CelebrateLAB Hosts West Africa’s Largest Laboratory Professional Conference

first_imgCelebrateLAB, the largest gathering of laboratory professionals in the ECOWAS region, will host its fifth gathering April 23-24 at the Monrovia City Hall in Sinkor, Monrovia.The two-day event will bring together laboratory scientists from public and private sectors, officials from the World Health Organization, Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Liberia (NPHIL).Laboratory experts and other health officials will share knowledge and experience on best practices that make sense for West Africa. The core audience is the laboratory scientist who makes a difference by treating every patient sample with care. CelebrateLAB Ambassadors from Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Liberia have pledged to improve regional laboratory diagnostics. Dr Dougbeh Chris Nyan, one of the conference ambassadors, an industry innovator and Chief Executive and Scientific Officer of Shufflex Biomed (USA and Liberia), said, “we have the ingenuity to take Africa’s scientific destiny into our own hands for the benefit of humanity.” The 2014 Ebola Virus outbreak in West Africa exposed the vulnerabilities of regional health systems and highlighted the urgent need for collaboration and experience-sharing as populations move across borders.This year’s theme, “Bio-risk Management in West Africa,’’ touches all aspects of laboratory medicine. CelebrateLAB 2019 emphasizes strengthening collaborations across West African borders and promoting public-private partnerships. Candace Eastman, CEO of Africabio Enterprises, said “CelebrateLAB is all about striving for better health outcomes.”GIZ, the German development organization is one of the event’s sponsors. GIZ works with the Liberian Ministry of Health and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia to strengthen laboratory and biomedical capacity through training, mentorship, and the establishment of a regional biomedical engineering workshop and microbiology lab.  During the event, GIZ will facilitate a workshop that will focus on product life cycle management, preventive  maintenance, share lessons learned, and emerging best practices for strengthening the workforce and supporting quality improvements in public laboratories and biomedical workshops.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Dr. Dougbeh Christopher Nyan , CEO, Shufflex Biomed: “we have the ingenuity to take Africa’s scientific destiny into our own hands for the benefit of humanity.” – Advertisement –last_img read more

Neymar turns it on as seven-up PSG destroy Celtic

first_img0Shares0000After Neymar had scored again to put PSG ahead, Edinson Cavani added a third, celebrating wildly with the Brazilian. Photo/DMPARIS, France, Nov 22 – Neymar was back in the mood with the Brazilian scoring twice to set up Paris Saint-Germain’s comeback from behind as they hammered a shellshocked Celtic 7-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday.Moussa Dembele had put the visitors ahead inside a minute at the Parc des Princes, but Neymar’s brace soon turned the game around and both Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe added goals of their own before the interval. Marco Verratti made it five with quarter of an hour left, before Cavani got his second and a sensational Dani Alves hit wrapped up the French giants’ biggest win in the competition.Already through to the last 16 before this game, they will look to clinch top spot in Group B ahead of Bayern Munich when they travel to Germany for their final game next month.Bayern won 2-1 at Anderlecht on Wednesday, while PSG remain on course to finish with maximum points in the section having already set a new record for goals in the group stage with 24.Celtic, who were already eliminated, will at least secure the consolation of a Europa League spot in the New Year as long as they avoid a heavy defeat at home to Anderlecht in their next outing.They had suffered their heaviest ever home defeat in Europe when they last faced PSG in September, losing 5-0. They had also only ever managed just two wins in 29 previous away games in the group stage, and yet they stunned their hosts by going ahead with just 58 seconds played.Alves gave away a corner before Paris had even made it out of their own half and Olivier Ntcham’s low delivery was then swept home by Dembele, the highly-rated France under-21 striker who was on PSG’s books as a youngster.That scuppered PSG’s hopes of becoming the first side to complete the group phase without conceding a goal, but quickly the Scottish side were wondering if they had scored too soon.Neymar’s form has dipped over the last six weeks, and yet the Brazilian led the turnaround in stunning style. He levelled in the ninth minute with a low finish into the far corner from a tight angle following an Adrien Rabiot pass.And he scored again midway through the first half with a low strike beyond Craig Gordon after a one-two with Marco Verratti.That was a sixth goal in five Champions League outings this season for the world’s most expensive player, and it was also the seventh time he had found the net against Celtic.He loves playing against the Scottish side and he claimed an assist as it became 3-1 just before the half-hour, using his shoulder to help an Alves ball across the face of goal for Cavani to turn in.Poor Celtic defending contributed to PSG getting their fourth before the interval, as they failed to deal with a Neymar free-kick into the box and Mbappe fired in.The Ligue 1 leaders had taken their took their foot off the gas after the break but they rounded out their win with three more goals late on.Celtic lost 7-0 to Neymar’s Barcelona in this competition last season and this turned into a similar hiding as Verratti made it five before Cavani volleyed in the sixth, his 21st of the season.The best was saved for last as Alves made it seven with a quite stunning effort from 22 yards that arced into the top-left corner of the net.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

New Theory about the Origin of Life Concludes It’s Magic!

first_imgby Jerry Bergman, PhDThe headline of a new discovery about the origin of life reads, “A New Clue to How Life Originated.”[1]And so another new theory about how life could have evolved from simple molecules has been added to the existing pile of theories. I expect that it soon will be discarded as have most other origin-of-life theories. The new theory began when Professor Caitlin Cornell was looking in her microscope and saw bright spots against a black background resembling “miniature suns, blazing against the backdrop of space.” Cornell thenshowed the spots to her supervisor, Sarah Keller, a chemist at the University of Washington, “we got really excited,” she recalls. “It was a bit of an ‘Aha!’ moment.” Those spots, she realized, might help address a long-standing puzzle about the origin of life itself.[2]Cells that make up all living organisms, from single-celled animals to humans, exist in an almost endless variety, but all must contain the following:Molecules that encode information to produce protein, and that can be copied, such as DNA and RNA.Proteins which construct the organism’s body and the cell’s organelles, such as mitochondria. These proteins are also used to construct skin, muscles, and other tissues plus the 200 organs that make up our body.An encapsulating membrane that surrounds all cells and cell organelles, which is made from fatty acids.Background of Origins-of-Life TheoriesDarwinists postulate that, if we go back far enough in time, before animals and plants and even bacteria existed, the precursor of all life must have existed which they call a “protocell.” They postulate that this structure had a trinity of parts: RNA and proteins, surrounded by a membrane.[3] Young quotes physicist Freeman Dyson who opined, “Life began with little bags of garbage.” Already we can see a problem. To be life, this protocell has to do what life does, namely respirate, replicate, duplicate RNA, and produce a bag, the membrane, that protects the machines that make protein to produce the parts required for life.[4]  Young adds all of the parts are critical, even the bag: “Without something to corral the other molecules, they would all just float away, diffusing into the world and achieving nothing…. Life, at its core, is about creating compartments.”[5]Much more important is having the right machines in the right place in the right compartment at the right time. And even more important is the DNA and the complex machinery required to translate the genetic code into functional proteins. Since the complexity required to meet this goal is overwhelming, evolutionists must postulate something simpler existed as the first cell. Some propose it was based on RNA, called the RNA-world theory. Even here problems exist. Jack Szostak, 2009 Nobel laureate for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase, noted that accordingto the RNA World Hypothesis, RNA was a key molecule that was utilized by the earliest life on Earth to store genetic information and to catalyze chemical reactions.  This raises the question, however, of how RNA formed under prebiotic conditions on the early Earth. In fact, the issue of the complete synthesis of RNA nucleotides has been a major stumbling block for the RNA World Hypothesis. The sugar found in the backbone of both DNA and RNA, ribose, has been particularly problematic, as the most prebiotically plausible chemical reaction schemes have typically yielded only a small amount of ribose mixed with a diverse assortment of other sugar molecules.[6]Another problem is that RNA is enormously complex. Lab experiments have not been much help, a fact which has caused “some scientists to hypothesize that RNA was preceded by other RNA-like molecules that were more stable and readily synthesized under prebiotic conditions.”[7]  One proposed solution to the complexity problem suggests that “some components of RNA may have formed in space and arrived on Earth rather than being formed de novo on the Earth.”[8] But this solution, rather than solving the complexity problem, just moves it somewhere else, so the same problem still exists. Based on an analyses of meteorites, such as the Murchison meteorite and other evidence, some scientists have raised powerful objections to the postulate that some components of RNA formed somewhere out in space.From Building Blocks to BuildingsAnother problem concerns assembly. Even if we can somehow obtain pools of RNA nucleotides on Earth, how did (or could) long strands of RNA form on the early Earth? Chemical evolutionists imagine RNA “ribozymes,” with both coding and enzymatic abilities, happening on the same molecule by chance. The few known ribozymes have very limited capabilities, like cutting themselves in half.Ribosome: Messenger RNA in, protein out. (Illustra Media)Then there’s the folding problem. Obtaining a functional ribozyme that could direct the assembly of amino acids into a strand that could fold into a functional protein is astronomically improbable. In real life, a molecular machine called a ribosome is required to read the genetic code and translate it into protein. But the ribosome requires both RNA and protein to work. It’s a classic chicken-and-egg problem: how could RNA form a protein to create a machine that needs a protein to work?ClaymationTo hope for a ribozyme that might function as a cheap ribosome jig would likely require an RNA strand composed of at least 30 to 40 nucleotides. This issue has been researched by James Ferris’ group at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. They attempt to solve the problem of the origin of RNA strands composed of at least 30 to 40 nucleotides, postulatingthat the formation of long strands of RNA may have been catalyzed by clays such as montmorillonite.  The …  clay surface attracts the nucleotides and the increased local concentration of nucleotides causes bond formation between nucleotides, forming a polymer of RNA.”[9]Others have pointed out the problems with the clay theory. University of Chicago Professor Robert Shapiro wrote the “sudden appearance of a large self-copying molecule such as RNA was exceedingly improbable. … [The probability] is so vanishingly small that its happening even once anywhere in the visible universe would count as a piece of exceptional good luck.”[10]Bring in the MagiciansIn short, all other proposals have met a dead end. Thus the new theory called “completely magical” has been proposed by Caitlin Cornell and her research team.Professor Cornell ignores the problem of the origin of RNA and protein for now and, instead, focuses on cell membranes constructed from fatty acids. The fatty acids in cell membranes are lollipop-shaped molecules possessing fatty round heads and long, thin, two-stranded tails. The heads are hydrophilic; the tails, hydrophobic. Consequently, when placed in water, the fatty acids can self-assemble into hollow spheres with the hydrophilic tails on the surface, the hydrophobic tails end up pointing inward. These spheres can enclose RNA and proteins, making crude protocell-like compartments. The problem, Young explains, assuming the common belief that life first arose in salty oceans, is that ocean water contains many kinds of ions in addition to sodium and chloride, such as magnesium and iron—both very common in saltwater today.These ions cause the spheres to collapse, which is problematic since RNA—another key component of early protocells—requires these ions. How, then, could life possibly have arisen, when the compartments it needs are destroyed by the conditions in which it first emerged, and by the very ingredients it needs to thrive?[11]Caitlin Cornell and Sarah Keller’s answer is that the spheres are able to withstand both salt and magnesium ions, as long as they’re in the presence of amino acids—which concurrently are the building blocks of proteins. The tiny suns Cornell observed in her microscope were mixtures of amino acids and fatty acids that held their spherical shape in the presence of salts. She wrote about her simple discovery:I find that utterly magical. It means that two of the essential components of life, a protocell’s membrane and its proteins, provided the conditions for each other to exist. By sticking to the fatty acids, the amino acids gave them stability. In turn, the fatty acids concentrated the amino acids, perhaps encouraging them to coalesce into proteins.The research team then made a Herculean leap in fantasy from this simple mundane observation. Writing in poetic prose, they imagined that from the very beginning of evolutionthese partners were locked in a two-step dance that continued for 3.5 billion years, and helped create all the richness of biology from a starting place of mere chemistry. “I agree completely,” Keller tells me. “It’s completely magical. You need those two parts together.”[12]Laws vs MagicIt is not magical. It is simply a consequence of the laws of chemistry which had to be designed the way they are for life to exist. That is the problem that must be explained. A theist would postulate that the laws of chemistry exist by design with the specific goal to allow life to exist, not the other way around as implied by Cornell and her colleagues. Cornell implied that the laws of chemistry existed first which just happened to be conducive for the creation of complex life on Earth. She describes her experiment as follows:On their own, the fatty acids predictably self-assembled into hollow spheres. “They looked like jellyfish: clear insides with opaque edges, floating around,” she says. If she added salt or magnesium ions, these jellyfish disintegrated. But if she did that after adding amino acids, they held their shape. What’s more, they transformed into shapes that Cornell likens to glowing onions. Their once-hollow centers were filled with another layer of fatty acids—spheres within spheres. Not coincidentally, that’s what our actual cells are like, with membranes that comprise two fatty layers instead of one…. Amino acids allow membranes to exist in the presence of magnesium, which RNA needs to function.From the film Origin (Illustra Media)In spite of the headline hype, she has not stumbled onto the solution of  how life evolved, but rather only the chemistry that explains how life was designed to live. She has recreated the chemical conditions required for working cells, or more accurately, she has accidentally copied the existing design found in cells. She was only explaining how life works, not how life evolved. Her challenge is to address a problem posed to her by her colleagues, namely “no one had good ideas about how exactly the protocell trinity—RNA, proteins, and membranes” could assemble in life, in other words, how it functioned in life. She has shed light on a small part of the question of how lipid membranes could be stabilized in salt water – not how life evolved.The presence of amino acids protects the fatty-acid spheres, allowing what we see in the biological world to exist. She found a compartment that can hold the building blocks required for making proteins and RNA, but still has yet to determine how the individual building blocks build buildings: how they bond together to form the larger molecules, which she admits is “a very hard question.” The model falls far short of explaining how nonliving chemicals spontaneously formed life in the natural world without any guidance from an intelligent being.Past Efforts FailedThe theory implies natural bonding patterns can produce life. It’s similar to a theory that was proposed by Dean H. Kenyon and chemist Gary Steinman in their book Biological Predestination.[13] This book was a mainstay of college biology and evolution classes back in the 1970’s. In short, the authors believed that life was biochemically predestined by the properties of attraction and repulsion that exist between chemicals, especially between amino acids in proteins. They described the following causal chain: the “properties of the chemical elements dictate the types of monomers that can be formed in prebiotic syntheses, which then dictate the properties of the occurring polymers, which finally dictate the properties of the first eobionts [dawn cells] and all succeeding cells.”[14] Several reviews were very laudable about the Biological Predestination book, such as this review by Leslie Orgel in Science.Biochemical Predestination , despite its title, is a thoroughly professional book on the origins of life. It presents the best detailed account of the subject that I have read. The authors, perhaps because they never knew the bad old days [of origins of life research], are not too concerned with the legitimacy of their subject but, writing as laboratory scientists, describe the relevant experiments and attempt to interpret them.[15]The anti-creation website called ‘Panda’s Thumb’ even wrote “Dr. Dean Kenyon, Ph.D., Biophysics… [is] one of the leading evolutionary biologists in the world.”[16] One of the leading origin-of-life researchers, Sidney W. Fox, was able to point out problems with the main theme of Biochemical Predestination as far back as 1970.[17] Kenyon eventually rejected his own theory of biochemical predestination. In the film Unlocking the Mystery of Life, he says he could not answer a counter-argument proposed by one of his students: how could amino acids assemble themselves into proteins without genetic instructions?Chemical bonds must form for a cell to exist. The research by Cornell merely adds another example to our understanding of the binding properties of a few molecules involved in making stable membranes. It’s a trivial factor in explaining the origin of life [OOL], which must also include the far more difficult questions about the origin of genetic instructions and metabolism.What They Actually AchievedThe Cornell team rationalized their trivial success, thinking that doing something (i.e., finding a law-like chemical property) is better than doing nothing. Before their contribution, says Ed Yong of the article in The Atlantic, “people were just waving their hands and attributing this crucial convergence to some random event.” Furious hand-waving goes with the OOL territory. Yong writes,The study of life’s origins is always contentious. Scientists often disagree furiously about things that are happening right now, let alone events that occurred more than 3.5 billion [Darwin] years ago. Some researchers, for example, think that life began in shallow volcanic pools, while others argue that it must have arisen in underwater vents.[18]The study by the Cornell team is no less contentious.[19] In essence, they were helping the cause of design—not of evolution. By determining a requirement for the chemistry for life to work, the scientists were acting as if they were “thinking God’s thoughts after Him,” as Kepler said of his investigations into how the heavens operated. It did not help explain how life evolved from some primordial goo, but only how, because of certain laws of chemistry, some requirements for life have been met.References[1] Ed Young. 2019. “A New Clue to How Life Originated. A long-standing mystery about early cells has a solution—and it’s a rather magical one.” The Atlantic. August 19. Online at https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/08/interlocking-puzzle-allowed-life-emerge/595945/[2] Young, 2019. Ref 1.[3] Young, 2019. Ref 1.[4] Young, 2019. Ref 1.[5] Young, 2019. Ref 1.[6] Jack Szostak. “RNA on the Early Earth”. http://exploringorigins.org/nucleicacids.html[7] Szostak. Ref 6.[8] Szostak. Ref 6.[9] Szostak. Ref 6.[10] Robert Shapiro, 2007. “A Simpler Origin for Life,” Scientific American, pp. 46-53. June.[11] Young, 2019. Ref 1.[12] Young, 2019. Ref 1.[13] Dean H. Kenyon, and Gary Steinman. 1969. Biochemical Predestination. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.[14] Stephan Berry. 1997. “ ‘Biochemical Predestination’ as Heuristic Principle for Understanding the Origin of Life,” Journal of Chemical Education, 74(8):950.[15] Leslie Orgel. 1969. “Evidence and Speculation on How Life Began.” Science. December 26, pp.1613-1614.[16] Nick Matzke. 2010. Dean Kenyon: a young-earth creation scientist who was later relabeled an intelligent design proponent. https://pandasthumb.org/archives/2010/07/dean-kenyon-a-y.html. July 20.[17] Sidney W. Fox. 1970. “Biochemical Predestinationby Dean H. Kenyon, Gary Steinman.” The Quarterly Review of Biology, 45(2);180. June.[18] Young, 2019. Ref 1.[19] Casey Luskin. 2012. “Top Five Problems with Current Origin-of-Life Theories.” Evolution News. https://evolutionnews.org/2012/12/top_five_probl/Dr. Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology at several colleges and universities including for over 40 years at Bowling Green State University, Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in experimental pathology, and The University of Toledo. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 1,300 publications in 12 languages and 40 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored, are in over 1,500 college libraries in 27 countries. So far over 80,000 copies of the 40 books and monographs that he has authored or co-authored are in print. For more articles by Dr Bergman, see his Author Profile.Another brilliant cartoon by Brett Miller for CEH.(Visited 811 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Smart Speakers Are Useful and Fun, but Don’t Let Them Reign as the Queen of All Knowledge

first_imgVince Lynch is CEO of IV.AI, a global AI company that helps businesses better connect with their customers. It processes 150 languages so all customers can be heard regardless of their origin. Clients include SMBs and larger companies such as Netflix, Toyota, Estée Lauder, Telefonica, and Capital One. When we were asked to help promote the “Resident Evil” film franchise for Sony Pictures a couple of years ago, we came up with the idea of altering the fictional artificial intelligence character (The Red Queen) into a real AI character — for which the fans could interact. It was a fun concept that was quite successful, but it created some serious challenges and reminded us how hard it is to build truly meaningful AI.Creating AI, including smart speakers like Alexa and smartphone assistants like Siri, is challenging. These devices offer a helpful utility function and are good for amusement, but they are created and trained by humans, which can introduce biases and a power dynamic that should be addressed.The Red Queen AIEngagement was what we were aiming for when we started on the Red Queen AI. We began by collecting all the scripts that had been created by the writers of the films in the series. We trained the AI to learn the character using natural language processing techniques and then generated new dialogue written entirely by the AI to see how it would work.The first few AI outputs were a nightmare. There wasn’t enough training data in the model, so the new AI version of the character was overly aggressive. We needed more data to soften the harsh villain character and enable it to work for a wider audience.The film character’s catchphrase was “You’re all going to die down here,” but the first version of the AI couldn’t quite get it right. It gave us some pretty funny results, including “You must die” and “Your death is here.” As you might imagine, it could be a bit heavy out of context and could have hindered our ability to reach a new audience that hadn’t seen the previous films.To add more training data and to make the AI smarter, we decided to tap into literature by authors like Charles Dickens and Shakespeare so the AI could learn from the more gentle communication styles of classic villains. Then, we added real conversations from police engagements with criminals to provide more realism and modern communication, as well as examples of people on psychoactive drugs recounting the things they saw, which ended up providing some rather creative dialogue.We trained and retrained, and finally settled on the AI’s output: “I’m not sure I’m done playing with you yet.” This statement would then appear more playful and not as murderous. Plus it worked for the context of the engagement, which allowed people back into the game.Everyone was happy with the end result, and the game was a hit. But it’s important to note that our decisions about which training data to use had biases. The decisions of the writers as to what made a good villain had biases. All of those biased slants can be OK when the aim is entertainment — but they should be approached with caution for more serious conversations managed by voice assistants, such as for healthcare, finances, and nutrition.The Challenges of AI AssistantsThe creators of AI assistants are often a small, homogenized group of people behind the curtain who decide what answers are true (or the most accurate) for billions of people. These arbitrary statements create a distorted view of reality that users of AI assistants might take as gospel.For instance, more than a year ago, Alexa was accused of a liberal bias. And last January, a video went viral when someone asked Google Home who Jesus was and the device couldn’t answer but could tell users who Buddha was. The company explained that it didn’t allow the device to answer the question because some answers come from the web, which might prompt a response a Christian would find disrespectful.As the use of smart speakers continues to climb, so do expectations. The number of smart speakers in U.S. homes increased 78% from December 2017 to December 2018 to a whopping 118.5 million, according to “The Smart Audio Report.” But users need to be mindful of the way the AI platforms work.Digital assistants have the potential to limit the scope of what products and platforms we use.After all, when one device (and, therefore, one company) owns the road to external knowledge, that company can act unethically in its own interest.For example, if I ask Siri to play a song by The Beatles, the device might automatically play the song from Apple Music instead of my Spotify library. Or I might ask Alexa to order AA batteries, and Alexa could happily order Amazon’s own brand.Combatting the Limited Scope of AI DevicesIn free markets, where competition is supposed to benefit consumers, these flaws can present significant obstacles. The companies that own the speakers could conceivably gain even more control over commerce than they already have.To combat this, users should be as transparent as possible with their requests to AI devices. “Play The Beatles on Spotify” or “Order the cheapest AA batteries,” for instance, are more thorough instructions. The more aware users are of how companies engage with them, the more they can enjoy the benefits of AI assistants while maintaining control of their environment.You can also ask an AI device to communicate with a specific company when you are buying items. For instance, Best Buy offers exclusive deals that you can only get when ordering through your smart speaker. You can also get updates on your orders, help with customer service needs, and updates on new releases.Users should remember that AI assistants are tools, and they need to think about how they manage them in order to have a good experience.And users should report responses if assistants make them feel uncomfortable so the makers of these devices and skills can improve the experience for everyone. Natural language processing requires a considered focus, as the potential benefits are just as significant as the liability of things going wrong.As for our natural language processing and the Red Queen, we discovered that some users were signing off at night with “Good night, Red Queen,” which means she clearly wasn’t too aggressive in the end. Follow the Puck A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Vince LynchCEO of IV.AI Tags:#AI#artificial intelligence#digital assistant#smart speakers AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storagelast_img read more

Master Resolve’s Built-In Film Grain with This Rundown

first_imgLooking for more control over your film grain effects? DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio gives you fully customizable options to mimic film stock.With the rise in accessibility of HD cameras, there’s one digital asset that has grown tremendously in popularity over the last decade, and that is film grain. From websites that supply grain overlays (like RocketStock) to companies that provide plugins that can help emulate film stock down to the color properties (such as Film Convert), the options for filmmakers are plentiful. To some, it’s somewhat paradoxical to layer a clean HD image with film grain, but for many, it’s a creative necessity.In the studio version of DaVinci Resolve, there’s a ResolveFX Texture Film Grain effect. You can change the film type, the grain opacity, the composite mode, and plenty more. Given that Resolve 14 Studio now costs just slightly more than most grain plugins, let’s see if it would be worth it to pay a little extra and bag the studio version of Resolve — or if this grain effect is something completely different.(It’s important to note that in Resolve, the grain is a procedurally generated layer of simulated grain. So we’re not receiving a scan of actual film stock. It’s a digital interpretation.)You can add the grain either on the edit page or the color page. However, note that if you add the grain on the edit page, you cannot adjust the settings on the color page — the control settings do not follow through. This goes for all effects applied on the edit page. Therefore, for this insight, we are going to apply our grain effect on the color page.Another important factor is that if you do decide to apply grain, or any effect, on the edit page, your nodes won’t have the FX logo to notify you that there is an effect present. However, if you display the thumbnails of each clip, you’ll be able to see which clips have effects applied to them on the edit page.What effects exactly? That, it doesn’t tell you. Therefore, again, I would suggest applying effects that will affect the color and image quality in the color page.To apply the film grain, first, create a new node, and open the OpenFX panel in the top right corner. With the panel open, scroll down until you find ResolveFX Texture — Film Grain. As the grain is quite far down the list, you can make it easier to find by either searching for the effect with the search tool or setting the grain as a favorite and selecting show favorites only.With the node selected, your effects panel should automatically jump to the settings control of the recently added effect. This is the control panel for adjusting all of the customizable elements of the applied grain. The menu controls are broken into three different categories: main controls, grain params, and advanced controls.The main controls are going to be where you choose which film grain preset you want to work with, and how you want to apply that to your footage. If you open the film menu type, you’ll notice that along with the film size, there are also numbers and letters that appear alongside the size. These represent specific film stocks — different brands will have slightly different grain structures. We’re going to come back to this submenu later because it represents an important distinction over other grain plugins.The param controls will be the settings panel that gives you creative control over the grain elements. For example, in this shot below, I think the grain is a little too strong and too colorful. It resembles ’90s television noise more than 35mm film grain.Therefore by adjusting the strength and saturation, I can adjust this preset to feel more organic. It’s a fantastic feature, and certainly, it’s something that you cannot achieve with a grain overlay.The advanced controls may be the best part of this built-in effect. The panel has three sliders: shadows, midtones, and highlights. These sliders will control the amount of grain that applies to these tonal regions. As a confirmed grain addict, one of the most significant issues I often face is applying a grain texture on a clip where there is already visible noise in the shadows. In this case, the noise becomes more prominent with the added boost from the grain. In Resolve, with these advanced controls, you can control the amount of grain that composites into these regions.To wrap up, let’s jump back to the main controls. When you switch film types, you may notice the lack of artistic difference in the image, especially if you’ve come from using the FilmConvert plugin. As in FilmConvert, a simple switch from 5207 Vis3 to Portra 400 would drastically alter the color, the grain, and even the exposure intensity. And I think this is an important thing to highlight with ResolveFX grain, as it’s not an effect that is going to magically convert your HD media to footage that looks like it was shot with Kodak T200. It’s more of a tool that will help blend digital footage with celluloid footage — a tool that lets you add grain back to a denoised shot. At the very least, it will give you a basic starting point to work on building the 35mm film look. However, this isn’t a FilmConvert-like plugin. You will still need to correctly color the footage and adjust it to mimic a film stock.On that note, for those who seek a method that will help convert their footage into celluloid-like media, this isn’t it, I would suggest looking at the various plugins on the market.Lewis McGregor is a certified BlackMagic Design DaVinci Resolve Trainer.last_img read more

Understanding the real limits of current AI technology

first_imgGo ahead. Ask Siri on your iPhone: “Tell me good Italian restaurants nearby.” Instantly, you get a list. Great.So, ask again. This time, “How about bad Italian restaurants nearby?” A list pops up, but most of the bad restaurants are also good restaurants on the previous list.No one with a minimal grasp of technology should be surprised. Siri — on your so-called smartphone — doesn’t know good from bad.Oops.In fact, modern AI (i.e. Siri, IBM’s Watson, etc.) is not capable of “reading” (a sentence, situation, an expression) or “understanding” same. AI, however, is great at pretending as though it understands what someone just asked, by doing a lot of “searching” and “optimizing.”This is one point made emphatically by Noriko Arai, a mathematician at the National Institute of Informatics in Japan, in a recent book entitled “AI vs. Children Who Can’t Read Textbooks.”You might recall her name from a 2017 TED talk. Arai gained her notoriety by launching the “Can a Robot Get into the University of Tokyo?” project in 2011. I’d heard of the project but paid little attention until I read her book.Noriko AraiArai explains that passing the exam to enter Todai (short for the University of Tokyo in Japanese) turns to be very ambitious challenge for a machine. Unlike Jeopardy! — always framed as factoid questions — the entrance exams for Todai consists of seven sections, including math, English, science, and a 600-word essay. Each section poses distinct challenges for researchers translating natural language into machine-readable formula.In the end, after several years of R&D by roughly 100 people — including PhD students and corporate researchers — Arai’s Todai Robot flunked the Todai exam. However, the robot did better than 80% of the students who took the test.Definitely junior-college material.There are many ways to interpret the Todai Robot Project, and many implications. However, here’s where I find the genius in Arai’s project: Continue Reading Previous VadaTech presents base board for wideband massive MIMO software defined radioNext Kontron: KBox B-201-CFL offers compact housing and flexible mounting options ThomasMaloney says: Arai assessed where Japan went wrong with its now infamous “Fifth Generation Computer System.” Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel reply You must Register or Login to post a comment. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Log in to Reply 2 thoughts on “Understanding the real limits of current AI technology” She compares a Todai Robot, that can search and optimize but can’t really understand the meaning of questions, to Japanese kids who similarly cram information into their heads before taking tests, but on a very superficial level, not understanding questions they said they’d read. Succinctly lays out the basic limitations AI faces today.center_img March 26, 2019 at 5:12 am “Well, obviously we cannot expect an AI to work exactly like a human brain. There are certain limitations that restrict their thinking or how they really function which should be kind of expected since they are basically programmed to work as such. If they Arai framed her big AI research project in a simple, easy-to-understand catch phrase that got everyone’s attention: “Can AI Ace the Entrance Exam of a Top University?” Who wouldn’t want to know? Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: Advanced Technology March 26, 2019 at 2:30 am “Of course AI still has a long way to go. If and when artificial intelligence reaches the standard of computing and processing that the human brains have, we will be in a lot of trouble I reckon! We need to embrace the fact that there are such quirks and p StephenGiderson says: Fifth Generation Computer Project You might have heard of Japan’s Fifth Generation Computer System, a massive government-industry collaboration launched in 1982. The goal was a computer “using massively parallel computing and processing” to provide a platform for future developments in “artificial intelligence.” Reading through what was stated then, I know I’m not the only one feeling a twinge of “Déjà vu.”The plan was to build a high-speed parallel computing machine around the concepts of logic programming. The planners believed that logic reasoning would help Japan design AI applications such as automatic diagnostic systems or machine translation. More than 5 billion yen was poured into the project.Japan bet its national reputation on this effort. In those days, Japan was often viewed as a heavy borrower of knowledge from abroad while contributing little of its own ingenuity to the outside world. Japan hoped to deflect the stereotype and build a new reputation.The project was an abject failure. There is no fifth-generation computer to speak of today. Yet, no official reports exist in Japan today analyzing what went haywire, according to Arai. She suspects that this is one reason why Japan has steered clear of big AI projects ever since.Curiously, Arai points out that the U.S. corporations have all learned from Japan’s failure.Big companies like IBM and Google “quickly abandoned the idea of developing AI around logic programming. They shifted their efforts to developing a statistical method in designing AI for Google translation, or IBM’s Watson,” she explained in her book. Modern AI thrives on the power of statistics and probability.last_img read more

Indigenous designers getting ready for the biggest day of year across the

first_imgBrittany HobsonAPTN National NewsFor some Indigenous designers, there is no bigger day than Aboriginal Day.That’s when APTN will broadcast concerts and events from coast to coast to coast – and designers get to dress the hosts with their latest fashions.“We talk a lot about honour and it’s really the only word I can say. I feel honoured to do this. To be a part of this celebration and to be recognized,” said designer Andreanne Dandeneau .Here is a link to everything going on June 21 – Aboriginal Day Live bhobson@aptn.calast_img read more

We felt a little disrespected Luka Modric

first_imgThe Croatian player believes the English media underestimated his country before the 2018 FIFA World Cup Semi-Final in RussiaCroatia and England met in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia in the Semi-Final round.There, Kieran Trippier opened up the scoreboard in favor of the Three Lions, but then Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic gave the Croatians a ticket to the final.“When I said that after the game it was not meant to be about the players or the head coach but more in regards to some media and commentary that we read and watched,” the Real Madrid midfielder told Sky Sports.Jose Mourinho, Lionel MessiMourinho: “Lionel Messi made me a better coach” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho believes the experience of going up against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi at Real Madrid made him a greater coach.“We felt a little bit disrespected and not enough recognition we thought we deserved.”“It was a little bit of extra motivation for the team, not that we needed any for a World Cup semi-final. That’s how I felt,” he added.“Is it a problem for England? That’s something you need to answer for yourself and analyze.”last_img read more

Updates On Construction Projects On The Kenai Peninsula

first_imgFacebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Department of Transportation has released it’s weekly road construction update for the projects currently taking place on the Kenai Peninsula. STERLING HIGHWAY REHABILITATION, SKILAK LAKE to STERLING ROAD CONSTRUCTION through OctoberDrivers should expect LANE CLOSURES, ONE-LANE TRAFFIC and flagging operations, Monday through Sunday, 8:00pm to 7:00am.Construction crews have begun milling operations between MP 77 and 79.Construction crews have begun foaming and paving work. Drivers should expect PILOT CAR operations and 15 to 20 minute DELAYS, Monday through Sunday, 8:00pm to 8:00am.Crews will continue to work north from MP 67 and 69. Watch for flagging and PILOT CAR operations, with 5 to 10 minute DELAYS.STERLING HIGHWAY, MP 89.8 LEFT TURN LANESROAD CONSTRUCTION through OctoberWork is suspended through June and July and there will be no traffic restrictions during this time.Expect paving operations to begin in August.KENAI SPUR HIGHWAY REHABILITATION, SPORTS LAKE to SWIRES ROAD, PHASE I ROAD CONSTRUCTION through the seasonConstruction crews are working on the Kenai Spur Highway between MP 5 and 8.Drivers should expect LANE RESTRICTIONS, and ONE-LANE TRAFFIC with flagging and PILOT CAR operations.KALIFORNSKY BEACH ROAD MP 16 to 22.2, RESURFACING and SIGNALIZATIONROAD CONSTRUCTION through the seasonDrivers should be aware that the temporary signals are on a timer, not detection, so usual signal patterns have changed.STERLING HIGHWAY BELUGA LAKE DAM IMPROVEMENTSROAD CONSTRUCTION through mid JulyThe area of impact for this construction is approximately a 1/2 mile, with guard rails on both sides of the highway.HOMER EAST END ROADROAD CONSTRUCTION through OctoberOn June 22 and 23, drivers should expect LANE RESTRICTIONS, flagging operations and DELAYS up to 20 minutes from 8:00am to 8:00pm.Please drive with caution and check back for more information as the project continues.last_img read more

Another strong quake hits Indonesia

first_imgClose-up map of Lombok where a new earthquake struck on Thursday. AFPA strong aftershock struck Indonesia’s Lombok on Thursday, causing panic among evacuees sheltering after a devastating earthquake killed more than 160 on the holiday island four days earlier.The 5.9-magnitude quake Thursday struck at a shallow depth in the northwest of the island, the US Geological Survey said, even as relief agencies raced to find survivors among wreckage from Sunday’s quake.“The quake was felt strongly. There have been 355 aftershocks since Sunday,” national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.Evacuees at a shelter in northern Lombok’s Tanjung district ran out onto the road crying and screaming, an AFP reporter at the scene said.Motorcycles parked on the street toppled over and the walls of some nearby buildings collapsed.A woman wearing a motorbike helmet was seen crying with her two daughters in her arms.“We were stuck in the traffic while delivering aid, suddenly it felt like our car was hit from behind, it was so strong,” witness Sri Laksmi told AFP.“People in the street began to panic and got out of their cars, they ran in different directions in the middle of the traffic.”The aftershock comes after Sunday’s devastating 6.9-magnitude earthquake, which relief agencies said had wiped out entire villages in the worst-hit regions of northern and western Lombok.A total of 164 people have been confirmed killed in Sunday’s quake, national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told AFP, with a further 1,400 seriously injured and more than 150,000 displaced.Indonesian search and rescue members react shortly after an aftershock hits the area in Tanjung on Lombok island on 9 August 2018. AFP Meta: A strong aftershock struck Indonesia’s Lombok on Thursday, causing panic among evacuees sheltering after a devastating earthquake killed more than 160 on the holiday island four days earlier.Relief efforts had yet to reach parts of the island even before Thursday’s aftershock, Indonesian authorities said, with hopes fading of finding further survivors among the wreckage.“The earthquake does not have any tsunami potential,” Hary Tirto Djatmiko, spokesman for Indonesia’s meteorology, climatology and geophysics agency (BMKG), said of Thursday’s aftershock.last_img read more