Fishy Just-So Stories

first_img“How the Seahorse Might Have Got Its Shape” (italics added) is a backpedal on the Just-So Story formula (e.g., “How the Zebra Got Its Stripes,” Kipling).  Was the evolutionist hedging his bets this time?  PhysOrg continued the possibility thinking with its subtitle, “The shape of the seahorse has long baffled marine scientists, but new research suggests the seahorse’s unique shape may have evolved to allow it to catch its food when it was further away.”  May have, might have; that’s the power of suggestion.  The BBC News, however, threw caution to the waves and declared that the seahorse’s body shape has been “explained”.    The storyteller is a Belgian scientist, Sam Van Wassenbergh (U of Antwerp).  He compared seahorses with their relatives, the pipefish, which lack the characteristic curvature that makes seahorses distinctive in their upright swimming position.  He found that the curvature helps the seahorse, a weak swimmer, increase its striking range to catch prey.  A video clip explains the theory, followed by this paragraph at the end of the PhysOrg article:Dr Van Wassenbergh said the foraging behavior would have come first and then natural selection would favor those fish that had a larger strike distance.  According to their research this created a selective pressure for the angle between head and trunk to increase.The video clip was less bashful about the Just-So Story, ending, “…and that’s how the seahorse got its shape.”    What Wassenbergh didn’t explain, though, was why pipefish didn’t follow suit, if this is such a good strategy for natural selection to work on.  In fact, the pipefish and seahorses seem to live in the same environments and do equally well at feeding and surviving.  It would seem an equally good story could be told about “How the Pipefish Got its Shape” – how selection pressure straightened out the weak-swimming, ungainly seahorse so that it could approach its prey with more speed.  Perhaps a more scientific title, then would be, “Why the Seahorse Has Its Shape,” not how it got its shape.  Then it becomes a story about biophysics, not evolution.    A slightly stranger story on PhysOrg proposed that angelfish can do math.  When joining a group, or shoal, they appear to always prefer a shoal size with a ratio of 1.8 over another.  The article hedged its bets on what this might mean about angelfish brains and abilities, and even whether the observations hold true under other circumstances.  This second article did not mention evolution.What’s the matter with the angelfish researchers?  They didn’t do their job.  They didn’t tell a story about how evolution accounted for the angelfish’s mathematical mind.    The first one did it right.  Natural selection made pipefish straight, and it made seahorses curved.  This is known as scientific explanation.  Opposite outcomes occur from the same law of nature, the law of natural selection (12/19/2007).  These opposite outcomes can be subsumed under the Stuff Happens Law, which explains everything (see 09/15/2008 commentary for why this law is scientific).    To exercise scientific restraint, you can say Stuff Might Happen; then when it does, you are acclaimed as The Scientist – a Priest of sorts, mediating between the mysterious workings of the cosmos and the peasants, providing them the comfort and assurance that comes with understanding.  Assume the lotus position and recite the mantra Stuffffff Happpppennnnnzzzzz till a state of nothingness descends upon you.  You have arrived at Niwrada (01/26/2010 commentary).(Visited 35 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Get Those Wrists Ready: Samsung Reportedly Outing Smartwatch Sept 4

first_imgWhat it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … adriana lee The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Bloomberg reports that Samsung will indeed announce its own smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, at a press event on September 4.Not that smartwatches are anything new—see Pebble and Sony. And the rumor of a Samsung device has been going on for months. But if the wire service’s two anonymous sources are right, Samsung Galaxy Gear will be having its coming-out party next month—a week before Apple holds a similar launch event for its own new products.Apple has long been rumored to be working on its own wristworn smart device, unofficially dubbed the iWatch. Both patent filings and job listings strongly suggest Apple’s plans are real. See also: Arm Race: Samsung To Build A Smartwatch TooApple’s not the only company supposedly trying to make our wrists smarter. Others—including Google and Microsoft—are reportedly racing to bring their own smartwatches to market. The reason why is obvious: If any one of these companies can blaze this trail, it offers a substantial advantage. The market for smartwatches isn’t as saturated as tablets or phones, so the winner here has a better chance of standing out and locking even more users into its respective platforms.The wrist, in short, is viewed as virgin territory for gadgets. Though ReadWrite’s editor-in-chief may rail against wearable wrist-bound devices, he’s shouting at the waves. Smartwatches now officially seem to be the “It” thing in tech.According to this latest report, Galaxy Gear will be an Android device that makes calls, surfs the Web and manages email messages. It won’t, however, sport a flexible screen, at least not in the this version, though Samsung’s working on it for future devices.  Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Tags:#Arm Race#mobile#Samsung#smartwatch#Wearable Computing#wearables Related Posts last_img read more

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Why You Should Care About Blackmagic’s Acquisition of Eyeon Fusion

first_imgBlackmagic Design has acquired high-end compositing and effects app Eyeon Fusion, marking their entrance into yet another segment of the professional film and video market.At IBC 2014, Blackmagic Design announced that they had just (seemingly literally) acquired Eyeon Software Inc, the creators of the compositing software Fusion. Is this something you should be excited about? Given the spectacular way in which Blackmagic Design transformed DaVinci Resolve into a hugely accessible color grading application, yes you should be! DaVinci Resolve used to be hugely expensive, with a semi-clunky user interface and an unituitive workflow. Now it’s freely available, sleekly designed and constantly being improved. We can only hope that history will repeat itself with Eyeon’s Fusion.So why did Blackmagic buy Eyeon? It’s a little tricky to figure out, but time will tell. The best guess is Blackmagic’s attempting to go head-to-head with with Autodesk’s Smoke and The Foundry’s Nuke – both high-end 3D compositing applications. It’s not secret that Blackmagic has aspirations to tackle film production from beginning to end: shooting (cameras), video editing, color grading, encoding, monitoring. Fusion excels at combining motion design and composition, a current void in Blackmagic’s full production pipeline.This is what Blackmagic Design president Grant Petty had to say about it in an email he sent out during IBC:For years we have been amazed by the incredible Fusion software and what an amazing feature set it has for compositing. It has been the tool used on over 1000 major Hollywood feature films and has been used on some of the most recent blockbuster movies for some of the most complex effects scenes in these movies. It’s an incredible tool and it’s really Hollywood’s secret to doing some of these major effects shots.Now we have just completed acquiring eyeon software and for us, this is extremely exciting as, similar to DaVinci, we now have a second powerful software tool that has remarkable creative power. The guys at eyeon are also excited as now we can add better sales and support for eyeon’s software tools. So I think it’s a very good match.What is Eyeon Fusion?Eyeon Fusion, now in version 7, is a high end motion graphics and visual effects compositing tool that allows you to do things like rotoscoping, keying, and generating particle systems. If you check out the feature film credits listed on the Eyeon website, you’ll soon see that it’s a trusted and reliable part of the Hollywood visual effects industry’s tool kit. In the short video above you can get a feel for Fusion by seeing how you might go about creating a 3D lower third title in the program, using it’s node-based workflow. Hopefully the interface will get an overhaul once Blackmagic’s design team get their hands on it!Currently Eyeon Fusion runs around $2,500 US per license. Will we see Blackmagic radically slash the price and improve the app, just as they did with Resolve?Why Editors Will Want To Learn FusionIn this 30 minute interview with feature film editor Alan Edward Bell you can hear his take on why Fusion is such a compelling addition to the modern editor’s tool kit. Alan uses it to perform all sorts of visible and invisible effects such as splitting performances, speeding up slow performances, creating temp effects and much more. If you’re thinking that After Effects is an easier software to learn, then Alan would argue that the node-based architecture of Fusion, instead of the layer-based workflow of After Effects, is far more efficient way to work, especially when taking creative work from one project to another.“In a layer based universe you can get work done, there’s no doubt about it, but when you go back a month later when you have no idea what you did to achieve that stunning visual effect. when you go back to that layer you’ve got all these nested effects in all these layers. It will take you hours to figure out what you did. And if you want to recreate that on another comp, it’s very hard to just take that chunk… and pull it out and add it to something else. In a node based environment that is very easy. With nodes you can see exactly where all the information is going, and what each piece is doing.”Eyeon Fusion TutorialsThere is a wealth of learning materials available from the Eyeon website to help you start creating, including an online manual, a getting started guide and a comprehensive masterclass series of tutorials. If you want even more resources then you should also check out Jason Myres helpful post over on the Lift Gamma Gain forum.last_img read more

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Froome on brink of fourth Tour de France crown

first_imgTrump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games “It’s something special for me today. After the stage when I went alone I was thinking, ‘I have to do something nice again’.“Today I got more luck than the other stage, I’m really happy about this.”In what has been the closest Tour battle in years, the top three riders started the day separated by less than 30 seconds, building hope for a grandstand finale in the steamy southern port city ahead of Sunday’s procession into Paris.But any such romantic notions of Frenchman Bardet overturning his 23sec deficit to Froome had disappeared long before the end of Saturday’s 22.5km race against the clock, which began and ended in Marseille’s iconic Velodrome football stadium.Bardet started the day second overall but only narrowly escaped the double humiliation of being pushed off the podium by Landa and overtaken by a charging Froome, who started his time-trial two minutes after the Frenchman.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ LATEST STORIES Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant Froome reached the first time check after 10.2km in second place, two seconds behind team-mate Michal Kwiatkowski, with Bodnar third at 6sec.By then it was already clear there would be no grandstand finish as Uran was 23sec down on Froome having begun with a 29sec deficit, while Bardet had given up 44sec to the British leader.CrisisBy the second time check, Colombian Uran was starting to gain back a bit of time and looked certain to take second overall.But Bardet was in crisis, already 1min 17sec off Kwiatkowski, who still had the best time at the second check, although only fractions of a second ahead of Spanish veteran Alberto Contador, after 15.6km and the climb up to the Notre Dame de la Garde basilica, with Froome fourth at 3sec.Spaniard Landa, who had started the day 1:13 behind Bardet, was now starting to threaten the Frenchman’s podium hopes.At the finish, Uran almost came a cropper, hitting the side boardings on a tight bend in a technical run-in to the Velodrome.It cost him a few seconds but disaster was averted as he stayed upright to finish 31 seconds behind four-time Polish time-trial champion Bodnar, whose strong final section took him a second ahead of Kwiatkowski, the 2014 world road race champion.“Coming second in this race is the most important result in my career,” said Uran, 30, who has also twice finished runner-up at the Giro d’Italia.Landa had finished 51sec back and as Bardet came into the stadium, fans were counting down the seconds to see if he would hang on to third place, while the looming yellow-clad figure of Froome lurked in his rear-view mirrors. Bardet finished 2:02 behind Bodnar to hold onto third by a single second while Froome crossed the line moments later, to claim third place on the stage and secure a fourth Tour title.“I’m at my limit, I’m tired, I gave everything,” said the 26-year-old.“I’m delighted to have given it everything and there’s a little bit of success in having saved a podium place.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ MOST READ “It’s incredible, the atmosphere here in Marseille, it’s massive being here in the stadium,” said Froome, 32, who will nonetheless finish without a stage win this year.“It’s the Tour de France, you can’t always win everything,” said the Sky team leader.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars“We had to put in the effort over three weeks and that’s what we did.”For Bodnar, it was sweet revenge have come within a few hundred metres of a solo victory on stage 11, before he was caught by a charging peloton and Marcel Kittel took the sprint finish. Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Great Britain’s Christopher Froome wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey competes in a 22,5 km individual time-trial, the twentieth stage of the 104th edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 22, 2017 in and around Marseille, southern France. / AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOISChris Froome all but secured a fourth Tour de France title by finishing third in Saturday’s 20th stage time-trial in Marseille as Maciej Bodnar took the stage victory.Rigoberto Uran moved into second overall at 54 seconds, set to be the tightest winning margin of Froome’s four Tour successes, while Romain Bardet held on for third by just one second ahead of Mikel Landa.ADVERTISEMENT Gilas ‘has to finish strong’ as PH faces Iran in Jones Cup closer Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

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Indian designers obsessed with celebrities?

first_imgCelebrity sightings on the runway – a superfluous exercise, or an indicator of a mutually beneficial relationship between designer and star? We find out.One actress, six months, three shows for three different designers. The price – 8-12 lakhs depending on the stature of the designer concerned. Plus the usual trappings. A business-class air ticket, a Mercedes to pick up the star, a suite at a fivestar hotel, etc etc. And was it worth it? Sure, if you judge the entire exercise by the pictures of the star accompanied by the said designer of the moment in the city supplements. Not if you look closely. Hardly a mention of the clothes or the actual fashion.So why does practically every designer (with the exception of a handful) hanker after a Bollywood showstopper? The answer may lie in the fact that in a country so diverse and versatile, the one common denominator between socioeconomic classes and geographical differences is its cinema-where its movie stars make these made-in-Mumbai films come alive, and lend mass appeal. Thus a star at a fashion show is an easy crutch to draw attention.We now have multiple fashion weeks. In fact so many such exercises are being mounted, that the inevitable ‘fatigue factor’ has reared its ugly head, and both the audience and the press are reluctant to pay too much attention to these shows. Compounding the problem is the fact that each week is packed to the gills with quantity rather than quality. So whether you are a young designer starting out, or an old one fading fast, the only way to bring in the crowds and get the chatterati talking is the presence of a movie star.Yet the exercise is quickly losing momentum. Often, movie stars looking to promote their upcoming releases will walk the ramp at fashion shows and then go on to talk about their latest film instead of the outfits they just wore. And jaded by the phenomenon, newspapers have started to simply ignore the final walk on the ramp, and publish interviews with these stars (who have been made available at the designer’s expense), where they talk about everything under the sun, except the show.But sometimes the association can be beneficial. If the designer works with a star and the star is a client or an admirer, then the connect is relevant and real. Sabyasachi, the talented man from Kolkata, has designed for long for actress Rani Mukerjee, and she has been a faithful presence at his shows. So is the case with Tarun Tahiliani and Shilpa Shetty, who walked for the designer and has sported his ensembles at her wedding and other red-carpet occasions. Plus there is Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla who have always been the designers of choice for the Bachchan family and Dimple Kapadia among others, with these stars enthusiastically being part of every show the designer duo mount.Part of the problem has been exacerbated by fashion magazines, who in their quest for larger sales, dumped models from their covers in favour of movie celebrities. So if the press subscribed to the practice, the fashion fraternity was only too happy to follow.In the late ’90s, a watch company was launched in India. The name of the brand was a difficult one for the Indian tongue to pronounce. And thus sales suffered in spite of an aggressive advertising and PR campaign. The solution: a male star with a pan-Indian reach was called in and made its brand ambassador. An active event calendar and a big advertising campaign followed. In two years, it was among the top watch brands in the country with the star endorsing the timepieces in his shoots and films.The lesson here is that the partnership between brand and star was established as a long-standing one, and over time consumers recognised the fact. Compare this with a star’s solitary ramp walk at a fashion show that instantly fades from public memory, and doesn’t garner lasting benefits.The question to ask is, what makes customers flock towards fashion labels? Is it the multiple pictures of a movie star wearing a brand, or is it the actual fashion garments themselves?Packing a front row with B-list movie stars (as demonstrated by a designer known for his pushy manners) only takes away from whatever little design he is displaying on the ramp. Compare this to a Manish Arora and Rajesh Pratap Singh who have, to my memory, never used a movie star on the catwalk, and yet have been lauded show after show for the finesse and beauty of their presentations. Both designers, by remaining true to their essence, have garnered international acclaim and commercial success.Around the globe, we see that fashion brands engage with movie talent in a more multi-layered manner. If the star is sitting on the front row at their shows, more likely than not, he or she also features in their advertising spreads. In India, the cost of using a star in a fashion campaign is prohibitive, making this an impossibility. None of the Indian fashion houses are large enough to afford this kind of a relationship with a leading Bollywood figure.And so we will continue to see stars sparkle on the ramp in the foreseeable future. And until the show sponsors, the page-three press and the designers themselves are happy with this little stunt and what it brings to the table, fashion will remain incidental, and never the focus.advertisementadvertisementlast_img read more

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