Ramón Laureano’s breakout a good sign for A’s in loss to Astros

first_imgHOUSTON — The good news — Ramón Laureano appears to be busting out of his slump. The bad news — that was not enough against the Astros.The A’s will usually take holding the Astros high-powered offense to three runs. But their offense is not exactly at peak performance right now. For the fourth time in their past nine games, the A’s offense was held to two runs or less in Friday’s 3-2 loss to the Astros.Laureano was the lone bright spot on offense. Struggling at the plate as he entered the …last_img read more

Mencken’s Law at Work in Science

first_img(Visited 358 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 The intuitive solution to a problem can be actually more harmful than the problem itself.H. L. Mencken said of explanations, “there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.” Here are a couple of examples.The mixed effects of online diversity training (PNAS). Many dread having to undergo “diversity training” at work. Such training, common in corporations and academia, assume that human beings need their attitudes fixed, because politically-incorrect biases have been inherited from the parents or from childhood. What better solution than to hold classes that can teach the offenders to accept “diversity and inclusion” attitudes from leftist elitists who just want to “help” people? Chang et al believe in the value of such training, but they were perplexed to find that results were mixed. In their study of 3,016 people who had undergone the training, a lot of people did not change their attitudes:Although diversity training is commonplace in organizations, the relative scarcity of field experiments testing its effectiveness leaves ambiguity about whether diversity training improves attitudes and behaviors toward women and racial minorities. We present the results of a large field experiment with an international organization testing whether a short online diversity training can affect attitudes and workplace behaviors. Although we find evidence of attitude change and some limited behavior change as a result of our training, our results suggest that the one-off diversity trainings that are commonplace in organizations are not panaceas for remedying bias in the workplace.In particular, the researchers found that such training had “limited efficacy among those groups whose behaviors policymakers are most eager to influence.” The diversity police may just have to resort to old-fashioned methods: electroshock, drugs and lobotomy.Banning exotic leather in fashion hurts snakes and crocodiles in the long run  (Natusch, Webb and Shine, The Conversation). There ought to be a law! The knee-jerk reaction of politicians rushes to the obvious solution: when a resource is threatened, ban all exploitation of it. It’s a big issue in conservation these days when endangered species teeter on the brink of extinction. Is it possible that such actions do more harm than good? Consider this case: ban all exotic leather! Crocodiles are threatened!We are all familiar with the concept of “fake news”: stories that are factually incorrect, but succeed because their message fits well with the recipient’s prior beliefs.We and our colleagues in conservation science warn that a form of this misinformation – so-called “feelgood conservation” – is threatening approaches for wild animal management that have been developed by decades of research.The issue came to a head in February when major UK-based retailer Selfridges announced it would no longer sell “exotic” skins – those of reptile species such as crocodiles, lizards and snakes – in order to protect wild populations from over-exploitation.But this decision is not supported by evidence.As they explain, “feelgood conservation” can backfire, by harming those with an interest in preserving the animals – the local people who sell the skins! Honest sellers (not the poachers who rush in to another country and kill elephants for their ivory or rhinos for their horns and leave) depend for their livelihood on being able to sell crocodile hides for profit. They are not going to deplete their resources. They often work hard to ensure plenty of crocodiles and snakes survive, so that a steady supply can sustain their business.How can this be? Isn’t conserving animals better than killing them for products? What do these guys mean that stopping trade in exotic skins will be a disaster for the animals themselves? Isn’t this a sleazy business? Think like a businessman here:Actually, no. You have to look past the fate of the individual animal and consider the future of the species. Commercial harvesting gives local people – often very poor people – a direct financial incentive to conserve reptile populations and the habitats upon which they depend.If lizards, snakes and (especially) crocodiles aren’t worth money to you, why would you want to keep them around, or to protect the forests and swamps that house them?The three conservationists end by saying the proposed cure is worse than the disease: “The ban announced by Selfridges is a disastrous move that could imperil some of the world’s most spectacular wild animals and alienate the people living with them.”The lesson is that critical thinking means opening one’s mind to think beyond the solutions that look clear, simple, and wrongI remember a “diversity training” quiz that everyone at NASA/JPL had to take after the lab opened a “Diversity and Inclusion” department. The quiz was dressed up in cutesy cartoons, explaining things like why you shouldn’t call your holiday party a “Christmas Party” because it might offend somebody. Most people I spoke with thought the exercise was stupid. It was demeaning and insulted their intelligence. And since each quiz item only allowed one right answer, it smelled elitist, not allowing any rational discussion about any of the multiple-choice questions, but demanding conformity of thought. Who were these do-gooders over in another building telling us how to behave, as if we didn’t already know? And what happens if we answer incorrectly? Do we get put on a suspicion list? One can see multiple ways that this “feelgood” exercise could have aroused more strife than inclusion.The “best” answer was to expunge all traces of Christmas. Exercise: Apply this lesson to current worries of today: climate change, fossil fuels, renewable energy, endangered species, national monuments, foreign aid, etc. Just as critical thinking must not jump to the simple solution, it must not also leap to the opposite conclusion. People and their politicians must learn to think past the “feelgood” response and consider the long-term effects of their choices. Sometimes the poorest people suffer the most.last_img read more

Photo library: Tourism and leisure 12

first_img{loadposition tc}Click on a thumbnail for a low-resolution image, or right-click on the link below it to download a high-resolution copy of the image.» Download Tourism & Leisure contact sheet (1.1MB) » Download full image library contact sheet (10.5MB) Eastern Cape province: Early morning on a beach in Nature’s Valley. Photo: Rodger Bosch, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Eastern Cape province: Early morning on a beach in Nature’s Valley. Photo: Rodger Bosch, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Eastern Cape province: Nature’s Valley, with the Tsitsikamma National Park in the background. Photo: Rodger Bosch, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Eastern Cape province: Tourists in the indigenous forest at Tsitsikamma National Park. Photo: Rodger Bosch, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Eastern Cape province: Tourists travel by boat up the Storms River mouth in the Tsitsikamma National Park. Photo: Rodger Bosch, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Eastern Cape province:Tourists travel by boat up the Storms River mouth in the Tsitsikamma National Park. Photo: Rodger Bosch, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Eastern Cape province: The Storms River mouth inthe TsitsikammaNational Park. Photo: Rodger Bosch, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Eastern Cape province: A fisherman walks to the sea near Coffee Bay, on the Wild Coast. Photo: Rodger Bosch, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Mthatha, Eastern Cape province: A display at the Nelson Mandela Museum. The museum houses historical texts on and photographs of the former prisoner, president, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s life, as well as a large collection of gifts, degrees and citations made to him. Photo: Rodger Bosch, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image TOURISM AND LEISURE 12:{loadposition tourism}Having trouble downloading high-resolution images? Queries about using the image library? Email Mary Alexander at [email protected]last_img read more

The Awesome Robots Behind the Camera

first_imgMark Roberts Motion Control (MRMC)Image via MRMCMRMC has made a name for themselves with the Milo motion control system. They actually have an entire series of motion control robotic arms that have been used on a ton of feature films.The Milo is so well known because of its portability and quick setup. The entire rig can be set up and ready to shoot in 35 minutes.Not only has the Milo been used on a series of award winning films, it made its runway debut at Paris Fashion Week.Check out the whole series of cranes and rigs MRMC has built in this awesome promo video. Ever used one of these devices on set? Want more articles on awesome film tech? Let us know in the comments below Over the past 5 years, Motion Control Operators have been creating incredible robotic arms that make precision and repetitive cinematography a possibility.Cover image via Robert CoutoIf you ever encounter a dolly and crane that can completely control itself, then you just found yourself a motion control camera setup. These devices are commonly used to sync live action shots with digital VFX, but as they have progressed technologically, they are becoming a cinematographer’s dream tool. Let’s take a look at the machines from Bot & Dolly and Mark Roberts Motion Control.Bot & DollyImage via Bot & DollyBot & Dolly specializes in creating motion control mechanical arms with custom software for filmmakers, architects, and digital fabricators. They have also created several machines for art and entertainment installations, like the ones used in the video Box.The team at Bot & Dolly once received a commission from Google as one of their earliest project. The created a robotic arm that could be controlled by Nexus devices. Needless to say, it impressed… considering Google then purchased the company afterwards.Meanwhile, the company teamed up with director Alfonso Cuarón to help him achieve the weightlessness of space in Gravity. With the intense amount of pre-visualization required for the film, Bot & Dolly had references to the entire movement of the film. The storyboards and animated sequences planned out the film’s entire choreography. With that information, they were able to plan all the camera movements before hand. They would be able to film Sandra Bullock like never before. The Bot & Dolly IRIS system was not only able to get into tight places, it could repeat the exact same movements repeatedly, allowing them to perfectly sync with the digital VFX.Director and Actor Keanu Reeves was also an early adopter of Bot & Dolly’s technology. He aimed to shoot the martial arts film Man of Tai Chi using actors instead of the CGI elements other films had used historically.It’s hard to give an update on Bot & Dolly, as the company has gone silent since being acquired by Google in 2013. Who knows what advances they have made since. Until we hear more, you can still enjoy the company’s show reel.last_img read more

Japan demo shows electricity entering EV through tires

first_img Japanese scientists explore electric roads for EVs Their solution is in the form of a wireless power prototype that can successfully transmit electricity through the concrete block. They consider the prototype as an early step to improve on, and that such an approach can be used one day to keep electric vehicles on the move. Takashi Ohira, an electrical engineering professor at the Toyohashi University of Technology, who leads the team, has developed his electric field coupling system to supply a charge to a car through its tires. The goal is to enable power transmission as the vehicle’s tires travel along the road with suitable efficiency and power transfers.In the demo, a metal plate was placed along with a four-inch layer of concrete, representing the road surface. Electricity between 50 and 60 watts was transmitted to actual-size automobile tires. The demo also showed a light bulb, attached between the two demo car tires, turning on.The university team’s project is called EVER (Electric Vehicle on Electrified Roadway). The focus is research aimed at using wireless power transmission technologies based on electric field coupling for transmitting power to a running vehicle.The July demo is the latest of similar past efforts by the researchers. Last year, Toyota Central R&D Labs and Ohira reported on their work to allow electric cars to drive unlimited distances on an electrified roadway. They reported a system that similarly transmits electric power through steel belts inside the two tires and a metal plate in the road. They presented their work at a workshop in Kyoto. To test how much energy would be lost as electricity traveled through the tire rubber, the researchers also set up a lab experiment with metal plates. “Less than 20 percent of the transmitted power is dissipated in the circuit,” said Ohira at that time. With enough power the system could run typical passenger cars, he added.To make their present technology useful, the electric power needs to be increased by 100 times. But, moving ahead, the group said that they are up to the task of meeting the project’s challenges. Explore further (Phys.org) — Electric vehicles’ future continues to tease scientists to devise promising and practical ideas to keep these cars moving along the highways without having to pull over and wait for a battery recharge. Solutions for the so called “charging and range problem” took yet another twist this month when a Japanese university team demonstrated how electricity can be transmitted to a pair of tires through a four-inch-thick block of concrete, the type of concrete used on roads. The team took its demo to WTP (Wireless Technology Park) 2012, a trade show on wireless technologies, earlier this month in Yokohama. vit Techon Citation: Japan demo shows electricity entering EV through tires (2012, July 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-07-japan-demo-electricity-ev.html More information: © 2012 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more