More Reasons to Imitate Biology

first_imgRecent articles about Biomimetics show that the field is still going strong.[Note: CEH is taking a break this week. These news items are presented for those who wish to follow up on them.]Newly developed molecule to improve pharmaceuticals draws inspiration from nature’s toolbox (Colorado State, via Phys.org). Inspired by a special enzyme that handles fluorine.Sugars in mother’s milk help shape baby’s microbiome and ward off infection (Medical Xpress). Study of natural milk may improve synthetic imitations.How to use limited bandwidth more efficiently? Think like a cave-dwelling fish (Science Daily). Nature-inspired device avoids jamming, could enable smarter and less expensive use of wireless communication bandwidth.Built for speed: DNA nanomachines take a (rapid) step forward (Phys.org). “This is much slower than naturally occurring processes in living systems like protein motors, which can perform feats of dissociation similar to strand displacement in much faster time frames.”Wireless ‘RoboFly’ Looks Like an Insect, Gets Its Power from Lasers (Live Science). But insects do it without lasers.Researchers mimic comet moth’s silk fibers to make ‘air-conditioned’ fabric (Phys.org).Ants’ route-finding abilities put mapping software to shame (Nature).Has artificial intelligence become alchemy? (Science Magazine). AI can do specialized tasks, but works nothing like a real human mind. The quest to imitate the mind is like the pseudoscience of alchemy, Matthew Hutson writes.Why we need to figure out a theory of consciousness (The Conversation). Various secular theories about mind that have come and gone.Maybe these stories will inspire you to write an article or a blog entry about intelligent design at work in real scientific research. (Visited 268 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

My normal, crazy, mixed-up country

first_imgGet me to the church on time. A still from South Africa’s hit movie White Wedding. Jann Turner, the director and joint writer and producer of White Wedding. (Images: White Wedding) This article originally appeared on page six of South Africa Now, a six-page supplement to the Washington Post produced on behalf of Brand South Africa. (Click to enlarge.) MEDIA CONTACTS • Clay Dollarhide New Media – MPRM +1 323 933 3399 cdollarhide@mprm.com • MJ Peckos Marketing & Distribution – Dada Films +1 310 273 1444 mj@dadafilms.net RELATED ARTICLES • Movie draws public – and pirates • New film tackles race with humour • SA short film makes festival finals • Hopeville: a journey of restoration • SA film shines at Zanzibar festivalJann TurnerSouth African hit movie White Wedding is now showing in the US to rave reviews. Jann Turner, who directed and jointly wrote and produced the film, writes about the place that inspired it – South Africa.Are there lions in the streets? Do you live in a mud hut? How come you ain’t … ?As a South African, I get the strangest questions from Americans. Their impression of Africa ranges from the lions-snakes-loincloths version, all the way to the guns-Aids-ghettos version. Often they are wildly off the mark, although, since we hosted the World Cup soccer tournament, they do know that we have stadiums, TV and vuvuzelas.What they don’t know is that we have it all! Wild animals and guns, Aids and ghettos are here, but we also have highways, high schools, high-tech, high-life and high hopes. We’re on Twitter and Facebook and all the other social networks. Charlize Theron is one of us. So is Elon Musk, the PayPal founder and Dave Matthews of the band. We invented super-glue, open-heart surgery and short-range tactical nuclear weapons and we were also the first to ever give up the latter voluntarily.Our country is hauntingly beautiful – beaches, mountains, deserts, forests, cities, jungles. It’s the size of California and Texas combined and 50-million of us live here, of all colours, speaking 11 different languages. Since Nelson Mandela led us out of our painful past, we’re all working hard to get along and make our country a success. And slowly, we’re getting it right. Most of us even have rhythm now.Take Beyonce, Denzel, Obama and Oprah. Throw in LeBron and Tiger. Sprinkle with Bill Gates, Al Sharpton, Pat Buchanan, Spike Lee and Paris Hilton. Make most of them poor, but some rich. Given them each a different language. Now tell them to sort out the US, quickly and peacefully. Get the idea? Ask anyone who visited us for the World Cup. We live in a crazy, mixed-up, fun loving, rich-and-poor, up-and-down place, and we are immensely proud of it.The point I’m trying to make is that South Africa is fast becoming just a normal, crazy mixed-up country. So we – that’s my two partners, Kenneth Nkosi and Rapulana Seiphemo and me – want to tell stories that are fun, real, and normal.So White Wedding came about from a road trip the three of us took across the country about seven years ago – two black dudes and white girl and all the bizarre, funny, typically South African things that we encountered.It was on that long drive that we made up the story about Kenneth (Elvis, the groom) and Rapulana (Tumi, the best man) trying to get from Johannesburg to Cape Town to Elvis’s wedding. Things go wrong – but not in the way you might expect. George (the goat), played by Bella (the goat) isn’t a guest at the wedding – he’s the lunch – a gift from Grandma. Befriended by Rose (the heartbroken British hitch-hiker), George sits in the back seat of the car with Elvis, while Tumi and Rose flirt in the front. Tony, the ex-boyfriend of Ayanda (the bride), pays for her wedding dress. Elvis hasn’t made the transfer from the bank, because he’s lost in mountains, and there’s no phone signal. It’s not really George’s fault that they crash, but in the end, poor George ends up getting cooked and eaten. Or does he?We ended up with a funny, romantic, feel-good road-movie, reminiscent of Sideways and Little Miss Sunshine. We shot the film in 18 days, for a budget of less than U$1-million (R7-million). And South Africans loved it. When did you last see a film in which you laugh at different scenes to the person next to you – and you don’t understand the jokes you are missing? Or when, at the climax, people stand and dance to the soundtrack, shouting in excitement? We heard many stories of black and white strangers hugging each other as the credits rolled, or of employers and their housekeepers sitting side-by-side, shedding simultaneous tears when the story gets weepy.We sent Nelson Mandela a copy for his 91st birthday and he loved it. Mandela is a Xhosa, like Grandma and the beautiful Ayanda, but he wouldn’t mind the gentle fun that is poked at their laid-back, stubborn stereotype. The film gives everyone a bit of a rev.But you don’t need to be South African to appreciate it. At heart, it’s a universal story about love and prejudice. It’s warm, charming, and reminds us that our similarities are greater than our differences. President Obama, you should see it!So … I’m not black. I live in the suburbs, and the lions I hear at night are in the Joburg zoo. But I am South African, and I think Americans are going to like our movie. If you do see it, don’t be afraid to laugh aloud, whistle, dance, cry and applaud during the show. And tell your friends.That’s how we do it.For more information, visit whiteweddingmovie.com.Download South Africa Now in PDF format (2.2 MB), or read selected articles online:Powering towards a green economySouth Africa plans to build a massive $21.8-billion, 5 000 MW solar park in its semi-desert Northern Cape province as part of an aggressive push to grow its highly industrialised economy without increasing its carbon footprint.The everyday beauty of SowetoSouth African photographer Jodi Bieber has a special ability to bring out the beauty in the ordinary, even the disfigured. On the cover of Time magazine she made a mutilated Afghani girl look beautiful, and in her latest book Soweto she makes everyday township life shine.Launchpad to a billion consumersBy offering to acquire Massmart for some $4.2-billion, Wal-Mart has joined the parade of global companies looking to South Africa as a springboard into what is increasingly seen as the world’s last great investment frontier.A trek to the start of timeIt will probe the edges of our universe. It will be a virtual time machine, helping scientists explore the origins of galaxies. It’s the Square Kilometre Array, and South Africans are at the heart of its development.Brewing up a global brandMiller Lite. Tastes great. Less filling. And brought to you by world-beating South African company SABMiller.Looking south and east for growthAs the shift in global economic power gains momentum, South Africa’s trade is moving eastwards and southwards in a pattern that both reflects the worldwide trend and helps drive it, writes John Battersby.More than just a celluloid Mandela There is a special bond between Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman and the man he played in the Clint Eastwood movie Invictus, South African statesman Nelson Mandela.Africa in the new world orderKgalema Motlanthe, South Africa’s deputy president, looks at how African economies’ resilient performance during the global financial crisis points to the continent’s new place in a changing world.Mining history for new solutionsMark Cutifani, CEO of the multinational AngloGold Ashanti mining company, examines why South Africa’s past is key to successfully doing business here in the future.Turning up the media volumeSince 1990, South Africa has been a noisy place. After decades of apartheid censorship, the lifting of restrictions on the media led to a cacophony of debate. For the first time in centuries, everyone could be heard, and it was sometimes deafening, writes Anton Harber.A joule of an energy-efficient carSouth Africa, which builds BMWs and Mercedes Benzes for the US market, is in the thick of the race to deliver a truly practical – and stylish – electric car. Meet the Joule.South Africa: Time to believeThe forgiving philosophy of “ubuntu” helps explain how South Africa managed to transcend its turbulent apartheid past and create a unified democracy, writes Simon Barber.Finding sound real estate investmentSouth Africa’s post-apartheid transformation and new middle class are fuelling demand for affordable homes. For private equity fund International Housing Solutions, that means opportunity.My normal, crazy, mixed-up countrySouth African hit movie White Wedding is now showing in the US to rave reviews. Jann Turner, who directed and jointly wrote and produced the film, writes about the place that inspired it – South Africa.Bring on the braaiAll South Africans love it – including Nobel peace prize-winning Desmond Tutu – and its rich, smoky smell floats over the country every Sunday. Celebrate the braai with our great recipe for making boerewors, traditional South African farmer’s sausage.last_img read more

Hardik Patel to join Congress, says Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti

first_imgFace of the Patidar quota agitation in Gujarat, Hardik Patel is set to take a plunge in the politics by joining Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Mr. Patel on Thursday given green signal to join Congress in a meeting of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) held in Rajkot district.“The issue of Hardik’s joining politics was discussed and all members of the PAAS, which is the apex decision making body of the agitation, has given him go ahead to join Congress party,” PAAS member Geeta Patel said after the meeting.His entry into the opposition party will likely take place on March 12 after the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting to be held in Ahmedabad.After the meeting, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi and others will address a public rally at Adalaj where the 25-year-old Mr. Patel is likely to be inducted into the party.Meanwhile, amidst political buzz about his contesting Lok Sabha polls, the PAAS members said that Mr. Patel will take that call after joining the party.“He is likely to contest the Lok Sabha polls but from where is yet to be decided,” a person close to Mr. Patel said.last_img read more

Wimbledon 2011: Azarenka to face Kvitova in semis

first_imgIt’s been one hell of a rollercoaster ride for the women at The Championships with the favourites falling by the wayside.Victoria Azarenka is confident of doing well. APAs the combatants prepare for the climactic semi-finals on Thursday, Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka will have a go at each other. The other clash features former champion Maria Sharapova and rising star Sabini Lisicki.Kvitova versus Azarneka definitely is a semi-final match-up which few had imagined at the start of Wimbledon. But the way it has panned out, old-timers now recall how these two players slugged it out last year. The venue was the same, though the thirdround clash was not on the show courts but Court 18.On Tuesday, eighth seed Kvitova did have a slump in form against Tsvetana Pironkova before winning 6-3, 6-7 (5/ 7), 6-2. Considering that Pironkova had ousted title contenders Vera Zvonareva and five-time champion Venus Williams, her eventual loss to Kvitova was a surprise.”At the beginning I was better and played like my matches before, but then I got a little nervous.I made some easy mistakes,” Kvitova said. “I was so happy I won the first game in the third set, when I broke her. It got better from there.”As a natural left-hander, Kvitova does have some advantage on grass. The last time Wimbledon saw a southpaw women’s champion was Martina Navratilova in 1990. But Kvitova is not looking that far ahead.”Anybody can win here and I think it’s open,” she said. And then she reflected on Navratilova.advertisement”Yeah, she was my idol when I was young. I have seen her matches on TV. But there’s no special connection with her though she did say to me ‘ well done’.” As if sounding a warning to Azarenka, Kvitova said: “Being left-handed is an advantage here for sure. So when I get a better serve, it’s good. I consider my game fast and my legs are strong to move well on grass,” she added.But the slight handicap for Kvitova is an abductor muscle injury she is carrying. “With pain-killers, it’s fine,” she said.Meanwhile, Azarenka says this is the best tennis she has played till now. “This is the best result but I still think I can improve my game,” she said.As one who emigrated from Belarus to the United States, Azarenka says she did it purely for tennis. “In Belarus, it’s impossible to play outdoors for a long period of time because of the weather.The conditions and facilities in America are excellent and it’s great preparation for me, though I never really had an American coach,” said Azarenka.When Azarenka was reminded that she had lost twice before to Kvitova, she shrugged it off. “It’s going to be a different story. You know it’s a completely different game, and different stage of the tournament,” she said.The other semi-final is intriguing, though bookmakers have tipped Sharapova as the favourite. Champion here in 2004 as a 17-year-old, the Russian is a mature player today.Her form has been sublime, though against Lisicki’s mixed pattern of play, nothing can be taken for granted. As the first German to enter the Wimbledon semi- finals since 1999, Lisicki knows she has to live up to the hype. Thursday will provide us with all the answers.last_img read more