Citizens should ponder the meaning of democracy

first_imgDear Editor,May 2015 ushered in a new coalition Government under an APNU/AFC manifesto. Over three years have passed, and two clear truths have emerged: the manifesto promises have fallen flat; and the pillars of our democracy are under threat.In old parlance, the first estate (the Church or Clergy) remains independent and largely outside the realm. The APNU Government has assumed the position of the nobility (the second estate), and rules over its citizens like common subjects (the third estate). The fourth estate (the media) has been muzzled. Threats to the fifth estate are present.Elections, democracy and capitalism go together. APNU was elected by the citizens of Guyana, and while questions are still pending in the court, one takes it as the properly and legitimately elected Government. The Opposition has taken up its seats in Parliament, and has accepted the results. Democracy, however, has seen some erosion; which, left unchecked, can see Guyana returning to the dark days of the PNC. Capitalism has found itself at the crossroads, the Government has inserted itself on almost every aspect of the people’s lives, resulting in the simple and stark reality that the private sector lacks confidence. Other than oil and other investments from the PPP pipeline, no new investments have been evident since May 2015; and despite relatively low oil prices, capital flight pressure is evident.Allow me to delve into the key institutions that make up a democracy: a properly functioning Parliament; an independent and fair judiciary; a professional and independent Police Force; and a free and impartial media.Our Parliament is not what is was of yesterday under the PPP. It is incontrovertible that the Speaker is biased in favour of the ruling Government. The ability of the Opposition to ask questions and seek information has been muzzled. Parliamentary sittings are less frequent, and much shorter. APNU has clearly abused its majority, and, in so doing, has stifled the voice of the Opposition from this important medium of democracy.Juxtapose this against the UK House of Commons. We are part of the Commonwealth, but the vestiges of its good governance increasingly receive lip service under this Parliament in Guyana.Do we have an independent and free judiciary? There is a gallant attempt to assert some semblance of this after considerable erosion. Recall our Attorney General threatening one of our High Court Judges; adverse decisions against the Government being opening criticised; judges and magistrates fearing that adverse decisions against the Government would result in recrimination; appointments to the Judiciary being increasingly stacked in favour of party supporters; and there being a sense of Government reach or influence of the judiciary being much greater than what had obtained under the PPP.As for an independent and professional Police Force, any person would tell you the Government calls the shots; the Commissioner of Police (ag) is toothless. There is clear political influence, as is evident with the abuse of SOCU, the most recent foray with Minister Broomes, and the loss of supernumerary status for one of the security guards in the recent fracas.Meanwhile, crime continues to climb, and our citizens increasing fear for their physical safety and security. The recent rumour that the Minister of Legal Affairs is taking over the AML functions is an indecent and vulgar assault on the Guyanese citizens, and is another clear example of the abuse from the politicisation of duties that should, by any reasonable-minded person, be performed by independent professionals who are free and clear of any political bias.As for a free and independent media, the comparison between the APNU and PPP is like night to day. Despite an overwhelming abundance of content, attacks on the Government are timid and scaled back. Compared to the PPP, there was no shortage of media overreach, sensationalising of information, and a clear anti-PPP bias. The opposite is now clearly the case of the day.The state apparatus has become unabashedly an instrument for APNU propaganda. As for the free media, the contents of their publications reflect a fear of retribution. A grenade was launched; is it a coincidence that we have a muzzled media?And so, citizens, as you consider our democracy, consider what determines it. Like a frog in water slowly being heated, do not discover that when you want to express your voice it is too late. A country of wealth is in the waiting, but the pillars of democracy must be taken back and secured. Only with these prerequisites in place can we feel that confidence and safety to invest and spend, and in so doing, create prosperity and growth. Capitalism (economic prosperity) is an outcome of western democracy. Strangle the latter and the former will suffer. An APNU Guyana is a classic case in point.Sincerely,A Grantlast_img read more

124 road fatalities recorded for 2019

first_imgWith 2 more days…11 deaths recorded in DecemberWith only two days remaining before 2019 ends, there have been over 100 fatal accidents across the country, which claimed the lives of 123 persons.In the month of December, to date, six accidents at various locations have resulted in 11 persons losing their lives.Dead: 28-year-old Vijai SankarOn Thursday, December 26, “Boxing Day”, a 28-year-old driver, who was allegedly speeding along the Uitvlugt Public Road, West Coast Demerara (WCD), became the country’s latest road fatality.The dead man was identified as Vijai Sankar of Lot 24 Vergenoegen, East Bank Essequibo (EBE).Reports are that at about 03:15h, Sankar was driving his Range Rover, PWW 9100, and was proceeding west along the southern carriageway of the WCD road when the accident occurred.Dead: 78-year-old Juliet CorneliusWhile allegedly driving at a fast rate of speed, Sankar lost control of his vehicle and collided with a light pole and a fence on the southern side of the road.According to the police, as a result of the impact, the man received injuries about his body but was trapped inside of the vehicle until ranks of the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) arrived at the scene and managed to get him out of the wreck.He was transported to the Leonora Cottage Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.33-year old anaesthetic nurse, Keon SealeyMeanwhile, a West Coast Berbice (WCB) resident died on Boxing Day after being hit by a speeding car as the driver tried to avoid hitting sheep on the roadway. The incident occurred at Number 41 Village on Tuesday, December 17, but the man died nine days later.Dead is Carloy Moore called “Carl Moore”,77, of Lot 28 Number 41 Village.Moore had been attempting to cross the road when the speeding vehicle hit him.Five days prior to the Boxing Day accident, a 78-year-old woman of West Watooka, Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice), was killed on her way to church after being struck by a speeding car. Dead is Juliet Cornelius of Lot 55 West Watooka, Linden, Region 10.Dead: Minibus driver, Seechandall ChandilallOn Sunday, December 22, at about 07:15h on Burnham Drive, Wismar, a motorcar – PVV 2251 – that was driven by a 27-year-old male was proceeding south along the eastern side of the road at a fast pace and while negotiating a left turn, the driver suddenly lost control of the vehicle and ended up on the southern parapet.There, he reportedly struck Cornelius, who was walking. She fell onto the roadway and was picked up by public-spirited citizens and transported to the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC). She died while receiving medical attention.On Wednesday, December 18, five persons lost their lives after the Route 50 minibus they were travelling in crashed into a truck.28-year-old Medex, Alana VaughnThe horrific accident took place at Fairfield, Mahaicony, Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), and involved a truck bearing registration GPP 9433, which was heading to Berbice and the minibus (BRR 5478), which was heading to Georgetown.Those who died in this accident were: Ewart Reynolds, 64, of Calcutta, Mahaicony; Alana Vaughn, a 28-year old Medex of Farm, Mahaicony; Keon Sealey, a 33-year old anaesthetic nurse, who was also of Mahaicony; Maxwell Thom, 76, and Seechandal Chandilall, the driver of the bus who lived at Bath Settlement, Berbice.One week earlier, on Wednesday, December 11, a teenager who attended the Bina Hill Secondary School, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), died after he lost control of the motorcycle he was riding allegedly at a fast rate, in an effort to avoid slamming into an approaching vehicle.Dead is 16-year-old Danillo Allicock of Surama Village, North Rupununi, Region Nine.On Saturday, December 7, another motorcyclist, Godfrey Willis, who hailed from Goat Farm, Ituni, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), lost his life when the motorcycle he was riding, which did not have a headlamp on, collided with a car.He was taken to the Ituni Health Centre but was pronounced dead on arrival by the doctor on duty.On Tuesday, December 3, 18-year-old cyclist, Deshon Morris lost his life while his pillion rider was injured after the motorcycle they were riding collided with a truck belonging to Muneshwers Limited, at Industrial Estate, Ruimveldt, Greater Georgetown.Morris, of Lot 4 East La Penitence, Georgetown, was pronounced dead on the spot while Keon Granville, 27, of Phase 2 Lot 1 East Ruimveldt, was treated and sent away.last_img read more

Future list of PPP candidates will be free of dual citizens –…

first_imgDual citizens in Parliament– commits to party leading change against status quoDespite the recent resurrection of dual citizens in the National Assembly as a trending topic, the problem has been around for a while. But at least one party is looking to change the status quo of dual citizens illegally sitting as Members of Parliament.A commitment has been made that dual citizens on candidate electoral lists submitted by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) to stand for Parliament will be a thing of the past. This commitment was made by the PPP General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo.Jagdeo was at the time appearing on the Jumpstart radio programme on Monday morning, when he laid down his party’s position on dual citizenship. He noted the effect a ruling on the no-confidence case in his party’s favour at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) would have on the whole issue.“If the no confidence (ruling) goes in our favour at the CCJ, there will be no need for a convening of the Parliament again unless there’s an agreement. Therefore, no dual citizen will attend the Parliament on our side.”“When the new list is prepared for General Elections, no dual citizen will be on that list,” Jagdeo further explained. “If they want to be on that list, they have to give up their dual citizenship. That’s our position.”In the interim, the Opposition Leader noted the difference between his party’s position and the Government’s approach. Jagdeo pointed out that despite the High Court and Court of Appeal ruling that dual citizens cannot be members of the National Assembly; it has done little to faze the Government.“This Government has said that not only are they going to keep dual citizens in the Government, but they’re going to attend Parliament. We have made it clear. (Our dual citizens) will not attend. They will not be at any sitting of the National Assembly.”“The (Government dual citizens) have said they will attend a sitting of the National Assembly. That would be illegal, immoral and unheard of, that you want the Opposition to comply with a ruling, but you won’t do it yourself.”In February, Chief Justice Roxane George had ruled on the case filed by Compton Reid over the dual citizenship of former Alliance For Change Member of Parliament (MP) Charrandas Persaud. In the case it brought to the Chief Justice, Government had argued that Persaud’s dual citizenship status invalidated his vote in support of the No-confidence Motion that brought the Government down.This argument also formed part of the opinions presented to Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland in the hopes that he would reverse the ruling; something the Speaker ultimately refused to do.According to the Chief Justice, by swearing allegiance to another State, a dual citizen is not qualified to be elected to serve in the National Assembly. But Charrandas is not the only one. In the Opposition camp, Chief Whip Teixeira has already indicated her willingness to renounce her citizenship.In the case of the Government, Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge and Minister of State Joseph Harmon (who has US citizenship) have done little to address if they would choose Parliament or dual citizenship when the time comes.Article 155 (1) of the Constitution of Guyana states, “No person shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly who (a) is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or State.”Only recently, Chartered Accountant and Attorney Christopher Ram has said he believes the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland, should not allow dual citizen parliamentarians back in the House.The Government has set April 11 for the reconvening of the sitting of the National Assembly and Ram is contending that the action by the Government to return with dual citizens to Parliament is “disgraceful, unbelievable (and) contemptuous”.“It shows (utter) contempt and disregard for the Constitution by people of the stature of Carl Greenidge (Foreign Affairs Minister); (so) it’s hard to say how much lower we as a country can get”.In addition, Working People’s Alliance (WPA) Executive, Dr David Hinds noted that, in the interest of “political morality”, dual citizens in the National Assembly should make a choice between renouncing their dual citizenship and resigning from the house.He labelled as ‘politics’ the fact that the coalition Government would pick and choose which parts of the recent Court of Appeal ruling it would adhere to (that the No-confidence Motion against it was not validly passed), and which to delay acting upon (that dual citizens cannot be Members of Parliament).“Politicians think about power and what that means for them. Political morality doesn’t figure in too much… I think political morality say’s that they should either renounce their citizenship or resign,” he said.According to David Hinds, the Constitution is clear about dual citizenship. However, he said, what some would call duplicity is actually politics.last_img read more

Huskies drop two games to Navigators

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN – The Fort St. John Huskies had an uphill climb this weekend against the North Peace Navigators and it showed on the scoreboard in the two games that they played. The Huskies were in Peace River for contests on Saturday and Sunday and lost by scores of 8-3, and 6-2 respectively.In Saturday’s game the Huskies trailed 5-2 heading into the third before the Navigators pulled away for good.Sunday’s game was a bit closer but still not the result the Huskies were hoping for. They fell behind early in the game as Peace River opened the scoring just over a minute into the contest and led 3-0 after the opening frame. Trailing 4-0 going into the third the Huskies managed to trade two goals each with the Navigators.- Advertisement -Summarizing the weekend assistant coach Todd Alexander said while nobody feels good about losing, the team continued to make strides in amping up their physical play among other things.“We weren’t so pumped about the outcome of the score but realistically I think we made some really big strides. We played two of our most physical hockey games all year. It wasn’t successful by points but it was successful by figuring out who we are and who we can be,” he said.Despite feeling that the scores in either game weren’t indicative of what actually happened on the ice, there were still areas that were a struggle which will be worked on in practice this week.Advertisement “The power play wasn’t very good for whatever reason. We got away from our structure on our power play. I’ve thought for the most part that our power play has been pretty good all year. Sometimes certain aspects of your game struggle a little bit. We didn’t make some proper passes to the forwards. We had some breakdowns in our zone that they capitalised on and we need to tighten up a little bit in net as well,” Alexander said.Scoring for the Huskies over the two games were Adam Bowie, Kody Disher (2), Anthony Ruggiero, and Brandon Howard.The Huskies have two more games on the docket before the new year. They’ll host Dawson Creek and Sexsmith on Friday and Saturday respectively.last_img read more

Vets emerge from hibernation

first_img“We had to make some changes, and we didn’t have many (options),” Jackson said. “We had to go with some veterans who know how to play. You know if things come their way, they’re going to shoot.” McKie and Williams have been efficient, if not dynamic. McKie had not taken a shot this season before Friday, but is 3 for 3 from the field and has six rebounds and four assists in 40 minutes. Williams is 6 for 11 from the field in 51 minutes and has three steals and four assists. “They’re both getting into game shape and starting to feel the things that come naturally to them,” Jackson said. “They’re going to fill gaps we need and then we will see about getting the young guys back in there.” Maurice Evans, whose knee swelled after a collision with Utah’s Matt Harpring on Monday, had fluid drained from the knee Wednesday and did not practice. Evans, who also did not practice Tuesday, is considered day-to-day, according to a team spokesman. In the last three games, Williams has averaged 17 minutes and McKie has averaged 11.7 minutes. With young guards Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic dealing with consistency issues, coach Phil Jackson indicated that he’s likely to give Williams, 31, and McKie, 34, sustained playing time into March. The idea, born out of a six-game losing streak, seems to have given new life to the Lakers’ backcourt. EL SEGUNDO – Aaron McKie and Shammond Williams are back in service. The Lakers dusted them off, inflated their tires and put them back on the road, the way they would an old bike in the garage. Surprisingly enough, they still run pretty well. McKie and Williams, two veteran guards buried at the end of the Lakers’ bench for much of the season, have provided valuable minutes in recent games. center_img Also uncertain for Friday is the status of Luke Walton, who might return from a sprained ankle. Walton practiced for a second consecutive day and went through a more vigorous 5-on-5 workout. (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more


first_imgTHE site on which Donegal schoolgirl Erin Gallagher was threatened before she took her own life has brought in new safety measures, it said it would view all reports within 24 hours, make the report button more visible, and include bullying and harassment as a category for a report.It said the changes would be live on the site by September. The father of English girl Hannah Smith, 14, who is believed to have killed herself after she was bullied on the site, said he welcomed the changes.“I think it’s too late, but it’s not too little,” Dave Smith said in an interview with the BBC. “They’re actually taking a step forward and they’re making things safer for children on the internet.” said it would:Hire more staff, including a safety officer, to moderate comments on the site Create a “bullying/harassment” category for reported comments, alongside “spam or scam”, “hate speech”, “violence” and “pornographic content”Raise the visibility of a function to opt out of receiving anonymous questionsLimit the number of features unregistered users were able to access, and require an email address upon sign-up for registered users BULLYING WEBSITE BRINGS IN NEW MEASURES was last modified: August 19th, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:BULLYING WEBSITE BRINGS IN NEW MEASURESlast_img read more


first_imgSHAY Given took part in a full training session in Poland today – ending speculation in the national media about his fitness.In fact Shay also played for the first 11 in a practice match…and made a number of fine trademark saves.“I have no doubt that he can play,” said manager Giovanni Trapattoni. “When the whole squad is available, we have very good options.”As fans continue to pour into Poznan for Sunday’s clash with Croatia, our national manager said he had told his players they would be playing for them.He went on: “I told them they must be proud about our country and our people, because they’ve made a big sacrifice to make this trip. The players know this.“Our country waits. Our supporters wait. It’s important we guarantee them total and complete commitment.”  SHAY TAKES PART IN FULL TRAINING SESSION – TRAPP DEMANDS SHOW FOR FANS was last modified: June 8th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:CROATIAIrelandPOLANDShay Givenlast_img read more

Women’s Golf Leading MVC Championship After First Two Rounds

first_imgStory Links CHESTERTON, Ind. – The Drake University women’s golf team assembled two of its strongest back-to-back rounds of the season to sit on top of the leaderboard after the first day of action at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship.Due to inclement weather Sunday, the teams played two rounds Monday with the Bulldogs carding team scores of 301-297 – 598 to hold a one-stroke lead over SIU heading into Tuesday’s final round at the par-72 Sand Creek Country Club. “I’m so proud of everyone today,” said Drake head coach Rachael Pruett. “We had some bumps along the way, but we stayed focused and believed we could bounce back.”The Bulldogs were in second after the first round, but the afternoon 297 made up two strokes on SIU and nine strokes on third-place Missouri State. However, the top six teams on the leaderboard are separated by just 11 strokes.”The leaderboard is really tight and it’s still anyone’s to win,” Pruett added. “It’s going to be fun out there tomorrow and we look forward to competing.” All five of the Bulldogs’ competitors are in the top 20 individually with freshman Haeri Lee leading the way in third thanks to a 73-74 – 147 afternoon. Aimee Gerschke was two strokes back in a tie for eighth at 75-74 – 149.Lee’s opening round 1-over par 73 featured 16 pars while her afternoon 74 included a trio of birdies on the front nine. Senior Grace Dunn had two of her lowest rounds of the season in carding a 75-76 – 151 in a tie for 11th while Kristen Giles showed great resolve in bouncing back from a pair of triple bogeys with four birdies to finish in a tie for 19th at 79-74 – 153. Sigurlaug Run Jonsdottir also finished at 153 with rounds of 78-75.The strong opening day puts the Bulldogs in position to win the team’s MVC title since the program’s start in 2007. The team has finished second or better in the event twice in its history but not since 2010. “Whatever happens, I’m so proud of all the work the team has put in and how they have pushed each other to be better,” Pruett added.The Bulldogs’ final round starts Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. with live results available via Monday Results center_img Team Standings1. Drake, +22, 301-297 – 5982. Southern Illinois, +23, 300-299 – 5993. Missouri State, +31, 301-306 – 607T4. Bradley, +32, 305-303 – 608T4. Loyola, +32, 304-304 – 6086. Indiana State, +33, 314-295 – 6097. Northern Iowa, +36, 311-301 – 6128. Illinois State, +50, 312-314 – 6269. Evansville, +51, 307-320 – 62710. Valparaiso, +67, 326-317 – 6431 Drake 301 297 598T3. Haeri Lee, 73-74 – 147T8. Aimee Gerschke, 75-74 – 149T11. Grace Dunn, 75-76 – 151T19. Kristen Giles, 79-74 – 153T19. Sigurlaug Run Jonsdottir, 78-75 – 153 Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more

QPR boss Redknapp backs Green for England recall as Hart flounders

first_imgHarry Redknapp believes QPR keeper Rob Green has a serious chance of earning an England recall ahead of next year’s World Cup.With Manchester City’s Joe Hart enduring a dip in form, England manager Roy Hodgson has faced calls to reassess his goalkeeping options.Green, who has 12 caps, has not featured for his country since an infamous mistake against the Unites States during the last World Cup.But he has been an important player in his club’s promotion challenge this season and Redknapp says the former West Ham man, 33, is capable of playing for the national side again.“Rob’s been outstanding for us, but it’s up to Roy,” said the R’s boss.“Rob wouldn’t let anyone down, that’s for sure, if he got the opportunity to play for England again.“He’s a top goalkeeper in my opinion and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be pushing to get back into the squad for the World Cup.”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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Re-inventing Transportation by Watching Animals

first_img(Visited 22 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Here are 3 ways science is advancing through the imitation of nature.On May 28, a truck designed to act like an animal drove onto a Dutch motorway, taking part in a competition between self-driving vehicles. Here’s what the designers say about their invention (Science Daily):“Biological systems are the best autonomous systems we know of. A biological system absorbs information from its surroundings via its senses and reacts directly and safely, like an antelope running within its herd, or a hawk pouncing on its prey on the ground. Before humans walked the earth, nature already had a solution, so let’s learn from that,” says Ola Benderius.Benderius believes we are on the verge of a transport revolution, comparable to the transition from horse to motorcar. Now, after a century of motorcars, is he thinking the horse has better options? “All information that the truck compiles from sensors and cameras is converted into a format that resembles the way in which humans and animals interpret the world via their senses,” the article says. “This enables the truck to adapt to unexpected situations in its basic design.” At this rate, they’ll take all the fun out of 4-wheeling.Battle ivy. Impressed at the powerful grip ivy shows as it climbs brick walls, researchers at Ohio State are thinking of ways to imitate it. Their project might lead to improved battle armor, medical adhesives and even cosmetics with better staying power. PhysOrg explains ivy’s mysterious secret force:“Ivy has these very tiny hairy structures that have a wonderful interaction with the surface as the plant climbs. One day I was looking at the ivy in the backyard and I was amazed at the force,” Zhang said.“It’s very difficult to tear down, even in a natural disaster. It’s one of the strongest adhesive forces in nature.“Top-down thinking: The folks at Arizona State’s Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics are thinking about DNA from the top down. In a PhysOrg article, they explain their goals:In new research appearing in the advance online edition of the journal Science, Mark Bathe, along with colleagues Hao Yan from ASU and Wah Chiu from Baylor College of Medicine describe a new method for designing geometric forms built from DNA. They present a novel variant on a technique known as DNA origami, in which the base-pairing properties of DNA are exploited for the construction of tiny structures in 2 and 3 dimensions.“An important challenge in the field of DNA nanotechnology is to design any desirable structures in a top-down manner, without much human input concerning details of DNA strand folding paths,” Yan says.Their work holds promise for biotechnology, medicine and nanoscale robots. With software, they input the shape they want and let DNA do the rest. “The method can produce nanoforms with high fidelity and stability without the normal laborious process of manually designing base-pairs to form the intended target structure.” Their method works because of the peculiar properties of DNA.The DNA molecule in its characteristic double stranded form is fairly stiff, compared with single-stranded DNA, which is flexible. For this reason, single stranded DNA makes for an ideal lace-like scaffold material. Further, its pairing properties are predictable and consistent, (unlike RNA, which is considered promiscuous, due to base-pairings that may be unexpected).The project shows the power of human design, but raises the question of how the “DNA origami” in life came about. “The research paves the way for the development of designed nanoscale systems mimicking the properties of viruses, photosynthetic organisms and other sophisticated products of natural evolution.”The obligatory homage to Darwin seems to be getting more rare the more we report on biomimetics. The focus is on design. Human beings understand design as a cause. Natural designs, being usually far superior to what humans come up with point to design as their necessary and sufficient cause.last_img read more