Giving hybrids some respect

first_imgHarvard researchers are bringing new respectability to hybrids, showing that not all are evolutionary dead ends or short-lived mistakes and that some not only encompass the best traits of both parents, but create a unique mix that can endure as a separate species.Researchers at Harvard’s FAS Center for Systems Biology used genetic analysis to examine the evolutionary history of a recently recognized species of butterfly, the Appalachian tiger swallowtail, discovered in 2002. The Harvard analysis confirmed what other researchers had suspected, that the butterfly was a hybrid of the Canadian tiger swallowtail and the more southern eastern tiger swallowtail. Further, the researchers showed that the hybrid species originated when males from the Canadian species mated with females from the south.“Our work provides perhaps the first animal example that illustrates how hybrid species may be selectively favored when they inherit from their parent species-specific combinations of genes that underlie important ecological traits,” said Krushnamegh Kunte, a postdoctoral fellow at the center and lead author of the study, which was published online Sept. 8 in PLoS Genetics.The research shows that the species formed in a burst of hybridization that likely occurred during the last interglacial period. As the range of the cold-adapted Canadian tiger swallowtail retreated north with the glaciers, the range of the warm climate-adapted eastern tiger swallowtail advanced northward and up into the Appalachian Mountains. The two species subsequently intermingled in the mountains during a changing climate.The result is the Appalachian tiger swallowtail, which shares key traits of both parental species. Like the Canadian tiger swallowtail, it is tolerant of colder temperatures. And like the eastern tiger swallowtail, females have two forms, one that resembles the yellow, tiger-striped male, and a second dark-winged form that mimics the distantly related, poisonous pipevine swallowtail, a strategy that provides protection from predators.That combination of traits allowed the hybrids to populate the Appalachian Mountains, south of the range of the Canadian tiger swallowtail, overlapping with the pipevine swallowtail, and in territory cool enough to keep the eastern tiger swallowtail out.“This trait combination helped the new hybrids to occupy a novel niche that the parent species was unable to occupy. The hybrids eventually evolved into a new species,” said Kunte. “This is a nice example of natural selection driving the origin of species. In this case, the North American thermal landscape, historical climate change, and mimicry provided the ecological stage for the evolution of a new hybrid species.”The work was conducted by Kunte and Bauer Fellow Marcus Kronforst, the paper’s senior author, and a team of colleagues from the University of Texas, Austin, Princeton University, and Michigan State University.Creating species through hybridization is common in plants, but is rare in animals, Kronforst said. Though attitudes are changing, until recently, hybrids outside the plant kingdom were thought of as evolutionary mistakes. While their parents are adapted over millions of years to fit certain environmental niches, hybrids sharing traits from two species tend to be poorly adapted to survive in either parent’s niche. In addition, hybrids can have physical problems. Mules, for example, which are crosses between horses and donkeys, are sterile.The research, Kronforst said, enriches the picture of hybridization, illustrating that it is not merely a series of isolated accidents with little larger meaning, but rather an ongoing evolutionary process. Hybrids, Kronforst said, are a vehicle for the genetic mixing of parent populations. Sometimes the result is a less fit individual, and the impact on the larger population is negligible. Sometimes fertile hybrids result, and mate back with the parent species, providing an avenue for genetic exchange between parent species. In still other cases, Kronforst said, the hybridization can result in new species, mixing parental traits in a way that allows the offspring to inhabit their own environmental niche.“Hybridization has huge creative potential even in animals, where it is often disregarded,” Kronforst said. “Hybridization can drive the creation of new species.”last_img read more

A Labor Day lesson from Burning Man

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » For most Americans, Labor Day weekend signals the end of summer. In union towns and sometimes elsewhere, it’s also a chance to celebrate the role of organized labor and the average worker — more than a few of whom founded credit unions as well.In the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, Labor Day is a time to burn The Man.If you know about Burning Man, it’s probably as a week of Bacchanalia — music, art, and a laissez-faireattitude toward social convention — a product of the ’80s northern California counter culture.You’re not wrong. Over the years, and not without some irony, Burning Man has become a celebration of excess, but it started as a protest against the commoditization of modern society. Today, the burning of the large sculpture of a man that ends each year’s event is more a performance art expression of anti-materialism than a political statement, but the event represents so much more.last_img read more

Quarter mark in the 2016 season arrives with not much settled

first_imgEUREKA >> The battle for the track championships in Redwood Acres Raceway’s six divisions is still up in the air. With the season nearly a quarter of the way done there are a lot of things that can change between this weekend’s upcoming race on June 11th and the final point races in September.Redwood Acres’ newest division, the Legends, are picking up cars as the season progresses. Current point leader, Brent Mack, has managed to be the only driver to be able to start each of the four feature …last_img read more

Opening up SA’s heritage

first_imgThe eye-catching Open SA! logo. (Image: Open SA!) Documents such as this 1949 immigration form belonging to a Dutch immigrant, are an important part of South Africa’s history. (Image: Wikimedia)Janine ErasmusA new project titled Open SA! aims to make South African historical and cultural material widely accessible, by allowing ordinary people as well as professionals to share their heritage online and make it available for republishing and remixing, for the benefit of all.“We believe that getting ordinary people involved in sharing their history on the internet with artists, historians, students and researchers is a great way to keep local history alive and accessible,” said the Open SA! team in a statement.The Open SA! project is an initiative of popular positive-themed blog SA Rocks and the African Commons Project, a Johannesburg-based non-profit organisation that works to empower communities towards innovation, creativity and wisdom through the internet and other new technologies.African Commons is working closely with the Alexandria Archive Institute, which is building a collection of open access, internet-based resources for archaeology and world history.Using the principle of public domain – those works that the public may copy, adapt and share without limitation – Open SA! gathers, tags and manages relevant submissions from contributors from all facets of society, and makes them freely available online.The Open SA! team has another mission, and that is to reach out to young creative voices in South Africa, with a view to teaching them how to find open content that they may freely and legally adapt and share.Finally, for those whose material needs to be digitised first, Open SA! plans to arrange digitisation drives, with the help of volunteers, to transfer collections into the correct format.Shared heritageSouth Africa’s national Department of Arts and Culture, the custodian of the country’s rich and diverse heritage, has long held that shared heritage is an important tool in social cohesion and nation building.The Encyclopaedia of South African Arts and Culture, currently in beta testing, defines nation-building as the fostering of a sense of pride and knowledge in all aspects of South African culture, heritage and the arts.An additional aspect of nation building is the encouragement of mutual respect and tolerance and inter-cultural exchange between various cultures and art disciplines, which in turn facilitates the emergence of a shared cultural identity based on diversity.  Open SA! takes advantage of new developments and publishing platforms, such as blogging and citizen journalism, and online publishing of photographs, videos and music, which it views as vital components of a new form of democratic speech. This, it says, should be nurtured, and one of the best ways to do that is to provide easy access to quality resources and materials.Citing examples such as the speech former president Nelson Mandela delivered on his release from prison in 1990, or his successor Thabo Mbeki’s rousing “I am an African” speech, the Open SA! project says that these priceless resources should be available to more than just the professional journalists, filmmakers and researchers who were traditionally authorised to re-publish them.To this end, the public is encouraged to submit their material or material belonging to friends or family, provided that contributors either own the copyright to the materials or have written permission from the copyright holder.Leading the field One of the first contributors to Open SA! is new media specialist and photographer Gregor Rohrig, who has made available a classy selection of his photos taken around Johannesburg.All photos are licensed under the Creative Commons concept and may freely be shared and remixed, provided that proper attribution is given, images are used for non-commercial purposes, and any adaptation of the works is distributed under the same or a similar licence. These conditions may be waived with permission from Rohrig.Commenting on the wealth of historical and cultural material held by South Africans, Rohrig asked, “What good are these materials if they cannot be used and reused creatively?”The talented photographer expects the local creative industry to be even more inspired and encouraged with the unlocking of local resources that have previously been inaccessible.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at [email protected] linksOpen SA!Open SA! photo collection on FlickrDepartment of Arts and CultureEncyclopaedia of South African Arts and Culture (beta)SA RocksAfrican Commons ProjectGregor RohrigAlexandria Archive Institutelast_img read more

The 7 Coolest Kickstarters for Video Professionals

first_imgCatch up on the latest video tech with these seven innovative Kickstarter campaigns.Top image via Starslider.As any video professional will tell you, filmmaking technology is advancing at an incredible rate. Digital video technology is becoming smaller, faster, and more innovative so quickly that it can be hard to keep up. Fear not: if you want to stay ahead of the curve on the latest gear, get in on these innovative Kickstarter campaigns while the getting’s good.LitleCane — Take Cinematic Videos with Your PhoneThe LitleCane is a smartphone gimbal that offers a full range of smooth motion to your video projects. It has handheld joystick controls for filming on the go, and it offers both front and rear filming. Live streaming is a breeze, as is pretty much any other smartphone video shoot.With available auto-tracking, panorama, and time-lapse modes, this gimbal’s Kickstarter is off to a hot start. Accessories like a charging gimbal option and GoPro adapter will make you want to get in on some of the best investment options now.You can check the full LitleCane Kickstarter page here.Starslider — Smart and Modular Camera GearsThe Starslider is more than your average camera slider. It’s an entire ecosystem of professional video equipment that offers a full array of control, moves, and motorization. It’s sleek and easy, combining pans and tilts with pushes and pulls — giving you full control of time-lapse settings from your smartphone. Just look at this range of motion!The Starslider features three full axes of motion, and you can control it entirely via the intuitive smartphone app. The app allows you to program movements as complex as Bézier curves and bulb ramping. It’s well on its way to reach its $65,000 goal and then some.Check out the full Starslider Kickstarter here for a greater breakdown of its capabilities.MSE Rover — The Professional Smartphone Camera CageIf the majority of film and video Kickstarters in 2017 is any sign, smartphone filmmaking is definitely the way of the future. The MSE Rover is another great example of innovative adaptation of traditional filmmaking equipment.The MSE Rover is a smartphone mounting cage designed to give you complete motion freedom along with unparalleled protection and stability. It’s as tough and sturdy as it is light and steady — plus no batteries!The MSE Rover is also unique in that its adjustable frame gives you 360-degrees of rotation with customizable tension. The parts are interchangeable, and they can connect to tripods, sliders or whatever else you’d like — including the accessories offered by MSE.You can check out the full MSE Rover Kickstarter page here.DirectorsApp — Perfectly Cut Movies in SecondsUnless you speak German, you better check out this Kickstarter in a browser with a translate function. This German-engineered smartphone software gives directors the power to view their shots together through an app that automatically edits everything together. It’s like working with an intuitive storyboard that brings your ideas to life.While the app is free to download and use, backing the Kickstarter early gets you in on the ground floor (and some free video templates to boot).You can check out the full DirectorsApp Kickstarter here.MicRig — Universal Video Grip Handle with Built-in Stereo MicThe MicRig is a Kickstarter for “the world’s first universal video handle with an integrated microphone.” It offers a steady hand-held mount for your DSLR or GoPro and solves poor audio recording problems. It’s perfect for DIY enthusiasts looking to film on the run.The MicRig, made by Sevenoak, is already in production and is available as part of a full line of video production equipment. The Kickstarter is already halfway to its $45,000 goal.You can check out the full MicRig Kickstarter page here.Mine — Modular ControllerWhile technically suited more to an audio-recording professional or musician, the Mine Modular Controller would be great for video editors who do a lot of sound design and mixing. The modular controller offers a highly customizable set-up that you can easily arrange and rearrange. The Mine easily syncs to your Mac or PC.For those familiar with modular MIDI controllers, the customizable setup is incredibly popular. Mine’s modular controller offers hands-on control and flexibility.You can check out the full Mine Kickstarter here.TwoEyes VR — 360 cameraSay hello to Two Eyes VR, the first 360-degree, 4k video camera that mirrors human eyesight. The camera includes two pairs of 180-degree lenses that are 65mm apart to replicate the average distance between a person’s eyes.The design offers full 360-degree VR capture for unparalleled realism on social platforms like Youtube and Facebook.As you can see in the demo, the Two Eyes allows 36o-degree smartphone VR viewing, with both vertical and horizontal splits. The Kickstarter has already out-earned its $40,000 goal with $157,000 in pledges.You can check out the full TwoEyes Kickstarter here.Have any cool Kickstarter campaigns you’re looking to pledge to? Let us know in the comments!last_img read more

Ranji Trophy semifinal: Umesh Yadav’s 7-wicket haul puts Vidarbha on top vs Kerala

first_imgBrief scores: Vidarbha 171/5 (45 overs) at stumps vs Kerala (160 all-out) in Wayanad. Vishnu Vinod (37), Umesh Yadav (7/48), Faiz Fazal (75), Sandeep Warrier (2/46).Umesh Yadav destroyed Kerala with figures of 7 for 48 to put Vidarbha on top on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy semifinal in Wayanad. Umesh, who played only one Test in Australia, has been in outstanding form in two matches for his state team.In the quarterfinal against Uttarakhand, Umesh returned figures of 4 for 90 and 5 for 23 as Vidarbha won by an innings and 115 runs. On Thursday, Kerala, who are playing their first Ranji Trophy semi-final, found Umesh too hot to handle.The 31-year-old Umesh picked his 12th five-wicket haul in first-class cricket and with Rajneesh Gurbani (3 for 38) ended Kerala’s first innings in only 28.4 overs.The defending champion reached 171 for 5 in 45 overs after winning the toss and bundling out Kerala for 105 in the first innings.Ranji Trophy Semifinals Day 1 Highlights: Vidarbha vs KeralaYadav, who was part of the India team that won the Test series in Australia recently, ran through the host batting line-up, took a personal best of 7 for 48.Vishnu Vinod, captain Sachin Baby and Basil Thampi were the only Kerala batsmen to make double digit scores.On a pitch which was on the bouncier side, the burly pacemen posed the Kerala batsmen a lot of trouble and was ably assisted by Rajneesh Gurbani (3 for 38), the star of Vidarbha’s maiden Ranji triumph last season.Yadav also reached the 100-wicket milestone in Ranji Trophy during his brilliant spell.His first victim was opener Mohammed Azharudeen caught by Y R Thakur for 8.advertisementHe then had Sijomon Joseph taken by R Sanjay for a duck.When Gurbani sent opener P Rahul for 9, Kerala looked in a spot of bother at 27 for 3.There was no respite as Yadav kept up the pressure by bowling with fire and discipline.Loss of wickets at regular intervals left the host in deep trouble and there was a danger of being shot out for a sub-100 first innings total.The usually reliable Jalan Saxena, who came up with a crucial knock in the second innings of the Quarterfinals against Gujarat, fell for a single digit score.Vishnu Vinod, the top scorer with 37 (50 balls) went for his shots and added 25 runs with no.11 M D Nidheesh (7) to take Kerala past 100 before Gurbani dismissed the latter.In reply, skipper Faiz Fazal (75) and Sanjay (19) provided Vidarbha a solid start before the latter was castled by Nidheesh.Veteran Wasim Jaffer, who joined Fazal, helped the reigning champions consolidate with a superb 80-run stand.The two played some delightful strokes on both sides of the wicket and showed how to bat on what was not an easy track.The stylish Jaffer breached the1,000- runs mark for a second time in his Ranji Trophy career.Hebecame the first batsman in Ranji history to achieve this landmark on two separate occasions.During the 2008-09 season, he had aggregated 1,260 runs for Mumbai.Jaffer (34) departed to a catch by K B Arun Karthick off Nidheesh’s bowling.Fazal, who led from the front with a fine knock, added57 runs for the fourth wicket with Atharva Taide (24).Fazal’s exit, to Sandeep Warrier for a well compiled 75, sparked a mini collapse as Vidarbha lost three wickets for one run to end the day at 171 for 5, a lead of 66 runs.In the other semi-final, Karanataka went to stumps on 264/9.Also Read | Wasim Jaffer 1st batsman to score 1000 runs in a Ranji Trophy season twicelast_img read more

Allround Krunal Rohit power India to seriesclinching 22run win against WI

first_imgLauderhill (Florida): Krunal Pandya’s all-round exploits and Rohit Sharma’s characteristically sublime half-century powered India to a series-clinching 22-run win over West Indies in the rain-affected second T20 International here on Sunday. Batting first, India scored a challenging 167 for five and then had West Indies in all sorts of trouble at 98 for four in the 16th over when lightening and thundershowers struck. The Duckworth-Lewis par score at that point was 120, and West Indies were 22 runs behind. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh Rohit Sharma top-scored with 67 off 51 balls, setting India up for a challenging total, before Krunal (20 off 13 balls) and Ravindra Jadeja propped up the innings by smashing 20 runs in the final over, which was bowled by Keemo Paul. Krunal hit the first two balls of the final over for sixes before Jadeja also found one maximum. During his knock, Rohit became T20 internationals’ most prolific six-hitter, going past Chris Gayle with 106 maximums. He struck six fours and three sixes in the match. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later India were off to a quick start as they crossed 50 in the seventh over, with Rohit doing the bulk of scoring. Rohit found the gaps with ease, clipping Paul off his pads for a six over deep midwicket. The World Cup highest scorer then swept him for a four as the Indians upped the tempo. Keemo Paul gave West Indies their first breakthrough when he bowled Shikhar Dhawan with the Indian scorecard reading 67 for one in the eighth over. Two quite overs followed as Indian captain Virat Kohli joined Rohit, who broke the shackles with a six over deep midwicket, Sunil Narine being the bowler, and then brought up his 17th half-century in this format with a single to long-off. Nicely getting underneath the flight of left-arm spinner Khary Pierre, Kohli got going with a neat six. Well settled at the other end, Kohli’s deputy Rohit smashed Carlos Brathwaite for a six and four, as India’s hundred came up in the 13th over. It took a fine catch from Shimron Hetmyer to bring an end to Rohit’s stay in the middle — he hit one high up in the air off Oshane Thomas with just over six overs left in the Indian innings. Rishabh Pant (5) perished quickly, top-edging Oshane into the hands of third man fielder Kieron Pollard. Sheldon Cottrell then had the big one, sending Kohli’s middle stump cartwheeling for a 23-ball 28 with a perfectly-executed yorker and performing his trademark salute celebrations. By that time tough, Kohli had becme the highest run scorer among Indians in T20 cricket, including domestic tourneys. In reply, West Indies were off to a disastrous start with both openers Evin Lewis and Sunil Narine back in the hut, with just eight runs on the board in the third over. Rovman Powell and Nicholas Pooran lifted West Indies from the precarious situation with a 76-run stand for the third wicket before Krunal again got into the act by removing both the batsmen in a space of three balls in the 14th over. India had won the first match by four wickets.last_img read more