Evolution of vocal learning and spoken language – Science Magazine

Although language, and therefore spoken language or speech, is often considered unique to humans, the past several decades have seen a surge in nonhuman animal studies that inform us about human spoken language. Here, I present a modern, evolution-based synthesis of these studies, from behavioral to molecular levels of analyses. Among the key concepts drawn are that components of spoken language are continuous between species, and that the vocal learning component is the most specialized and rarest and evolved by brain pathway duplication from an ancient motor learning pathway. These concepts have important implications for understanding brain mechanisms and disorders of spoken language.

Read the original:

Evolution of vocal learning and spoken language - Science Magazine

Check Out The Mini Cooper Interior’s Evolution Over The Decades – Motor1.com

The Cooper Hardtop was an engineering marvel when it arrived in 1959 because of its compact powertrain packaging that used a transverse engine layout and front-wheel drive. This layout allowed for four passengers in the cabin, despite the tiny overall footprint.

12 Photos

While originally meant to be inexpensive transportation, the Mini turned out to be a fantastic performance car, too. Racer and auto manufacturer John Cooper saw the possibilities, and the Mini Cooper was born. A larger displacement engine and better brakes made for a potent competition machine for rallying and on circuits.

The Mini was a huge success in the 1960s, but it stuck around for a lot longer. Tiny design evolutions continued through 2000, but the tweaks never altered the model's classic shape. The first big change happened when BMW took over Rover Group and decided to rejuvenate the vehicle by launching Mini as a separate brand.

The original Mini became an automotive icon of 1960s Britain both in the streets and on the track. Even after that initial heyday, the little vehicle managed to stick around with only minor changes until 2000. Then BMW revived the model a few years later and built a whole brand around it.

The talented artists fromBudget Direct Car Insurancecreated these images that chronicle the Mini's changing interior over the years. Things started quite basic with just a single, circular gauge on the bare dashboard. For many years, the Mini used center-mounted gauges, and BMW revived this look when it revived the brand.

Read the original here:

Check Out The Mini Cooper Interior's Evolution Over The Decades - Motor1.com

Evolution or revolution? BP’s incoming CEO tasked with navigating energy transition – CNBC

BP upstream chief executive Bernard Looney will take the reins from CEO Bob Dudley early next year, with investors eager to understand what this means for the FTSE 100 giant.

The U.K.-based oil and gas major announced Friday that Dudley, who has worked with BP for 40 years and held the position of CEO for almost a decade, will be replaced by Looney on February 5, 2020.

In a press release, BP Chairman Helge Lund said that it was a logical time to make the announcement "as the company charts its course through the energy transition."

Dudley, who is 64 years old, has decided to step down after the delivery of the firm's 2019 full-year results on February 4, 2020. He will then retire on March 31 later that year.

Looney, 49, will continue with his current role until February 5, at which point he will take the reins from Dudley and join the BP board.

"I think one thing that has really marked Bernard's tenure as the head of upstream is a move towards digitalization and he has also had a very strong focus on cost control," Jason Gammel, senior oil and gas analyst at Jefferies, told CNBC's "Street Signs" on Friday.

"So, those are things that are evolutionary in some respects. But digitalization for the industry could be revolutionary as well."

Gammel said that while Dudley's legacy has been "absolutely outstanding," Looney's track record made him a "great" choice to become CEO of the energy giant next year.

Shares of BP had risen by more than 1% by early Friday afternoon.

Looney has run BP's upstream business since April 2016 and has been a member of the firm's executive management team since November 2010.

The upstream division includes 17,000 people operating across almost 30 countries and produces around 2.6 million barrels equivalent of oil and gas a day.

An Irish citizen, Looney joined BP in 1991 as a drilling engineer and worked in operational roles in the North Sea, Vietnam and the Gulf of Mexico.

Former WPP CEO Martin Sorrell told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe" on Friday that Looney is likely to find making his mark at BP more difficult than when Dudley first took charge in 2010.

That's because Looney is "taking it over at a time when things are in relatively better shape."

Sorrell added that Looney would likely be forced to take his time in revising BP's traditional operation.

"The trend is towards transforming at relatively low speeds and I think that's the big issue that all companies face in digital transformation," he said.

"You have to take big hits because if you're trying to restructure a legacy operation which has outlived its purpose and is not for purpose, you have to make legacy cuts and you have to take hits to the balance sheet that shareholders are often unwilling to take."

Dudley took over as CEO of BP on October 1, 2010 in the wake of the biggest oil spill in U.S. history. The Deepwater Horizon catastrophe killed 11 people and threatened the company's existence.

His job was to try to restore the company to a position it held before the explosion, managing the company's balance sheet as it faced billions of dollars' worth of penalties and clean-up costs.

More recently, BP agreed to a request from shareholders in May for greater detail and transparency on how each capital investment decision would align with the Paris climate agreement an international accord that seeks to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

Last month, Dudley said BP would sell some of its most carbon-intensive projects and reduce investment in others to try to improve the firm's environmental footprint.

The energy giant has been targeted by climate activist groups on numerous occasions in recent months, with demonstrators increasingly angry about the lack of progress toward a lower-carbon future.

"The new CEO has an opportunity to turn the page on years of denial, inaction and prevarication," John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace U.K. told CNBC via email.

"BP should now pivot away from fossil fuels, shift to renewable energy and support a just transition for its workers," Sauven said.

Greenpeace has urged BP to end exploration projects for new oil and gas and switch to investing only in renewable energy.

In an apparent reference to Greenpeace's demands when speaking to CNBC earlier this year, Dudley said: "The reality is it is going to take all forms of energy to solve this. One of the groups wants us to go 100% into renewables (but) it has got to be a race to reduce emissions not a race to renewables."

See the rest here:

Evolution or revolution? BP's incoming CEO tasked with navigating energy transition - CNBC

The Evolution of the Hard Hat – The New York Times

In 1919, when Edward W. Bullard had just returned to the United States after serving in the cavalry in France, he saw skyscrapers going up all across the country, and dams and bridges were growing ever larger.

These projects brought new life to cities after World War I, but they also presented new dangers for the construction workers who placed girders, poured concrete and pounded nails.

Mr. Bullard, whose father had a business making carbide lamps and other supplies for miners, had an idea: What if the company built a helmet for miners and other laborers, modeled on the metal helmet he and the other soldiers known as doughboys had worn overseas?

The Bullards cobbled one together, and that was the birth of the hard hat, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

Hard hats are now so ubiquitous that they often go unnoticed. They are often embellished with union stickers and American flags, perched on the heads of men and women ambling to work, lunch coolers in hand. They are reliable props for V.I.P.s at ribbon cuttings, and in the crowds at political rallies.

The safety helmets, along with gas masks and umbrellas, have taken a symbolic role this summer in Hong Kong, where demonstrators have been wearing them at rallies to protest the influence of Chinas government in the semiautonomous region.

Theyve also become emblems of authority, revealing much about their owners. A shiny new hard hat can suggest a neophyte. But a well-worn one represents experience as easily as a carpenters broken-in tool belt or a loggers weathered but well-oiled boots. Even the color can denote status: Some workplaces require one color for employees, another for contractors and yet another for apprentices.

Now in its fifth generation of family ownership, Bullard makes millions of hard hats each year for tens of thousands of customers, primarily at its headquarters in Cynthiana, Ky., said the companys chief executive, Wells Bullard.

The company even has a Turtle Club, whose members have been saved by their hard hats. Its motto: Shell on head, youre not dead.

Bullards first hard hat was called the Hard Boiled hat. It was made of steamed canvas and leather (metal was too expensive), was covered with black paint and featured a suspension system. Orders surged in the 1930s when engineers building the Golden Gate Bridge required workers to wear Bullard hard hats, which were upgraded to protect against falling rivets. Standard hard hat design has evolved over the years, from canvas to metal to fiberglass and, eventually, to plastic.

In 1970, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, creating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which required that hard hats be used on many job sites.

As the industry grew, Bullard faced more competition, from companies like Honeywell, Kask, MSA Safety and 3M.

Over the years, the popularity of hard hats surged beyond safety requirement to status symbol, said Beth Rosenberg, an associate professor at Tufts University School of Medicine.

During Bostons Big Dig construction project, she wondered why construction workers were not wearing respirators and hearing protection where it would have been advisable, even though nearly everyone on the $24 billion project wore a hard hat. Compliance was so high that even those not required to wear hard hats donned them. This prompted her and a colleague to research the social history of hard hats for a 2010 paper.

Dr. Rosenberg said hard hats had become associated with masculinity and patriotism. There was a confluence of social factors that made hard hats cool that has not happened with hearing protection or respirators, she said.

The term hard hats even became shorthand for working people with a conservative patriotism, and New York tabloid reporters still use the term to denote construction workers.

Bullard said it did not make gender-specific hard hats, but acknowledged that women were a fast-growing part of the construction industry. In 2016, 9 percent of construction workers in the United States were women, according to a report from the National Association of Women in Construction.

Over the years, hard hats have prevented injuries in a wide range of workplaces.

William Ross Aiken, an electrical engineer who became a pioneer in TV technology, recalled the close call he had while working in a shipyard during World War II. I was saved by my hard hat once when some metal fell 60 feet from a gantry crane and hit me on the head, he said in a 1996 oral history for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. It made a big dent in my aluminum hat, but it saved my life.

Didier Bonner-Ganter, an arborist in Maine, does not remember being hit by a tree while working on a logging crew during his college years, but does remember standing in the forest with a sore shoulder, and his hard hat on the ground next to him, newly cracked. He does not know what would have happened to him if he had not been wearing a hard hat, but said, It certainly would have been worse.

Scott Storace was a project manager on a residential high-rise in San Francisco when a worker dropped a metal scaffolding coupler from six floors up.

The hard hat did its trick, he said. Its got that little bit of room between where it sits on your head and where the hard plastic is, and that cushioned the blow.

Ms. Bullard, the company chief, said she heard a lot of stories like these.

She said her great-grandfather would still recognize the hard hats the company produced today.

The technology of the hard hat really hasnt changed so dramatically in 100 years, she said. Theres a suspension, and theres a shell.

But changes are coming. Ms. Bullard said her companys products were evolving not only to protect workers from falling objects, but also to protect them when the workers were the falling objects.

Early next year, Bullard will introduce a new line of hard hats with foam padding and integrated chin straps, similar to climbing helmets, but designed for industrial workers, and with their input.

Head protection reinvented, Ms. Bullard said. One hundred years ago, we invented it, and now were reinventing it.

Falls are the No. 1 killer on construction sites, said G. Scott Earnest of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. A 2016 report from the agency found that more than 2,200 construction workers died from traumatic brain injuries from 2003 to 2010.

Dr. Earnest said he believed redesigned hard hats could better protect falling workers.

The next generation, the ones that are just starting to be seen on construction sites, are a lot more like a helmet a mountain climber might wear, or a hockey player, or a kid on a bicycle, he said. Anything we can do to provide better protection for construction workers is important, because its a very hazardous industry.

Originally posted here:

The Evolution of the Hard Hat - The New York Times

Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein On The Band’s Evolution, Defying Expectations – Wisconsin Public Radio News

When Sleater-Kinney formed in the mid-1990s, they were a rock 'n'roll powerhouse from the start. Between Corin Tucker's commanding vocals, Carrie Brownstein's fierce guitar riffsand (eventually) Janet Weisss signature drumming, the trio quickly became one of the most influential bands of theera.

Sleater-Kinney has evolved since the '90s and just released their ninth studio album, "The Center Won't Hold." And while the album contains Sleater-Kinney's essential ingredients, it was produced by musician Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent.

Clark helped add a new industrial and electronic element to the band, a sound that was a departure from the groups previous albums. Shortly following the records release, Weissleft the group after 20 years as their drummer.

Maureen McCollum of WPR's "BETA"caught up with Carrie Brownstein who you may also recognize from the comedy show "Portlandia."They talked about life after Weiss and the bands musical evolution.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Maureen McCollum:I've been a fan of yours for many years now. Youre one of those few bands that I feel like I'm growing up alongside, like Im witnessing and experiencing your musical evolution with you in some ways. Can you talk about that evolution and where you are right now as a band?

Carrie Brownstein: We've been a band for 25 years. Corin Tucker and I started this band way back in 1994 when we were still in college in Olympia, Washington.

When you start out, I think very few musicians imagine themselves one, five, 10 years down the road let alone over two decades. I think a goal with every record, every transition has been to challenge ourselves to do something different, to defy expectations. Eventually, we just reached a place where we wanted to set the bar higher for ourselves and to have a sense of freedom.

When you finally get to making your ninth studio album, which we just did, it really felt like, "What else do we have to prove?"

Our goal is to make music that doesn't sound like the last thing we did and to still enjoy it. To come at it with a sense of gratitude and always to do it with a sense of integrity and passion. To need it as much as the fans do because we understand that people want to feel seen and heard in our songs. We need to approach it with that same kind of urgency and that same sense of wanting to connect and belong within the context of music.

So yeah, that's kind of been our journey and we're sometimes as surprised as anyone that we're still making music. But we don't take it for granted at all.

MM: With this new album, "The Center Won't Hold,"the sound of the music is completely different. But, your message and your lyrics are still so on course with who you are as a band. You have songs about longing, technology, the daily grind, working through dark times. So while it might sound sonically different, I still hear you as a band.

CB: Yeah I mean, fundamentally this is a band that's always merged the political and the personal. That's a very popular idea right now, but it's one we've been doing for a long time a lot of other artists have as well. When we were surveying the political and cultural landscape, there is a sense of tumultuousness and fractiousness. We wanted to couch that in a more personal narrative and really speak to how chaos and anger and trauma and despair has an effect on the body, specifically the female body and the female psyche. I think a lot of this record is an exploration of that.

Those are themes that we've been grappling with on multiple albums. Your songwriting is who you are in the present day. So as you change and grow and age, your perspective on things shifts. The stories also reveal themselves in new ways and stretch out in new patterns. It's not uncommon to kind of go back and wrestle with the same ideas. Each time you return to that struggle, you're approaching it differently. That's kind of the nice thing about longevity you get to retool things.

MM: Annie Clark, also known as St. Vincent, produced this album. Can you talk about how she pushed you musically in different directions?

CB: It started with just a change in methodology, where Corin was up in Portland and I was down in Los Angeles. Because we were not always writing in the same room although we did sometimes we were sending ideas back and forth on our computers and writing as much on synthesizer and keyboards as we were on guitar. So, the demos already had a different sonic palette.

And then Annie talked a lot about sounds that were kind of corrosive and ugly, kind of creating a paradox where you had some grittier sounds paired with a lot of melody. Those two worlds were kind of existing simultaneously.

Corin was listening to a lot of Depeche Mode. I was listening to a lot of Ministryand Nine Inch Nails. And I think for Annie, especially with Nine Inch Nails, that's a vernacular that she really embraces.

I think we really saw the studio as an instrument in and of itself. So it became, you know, an act of discovery and not just documentation,which is a little new for us. Really, each song is a planet. Each song was just something that we could completely immerse ourselves in one at a time.That was something that Annie, aka St. Vincent, really encouraged from us maximalism and a lot of imagination applied to each individual track.

MM: Yeah, it almost has this dystopian sound.

CB: Yeah, I think thematically we were circling around that sense of dystopian ideas. I think we wanted to match that sonically with things feeling tense and dire. Then, pairing that with choruses that really were bright, so that it didn't feel like a cynical record. I think cynicism is its own form of toxicity. We wanted glimmers of hope throughout.

MM: I want to ask you what your take is on the current state of music. I'm looking at some acts that you've been associated with over your career with Sleater-Kinney. So, we can look at Lizzo, who opened for you thelast time your band played in Wisconsin. She's experiencing this meteoric rise. Another band you're somewhat associated with,Bikini Kill, they reunited this year. How are you processing musically what's going on right now? And how does Sleater-Kinney fit into that?

CB: I usually process things as a fan, you know? I love checking out new music. I like buying records. I like going to shows. I try to have a sense of curiosity. I tend to usually be listening to new stuff although, obviously, there's a ton of old stuff to dig through as well.

I think we're in a great, great time for music. It's accessible. It's copious. It is genre-bending and very fluid. It just feels like it has a powerful place right now. Certainly there's more diversity of artists and genres and that's really great.

I don't know how Sleater-Kinney fits into that landscape. I guess that's not really for me to determine that's for other people to figure out. We just we do what we do and hopefully people like it.

MM: I have to ask about some of the transitions within your group. Obviously longtime drummer Janet Weiss left the band. You've picked up Angie Boylan as a new drummer. Can you talk aboutworking with a new drummer and tell us a little more about Angie? Is that going to change the sound of Sleater-Kinney?

CB: I mean, we've never played these songs live, so I don't think that's going to be ... It's not like the songs from "The Center Won't Hold" have been out in the world live. I think for us, we're just looking forward to the future. We were sad that Janet left and we also wanted to continue. We really feel like it's a privilege to play in a band.

I think Angie is the really great drummer. I don't I think it's just about wanting to play the songs. We played a show in Raleigh and the response was great. For us, it's just about chemistry on stage and enjoying it.

In the live context, I think of all the disparate sounds on each record. You know the differencebetween "The Hot Rock" and "Dig Me Out" is massive. The difference between "The Woods" and "All Hands On The Bad One" is massive. So, there's always been these variations between albums, but it's in the live show that it all comes together under the umbrella of Sleater-Kinney. For us, it's just important to have a really powerful show and connect with the audience.

Sleater-Kinney will return to Milwaukee for a show at The Pabst Theater on Oct.16, 2019, with special guest Shamir. Below is a video of Sleater-Kinney's "Entertain," performed the last time the group played in Wisconsin in 2015.

Go here to see the original:

Sleater-Kinney's Carrie Brownstein On The Band's Evolution, Defying Expectations - Wisconsin Public Radio News

Vital Clues Revealed About Recycling in the Evolution of Life in Our Universe – SciTechDaily

New research by Kent astrophysicists reveals vital clues about the role recycling plays in the formation of life in our universe.

By investigating the different stages in the life journey of stars and gaining new knowledge about their evolutionary cycle, scientists at the Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science have discovered more about a crucial stage in the emergence of life in our universe. Their research reveals for the first time how matter discarded as stars die is recycled to form new stars and planets.

Scientists have long known that the materials that make up human life were not present during the beginnings of the universe. Elements such as carbon and oxygen form deep inside stars and are released when the stars explode. What has not been clear is what happens to these materials in the vast majority of stars which do not explode and how they are then extracted to contribute to the development of new planets and biospheres.

In their paper Numerical simulations of wind-driven protoplanetary nebulae I. near-infrared emission, which was published by the Royal Astronomical Society on September 12, 2019, Professor Michael Smith and PhD student Igor Novikov have discovered this vital missing link. By carrying out 2-D modelling on their Forge supercomputer, which mapped the pattern of light emitted from stars under different environmental conditions, the research team were able to understand how the material ejected is transferred and mixed with interstellar gas to form new astronomical objects.

For the first time, the physicists simulated the detailed formation of protoplanetary nebula. These are astronomical objects that develop during a stars late evolution. They modelled the formation of the shell of materials that is released as the star ages. These shells form planetary nebulae, or ring-shaped clouds of gas and dust, which are visible in the night sky.

The study revealed how the gas and energy expelled by stars are returned to the universe, and in what forms. It found that the elements produced by dying stars are transferred through a process of fragmentation and recycled into new stars and planets.

Professor Smith said: Initially, we were perplexed by the results of our simulations. We needed to understand what happens to the expelled shells from dying red giants. We proposed that the shells must be temporary, as if they stayed intact life could not exist in our universe and our planets would be unoccupied.

The shells are not uniform. Most are likely to be cold and molecular. They disintegrate into protruding fingers and so lose their integrity. In contrast, warm atomic shells remain intact. This provides vital clues about how carbon and other materials are transferred and reused within our universe. Our civilisation happens to exist when the generation of recycled material is at its highest. That is probably no coincidence.

Reference: Numerical simulations of wind-driven protoplanetary nebulae II. Signatures of atomic emission by Igor Novikov and Michael Smith, 12 September 2019, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stz2377

Continue reading here:

Vital Clues Revealed About Recycling in the Evolution of Life in Our Universe - SciTechDaily

The Evolution of the Bank on the Street Corner – PaymentsJournal

I was born in Brooklyn in the early 90s. Upon learning how to walk, my first journeys were along 5th Avenue in Sunset Park. Gentrification seems to be planting its roots here now, but back then it was a sprawling ethnic community mostly comprised of immigrant families.

I remember knowing Anchor Savings Bank, the grey-columned edifice at the corner of 5th Ave and 54th Street, was a bank long before I understood the concept of a bank. It looked a lot like Gringotts, the fictional bank of choice of wizards everywhere, and still does. Theres something about its architecture that screams important money things happen here.

My mom had an account at Anchor. Wed walk there on random weekday afternoons (she didnt work at the time) to deposit cash my father brought home from his musical gigs over the weekend. Shed make note of the transaction by hand in a little booklet given to her by the bank. Sometimes shed check on her valuables stored in the vaults downstairs. It was all very physical, and so very different from the world of digital banking we know today.

Fast forward a few years, and Anchor Bank became Dime Savings Bank of New York. Wed moved to Staten Island in the late 90s, so I never saw what happened inside. Outside, the building still resembles Gringotts. Dime Savings Bank of New York was eventually bought out by Washington Mutual, which failed and in turn became part of the assets sold by the FDIC to JP Morgan Chase. Yup, today the very first bank I ever knew is a Chase branch.

Chase is, of course, one of the largest financial institutions in the world and the largest bank in America. This story of how my mothers local Anchor Savings Bank became Chase says a lot about banking as a whole. Mergers, acquisitions, and a few financial crises have reduced a once diverse industry to an arguable oligopoly. Its worth noting that JP Morgan Chase now resembles something more like a conglomerate of technology companies than the bank it once was.

All that said, community banks are still alive and well, and very much in the game. The Economist reports that although their numbers have been falling, small banks are in fair shape. According to the FDIC, nearly 5,000 community banks reported an average return on equity of 10.6% last year less than bigger banks, but nearly two percentage points more than in 2017 and the most since the financial crisis.

In the full article, The Economist suggests a simple explanation: they know their customers. Community banks have long thrived on the personal connections with their customers and communities, and many are still family-owned and operated businesses. Collectively, many of these banks form the Independent Community Bankers of America a small but solid coalition of local and regional financial institutions. According to The Economist, almost every congressional district across the U.S. is home to at least one ICBA bank.

The financial services landscape looks entirely different than it once did, and few could have predicted the impact of non-bank entities on the industry. The evolution is far from over though, especially as banks grapple with entirely new forces like cryptocurrencies. But no matter whats to come, banks large and small will likely figure out a way to evolve along with shifts in technology, the market, and consumer demand.

Weve recently launched a Community Bank Consortium to help local and regional financial institutions expedite digital transformation and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving banking landscape. As the financial services space continues to evolve to include new players, The Walker Group is dedicated to helping community banks navigate the complexities of the industry and identify the right partnerships to stimulate growth. Contact B MEDIA to learn more about the Community Bank Consortium and get involved.


Article Name

The Evolution of the Bank on the Street Corner


The financial services landscape looks entirely different than it once did, and few could have predicted the impact of non-bank entities on the industry. The evolution is far from over though, especially as banks grapple with entirely new forces like cryptocurrencies.


Bethany Frank

Publisher Name


Publisher Logo


The Evolution of the Bank on the Street Corner - PaymentsJournal

The iPhone Xs power button reflects the evolution of the smartphone – Circuit Breaker

In todays digital age, it sometimes feels like hardware has taken a back seat to the software that drives our devices. Button of the Month is a monthly look at what some of those buttons and switches are like on devices old and new, and it aims to appreciate how we interact with our devices on a physical, tactile level.

I think a lot about power buttons these days. With modern devices especially smartphones we dont really use them as power buttons, because our phones are never really off. But thats a double-edged sword, because while they dont actually power on our phones, we press them more than ever: my iPhone Xs power button probably gets pressed dozens of times every day now.

And its that iPhone power button that I specifically want to talk about: the one on Apples most recent Face ID iPhones. When Apple killed the home button with the iPhone X, it also killed the hardware trigger for Siri you cant press and hold a home button that doesnt exist, after all.

Power buttons are a subtle reflection of trends in modern technology. When smartphones first came about, nearly every phone had a power button on top of the device. As screen sizes grew, and that top edge got farther and farther away from the reasonable reach of most thumbs, the power button migrated to the side. When screens grew larger and home buttons went extinct, the power button got built-in fingerprint sensors. And Apple is no different: the iPhone power button experiences the same trends.

So when Apple killed the home button, it changed two things about the power button, too. First, the power button on the iPhone X is twice as big as prior models, so its always easy to press it. And it now activates Siri when held down, instead of offering the shutdown prompt (the other main function of the iPhone home button). Both of these shifts make sense, logically. iPhones were getting bigger, and making the button easier to press is a natural extension of that. And as the last major button left on the phone, having the power button trigger Siri was essentially the only option (short of adding some kind of dedicated Siri button, anyway).

But the side effect is that the power button on current iPhones cant actually do the one thing its supposed to: actually turn the phone on and off (a separate command that requires holding it and the volume up button together is needed to actually shut the phone off entirely).

It was a frustrating change at first, but the difference is a positive one, I think. I use Siri for simple tasks like setting alarms and adding reminders to return Amazon packages far more than I did to turn off my phone. And putting that function in the power button which I nearly always have a thumb on when holding my phone, even more so than the home button makes it even more accessible. Plus, the bigger button is just more enjoyable to press, especially on brand-new devices when the click is still nice and crisp.

Some Android phones are following this trend, too: the Note 10s power button doesnt shut off the phone, and OnePlus phones can be customized to launch Assistant with a short press.

Even as were starting to see phones that eschew buttons entirely, some kind of hardware to turn on a device is still needed. And as smartphones continue to get increasingly innovative and fresh designs, its a safe bet that the power button will continue to change along with them.

Excerpt from:

The iPhone Xs power button reflects the evolution of the smartphone - Circuit Breaker

Fossil fish gives new insights into the evolution – HeritageDaily

An international research team led by Giuseppe Marram from the Institute of Paleontology of the University of Vienna discovered a new and well-preserved fossil stingray with an exceptional anatomy, which greatly differs from living species.

The find provides new insights into the evolution of these animals and sheds light on the recovery of marine ecosystems after the mass extinction occurred 66 million years ago. The study was recently published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Stingrays (Myliobatiformes) are a very diverse group of cartilaginous fishes which are known for their venomous and serrated tail stings, which they use against other predatory fish, and occasionally against humans. These rays have a rounded or wing-like pectoral disc and a long, whip-like tail that carries one or more serrated and venomous stings. The stingrays include the biggest rays of the world like the gigantic manta rays, which can reach a wingspan of up to seven meters and a weight of about three tons.

Fossil remains of stingrays are very common, especially their isolated teeth. Complete skeletons, however, exist only from a few extinct species coming from particular fossiliferous sites. Among these, Monte Bolca, in northeastern Italy, is one of the best known. So far, more than 230 species of fishes have been discovered that document a tropical marine coastal environment associated with coral reefs which dates back to about 50 million years ago in the period called Eocene.

This new fossil stingray has a flattened body and a pectoral disc ovoid in shape. What is striking is the absence of sting and the extremely short tail, which is not long as in the other stingrays, and does not protrude posteriorly to the disc. This body plan is not known in any other fossil or living stingray. Since this animal is unique and peculiar, the researchers named the new stingrayLessiniabatis aenigmatica, which means bizarre ray from Lessinia (the Italian area where Bolca is located).

More than 70 percent of the organisms, such as dinosaurs, marine reptiles, several mammal groups, numerous birds, fish and invertebrates, disappeared during the fifth largest extinction event in the Earths history occurred about 66 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous. In marine environments, the time after this event is characterized by the emergence and diversification of new species and entire groups of bony and cartilaginous fishes (sharks and rays), which reoccupied the ecological niches left vacant by the extinctions victims. The new species experimented sometimes new body plans and new ecological strategies.

From this perspective, the emergence of a new body plan in a 50-million-year-old stingray such asLessiniabatis aenigmaticais particularly intriguing when viewed in the context of simultaneous, extensive diversification and emergence of new anatomical features within several fish groups, during the recovery of the life after the end-Cretaceous extinction event, states Giuseppe Marram.


Header Image One of the three fossils of Lessiniabatis aenigmatica (MNHN F.Bol.566) from the famous fossil site of Monte Bolca (Italy) preserved as part and counterpart. The specimen is housed in the Museum National dHistoire Naturelle of Paris.

Planet Knowledge is a FREE to watch video on demand channel available on Freeview HD (Channel 265), Youview, Samsung connected TVs, selected smart tvs, tablets and smartphones using Android or iOS.

View post:

Fossil fish gives new insights into the evolution - HeritageDaily

Evolution Has Not Been Kind to Jerry Coyne – Discovery Institute

Professor Coyne, it seems, never evolved a divine sense organ, which he laments. Without a divine sense organ, Jerry Coyne cannot believe in God, though he doesnt lament that.

Writing at Why Evolution Is True, Coyne explains that because he cannot sense God, therefore God does not exist. Ironically, Coyne cites English broadcaster David Attenborough, a Darwinist who ought to be Coynes ally, who is agnostic because he muses about a hive of termites (Darwinists are always thinking in terms of insects). The termites work busily, not noticing Attenborough observing them, because they lack the sense organs to see him. Attenborough wont commit to atheism because he thinks that his inability to see God may be termite-like. Hes missing the organ, so he might as well keep his options open.

Coyne thinks hes missing the same organ, but takes his evolutionary impasse as positive evidence of Gods non-existence. If God exists, Coyne reasons, He would have evolved Coyne better.

The irony of the whole thing is that Coynes lament about his sensate inadequacy is itself the product of his capacity for reason, which is his actual divine sense organ. It was right under his nose (or above his nose) all the time. God is immaterial spirit, and we can only know Him by reason and love Him by will. Our senses alone arent evolved to know or love immaterial Reality.

I pointed this out to Coyne, with all the politeness I could muster given the nature of the argument, and I suggested that Coyne might use his newly located reason-organ more effectively.

Coyne, still not using it effectively, replied:

There are many problems here. First of all, even if God is not a physical thing, nearly all Christians the theistic ones think that God interacts with the world in a physical way. After all, God sent his son/alter ego down to Earth as a scapegoat to be killed for our sins, thereby expiating us. IDers believe thatGodThe Intelligent Designer either brought new species into being or made the requisite mutations to promote their appearance. Indeed, the very concept of Intelligent Design presupposes that empirical evidence science and observation itself inevitably brings us to the concept of an Intelligent Designer. And that evidence is sensed by sense organs.

God is indeed not physical, but He has physical effects in the world. In fact, most things in nature are His effects, excepting chance and evil. Chance isnt His effect because it is the un-designed conjunction of designed effects, and evil isnt His effect because its the privation of His good, not a thing in itself. Even our free will is His effect, because He wills it to be free. This is all classical theology, to which Coynes newly discovered reason-organ is unaccustomed.

We can infer Gods existence by his effects in nature just as we infer number in groups of things or primordial singularity by cosmic background radiation or evolution by the fossil record. Science infers immaterial things it cant see by inferring them from material things it can see. Abstract reasoning is the cornerstone of science, just as abstract reasoning is the cornerstone of theology and philosophy. All abstract knowledge, observed Aristotle, originates in the senses, but it is the unique hallmark of the human mind that we can abstract concepts from concrete perceptions. Our capacity for reason our intellect is the mark of our humanity, and the organ by which we know God.

Coyne continues:

In other words, ID itself refutes Egnors claim thatGodThe Intelligent Designer cannot be sensed via an organ. The stupidity here (and Im not pulling punches given that Egnor engages in name-calling) is to assume that a deity who is nonphysical cannot be apprehended through sense organs. If youre a theist, thats palpably ridiculous.

The design we infer in nature is an insight we abstract from our senses, but the inference itself is acquired by our reason. We infer design in nature by abstraction, not immediately by sense image. We see biological structures that have purpose and specified complexity, and using our capacity for abstract thought we reason that such structures imply a designer. Coyne does the same process, except he reasons that purpose and specified complexity imply the absence of a designer. Go figure.

Coyne meanders to the diversity of religious belief, and he muses:

And why, over time, has reason turned more and more of the West into atheists? After all, God gave this reason to each of us, and gave it to us specifically so wed know Him (or Her or Whatever). Are some people lacking in this reason? And that includes people who seem to have plenty of reason on other fronts: atheist intellectuals like Bertrand Russell, Stephen Hawking, Dan Dennett, Stephen Fry, Richard Dawkins, and so on. AndDavid Attenboroughlacks it, too? Why did God give these people lots of ability to reason, but prevented that reason from apprehending His existence? Why are more and more people not using their organs of reason properly as time progresses?

Reason can wax and wane, and I think were in a period of wane. If you doubt this, ask Coyne a 21st-century atheist intellectual to discuss Platos Timaeus or Aristotles Metaphysics texts well-known to teenagers in Athens in the 4th century B.C. or Augustines City of God or Aquinas Summa Theologica read by parish priests in 15th century Siberia. Evolved or not, contemporary reason-organs of late are missing the bus.

Anyway, few people reason themselves out of, or into, belief in God. Reason provides a platform on which we stand, and reason may hinder us, or help us to see. The heart has reasons, for atheists and theists, and it is in the heart in the will that God is cherished or scorned.

As for atheism seeping into modernity, Coyne speaks only of the capitalist West. Most of humanity in Asia and Africa is in the midst of an explosion of theism, mostly Christianity and Islam. The eclipse of totalitarianism deprived atheism of its natural form of government, and it scurries to attach itself to any new body that will have it. The reasons for the atheist infestation (insect analogy again) in the West are debated. My hunch is that it is due to material and technological narcosis. In our opulence and our electronic cocoon we live as atheists. A culture blind to God is like a drunk, dangerously oblivious to a cold night.

Photo: Jerry Coyne on The Dave Rubin Show, via YouTube (screen shot).

The rest is here:

Evolution Has Not Been Kind to Jerry Coyne - Discovery Institute

Carleton to Host Science Caf on the Evolution of Land Animals and the Paleontology of Nova Scotia – Carleton Newsroom

As part of Carleton UniversitysScience Cafseries, Hillary Maddin, professor in the Department of Earth Sciences, will presentPaleontology of Nova Scotia: The Evolution of Early Land Animals.

When: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, at 6:30 p.m.Where: Sunnyside Branch of the Ottawa Public Library, 1049 Bank Street, OttawaInfo: This event is free and open to the public.

Media are invited to attend the event.

The invasion of land by vertebrate animals creatures with backbones was a turning point in the evolutionary history of life on Earth.

Unfortunately, the fossil record of this great event is patchy at best. However, Nova Scotia is one of the only places on the globe to shed light on this pivotal time. There, the worlds first reptiles and ancestors of our own lineage evolved and established the current patterns of animal diversity we see today.

In this presentation, Maddin will discuss historical fossils and the many new discoveries made by her team over the past five years of field expeditions exploring the record of the Carboniferous period of Nova Scotia.

The Science Caf series is organized by theFaculty of Scienceat Carleton University to discuss relevant issues facing our society and how science can help solve real-world problems. Meet some of Carletons award-winning faculty members and graduate students as they share their excitement about science with the community.

Media Contact

Steven ReidMedia Relations OfficerCarleton University613-520-2600, ext. 8718613-265-6613Steven_Reid3@Carleton.ca

Carleton Newsroom:https://newsroom.carleton.ca/Follow us on Twitter:www.twitter.com/CunewsroomNeed an expert?Go to:www.carleton.ca/newsroom/experts

Friday, October 4, 2019 in Media AdvisoriesShare: Twitter, Facebook

Read more here:

Carleton to Host Science Caf on the Evolution of Land Animals and the Paleontology of Nova Scotia - Carleton Newsroom

Evolution of business models in the era of privacy by design – Livemint

BENGALURU :The right to privacy became a talking point in India two years ago when the Supreme Court upheld the overall validity of Aadhaar while disallowing its mandatory linking to services other than government benefits or subsidies. Last year, a committee headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna proposed a data protection bill, which is still under consultation with multiple stakeholders.

As hundreds of millions of Indians come online with budget smartphones and the worlds lowest mobile data rates, Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to data as the new gold" at the recent Howdy Modi event in Houston. US President Donald Trump, on his part, hailed Indian Americans for helping revolutionize technology to improve lives around the world.

And Google CEO Sundar Pichai pitched in by acknowledging concerns over privacy while pointing out the need to balance that with the benefits of a shared internet.

The big question is, Whose data is it, anyway? What if tech companies were forced to compensate customers for using their data to derive profits?

Entrepreneurs and investors are thinking of new paradigms beyond government regulation.

Tim Berners-Lee, for example, wants to restore the original intent of his creationthe World Wide Web, which he feels big tech companies have taken over. His startup Inrupt is creating virtual personal online data stores (PODs) where users can create, manage and secure" their data. They can then trade their data for services.

In India, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has created a new entity called account aggregator", backed by technocrat Nandan Nilekani who was also behind Aadhaar and UPI. Approved account aggregators will act as intermediaries between companies seeking customer data and institutions like banks that can provide the data.

Aggregators will take consent of customers on what data can be shared for how long and for what purpose. The framework will make it easier for customers and small businesses to access their financial data from multiple sources for things like access to credit.

Currently, although tech companies routinely take a users consent to access their datasuch as identity or location, before providing a product or service, its so convoluted that most people have to acquiesce blindly. Companies harvest all the data they can and use it in ways that customers cant even imagine. New frameworks aim to hand control back to users.

Entrepreneurs and investors are also thinking of ways in which privacy can evolve from just ticking the boxes for compliance.

Privacy 2.0 should focus on trust," says Govind Shivkumar, principal at Omidyar Network India. If consumers begin to trust some players more than others, companies will want that as a differentiating factor and competitive advantage."

This would make privacy a strategic priority instead of a compliance headache.

The trust-based framework would eventually evolve into Privacy 3.0 where it would be embedded into businesses.

An Omidyar Network India and Monitor Deloitte India paper that Shivkumar helped prepare sees the emergence of new business models, including personal data stores like Tim Berners-Lee envisages, tools for users to manage their preferences, and so on.

There would also be new B2B (business-to-business) models such as privacy services for enterprises, some of which could be artificial intelligence-led. Privacy certification agencies would come up to close the loop.

Were looking at investment opportunities in startups across all three levels of privacy, from compliance to trust and Privacy 3.0 models," says Shivkumar.

Our notion of privacy is rooted in individuals control over what they share and how they manage their lives on digital platforms," adds Sushant Kumar of Omidyar Network India, who works on responsible tech investments."

What complicates it is that technologies are fast-evolving, especially with the application of AI in virtually every sphere. Technology should be publicly managed," says Anupam Guha, assistant professor at Centre for Policy Studies, IIT Bombay. But it cant be a simplistic state-controlled thing because you cant trust the state."

His view is that public or community-led models, which are pro-people rather than pro-corporate or pro-state, can form. If you want to forestall the problems were seeing with monopolies, privacy or job losses from automation, you can choose to incentivise models that produce better results for the common man."

Proclaiming that data is the new oil" or new gold" suggests wealth creation. The question is for whom wealth is being created. Public discourse is veering towards a consumer-centric view.

See the original post:

Evolution of business models in the era of privacy by design - Livemint

Watch Foals discuss the visual evolution of their career – NME Live

Dating right back to the 'Antidotes' days

Foalshave discussed the inspiration behind their changing visual aesthetic throughout the years. Check out the video below.

TheYannis Philippakis-fronted band, who are gearing up to releaseEverything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2 later this month, sat down with BBC Radio 1 to break down the visual evolution from their debut album, Antidotes, right up to the present day.

Talking about working with illustrator Tinhead on their first LPs artwork,drummer Jack Bevan explains that the collaboration came about after meeting the artist on a Foundation course at Oxford Brookes University.

Philippakis goes on to describe him as a real character who was given a list of words by the frontman on which to base his designs. We worked with him a bit again on [second album] Total Life Forever and then he carried on doing T-shirts for us, he adds.

Yannis and Jack talk through Foals' visual evolution, from the illustrations behind debut album 'Antidotes' to the botanical themes of latest release 'Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost'

Posted by BBC Sounds onTuesday, October 1, 2019

Speaking of the Total Life Forever cover art, the band explain how they swam deep to the bottom of a London swimming pool in order to bag the final shot. It was terrifying cause it was so deep it was black, basically, Bevan recalls.

After running through the ideas behind their following albums, Foals touch on the video for 2019s In Degrees and the wider Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost theme.

Foals at the Mercury Prize 2019 (Credit: Getty)

We wanted a kind of contrasting but complementary image for the second part, which has its own kind of feel to it, saysPhilippakis of their upcoming LPs cover. But I think were just sort of attracted to foliage and things that are fertile and growing, and it just seems to suit the music well.

At the end of the clip, Philippakis describes the sound of Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2 stating that its more of a rock album and contains some proper bangers.

The album is released on October 18, following on fromPart 1which came out back in March.

In other news, Philippakis spoke toNMElast month about his run-in with a knifewhich left him unable to play guitar during the bands performance at the Mercury Prize 2019 ceremony.

See the article here:

Watch Foals discuss the visual evolution of their career - NME Live

Fred P to release new Black Jazz Consortium album, Evolution Of Light – FACT

The 12-track album is inspired by Brazilian music and culture.

Deep house legendFred P is releasing his first full-length Black Jazz Consortium album since 2013 on his own Perpetual Sound label next month.

Evolution of Light is a direct response to New York City native Fred Peterkins first album as Black Jazz Consortium, RE:Actions Of Light, released over a decade ago. Its inspired by the music and culture of Brazil, and includes collaborations with Brazilian musicians on several tracks.

There has been a lot of growth since my first album, Peterkin says. I wanted to answer with a follow up that is honest, and along the way Brazil became a focus, so here we are.

Evolution of Light is released on November 8 on 3LP vinyl and digital formats. Check the tracklist and artwork below, and pre-order it at Bandcamp. Revisit Fred Ps 2015 FACT mix here.


01. More Blessings (Feat. Leonardo Peretti Reibnitz & Trovao Rocha)02. Another Path (Feat. Trovao Rocham, Leonardo Peretti & Leo Vieira)03. Sacred Sun (Feat. Bruna Elisabetsky)04. A Century Of Love05. Soul People For Life (Feat. Slikk Tim & Gal Aner)06. Salvador (Feat. Slikk Tim & Bruno Elisabetsky)07. Brisbane (Feat. Slikk Tim)08. Energies Collide (Feat. Ceri B) 05:1809. Focus (Feat. Reno Ka)10. Love Alliance (Feat. Gary Gritness)11. Paradise Essential (Feat. Slikk Tim)12. Resonate (Feat. Christina Wheeler)

Read next: Deep Inside September 2019s must-hear house and techno

Visit link:

Fred P to release new Black Jazz Consortium album, Evolution Of Light - FACT

Midco to Deploy Evolution Digitals Android TV-powered Set-top – Multichannel News

NEW ORLEANS - Centennial, Colorado-based cable video tech provider Evolution Digital used the Cable-Tec Expo event today to announce its latest customer win, the deployment of its eStream 4K set-top in Midcontinent Communications new IPTV service, which is slated to debut early next year.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based Midco will deploy the Android TV-powered eStream 4K devices, along with a TiVo user interface, giving users of the managed network service access to OTT apps in the Google Play Store. The cable operator will also use Evolution Digitals Device Manager (eDM), a software platform that provides management, control, monitoring and analytics of devices, as well as the ability to deploy software, firmware and security updates to customer devices.

In July, it was reported that Buckeye Broadband and MaxxSouth, two cable operators owned by Toledo, Ohio-based Block Communications, have deployed app-based video services powered by Evolution Digitals full IP-based platform.

This followed a similar deployment by Missouris Vast Broadband, which Evolution announced in June.

As Android TV is becoming pay-TV providers chosen ecosystem, Evolution Digital provides the necessary ongoing elements that come with building, certifying and maintaining Android TV in-production, while helping operators, like Midco, build a strong foundation for current and future innovation to outcompete in the market for many years to come, said Marc Cohen, executive VP of sales and marketing for Evolution Digital, in a statement.

Added Bill Chatwell, Midcos director of video systems: As we begin to make a major migration to cloud-based video, we trust Evolution Digitals expertise to help lead us in to the future of streaming, providing our customers an unparalleled TV service at scale.

Go here to see the original:

Midco to Deploy Evolution Digitals Android TV-powered Set-top - Multichannel News

The evolution of Anna and Elsa, from Frozen to Frozen II – SYFY WIRE

One of the most remarkable things about the original Frozen is how it represented part of a sea change for Disney's films in terms of their depiction of love. While the movie isn't completely devoid of romance, it turns some of the classic tropes of Disney's own films on their heads. The movie openly questions the logic of falling in love and marrying someone you just met, the core plot element of many of its forebears. In doing so, it creates space to tell a story about another kind of love not romantic love, but the deep familial love between two sisters, Anna and Elsa. It's a story about women saving each other and themselves, not relying on a prince to do it.

Recently, SYFY WIRE FANGRRLS went behind the scenes at Disney Animation Studios to preview some of the things we'll see in the upcoming sequel. Amid all the special effects demonstrations, character designs, and previews of songs, it was still Anna and Elsa that stood out as the heart of this new film.

Potential spoiler warnings for FROZEN II within!

According to co-director and co-writer Jennifer Lee, who also wrote and co-directed the first film, this relationship was at the forefront of her mind, even during a 2016 research trip to Norway and Iceland, which inspired the eventual story. "We realized on this trip that Anna is your perfect fairy-tale character. She's an ordinary hero, not magical. She's optimistic. Whereas Elsa is the perfect mythic character. Mythic characters are magical. They carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. In fact, the mythic characters often meet a tragic fate, and we realized we had two stories going together, mythic story and a fairy-tale story. In the mythic aspect of it, the fear of that tragic fate is something that Anna's been worrying about and thus protects her sister from."

Preserving the relationship between Anna and Elsa, while still showing how it evolved, was of primary importance to Hyun-Min Lee, animation supervisor for Anna. "In this film, we really tried to keep our focus on making sure that they stay true to who they were in the first film. But also, we wanted to show everybody who they're maturing into as they go into this new journey," Lee said.

"So, in this film, there is a little bit of a role reversal between the two. In the first film, Anna used to be the fearless one, forging ahead. 'I'm just going to go save my sister. Go ahead. I don't care!' And this time Elsa is the one being called into the unknown. And Anna is a little bit more worried and nervous for her sister's safety. And the big difference with the first film is that Anna is not alone anymore."

This change in Anna is signified even in her costumes, explained Griselda Sastrawinata-Lemay, visual development artist for the film. "In Frozen II, we started with Anna's costume with the new Arendelle icon, which signifies the fall season," she said. "In her travel costume, we did so many iterations, and exploration, because we grow as the story grows. And designing for Anna is a little bit tricky, because we decided that Elsa will always be in a light value and color, so she looks like ice. It's challenging to find a color that would be brilliant enough, and strong enough when they're next to each other. The chosen outfit is actually number 122."

As for Elsa, her costume design was greatly inspired by the change her character went through in the first movie, says Visual Development Artist Brittney Lee, who talked about how Elsa's costumes were restrictive and dark in the early parts of the first movie, but that's changed now. "Elsa can be a little bit more glamorous. She's also not restricted so much by real-world materials," Lee explained.

"Once 'Let It Go' happened, we sort of, um, basically set the precedent that she can make her own clothes out of ice. So from that point on, we have more freedom with her to use more ethereal materials, so she gets some tulles, and some silks and that, that's meant to support who she is as the Snow Queen."

It's not all just about fashion styles, either; even Elsa's movements in the new movie are different. Wayne Unten, Elsa's animation supervisor, discussed a major change to how she casts spells, drawing on modern dance as an inspiration for her movements to make them more graceful. "Her fingers, for example, when she's casting the magic, there's a nice flow to them. Instead of, like, a claw type of thing. We did something like that in the first film. But that was only, really, to illustrate a point that ... Remember in the first film, Hans says don't be the monster that they fear you are," Unten said. "And, you know, she was kind of doing kind of like a monster-type claw. So we stayed away from that."

It became very clear that these characters mean as much to the people working on them as they do to the audiences that connected to them when the original movie was released. Becky Bresee, one of the heads of animation and a self-described lifetime fairy tale fan, summed it up early on in the conversation: "When the first Frozen story turned into a sister story, that's when it really spoke to me in a different way. Now I was not only working on it for myself, I was working on a very personal level for my sisters, as well as more so for my daughters. SoFrozen II goes even further for me personally, and I'm so excited for the world to see it, and to revisit our characters all over again."

Frozen II hits theaters November 22.

Read more:

The evolution of Anna and Elsa, from Frozen to Frozen II - SYFY WIRE

Shedding Genes Helped Whales and Dolphins Evolve for Life at Sea – Smithsonian.com

About 50 million years ago, ancestors of the modern whale transitioned from land to sea, undergoing remarkable transformations in the process. They gained collapsible lungs, thick layers of blubber and blood that stores more oxygen. But they also shed many traits that were critical for terrestrial life, such as genes involved with sleep, blood clotting and DNA repair, a new study published in the journal Science Advances suggests.

Researchers compared the active genes found in modern cetaceans, which include whales, dolphins and porpoises, with those of other mammals such as their closest living relatives, the hippo family. They identified 85 genes that became inactive when cetaceans became fully aquatic, 62 of which had not been reported before, reports Veronique Greenwood at the New York Times.

Previous studies found that the genes that enabled hair growth, sweat and hind limbs had been lost in cetaceans. But the new findings go even further to describe the genetic reasons behind such major physiological, behavioral and anatomical changes.

There have been a lot of studies like this, but this has probably been the most comprehensive in terms of the number of genes, Michael McGowen, research scientist and curator of marine mammals at Smithsonian Institutions National Museum of Natural History, who was not involved in the study, tells Smithsonian magazine.

Some of the inactive genes that Hiller and his team identified simply became obsolete in a marine environment. These neutral losses include a gene that produces saliva. Other losses seem to be driven by the necessity of adapting to a new aquatic lifestyle.

Blood clotting, for example, may seem like an advantageous mechanism in mammals. Yet, when cetaceans dive, their blood vessels constrict and nitrogen bubbles make the blood clot more easily, restricting the flow of much-needed oxygen in the bloodstream. Ridding the body of clotting genes makes diving less dangerous.

Though they are air-breathing mammals, whales and dolphins often go for long periods of time without taking in fresh oxygen. This behavior can cause DNA damage that may result in the formation of tumors and other maladies. The enzyme that repairs this type of DNA can be faulty enough to cause serious harm. Because cetaceans undergo frequent DNA damage, researchers suspect that this enzyme was eventually ditched in favor of less harmful restorative enzymes.

We think that by losing the sloppiest protein involved, you probably increase the fidelity of DNA repair, Hiller tells Tina Hesman Saey at Science News.

Additionally, modern cetaceans are missing four genes related to the production of melatonin, a sleep hormone. Unlike most aquatic creatures, at least half of a cetaceans brain is alert at all times to signal when to surface for a breath of air. Melatonin can put the body into a deeper restive state, which is dangerous for whales and dolphins who can sink or drown during long stretches of inactivity.

While evolutionary scientists commonly accept that underutilized genes tend to disappear or become inactive during the evolutionary process, this study suggests that genes potentially dangerous to a new lifestyle can also be abandoned or become non-functional.

"We found new evidence that loss of genes during evolution can sometimes be beneficial, which supports previous results from our lab suggesting that gene loss is an important evolutionary mechanism, says Hiller in a statement.

Continued here:

Shedding Genes Helped Whales and Dolphins Evolve for Life at Sea - Smithsonian.com

THE EVOLUTION OF THE US NEOBANK MARKET: Why the US digital-only banking space may finally be poised for the sp – Business Insider India

What is a neobank?

Neobanks, digital-only banks that aren't saddled by traditional banking technology and costly networks of physical branches, have been working to redefine retail banking in major markets around the world.

The top neobanks in the US and EU include:

That's largely because of an onerous regulatory regime, which has made it very difficult to obtain a banking license, and the entrenched position incumbents hold in the financial lives of US consumers. Navigating the tedious and costly scheme for obtaining a banking charter and appropriate approvals has been a major stumbling block for the country's digital banking upstarts. However, developments over the past year suggest these startups are finally poised for the spotlight in the US.

Consumers', particularly millennials', growing frustration with legacy banking service providers, combined with their increased appetite for digital solutions, has accelerated the shift to digital-only banking. Startups and tech-savvy players are redefining the retail banking space and forcing incumbents to either evolve or lose out on this key business segment.

In The Evolution of the US Neobank Market, Business Insider Intelligence maps out the factors contributing to this shifting tide, examines how key players are positioning themselves to take advantage, and explores how incumbents can embark on their own digital transformations to stave off disruption.

The companies mentioned in this report include: Aspiration, Chime, Goldman Sachs' Marcus, JPMorgan Chase's Finn, N26, and Revolut.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

Interested in getting the full report? Here are four ways to get access:

See the rest here:

THE EVOLUTION OF THE US NEOBANK MARKET: Why the US digital-only banking space may finally be poised for the sp - Business Insider India