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first_imgThe Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) says Jamaica and West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell has not been provisionally suspended for violating anti-doping rules.Russell has committed an anti-doping whereabouts rule violation after missing three tests in the space of 12 months.JADCO said in a release this afternoon, that the case has been referred to the iindependent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel.The Commission says it is now awaiting a date for the hearing.The 27-year-old, who is named in the West Indies’ squad for the Twenty20 World Cup, which starts next week in India, has missed three doping tests within a 12-month period.According to anti-doping rules, athletes must tell their local anti-doping agency where they will be for at least one hour each day to facilitate drug tests.And if an athlete misses three drug checks within a 12-month period, that counts as a positive test.last_img read more

first_imgPlants are not as stationary as one might think.  Parts of them, like seeds, can travel for miles.  One good example is the maple seed.  Its little helicopter seeds can catch an updraft and fly a long distance from the tree.  Now, engineers at University of Maryland have imitated its physics and designed a radio-controlled mono-copter that can sustain stable flight for hours.    “Winged seeds, or samaras, such as that of the maple tree are considered some of the most efficient passive flyers, and hence have been ogled by many engineers looking to build tiny flying devices,” reported Live Science, which posted a cool video of the robot version in action.  “Since the 1950s, researchers have been trying to create a stable, unmanned aerial vehicle that could mimic a maple seed’s flight,” reporter Jeanna Bryner continued.  “But their attempts have been unsuccessful, typically because of instability.”  The new device, with its wing that looks just like its natural counterpart, can take off from the ground or be dropped from a plane and then fly laterally in controlled flight.  If it loses power, it can spiral down to the ground unharmed.  Maple seeds either drop straight down while spinning, or spin down in large helical patterns.  Placed in the right thermal, the robo-maple could spin on free wind energy for hours.    This invention could become a cool toy some day (unfortunately, not ready for Christmas this year).  It makes an irritating buzzing noise, though, so parents might want to consider looking for a passive version that can be launched in a slingshot or something.  Because it can carry a small payload, including a video camera or transponder, engineers also envision applications for low-altitude satellites, surveillance, weather or fire monitoring, communications from the battlefield, search and rescue support, aerial mapping, and radio relays.  One thing it can’t do, though, is grow a tree.    Science Daily shows the device fitting in the palm of a hand.  PhysOrg also reported the story with three more videos.  Some other trees, like elms, ashes and sycamores, sport winged samaras like those on maples.  See the 06/16/2009 entry about the flying efficiency of samara propellers, and the 09/22/2008 entry about seed dispersal. Some kid some day is going to freak out the neighbors with fake UFO sightings.  One of the videos described this project as “Inspiration – Imitation – Invention – Evolution” but the evolution was the engineers’ intelligently-guided attempts to refine their imitation of nature.  So it was intelligent design science all the way.  This invention is a great achievement by the young engineers at University of Maryland.  It only took mankind 59 years to figure out how the maple seed does it.  Hopefully this project will create more interest in the design inherent in natural forms.They fly through the air with the greatest of ease,Inherent design in the young maple seeds;Their movements are graceful, to engineers please,Poor Darwin’s been purloined away.(Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_imgFrom top left: ‘A Young Man’ by Heather Gourlay-Conyngham; ‘L’Hommage a Ingres African Chic(k) Ms Tshegofatso Phage Seated’ by Nicholas Allen; ‘Professor Brown’ by Angela Banks; ‘Face of Xhosa (my four fathers)’ by Anathi Tyawa. From bottom left: ‘The Secret Life of a Mathematician’ by Sanell Aggenbach; ‘Mukwirikwiri (foreigner)’ by Richard Mudariki; ‘Voetstoots’ by Willem Pretorius; ‘Myself with Plants’ by Susan Grundlingh By Anne Taylor29 August 2013Heather Gourlay-Conyngham has won the first Sanlam Private Investments (SPI) National Portrait award for her extraordinary painting, A Young Man (top left).The award aims to celebrate and showcase the best original portrait artwork in South Africa. An astounding 1 792 works from 1 200 artists were entered into the competition, according to Rust-en-Vrede, where the works were judged. Gourlay-Conyngham won R100 000 for her nude male portrait (177 x 180cm, oil on canvas).The exhibition of the “top 40” entries is on display at Rust-en-Vrede in Durbanville until 8 October. The exhibition will then tour South Africa.Daniël Kriel, the chief executive of SPI, said the outstanding quality and standard of the entries received was testament to the range and depth of talent South Africa had to offer. “Portraiture in South Africa has had a rich, and at times controversial, history that reflects the country’s social and political evolution.”See Rust-en-Vrede for a full list of the 40 finalists as well as images of all the top 40 works.The SPI exhibition is on at the Rust-en-Vrede Gallery until 8 October; at the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery from 24 October to 13 November; at Stephan Welz & Co at the Alphen Estate in Constantia, Cape Town, from 26 November to 10 January 2014; and at the KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts during April 2014.See more of Gourlay-Conyngham’s work: heathergc.comlast_img read more

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market We’re left wondering how Foursquare’s current user base will react to this move. Do they really want “Bravolebreties”, as Foursquare has dubbed them, suggesting drinks? Or was it the homegrown, user-created flavor that they liked about the service?In the end, it may not really matter. The move may serve to distinguish the service from the increasing number of competitors while attracting a whole new user base and solidify Foursquare’s presence in the location-based check-in sphere. While the service may have become popular among the techie crowd, a partnership with a major cable network may vault Foursquare into a whole new level – the in-crowd. mike melanson Related Posts Tags:#news#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Foursquare and Bravo announced a partnership today that will attempt to link Foursquare’s users with viewers of Bravo. New features will offer badges and special prizes when Foursquare users check in at locations featured in Bravo TV shows. The partnership is likely an attempt by Foursquare to fend off competitors in a space it once held as its own but that has become increasingly crowded as of late. The location-based social networking service is barely a year old, but has already become one of the most popular in a booming sphere. Just last week, we heard rumors that Facebook was the latest in a line of big-time players getting on the location-based check-in wagon. Just last month, Yelp announced it was adding location-based check-ins to its service, causing many to wonder how the move would affect Foursquare.Starting today, Foursquare has begun offering new badges when its users visit one of more than 500 locations featured in Bravo shows, including “The Real Housewives,” “The Millionaire Matchmaker,” “Top Chef,” “Kell on Earth,” “Top Chef Masters” and “Shear Genius.” In addition to these badges, Foursquare is now offering tips on restaurants, salons and other businesses from the stars of Bravo’s TV shows. The partnership puts Foursquare, which many had seen previously as a just-for-geeks type of app, directly in the sights of prime time viewers.As the Bits Blog points out, this partnership will put Bravo and Foursquare on the forefront of attempts to merge mobile with TV, a direction that has proven difficult so far. The service does, however, seem custom tailored to Bravo’s programming, which focuses on fashion, food, and the out-on-the-town section of society. “With Foursquare people leave content behind for others to find, like tips of the best drink at a bar,” said Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s chief executive, in Bits. “With shows that are tied to real locations in real cities enhancing this with content from contestants and judges on Top Chef or another Bravo show is going to make it even more interesting.” Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

first_imgEveryone loves depth of field in their shots. Autodesk Smoke has it’s own Depth of Field Node that can create Depth Blurs on your shots and in your composites.The Action Node is Smoke’s true 3D compositing environment. When Action is used with the Depth of Field (DOF) Node in ConnectFX you can create adjustable blurs to your 3D composites by taking a Z-depth pass from Action and processing it though the DOF node. Z-Depth passes can also be created as a layer pass from 3D applications like Maya, 3D Studio Max, and Cinema 4D. Depth passes are grayscale images where white is used for objects furthest away from the camera and black would be objects closest to the camera (this would be the normal representation, but they can be reversed.) Objects in between would be seen as various shades of gray.  Each shade of gray would place the object at a different depth from the camera.[Click for Larger Image]Smoke’s Depth-of-Field Node:The main element that you’ll need to use the Depth of Field (DOF) Node is a Z-Depth pass.  This can be provided from your 3D application or you can create one in Action by adding an Output pass for Z-Depth. Inside of Action you can use F4 to toggle between your Action outputs. When you have objects or images that have different Z values on the Axis, you will see the shades of gray in the Z-Depth Output.[Click for Larger Image] You can then link via a copy/link expression the camera position from your main Action Camera to the duplicate Action Node’s Camera. So it will mimic any changes.  The Depth of Field Node will create a very nice look and add depth to your composite, but it can be very render intensive.  It’s better to keep your blur values lower and use the camera’s clipping plane or the DOF min/max adjustments to control your depth matte.I hope Premiumbeat’s breakdown of the ConnectFX Nodes in Smoke are providing good information and understanding of how to use these tools. If you have any questions, please fell free to leave a comment below. Under the Z-Depth area, you can set the clipping plane for the MAX white and MIN black values. Think of it as a histogram for the z-depth.  There is also a toggle to set white or black as the far color.   Regardless of your blur, slices, and gamma settings thus far, you can clamp the effect of the blur by setting the Max Blur Value. This can help with rendering as too high of settings for blur, combined with slices and depth of your matte can produce some extreme render times.The Depth-O-Gram, with a bit of a silly name, is where the main focus (pun intended) of the DOF node lies.  The Depth-O-Gram will display the Z-Depth Matte in histogram fashion.  You can use the Z Plot button and select a point on your image.  This will show up as a line in the Depth-O-Gram.  The Yellow line is the Focus Plane. you can move the yellow line to your plot point to make that point the point that is in focus. The Blue and Red lines are the Focus Range. Objects within this range will also be in focus, depending on other settings.  But it gives you an area to work in.  This Focus Range can be adjusted to create a very narrow focus range or to widen it out.  This begins to give you a great deal of flexibility in giving your scene the look you want.  The Focus Plane and Ranges are keyframeable. So it’s possible to shift or roll the focus as your camera and objects move.  As you move the yellow focus plane through the Depth-O-Gram you will see your objects highlight in your scene with Yellow, Blue and Red as the focus planes cross through them.[Click for Larger Image] Back at the main UI, you start to get in to the settings that affect the quality of the DOF that will be created.  Adjusting the Slices number will change the interpolation of the change in values in the Z-Depth Matte. You can see the relationship in the Depth-O-Gram as the dark and light gray vertical bars. The Overlap values will control the about of overlap between the slices. The Edge Artifacts controls the amount of mixing between the object edges with the foreground and the background elements. You would adjust these values to clear up an artifacts in the blur along the edges.[Click for Larger Image] You may wonder why Action doesn’t incorporate Z-Depth within itself instead of running everything through a 2nd node?  The DOF Node gives you greater flexibility to control the depth of field in your scene. Also, ConnectFX can be used to add DOF to 3D generated scenes from a 3D software with a Z-Depth Pass. Processing a DOF blur in the compositing phase is much more efficient than rendering in the 3D App. It will take less time and you can control the amount of blur.Pro ConnectFX Tip:The Z-Depth Output from Action is controlled by the clipping planes of the Action Camera. Object at different Z Depths will create a different looking Z Depth Output when the Action Cameras far plane is 10,000 pixels vs 2,000 pixels.  What does this mean?  If you have a very large 3D scene with objects at great Z-depths, and you have had to lengthen the cameras far plane to see your objects you will create a very subtle depth matte. The differences between values will be very slight and you won’t be able to get a shallow depth of field look if you wanted it.[Click for Larger Image] One tip to control the look of your Z-Depth Matte is to copy your Action Node, output the Z-Depth Output from the duplicate node, and adjust the far plane to get a depth matte that works for you. Since ConnectFX is now processing everything at 16bit fp, it really helps with getting a good Z-Depth output. If you are working in 8 bit, make sure you switch the Action rendering in Node Prefs to 16 bit.  The Z-Depth Output menu in Action has a few other settings to help create the best Z-Depth Matte.  Turn Off Anti-aliasing and the Tolerance setting – which will adjust the value at which the alpha is included in the depth of the output.[Click for Larger Image]This setting will help with transparent objects in your scene.  Once you have your settings, you can feed the Action Outputs into the Depth-of-Field Node.The general UI for the DOF node can be overwhelming, but like most of the node interfaces in Smoke, they generally work left to right.[Click for Larger Image]The Blur & Blooming settings will adjust the blur values and the amount of Bokeh effect.  You have 2 options for blooming, Basic and Additive. The basic blooming mode adjusts the gain applied to highlights in non-HDR images. Basic blooming  allows the creation of bokeh patterns without affecting colour integrity. The additive blooming mode allows you to create higher intensity bokeh patterns from any source image, using minimum and maximum thresholds for highlight separation.The Bokeh settings give you the ability to customize the look of the bokeh pattern.  You can adjust the number of sides, curvature, and rotation.If you jump over to the Bokeh Profile Tab, you can further tweak the  look for the bokeh shape. The S-Curve represents the shape of the pattern, from its centre to the outside. The default S-curve defines the softness of the blur. You can change the curve by manipulating the two points of the curve, or you can add points to the curve.  This type of profile curve is also seen in the profile menus of Action Lights.last_img read more

first_imgMost slide decks start with a series of slides about the company. They include things like the company’s history, their awards, their locations, their executive leadership team, and more recently, its investors and board members. From there, they often go into the way their products and services create value, with vignettes following the slide of the logos of the big, well-recognized brands the company already serves.There is a reason decks have been designed this way. The executives and marketing people who commission these things want to tell the company’s story. They want to establish their bona fides. But in doing so, they start a sales conversation in exactly the wrong place; they start with “Let me tell you a little about me.”Most salespeople use these decks in a linear fashion, marching through a dozen slides that prove they work for a strong, successful company, the kind of company you should want to do business with, leaning too heavily on the company itself as the value proposition. They also rely too heavily on products and services to demonstrate how they can help the client get better results, not recognizing that this formula doesn’t differentiate them from their competitor’s, with the client believing that the slide decks they see, and the talk tracks are interchangeable.If you are going to share a point of view, a compelling reason to change now, that is a better starting place than your company’s history. If you have a message that is wroth sharing, then that message should come first.If you are giving a final presentation, the place to start is with the client’s current state (the reason they need to change now), followed by the future state (where are we going), followed by the solution (how do we get there). The solution can include the stories, vignettes, case studies, and logos you want your dream client to see as proof that you do this work with big companies.You can move all the slides about your company to an appendix, in case someone says, “Tell me a little about the awards your company has won and show me a map of your locations.” 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 Nowlast_img read more

first_imgChelsea boss Sarri tells Pochettino: You need a trophy – like meby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea boss Maurizio Sarri says Tottenham rival Mauricio Pochettino needs to win a trophy – just like him.Ahead of Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final between the sides, Sarri admitted his admiration for the Argentine.Sarri said, “He (Pochettino) is a very good coach, one of the best at the moment. I agree he has to win a trophy, I hope not this one. I think it is the same for me. Of course Pochettino is in Tottenham from four years ago and I am here for six months.”I think the first season is really very difficult for everybody, for Pochettino, for Jurgen Klopp. Also for Pep Guardiola, so here it is really very difficult to build up a very good team. You need time.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

first_imgAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Ex-AC Milan director Gandini questions Elliott directionby Carlos Volcano12 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer AC Milan director Umberto Gandini has questioned Elliott Management’s handling of the club.Gandini commented on the work of chief exec Ivan Gazidis.He said, “This is a very different club to all the others, because the owners aren’t involved in football. Their objective is to restructure Milan, get it close to what it ought to be worth and then monetize on their investment.“I’ve known Gazidis for many years and I told him that being a CEO in Italy is very different to in other nations, as he’d have to answer for his decisions.“Up until recently, I asked myself who are Milan, as they need to have a face and right now, they don’t. Is it the owner who decides, Gazidis, the President or the Coach? Before, their face was Gennaro Gattuso.” last_img read more

first_imgKolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday proposed to Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (KMRCL) to provide compensation of Rs 5 lakh for each family whose houses have been damaged or collapsed at Bowbazar due to tunneling work.KMRCL has already accepted the proposal by Banerjee to build the houses which have collapsed and repair those which have been damaged. Till the completion of work and handing the houses over to the owners, KMRCL will arrange their accommodation. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe Chief Minister has also set up a core committee led by Chief Secretary Malay De, which would monitor the whole process. The Commissioner of Police, Kolkata, the Mayor, the Transport Secretary and Disaster Management Group (DMG) officials will comprise the committee. On Tuesday, Banerjee along with Mayor Firhad Hakim, MP Sudip Bandopadhyay and Home Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay met with senior officials of KMRCL, including the managing director Manas Sarkar. During the meeting, Banerjee proposed to KMRCL to provide compensation of Rs 5 lakh to each of families who have been shifted from their residences. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayShe also informed that CCTV cameras have already been installed in the area so that no theft can take place. It has also been decided that after taking precautionary measures and checking, one member from each family will be allowed to retrieve their belongings from their damaged houses in presence of police and DMG personnel. She also suggested that the families can be temporarily rehabilitated in a building near Gem Cinema belonging to KMRCL, which is capable of housing the homeless residents. “This is not the time for blame game. All of us must come forward to help the families in distress. We have requested KMRCL to provide interim shelters to the families who have been evacuated. KMRCL has accepted our request and will arrange for the same. They will build and repair the houses which have been damaged,” said the Chief Minister. Apart from the houses, KMRCL will also build and hand over the shops which have been damaged and collapsed, to their owners. She further said: “Several residents have complained that they could not even retrieve a single document like Aadhaar card, ration card or Voter ID card. It has been decided that special camps will be held to reissue such documents to the affected people.” Apart from these decisions, Banerjee requested KMRCL authorities to pay Rs 5 lakh to the family that used to reside at 13A Durga Pithuri Lane, as one of the family members’ marriage has been fixed on January next year. She has also proposed to provide some amount of money as monthly compensation to those who became jobless due to the incident. The Chief Minster stated that an extensive survey of the area by experts must be done at the earliest. Following Banerjee’s request, Sarkar stated that KMRCL is ready to extend help from all sides. But deciding the amount of compensation is not possible for him as it will be decided in KMRCL’s board meeting. He assured that he will place the proposals before the board and will do everything he can.last_img read more