A story in New Scientist explores a growing realization about evolutionary trees: over time, things have gotten simpler, not more complex. Better cut down the tree in your textbook and start over.If you want to know how all living things are related, don’t bother looking in any textbook that’s more than a few years old. Chances are that the tree of life you find there will be wrong. Since they began delving into DNA, biologists have been finding that organisms with features that look alike are often not as closely related as they had thought. These are turbulent times in the world of phylogeny, yet there has been one rule that evolutionary biologists felt they could cling to: the amount of complexity in the living world has always been on the increase. Now even that is in doubt. While nobody disagrees that there has been a general trend towards complexity – humans are indisputably more complicated than amoebas – recent findings suggest that some of our very early ancestors were far more sophisticated than we have given them credit for. If so, then much of that precocious complexity has been lost by subsequent generations as they evolved into new species. “The whole concept of a gradualist tree, with one thing branching off after another and the last to branch off, the vertebrates, being the most complex, is wrong,” says Detlev Arendt, an evolutionary and developmental biologist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany.The article goes on to describe a new storytelling strategy. The entire tree of life has been built on the assumption that evolution entails increasing complexity. So, for example, if two groups of animals were considered close because both had a particular prominent feature, then someone discovered a third, intermediate line that lacked that feature but shared many other aspects of the two groups, traditional phylogenists would conclude that the feature had arisen independently in the two outlying groups, by a process known as convergent evolution. They often did not even consider the alternative explanation: that the feature in question had evolved just once in an ancestor of all three groups, and had subsequently been lost in the intermediate one. Now a handful of molecular biologists are considering that possibility.How the earlier, more primitive creature evolved the innovation in the first place was left unstated. These innovations are not simple functions likely to arise from genetic mutations. They include multi-part systems, such as a central nervous system.The Darwin Party’s motto is, “Everything we know is wrong.” If you like trying out the avenues with signs that say Wrong Way, follow the Darwin Partymobile onto the highway of life.(Visited 36 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
How do bees know which flowers to visit, and where on the flowers to land?Visual cues are part of the answer. It has already been known that bees and other insects see flowers differently than humans do. Bees can sense both visible and ultraviolet light, and many flowers have markings in both wavelength (color) bands, which help to both attract pollinating insects from a distance, then guide them in to the center areas where they can find the nectar (and at the same time pollinate the flower). Bees can also detect plumes of fragrance from flowers.It was also previously known that flowers have a slight negative electrical charge, whereas bees pick up a slight positive charge by colliding with dust particles while flying through the air. It had previously been observed with high-speed video that just before a bee lands on a flower, the positively-charged pollen particles on the bees’ legs jump across the gap and stick to the negatively charged flower.New research published in Science Magazine shows that flowers have specific electric field patterns pointing the way to their center where the nectar is located. As we recently highlighted from a related paper in PNAS (6/08/16), the tiny hairs on the legs of bees can sense electrical charges, such as these electrical patterns on flowers.To test bees’ responses to the flowers’ patterns, researcher Dominic Clarke and his team created artificial flowers with a ‘bulls-eye’ electric field pattern and filled them with sugary nectar, while filling identically-colored artificial flowers with a generic electric charge with a bitter liquid. In their experiment, bees quickly learned to go exclusively to the patterned flowers (70% accuracy). When the electric fields were turned off, the bees could no longer tell the flowers apart.To view the flowers’ electric fields, the researchers sprayed brightly-colored positively-charged particles on the flowers, then took photographs. (Beautiful photographs are viewable at National Geographic‘s article.Not only do the flowers provide these ‘electric signs’ for the bees, their voltage also changes in time to provide further guidance for the bees. Immediately after the bee lands on a flower, its negative charge decreases by 25 millivolts, and it stays reduced for about two minutes. This difference in electric field for recently-visited flowers may help bees sense which flowers have not been visited in a while, thus hold more nectar.How could this intricate mutually-beneficial system evolve? Which came first, the bees’ system of leg hairs, neural connections, and neural processing to sense and understand the electric fields, or the flowers’ system of more- and less-conductive anatomical patterning that points the way to their nectar, and the flowers’ finely-tuned passive or active system for adjusting its voltage signal in real time?Evolutionists like to claim that in such “irreducibly complex” systems, each part must have had some other function at some time. Fine – let them show this. As Darwin wrote, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”In order for this symbiotic electric field ‘dance’ to be beneficial to either species, all the parts had to work together. A genetic mutation that changed flowers’ electric fields would be useless if pollinators could not sense them, and would be selected against because of the wasted energy involved. Likewise, a mutation that gave bees hairy legs would be useless and wasteful without the neural processing circuits to understand the hair signals. Neurons growing down into bees’ legs and neural sensory-integration centers without sensor hairs would also be useless.Instead, it makes more sense to view these interacting species as having been designed for each other by God. Two unique species ‘serving’ each other and helping each other in mutually-beneficial ways is precisely the type of beautiful interaction we would expect, based on the character of the God of the Bible.[Guest article by an engineering professor](Visited 59 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The 75th Episode of the Ohio Ag Net Podcast, sponsored by AgriGold, brings the crew together to talk an exciting time in agriculture.A new trade deal between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada was finalized Sunday night. The crew discusses the topic and the latest adventures with Matt’s dog.Interviews in the podcast include Matt Reese’s talk with Ohio State University economist Ian Sheldon on trade issues and the confusing impacts of tariffs.Ty Higgins hears from DTN’s Greg Horstmeier about farmer optimism, which is at an all-time high according to their most recent findings.Joel Penhorwood hears from Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels, who was at the Luke Bryan farm concert this past week, celebrating ‘Here’s to the Farmer Day’ in Ohio.Celebrate International Podcast Day with all that and much more in this week’s podcast!
Deciding between Adobe Creative Cloud, Final Cut Pro X and Avid for pro video editing? Here are a few thoughts and opinions to help you make that call.As a decade-long loyal and faithful FCP editor, the time seems to be coming of the true death of FCP7. When you start to encounter workflow slowdowns and workarounds that would not otherwise be needed when working in up-to-date applications, it feels like it’s time to start looking around at other options.The options are still basically what they were five years ago — Apple, Avid, and Adobe. But while that hasn’t changed, other things have.Apple dropped the FCPX launch so spectacularly it is still embedded in the popular consciousness (even though FCPX has come a long way since then). Adobe is freaking people out with their Cloud move. And Media Composer is chugging along, (possibly with company-wide financial difficulties), but is still seen by many as the only choice for large institution-sized outfits.There have been many discussions online and off in the last two years about the merits of Final Cut Pro X versus other video editing applications. This post is not intended to prove which video editing system is the best, but rather look at considerations of each and how it may affect your choice of primary application.So, what is an editor to do?Well my first thought would be to download the free trial of each app, cut something on it, and see how you go. Googling articles like this one probably won’t supply you with the information you’re really after — what’s it like to actually use the video editing program? However, articles like this one can supply you with other useful information and resources, so do keep reading!Budget: Premiere Pro vs. Final Cut Pro X vs. Avid Media ComposerIf you’re a cost-conscious creative, then what does the scenario look like? Avid Media Composer is now available for a steady $999 and comes with Sorenson Squeeze thrown in. You pay once and you can keep it forever. Avid are still releasing free point patches for old versions, and upgrading between versions will cost you a small fee (the upgrade from Media Composer version 6.5 to 7 is $299).The cost of Final Cut Pro X, purchased via the Mac App Store, is only $299.99. Motion 5 and Compressor 4 are both $49.99. Again, you get to keep the software for as long as you like and (so far) all of the updates to FCPX have been free.Adobe currently has two options available. Buy a suite of software like Production Premium CS6 for $1899 or move to the Creative Cloud versions for $49.99 a month. With Adobe CC, you’ve got access to every single Adobe application, plus 2GB of online storage. So, how does that shake out in the long run?If you bought Production Premium CS 6 and kept it for three years it would cost you $1899. $49.99 a month for three years is $1,799.64.If you only want one application like After Effects CS6 ($999), Photoshop CS6 ($699) or Premiere Pro CS6 ($799) as a single app, CC rental ($19.99/month) after three years that would be $719.64.In product development terms, even three years is a long time. So if Adobe does not increase their monthly prices, and this quote from VP of Professional Business in Adobe’s Digital Media Business Unit Mala Sharma seems to try to allay those fears, then moving to the Cloud could save you a few bucks and keep you up to date.My only rational response to that is that we can’t [push up prices]… It’s in our best interests to win our customers’ trust – as every month they’re going to be choosing whether they want to stay engaged with us or not. We have never been more vulnerable, in my opinion, than in [moving to a subscription model]. It’s a really big bet.But Adobe’s Creative Cloud is still more expensive than either of the other two competing video editing options (though that’s not a fair direct comparison when you consider the number of applications involved).Common OpinionsThe Internet is awash with opinions on whether or not to move to the Creative Cloud — just check out the number of comments each of these articles has generated. Oliver Peters, who’s usually right on the money, offer this cautious recommendation:My suggestion for most users in similar shoes would be to buy one of the CS6 bundles now as a perpetual license. This gives you a fallback position. Then if you want to move forward with the Cloud, run the numbers. If you are a power user of Photoshop, Premiere Pro or After Effects and want to have the latest version of that one application, simply buy a single-application subscription. If you use three or more applications on a regular basis and want those all to be current, then the full Creative Cloud subscription makes sense. You still have the CS6 versions if needed, as long as you’ve maintain backwards project compatibility.Aharon Rabinowitz has written a couple of excellent blog posts (Part 1 and Part 2) that cover his opinions, interactions with Adobe, and his readers’ thoughts. It’s worth reading through the blog posts (if not all the comments), as Rabinowitz covers quite a few of the common concerns creatives are raising.Jahron Schneider from Fstoppers also walks through the Adobe Creative Cloud maze and comes out in favor of it: If the software and delivery of that software makes your life easier, it’s a good thing right? That’s what you should focus on when contemplating the Creative Cloud, because it does make your life easier. I’m comfortable saying that the Creative Cloud is better for Adobe and better for the consumers. It’s a great service, and one I’ll continue to use.For a short video covering the major new features in Adobe CC (and a few extra thoughts on the future of FCPX), check out this post-NAB 2013 comparison between FCPX and Adobe CC. What About the Future of Final Cut Pro X?A lot of pros still claim FCPX is unusable, and although the Coen Brothers might be moving to Premiere for their next feature, plenty of other folks are cutting 4K feature films in FCPX. Apple is working hard to frequently update FCPX, and with the growth of third party apps, more and more one-man-band operations are embracing the affordable app.One of the people who has shared their FCPX workflow in detail is Sam Mestman. If you want to see FCPX with fresh eyes, check out his presentation below.As a quick nod to Avid Media Composer 7, you can check out the official MC7 site listing all the new features from Avid and also this quick round up from NAB 2013.As the FCPX launch proved, things in this industry can change quickly and dramatically. Knowing every system well has distinct advantages. If you’re a one-man band or small post house, you’ll want to choose a video editing application and stick with it for a few years.Which NLE is your favorite and why? Share your opinions and experiences in the comments below!
The Jamia Millia Islamia recently informed the Delhi High Court that an experimental attempt could be made for holding elections to the students’ union which was banned six years ago.Jamia filed an affidavit before the court on a plea seeking quashing of the 2006 decision of the central university to ban elections to the students’ union.”The committee was mindful of the fact that, despite the prevailing situation in the campus, considering that the Jamia Students’ Union was dissolved six years ago, a renewed attempt should be made to provide a representative body to the students by way of an experiment,” said the university through an affidavit filed before a division bench of Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice Vipin Sanghi.The university also submitted that its executive council had accepted the recommendations of a six-member committee of academicians, constituted by the Vice-Chancellor (VC) pursuant to court’s earlier order to look into the aspect.The affidavit said that the committee also drafted rules and regulations for the students’ union election.”The committee drafted rules and regulations for putting in place a mechanism to elect the Jamia Students’ Union and also set out a model code of conduct to implement the proposed structure,” said the affidavit.The court asked advocate Sitab Ali Chaudhary, appearing for petitioner Hamidur Rehman, a final year undergraduate student, to file the reply on Jamia’s affidavit by November 5.The court was hearing a plea seeking a direction to university to hold election to students’ union, alleging that it was unreasonable on the part of the university to ban the union in March 2006.”Union elections are no more being held, there is nobody in the campus to address the students’ grievances and problems and that is why they are being harassed and tortured frequently,” Rahman said in his petition.He said that the polls had not been held since March 31, 2006 despite several representations and requests by students.The university in March 2006 dissolved the students’ union without giving any reason, the petition said.The petitioner alleged that despite the central government and the University Grants Commission asking Jamia to conduct the student union elections, no action had been taken.- With inputs from IANSadvertisement