Animals from Junk by Chance

first_imgHow to build an animal: throw junk DNA at it.  That seems to be the latest idea on where higher animals came from.  A press release from University of Bristol posted on Science Daily and EurekAlert announced, “‘Junk DNA’ Can Explain Origin And Complexity Of Vertebrates, Study Suggests.”    The basic idea, coming from scientists at Dartmouth College and University of Bristol, is that a proliferation of micro-RNAs appeared in early vertebrates like lampreys that was “unparalleled in evolutionary history.”  The scientists compared genomes of living fish (sharks and lampreys) and invertebrates like the sea squirt.    Because micro-RNAs are implicated in higher organisms, the circumstantial evidence convinced them of a correlation: “Most of these new genes are required for the growth of organs that are unique to vertebrates, such as the liver, pancreas and brain,” said Philip Donoghue of Bristol.  “Therefore, the origin of vertebrates and the origin of these genes is no coincidence.”    Dr. Kevin Peterson of Dartmouth put the discovery into a larger context: “This study not only points the way to understanding the evolutionary origin of our own lineage, but it also helps us to understand how our own genome was assembled in deep time.”There you have it: the Darwin Party buzzwords necessary to make the eyes glaze over: deep time, understanding, evolutionary origin, zzzz.  While you were sleeping you didn’t see the magic tricks.  They threw junk at a sea squirt and poof!  A pancreas emerged!  then a liver!  then a brain!    So happy Darwin Day.  Stop thinking so hard.  Join the party.  Have some fun.  Get involved in this game – blind man’s bluff.(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Nelson Mandela’s life on the run, captured

first_imgThe site of Nelson Mandela’s capture in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands is commemorated by  a piece of art completed in 2011, it’s 50 columns symbolising the 50 years since Mandela’s arrest.The walk down to the sculpture allows the visitor “a moment to reflect on the long walk” Mandela took, rooted as it is within the landscape. (Image: SA Tourism)Lucille DavieIt was 17 months of “freedom”. This was how the Black Pimpernel described his time in disguise and on the run from the apartheid Security Police.“Suddenly, in front of us, the Ford was signalling to us to stop. I knew in that instant that my life on the run was over; my 17 months of ‘freedom’ were about to end,” Nelson Mandela, the Black Pimpernel, wrote in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.He had gone into hiding straight after the not guilty verdict of the Treason Trial, on 29 March 1961. In that trial, which began in 1956, 156 people were in the dock for treason. It ran for almost five years. “I did not return home after the verdict. Although others were in a festive mood and eager to celebrate, I knew the authorities could strike at any moment, and I did not want to give them the opportunity. I was anxious to be off before I was banned or arrested, and I spent the night in a safe house in Johannesburg. It was a restless night in a strange bed, and I started at the sound of every car, thinking it might be the police.”His time as the Black Pimpernel – a reference to the 1905 play The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emma Orczy – was over when that Ford stopped his car on 5 August 1962. In effect, he only experienced freedom 29 years later, in 1990, when he was released from Victor Verster Prison in Cape Town. Mandela had just paid a secret visit to the ANC president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Chief Albert Luthuli, in Durban, urging him to switch to armed struggle to end apartheid. He was on his way back to Johannesburg when the car he was in was stopped about five kilometres outside Howick.He was sentenced to five years in prison for leaving the country without a passport and for inciting workers across the country to stage a stay-at-home. But it was in the Rivonia Trial shortly afterwards that he received a life sentence and was sent to Robben Island.Mandela’s experience in the quiet, unassuming place where he was arrested, referred to as the Capture Site, is indelibly marked by a striking sculpture, consisting of 50 thin steel columns, each between 6.5 metres and 9.5 metres tall.Steel columnsCompleted in 2011, the 50 columns are symbolic of the 50 years since Mandela’s arrest. On first viewing they look like an emaciated, leafless mini forest, but at a certain point – 35 metres away – the gentle image of Mandela’s face comes into focus, looking west, with a faint smile playing around his lips.“The 50 columns represent the 50 years since his capture, but they also suggest the idea of many making the whole, of solidarity,” says the artist, Marco Cianfanelli. “It points to an irony as the political act of Mandela’s incarceration cemented his status as an icon of struggle, which helped ferment the groundswell of resistance, solidarity and uprising, bringing about political change and democracy.”Suggestive of prison bars, the serrated steel columns are made more oppressive by them rising into the sky almost 10 metres. (Image: SA Tourism)The portrait was achieved “from interpreting composites of several portraits of Mandela, [and] is appropriately monumental, yet fittingly transient and delicate”.Closely packed, the steel columns are suggestive of prison bars, made more oppressive by them rising into the sky almost 10 metres. Their edges are serrated, adding to a feeling of coarseness, but essential to create the image of the face.Small museumA small museum in a temporary shed, emblazoned with enlarged images of Mandela and the places of significance to him, from his childhood and early adulthood, begin the site. From there, the visitor is invited to take a long walk, of some 400 metres, down to the road, to view the sculpture.It leads through a channel with grassy banks; drawing closer, the image becomes more apparent. Then at exactly 35 metres, Mandela’s face materialises, magically. He is looking westwards, down the road he would have continued along 53 years ago. Step beyond the 35m mark, and the face disappears again. In an extraordinary visual trick, the image is more defined once photographed, through a single lens. Through the naked eye, with two lenses, the detail is not as clear, says Cianfanelli.Christopher Till, the director of the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and the Gold Museum in Cape Town, and the person responsible for the project and site development of the Capture Site, says he is pleased with this dimension to the sculpture. “The camera lens brings it together,” he explains.Till says the long stroll down to the sculpture allows the visitor “a moment to reflect on the long walk” Mandela took, rooted as it is within the landscape. He hopes it will energise the visitor.The magic continues within the tall columns, an area of about five metres by 21 metres in size. They encase one, but at the same time have an air of ethereal lightness in their delicate thinness – perhaps it’s just the thought that here is the image of Mandela; here is the place where his life as a “free” but on-the-run black man in apartheid South Africa came to an end, and he disappeared from public life for 27 years.Permanent museum and visitors’ centreIn early March construction of a permanent museum and visitors’ centre will begin, to be completed by August. A different trail will lead away from the sculpture, back to the museum, again giving an opportunity to stop and reflect. In the third and fourth phase of development an indigenous garden will be developed along the paths.It is not known precisely where the actual site of arrest was, but it is fairly certain that it was here or near to this site. A small brick monument across the road from the sculpture is now a heritage site, as it would have been on the left side of the road that Mandela’s car would have been stopped, heading to Joburg.The site is on the Midlands Meander, a network of routes in the rolling green hills of KwaZulu-Natal. The meander has a range of accommodation offerings, restaurants, outdoor events and activities, historic landmarks, wildlife spots, and numerous arts and crafts venues. It is not far from the battlefields that dot KwaZulu-Natal, and the Drakensberg, South Africa’s highest mountain range.Cianfanelli has done another Mandela sculpture – outside Chancellor House in the Joburg CBD. It is a 5m tall metal sculpture of Mandela in boxing pose, a copy of a 1953 photograph by Bob Gosani. It was taken on the rooftop of the South African Associated Newspapers building in downtown Joburg. Mandela had law offices with Oliver Tambo, his partner in the practice, on the second floor of Chancellor House. The sculpture is entitled Shadow Boxing, and is done in flat steel in shades of grey and charcoal. It is a striking portrait of a young, energetic Mandela taking time out.“The two significant public pieces I have done on Nelson Mandela are not conventional sculptures or commemorative portraits,” says Cianfanelli. “I felt quite a sense of pressure and responsibility to represent a great man, in an appropriate yet unique manner. It has been a humbling experience as well as an honour for me, to have so many people from different places and backgrounds, respond so positively, with excitement and emotion, to these works.”Directions and map to the Capture Site are available online.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

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Salesforce.com Acquires Radian6: Are Businesses Ready for the Social Data Fire Hose ?

first_imgThis morning, Salesforce.com announced its intent to acquire social media monitoring company Radian6, a market leader in the social analytics space, for $276 million. Radian6 boasts half the Fortune 100 as customers, including AAA, Dell, GE, Kodak, Molson Coors, Pepsico, and UPS. Last month Salesforce.com announced Radian6 for Salesforce, a module that enabled Salesforce.com users to monitor and engage in social media without leaving the Salesforce.com interface.Radian6 provides social media monitoring tools that go beyond just listing mentions of a keyword in social media. It provides detailed dashboards and basic sentiment analysis to give companies a more in-depth view of  how their brand is being discussed in the social media ecosystem. According to Constellation Research principal analyst and CEO R “Ray” Wang, “Most customers utilize Radian6 for brand management and monitoring, sales and lead generation, Social CRM, customer service, competitive intelligence, trend analysis, and crisis management.” Salesforce.com already had some basic social monitoring and analytics features but the Radian6 tools will greatly enhance its abilities.But are businesses ready to handle all the social data that can be mined from the net? Radian6 is great for mining lots of data, and providing it in real-time. But what exactly do you do with it once you have it? The company is working hard towards providing actionable insights, but the matter of dealing with the onslaught of social data remains.In the comments of our post about Dennis Howlett’s interview with Paul Greenberg and Estaban Kolsky, Kelly Craft wrote: “We do already have some of the right monitoring tools to collect the data, but we simply don’t have the right people yet to provide proper analysis.” Update: Craft was quoting Kolsky, see comment below.That’s something Greenberg himself hit on when covering Radian6 for his 2011 CRM Watchlist: “They understand that the ability to capture and organize (note I didn’t say analyze) all this unstructured data is useless unless the formats that are provided are both readable and provided in a way that makes the information meaningful.”Sameer Patel of the Sovos Group disagrees. He says the elephant in the room is lead generation, and few vendors and pundits want to address the issue. “The honest fact is that in most cases, raw social media data is far too unruly for a Sales rep to bother with,” Patel says. “They would rather make another cold call instead of perusing thousands of tweets.”“The devil is in the design details, but what Radian6 can potentially offer is filtered, timely and contextualized social media insight to complement customer information and conversations already available inside the CRM application, Chatter and Jigsaw. And more importantly, at appropriate phases of the sales cycle.” he says.Update: Patel asked that we include the rest of the comment on the news:All that said, with the addition of this new data source, the content tsumani aimed at the end user just reached dangerously high levels. There’s little doubt that significant software design considerations and change management will be required to make this all come together in a meaningful way to get uptake and ultimately accelerate sales and marketing performance.The need for employees that can understand and apply the data coming in from social monitoring tools has never been greater, and as social analytics companies get snapped up, expect to see the need continue to grow. Companies shouldn’t expect that purchasing a social analytics product is equivalent to having a social strategy.Here’s how Salesforce.com plans to further integrate Radian6 into its platform: klint finley 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Sales and Service Cloud: Social media monitoring and engagement has emerged as the requirement for any brand and customer engagement strategy, helping companies join conversations about their brands and stay connected to their customers and prospects. By combining Radian6’s social media monitoring and engagement platform with Sales Cloud and Service Cloud, companies will be able to keep customer success at the center of their business with real-time social intelligence.Salesforce Chatter: Radian6 and salesforce.com will create the bridge between public social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and online communities, and Salesforce Chatter, the private, secure social network for the enterprise. Chatter feeds will no longer just contain the activity happening within the walls of a company, but will be filled with real time insights from fans on Facebook pages, followers on Twitter, comments on blog posts and more.Force.com Platform: Developers will be able to build apps that tap into the power of Radian6, putting the social web into everything they build. In such a dynamic market, this acquisition will present a huge opportunity for salesforce.com to extend its developer and partner ecosystem with technology not available anywhere else.Also of note is Salesforce.com’s internal use of social analytics. At the GigaOM  Net:Work conference last December Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff said that employees receive bonuses based on their participation in the company’s internal Chatter deployment. Integrating Radian6’s advanced analytics into Chatter could be interesting. Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…center_img Tags:#Analysis#enterprise IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Related Posts Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo…last_img read more

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Free Filmmaking Wisdom

first_imgFilm IndependentFilm Independent’s mission is to “champion the cause of independent film and support a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision.” They do that through a whole host of various events, communities, festivals and forums. In these sound bites you get a sense of the quality of a Film Independent event and the quality of the discussions. If you can get to one, you definitely should. The global filmmaking community is an invaluable resource for established and aspiring filmmakers alike. Bookmark these great online resources for insightful filmmaking wisdom.If you’re just starting out on your filmmaking career then learning from those who have gone before you is a fantastic way to help find your feet in an ever changing industry. Today’s technology opens the doors to anyone who wants to make a film, even just on their iPhone, as long as they have the will to make it happen.We all need wisdom, encouragement and inspiration along the way so it is well worth dipping in and out of these great resources on a regular basis for an extra boost to keep pursuing your filmmaking dreams.Film CourageFilm Courage offers excellent nuts and bolts advice to independent filmmakers in a straight shooting format. If you want to hear from expert professionals who have living and breathing what they’re describing (most having started from scratch) this is the place to start.Film Courage covers every practical aspect of filmmaking from networking, financing, writing, directing and much more. Time spent here is time well spent. BAFTA GuruThe BAFTA Guru series is a hugely impressive collection of lectures, interviews and short insights from a star studded collection of actors, directors, producers, writers, editors, sound designers and more. You could spend hours and hours absorbing all of these opinions and perspectives so it’s probably best to focus your attention the creative sphere that most interests you.center_img BFI – Ask An ExpertThe British Film Institute has a great YouTube channel called ‘Ask an Expert‘ which features some fantastic Q&A’s with world renown filmmaking experts including directors, actors, documentary makers and more. All of the questions have been suggested via Facebook and Twitter, so if you want to be to post a question – keep an eye on those social networks.last_img read more

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NAB 2018 Announcement: Meet Sigma’s 14-24mm f/2.8 Art Lens

first_imgPart of Sigma’s flagship “Art” class of lenses, the Sigma 14-24mm is a true ultra-wide-angle zoom lens for both photographers and videographers. Designed for 50-megapixel cameras, the Sigma 14-24mm operates with almost no distortion at infinity focus optimized for real-world use.Cinematic UsesImages taken with Sigma 14-24mm.For filmmakers, the lens is a powerful option for both ultra-wide full-frame filmmaking and cropped sensor setups. Here’s a great sample of the Sigma 14-24mm being used with a Canon 5D Mark IV recording 4K (at its 1.74x crop). With a fixed aperture throughout its zoom range, Sigma’s 14-24mm lens is great for documentary and narrative filmmaking (and run-and-gunners will appreciate the dust- and splash-proof construction). It also pairs well with a wide array of mounts, focus and zoom rings, and cover connections.VR FriendlyImage via Sigma.While videography and photography may be the lens’s prime directives, the Sigma 14-24mm is also VR-friendly and built with multi-camera VR videography in mind. Sigma even offers a new “Front Conversion Service” to convert to a round hood for specialized VR applications.Here are some more specifics:Minimum aperture: f22Minimum focusing distance: 26-28cmMaximum magnifications: 1:5:4Angle of view: 114.2°-84.1°Mount options: Nikon, Canon, SigmaPrice: $1,299For more NAB 2018 articles from Las Vegas, check out some of these links:NAB 2018: Fujifilm’s X-H1 Camera Gets Put to the TestNAB 2018 Announcement: Atomos Unveils the Ninja VNAB 2018 Announcement: Canon’s C700 Goes Full FrameNAB 2018: SmallHD Unveils 5 New Focus MonitorsNAB 2018 Announcement: The Sony FS5 Gets an Update At NAB this week, Sigma announced its new artistic lens: a fast, wide-angle offering. And it’s turning more than a few heads. Cover image via Sigma.While NAB 2018 may be making headlines with camera reveals and innovative new gear, some of the big brands use the conference in Las Vegas to show off some crazy-cool new lenses for filmmakers and videographers to drool over. One great example is the Sigma Corporation’s booth, which showcases the widely anticipated new Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens. Here’s everything you need to know about this ultra-wide-angle new offering.Wide Angle Art LensImage via Todd Blankenship.last_img read more

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