NBA Draft: Can the Warriors find a Tony Parker at No. 28?

first_imgOAKLAND – The Warriors believe they can model themselves after the San Antonio Spurs. Can they find a Tony Parker, though, with their No. 28 pick in the NBA Draft?Incredibly unfair to expect the Warriors to do that. In the history of the NBA draft, most of the league’s No. 28 picks have fallen into two categories. They became decent role players. Or they did not last long in the NBA. Somehow, though, the Spurs landed Parker at No. 28 in the 2001 NBA Draft.How did they do that? The Spurs had …last_img read more

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Natural Selection Demonstrated in European Heart-Disease Gene?

first_imgStephen Wooding (U. of Utah) is elated.  He sees an “exciting trend” in genetic research that might, finally, demonstrate positive natural selection acting on a gene with a clear phenotypic effect (measurable outward benefit).  Writing in the Sept. 7 Current Biology,1 he mentions a few recent papers suggesting this connection, but focuses particularly on one study by Rockman et al. in the same issue.2  This UK/American team claims to have identified a gene that has been positively selected to shape heart disease risk among Europeans.  The story was summarized by EurekAlert.    The gene under investigation is named MMP3, a regulator of a substance that builds coronary artery walls.  The amount of up- or down-regulation of this gene affects their elasticity and thickness.  The researchers compared this gene and its surrounding DNA between nine kinds of monkeys and apes, and between six human populations.  They claim to have found a trend among Europeans to possess a certain mutation that up-regulates the products of MMP3 (because it inhibits repressive factors).  This leads to less hardening of the arteries but more risk of blood clot induced heart attack or stroke (myocardial infarction).  The mutation changes one T to a C at a certain position on the gene.  Using molecular phylogenetic techniques, they estimated the mutation might have occurred in the European line anywhere from 36,600 to 2,200 years ago.  Maybe it came about in the Ice Age, they surmise, and natural selection acting on this mutation may have given Europeans dining on animal fat some protection from atherosclerosis.  Whatever, the selection probably did not act alone on that one gene, which only regulates other genes, but on a suite of genes due to pleiotropic effects (i.e., when one gene evolves, other unrelated phenotypic effects can result).    The authors seemed happy to be able to provide an example of natural selection acting positively on a gene for a beneficial physiological effect: “The evolutionary forces of mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift shape the pattern of phenotypic variation in nature, but the roles of these forces in defining the distributions of particular traits have been hard to disentangle.”  (Emphasis added in all quotes.) Natural selection is an important factor influencing variation in the human genome, but most genetic studies of natural selection have focused on variants with unknown phenotypic associations.  This trend is changing.  New studies are rapidly revealing the effects of natural selection on genetic variants of known or likely functional importance….These [studies on] variants [on genes with known phenotypic effects] are particularly interesting from an evolutionary standpoint because they are where the phenotypic rubber meets the road of natural selection – variants upon which natural selection could be having particularly direct effects.Those assuming this was old news since Darwin’s day might be surprised at this admission that studies have rarely connected a mutation to an actual physical benefit.  Analyses at the molecular level of the gene, to be fair, have only recently become possible.  Stephen Wooding is greatly encouraged by this study.  He thinks it represents not only an exciting trend, but a new means of paving “an unusually direct path between ancient human history and modern human health.”  Rockman’s team claims that British men would have 43% more heart attacks had this mutation not occurred among their distant ancestors.  But then, since hardening of the arteries seems to be a recent malady among humans, he admitted that maybe the natural selection at the time was for something else “and the heart disease effect was incidental.”    One other benefit Rockman claims for this study is that it shows natural selection can act not only on the genes the make proteins, but on the genes that regulate other genes– a factor he claims “traditional evolutionary biology has all but ignored.”  Considering the evolution of regulatory factors extends natural selection theory to the level of the “wiring diagram,” he says.  No longer should we just consider good genes and bad genes.  “Rather, there is a complex set of interactions” such that certain combinations might be best in one environment, others better in another.  “So we’re advocating a more nuanced view of how we view the genetic bases of disease,” he said in the press release from Duke University.1Stephen Wooding, “Natural Selection: Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign,” Current Biology, Volume 14, Issue 17, 7 September 2004, Pages R700-R701, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2004.08.041.2Rockman et al., “Positive Selection on MMP3 Regulation Has Shaped Heart Disease Risk,” Current Biology, Volume 14, Issue 17, 7 September 2004, Pages 1531-1539, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2004.08.051.Remember the old moron jokes?  “How do you keep a moron busy for an hour?  Put him in a round room and tell him there’s a penny in the corner.”  It doesn’t take much to amuse Darwinists.  Tell them there’s a hint of natural selection in the human genome, and it is incredible the amount of work they will do to find it.  You can bet any claims will be ambiguous, hazy, uncertain, questionable and open to different interpretations, but if they can be offered in homage to buddha Charlie, it’s worth it to them to run in logical circles and keep up the candles of hope burning.  (For another example, look at this story on EurekAlert, about Penn State scientists “hunting illusive signs of natural selection” between Europeans and Africans, and finding only ambiguous signs of differing susceptibility to disease or milk intolerance.)    What did these guys find, really?  One single-nucleotide polymorphism in just one gene out of hundreds that regulate heart health.  Sure, tweaking the regulation of this gene might put a person at risk for hardening of the arteries, but is Darwinian evolution the only explanation?  The Europeans could have descended from a clan whose grandpappy had the mutation at the Tower of Babel, for that matter; how could they prove otherwise?  The monkeys they studied had very different polymorphisms of these genes, and you don’t see them all keeling over from heart attacks.  If natural selection acted on this gene, why didn’t it act on Siberians or Eskimos or Australians or others at similar latitudes?  Did this mutation lead to a new organ or function or add to the genetic information?  No, it only tweaked the existing information.  And some evolution!  Pick your poison: increased risk of atherosclerosis, or increased risk of myocardial infarction.  Is this one of the finest examples they can find of the miracle-working mechanism of natural selection, the discovery that made Chairman Charlie famous, so powerful that during the same period of time it turned monkeys swinging from trees into humans writing books?    The line about Ice Age men benefiting from the mutation because of their mammal-fat diet is comical.  How could that help the population genetics, if the individuals most likely got their heart attacks after having children?  The error bars on their dates are huge, even if one were to swallow the highly questionable phylogenetic techniques they used, and the evolution-based assumptions about mutation rates.  A chain of reasoning is only as strong as its weakest link: e.g., “if there was water on Mars, there might have been life, therefore there might have been intelligent life, therefore there might have been lawyers.”  Evolutionists get away with stacked assumptions only because they have ruled out anything other than naturalistic explanations.  Since the only contender is something akin to Darwinism, it’s the best they can offer (see Best-in-Field Fallacy).    Why are we the only ones questioning the Darwinist spin on this paper, and asking the hard questions while the other science outlets mindlessly inherit the wind and parrot the spin with lines like “Heart gene yields insights into evolution”?  Why not consider the obvious, that a functioning circulatory system is a tremendous example of interrelated, functional design?  The diagnosis is simple.  It is that ancient human malady, hardness of heart.(Visited 133 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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The New Rules of Building Consensus

first_imgThere are new rules in B2B sales. There is also a set of rules for how decisions are made, how consensus is built.Rule 1: There is No Decision MakerIn days long past, one was instructed to find “the authority,” that individual invested with the power to bind their organization to a deal. It was believed, and was often true, that this high-level executive, if properly pursued, was all that was necessary to win a deal. The person at the top of the organizational chart would force his will on the rest of the organization, over any protestations to the contrary.This person, “the authority” no longer exists. Instead, there are “decision-makers,” each of whom is invested with some power—and some amount of influence—when it comes to any decision to change. Leaders are rarely willing to force their decision on the people in their charge, believing that they hired smart people to make decisions and execute those decisions. These leaders now know that without the support of the people in their charge, execution will be difficult—if it is even possible.If you are looking for a single decision-maker in a B2B sales, you are unlikely to find one. Instead, you must now seek out all who are going to participate in any decision to change.Rule 2: Influence is Stronger than AuthorityAuthority isn’t what it used to be. Influence, on the other hand, is what it has always been: quiet, invisible, and powerful beyond belief. Influence is even more powerful than authority, something that has been true throughout human history.In a room full of people, influence can be very hard to discern with the naked eye. The quiet person who sits without saying a word, but who is the subject matter expert the rest of the team relies on to interpret what they are hearing, may seem like someone with little concern—and no real impact on the course of the meeting. That person, however, may be the linchpin, the person who whispers yay or nay quietly into the ear of those who will cast votes to move forward or choose your competitor.The most powerful forces in the universe are invisible, like gravity and radiation. If you are not looking for and working towards uncovering influence, you will struggle to win a consensus.Rule 3: Your Client Doesn’t Know Who Is DecidingWhen your prospective client lets an RFP, they have a well-defined process (even if it doesn’t serve them nearly as well as they might believe), and that process invariably includes the stakeholders that have been assembled to review proposals and presentations. There are many deals that look like this, but there as many or more without a formal process.When there is no defined process, ad hoc teams are brought together to decide. Your client doesn’t often know who is going to be part of that team. In fact, you may work with one department inside your dream client and get all the way to the end of the sales conversation only to find that another department has torpedoed your deal. The department that kills your deal does so because they have competing interests—and sometimes because they were left out of the process.The responsibility to identify the people who are going to be affected by any decision to change and build consensus now falls to you. This is true even when your dream client tells you consensus is unnecessary, and even when they believe bringing in other stakeholders is a risk to your initiative. As always, it is your responsibility to control the process.Rule 4: You Still Need Executive LeadershipIn many of the companies you are pursuing, there is a competition over priorities. We often believe that the only displacement we need to make is the one where our competitor is removed. I would this were true, but it isn’t. The truth of the matter is that as often as not, we are not only displacing a competitor, we are also displacing other priorities. Without executive support, consensus is difficult.The stakeholders who support you are going to have to make the case that you should displace your competitor—or be chosen over them in any contest. They are going to have to make a case to their executive leadership team as to why they are choosing you. If executive leadership is part of the process, you have a greater likelihood of gaining their support, support you may also need when your deal runs into trouble throughout the process of building consensus. Executive leadership is often the tie-breaker or final arbiter on important decisions.Every day, deals die because of a change of priorities. I wish I could support this with a fact, a percentage that would shake you to your very core, but I cannot. That does not mean it is not significant.Keeping your initiative alive is difficult when the ground is shifting beneath your feet. Unless your initiative is tied to something strategic, it can easily be displaced by higher priorities. What often prevents your project from being moved into the future is the support of executive leaders who will argue that what you are doing is important to them, and that is should be pursued now.There is nothing easy about gaining an executive sponsor, but if you would build consensus, you need a leader.Rule 5: Mitigate Challenges and Be Aware of the PoliticsTo gain consensus, you are going to have to do two things. First, you are going to have to mitigate the harm your initiative causes some stakeholders where and when that is possible. Second, you are going to have to be cognizant of your client’s internal politics. Of the two, mitigation may be the easier, which in no way should give you the feeling that it is any sort of cakewalk.If what you are proposing makes some department’s life more difficult, it your responsibility to do what is in your power to mitigate the problems you create. Sometimes that requires you adjust your solution. Other times, it requires asking other stakeholders to change the way they are doing something, the timing, or the investment they are making. When conflict exists, collaboration is possible. If you want the support of those who may be in some way harmed, do your best to help them so they stand down and do not oppose your initiative.Politics exist in every company, and in my experience, even more so in companies that suggest that they have no politics. One of the ways you might look at the politics is through the lens of how you sequence the meetings you have, the stakeholders you include, and who and what is going to be necessary for a yes. Do you build consensus with the friendlies before bringing in the dangerous opponent, leaving them so far behind that you steamroll him into submission? Or do you bring them in early, forcing their challenge into the light so that you can dispatch it early?In a change initiative, some party may stand to gain power and influence at the expense of others. Building consensus requires you to be aware of the game that is being played and make good—and strategic—decisions.These are the new rules of consensus. Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

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