first_imgBlog post written by Keith Tidball, Ph.D., Cornell UniversityThe idea of practicing target sports as a form of therapy may seem counter-intuitive to those involved in working with returning service members and veterans. However, many service members report that involvement in target sports is something they find relaxing and therapeutic as well as an enjoyable form of activity. Most of what is written about target sports as therapy, is popular reporting based on anecdotal evidence. The use of this form of therapy requires controlled, peer-reviewed study for its use and efficacy in order to become a clinical recommendation or best practice.Though we cannot advise all service members or veterans to engage in target sports as therapy, we also cannot dismiss the use of this therapy in the right context. To that end, we talked with Louis McGranaghan, a physical therapist at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, who has thought a little about the subject. Here’s what he had to say —This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network blog on February 2, 2015.last_img read more

first_imgHere’s a quick tip that will keep your After Effects graphic project looking sharp!  Force After Effects to use whole pixels for smooth interpolation.If you’ve noticed that your graphics and text aren’t looking super sharp in After Effects, it’s likely they are not be positioned on whole pixels.  AE is set to interpolate elements in your project at a subpixel level.  While this is useful for pinpointing precise location and scale, it can result in soft or distorted edges on graphic elements in your project.  This is especially true when the graphic has keyframed motion.Graphic artist and programmer Chris Silich describes this:“When things are tweened, even in the tiny actual size comp, they often moved at sub-pixel speeds…and when that happens, AE anti-aliases the whole thing, giving our cool block pixel art weird soft edges.”Here’s an example of the type of edge distortion that he’s describing (notice the blurred edges on the top box):So, how do you get that clean interpolation that we see in the second box? Chris uses an After Effects expression called Math Round, that will force AE to interpolate at whole pixels only.  The code for the Math Round expression is at Chris’ post here.Further expanding on Chris’ expression, Motionworks.com.au’s John Dickinson has created a simple AE preset of the Math Round expression. Just apply the preset to get smooth edges in After Effects.  Download the preset here.If you’re racking your brain trying to figure out how to get smooth edges in After Effects this is the trick!last_img read more

first_imgThese slides were first shared in Richard Harrington’s blog. Thanks for sharing Richard.Storyboarding and SchedulingIn line with Richard’s talk, this video from our friends over at Film Riot explains a few really good techniques for pre-production. The video covers storyboarding and scheduling (and may or may not include wrestling!) Enjoy.If you want to learn more about all aspects of organized film production check other these pre-production and production articles.Want to share any tips for pre-production?  Let us know in the comments below! Richard Harrington offers free slides from his Get Organized Before You Edit talk from NAB 2014.If you missed Richard Harrington and Amy DeLouise’s NAB 2014 presentation on ‘getting organized before you edit’ you’re in good company. With hundreds of talks and presentations at NAB it can be impossible to catch all the ones you want. Thankfully Richard has shared the slides from his NAB presentation…It is insanely important to be organized when leading up to the editing process. In fact, many on-set frustrations come from a lack of good preproduction and organization. The slides help shed light on a few actionable techniques and tips you can use to make your productions run smoother:Release FormsSite SurveysElectronic ScriptsSlatesLoggingRoom Tonelast_img read more

first_img4. Animated FlourishesCreated By: Final Cut KingYou can spend hundreds of dollars buying animated flourishes on the internet… or you could just make them for free! In this video tutorial by Final Cut King, we are shown how to use masks and keyframes to create animated flourishes in Motion. Take your motion graphic skills to the next level with these 10 amazing Apple Motion tutorials.For people used to working with FCPX, sometimes learning Apple Motion can be much easier than learning After Effects. While the two programs are different, there’s certainly a lot of overlap in terms of functionality and creative potential. The following ten Apple Motion tutorials are great examples of just that.Whether you are someone new to Apple Motion or a seasoned veteran looking to up your skills, here are ten must watch Apple Motion tutorials.1. Particle Collision TutorialCreated By: Simon UbsdellIn this tutorial, Simon Ubsdell shows us how to create an intersecting particle collision effect in Apple Motion. The tutorial shows the creative possibilities of using particle emitters in Apple Motion. 3. Departure Board TutorialCreated By: Simon UbsdellThe ability to move objects in 3D space is an incredibly powerful feature that can be very useful if you’re wanting to simulate 3D depth using 2D objects. In this video tutorial, we learn how to use lights and motion keyframes to create a cool flipboard animation. 8. Sky ReplacementCreated By: Final Cut KingWhen it comes to VFX, one of the first things you’ll learn is how to do a basic sky replacement. This tutorial by Final Cut King is exactly that. Using a series of color keys, you can easily composite your own sky backgrounds into your video. 5. Nebula TutorialCreated By: Simon UbsdellThere are many ways to create abstract, cloud-like effects in Motion and this tutorial series shows us just one. In the series, we learn how to create a nebula scene using 100% native tools in Apple Motion.Part 1Part 2Part 3 6. How to Make a Time-Lapse VideoCreated By: Izzy VideoA time-lapse is a series of pictures taken across a span of time and put together to create a video. However, the pictures don’t make themselves into a video — you have to do it yourself. Thankfully, there are built-in tools in Motion that can help you create time-lapse fast.center_img 9. Sci-Fi PowerballCreated By: Simon UbsdellSometimes the best way to give your motion graphics a custom look is to simply add more layers. The following video tutorial shows us how to create a spinning Sci-Fi powerball with an electric center. Notice how color and movement help sell the effect. 7. Volumetric LightingCreated By: Simon UbsdellVolumetric lighting is essentially light rays that can be seen in 3D space. While you can buy plugins to help you with this, you certainly don’t need to. Using Motion you can create volumetric lighting with native effects. 10. 3D TextCreated By: 13thDesignOne of the newest features to be integreated into Motion is the ability to create 3D text. Unlike After Effects, users of Motion have the option to create 3D text without any 3rd party plugins or hacks. This video tutorial features a quick overview of how it’s done.Want to learn more about Apple Motion? Check out a few of these tutorials here on the PremiumBeat blog:Apple Motion Video Tutorial: Behaviors vs. KeyframesVideo Tutorial: Color Correction in Apple MotionAnimating a Logo or Icon in Apple MotionHave any other inspiring Apple Motion tutorials you would like to share? Let us hear about them in the comments below! 2. Walking Dead EffectCreated By: Final Cut KingUsing the built-in motion tracker, you can easily track points within your footage. While it’s not quite as advanced as mocha Pro, the tracker in Apple Motion is good enough to do basic tracks. This video tutorial shows us how to do a simple motion track similar to that found in The Walking Dead.last_img read more

first_imgLanding a recognizable cast will improve your indie film’s chances of success. Here are a few ways to attach name actors to your feature.Top image from IMDbMost indie film directors and producers that are just starting out will feel that they have no chance of landing well known actors in their project. Many of them incorrectly assume that you need a multi-million dollar budget to hire name talent or that you need an “in” with a major talent agency. While money and connections can certainly help make things easier, they are by no means the only way to attract talent. In fact, many independent films are able to cast incredible actors at reasonable rates.The fact is that many established actors are willing to work on independent films under the right circumstances and casting name talent can absolutely be done. Below, we’ll explore this by looking at four things to take into account when casting well known actors in your indie film.1. Money isn’t everything.Image from IMDbThe idea that the only way to land a name actor is to pay their full rate is simply untrue. Money is one of only several factors that actors take into account when accepting or rejecting an offer, and if your production isn’t heavily budgeted then you need to look for alternate ways of making your project look attractive.Many times, filmmakers working on small budgets don’t even let the idea of working with established talent enter their minds, and in the end they make zero effort to explore their options. The truth of the matter is that many Hollywood actors work on low budget films all the time for next to nothing, simply because they believe in the project and know it will add value to their careers in other ways.2. Distribution matters.Image from Angelika FilmsHaving a distribution deal in place before you approach name talent will dramatically improve your chances of booking them. It is very common for filmmakers to do pre-sale agreements with distributors that essentially stipulate the distribution company will front a set amount of budget during development/pre-production so that the film can be funded, and in turn will be distributed by that company.Often times, independent films will pre-sell their foreign distribution before they even go to camera and save domestic distribution for after the film is complete. Regardless of the specific agreement that you might be able to make with a distributor, having distribution in place before approaching actors is absolutely essential. It will let them know that your project is real and that their work will actually get seen once the film is complete.3. Use a casting director.Image from One on One NYCCasting directors are an amazing resource for low budget filmmakers, yet so many filmmakers choose to go at the casting process completely alone. Casting really is an art, and a good casting director is not only highly skilled at picking talent, but also has established lines of communication with agents, managers, and talent. Not to mention, casting directors can be immensely helpful creatively by offering up suggestions for talent that might be a great stylistic fit for your story.By hiring a casting director you are essentially gaining access to their vast knowledge of the talent pool in any given city, and their invaluable insight into the process as a whole. In the end, you are far more likely to land established talent by going through a casting director in most scenarios.4. The script matters above all else.There are many ways to cast well known actors in your film, and there is no perfect formula to do it. Some productions are able to do it through casting directors, others do it through personal connections, some will approach talent directly and show them a distribution offer… But there is always one constant in any casting situation – a very strong screenplay.The number one thing that actors need to see from you is an incredible story and a rich character for them to sink their teeth into. Everything else on this list is essentially leading up to the point of you putting a screenplay in front of an actor, but once you are there, it’s the material that you present to them that matters.It can take a lot of time, effort, and sometimes money to get your script read by agents, managers, or talent themselves, so always make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. Don’t even consider taking any initial steps with regards to casting until you have a bullet proof screenplay in place that is original, marketable, and offers unique roles that will be enticing to actors.Here’s a collection of articles from around the web that touch on indie film casting:5 Essential Tips For Casting Your Indie Film13 Huge Stars Who Took Smaller Roles in Big Movies13 Ways to Cast A-List Actors in Microbudget FilmsGot any casting tips for indie filmmakers? Which actors would be in your dream cast? Share in the comments below!last_img read more

first_imgAvoid a faulty reading by verifying the accuracy of your light meter with this quick tip.All image via Mark Vargo, ASCI live in a rural area and get calls for jobs that never leave me enough time to get my meters calibrated professionally. I’ve devised a system that works for me in a pinch and I wanted to share it with all of you.First, you’ll need a still camera with a histogram display feature. A histogram is a digital version of the zone system. The middle of a histogram is the same as zone 5, or “middle” gray. An 18% gray card is “middle” gray in value.The idea is to expose that middle gray card to render a middle gray spike in the middle of the histogram. If accomplished, then you have achieved a perfect exposure — a feat necessary for calibrating your meter accurately.The above photo depicts the set up for our exercise. There’s a Canon still camera with an “L” glass zoom lens pointed at a gray card gripped in a C-stand.I’m illuminating the card with the available light coming through a skylight. Know that the reading will be more consistent if you light the card with instruments, however, since many of you don’t have lights, I’ll go without as well.Fill the frame with the gray card and set up your still camera to reflect a basic cinema situation. With my shutter speed at 1/50th of a second with ISO 800, I’ve matched the native speed of the ARRI ALEXA. The only remaining variable is the f-stop which will be set to put the exposure spike in the middle of the histogram. In this test case that f-stop ends up being a 2.8.Then quickly take your test spot meter reading before there is any deviation in the available light, clouds, wisps, etc. If your meter is well calibrated, it should render a reading very close to a 2.8 or in my case exactly a 2.8. I don’t worry too much about a tenth or two over or under. If you are calibrating an incident meter use a flat disk, hold the meter in front of the gray card and pointed at the camera. Your exposure should be at a 2.8 or very close to it.I know that many of you don’t use a meter, but they can be very useful in verifying the speed of the chip in the camera you might be shooting with. To ascertain this issue, shoot a gray card at the exact exposure your calibrated meter displays at the native ISO of the camera. Send the footage to a post house and ask if that gray exposure is where it should be on their scopes. If it is, then the native speed is truthful. If it isn’t, then adjust your meter to reflect that over or under metric.I recommend that everyone should at least own a spot meter, because you never know when you might have to shoot a film on film. You can’t light from a monitor on film; a meter reading must be taken and it has to be pretty close to perfect — or else. So go on ebay and purchase one. My bet is that you’ll find a reason to use it every day even on your next digital shoot!What are your experiences with light meters? Are they a part of your standard loadout? Share your thoughts in the comments below.last_img read more

first_imgAfter Effects TutorialsIf you need to learn how to use these assets, I suggest these roundups of the best After Effects tutorials.21 of the Best After Effects TutorialsPremiumBeat’s After Effects FundamentalsAugment Reality with These After Effects HUD TutorialsWe’re also constantly updating the PremiumBeat YouTube channel with tutorials on After Effects, video editing, cinematography and video production, more freebies, and so much more. Be sure to subscribe for the latest tuts. Adobe After Effects is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary, so we figured it was time to round up some of our favorite free templates, presets, and assets.It still feels like we just celebrated Premiere Pro’s 25th birthday, but now it’s time to shift the celebration over to After Effects.Going back to January of 1993, After Effects version 1.0 was working behind the scenes on what would become the biggest blockbuster film ever, Jurassic Park.The team on Jurassic Park used proprietary software to develop the virtual world. But it was After Effects that allowed the VFX team to combine aspects of 3D dinosaurs and 2D sketches to virtually preview movie scenes. This was due to After Effects’ unique capabilities to do quick-turn shots. Jurassic Park transformed the industry forever and went on to win a well-deserved Oscar for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing. It also was the catalyst to help the creators of After Effects strive to make the product what it is today. —AdobeYou should also make time to throw it back to the After Effects demo reel from 1993.After Effects has long been in the hands of everyday consumers now, and the software is behind countless commercials, films, and motion design projects all over the world.To celebrate the milestone, we’ve rounded up our favorite free After Effects assets. Below, you’ll find tons of free animations like icons and transitions as well as presets, templates, and overlays.Free Animations, Transitions, and Icons for After Effects 16 Circle Transitions12 Circle Bursts35 Shape Layers24 Lower ThirdsAnimated Text Messages20 Animated Icons30 Office Technology Icons16 Colorful TransitionsAnimation Effects for Helvetica NeueRibbon Animated Typeface5 Animated Wedding Name BadgesAnimated Social Media Icons Free After Effects Templates 16 4K Volumetric Light and Dust Elements21 4K Fog Overlays13 4K Light Leaks16 Light Leaks65 Free Bullet Sparks19 4K Space Nebula Backgrounds5 Glitch EffectsVHS Distortion Overlay Free Logo Reveals Free After Effects Presets, Plugins, and Tools 15 Free Camera Shake PresetsFX Console — Workflow ToolTypominal — Text PresetButtcapper — Stroke Cap SelectorOuroboros — Multiple Strokes in Path PresetDUIK — Rigging AnimationAE Flame 3 Animated Logo RevealsIronclad — Metallic Fantasy Logo RevealHiro — Anime Logo RevealOrbital — HUD Logo Reveal3 Click Logo Reveals Poly Titles AE templateFast Flip AE templateSplit Layers AE templateFast Slides AE templateYouTube User InterfaceInstagram User Interface10 Free After Effects Templates: Typography Free Overlays and Elementslast_img read more

first_imgPeople use the social channels in two very different ways. One of these ways is extraordinarily useful, and one is mostly an enormous waste of time. Your results using the social channels are based on which of these choices you make.ConsumptionMost consumption is a poor choice. The Internet provides an infinite number of distractions. If there is something that interests you, the social channels will provide access. If you are bored, you can scroll and scroll and scroll forever, or until something captures your attention.Consuming content may entertain you, and it may occasionally educate you, but mostly it steals your time, producing nothing in return for the investment you’ve made.CreationThere has never been a greater boon to creators than the Internet, and specifically the social channels.  I now call this digital, distinguishing the practical commercial aspects from pure consumption.If you are a writer, you can publish. If you are an entertainer, you can entertain. If you are someone who sells, you can create awareness and establish your expertise. If you are a business, there has never been a bigger, better platform from which to conduct commerce.It doesn’t matter much where you are and what you do; if you are a creator, the digital channels are unmatched—and if they aren’t in your space, they soon will be. But only for creators.Artist? Perfect! Solopreneur? Outstanding! Small or Medium-sized business? Nothing better on Earth. Big commercial enterprise? Scale has a whole new meaning.The digital transformation, which we are still on the front end of, is going to impact you differently depending upon whether you are primarily a consumer or a creator. It is a content creator’s world, and you are just living in it. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now There is a difference between proactively creating new opportunities and reactively letting opportunities come to you. The first is more salesmanship, the second more order-taking. Both are important, and you want all of the opportunities available to you, but only one allows you to take your results into your own hands.You proactively create opportunities by nurturing relationships, prospecting, and making a strong case for change. The nurturing gets you known, and proves that you are a value creator. The prospecting gains you an appointment to explore change, and to share ideas. The case for change is what compels action, in this case, and opportunity for your client to produce better outcomes and a deal for you.This is the work salespeople do, even though we spend more time talking about opportunity capture, something that is only necessary because someone created the opportunity in the first place.There are, however, other ways for you to acquire opportunities. You can wait passively for you dream clients to decide they need something, create an RFP, and invite you to participate, even if only as column fodder. You can also be the kind of customer-service focused person with a sales title that acquires new opportunities just by hanging around and waiting. These opportunities are no less valuable, and they may still have something to do with you being known, liked,  and trusted, while also possessing the ability to create value.The difference here is that proactive opportunity creation is intentional, and it allows for greater control of your overall results, while reactively waiting for opportunities is passive, leaving your results dependent upon the luck that never produces equal results to doing the work.Selling is equal parts opportunity creation and opportunity capture. Because this is true, success in sales requires that you treat opportunity creation as if it is equal to winning deal. Over time, your ability to create opportunities will end up with you winning more than your fair share of those opportunities.last_img read more

first_imgThe Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Tuesday condemned the killing of farmers in police firing in Mandsaur.“The kisans in Madhya Pradesh have been agitating peacefully for many days demanding that the State government implement the promises that have been made to provide greater remuneration as well as debt relief,” said a party statement. “This unprovoked police firing clearly exposes the anti-kisan character of the BJP in general and the State government in particular,” the statement added.“The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands that adequate compensation be given to the families of those who died in the police firing and the State government provide all medical assistance to those who have been injured.”It added: “The culprits responsible for ordering this unprovoked police firing must be suspended immediately, pending a proper enquiry. The State government must immediately concede the genuine demands of the kisan agitation.”Late on Monday evening, the agitators had tried to remove fish plates from railway tracks and damaged property at the Daloda railway station, about 20 km from the Mandsaur district headquarters.last_img read more

first_imgAbout 150 farmers were arrested and sent to Raipur Central Jail on Thursday after Section 144 of the IPC was imposed in five districts of Chhattisgarh to clamp down on a farmers’ protest march.The farmers began marching from various districts of the State on Tuesday and planned to gherao Chief Minister Raman Singh’s residence in Raipur. Their list of demands included a bonus of ₹300 per quintal of paddy, adequate minimum support price for paddy and implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission.Many senior farmers’ leaders were arrested including former Union Minister Arvind Netam, the convener of Chhattisgarh Kisan Majdoor Mahasangh, Sanket Thakur, and activists such as Alok Shukla, Lakhan Singh, Uttam Jaiswal, Durga Jha and Anand Mishra. “We have arrested them under Section 151 of the IPC as we suspected that they might violate the Section 144 which is in place,” said a police official.Mr. Netam, who quit the Congress to join the tribal and farmers’ union, accused the Raman Singh government of “authoritarianism”. Mr. Netam said before his arrest: “What are they scared of? Why are they not even allowing us to present our demands? We were only reminding them of their own promise. How many people will they arrest? They will have to answer all this in the people’s court soon.” The Congress also termed the government’s action as “repressive” and announced that it will “gherao” the State Assembly building in Raipur on Saturday in protest against the government’s inaction and not keeping its promises to farmers.State Congress president Bhupesh Baghel said, “Never in the past has the State witnessed Article 144 being imposed in so many districts. Now, the Congress will take the fight of the farmers ahead.” Chhattisgarh Agriculture Minister Brijmohan Agrawal did not respond to repeated calls from The Hindu. State BJP spokesperson Shiv Ratan Sharma justified the government’s clampdown on protesters by terming it “a drama by the Congress party.”last_img read more

first_imgThere is no drug mafia in Goa, but being a tourist State, drugs are smuggled into Goa for “trade, consumption and transit”, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s written reply tabled in the State Legislative Assembly during Question Hour, on Wednesday, said.The issue of drugs was debated by members cutting across party lines, with MLAs from the Treasury Benches as well as Opposition demanding that “a strict watch be kept on foreign students in Goa to curb the drug menace”.Several MLAs expressed concern that the drug problem has been spreading in colleges and schools, and is no longer confined to coastal belt of the State.When some MLAs accused Nigerian students of pushing drugs, Speaker Pramod Sawant told members not to target citizens of any specific country.Senior Congress MLA and former Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane demanded that [foreign] students found to be involved in criminal activities and drugs be deported.“There is no existence of a ‘drug mafia’ in Goa. However, Goa being a tourist destination, narcotic drugs are smuggled in[to] Goa for trade, consumption and transit,” the original written reply tabled on Wednesday said in response to a question from former Chief Minister and Congress MLA Digambar Kamat and others.“The drug dealers/suspects involved in narcotic activities operate in a clandestine and well-organised manner. The information about narcotic activities is collected through sources and raids are conducted and the perpetrators of these crimes are arrested,” the reply further stated.While Chief Minister Parrikar is currently hospitalised in Mumbai for a pancreatic ailment, his written replies were tabled and queries addressed by Sudin Dhavlikar, Minister for Public Works in the BJP-led coalition Cabinet, designated by Mr. Parrikar to act on his behalf after Mr. Dhavlikar was chosen as the leader of the House in absence of the CM.last_img read more

first_imgFrustrated with the alleged indifference of State officials, a Cabinet Minister in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday took hold of a spade himself to repair a road in his native village in Varanasi. U.P. Backward Class Welfare Minister Om Prakash Rajbhar claimed that a 250-metre stretch of mud road near his house in Fatehpur Khonda village was not being repaired by officials despite several applications to the Public Works Department as well the District Magistrate. If a Cabinet Minister had to face such a situation, what would be the state of common citizens, he wondered.Levelling a roadSpotted in a white vest and white pyjamas, the yellow scarf of his party tied around his head, Mr. Rajbhar on Saturday began digging to level the potholed road leading to his house. Some of his family members and party workers also joined him. A video of him working with the spade in the afternoon heat was widely circulated on social media.“I wanted to show a mirror to the officials. So that they can learn how work is to be done from me and get rid of their incompetence,” Mr. Rajbhar told The Hindu from Varanasi after he finished the work. He is the president of the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in U.P.Several political personalities, including State ministers and MLAs of the ruling party as well as the Opposition, had been invited to the feast on Sunday.A major embarassment came on Friday when Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh visited the village and pointed out the pathetic state of the road to him, Mr. Rajbhar said.”I am a farmer’s son. We are used to working in the fields. When I got tired of trusting [the officials], I decided to do this work on my own,” Mr. Rajbhar said. The road, said Mr. Rajbhar, had been built over two decades ago and was in a poor condition with potholes as deep or wide as 6-9 inches. He said that not only had he been writing to the officials for several months, he had even prepared an estimate through a State engineer and sent it to Lucknow. Varanasi District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra was contacted several times but was not available for comment.This is not the first time the OBC leader he has blamed officials in U.P. for hampering development work. Last year, Mr. Rajbhar sat on a dharna in the Ghazipur district of Purvanchal against his own government, alleging that the District Magistrate was not paying heed to his requests for the construction of a minor road.last_img read more

first_img “We want good relations between India and China. The State government and the people of Sikkim have shown their love for the country and have worked for the interest of India,” he said. On a solution to the issue, he said the Centre knew best.Mr. Chamling said he had tried to shield the State from external disturbances, whether from Maoism in Nepal or the Gorkhaland agitation in Darjeeling. He said he wanted peace in Darjeeling, and supported the stand of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.“We want to join Mamata Banerjee and contribute to the prosperity of Darjeeling,”. In 2017, the West Bengal government had accused Sikkim of giving shelter to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader Bimal Gurung. Shashi Tharoor gives Doklam report to Sushma Swaraj Observing that the people of Sikkim are “living in fear” because of the stand-off in Doklam between India and China, Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling on Monday said the Centre had kept the border State in the dark on the issue.“Nobody has consulted us, neither the Centre nor the Army has told us anything about the situation. Whatever we get to know about Doklam is from newspaper reports,” Mr. Chamling told a group of journalists from the Kolkata Press Club.“Here in Sikkim, we live with the Doklam issue. There is a fear psychosis among the people. We are afraid of the situation,” Mr. Chamling said.He said the people feared a war with China, and referred to Kupup, the last inhabited village in Sikkim, about 30 km from Doklam.Also Readlast_img read more

first_imgThe Uttar Pradesh government is preparing a vision document and a four-point programme to improve the quality of education in state government schools, Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma said here on Monday. “To ensure quality education in the state, a vision document is being prepared and work has started on a four-point programme; ‘sukhi man shikshak’ (happy teachers), ‘tanaav-mukt vidyarthi’ (tension-free students), ‘gunvatta-parak shiksha’ (quality education) and ‘nakal-viheen pariksha’ (cheating-free examination),” UP Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma said on Monday.‘Free from tension’Explaining the first point ‘Sukhi Man Shikshak’, Mr. Sharma, who holds the portfolio of secondary and higher education said, when the teacher is free from tensions, he or she can impart better education to the students. “Prior to the formation of the BJP government in the State, teachers had to face numerous problems including difficulties in getting their funds after retirement. But now the teachers can get their entire post-retirement fund, a day after their retirement,” he said. He further said, now teachers do not have to repeatedly visit department offices for transfer related issues as the process has been made available online. He also said the academic session of UP State Board schools has been shifted to July from April so that students of the board can appear in competitive examinations and compete with the students of other boards.last_img read more

first_imgUntil about 11,000 years ago, mammoths, giant beavers, and other massive mammals roamed North America. Many researchers have blamed their demise on incoming Paleoindians, the first Americans, who allegedly hunted them to extinction. But a new study fingers climate and environmental changes instead. The findings could have implications for conservation strategies, including controversial proposals for “rewilding” lions and elephants into North America.The idea that humans wiped out North America’s giant mammals, or megafauna, is known as the “overkill hypothesis.” First proposed by geoscientist Paul Martin more than 40 years ago, it was inspired in part by advances in radiocarbon dating, which seemed to indicate an overlap between the arrival of the first humans in North America and the demise of the great mammals. But over the years, a number of archaeologists have challenged the idea on several grounds. For example, some researchers have argued that out of 36 animals that went extinct, only two—the mammoth and the mastodon—show clear signs of having been hunted, such as cuts on their bones made by stone tools. Others have pointed to correlations between the timing of the extinctions and dramatic fluctuations in temperatures as the last ice age came to a halting close.To get a higher resolution picture of what may have happened, archaeologists Matthew Boulanger and R. Lee Lyman of the University of Missouri, Columbia, decided to look at a region that had not been well studied in the past: the northeast of North America, including the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maine, and the Canadian province of Ontario. “This is a region that has been virtually absent from discussions” about megafaunal extinctions, Boulanger says, which have mostly focused on the Great Plains and the American Southwest. “Yet it is also a region with an incredibly rich record” of prehistoric animal remains. For example, the bones of at least 140 mastodons and 18 mammoths have been found in New York state alone.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Boulanger and Lyman compiled databases of radiocarbon dates from both megafaunal finds and Paleoindian sites for the northeast, throwing out any dates whose reliability had been or could be questioned. This gave a final sample of 57 megafauna dates from 47 different sites and 25 Paleoindian dates from 22 sites. When the two databases were compared, it became clear that most of the megafauna had already disappeared before humans came on the scene—suggesting that the humans had little to do with their demise.The radiocarbon dates also suggest that northeastern megafauna underwent two major declines before finally going extinct. The first was 14,100 years ago, before any humans were in the region, but the number of animals then recovered after about 500 years; the second and final population crash began 12,700 years ago, when Paleoindians had just arrived in the region, according to the archaeological record. Moreover, the team reports in the 1 February issue of Quaternary Science Reviews, even though humans and megafauna continued to coexist for about 1000 years before the animals finally went extinct, the animals were already on their way out: Between 75% and 90% of the northeastern megafauna were gone before humans ever came on the scene. Yet even during the millennium of human and animal overlap, the team argues, there is no evidence for hunting: Neither megafaunal nor Paleoindian sites in the northeast contained animal bones that were butchered or otherwise modified.The authors stress that their results can be directly applied only to northeastern North America, and not to other regions such as the Great Plains and Southwest. Nevertheless, given the large amount of megafauna in the northeast, and the lack of evidence for human involvement in their demise, they argue that overkill cannot have been the only or even the major factor for continent-wide extinctions: Climate and environmental stresses must have also played a key role. The timing of the second megafaunal crash, 12,700 years ago, corresponds with the beginning of a major, 1300-year-long cold snap called the Younger Dryas, which was followed by the warming trend (called the Holocene) we still live in today.The new work bolsters the views of many researchers that “the arguments and evidence are stronger for environmental and climatic explanations,” says Lisa Nagaoka, a zooarchaeologist at the University of North Texas, Denton. By the time humans arrived, she says, the “tipping point” toward megafaunal extinctions may already have been reached.And although these events occurred thousands of years ago, Lyman says that they have important implications today. Recently, a number of conservationists have begun advocating the “rewilding” of North America by reintroducing species such as elephants—which are closely related to extinct animals like mastodons and mammoths—and African lions, which are related to the extinct American lion.This idea has received increasing attention in both the scientific literature and the popular media. For example, rewilding proponents advocate introducing elephants and Bactrian camels—which are now close to extinction in the Gobi Desert—onto the continent, with the idea that they would eat woody plants and weeds that threaten grasslands in the western United States, and that a new habitat would help protect them from extinction. But some researchers have argued that these proposals are based on faulty ecological logic and could end up hurting ecosystems rather than helping them, as well as threatening existing species.And Lyman says that the strategy is based in large part on the ethical argument that because humans killed off relatives of these animals, they bear responsibility for now saving them and restoring their habitats. “The overkill hypothesis is a very weak foundation for rewilding.”Meanwhile, advocates of the overkill hypothesis remain unconvinced by the new study. “The authors have engaged in an exercise in data analysis that neither proves nor disproves overkill,” says Gary Haynes, an archaeologist at the University of Nevada, Reno. Humans may have come into the northeast earlier than the radiocarbon database indicates, but their remains may not yet have been found, he says. Todd Surovell, an archaeologist at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, insists that the new study is entirely consistent with the view that humans dealt the final blow to the great beasts of North America: “The fundamental question is whether these animals would have suffered extinction if humans had not arrived.”last_img read more

first_imgMore than a quarter of all Internet traffic belongs to BitTorrent, a file-sharing system that allows users to swap everything from music to movies. Now, for the first time, researchers have revealed a link between a country’s economy and the type of files its residents download from BitTorrent. The findings are shedding new light on online behavior and could help law enforcement track down Internet pirates.“[The researchers] found an intriguing and creative approach,” says Johan Pouwelse, a computer scientist at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, who was not involved in the work. “I’ve never seen a study done like that.”BitTorrent is a so-called peer-to-peer (P2P) communication protocol. Unlike traditional networks that store information on a central server, which power well-known services like Google and Facebook, P2P relies on users to make their resources directly available to other users. The technology supports everything from Skype calls to the U.S. military’s intelligence-sharing network. Though people use BitTorrent to swap legal material such as free software, the network has proved particularly attractive to those sharing copyrighted music, movies, and games illegally. Just last month, the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship settled a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against a New York resident who confessed to uploading pay-per-view events to popular BitTorrent repositories like the Pirate Bay.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The decentralized nature of BitTorrent not only presents a challenge to law enforcement officials, but also to researchers seeking large-scale data on user behavior. Investigators can’t conveniently retrieve information from a central server, but instead must monitor individual users to gain a global picture.So computer scientist Jordi Duch at Rovira i Virgili University, Tarragona, in Spain and his colleagues collaborated with computer scientists at Northwestern University, who developed a software plug-in called Ono. The software accelerates BitTorrent download speed. In exchange for this benefit, Ono’s 1.4 million users can choose to release information on their file-sharing behavior, such as the timing of downloads and the size of the shared files, for research purposes. To protect the users’ privacy and entice cooperation, the researchers did not collect data on the content of the shared files. They also used an algorithm to anonymize the data, so that the researchers themselves did not know the IP addresses of the users, which can be used to track them down.Without information about the file content, the researchers invented a creative way to gauge what exactly users were sharing. Sampling files shared on the Pirate Bay, they found that different types of content correspond to specific file sizes. A 100-megabyte file is more likely to be a digital music CD, whereas a 2-gigabyte file tends to be a high-definition movie.After more than 4 years tracking user behavior, the researchers analyzed the activities of about 10,000 active BitTorrent users during a typical month. The users—at least those who agreed to use the Ono plug-in—behaved in a highly predictable manner, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A majority downloaded files on a weekly basis, and most focused on sharing one or two types of files. By looking at a user’s first 100 downloads, the team could predict with 80% accuracy what type of file the user would download next, Duch says.But what really stood out is that users from the same country displayed a tendency to download the same types of content. After factoring socioeconomic indicators such as a country’s gross domestic product per capita and Internet access, analysis showed that users from rich countries such as the United States tended to download more music files, whereas users from poorer countries such as Spain favored movie files.Alex Kigerl, a cybercrime researcher at Washington State University, Pullman, who was not involved in the study, says he finds the results surprising, as he would expect users from richer countries to take advantage of better Internet infrastructure to download larger files. Duch suggests that the availability of online streaming services such as Netflix may have curbed the tendency for Americans to download movies and TV shows. In contrast, in countries like Spain, where no such services are available, downloading became the prevalent way to access such content.The study could help engineers design better file-sharing algorithms that optimize download speed by matching users who share the same interests, Duch says. The data could also be used to evaluate the efficacy of antipiracy policies, he says. In an unpublished study using the same data, the researchers found that regulations on online downloading tend to produce only short-term effects. For instance, when the New Zealand government passed a three strikes law against pirating in 2011, BitTorrent user activities dampened for a few months, only to climb back up later, Duch says. “Law enforcement agencies … are trying to put walls in a field where there are several ways to evade them.”*Correction, 7 October, 12:15 p.m.: This article has been corrected to note that BitTorrent user activity dampened when the New Zealand government passed a three strikes law against piracy, not when the U.S. Department of Justice shut down Megaupload.last_img read more