A’s pick up one, decline another option on pair of relievers

first_imgThe A’s declined the $5.75 million option on left-handed reliever Jake Diekman. Diekman came to Oakland at the trade deadline from Kansas City with an 0-6 record and 4.75 ERA. He was sometimes unhittable, but inconsistent with walk issues in his time with the A’s, drawing up a 4.43 ERA in 28 games.The A’s now have five players on the books for 2020 (Petit, Joakim Soria, Khris Davis, Stephen Piscotty and Mike Fiers) totaling in $42 million committed money. There are 12 players eligible for arbitration.SEASON PASS DIGITAL OFFERIf you have not already, we strongly encourage you to sign up for a digital subscription, which gives you access to all content on the Mercury News and East Bay Times websites. With your support, we can continue bringing these stories — and much more — to your screens. Here’s where to sign up for the season pass: Mercury News, East Bay Times. The Oakland A’s exercised their $5.5 million option on right-handed reliever Yusmeiro Petit, in perhaps what was one of the easier decisions for the organization this offseason.Petit had a 2.71 ERA and and a .194 opponents batting average in 83.1 innings. Perhaps the most telling stat: Petit appeared in 80 games, which led the American League.He was manager Bob Melvin’s go-to guy, never wavering in his dominance and resilience even in the face of adversity. Petit’s father, Alberto, died in September. Complicated travel plans had Petit decide to forgo a trip to his hometown of Maracaibo, Venezuela, and stay with the team.He pitched five days later. His teammates constantly spoke of his leadership skills. MLB Winter Meetings: A’s trade for Phillies’ Rule 5 pick in transaction flurry Player to be named later in A’s Jurickson Profar trade revealed Former Oakland A’s lefty Brett Anderson finds new home with Brewers center_img What A’s winter ball performances can tell us about the second base race MLB Winter Meetings: A’s lose All-Star closer, Coliseum to add more netting Related Articleslast_img read more

Living Fossil Giant Bee Challenges Evolution

first_img[1] Scully, Ruby Prosser. 2019. World’s Biggest Bee Found After 40 Years. New Scientist 3219:19. March 2.[2] Marshall, Michael. 2019. Beware Evolutionary just-so Stories. New Scientist 241(3219): 25. March 2.[3] Morris, Richard. 2001. The Evolutionists: The Struggle for Darwin’s Soul. New York: Freeman. pp. 78-92.[4] Main, Douglas. 2019. World’s largest bee, once presumed extinct, filmed alive in the wild. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/02/worlds-largest-bee-rediscovered-not-extinct/[5] Grimaldi, David and  Michael S. Engel. 2005. Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press.[6] Brodsky, Andrei K. 1996. The Evolution of Insect Flight.  New York: Oxford University Press: 30. 21-30.[7] Poinar, George, 1992. Life in Amber. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. pp. 1-15.[8] Poinar, George and Roberta Poinar. 1994. The Quest for Life in Amber. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.[9] Brodsky, 1996. pp. 81-97.[10] Poinar, George and Roberta Poinar. 1999. The Amber Forest: A Reconstruction of a Vanished World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University PressDr. Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology at several colleges and universities including for over 40 years at Bowling Green State University, Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in experimental pathology, and The University of Toledo. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 1,300 publications in 12 languages and 40 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored, are in over 1,500 college libraries in 27 countries. So far over 80,000 copies of the 40 books and monographs that he has authored or co-authored are in print. For more articles by Dr Bergman, see his Author Profile.(Visited 586 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Big Bees Challenge Evolution: Explaining the Role of Just-so-Storiesby Jerry Bergman, PhDDarwinists picture evolution as a tree with a thick trunk and numerous branches extending up and outward. This tree represents evolution from one life form at the base of the tree evolving into something else, then the descendents branching out into the limbs and tips in a process of “descent with modification.” Every one of the estimated millions of life forms that have lived on earth up to the present day, including us, came from this single trunk, evolutionists teach. New fossil discoveries are indeed supporting a branching tree like evolution – but they are producing an upside down tree! Many life forms are found near the base of the tree and, due to extinction, fewer are found as we move up the tree. These new discoveries include many thousands of extinct animals, documenting the fact that many more life forms existed in the past and fewer exist today. The picture is opposite what Darwin envisioned, supporting instead the Genesis creation account of an early biosphere much more diverse than ours today.Recently, one more of many thousands of “living fossils” thought to be extinct was discovered alive and well. This new species was a giant bee that had a wing span of 6 cm and “fierce mandibles.”[1] Enormously large insects, such as dragonflies, have been discovered in the fossil record, many exquisitely preserved in amber or in fossil impressions in rock. The “giant dragonflies” are called ‘griffin flies’ or Meganisopterans, an extinct family of insects. All were larger than today’s dragonflies and damselflies. The very largest of these was Meganeuropsis. Fossils of this huge insect were first described by Frank Carpenter in 1939. The wing of this fossil was, and still is, exhibited in the Comparative Zoology Museum at Harvard University.Evolutionary Just-so-StoriesAn article in New Scientist, Britain’s premiere general science magazine, cautioned, when researching the evolution of life, “beware [of] evolutionary just-so-stories.”[2] Just So Stories is the title of a 1902 collection of fanciful origin stories by the British author Rudyard Kipling. This classic of children’s literature is among Kipling’s best-known works. The fictional stories include such tales as how leopards got their spots, how camels got humps, and how zebras got their stripes. In one example, the elephant got its snout as a result of a tug-of-war fight that stretched his originally short trunk into the size it is today. The long trunk was presumably inherited by all the elephant’s descendants, perhaps as a version of Lamarckism, which was widely discussed back then.The expression “just-so-stories” today is used to describe similar stories that lack a factual basis. It was popularized by the late Harvard University Professor Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002), famous for putting science into layman’s terms. A paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science, Gould was one of the most influential and widely-read authors of popular science in the last century. He was also well-known for his unusual honesty about the major problems with evolution, for which he was condemned by some orthodox evolutionists (and frequently quoted by Darwin skeptics). His critics included some of the leading evolutionists alive today, Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett.[3]The Living Fossil Big BeeEvery now and then one of these ancient giant insects is discovered to be still living today. An example is the world’s largest bee, Megachile pluto, which was recently rediscovered on an Indonesian island. The bee, which grows up to an inch and a half long and has a wingspan of 2.5 inches, is roughly four times larger than a honeybee. Morphologically, it is clearly a bee, and yet it is very different from all of the bees we are familiar with, especially the honeybee. Called a living fossil, it has very large un-bee like mandibles that resemble those of a stag beetle. The bee uses its large mandibles to scrape sticky tree resin and wood off trees. It then uses the resin as glue to build burrows within—of all places—termite nests. The female bees use the nest to raise their young, just like honeybees use their beehives to rear their young. [4] Like other bees, Megachile feeds on nectar and pollen.Reported widely by the press, this find created an interest in the enormous variety of insect life on earth. Unfortunately, labels such as “primitive” are often applied by evolutionary scientists and reporters to describe life assumed to have existed eons ago, but this ancient bee was anything than primitive. It had as complex a body and brain as modern insects have.  How do we know this? The answer lies in the way they were preserved.Amber as a Time CapsuleThousands of insects have been preserved in amber (hardened tree resin). Many look nearly identical to what they looked like when they were first entombed in the sticky amber glob which eventually turns into a hard shell.[5] Inside amber, entire organisms are enclosed into crystal time capsules that appear to stop time, giving scientists windows into past ecological systems. Even the details of wing structure, including the fine filament structures that make up the wing support system, are effectively preserved in exquisite detail.[6]Amber is not tree sap, but rather is hardened plant resin. The resin is a semi-solid amorphous organic substance secreted in pockets and canals through epithelial cells of the tree. Plants secrete resins for their protective benefits in response to injury. As part of the tree repair system, resin also protects the plant from harmful insects and pathogens.[7]  This aromatic resin oozes from the tree and flows down the tree trunk, filling external fissures, while at the same time trapping seeds, feathers and insects. Some of the resin oozes out of trees, trapping debris such as leaves and bacteria.[8] The hardened resin becomes buried and is fossilized by a natural polymerization of the original organic compounds.Fact and FictionThe fossil record the amber produces is unambiguous: no evidence of body or even wing evolution exists. All insects entombed in amber, or having left impressions in the rock fossil record, already had fully developed functional wings. The description of fossils in amber is not a just-so-story. In the current case, the descriptive details about the giant bee Megachile, its body and its habitat, are also not just-so-stories, but are observable facts. The tales told about evolution of wings “from an unknown ancestor” to fully functional wings, conversely, requires a set of hypothetical scenarios, i.e., just-so-stories.[9]Many insects discovered in amber are, as far as we can tell, either identical to their modern counterparts, or are very different. Even so, like the Megachile pluto bee, the different species appear just as highly “evolved” as any modern insect. One cannot get an evolutionary story out of the observable facts. Consequently, discussions of the evolution of insects involve the practice of inventing just-so-stories to support that hypothetical evolution. With the so-called “Amber Forest” (fossil record of amber) we have a fairly good picture of the insect population in the ancient world.[10] We do not need just-so-stories to describe the record. Evolutionists, though, depend on stories to try to explain insect origins, as if to add chapters to Kipling’s book, e.g., “How the Bee Got Its Wings.” Creationists let the facts speak for themselves. They realize that Darwinian just-so-stories are mere attempts to fit the facts into an evolutionary framework.SummaryWe have the advantage with the Megachile pluto “living fossil” that we can study its modern nest and behavior to infer the traits of its fossilized counterparts. We can observe its complexity directly. To postulate the bee’s origin, though, Darwinists must use just-so-stories. They appeal to imagination to come up with what they consider plausible narratives to account for unobservable histories, such as how a hypothetical “bee ancestor” without wings became a true bee with wings, including the muscles, nerves and brains to use them. Scientists and laypersons alike need to separate fact from fiction. They need to identify and filter out any just-so-stories used to concoct an evolutionary scenario. This requires asking what has been observed vs what has been imagined, because the giant bee in amber silently proclaims, “I was designed to fly!” Describing insects fossilized in amber is a matter of observable fact. Describing how they “evolved” is storytelling.last_img read more

Financial Coaching – A Step by Step Guide

first_imgBy Molly C. HerndonJerry Buchko will present the final webinar in the 3-day Virtual Learning Event tomorrow at 11 a.m. ET. This 90-minute webinar will focus on the tools and approaches used in financial coaching.By Mr. NixterThis webinar will look at the historical emergence of coaching and consider the place that financial coaching has in the emerging contemporary framework for understanding financial well-being and the development of financial capacity. The distinctions between financial coaching, counseling, and education will be explored. We will then examine the primary role and tasks of the coach and explore the common core elements that underlie various coaching approaches. Finally, we will examine common core coaching techniques, as well as explore how some of these can be usefully incorporated into financial counseling and financial education efforts.The webinar will be followed by an hour-long Twitter chat. Join us as we discuss the questions outlined here on Twitter at 1 p.m. ET using #MFLNchat. Mr. Buchko will join the chat to address participant’s questions and to delve deeper in to the topic of financial coaching.Jerry Buchko,  MA, AFC®, is a Counselor, Coach, & Tutor of Personal Finance who is pursuing a private practice serving clients using video conferencing and other online collaboration spaces. Prior to entering private practice, he worked for almost 14 years in the employee assistance field, providing financial counseling to clients from a diverse range of life circumstances and experiences, including military Service Members and their families. Jerry has a B.A. in psychology, an M.A. in counseling psychology, and is an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®). He is an active member within the eXtension Military Families Learning Network (MFLN) and Network Literacy Community of Practice. Jerry currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE), and also currently serves as a Practitioner Consultant with the MFLN Personal Finance team.View the slides and associated resources, as well as connect to the webinar on the event page. Thursday, June 4 at 11 a.m. ET. We look forward to seeing you online!last_img read more

Why You Need the Wired Wealthy

first_imgA growing number of people are giving even bigger bucks online.  A new study, “The Wired Wealthy” by Convio, Sea Change Strategies and Edge Research, looks at these major online donors in depth.  Read the full study below, or just check out these key points from the study:Major and moderate donors are generous and onlineThe e-mail files surveyed represent one percent of the membership but 32 percent of the revenue for this sector80 percent of the wired wealthy made donations both online and offline72 percent say donating online is more efficient and helps charities reduce administrative costs51 percent said they prefer giving online and 46 percent said that five years from now they will be making a greater portion of their charitable gifts onlineMost charity Web sites are missing opportunities to fully engage wealthy wired with their organizationOnly 40 percent said that most charity Web sites made them feel personally connected to their cause or missionOnly 40 percent said that most charity Web sites are inspiring48 percent felt most charity Web sites are well-designedEmail shows signs of lost opportunities to connect with various donors74 percent said it was appropriate for the charity to send an email reminding them to renew an annual gift74 percent said that an email from the charity about how their donation was spent, and what happened as a result would make them more likely to give again65 percent said they always open and glance at emails from causes they supportThree distinct groups of donors emerged based on the extent to which the donor sees the Internet as a source of connection between themselves and the causesRelationship seekers (29%) – the group most likely to connect emotionally with organizations onlineAll business (30%) – not looking for a relationship or emotional connection, but a smooth and simple donation processCasual connectors (41%) occupy the middle ground, showing some interest in sustaining an online relationship, but also wanting a smooth and simple processNonprofits should create and provide options that let the wired wealthy customize their online experience with the cause, says the study.last_img read more

Make your business card a marketing hero

first_imgI have a pretty boring business card, but that’s about to change. Ever since a designer friend handed me a clear plastic business card with a field for inking a personal note, I realized this is a neglected opportunity.What are you doing to make your card about your cause?Here’s a great source of inspiration from librarians. Librarians rock. Not only do I love them, I think they are marketing superheroes. Here’s the proof. Is this a fabulous card or what? I share her source of power, by the way: coffee.Write me if you have a heroic business card.last_img

How to Write a Fundraising Letter That Wins Back Lapsed Donors

first_imgLapsed donors are donors who have not donated to your organization within the last year, two years or three years. Donors who have not sent you a gift in over three years have not lapsed donors — they are former donors.Lapsed donors are valuable. Unlike strangers, they have supported you before. And they believe in your mission enough to have sent you a gift (or gifts). Here are some tips on writing an appeal letter that will win them back. (In the fund development profession, the letter you write is called a “recovery letter” because it aims to recover donors who have lapsed.)1. Write to one person:You will likely not know why each donor has lapsed. Donors stop giving for any number of reasons. Some forget. Some lose interest. Some get distracted with the arrival of children or grandchildren. Others decide they do not like your new executive director’s ties. Each donor is an individual, and the way to win each one back is to send a warm, sincere, personal letter from your heart to theirs.2. Say “we miss you”:What you are trying to communicate in your letter is that you miss the donor more than their donations, which should always be true. You have lost a supporter first, and a source of support second. Write your letter in such a way that you show your concern for the person. Here are some lines to use:We have not heard from you since March 2011. We miss you! We are counting on your renewed support this year for . . . We miss you. We miss your moral support, and we miss your financial support. We sure have missed hearing from you these last few years. 3. Invite the donor to come back:Provide a tangible way for the donor to renew support. Ask for a gift for a particular project. Offer a subscription to your free newsletter. Do something to involve the donor and make them take action.4. Customize your appeal:Whenever possible, customize your recovery letter to the unique circumstances of each lapsed donor. For example, if you know from your database that a donor only sent a gift once a year at Christmas, mention that in your letter. Or if another donor supported only one area of your work, mention that. The more that your letter appeals to the interests of your donors, the more likely you are to recover them. Here’s an example:“The last time we heard from you, you had generously responded to the humanitarian crisis in Honduras. You sent us a gift that helped us meet the immediate needs of that emergency. Today, I am writing to you because I think you can help us overcome another crisis.”5. Match your language to the length of lapse:Statistically speaking, the longer you’ve had to wait for a gift, the less likely you are to receive one. That means you should segment your database into groups of 12-, 24- and 36-month lapsed donors (or other criteria that you use), and send each group a slightly different appeal. To a donor who has not given in a year, for example, you can say, “We miss you.” To the donor who has not sent a gift in three years, you can say, “You have supported us in the past. Your gifts made a difference. I urge you to renew your commitment by sending a gift today.” The idea is to be casual with the new lapsed donors and progressively more vigorous with donors who have not given in two or more years. Some examples:12-month lapsed: “Your financial support in 2011 made a difference. Your gift at the end of this year will have a positive impact on the people, which in turn will lead to better health, hope, and confidence in humanity.”24-month lapsed: “Your financial support in recent years was a great help to us. Now I’d like you to renew your support by joining me and the volunteers at . . .”36-month lapsed: “We have not heard from you for quite some time and yet your past support has made a difference for populations in danger. I think you can help us overcome this crisis.”6. Tailor your ask:Some of your lapsed donors will have given once and never again. Others will have given faithfully each month for years. Each donor demands a different letter. The more faithful your donor has been, the more that donor requires a personalized letter with a personalized ask amount. Don’t ask a one-time donor and a 10-year supporter for the same amount, treating each one the same way. You could ask the one-time donor for a gift that’s the same size as their last one. And you could ask the long-time supporter for a gift that’s the same size as their smallest one, or their average gift over time, or their last one, and so on.7. Win back their hearts and minds:Lapsed donors need to be persuaded again to support your mission. You’ll need to re-state your case for support and address any reasons you know donors have stopped their support.The two most important things to say in a recovery letter are that you miss the donor and that their support made a big difference in the lives of the people your organization serves. “A carefully crafted appeal that lets past donors know they are important, appreciated and missed almost always produces a net income,” says Stanley Weinstein (The Complete Guide to Fundraising Management).About the author: Alan Sharpe is a professional fundraising letter writer who helps non-profits raise funds, build relationships and retain loyal donors using creative fundraising letters.last_img read more

Four Tips on How to Use Email Marketing During a Down Economy

first_imgWhile the economic news may not be the cheeriest these days, we’ve got some good news for you about the return you’ll get on those email marketing dollars. The smart folks at the DMA (that’s the Direct Marketing Association) reported that in 2007, email marketing returned about $48 for every dollar invested, the highest of all the marketing channels out there.With the pittance it costs to send an email, you get all three of a marketer’s favorite things-relevant messages, brand appeal and the ability to measure it all. So keep up the great work you’re already doing with email, and consider these five tips as well:Use email to reduce other costs. On top of being cost-effective, email can help cut costs elsewhere. Look at what you’re currently printing-holiday cards, birthday postcards, invitations-and ask yourself, “Could this be emailed instead?” (Whoa, not out loud. There are better office nicknames than The Postcard Whisperer.)Save time, too, with trigger emails that automatically welcome new subscribers or follow up around important dates. When you’re no longer handling that stuff manually, you’ll have more time to focus on higher revenue, better service or more precise dart-throwing. Hey, we all have our priorities.Use email to get valuable information. Everybody’s crunching the numbers a little more diligently right now, looking for trends, patterns, or, in freak cases, practice with long division. Some of the most valuable statistics to watch are the response numbers that roll in after you send a campaign. A dedicated review of ’em will help you and your team spot stand-out content or subscribers who’d likely respond well to follow-up-all valuable information to apply to future campaigns.Use email to build brand loyalty. In a downturn, keeping your supporters happy and engaged is more important than ever. With regular email campaigns, you’ve already got an easy, friendly way to remind your subscribers why they know and love you. In your emails, make a point to highlight your organization’s best qualities. Reward your most loyal supporters with a coupon you had donated by a sponsor or send a special invitation to your holiday party. Oh, and be personal. The more your subscribers identify with you, the more likely they’ll be to support you.Use email the right way. As you refine your strategy to suit the economic climate, don’t stray off the path of email marketing’s best practices. It may be tempting to do something brash, like buy or rent a list. (Ick!) Or send every other day. (Ack!) Or even abandon your well-honed segmentation strategy for the ol’ “batch and blast” approach. (Blarg!)Keep your focus on a smart, permission-based strategy, and you’ll continue to see more value for your brand, your sending reputation and your results. Also, we’ve never heard “blarg” used like that.last_img read more