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Behind the Scenes: Creating Amazing Visual Effects for The Walking Dead

first_imgGo behind the scenes of AMC’s blockbuster zombie drama The Walking Dead and discover how they create the jaw-dropping (and face chewing) VFX.Top image via FanPopEver wonder how they create the realistic zombie VFX for The Walking Dead? FXGuide.com recently sat down with the show’s visual effects supervisors to get a behind-the-scenes look at how they produce their VFX magic.An intense amount of motion capture and modeling goes into creating the realistic zombie characters, all done by the skilled team at LA’s Stargate Studios. Pro visual effects artists use Maya for The Walking Dead’s modeling, rigging, and animation, while After Effects is used for compositing characters and effects into the final show. Lightwave, 3ds Max, and Photoshop are also used in the visual effects pipeline. The team relies heavily on blue and green screen to create digital set extensions and visual enhancements.A cool visual effects workflow hack: Stargate’s team has compiled a library of CG zombies that can be added to any scene. This cuts down the number of on-set extras that are needed, making shooting faster and scenes more versatile.Check out FXGuide’s full post for a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the post-production process of The Walking Dead, complete with interesting before-and-after VFX shots. Here are a few VFX breakdown videos from Stargate Studios that explore the blood-and-guts process of creating The Walking Dead’s visual effects:Best of The Walking Dead VFXThe Walking Dead Season 3 Visual Effects ReelWalking Dead Season 2 VFX Reel“The Walking Dead” Season 1 Reel 2010Be sure to check out PremiumBeat for all kinds of VFX tips and demo reels!last_img read more

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FCPX Advanced Metadata Workflows

first_imgThe latest version of FCPX is just around the corner, coming hopefully in December. Eagle eyed Alex Gollner, who creates an amazing range of free FCPX plugins, has suggested that the recently updated iMovie that shipped with Mavericks, is actually an unreleased version of FCX 10.1 with a different user interface. He also recently tweeted this good info:That said there are plenty of great things to be said of the current version of FCPX. Filmmaker and Premiumbeat blogger Noam Kroll recently presented this instructive workflow presentation at LACPUG on his independent feature film edited on FCPX and finished in DaVinci Resolve.You can read more about Noam’s filmmaking techniques in this post he wrote for PremiumBeat on creating a blockbuster look on a low budget and in this Cinema DNG post production roundup.Making the most of Metadata in FCPXSam Mestman also shared this FCPX workflow presentation at a recent LACPUG meet up, all about leveraging the metadata functionality within FCPX. If you want to do more with Final Cut Pro X then this is a must watch.For even more FCPX Workflow insights including Sam Mestman’s 3 part series on R3D workflows with FCPX check out this previous post. Another great resource is this step by step guide to media management in FCPX from Sam, from a presentation he gave at a LumaForge training event. One of Sam’s tips is using symlinks so that you can reference the same media from multiple FCPX Events simultaneously.In short metadata = money. And Final Cut Pro X does it better than any platform out there. – Reuben EvansWant even more FCPX metadata training? Check out this resource for making the most of metadata in FCPX. In this three part series from Reuben Evans, head of the video team at Logos Bible Software, he shares how his team uses FCPX in a shared work environment to speed up their workflow, saving both time and money.Final Cut Pro X’s Events are individual databases that store all the media for a particular shoot. They appear simple, like a Final Cut 7 bin. But they are much more than that, and can be a little difficult for even an experienced editor to fully grasp. I want to persuade you that thinking about your footage like data in a database, instead of film in a bin, is the first step toward accelerating your editing with FCPX.Check out the FCPX Metadata video series:FCPX Metadata Part 1 | FCPX Metadata Part 2 | FCPX Metadata Part 3FCPX is Ready For ProfessionalsIf you’ve not yet seen this hour long presentation from post production trainer Larry Jordan at the Amsterdam Supermeet then it too is well worth a watch for a detailed walk through of FCPX, as well as a demonstration of Change List X from Intelligent Assistance. Larry offers some useful philosophical thoughts on why change is necessary.Lastly, this two part post Philip Johnston from HD Warrior shares his experiences of using FCPX to capture DV footage for a 2 hour dvd and edit in FCPX from a Thunderbolt Pegasus Raid. Across both posts Philip talks through some of the plugins he relies upon to perform regular green screen work as well as it’s integration with Motion 5.Check out Part 1 and Part 2. In a later post Philip talks through a bug in FCPX that causes the app to seemingly fail to open, due to ‘overly complex timelines’ (although surely you want complex timelines when you’re editing!). If you face the same problem this post will help you solve it.I know that some people have successfully edited long form media in FCPX on a single timeline but it’s something I would avoid. The best approach is to split it up into smaller timelines and then join them together only when you want to output them. Also try to avoid things that will increase the file size like over-use of compound clips and multiclips.Whew, was that enough FCPX resources for ya!? Spend some time digging into these FCPX videos and tutorials…and learn how to optimize your video editing with metadata in Final Cut Pro X.Have your own FCPX resources to share? Let us know in the comments below! If you are considering jumping into FCPX, then you will want to get schooled up on the real power at the heart of FCPX: Metadata.last_img read more

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Repeat Frames on Import Inside Autodesk Smoke

first_imgCheck out this useful workaround for importing repeated frames or frames from a sequence in Smoke.With Autodesk Smoke 2013 the feature to repeat single frames upon import to a length of your choice was lost….but not forgotten.I have come up with a useful workaround if you need to import single frames from a sequence or simply need to repeat a bunch of single frames upon import.  This tip assumes that your still images are all of the same resolution and bit depth.  So, if you have 30 HD 1920×1080 .jpg or .png files (or anything else to import) and you want them to be a repeated length to just lay on the timeline then check out the Smoke video tutorial below.Got questions about Autodesk Smoke? Want to share your own Smoke video editing tips?Let us know in the comments below!last_img read more

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Hey You! Ever Break the Fourth Wall?

first_imgAre you ready to break the fourth wall in your next project? Did we leave your favorite use off this list? Let us know in the comments below. A character breaking the fourth wall to talk to the audience dates back to the 1700s. The technique has crossed over into many genres, often finding a place in comedic films.Cover image: Spaceballs via MGMBreaking the 4th wall is a metafictional technique that dates back to the theater in the 1700s. Denis Diderot, a French philosopher and dramatist, is usually credited as the founder of the concept. In a traditional three-wall theater, the fourth wall refers to an imaginary wall at the front of the stage. It’s similar to a window the audience looks through to see the world of the play.In terms of television and film, breaking the fourth wall refers to a character staring directly into the camera to talk to the audience. Before diving in, let’s take a look at this great 4th wall supercut from Now You See It.One of the earliest uses of this technique in film comes from comedic geniuses, the Marx Brothers. Their 1930 film, Animal Crackers, was an adaptation of their 1928 theater show. It was the perfect way to crossover the use of the technique. Groucho breaks the 4th wall at the 2:30 mark in this clip. He begins with, “Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.”The films of the 1970s are most associated with breaking the 4th wall. The supercut at the beginning of this piece featured both the 1971 musical Fiddler on the Roof and the 1977 hit Annie Hall.Comedian Michael Palin would coin the term meta comment while writing Monty Python’s Flying Circus. He used the term to refer to a character that would speak about the situation they were in.Monty Python would often use this technique, like in this clip from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. They would break the 4th wall repeatedly in several shots, as multiple characters shouted to “get on with it” and get back to the film.As popular as Monty Python was, breaking the fourth wall is most associated with director Mel Brooks. Brooks would make an entire career out of unexpected comedy. Perhaps the finest example was in his 1974 film Blazing Saddles.The movie is absolutely full of these meta jokes, from the characters entering a movie theater to watch themselves to a major fight sequences that breaks out of the set and spills into the movie studio lot. The fight scene actually broke through several walls, not just the fourth. The scene moves sideways and breaks into other movies.Brooks would continue to use this technique is nearly every one of his films. Another one of his famous uses was in the sci-fi adventure Spaceballs. Dark Helmet breaks the fourth wall by watching a VHS copy of the film they are currently filming.The 1980s would continue to break the 4th wall with Airplane! and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. However, the technique hasn’t been nearly as popular since. It appears occasionally in the 1990s, like in Fight Club, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and most famously for the product placement in Wayne’s World. It has become a bigger part of television series like Saved by the Bell, Malcolm in the Middle, 30 Rock, and House of Cards.With the popularity of shows like House of Cards, there does seem to be a resurgence in characters breaking the 4th wall. One of the most famous characters to use the technique doesn’t come from theater or film, but the graphic pages of comic books. Nicknamed the “Merc with a Mouth,” Deadpool is slated to break from the comic books to bring his meta humor to film. Deadpool even breaks the fourth wall at the end of this trailer, just to talk about another trailer for the film.last_img read more

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FCPX Tip: Copy and Paste Attributes

first_imgDiscover a Final Cut Pro X feature that flies under the radar for many new editors: copy the attributes of any clip in your timeline and instantly paste them across multiple clips.Say you’ve tweaked the color or cropping of a clip in your timeline. Now you want to apply those same effects to multiple clips. What’s the fastest way? I once saw an editor manually add these effects to other clips, one by one — this is time consuming and completely unnecessary! Instead, use the FCPX Copy/Paste Attributes feature to selectively choose what effects/attributes you want to copy from one clip to another (or group of clips).What was a mainstay feature of Final Cut 7, Copy/Paste Attributes didn’t make an appearance in FCPX until about a year after its initial release. Here’s the scoop…Select a clip in the timeline that you’ve applied some tweaks to. Use the shortcut Command-C to copy it.Now select a clip (or group of clips) that you’d like to apply those attributes to. To paste the attributes use the shortcut Shift-Command-V.You can selectively choose what attributes are applied, or simply check Video Attributes or Audio Attributes to paste them all. ✓  Pro Tip:  There’s actually a shortcut that will instantly paste ALL attributes automatically. Copy the original clip, select the clip(s) you’d like to apply the attributes to and use the shortcut Option-Command-V.It’s worth noting that you can achieve a similar technique by applying effects and settings to a group of clips via FCPX’s Compound Clip feature. This may be a preferred method when applying effects to an entire scene.Alternatively, you can save a clip’s attributes as a preset, so you can quickly apply it to clips across different Final Cut Pro X projects. Check out this post over at FCPEffects for more information.Was this FCPX tip helpful? Got any tricks up your sleeve to share with your fellow video editors? Let us know in the comments below.last_img read more

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Difficult Conversations Are Growth Opportunities

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now No one wants to have difficult conversations. It is hard to deal with situations when emotions are high and people are upset. But these conversations are crucial to your success, and difficult conversations offer you an opportunity to grow personally and professionally.From time to time, no matter how good your company is, you are going to have problems executing and delivering for your clients. You aren’t going to have a lot of people fight you to lead the conversations with your clients about your failing and your plan to turn things around. But dealing with these issues is what builds your client’s trust and confidence in you. Hiding from issues destroys trust and confidence.You and your dream client are struggling to produce the outcomes you sold. They’re disappointed and angry? Jot down your talking points and action plans, and get face-to-face (the sooner the better). Client has a serious complaint and wants to rip someone’s face off? Make your face the first they see, and let it be known that you were side-by-side with them when they needed you.As a manager or leader, you are going to have to have difficult conversations with the people you lead. Sometimes those conversations will be about their performance, and they will sometimes be unpleasant. As a leader, you have to engage in these uncomfortable conversations. It’s a part of your role that you can’t abdicate.One of the people you are responsible isn’t performing? Have the difficult and very real conversation about their performance issue, even though the conversation isn’t going to be very much fun. Another person has personal issues that are impacting their life? You really don’t want to deal with it because it’s messy. Have the conversation even if it fills you with dread.It’s important that you learn to have effective, difficult conversations. The better results you need are on the other side of those conversations. The more you learn to deal with situations and conversations when emotions are running hot and stakes are high, the more prepared you will be to deal with other difficult conversations.Difficult conversations are growth opportunities.last_img read more

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You Are Going to Need a Pencil Sharpener

first_img Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now If you don’t create some differentiated value throughout the sales process, starting from the very first meeting with your dream client, then you can expect to be commoditized. If they don’t get the experience of working with someone that they believe has a greater ability to help them produce results than any of their peers, your client will not perceive you as different enough to pay more.In a larger amount than you might imagine, you are the value proposition.If you don’t have the insights, ideas, business acumen, and situational knowledge that allows you to position yourself as a peer, a trusted advisor, and someone who can provide good counsel, then you are going to look and sound a lot like your competitors. When you look and sound like everyone else, you force the client to find the differentiation on their own, and the easiest place to find that is in your pricing.It is your job to explain why you are different, how you are different, and how that differentiation is worth paying more to obtain.The delta between your price and your competitor’s price is your problem to solve. You have to be able to explain why your prospective client needs to make that additional investment to produce the better results they need. You are also responsible for explaining how underinvesting is going to put their results at risk, and potentially cause even greater challenges.You have to be able to justify the delta between your price and your competitor’s pricing. If you want your prospective client to understand the difference, you have to teach them. You have to help them defend the investment inside their own company.If you can’t differentiate yourself and your offering, if you can’t provide value outside of your solution, and if you can’t justify the greater investment your solution requires, you’re going to need a pencil sharpener.last_img read more

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CBI takes over Ryan school murder case

first_imgThe Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday took over the probe into the gruesome murder of a seven-year-old student of Ryan International School in Gurugram. “We have re-registered the case earlier lodged at Bhondsi police station in Gurugram on September 8,” said a CBI official. The move comes hours after the CBI received a notification from the Centre, on the request of the Haryana government.Earlier this week, the Punjab and Haryana High Court rejected the anticipatory bail pleas of three trustees of the school in connection with the murder case.last_img read more

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Militants kill three civilians in Baramulla, say police

first_imgUnknown gunmen killed three civilians by firing from a close range in north Kashmir’s Baramulla on Monday evening, according to the Jammu and Kashmir police.A Srinagar-based police spokesman said the three civilians were killed by unidentified militants. The deceased victims were identified as Asif Ahmad Sheikh, Haseeb Ahmad Khan and Mohammad Asgar, all residents of Baramulla’s Kakar Hamam.The incident took place after sunset. An unknown number of gunmen fired upon the three civilians near Iqbal Market Khanpora. “The trio died on the spot. Their bodies were riddled with bullets,” said the police.The police, however, could not divulge any details on why these civilians were attacked by the gunmen. “We are investigating the matter,” said a police official.The area was cordoned off after the incident. However, no one was arrested when the report was filed.”Preliminary investigation reveals the role of Lashkar-e-Taiba on the killings. One Pakistan-based and two other local militants of old town Baramulla are the principal suspects in this case and wanted by law. The police have started the investigation into the matter,” said the police spokesman.last_img read more

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Clash over Jinnah’s photo at AMU

first_imgViolence broke out on the Aligarh Muslim University campus on Wednesday as the row over Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s portrait in the students’ union office triggered a right-wing protest and clashes between students and protesters.A function to grant life membership of the students’ union to former vice-president Hamid Ansari, scheduled for Wednesday evening, was called off and he had to return to Delhi.At least six persons were injured when the police lobbed tear-gas shells to disperse AMU students demanding the arrest of the protesters who allegedly barged into the campus and burnt effigies of Jinnah and the AMU students’ union.Eyewitnesses said activists from right-wing groups allegedly thrashed the security guards of AMU when they tried to prevent them from entering the campus. The university students alleged that many of them, including AMUSU president M.A. Usmani, were thrashed by the protesters during the clash. They also claimed that the protesters, after being initially detained, were allowed to leave the police station.Security stepped upAligarh District Magistrate Chandra Bhushan Singh said that though two students were injured in the police action, the area remained clam and peaceful. He said two companies of Rapid Action Force have been deployed at AMU to ensure peace.Earlier in the day, a BJP Rajya Sabha MP, Harnath Singh Yadav, demanded the expulsion of Uttar Pradesh Labour Minister Swami Prasad Maurya from the party for praising Jinnah, which the Minister denied he ever did. Media reports suggested that Mr. Maurya had called Jinnah a ” mahapurush ” from the time of undivided India.He reportedly praised him when asked to comment on the row sparked by another BJP MP, Satish Gautam, who had objected to Jinnah’s portrait being displayed at AMU.(With PTI inputs)last_img read more

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Berhampur route for trafficking minor girls

first_imgBerhampur has emerged as a preferred route for child traffickers in Odisha. Several minor girls from Odisha’s Kandhamal district were being trafficked outside the State via Berhampur, police said.During the last month, activists of an NGO have rescued 19 minor girls from Berhampur railway station.All of them were lured by dubious middlemen through promises of high paying jobs outside Odisha. Prabhuprasad Patra of Berhampur Childline said that during the past one year, his team rescued around 100 minors from Kandhamal in Berhampur. They included a large number of girls.Till Tuesday, 14 of these girls had returned back to their homes after counselling them along with their parents by the Kandhamal CWC, said Kandhamal District Child Protection Officer Ms. Karan. The remaining five girls had been provided shelter in Phulbani and steps were being taken for their return and proper rehabilitation, she added.last_img read more

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Sena can follow us on Ram temple, VHP to Uddhav

first_imgWelcoming Shiv Sena to join the struggle to build Ram temple in Ayodhya, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Friday said while it would take the lead, the others can follow. Dr. Surendra Jain, joint general secretary, VHP, welcomed the visit of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to Ayodhya later this month adding that every Hindu should do so. The VHP will be organising five major assemblies in Nagpur, Bengaluru, Ayodhya, Delhi and Mumbai. VHP will reach out to common citizens requesting them to join the struggle to construct the temple prior to these assemblies. “We will not be inviting anybody. Those who wish, can join inIt is going to be our platform,” he said. A religious convocation will be held in Prayag on January 31 and February 1. The VHP on Friday met the Maharashtra governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao and submitted a memorandum demanding a law to build Ram temple in Ayodhya. Later, addressing a press conference, Dr. Jain said there were only three ways by which the construction of Ram mandir in Ayodhya was possible — negotiation, judiciary or legislature. “Discussions could not bring out the result, while the court hearing has been postponed for too long a time. Thus, after the October meeting of the ‘high power committee’ of the Hindu saints, it was decided that we could not wait forever for a decision, and the third method of pushing for a law must be adopted,” said Mr. Jain.He added that the politics of appeasement has ended and now nobody can dare delay the process. “We will not stop until our goal is achieved,” he said. He hoped the BJP government will bring a law within next six months to build the temple as promised in their election manifesto.last_img read more

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Rafale row: Bhushan moves SC, seeks prosecution of officers for submission of false info

first_imgThe Supreme Court’s verdict and Comptroller Auditor General of India (CAG)’s report on the Rafale deal notwithstanding, Prashant Bhushan, eminent lawyer and activist, has moved the SC seeking prosecution of Central government functionaries — responsible for submitting false information to the apex court — under forgery charges.Apart from Mr. Bhushan, former Ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha are petitioners in the fresh applications filed before the SC on Friday. Earlier, the three public figures had filed a review petition against the SC’s verdict on Rafale in January.“We have pleaded the Supreme Court to find out the government officer who had furnished false information, and he or she should be prosecuted under forgery charges,” said Mr. Bhushan addressing a press conference here.“The Centre has misled the Supreme Court by furnishing incorrect information. The information provided in sealed cover has been found to be untrue. It stated the government was in negotiation with Anil Ambani in 2012, but actually talks were held with the other Ambani – Mukesh Ambani. Anil Ambani had nothing to do with the negotiations in 2012,” he said.“The government had said price negotiation was done by a price negotiating team. The recent expose, however, revealed that the Prime Minister’s Office and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval were involved in the negotiation. It was also furnished that the government was able to secure the best price for the fighter jets. What emerges now is that the assertion was baseless,” said Mr. Bhushan.“The deal was not a mere case of corruption. The decision has broken the backbone of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The IAF had sought seven to eight squadrons consisting of 126 fighter planes. The government, however, brought it down to 36. It was meant to benefit industrialist Anil Ambani. The government has tinkered with national security,” alleged the lawyer-activist.Stating that the set of information was full of discrepancies, the activist said, “The sovereign guarantee and bank guarantee clauses have been taken out. The escrow account has been done away with. Moreover, the integrity clause has been waived. All this information has been suppressed.”“The opinion of three domain experts was not taken into account. They had said the benchmark price of the Rafale fighter planes cannot be arbitrarily hiked from Euro 5 bn to Euro 8 bn, which is a 60% increase. The government has bypassed the tender route. The tender was issued for 126 planes, but not for 36 Rafale jets,” he alleged.last_img read more

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Huge quantity of ‘explosives’ recovered in Guwahati

first_imgA day after a grenade blast in Guwahati injured 12 persons, the Guwahati police on Thursday recovered a huge amount of suspected explosives along with arms and ammunition from a house. A couple has also been taken into custody for interrogation in this regard, police sources said. Police started the search operations at the house in Panjabari locality of the city and recovered large quantities of material used in making bombs, arms and ammunition, a laptop and other incriminating goods, they said. A forensic team has also reached the spot and is carrying out investigation.“We can only confirm that suspected explosive material have been recovered during the search operations,” a senior police officer present at the site told PTI. Police sources said the house was taken on rent about a month ago by a woman and that a person “suspected to be a pro-talks ULFA militant” used to visit her. When asked, the Guwahati Police Commissioner Deepak Kumar declined to divulge the details. “We are investigating the case and are on the right track. We are on the lead,” he said.At least 12 persons, including two Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel and a woman, were injured in the grenade blast in front of a shopping mall in the heart of the city on Wednesday evening.The Commissioner told PTI that two persons riding a motorcycle hurled the grenade in front of the shopping mall located at arterial RG Baruah Road just opposite the State zoo around 8 p.m. on Wednesday. Visiting the spot, DGP Kuladhar Saikia had said that a police barricade was set up in front of the mall to conduct routine checks of vehicles, and it is suspected the grenade was hurled aiming the police party. The SSB jawans were on patrolling duty with Assam Police personnel near the barricade. Local TV channels reported that ULFA(I) chief Paresh Baruah claimed responsibility for the blast, but the police refused to confirm it, saying a detailed investigation will bring out the truth. A high-level security meeting has been convened on Thursday evening between the administration, police and the owners of the malls, the Kamakhya temple management committee, other units of different temples and in-charges of prominent places, officials said. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal strongly condemned the incident and asked the DGP to carry out a thorough probe to nab the culprits immediately.“Nobody would be allowed to commit such heinous crimes and strong action would be against those behind this dastardly act,” he had said. The blast took place hours after Mr. Sonowal chaired a high-level security review meeting on Wednesday with the top brass of the Home Department, including police.last_img read more

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Top Stories: Living Longer, Boring Lectures, and a Collapsing Glacier

first_imgA Longer Lifespan—No Dieting RequiredWe’ve known for decades that when animals eat dramatically less, they live longer and stay healthier. But surviving on far fewer calories is no picnic. Now, using a specific molecule produced every day by our own cells, researchers might have found another way to prolong our lifespan—no extreme dieting required.Lectures Aren’t Just Boring, They’re Ineffective, TooSign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Are your lectures droning on? Change it up every 10 minutes with more active teaching techniques and more students will succeed, researchers say. A new study finds that undergraduate students in classes with traditional stand-and-deliver lectures are 1.5 times more likely to fail than students in classes that use more stimulating, so-called active learning methods.Blockbuster Big Bang Result May Fizzle  The biggest discovery in cosmology in a decade could end up fizzling out. Eight weeks ago, researchers reported finding evidence of the massive inflation of our universe immediately following the big bang. Many scientists hailed the result as the big bang’s “smoking gun.” But now, some scientists are saying that there’s a problem with the results.West Antarctic Ice Sheet Is CollapsingA disaster may be unfolding—in slow motion. Scientists have reported that a key glacier holding the massive West Antarctic Ice Sheet together is starting to collapse. In the long run, they say, the entire ice sheet is doomed, which would release enough meltwater to raise sea levels by more than 3 meters.Drug Could Protect Against Radiation ExposureIt may not work against Godzilla, but a new drug could protect people from deadly doses of radiation. The compound, already in clinical trials to treat a blood disorder, may also make radiation therapy for cancer safer.MERS Situation Not an Emergency Yet, WHO Panel SaysDespite a recent dramatic rise in cases, a World Health Organization panel stopped short of declaring the deadly new virus Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) a public health emergency of international concern. However, it did call on countries on the Arabian Peninsula to improve their hospital hygiene and help in carrying out much-needed studies on how MERS spreads.last_img read more

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Duetting musicians are linked by math

first_imgMusicians playing a duet don’t just make beautiful music—they make beautiful math. A new study finds that as two players mesh, tiny hiccups in their rhythms follow repeating patterns. The study has implications for “humanizing” computer-generated music and helps reveal the complex mathematics underlying the common ways in which we interact.Study author Holger Hennig, a physicist at Harvard University, became interested in the mathematics of human rhythms while listening to the electronic drums in the song “Sexy Love” by Ne-Yo. He guessed that no human could produce a beat as precise as a computer could, and in a 2012 study he showed that even professional musicians keep imperfect time—an early beat here, a late beat there, all on the order of milliseconds. What’s more, Hennig found that these tiny deviations from a steady beat aren’t random; they follow repeated, statistical patterns.“It actually shows part of the beauty and richness that is in humans, which is based on their imperfections,” Hennig says. Although listeners may not be aware of the deviations, they still tend to hear the difference between human-produced and computer-generated music.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In the new study, Hennig took advantage of these human imperfections to explore not just rhythm, but rhythmic interaction. He brought pairs of players—some professional, some with no musical training—into a recording studio and watched as they played simple rhythms together on the same keyboard. He tracked the players’ rhythmic deviations as they synchronized over 6 to 8 minutes. In one way, the players interacted as Hennig expected, with a continual give-and-take. For example, when one player sped up even a tiny bit, the other would also speed up, and together they’d reestablish rhythmic equilibrium.But the data also showed something surprising: a sort of long-term memory of rhythmic imperfections over the course of a song. A hiccup near the beginning would influence not only the next few beats, but also a pattern of beats much later in the song. As they try to stay in sync, the players repeat the same patterns of catch-up and slow-down over and over again, Hennig reports online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “What I’ve found here is just this universal underlying structure of musical communication that already shows that there is a musical binding between two musicians over long time scales,” he says.Hennig says that these findings can help computer-generated music sound more human. Music software today tends to either produce perfect rhythm or to introduce random deviations into the beat—a first step toward trying to sound human. But his research shows that in the case of rhythm, humans aren’t random. To try to trick listeners into believing music was played by humans, he has created a model based on his data that introduces patterns of deviations into a computer’s beat. “The model that I built of course couldn’t replace a musician; it can only serve as a starting point and maybe lead to new tools.”The research also lends insight into how other components of complex systems interact with one another. Similar patterns have been observed in group behavior of fish and birds, variations in heartbeat and EEGs, and even fluctuations in the New York Stock Exchange. “Many models of collective synchronization assume that there is this kind of correlation, but it is very nice to have an experimental proof of it,” says Mehdi Moussaïd, a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, who was not involved in the work. He hopes this kind of study will be used to explore the mathematics behind other basic human interactions that involve synchronized behavior, like clapping.last_img read more

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Dwindling African tribe may have been most populous group on planet

first_imgThe famous Kalahari Bushmen of southern Africa have long been in decline. For more than a century, the people, who speak Khoisan languages, have been pushed off their land by farmers and brutalized by colonialists.Yet for tens of thousands of years, the Khoisan’s ancestors were members of “the largest population” on the planet, according to a new study.The Khoisan have long stood apart from other groups within Africa. They look distinct, speak in “click” languages, and have also maintained the greatest genetic diversity known among human populations. Usually, big populations harbor the most diversity. But census counts show that the 100,000 Khoisan speakers in Africa today are far outnumbered by other groups, such as the 45 million Bantu speakers and their 180 million descendants who now speak Swahili and other languages. Researchers have thought that the Khoisan inherited their genetic diversity from a large ancestral population, an idea supported by a single Khoisan genome published in 2012. But scientists couldn’t rule out that the variation in Khoisan DNA arose from more recent interbreeding with other diverse Africans.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In the new study, published online today in Nature Communications, biochemist Stephan Schuster of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and colleagues sequenced the complete genomes of five Khoisan hunter-gatherers from Namibia and compared them with the DNA from 1462 genomes of people from around the world. Schuster’s team found that two of the Khoisan, members of the Ju/’hoansi population in Namibia, inherited their DNA only from Khoisan ancestors in the northern Kalahari region and showed no sign of interbreeding with non-Khoisan speakers. These two Ju/’hoansi genomes preserve ancient diversity inherited entirely from their direct ancestors, the authors say.Using several different methods of analysis, the team reconstructed population sizes for the ancestors of the Khoisan, as well as for Europeans, Asians, and another African group, the Yoruba. They found that all four groups declined in effective population size (the number of breeding adults) between 120,000 and 30,000 years ago. The non-Khoisan groups’ numbers plunged precipitously—by 30,000 years ago, European and Asian populations had plummeted by 90% from their peak, thanks to population bottlenecks caused by the migration of small groups out of Africa. But the Khoisan population declined by only 26%. (Yoruba populations dropped by 69%).The researchers uncovered declines in population in all four groups, likely tied into periods of dry climate in Africa. But the Khoisan suffered the least, perhaps because their huge ancestral population was buffered from droughts that winnowed other groups, such as the Yoruba and the African ancestors of Europeans and Asians, because the Khoisan lived farther south in Africa where rainfall actually increased. The Khoisan then began a more drastic decline in the past 20,000 years or so, with a major blow when the Bantu farmers spread through Africa 4000 years ago. “This shows us how much climate can influence populations,” says genomicist Webb Miller of Pennsylvania State University, University Park, a co-author.Other researchers agree that it’s likely that the Khoisan descend from a large population. But because sampling of African genomes is still so spotty, not everyone is yet convinced that the Khoisan “was the largest population on Earth at some point,” says evolutionary geneticist Pontus Skoglund of Harvard University. “Many African populations are not included for comparison,” he says, so it is possible that some of the diversity seen in the Khoisan was inherited from recent interbreeding that cannot yet be detected.Either way, the study makes it clear that even though the Khoisan are genetically diverse by today’s standards, even they carry just a fraction of our ancestors’ genetic legacy over the past 120,000 years. “It is quite staggering how much extraordinary genetic variation and ethnic diversity was present but is now lost,” Skoglund says. The Khoisan, retaining more than the rest of us, offer a rare window to look back in time at some of that diversity.last_img read more

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Stress shaves hyenas’ chromosomes

first_imgIt’s stressful being a low-ranking hyena—so stressful that even their chromosomes feel it. Researchers have discovered that the challenges of African savanna hyena society shorten underdogs’ telomeres, stretches of DNA that bookend chromosomes and protect them from wear and tear during cell replication. The stress may come from the top hyenas getting the best meat, whereas lower ranking individuals have to travel long distances—sometimes to the edges of the group territory—to fend for themselves. With increased stress, higher amounts of stress hormones and cellular byproducts like oxygen ions and peroxides are produced, both of which have been shown to shorten telomeres in other species. When telomeres fall below a certain length, cells go into damage-control mode and kick off biochemical pathways that can result in cell death. The study, the team reports online today in Biology Letters, is the first to show that the stress of social hierarchy can shorten telomeres in a wild species.last_img read more

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The Humiliation of Aziz Ansari

first_imgSexual mores in the West have changed so rapidly over the past 100 years that by the time you reach 50, intimate accounts of commonplace sexual events of the young seem like science fiction: You understand the vocabulary and the sentence structure, but all of the events take place in outer space. You’re just too old.This was my experience reading the account of one young woman’s alleged sexual encounter with Aziz Ansari, published by the website Babe this weekend. The world in which it constituted an episode of sexual assault was so far from my own two experiences of near date rape (which took place, respectively, during the Carter and Reagan administrations, roughly between the kidnapping of the Iran hostages and the start of the Falklands War) that I just couldn’t pick up the tune. But, like the recent New Yorker story “Cat Person,”—about a soulless and disappointing hookup between two people who mostly knew each other through texts—the account has proved deeply resonant and meaningful to a great number of young women, who have responded in large numbers on social media, saying that it is frighteningly and infuriatingly similar to crushing experiences of their own. It is therefore worth reading and, in its way, is an important contribution to the present conversation.Read it at The Atlantic Related Itemslast_img read more

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