Archive for May, 2009

0_quiz_dna_splitsRecent research into the structure and workings of genes and DNA has revealed incredible evidence of God’s wonderful design. Dr. Jerry Bergman, professor of science at Northwest College, Archibold (Ohio) has recently published an excellent technical paper in the Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal, 1 detailing how genes manufacture plants and animals.

We have excerpted portions of his report for this article.

Vast Databases

At the moment of conception, a fertilized human egg is about the size of a pinhead. Yet it contains information equivalent to about six billion “chemical letters.” This is enough information to fill 1000 books, 500 pages thick with print so small you would need a microscope to read it!

If all the chemical “letters” in the human body were printed in books, it is estimated they would fill the Grand Canyon fifty times! 2

This vast amount of information is stored in our bodies’ cells in DNA molecules and is coded by four bases-adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine. The key to the coding of DNA is in the grouping of these bases into sets that are further sequenced to form the 20 common amino acids. Together, these genetic codes form the physical foundation of all life.

We’ve all been exposed to the basic concepts of DNA and its double-helix structure in our high school biology classes. Perhaps you remember being taught that cells divide through the “unzipping” and subsequent replication of the double helix. In all likelihood, though, the incredible evidence of design in this process was not discussed.

A Complex Engineering Puzzle

Suppose you were asked to take two long strands of fisherman’s monofilament line-125 miles long-then form it into a double-helix structure and neatly fold and pack this line so it would fit into a basketball.

Furthermore, you would need to ensure that the double helix could be unzipped and duplicated along the length of this line, and the duplicate copy removed, all without tangling the line. Possible?
This is directly analogous to what happens in the billions of cells in your body every day. Scale the basketball down to the size of a human cell and the line scales down to six feet of DNA.

All this DNA must be packed so the regulator proteins that control making copies of the DNA have access to it. The DNA packing process is both complex and elegant and is so efficient that it achieves a reduction in length of DNA by a factor of 1 million. 3

When the cell needs to divide, the entire length of DNA must be split apart, duplicated, and repackaged for each daughter cell. No one knows exactly how cells solve this topological nightmare. But the solution clearly starts with the special spools on which the DNA is wound.

Each spool carries two “turns” of DNA, and the spools themselves are stacked together in groups of six or eight. The human cell uses about 25 million of them to keep its DNA under control. 4 (As shown in Figure 3 on the previous page, DNA is wound around histones to form nucleosomes. These are organized into solenoids, which in turn compose chromatin loops. Each element in this complex, yet highly organized arrangement is carefully designed to play a key role in the cell replication process.)

Cell Replication

The details of cell replication are too complex to be described in detail here. A simplified outline is given below to illustrate the incredible process involved: 5

1. Replication involves the synthesis of an exact copy of the cell’s DNA.

2. An initiator protein must locate the correct place in the strand to begin copying.

3. The initiator protein guides an “unzipper” protein (helicase) to separate the strand, forming a fork area. This unwinding process involves speeds estimated at approximately 8000 rpm, all done without tangling the DNA strand!

4. The DNA duplex kinks back on itself as it unwinds. To relieve the twisting pressure, an “untwister” enzyme (topo-isomerase) systematically cuts and repairs the coil.

5. Working only on flat, untwisted sections of the DNA, enzymes go to work copying the strand. (Two complete DNA pairs are synthesized, each containing one old and one new strand.)

6. A stitcher repair protein (DNA ligases) connects nucleotides together into one continuous strand.

Read and Write

The process described above is only a small part of the story. While the unwinding and rewinding of the DNA takes place, an equally sophisticated process of reading the DNA code and “writing” new strands occurs. The process involves the production and use of messenger RNA. Again, a simplified process description: 6

1. Messenger RNA is made from DNA by an enzyme (RNA polymerase).

2. A small section of DNA unzips, revealing the actual message (called the sense strand) and the template (the anti-sense strand).

3. A copy is made of the gene of interest only, producing a relatively short RNA segment.

4. The knots and kinks in the DNA provide crucial topological stop-and-go signals for the enzymes.

5. After messenger RNA is made, the DNA duplex is zipped back up.

Adding to the complexity and sophistication of design, the genetic code is read in blocks of three bases (out of the four possible bases mentioned earlier) that are non-overlapping.

Moreover, the triplicate code used is “degenerate,” meaning that multiple combinations can often code for the same amino acid-this provides a built-in error correction mechanism. (One can’t help but contrast the sophistication involved with the far simpler read/write processes used in modern computers.)

A Common Software House

All living things use DNA and RNA to build life from four simple bases. The process described above is common to all creatures from simple bacteria all the way to humans.

Evolutionists point to this as evidence for their theory-but the new discoveries of the complexity of the process, and the fact that bacterial ribosomes are so similar to those in humans, is strong evidence against evolution. The complexities of cell replication must have been present at the beginning of life.

A simple explanation for the similarities of the basic building blocks can be found if one realizes that all life originates from a single “software house.” He is awesome indeed!

* * *

[Ed Note: Dr. Jerry Bergman is a professor of science at Northwest College, Archibold (Ohio) and is working on his third Ph.D. in molecular biology. He also has degrees in biology, psychology, and evaluation and research.]

Read Full Post »

Let’s say you have a typical life and try to live it in the healthiest way. You might allocate your 24-hour weekday this way:

Sleep: 8 hours
Exercise: 1 hour
Work: 8 hours
Eating: 2 hours (leisurely)
Hygiene: 1 hour
Travel: 1 (Commute, errands)

That leaves you three hours for family time, sex, shopping, food preparation, chores, household repair, volunteering in the school, and so on. If you have a dentist appointment, or your talkative relative calls, or American Idol has a two-hour special, you’re tapped out.

It’s a challenge to live a happy life if you aren’t giving enough attention to all of those categories, yet doing so is nearly impossible.

One time management strategy is to be independently wealthy, freeing up eight hours a day. But that option isn’t available to many. And apparently it isn’t fulfilling because most rich people continue to work full schedules.

Another strategy is to ignore the fact that you are slowly killing yourself by not sleeping and exercising enough. That frees up several hours a day. The only downside is that you get fat and die.

A third path is to work less than you could, live economically, enjoy each day as it comes, and try not to think about living on cat food when you retire.

Which strategy have you picked?

Read Full Post »

May 13th 1969 Revisited

My Dad relocated my mother and me to Petaling Jaya as he had been recently transfered there in the Civil Service. I was just a little over 1 year old. My other family members had flown down to Petaling Jaya to celebrate my 1st birthday. My motor skills were still quite basic and had simple comprehension of the world around me.

Nope, this is not a story of May 13th Riots Revisited in Petaling Jaya, but a vivid perspective from a toddler who somehow could comprehend fear. It has been ingrained into my memory the times of curfew, not of the sights, but of the sounds. The sounds of knives being sharpened on steel pipes as a defensive act of homes who were targets of racial and social hatred. For those who have not live through such time, it is beyond description. For those who deny these incidents, they know not what they condone.

Imagine, a little toddler of a little over a year remembering the sounds of civil unrest. Until such time when Malaysia can come to peace honestly with such events, Malaysia will still be just another footnote in the history of civilizations.

Wonder why I can’t find any pictures of the incident in Malaysia? I’ll leave that to you to decide.

11847068However, what happened in Singapore within those days were well documented. The 1969 race riots of Singapore were the only riots encountered in post-independence Singapore as a result of the spillover of the May 13 Incident in Malaysia.

The seven days of communal riots resulted in the final toll of 4 dead and 80 wounded in Singapore. The precursor of the 1969 race riots can be traced to the May 13 Incident in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya in Malaysia. It was triggered by the results of the General Election, that were marked by Sino-Malay riots unprecedented in Malaysian history. (Picture inset is that of riot police in Singapore during those trying times)

Read Full Post »

So what has a meal got to do with venture management. Philosophically nothing and everything depending how you look at it. Twisted talk. No way.

Had a lunch meet yesterday with Julian Candiah, who was recently appointed as the Deputy General Manager I at Penang Development Corporation (PDC) by none other than Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng.

img_2140Julian Candiah has had 14 years’ experience as a banker with various international banks. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng hoped that with Julian Candiah’s expertise, the state government will be able to restructure its economy to benefit from globalisation trend when the world economy rebounds.

In the photo, Special advisor to the Chief Minister Julian Candiah (right) with Deputy Chief Minister (II) Prof Dr P Ramasamy (left) and Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Julian graduated with a First Class honours Degree in Engineering and a Masters in Manufacturing Management from Cambridge University as a Cambridge Commonwealth Trust scholar.

Between 2000 and 2006, Julian was managing director at BNP Paribas. Prior to that he worked in London, Hong Kong and Singapore at various international investment banks such as Credit Suisse Financial Products, Bear Stearns, J.P. Morgan and Merrill Lynch.

His views on venture management was truly insightful. Julian noted that the success on an endeavor may be limited by the risk involvement that we take. To be successful here, one need to be able to commit to completion one’s business plans with the equatable stakes that one may lose if a failure happens.

But most of all, the art of negotiating and convincing investors to part with their wealth and ability to scrutinize the success levels of entrepreneurs and their project is the key to success. His advise was that if one does not have all the skill sets needed in this industry, it is crucial that one partners with another who has the needed skill set to make venture management a success.

This is not an easy industry to be in, but it is where all the money is.

We ended our conversation of old times and friends, our present career and venture management ideas over a final cup of coffee at Starbucks, compliments from him.

It was a memorable meal for me, as I found that I was in the presence of greatness. He had better composure than some of the C-Level managers that I’ve dealt with in local firms (business dealings) and those I’ve noticed ever so often in MNCs (in my career – day job).

Read Full Post »