & Associates in Boston facilitated a session called “How Not to Save Energy.” I was excited about the session because I had heard lots of colleagues talk about Blasnik’s research.Blasnik first explained his basic approach to energy efficiency data analysis: It’s easy to lie with statistics, but it’s a lot easier without statistics. So he reviews raw data, and lots of it. He analyzes information from as many homes as possible to get a realistic representation of performance without skews for occupant behavior. In the weatherization business, the savings-to-investment ratio (SIR) is a hugely important bit of datum. This is an indicator without units: the savings generated divided by the retrofit investment. If the SIR of an improvement is 1 or greater based on a 10-year payback period, it’s good. If the SIR is less than 1, then in some states weatherization assistance funds can be used for the percentage of the investment equivalent to the SIR ratio. For example, if a particular upgrade has a SIR of 2, then for every dollar invested in the upgrade, $2 is saved. If an upgrade has a SIR of .6, then DOE weatherization funds can pay for 60% of the strategy as long as the remainder of the funds are coming from somewhere else.Blasnik discussed a few trends in residential energy efficiency that make sense. Homes that use a lot of energy have the potential for the most savings. Big energy users equals big energy savers. Low energy users equals low energy savers. This relationship follows around a 15% trendline. To put it another way, average homeowners can save around 15% on energy bills with some simple weatherization techniques, no matter the size of the home and the energy usage. This goes for natural gas and electric baseloads.There are inaccuracies in what really saves energy and why homes that are weatherized aren’t saving as much as anticipated. Many times, occupant behavior gets the blame when it’s really that the wrong measures were taken to upfit the home. The data that Blasnik has seen over the years does not indicate that occupants altering thermostats is a significant reason behind lower-than-expected savings. The blame game also points the finger at people removing CFLs and low-flow showerheads, but Blasnik’s data shows that this only happens 25% of the time. Some folks blame lower savings on poor workmanship, but Blasnik again shows this to be false. Studies indicate that weatherization crews actually do a pretty good job with upgrades such as insulation installation.So what is the real culprit? According to Blasnik, the reasons are twofold: The algorithms that are used to calculate the savings are just bad, and this leads to some of the wrong strategies being employed to save energy. The algorithms, Blasnik argues, are outdated and underrepresent equipment efficiencies. He says that these calculations ignore basic physics, assume a high heating balance point, and underestimate heat regain from basements and attics.Bottom line, the algorithms used to calculate savings only measure the easily measured and implies that more sophisticated analysis is necessary to get to the root of the issue: What does/does not save real energy and real money?last_img read more

File Sharers, Get Ready For Copyright Violation Warnings

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#copyright#web john paul titlow Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… After a series of delays, the Center for Copyright Information’s “six strikes” anti-piracy scheme has a launch date. Starting on November 28, AT&T, Comcast, Cablevision, Time Warner and Verizon will start sending out warnings to users who download copyrighted material without authorization. But don’t quit those Torrent networks just yet.The CCI is a partnership between the Recording Industry Association of America, Motion Picture Association of America, and the major Internet service providers in the U.S. Under the group’s Copyright Alert System, Internet users who download unauthorized material will receive a series of messages explaining that it’s illegal to do so and encouraging them to stop. Initial concerns that the system could lead to users being cut off from the Internet appear to be unfounded. It’s really about educating (okay, scaring) people rather than punishing them. “Alerts will be non-punitive and progressive in nature,” reads the CCI’s website. “Successive alerts will reinforce the seriousness of the copyright infringement and inform the recipient how to address the activity that is precipitating the alerts.”After six warnings, the provider may mete out penalties, although it’s not entirely clear what those would be. Slowing down, or throttling, customers’ Internet connections is apparently on the table, but users won’t be kicked offline permanently, according to the CCI. The most egregious offenders would be deemed “unreachable” by the program and subsequently ignored, according to TorrentFreak.  From the look of it, the system is largely toothless. While it might not stop hardcore copyright violators, though, receiving a scary-sounding warning from a service provider might be enough to stop casual downloaders in their tracks. If all goes according to the CCI’s plan, that may lead to a substantial decrease in copyright infringement overall.The system will arrive at a pivotal moment in what are often referred to as the Copyright Wars. Earlier this year, big content’s fight against piracy began to resemble literal warfare when New Zealand police raided the mansion of  Kim Dotcom. The Megaupload founder will stand trial for copyright infringement and related charges next year, but isn’t wasting anytime trying to get his latest venture – a music service called Megabox – off the ground. Dotcom’s arrest came within days of another watershed moment in the Copyright Wars. After overwhelming opposition from tech companies and the public, the controversial anti-piracy legislation known as SOPA and PIPA were effectively killed after losing support in the U.S. Congress. The Copyright Alert System is the latest weapon in the content industry’s war on piracy, having failed on the legislative front and gotten nowhere by suing consumers directly. With the CAS, they’re taking a decidedly less draconian approach, hoping to scare enough people away from illegal downloading to make a difference. Whatever the results are, they will no doubt help inform the next phase of this battle, which is inevitably on the horizon.   8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Speed Ramp with Premiere Pro Instead of After Effects

first_imgDiscover a quick technique for giving your video footage a speed ramp in Adobe Premiere Pro.For the uninitiated, let’s get the basics out of the way first: speed ramping is the process of progressively speeding up or slowing down the frame rate in your video footage.  This process can also sometimes just be called ‘ramping’. More often than not video editors will usually drop the footage in After Effects and complete the ramping process there. However Tunnelvizion has provided us with a great video tutorial on how to effectively create a speed ramp in Adobe Premiere Pro. Check it out:Now, lets explore some speed ramping examples from feature films. First up is The Matrix, one of the most famous speed ramping scenes in film history:In 2006, the film 300 took speed ramping to a whole new level. Here is the incredible slo-motion battle sequence:In 2011 we watched as Robert Downey Jr. fought Professor Moriarty in his mind. The use of speed ramping in this scene is well suited to the story: Speed ramping is now used in a slew of film projects, but unfortunately it’s often without motivation. If you use this technique in your own video projects be sure that it adds to the narrative of the story and is not used only as a gimmicky effect!last_img read more