The Early Man Gets the Big Brain

first_img“Why are human brains so big?” asked Live Science.  Why are our brains larger relative to body size than almost all other animals?  Rachael Rettner reported on various answers.  To her credit, she pointed out the fallacies of trying to test hypotheses when there is insufficient evidence.    Rettner evaluated three hypotheses about why early human ancestors developed large brains.  She summarized ideas that revolve around climate change, the demands of ecology, and social competition.  “But with several competing ideas, the issue remains a matter of debate.”    Can any of these theories be tested, to see which is stronger?  She discussed skull analyses by David Geary (U of Missouri), published recently, that tried to tease out the most significant factors.  His study favored the social competition theory.    How valid are conclusions like that?  Ralph Holloway (Columbia U) commented that the social competition theory sounds good, but he asked, “How would you ever go about really testing that with hard data?”  Presumably that is what science is supposed to do to make it stand apart from speculation. He points out that the sparse cranium data “doesn’t tell you anything about the differences in populations for Homo erectus, or the differences in populations of Neanderthals.”  For example, the number of Homo erectus crania that have been found in Africa, Asia, Indonesia and parts of Europe is fewer than 25, and represent the population over hundreds of thousands of years, he said.    “You can’t even know the variation within a group let alone be certain of differences between groups,” Holloway said.  Larger skulls would be considered successful, but “how would you be able to show that these were in competition?”By declaring that “larger skulls would be considered successful,” however, Holloway seems to be begging the question.  The success of larger skulls (in evolutionary terms) is the question at issue.  Question-begging seemed inherent in his own theory – that in order for brains to enlarge, they needed to have more time for neuron growth, and longer gestation.  But why should that be a “driving force behind larger brains” when the success of larger brains has not been established?  Presumably, Homo habilis and Homo erectus (and all other animals, for that matter) carved out successful niches for a long time without the increased brain-to-body size ratio.    Rettner considered two other evolutionary hypotheses before concluding.  A diet high in shellfish “could have provided our ancestors with the proper nutrients they needed to grow a big brain,” she mentioned quickly, overlooking why other animals with high-shellfish diets did not follow suit.  “And another idea is that a decreased rate of cell death may have allowed more brain neurons to be synthesized, leading to bigger noggins.”  By now she seems to be grasping at straws.    All that was prelude to a last-paragraph wallop that should cast strong doubt on whether any of this speculating about the evolution of big brains belongs in science:Ultimately, no theory can be absolutely proven, and the scant fossil record makes it hard to test hypotheses.  “If you calculate a generation as, let’s say, 20 years, and you know that any group has to have a minimal breeding size, then the number of fossils that we have that demonstrates hominid evolution is something like 0.000001 percent,” Holloway said.  “So frankly, I mean, all hypotheses look good.”A corollary would be (assuming a level playing field) that “all hypotheses look bad.”Lately, Live Science has made baby steps toward scientific integrity (compared to New Scientist’s plunge into abject folly – see next entry), so we must be grateful for their effort to walk upright (e.g., 06/25/2009).  They still stumble often (06/30/2009).  It takes time to learn a new motor skill.    That said, this article does not go far enough.  Live Science still cannot think outside the box.  It’s nice when Darwinians engage in a modicum of self-criticism (good grief, it’s about time), but when will they take seriously the roar of criticism from outside the camp?  Think about it.  If all the hypotheses within the Darwin camp are equally good, and therefore equally bad, isn’t it time to ask why the Darwin Team gets to be the only player in the Science Tournament?  In what other area of serious inquiry can one viewpoint, that is admittedly bankrupt for ideas, and fouling out left and right with logical fallacies, call all the shots, and exclude from the game any criticisms and alternative ideas?  Let’s use those big brains, humans!  That’s what they were created for.(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Why Using a Shot List Will Save Your Next Project

first_imgA detailed shot list will save your production time, energy, and effort, and (most importantly) it will help help you create a better product.Cover image via JKStock.A shot list is one of the most important assets you can bring to a set to ensure a smooth and efficient production. The more preparation you put in before you shoot, the better your end product will become. Your shot list is essentially the blueprints for the visual structure and photography of the film. It contains the “raw materials” that you need to compose the film photographically. An architect would never consider building a structure without blueprints. A director or cinematographer should also never consider creating a film without their shot list.Creating a Shot ListWhen creating a shot list, the director of the film will sit down with the cinematographer and discuss their vision for the film. While poring over the script’s pages, the director and cinematographer will collaborate and discuss which shots will best convey the emotion of the film. Once the director and DP agree upon a shot for a scene, they will then list it in the shot list.What’s in a Shot List?The contents of a shot list vary by the needs of each production. A heavy VFX film will typically go into more detail about how crew will get the shot. In a simple sense, a shot list will contain the scene number, followed by the shot number. This makes it easier to coordinate where a given scene appears in the course of the project — you’ll even see this info written on the camera slate.Followed by the scene and shot number will be the shot size. For example: is the shot a medium or a wide shot? Conversations between the director and the DP will clarify what type of shot will best tell the story and help orient the audience.Image via JKStock.Camera MovementA key component in a shot list is identifying how exactly the camera will move throughout the shot. For example, will the camera be on a dolly or sticks, or will it be on a gimbal? By detailing camera movement in the shot list, you can quickly identify what equipment you need for each shot.Lens SelectionImage via JKStock.Personally, I always love to include potential lens focal length for a scene. It helps me quickly recall the mood and tone that I’m going for in the scene. Also, pre-selecting a lens helps move things along more quickly on set.Notes & DescriptionsI always include detailed notes about the shot, the emotion it’s trying to convey, and what part of the story it tells. It’s basically a quick explanation of why you’re getting this shot in the first place. Having this information ready on a fast-paced set is invaluable. This way, when shot 14B is coming up, you don’t have to scramble to the script or embarrassingly ask the director which part of the script you’re working on. With detailed notes, you can quickly orient yourself and accomplish the task at hand.How to Make Your Own Shot ListThere are a ton of great resources out there to help you create your own shot list. You can find everything from apps to spreadsheets. One of my personal favorites is this customizable Google Sheet. I use this for nearly every production. StudioBinder also offers great shot listing options. As you begin to create your own shot list, you’ll find what works best to detail your plan and articulate your vision.Looking for more ways to improve your production? Check out these articles.Learn to Appreciate the Subtle Art of Good Production DesignIntroducing Digital Production Calendars for Video ProfessionalsThe Walk and Talk: Crafting Exposition That Won’t Bore Your AudienceCinematography Tip: Lighting Your Production with the Inverse Square LawCinematography Tip: Training Your Eye Between Shootslast_img read more

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Probe ordered after video shows cop beating jawan

first_imgA probe has been ordered after a video purportedly showing an Army jawan being beaten up by the police in Uttar Pradesh went viral on social media, officials said on Tuesday. The soldier, posted in Hyderabad, was on leave at his native village Pallia, Kanpur (Dehat) Superintendent of Police Radheyshyam said. He said Derapur circle officer T.B. Singh will investigate the matter and has been asked to submit a report within three days. The video went viral on Sunday.last_img

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Events Industry Robust Growth Through 2011

first_imgU.K.4.0% U.S.4.2% Transaction multiples were healthy. D+P analyzed 149 event transactions since the first of 2005, and found an average revenue multiple of 2.4 times, and an average EBITDA multiple of 9.2 times. Also covered in the report are business models, ownership models, globalization and the effects of the Internet face-to-face.‘Strong Shows Can Become Brands onto Themselves’The event, attended by nearly 80 leaders in the magazine publishing, events, private-equity and financial markets, featured a six-person panel of media-industry executives. Panelists included: Neal Vitale, CEO of 1105 Media, Don Pazour, CEO of Access Intelligence, Mike Schneider, CEO of Affinity Group, Jeff Stevenson, co-CEO of Veronis Suhler Stevenson and Richard Kerr, head of group development for United Business Media. The panel discussion that was the morning’s most lively element. Rankine, serving as moderator, asked panelists how confident they were in the growth projections. “If you’re showing 6 percent growth with the collapse of the IT event business, then the numbers are conservative,” Pazour said. Added Stevenson, referring to a region where the growth is projected to hit 20 percent, “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m getting on the next plane for the Middle East.”1105’s Vitale offered a note of caution. “To treat the industry as whole misses the point,” he said. “It’s really the type of activity and a market-by-market analysis.”When the conversation moved to international markets and which presented the most challenges, UBM’s Kerr outlined conditions in the Middle East, India and China, and added that he avoids “the PIGS—Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain.”Stevenson, describing the business in Russia, said, “Things that you worry about in the trade-show business, there is a whole other level of things that you worry about in doing business over there. Transparency is not the watchword.”The panel debated the ownership models and the pros and cons of the standalone approach—such as Reed—and the integrated-media approach. Stevenson said VSS has invested in both. “Both can be successful,” he said. “You tend to find more dominance in the market with the integrated model. Whether the decline of print makes the integrated approach less important is still an open question. Maybe print will become more of a promotional vehicle.”Pazour said strong shows can become brands onto themselves, but the integrated approach offers the opportunity to leverage one to the benefit of the other. “It also helps you avoid boneheaded moves—Galen Poss of Hanley Wood describes it as, ‘The market went left and we kept going straight.’ With a magazine, you’re closer to the market and you can avoid that.”Exhibition Market by Growth Forecast, 2008-2011 France4.0% Germany2.9% The global events industry is huge, growing and highly fragmented. And, in a time of declining print revenue, it offers integrated media companies a highly profitable, defensible, Web-resistant platform for growth, according to a new white paper from DeSilva + Phillips and AMR International.“This is the star of old media,” Denzil Rankine, CEO of AMR, said at an event Thursday at the Paley Center for Media in New York City, where the findings were presented. The white paper, which focuses on the trade show and conference parts of the events business, describes a world where global revenue is $100 billion and the dominant monolithic player, Reed Exhibitions, holds no more than 7 percent of that total. It describes an industry with an average growth rate of 6.2 percent globally since 2003 and a growth forecast of 5.5 percent (4.2 percent in the United States) through 2011. Some areas, including the Midddle East, are projected to skyrocket.Unlike virtually everywhere else in the media world, events-related M&A activity is expected to remain strong, the white paper indicates. “Despite overall reduced M&A activity, the events market seems to be holding its own and may in fact have another strong year of M&A,” it states. “Deal volume appears to be despite the fact that buyers are paying lower multiples due to financing constraints and a weaker overall market outlook.” The white paper outlines three companies with aggressive acquisition strategies in the events space, including DMG World Media, Canon Communications and Affinity Group, which went from three consumer events in 2005 to 45 events as of June. Russia10.7% Other4.7% Middle East20.0% India13.5% COUNTRYGROWTH Rest of Europe4.7% China15.1% Brazil8.3% SOURCES: AMR International, VSS, AUMA, CEIR Index, BSG Asia Report, UFI, Fondazione Fiera Milano, Salon et Foireslast_img read more

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Driverless Car Test Site at Closed Base to Provide LongTerm Gains to

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR Officials from the city of Concord and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority believe a new testing facility for self-driving cars established at the former Concord Naval Weapons Station in northern California will prove a boon for economic development and further the city’s pursuit of advanced manufacturing jobs.Last week the transportation authority announced that Honda would join Mercedes-Benz in testing autonomous vehicles at the 2,100-acre GoMentum Station, a research and testing hub for self-driving cars, vehicles equipped with technology to communicate with each other, “smart” traffic signals and other new technologies.The two auto manufacturers plan to take advantage of the shuttered base’s 20 miles of paved roads, including railroad crossings, parking lots, curved roadways, tunnels and streets laid out like a city grid, reported the Contra Costa Times.The city believes the testing facility will attract not just automakers but other companies involved in automotive technology, such as a manufacturer of traffic lights that communicate with vehicles.“GoMentum essentially continues to build on our platform that Concord is a place for advanced manufacturers,” said John Montagh, the city’s economic development and housing manager. “It provides a platform for attracting more of those advanced manufacturing jobs.”Honda and Mercedes aren’t paying Concord or the Navy to use the testing facility. The transportation authority has a renewable license from the Navy to use the weapons station, which will be turned over to Concord for redevelopment beginning in early 2016, according to the story. Initial construction is scheduled to begin the following year.“We’re trying to figure out how many partners we can have out at the site all at once,” said Michael Wright, executive director of the Concord LRA. “We feel we can phase or stage the development and [land] transfers that will allow testing to move around to different locations.”Wright views the site as a “clean slate” which can be the foundation of a “smart city” with advanced traffic signals, bike and pedestrian warning sensors and streets that are linked with the highways through technology. The weapons station’s reuse plan calls for building housing, office and retail space on about 2,300 acres near the North Concord/Martinez BART station.“We can start from scratch, so as we build this city, we have the opportunity to put in some stuff that will let them test the connected technology,” he said.last_img read more

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