Food for thought

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49ers’ George Kittle sends touching note to his college coach, penned on a jersey

first_imgTalk to any teacher whose students come back to say “thank you.”It’s invariably a lump-in-the-throat moment.LeVar Woods got a double dose Tuesday. Woods? He was a student-athlete at Iowa who followed his bliss to the NFL — where he played seven years as a linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans.He is now back at his alma mater as special teams coordinator.  But before he got that assignment, he coached tight ends. One of his students was a young man named …last_img read more

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Natural Selection Demonstrated in European Heart-Disease Gene?

first_imgStephen Wooding (U. of Utah) is elated.  He sees an “exciting trend” in genetic research that might, finally, demonstrate positive natural selection acting on a gene with a clear phenotypic effect (measurable outward benefit).  Writing in the Sept. 7 Current Biology,1 he mentions a few recent papers suggesting this connection, but focuses particularly on one study by Rockman et al. in the same issue.2  This UK/American team claims to have identified a gene that has been positively selected to shape heart disease risk among Europeans.  The story was summarized by EurekAlert.    The gene under investigation is named MMP3, a regulator of a substance that builds coronary artery walls.  The amount of up- or down-regulation of this gene affects their elasticity and thickness.  The researchers compared this gene and its surrounding DNA between nine kinds of monkeys and apes, and between six human populations.  They claim to have found a trend among Europeans to possess a certain mutation that up-regulates the products of MMP3 (because it inhibits repressive factors).  This leads to less hardening of the arteries but more risk of blood clot induced heart attack or stroke (myocardial infarction).  The mutation changes one T to a C at a certain position on the gene.  Using molecular phylogenetic techniques, they estimated the mutation might have occurred in the European line anywhere from 36,600 to 2,200 years ago.  Maybe it came about in the Ice Age, they surmise, and natural selection acting on this mutation may have given Europeans dining on animal fat some protection from atherosclerosis.  Whatever, the selection probably did not act alone on that one gene, which only regulates other genes, but on a suite of genes due to pleiotropic effects (i.e., when one gene evolves, other unrelated phenotypic effects can result).    The authors seemed happy to be able to provide an example of natural selection acting positively on a gene for a beneficial physiological effect: “The evolutionary forces of mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift shape the pattern of phenotypic variation in nature, but the roles of these forces in defining the distributions of particular traits have been hard to disentangle.”  (Emphasis added in all quotes.) Natural selection is an important factor influencing variation in the human genome, but most genetic studies of natural selection have focused on variants with unknown phenotypic associations.  This trend is changing.  New studies are rapidly revealing the effects of natural selection on genetic variants of known or likely functional importance….These [studies on] variants [on genes with known phenotypic effects] are particularly interesting from an evolutionary standpoint because they are where the phenotypic rubber meets the road of natural selection – variants upon which natural selection could be having particularly direct effects.Those assuming this was old news since Darwin’s day might be surprised at this admission that studies have rarely connected a mutation to an actual physical benefit.  Analyses at the molecular level of the gene, to be fair, have only recently become possible.  Stephen Wooding is greatly encouraged by this study.  He thinks it represents not only an exciting trend, but a new means of paving “an unusually direct path between ancient human history and modern human health.”  Rockman’s team claims that British men would have 43% more heart attacks had this mutation not occurred among their distant ancestors.  But then, since hardening of the arteries seems to be a recent malady among humans, he admitted that maybe the natural selection at the time was for something else “and the heart disease effect was incidental.”    One other benefit Rockman claims for this study is that it shows natural selection can act not only on the genes the make proteins, but on the genes that regulate other genes– a factor he claims “traditional evolutionary biology has all but ignored.”  Considering the evolution of regulatory factors extends natural selection theory to the level of the “wiring diagram,” he says.  No longer should we just consider good genes and bad genes.  “Rather, there is a complex set of interactions” such that certain combinations might be best in one environment, others better in another.  “So we’re advocating a more nuanced view of how we view the genetic bases of disease,” he said in the press release from Duke University.1Stephen Wooding, “Natural Selection: Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign,” Current Biology, Volume 14, Issue 17, 7 September 2004, Pages R700-R701, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2004.08.041.2Rockman et al., “Positive Selection on MMP3 Regulation Has Shaped Heart Disease Risk,” Current Biology, Volume 14, Issue 17, 7 September 2004, Pages 1531-1539, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2004.08.051.Remember the old moron jokes?  “How do you keep a moron busy for an hour?  Put him in a round room and tell him there’s a penny in the corner.”  It doesn’t take much to amuse Darwinists.  Tell them there’s a hint of natural selection in the human genome, and it is incredible the amount of work they will do to find it.  You can bet any claims will be ambiguous, hazy, uncertain, questionable and open to different interpretations, but if they can be offered in homage to buddha Charlie, it’s worth it to them to run in logical circles and keep up the candles of hope burning.  (For another example, look at this story on EurekAlert, about Penn State scientists “hunting illusive signs of natural selection” between Europeans and Africans, and finding only ambiguous signs of differing susceptibility to disease or milk intolerance.)    What did these guys find, really?  One single-nucleotide polymorphism in just one gene out of hundreds that regulate heart health.  Sure, tweaking the regulation of this gene might put a person at risk for hardening of the arteries, but is Darwinian evolution the only explanation?  The Europeans could have descended from a clan whose grandpappy had the mutation at the Tower of Babel, for that matter; how could they prove otherwise?  The monkeys they studied had very different polymorphisms of these genes, and you don’t see them all keeling over from heart attacks.  If natural selection acted on this gene, why didn’t it act on Siberians or Eskimos or Australians or others at similar latitudes?  Did this mutation lead to a new organ or function or add to the genetic information?  No, it only tweaked the existing information.  And some evolution!  Pick your poison: increased risk of atherosclerosis, or increased risk of myocardial infarction.  Is this one of the finest examples they can find of the miracle-working mechanism of natural selection, the discovery that made Chairman Charlie famous, so powerful that during the same period of time it turned monkeys swinging from trees into humans writing books?    The line about Ice Age men benefiting from the mutation because of their mammal-fat diet is comical.  How could that help the population genetics, if the individuals most likely got their heart attacks after having children?  The error bars on their dates are huge, even if one were to swallow the highly questionable phylogenetic techniques they used, and the evolution-based assumptions about mutation rates.  A chain of reasoning is only as strong as its weakest link: e.g., “if there was water on Mars, there might have been life, therefore there might have been intelligent life, therefore there might have been lawyers.”  Evolutionists get away with stacked assumptions only because they have ruled out anything other than naturalistic explanations.  Since the only contender is something akin to Darwinism, it’s the best they can offer (see Best-in-Field Fallacy).    Why are we the only ones questioning the Darwinist spin on this paper, and asking the hard questions while the other science outlets mindlessly inherit the wind and parrot the spin with lines like “Heart gene yields insights into evolution”?  Why not consider the obvious, that a functioning circulatory system is a tremendous example of interrelated, functional design?  The diagnosis is simple.  It is that ancient human malady, hardness of heart.(Visited 133 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Streamline Your Next Production with Live Rental Bids from ShareGrid PRO

first_imgShareGrid, a favorite indie peer-to-peer rental company, is taking one-stop online equipment rental to the next level with ShareGrid PRO.In the fall of 2013, two Bay Area friends — both product designers at Groupon — were on a walk, dreaming up a potential business plan that would change the game for indie filmmakers. ShareGrid Co-founders Marius Ciocirlan and Arash Shiva knew what they were looking for: a system that offers filmmakers a way to make money renting out their gear, and the ability to rent from other owners without the uncertainty of online marketplaces like Craigslist. They built a test website — a single landing page with a mission statement and a place for interested visitors to drop an email address. Within weeks, they had thousands of sign-ups, including one from an L.A.-based cinematographer who would become the final pillar of ShareGrid’s leadership: Co-Founder Brent Barbano.Image via Joseph Adams.In January of 2015, ShareGrid went live with a brand new model for peer-to-peer film equipment rental — one that includes instant online access to opt-in insurance coverage. They doubled down on fraud prevention, creating a new way for independent filmmakers to rent responsibly and without fear. Now, after three successful years of camera sharing and community development, expansion into seven cities, over 50,000 members, and $500 million in inventory, ShareGrid is growing up.What Is ShareGrid PRO?ShareGrid PRO is a new kind of rental service. Members log onto the site, create a project, specify its type (commercial, film, etc.) set its dates, then assemble a wish list of equipment. ShareGrid PRO then sends this wish list anonymously to rental houses in the area, and they can submit live bids to provide the gear.Early adopters of ShareGrid were primarily indie directors, filmmakers, and cinematographers. The interface and usability of the site proved so popular that many of ShareGrid’s customers today have been with the service from the beginning — and have advanced their careers as the company has grown. ShareGrid PRO is matching that growth with rental houses in cities across the country. Instead of renting from individual equipment owners scattered throughout the city, ShareGrid customers can receive live bids for their entire rental wish list from rental houses and boutique equipment companies. Producers and line producers are joining the movement because they want the ease and convenience of an online marketplace without the labor of calling every rental house in town to negotiate the best deal.Always focused on the rental experience, the co-founders of ShareGrid realized that, even though they’d created a platform that provides access to high-end gear for the general population, the system of renting from individuals breaks down when you have to spend a whole day driving around town picking up equipment. With ShareGrid PRO, customers can shop around for a deal with the convenience and assurance of a rental-house experience. This means equipment will be available on time, serviced correctly, and ready to be prepped and loaded in a professional environment.Image via Joseph Adams.How Does It Work?According to Co-Founder Arash Shiva, “We always like to start with the member and what their needs are and then work our way from there.” In developing PRO, the team talked to DPs, directors, and producers to identify the greatest impediments to gearing up their productions. The solution they kept coming around to was communication. Because of the time it takes to communicate with equipment providers and then with the team and back and forth, producers can’t always afford to search for the best deal. ShareGrid PRO streamlines the entire process into one submission form. Once renters submit projects, over a dozen partnered rental houses will receive the information anonymously and can submit a bid.The Submission Process: Select the project type — Choose from a drop-down list that includes Feature Film, Documentary, Corporate, Photography, and more.Choose your pickup and drop-off dates — The site offers a calendar for error-proof scheduling.List the gear you need — An in-house tech at ShareGrid will go over your list to ensure clarity and specificity before submitting your project to the rental houses.Review your bids — Within 24 hours, you’ll receive ShareGrid-vetted live bids from rental houses on your dashboard. Each bid will include a rental quote and the replacement value for the gear.Add your team members to your live interactive cart — PRO’s live interactive cart allows you to invite your team members to collaborate on the site. Share the private link, and you can live chat through the site, with all the information you need conveniently laid out in one place.Accept the bid of your choice — You can select insurance and pay on the site with a company card or a purchase order. Real time invoices are available.Pick up your gear — A ShareGrid PRO gear rental comes with all the standard amenities of a rental house deal. You will be able to prep your equipment on site with a technician and load out from there. Some of PRO’s unique features:Price transparency with an overall bid and an itemized quote from each rental house.A public chatroom for rental houses and renters where you can ask questions, discuss substitutions, etc.Anonymous bidding competition.Instant insurance selection with no required deposit. Some of PRO’s current rental partners in Los Angeles and New York include the following: Stray Angel FilmsCinemaWorksF22 StudiosProduction JunctionSpekulorDeck Hand CameraFreestyle FilmworksEVSJMROn The MarkLightstone RentalsBrainbox CamerasDuAll Camera Focus GearCFGCSI RentalsPro HD RentalsK&M RentalsCinemaVisionDeath Grip ElectricRare BreedsShareGrid PRO is free for both renters and rental providers. Early users have reported an average savings of 30-40%. According to Suren Seron, owner of Stray Angel Films, “PRO is the culmination of years of marketplace experience and was the logical outcome for a true online rental platform and professional rental house partnership.”Looking for more industry updates? Check out these articles.The Robotic Camera Arm That Plugs into an Outlet Is Now Half the Price7 Things to Consider When Shooting on Retro Film StockOn-Set Essentials: Production Gear You Need to Know AboutA Cheat Sheet for Social Media Video Aspect RatiosHow New Low Light Cameras Are Simplifying the Long Takelast_img read more

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