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Hummingbird Tongue More Clever Than Thought

first_imgHumans sip their nectar by tipping a glass and slurping, but how can a hummingbird pull liquid out of flowers with a tongue alone?  Up until now, scientists thought that hummingbird tongues acted like capillary tubes.  New research with high-speed cameras show that the action is much more clever – so clever it might lead to advances in human machinery.    PhysOrg posted a summary of a paper on PNAS,1 where scientists from the University of Connecticut decided to check out how hummingbirds do it.  Using high-speed cameras on 30 hummingbirds from 10 species, Rico-Guevara and Rubega discovered that the hummingbird tongue acts as a fluid trap, not a capillary tube.     The tongue splits into two parts, lined with hair-like extensions called lamellae.  As the bird pulls the tongue out from the nectar, the two parts come together automatically and trap the nectar, pulling the food into the mouth.  The PhysOrg article includes four video clips showing the action in slow motion.    The researchers further discovered that the same action occurs when the tongue of dead birds is pulled through simulated nectar, showing it is an automatic action, “therefore highly efficient because no energy expenditure by the bird is required to drive the opening and closing of the trap.”  According to the article, hummingbirds flick their tongues in and out of the nectar as fast as 20 times per second.    The abstract from the paper ended with a tantalizing hint of where this research can lead: “We propose a conceptual mechanical explanation for this unique fluid-trapping capacity, with far-reaching practical applications (e.g., biomimetics).”    Bird lovers will want to watch the entertaining performance on Science Nation of Griffin, an African gray parrot, posted on Live Science.  Is this bird really smart enough to understand shapes and colors, or is it responding to subconscious cues from its trainers?  Whether or not you believe Irene Pepperberg’s claim that they controlled for such cues, everyone will agree that “bird brains” are “smarter than you think.”    David Catchpoole at Creation.com wrote about the brilliant colors of parrots and commented in a sidebar about Dr. Pepperberg’s work on parrot intelligence.  Meanwhile, PhysOrg wrote about how physicists at Yale University have found a way to improve lasers by imitating the techniques birds use to flash bright colors.1.  Rico-Guevara and Rubega, “The hummingbird tongue is a fluid trap, not a capillary tube,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print May 2, 2011, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1016944108.Hummingbirds and parrots are not only beautiful, they are well designed and intelligent.  We hope this Amazing Facts entry will grant you even more appreciation as you watch the hummingbird feeder.  If you don’t have one, go get one; the performances will delight and astonish the family.  For a good film sequence about the design of hummingbirds, get the beautiful film God of Wonders at RPI, where you can buy copies in bulk to share with friends and acquaintances.(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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#SheSpeaks by Lady Nam: Find Your Voice with Nambitha Ben-Mazwi

first_imgPlay Your Part ambassador, Nambitha Ben-Mazwi, affectionately known as Lady Nam is an entertainer and philanthropist with a passion for community development. Lady Nam’s philanthropy is driven by a longing to make a positive impact in society using her personal brand and platform to reach out, educate and empower young girls and women.“Girls compete with girls, but women empower other women” says Lady Nam.Most notably, Lady Nam has created a platform for engagement on social media called #SheSpeaks by Lady Nam. This initiative aims to uplift young girls and women by encouraging them to find their voices in their careers and personal lives using #SheSpeaks by Lady Nam. Discussions address topics such as financial management, entrepreneurship, career guidance, spirituality, health and beauty.The initiative lives off social media and is amplified through various face-to-face interactions that Lady Nam has with experts from various fields, her entertainment industry peers and her mentees.“#SheSpeaks by Lady Nam is a women’s movement. It’s about empowering young girls and women. It’s about women finding their voice and after finding their voice, it’s about them walking, speaking and living their purpose.” says Lady Nam.Follow Lady Nam on YouTube to find out how you can get involved and find your voice.last_img read more

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Work with us to go digital: Carrim

first_img30 September 2013Communications Minister Yunus Carrim has called on the broadcast industry to work with the government in speeding up the implementation of South Africa’s migration from analogue to digital TV broadcasting.South Africa was originally meant to have completed migration from analogue to digital signals in November 2011. Currently, the SABC’s channels are being broadcast via outdated analogue signals.Experts say the delays in the migration process are costing the South African economy. Digital broadcasting is far more efficient, allowing for better picture and sound quality.“Government is on course and we just want to put pressure on the relevant partners,” Carrim told a business briefing organised by the New Age and SABC on Monday.“We brought all public broadcasters on board and told them to choose a facilitation team. We are in the midst of those negotiations, and we are not moving as fast as we would like,” he said.In August 2008, the South African government took a decision that it would subsidise the set-top boxes needed to convert analogue to digital signals for five-million of the poorest South African television households.The notion of set-top box control was subsequently born in order to protect the state’s investment in subsidised set-top boxes, to prevent set-top boxes acquired using taxpayers’ money from leaving the country.Carrim said the government’s main concern was to protect the electronic industry and jobs.“We also want to ensure that new entrants don’t use any government subsidies to create pay TV, on the one hand, and also there are high levels of monopoly and concentration in the industry. We want to give space to the emerging entrepreneurs, especially in the set-top boxes market.”Carrim said the world was undergoing a digital revolution and that he wanted the country’s information and communication technology (ICT) to be ready for this. “This revolution is transforming the nature of our communication.”He said his predecessor as minister, Dina Pule, had earlier this year launched an ICT policy review framing paper which sought clarity on the vision for the country’s communication sectors.A 22-member ICT policy review panel would assess the policy for expanding the sector, he said, adding that it was crucial that ICT played a role in reducing, not increasing, equality in South Africa.“Help us, and we will actually work hard to make this country be the great country it is and showed itself to be in 1994, 2010 and whole lot of other events.”Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

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Lens Options For the Sony A7S

first_img  Canon CN-E  30-105mm  T2.8  $19275.00 USD   Sony Sonnar  55mm  f/1.8  $998.00 USD   Canon EF Zoom  24-105mm  f/4.0  $999.00 USD Want more content on the Sony A7S? Then check out these articles from PremiumBeat.3 Reasons Why the Sony a7S Isn’t the Perfect Camera for FilmmakersThe Sony A7S vs RED Epic Dragon: Technically Not a Landslide VictoryThe Sony A7S Can Use Canon Batteries, Here’s HowDo you own a Sony A7S? What lenses are you using? Did this article help you get a better understanding of what the costs are for each group of lens options? Let us know in the comments below.   Rokinon  50mm  T1.5  $530.00 USD Since we couldn’t find any examples of anyone using the A7S with PL mount lenses, we decided to show you another EF mount short film. In this video, Carbon Studios used Zeiss Primes along with the A7S to capture a film called Moonlight, which is a low light project where the only source of illumination is the moon itself.   PL-MOUNT LENS OPTIONS  FOCAL LENGTH  APERTURE  PRICE EF Mount Lens OptionsRemember the question posed up top that asked if we can replace a Sony E-Mount with EF and PL lenses? Well if you can’t tell, you absolutely can use EF mount lenses. The Canon standard line of lenses are probably the most widely used by both prosumers and professionals alike.The only hitch with EF mounts is the fact that the Sony A7S doesn’t allow you to mount these natively to the camera. However, fret not… there are ways to get around this problem, most notably the use of lens adapters. Here’s another great article from Brian Smith that gives you all the info you need to know about using EF lens adapters for the A7S.Just be sure to budget around three thousand if you want to grab at least two lenses in EF mount form from the lenses listed.   E-MOUNT LENS OPTIONS  FOCAL LENGTH  APERTURE  PRICE   EF-MOUNT LENS OPTIONS  FOCAL LENGTH  APERTURE  PRICE   Rokinon  35mm  f/1.4  $479.00 USD  Canon  50mm  f/1.2  $1449.00 USD   Zeiss Compact Prime  50mm  T1.5  $4500.00 USD   Canon EF Zoom  17-40mm  f/4.0  $799.00 USD   Zeiss Compact Prime  50mm  f/1.5  $4500.00 USD Let’s check out some lens options for the popular Sony A7S, one of the hottest selling cameras on the market.Before you buy any camera, you want to get a lay of the land in terms of what glass (lenses) the camera can use. Luckily with today’s adaptable technology you can pretty much use whatever lenses you want. Since this is the case, we need to change the types of questions we ask ourselves before committing to a lens purchase.The main questions that come to mind are… what am I going to shoot with this camera? How much money do I have budgeted for lenses? Do I have to use the Sony E-Mount lenses, or can I use EF and PL lenses?We’ll break our lens options into sections and try to address the questions above in each breakdown.Out of the BoxLet’s get started with our options straight from the box. The Sony A7S comes with the standard E-Mount. You may be thinking that the E-Mount will severely limit you, but as Brian Smith pointed out in his ultimate guide to Sony E-Mount lenses — there’s no such limitation.What we do see in this first section on E-Mount-only lenses is that we need to budget for, at the very least, a couple thousand on lenses. And depending on what you’re shooting, you’ll want to get the lenses that work for you. For most of your shoots you’ll want a high-quality zoom lens and a solid prime. Let’s look at examples of both in E-Mount form.   Sony FE Zoom  70-200mm  f/4.0  $1498.00 USD   Zeiss Compact Zoom  70-200mm  T2.9  $19900.00 USD   Rokinon  24mm  f/1.4  $549.00 USD   Cooke Mini S4/i  50mm  T2.8  $7300.00 USD PL Mount Lens OptionsSo now that we know that we can adapt the Sony A7S to EF mount lenses, can we do the same with PL mounts? Well if this Wooden Camera Lens Adapter is any indication, the answer is yes. The larger question you should be asking at this point is why am I getting a PL mount lens for the A7S? And do I really need this lens?I will admit the 4K footage from the A7S will look amazing with any of these lenses, but I’m not going to lie to you… PL mount lenses are not the cheapest of the bunch. In fact, the PL mount is the standard ARRI mount, which is used throughout Hollywood. But if you have your heart set on using these lenses, then let’s see what your options are.Again, be sure to budget here, because you’ll need it. As I said, PL mount lenses will have you budgeting around 30 grand for two lenses. Unless you’re bank rolled by a major studio, I would suggest that you just rent these lenses if you have your heart set on using them. For an example of what one can do with an A7S, EF Lens Mount, and a Canon 24-105mm zoom lens, check out Gateway to the Ganges by Brandon Li. Here is an example of what can be shot using the Sony A7S and a Rokinon 35mm. This short reel was filmed by James John.   Zeiss Batis  85mm  f/1.8  $1199.00 USD   Schneider Xenon  50mm  T2.0  $7750.00 USDlast_img read more

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