(Visited 37 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Several fossil whale parts found in a southern California canyon are being called transitional forms in whale evolution.The article on Science NOW doesn’t say “transitional” in the headline or first half of the story, but the RSS feed subtitle says, “Road project reveals transitional forms to modern toothless whales.” The word “transitional” only appears once in the article, and that without certainty: “Thus, they aren’t ancestral to any of the living whales, but they could represent transitional steps on the way to the toothless mysticetes [baleen whales].”What was actually found tells a more convoluted story. Some 30 partial whale fossils were found in a Laguna Canyon road cut, including four newly-identified species of “toothed baleen whale—a type of whale that scientists thought had gone extinct 5 million years earlier.”Also found were fossils of sharks and other ocean dwellers. None of the others were called transitional forms. Some other statements in the article cast doubt on the evolutionary implications of the whale fossils:“The four new toothed baleen whale species were also four huge surprises….”These three, along with the fourth new species, which is of a different genus, represent the last known occurrence of aetiocetes, a family of mysticetes that coexisted with early baleen whales. Thus, they aren’t ancestral to any of the living whales, but they could represent transitional steps on the way to the toothless mysticetes.“Three of the fossils belong to the genus Morawanocetus, which is familiar to paleontologists studying whale fossils from Japan, but hadn’t been seen before in California.” [No evolution there; and it is obvious that whales can swim long distances.]“The fourth new species—dubbed ‘Willy’—has its own surprises, Rivin says. Although modern baleen whales are giants, that’s a fairly recent development (in the last 10 million years). But Willy was considerably bigger than the three Morawanocetus fossils.” [This seems to be a case of downward evolution and early appearance of giantism.]“The new fossils are a potentially exciting find, says paleobiologist Nick Pyenson of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Although it’s not yet clear what Rivin’s team has got and what the fossils will reveal about early baleen whale evolution, he says, ‘I’ll be excited to see what they come up with.’”In sum, it appears that the 30 fossils show already-familiar types of whales, an early giant, and an extinction that wasn’t as early as expected. If this is “potentially exciting” only, and is not clear what it “will reveal about early baleen whale evolution,” there is really nothing new here to support the theory of whale evolution.They got us up for this? Come on. Finding whale fossils is always exciting, but finding whale evolution is only “potentially exciting” to believers in the Grand Darwinian Myth, because it’s always in future tense. An unrealized potential is a frustrating thing. You are potentially rich. You are potentially famous. When and if those things become actual, then it will be time to get excited.
Magpie’s chandelier called Princess, which currently hangs in the Obama family’s private quarters in the White House. (Image: Sean Daniel) Sean Daniel and Richard Panaino are two of the bright sparks driving the Magpie Arts Collective. In their laps is one of their Blomme (Afrikaans for flowers), which are made from plastic bottle tops and discarded wine containers. (Image: Nicky Rehbock) MEDIA CONTACTS • Magpie Arts Collective 27 Van Riebeeck St Barrydale 6750, South Africa [email protected] +27 28 572 1997 RELATED ARTICLES • Plastic-bag billboard a world first • E-waste pilot project delivers • Using waste to save the worldNicky RehbockWho would have thought that strings of plastic bottle tops and recycled trinkets gathered from the dusty streets of a Karoo village would one day hang in the Obama family’s private quarters of the White House … ?But they do – although not in isolation. This intriguing assortment is interwoven with shimmering glass beads and delicate crystal drops and encircled by rings of flickering candles to form not one, but two magnificent chandeliers.• See our gallery for more magnificent chandelier imagesThe creative force behind these objets d’art is Magpie Arts Collective – a partnership of four friends based in the hamlet of Barrydale, two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Cape Town.Magpie specialises in ornate light fittings, home décor and jewellery crafted from, among other things, recycled glass bottles, yoghurt containers, plastic, dog food cans, mosaic, bits of mirror, toys, charms and copper wire.Over the past two years four of their chandeliers have been snapped up by Anthropologie, a high-end chain in the US which sells clothes, accessories and home furnishings, and recently they’ve caught the attention of Michael Smith, a celebrity Los Angeles-based decorator tasked with redoing the Obama residence.Smith spied the almost 2m-high, Regency-inspired pieces at an Anthropologie store in New York and promptly bought two for the White House revamp.The decorator’s high-profile clientele includes filmmaker Steven Spielberg, actors Dustin Hoffman and Michelle Pfeiffer, model Cindy Crawford and media giant Rupert Murdoch.After being hired by the Obamas Smith said, “The family’s casual style, their interest in bringing 20th century American artists to the forefront and utilising affordable brands and products will serve as our guiding principles as we make the residence feel like their home.”Building the Magpie nestThe arts collective was formed 11 years ago in the bohemian suburb of Observatory in Cape Town. Friends Shane Petzer, a social worker and entrepreneur, and Scott Hart, a fashion designer, owned a house there with a particular zany style.“Lifestyle magazine House and Leisure heard about our home and decided to feature it in one of their editions,” Petzer recalls.“The journalist thought our chandeliers and light fittings were fabulous and said they would be commercially viable – not long after that the Magpie showroom was born in a tiny venue nearby and was used as a manufacturing base for home fineware and lighting apparel.“Because the article referred to us as the ‘Magpies’ of Observatory, we thought it was an apt name for our studio.”He adds: “We have always loved shiny things, things that catch and play with light – sparkle and throw light into all sorts of directions – that’s the excitement of chandeliers – they are extrapolations of our sparkly ideals of fantasy and ideals.“Our Magpie chandeliers are nests of ideas, borrowings and findings, clashing and complementing, shiny and matt – rather like life – they showcase a picture.”In 2005 fine artist Sean Daniel and Richard Panaino, who was in the film industry at the time, joined forces with Petzer and Hart and they moved their studio east to Barrydale, an area known for its wine and fruit and conveniently situated along Route 62 – a picturesque tourist byway that meanders between Cape Town and the Garden Route.Today Daniel and Hart concentrate on design and manufacturing, Petzer oversees the social responsibility aspect of the business and Panaino handles Magpie’s administration and marketing.Talking rubbishPetzer says they have always used a lot of recycled and re-purposed materials in their work, but since moving to Barrydale and seeing the vast amounts of litter and pollution in the area, they’ve upped their recycling drive.“We now have a collection bin on our veranda and basically people in the village bring us all their recyclable bits. Tins, plastic, all that sort of thing. Once they’ve been cleaned, we use them to make up bespoke pieces, which we send all over the world. Those little doppies [bottle tops] in the chandeliers, those are literally pieces that have come off the streets of Barrydale.“It’s quite funny that we’re turning trash into art and selling it to America,” he says, laughing. “There’s Barrydale dust in the White House.”As for inspirations, Petzer says they draw on the work of two rather eccentric Karoo artists: the reclusive Helen Martins who created of the now world-famous Owl House, and outsider artist Outa Lappies who is best known for his lighuisies – lanterns crafted from scrap metal and colourful shards of old glass, which he sells to local and foreign tourists.“Outsider artists function in mediums that are not conventional and they deal with issues that are not your run-of-the-mill, preconceived artistic ideas. For example, Outa Lappies always says, ‘if you work with your hands you’ll never be hungry’ – we love that message and the bearing it has on our work,” he adds.Designing pieces is not a “cut-and-dried” process, according to Petzer. “It seems that as commissions come in, we find ourselves using up the materials that we have in the storage bins in ways that we never thought possible. It’s always a surprise and fascinating to see how people’s trash, becomes people’s art. Sometimes we produce pieces from the studio and display them in the gallery and it sells!“Other times we might be following a specific brief from a client to do something, like build a chandelier or even help a client build a booth at a conference or trade show to sell their products. In those situations we stay true to our philosophy and incorporate re-purposed materials in the design and execution of that product.“Each chandelier is unique – some take a few weeks to build, while others take months. They vary in price from a few hundred to a few thousand rand. The chandeliers that Anthropologie buys from us take about four weeks to build. Some pieces have only unfolded and manifested into real objects many years after we first created them – different members of Magpie work on the pieces and they grow over time … we like the idea of the product to nestle in our minds,” he adds.Community outreachMagpie has a strong social conscience, using art to highlight pertinent issues in their community. “One of our focus areas is, of course, recycling and environmental issues, but we also take a strong interest in unemployment, HIV/Aids, TB and alcoholism, which are all rife in our community – particularly among Barrydale’s farmworkers,” Daniel says.Small enterprises are often pressed to respond to social issues around them, but many don’t know how to do this – to link social responses and concerns to their enterprise’s activities. This is the area in which Petzer helps Magpie shine.He’s an Ashoka Fellow, belonging to an international body of 1 800 social entrepreneurs and social change activists, and has worked tirelessly as an HIV/Aids activist for 22 years. He’s also one of the founders of the South African Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce, better known as Sweat.“The social responsibility framework of Magpie works as part of our marketing strategy, and helps to showcase good practice for other small and micro enterprises,” Petzer says.Rooi Doppies is one of the team’s initiatives that gives support to non-governmental organisations in Barrydale. The name is Afrikaans slang for “red lids”, which are used to seal cheap bottles of wine sold in the district. Dop also means to be watchful, as in ek hou jou dop, which suits the project, as it means “I am watching over you”.Through Rooi Doppies a soup kitchen has been set up to feed the poor, and assistance provided to an afterschool project called Net Vir Pret (an Afrikaans phrase meaning “just for fun”), which encourages children to do their own recycling drive.“They pick up plastic bottles lying around and clean them. We then show the children how to cut the plastic to look like flowers and let them do a bit of painting with water-based paint,” Daniel adds.These painted plastic cut-outs are then assembled into elaborate balls with a bulb in the middle and sold as funky lighting. The proceeds from the sales are ploughed back into Net Vir Pret.Then there is an income-generation project for semi-skilled and unemployed residents in Barrydale. There are currently seven participants and they make catchy light bulb covers out of beads, knitted copper wire and fronds of plastic. Magpie then buys the product back from them to sell in their studio.“This project is in stark contrast to employment. We teach skills and independence along the lines of Outa Lappies’ saying that if you work with your hands you’ll never be hungry,” Daniel says.The participants work from home and do as little or as much as they want. “The bulb work is ideal because it doesn’t take up a lot of space and can be done by someone living in a shack. It also requires very little energy so people living with HIV or TB can also participate.”Christmas timeTo show its appreciation for the community’s support, Magpie builds an elaborate eco-Christmas tree each year in the town centre and puts on an exhibition of its work. This is followed by a well-supported fancy dress party that draws crowds from as far as Cape Town and Johannesburg.In 2007 and 2008 then Cape Town mayor Helen Zille commissioned the team to design similar Christmas tree installations and these were displayed in the city’s civic centre.After creating masterpieces for mayors and presidents, what do the four “Magpies” see for the future?“We have come from an idea born on a kitchen table to this great stage. We think we have the right combination now to make us a winning team,” Petzer says.“In the future we are keen to see ourselves become leaders in our field – in today’s business world it only means one thing: go global, act local. If you continue to plug and pursue your dream, you will succeed.“After 11 years of producing chandeliers and engaging in craft we are not about to down tools – if anything, we are keen to take up more challenges!”• Do you have any queries or comments about this article? Email Nicky Rehbock at [email protected]
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A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Solving CAPTCHAs – the text puzzles with distorted letters that many sites use to ensure that you are human – has become a daily reality for many Internet users. Sadly, these tests are often a major source of frustration, too. And while CAPTCHAs are used to provide a decent level of security for site owners, many of these systems have now been broken or are getting gamed by hackers who simply hire cheap workers to solve them manually. NuCaptcha, a Vancouver, B.C.-based company, aims to change all of this with a new video captcha system that launches today.With NuCaptcha, users see a moving text over an animated background. NuCaptcha then shows three red letters as part of a sentence that flows through the video, and users type these three letters to solve the video CAPTCHA. As an accessibility feature, NuCaptcha also offers voiceover audio. Developers will be able to choose between different themes for their sites. NuCaptcha is also thinking about giving developers the option to bring their own brands and videos to the CAPTCHAs on their site in the future. The company’s system should also work on devices that don’t support Flash, though we weren’t able to test this yet.Reducing Frustration and Increasing ConversionAccording to a recent study (PDF), about 25% of users’ attempts to solve CAPTCHAs from reCAPTCHA simply fail. For businesses that use services like reCAPTCHA, this means that a quite a few of potential users are likely to abandon the registration or shopping process. For other CAPTCHA services from Yahoo, Google and Microsoft, and on sites like Digg.com and Slashdot, which implement their own systems, these numbers are somewhat lower, but even there, more than 10% of attempts to solve a given CAPTCHA end in failure.NuCaptcha argues that 99% of its users are able to solve the company’s video CAPTCHAs. While we can’t test the company’s numbers, we did get a chance to test the system, and the tests were indeed very easy to solve.How NuCaptcha Fights Hackers and Human “Solvers”As the company’s CEO and co-founder Michel Giasson told us earlier this week, it is extremely easy for humans to solve these moving CAPTCHAs. Machines, however, have a very hard time with this. To discourage paid human “solvers,” the company uses sophisticated machine learning algorithms to detect potential abuse of the system and then slows the video CAPTCHA down to the point where solving it becomes too time consuming and costly. According to Giasson, professional human CAPTCHA solvers need about four seconds per CAPTCHA. When NuCaptcha suspects that sombody is abusing the system, it can slow its text scroll down to the point where it takes more than 15 seconds to even display the CAPTCHA text. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#news#NYT#security#web frederic lardinois Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market
By Molly C. HerndonSocial Media Specialist The temptation to put off organizing financial records and updating accounts until the new year may be overwhelming this time of year. Family get-togethers and the holidays stretch our time and our finances. However, planning now can mean a better outcome when filing your taxes next Spring.Numbers and Finance by reynermedia. Licensed Creative Commons CC BY 2.0.In our December 9 webinar, Year-End Tax Planning Strategies, Dr. Barbara O’Neill will discuss ways to plan ahead to increase deductions and be better prepared for tax laws that may impact your wallet. This 90-minute webinar begins at 11 a.m. ET.The Personal Finance team has presented on the topic of taxes twice before. Earlier this year, Dr. Michael Gutter presented Tax Planning Updates for Members of the Military. This webinar focused on tax laws that affect military members, as well as unique issues related to combat pay and basic tax calculation.In 2012, we presented Income Tax Return Filing Issues for Members of the Armed Forces. This 90-minute webinar teased apart the dense information that pertains to military members when filing returns.This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network blog on November 25, 2014.
Calendar* by Dafne Cholet (Flickr, CC0)The past year has been one of change, collaboration, and innovation for the MFLN. We started 2016 by implementing a new approach to program planning and delivery: identifying timely and relevant issue-driven content reflecting the professional development needs of our audiences. We also shifted to a collaborative planning approach, which helps us address issues from multidisciplinary standpoints. Finally, we began shifting program delivery from lecture-style content delivery to problem-centered learning approaches that rely on our audience members’ participation and experience. These shifts in programming resulted in seven collaborative webinars, five “Lunch and Learn” sessions (discussion sessions as follow-ups to webinars), and two open-forum webinars. Across the network, you may have noticed some of these changes as a part of your participation experience: an increased use of case studies, intentional interaction in webinars and social media, and dedicated “chat times” in webinars; blog posts responding to questions and issues raised in webinar chats; expanding webinar conversations to our social media platforms; and programming topics that reflect your requests. We are just getting started on these new approaches and will continue to refine our work as we move into another new year of programming!We also welcomed several new staff members in 2016: Caitlyn Brown and Bari Sobelson joined Family Development at Valdosta State as information specialist and social media specialist, respectively; Alicia Cassels joined the leadership team as evaluation consultant; Kristen DiFilippo joined Nutrition & Wellness as professional education coordinator at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; and Mitch McCormick joined Community Capacity Building as social media specialist at Cornell. New staff and old have been instrumental in implementing programming changes and also in keeping the MFLN mission at the center of all we do. We are grateful not only to our brilliant and dedicated staff, but also to our colleagues at the Department of Defense and across the Cooperative Extension System for helping to make 2016 one of our most productive and successful years yet.We also want to thank YOU, our audience members, for your continued participation and support! In 2016 alone, 5,725 of you attended our 50 live webinars and 3 virtual learning events. In total, you earned 7,727.5 continuing education credits (way to go!). We ended the year with 26,742 Facebook likes, 3,445 Twitter followers, and 94 LinkedIn group members. Please keep up the pace for 2017, and let us hear from you! We want to know what issues are important to you. We want to hear about your professional experiences. We want you all to have the opportunity to learn not only with us, but from each other. Interact with us during webinars, on social media, and on our blog pages. Contact the staff of the CAs to let them know about your professional development needs, facilitators you would like to interact with, and ideas for future programming. Please let us know how we can continue to serve you as you continue another year of service to our nation’s military families.Don’t forget to check out our upcoming webinars for February! If you do not currently receive the MFLN “Network News” to your inbox each month, we invite you to subscribe.
Nine persons, including eight children, were killed and 15 others were injured when a pick-up van collided with a mini-truck in Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur district, police said on Monday. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expressed grief over the incident and directed officials to provide all possible help and treatment to the injured. The accident took place around 11 p.m. on Sunday near Sadikpur village under the Hafizpur police station limits. The victims were returning to their Salepur Kotla village in the pick-up van after attending a marriage, they said. The mini-truck coming from the opposite direction collided with the van which was carrying 20 children. The impact of the accident was so severe that the van was torn apart and its occupants were thrown out on the highway, police said.Truck driver flees The truck driver fled the spot after the incident, they said. The injured were rushed to a hospital where doctors declared nine persons, including eight children, dead, police said.
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Emery wants Arsenal to prioritise Pepe signingby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal boss Unai Emery has Lille winger Nicolas Pepe high on his shopping list for January.The Times says Emery is planning for a busy winter transfer window.The Gunners manager wants three signings, a centre-half, central midfielder and winger.And for the latter, Emery favours Pepe as a priority, having tracked the Ivorian for the two years he was in charge of PSG.Lille chiefs are confident of raising over £50m from Pepe’s sale in 2019.
Leeds boss Bielsa blasts Arsenal legend Wright: You’re not helpingby Paul Vegas2 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLeeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa insists he will keep selecting the team on his terms.Bielsa insists he won’t be rushed into finding a way to fit Patrick Bamford and Eddie Nketiah into the same team after yet another crucial goal for the Arsenal starlet.Nketiah emerged from the bench to net a late equaliser for Leeds at Preston to leave them second in the Championship.Gunners legend Ian Wright took to Twitter to urge Bielsa to start the England Under-21 international after his third Championship goal of the campaign. “We have never proved this kind of combination in our training,” Bielsa said of the possibility of the strike duo playing in tandem.”In the international break, Nketiah is not with us, because we play twice a week and when we prepare in the week there are few spaces to try these kinds of things.”When you have a series of bad results and you have to find a different solution, that [kind of series] hasn’t happened. I think that all this around Bamford and Nketiah doesn’t help both of them.”It is natural that people argue about my decision because they don’t have all the reasons I have. I want both of them to be a success this year. We have 46 matches or 50 matches.”We are in the first 25 per cent of the competition. I think that we have time so I can find a way that both of them shine. If this doesn’t happen, it is going to be a mistake of mine.” TagsLoan MarketAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say