More Original Dinosaur Protein Found

first_imgThis time Mary Schweitzer’s team found keratin protein on a claw of an ostrich-sized dinosaur from Mongolia.If you put a chicken under a sand dune, will it last for 75 million years? That’s what a report on PhysOrg seems to imply. Like some bird claws, the claws of dinosaurs have a keratinous sheath that covers the digits. Some of the protein from that sheath has now been detected in a fossil of “an emu-sized dinosaur that lived in what is now Mongolia during the Cretaceous period.”Keratin makes up hair and fingernails on us humans. It comes in two forms, alpha-keratin and a more durable beta-keratin. The researchers who dug up the “exceptionally preserved” specimen noticed the similarity of this dinosaur’s claw sheath to that of a living ostrich’s claw sheath, so they ran some tests to see if it could be original protein. Alison Moyer is a PhD candidate from North Carolina State who is now doing a postdoc at Drexel University.IHC [immunohistochemical] testing utilizes antibodies that react against a particular protein. If the protein is present, the antibodies bind to small regions of the protein and indicate where the protein is located in the tissue. Moyer used beta-keratin antibodies derived from modern bird feathers. In initial IHC testing, results were inconclusive, which led Moyer to look more closely at the specimen. She found an unusually high concentration of calcium in the fossil claw – much higher than would be found in claws from the living birds used in comparison or from the sediment surrounding the fossil. Theorizing that the calcium might be affecting results, Moyer removed the calcium and did further IHC testing on the claw sheath material.After the calcium was removed, the antibodies reacted much more strongly, indicating the presence of beta-keratin and preservation of original molecules.NC State is the home institution of Mary Schweitzer, who caught international attention in 2005 with discovery of soft tissue in a T. rex femur (see 3/24/05 and CBS 60 Minutes interview). Since then, many examples of original biological material have been found in creatures thought to have died tens or hundreds of millions of years ago. Most scientists had thought that biological tissues could not last a hundred thousand years, let alone millions. The authors say as much in an indirect way:Although conventional wisdom challenges the preservation of endogenous molecular remains, our combined data support the presence of original, proteinaceous material associated with this specimen, and add to the literature supporting molecular preservation in fossil materials across geological time.Those with access to the Royal Society journals can look up the paper for details. Schweitzer is listed as a co-author. The abstract says, “The fossil sheath was compared with that of extant birds, revealing similar morphology and microstructural organization.” It suggests that calcium acted as a preservative. The presence of hydrophobic amino acid residues cross-linked by disulfide bonds may have helped, they say. Unfortunately, the methods used precluded sequencing the protein to compare it with modern keratin.There are some who are not surprised to find soft tissue in fossils. Outspoken creationist Mark Armitage, who recently won a settlement against California State University for having fired him when he published a peer-reviewed paper on soft tissue in a Triceratops fossil he himself dug up and analyzed (10/04/16), believes the evidence not only refutes millions of years but supports the Biblical account of dinosaurs and all life.Breaking News 11/10/16: Another feathered dinosaur fossil has been reported from China. An exceptionally-preserved “mud dragon” (see Fox News) has its head arched back in the common “dinosaur death pose” indicative of suffocation. The open-access paper in Scientific Reports does not mention any soft-tissue preservation in this specimen of an oviraptorosaur, nor any impressions of feathers. Paleontologist Stephen Brusatte thinks it was a winged, flightless creature that got stuck in mud, but he was not present when the fossil was uncovered by workmen using dynamite in a building project. “Many of these discoveries are not found by professors or academic scientists with PhDs, but by farmers and workmen. This new discovery is a prime example of that.”We’re still waiting for the moyboys to tell the world how so much soft tissue can last for millions of years. This was not their prediction. It was a complete surprise. Now they are in rescue mode, trying to salvage their precious millions of years against the evidence of science and reason. Too much is at stake for them to admit defeat, so they have to ignore the implications of this powerful evidence. We’ll just keep putting it out there and letting common-sense people figure out what it means.Think about this, too: If the millions of years collapses for dinosaurs, it collapses for the story that birds evolved from dinosaurs. So what if this Mongolian dinosaur had similar proteins in its claws to extant birds? Big deal. Birds and dinosaurs were contemporaries, not ancestors or descendants by a Darwinian just-so story. Humans have keratin on their fingernails, too. Keratin is found in all kinds of reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals. All it proves is that animals have a common designer.(Visited 69 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Financing Your Next Startup As An Uber Driver

first_imgRelated Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… This means that not only will you be picked up in a Toyota Prius or Volkswagen Jetta instead of a Lincoln Town Car, but you’re also going to have a non-commercially licensed driver.A Taxi Driver Who Really Isn’tLike the driver who took me from Palo Alto to Mountain View for a lunch meeting last week.When I met my driver outside my office, I immediately said to him, “You don’t look like a taxi driver.” If anything, he looked like a typical Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Which is exactly what he is.As we drove, we started talking about why he drives for UberX. It turns out that he’s killing time while he waits for his non-compete to expire. Yes, really. (#onlyinSiliconValley) His partner didn’t love him sitting around the house watching TV, so he tried to think of ways to productively use his time while scouting out his next startup opportunity.Enter Uber.On a good day, my driver grosses as much as $1,100, and nets perhaps $700 to $800. That’s real money. Uber pays its UberX drivers 85% of the stated fare (According to Uber driver Peter Ashlock, it’s less for Uber’s full sedan service, in part because Uber also gives a cut to the limo companies that employ the drivers). So for my UberX driver, he took home ~$22 of the $26 I paid Uber. That adds up.Driving For The Contacts, Not The MoneyIt’s not really about the money for this UberX driver, though. As he related to me, he has managed to gather a wealth of contacts through his time as an UberX driver, including co-founders and investors for his next startup. While not everyone that gets in an Uber is a VC or executive, there’s a hefty concentration of the very people my driver, or you, might want to connect with for a startup. And while most people probably prefer to network through other channels, my driver was definitely not typical. Even as a driver, I suspect he’s well above-average. For example, rather than just sit at the airport and wait, he told me he checks flight schedules to see when flights from other Uber markets (Boston, NYC, etc.) are due to land. He figures there will be a higher concentration of Uber customers on those flights, and he’s generally right.He also scopes out ideal pick-up spots like the Four Seasons in Palo Alto: the hotel serves affluent customers and is within walking distance of virtually nothing, making it a near-requirement that its clients leave the hotel by rental car or taxi. He chided other drivers who finish a drop-off, turn off their cars and just wait for the next ride, putting little thought into optimizing their position to be close to the next likely passenger.Funding Your Startup With UberIn other words, my driver wasn’t a typical Uber driver. Most probably don’t make $1,100 per day, because most likely put less thought into how they approach their job. Similarly, most Uber drivers are unlikely to fund their next startup through passengers they meet while driving.But this isn’t for lack of opportunity. Uber is a great way to reach a captive, highly qualified audience. Rather than dream about your next startup, perhaps you should start driving.Or doing something else outside the box. My UberX driver is indicative, perhaps, of what should be a trend away from traditional venture funding and the traditional routes thereto. If an UberX driver can get funding and co-founders while driving around Silicon Valley, so can you. Or maybe you have another idea. Just don’t keep hiking up and down Sand Hill Road.UPDATE: The original post incorrectly stated that Uber gets “roughly half” of an UberX driver’s fare. That was inaccurate and conflated the pay received by an UberX driver, who contracts directly with Uber, and an Uber driver, whose employer (a limo company) contracts with Uber.Image courtesy of Shutterstock. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Have a cool startup idea, and want to get it funded? You could go the traditional route, blindly sending your pitch deck to every VC in Silicon Valley. Or you could follow investors on Twitter, hoping that through casual badinage you can win the hearts (and eventually, the wallets) of your startup’s money source. Or maybe, just maybe, you should drive for Uber.UberX Lowers The BarYes, Uber, the popular mobile app that connects drivers with people who need a lift. Founded in 2009 as UberCab, Uber has become the go-to app for hailing a sedan in markets like San Francisco, New York City and London. And while historically Uber operators have been commercial sedan drivers filling time between jobs their employer provides them, Uber’s introduction of UberX in July 2012 has opened the service to cars and drivers of all kinds. Matt Asay Tags:#startup#Uber 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Useful Movie Magic With Forced Perspective

first_imgForced perspective is an age-old practical effect with some clever applications for your own low-budget movie needs.Top image via Focus FeaturesWhat is Forced Perspective? Forced perspective alters our perception of scale and can change the perceived size of objects within a shot. The effect comes alive by way of strategically staging individuals and objects in the foreground and background of your shot along the z-axis, which runs from the perspective of the camera outward.Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind via Focus FeaturesAn optical illusion called the Ames room is a great way to understand how forced perspective works. By using a distorted, trapezoidal room, the people within the room seem to be of varying sizes. Ames Room via WikipediaThough it can get quite elaborate, forced perspective in film and video work does not require the construction of an Ames room, though sometimes it does require the construction of oversized props.How Is Forced Perspective Used?Forced perspective is perhaps best known as a standard photography trick that involves tourists interacting with famous monuments.While it may not be a convincing use of the effect (and it’s not supposed to be), a humorous use of forced perspective can be found on The Kids in the Hall with the “Crushing Your Head” skit:The Kids in the Hall “Crushing Your Head” via CBCFor the budget conscious moviemaker, forced perspective allows the integration of miniatures into a shot in a way that visually transforms them into life-sized objects. Vashi Nedomansky offers a good example of how to make a toy Hummer seem real.Low-Budget Visual Effects via Vashi NedomanskyIf you prefer helicopters, then check out this blog post by James DeRuvo.Photographer Michael Paul Smith has been photographically recreating the town in which he grew up, Elgin Park, by way of models and forced perspective. With miniature cars and other foreground models, Smith crafts very convincing images that look straight out of the mid-20th century.The Giant Hand via Michael Paul Smith People Large and SmallForced perspective has been very useful in the movies when characters need to be of varying sizes. The trick is in positioning the characters within the frame at staggered points along the z-axis. The person intended to be larger will be closer to the camera while the person meant to be small should be farther from the camera. Darby O’Gill and the Little People via DisneyElf  via New Line CinemaOne of the main tricks is maintaining the apparent eyelines between the characters. In other words, the characters cannot actually look at one another because it would ruin the forced perspective effect. Instead, the eyeline must be simulated to accommodate the apparent positions of each character. This means that your characters won’t actually be able to look at one another, but it will still seem natural on screen.Movie Magic Episode 5 – Forced Perspective via Tyler Haslett, Discovery Channel, and GRBHow to Do ItIn addition to being aware of convincing eyelines, you’ll need to pick the right lens. Wide-angle lenses are preferred. Wide-angle lenses will help you maintain a large depth of field while also allowing you to exaggerate the size of people and objects closer and farther from the lens. In terms of lighting, you should shoot under well-lit conditions so that you can use a smaller aperture and increase your depth of field. This way, everyone in the shot will remain in focus as much as possible. However, a little soft focus on one of the subjects can still work:The Lord of the Rings via New Line Cinema Creating forced perspective is a lot of fun and if you are working with a static camera, it can be achieved pretty simply. But sometimes, filmmakers get ambitious and want to move the camera during their forced perspective effect. The Lord of the Rings famously used forced perspective with a moving camera, which meant that the characters had to be moved along with the camera in order for the effect for the effect to work.A Cautionary NoteWhether you intend to use forced perspective as an in-camera effect or not, it’s very important to understand that the perception of scale is a constant concern in the composition of any shot. An object placed close to the camera will increase in size and, dependent on your lens choice, may look huge and unintentionally distracting, particularly if you are using a wide angle lens.The Untouchables via ParamountIn the above shot, Kevin Costner’s hands are as big as his head. Director Brian De Palma, and his cinematographer, Stephen H. Burum, knew what they were doing, but it’s important to be aware of the ways forced perspective may disrupt your own cinematic vision. Purposeful composition is always important.  Tromp l’oeilSingin’ in the Rain via MGMTromp l’oeil, which translates to “deceives the eye,” works by the same principle as forced perspective, except in this case, a painting, often a matte painting, is placed close to the camera (In the olden days, matte paintings were also combined optically during post-production). Tromp l’oeil has been used by the likes of Chaplin and many others over the course of cinematic history. Modern Times via United ArtistsFor more about the above sequence, check out this Reddit post. Though tromp l’oeil has gone out of style in modern moviemaking due to computer generated technology, Roy Andersson still uses these practical cinematic techniques in his films. Songs from the Second Floor via New Yorker FilmsConclusionWhether you are integrating models or characters of varying sizes into your movie, understanding forced perspective can help you achieve some fantastic in-camera effects. Forced perspective can also save you from creating unintentionally distracting visuals by placing objects too close to the lens. What are your experiences with forced perspective? Please share below.last_img read more

Note ban was instant, why not Ram Mandir, asks Uddhav Thackeray

first_imgTaking pot shots at coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday questioned why the decision on building the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya was hanging fire when the move to demonetise was effected instantly.Mr. Thackeray was speaking here after a meeting of the Sena’s western Maharashtra unit leaders and party workers to assess poll preparedness.“While the demonetisation decision was taken so quickly, why has the work on Ram Mandir not commenced yet. They [the BJP] had promised it would begin before the elections. Going by the tardy pace, the question is which elections, the 2019 or 2050?” asked Mr. Thackeray.He further accused the BJP of dragging its feet on other vital policy matters like the repudiation of Article 370 of the Constitution and the Uniform Civil Code.“There appears to be no discussion on such important issues now. They appear to have been relegated to the backburner,” said the Sena chief, while demanding to know why the BJP failed to take a clear stance on these matters. He also issued thinly-veiled rebukes to the BJP over the recent controversy over distribution of the Bhagavad Gita to students in select colleges in Mumbai.“This move was taken to cover up the widespread mismanagement prevailing in the University of Mumbai, right from delayed exams to paper leaks. Students today need to be given education relevant to modern times; instead of trying to resolve urgent issues, the State Education Department wants to distribute copies of the Bhagavad Gita,” he said.The Sena president reiterated his party’s opposition to the Nanar Refinery project in Ratnagiri.“Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has assured that it [Nanar project] will not be imposed if the locals are opposed to it. His assurances notwithstanding, we are with the people of the Konkan region and we shall not allow it to come up,” Mr. Thackeray said.On Mumbai roadsAt the same time, he parried a question on the number of deaths due to potholes in Mumbai and the deplorable condition of roads in the city following heavy showers. “Civic infrastructure and maintenance and repair of roads is everybody’s responsibility,” said Mr. Thackeray, whose party controls the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.last_img read more

Zim vs Ken: Zimbabwe beat Kenya by 161 runs

first_imgCraig Ervine provided an important thrust to the innings as Zimbabwe set Kenya a big target and then completed a 161-run rout on Sunday in the last Group A match of the World Cup. ScoreErvine’s stroke-filled 66 stood out in a batting performance that helped Zimbabwe score an imposing 308 for six after electing to bat in the inconsequential match.In reply, Kenya were all out for 147 in 36 overs in the face of some tight bowling by the spinners.Zimbabwe finished with two wins after having beaten Canada earlier in the league, while Kenya remained without a win.Kenya were led by veteran all-rounder Steve Tikolo in his last match after regular captain Jimmy Kamande was ruled out due to a knee injury.Kenya’s batting succumbed in the face of Zimbabwe’s first 300-plus total in the tournament.Ervine provided the impetus amid a strong middle-order batting performance, striking a brisk 66 and adding 105 runs for the fifth wicket with Elton Chigumbura, who made 38.Ervine struck nine fours and a six during his fluent 54-ball knock, during which he often worked the ball cleverly off his legs. He was out in the 48th over when he played on a delivery from pace bowler Elijah Otieno.But the Kenyans got no respite as Prosper Utseya struck 19 off just six balls, including a six and three boundaries off the first four deliveries off the last over of the innings bowled by Otieno.Zimbabwe had earlier made up for two early dismissals as Tatenda Taibu and Vusi Sibanda added 110 for the third wicket in just under 20 overs.advertisementThe partnership was broken due to a mix up that saw both batsmen at the same end. Sibanda had to go back after an entertaining 57-ball 61 in which he hit seven fours and a six to Tikolo that had taken him to his 13th half-century.Taibu struck 53 off 74 balls, completing his 18th half-century as well as 3,000 runs in limited-overs internationals with a well-timed four to the point boundary. But he was out soon after as he tried one reverse-sweep too many against leg-spinner James Ngoche and was trapped lbw.The Kenyan batting line-up struggled from the start.After pace bowler Chris Mpofu provided the initial breakthrough by trapping David Obuya lbw, left-arm spinner Ray Price showed his expertise with the new ball.He removed Tikolo and well-set opener Alex Obanda, both lbw. Collins Obuya was run out and Utseya removed Tanmay Mishra as half the Kenyan side was dismissed by the 12th over.The game meandered on from then with Kenya only ensuring there were no embarrassment, Nehemieh Odhiambo making an unbeaten 44.last_img read more