Environmental and economic rewards of Genome Project still emerging 20 years later

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Two decades ago, the corn plant got a huge boost with the announcement of the National Plant Genome Initiative (NPGI). The historic research effort to map the corn genome has resulted in significant economic and environmental dividends for farmers and society at large.The gene mapping effort, which ran parallel to the mapping of the human genome, opened up a new frontier for corn that is still being explored today, according to Pam Johnson, a Floyd, Iowa farmer who served as the Chairperson of NCGA’s Research and Business Development Action Team and later as NCGA president.“The NPGI didn’t just build a bridge between scientific discovery and real-world solutions for corn, it laid the groundwork for a new interstate highway of discovery,” Johnson said. “Corn continues to be one of the most important crops for our nation and this will likely continue given the vision of early NCGA leaders and the large coalition they helped forge.”NPGI has funded more than $1.5 billion of genomic research to date and the undertaking continues to send ripples through the scientific community and agriculture.“Corn became the primary focus of the broader plant genomics project because of its economic significance and because of its complexity. The theory is if we could crack the secrets of corn, the knowledge gained could be applied to many other plants,” said Rodney Williamson, director of research and development for Iowa Corn Growers Association. “The idea of sequencing the corn genome was considered an immense and daunting task because it has one of the of the most complex genomes of any known organism. But we continue to see the payoff.”At 2.5 billion base pairs covering 10 chromosomes, this genome’s size is comparable to that of the human genome which explains why the data generated from the gene mapping will keep scientists sorting and exploring for decades to come, says Williamson, who was part of the group in 1997 that threw down the gauntlet challenging the scientific community.The new, emerging picture of corn helps researchers better understand its evolution and history. The crop was domesticated from a Central American grass called teosinte some 10,000 years ago. Much of the genetic diversity of maize, however, reaches nearly five million years back.“Today we are still investigating what each of the genes does with a new initiative called Genomes to Fields. It’s a big puzzle that we don’t have a complete map for yet, but the potential benefits and advances are mind-boggling,” Johnson said. “The data we have contains answers like the best way to adapt corn to different climates, develop more efficient corn plants, use less energy growing it, sequester more carbon and increase the supply of food and feed.”Williamson says the people in the nondescript hotel meeting room in 1997 contended the completion of the maize genome sequence would change agriculture and it has. Things such as increased breeding efficiency, streamlined delivery of new traits, discovering enhancements of properties such as drought tolerance, and a better overall understanding of the crop has enhanced corn’s position as the ideal crop for food, feed, fuel and industrial uses.According to the USDA, corn production in the U.S. has grown from roughly 9 billion bushels in 1997 when NPGI began to more than 15 billion bushels today. At the same time, the value of the U.S. crop has grown from $25 billion to more than $51 billion.last_img read more

Filmmaking 101: Making a Video From the Ground Up

first_imgRefresh your skills and take a minute to remember why you got into filmmaking with these all-inclusive tutorials on capturing images.Cover image via guruXOX.Every video you see in this post comes from our new Shutterstock Tutorial YouTube channel, where we’re offering easy-to-follow introductions to things like camera movements; the philosophies behind those camera movements; and when and how to capture a particular moving, still, or sweeping shot.Understanding how your camera works is as important as learning how to tell an interesting story. So let’s start at the beginning. We’ll take a look at how to set your camera and lens before you actually start rolling.Understanding the IrisLet’s talk about the f-stop. This term refers to the aperture or iris inside your lens. It determines how much light can reaches your camera’s sensor.So how can you measure it for yourself and determine the right f-stop? Remember the scale of your f-stops like this: the higher the f-stop (a f16 or f22, for example), the less light will hit the sensor, creating a darker image. So, a lower f-stop will yield a brighter image with a shallow depth of field.Which reminds me, lets talk about depth of field. The depth of field you set determines how much your camera can keep in focus, and you control this with the f-stop. So, a lower f-stop like f2.8 will create a very shallow depth of field that can usually only keep a small area in focus. The higher the aperture, the “deeper” the depth of field.Understanding Shutter SpeedShutter speed is a measurement of time — specifically how long the shutter stays open when capturing an image. You’ll see it as a fraction of a second or a number of full seconds. So if your shutter speed is 1/250, this means that your shutter was open for one two-hundred fiftieth of a second. Super fast.However, videographers can understand the shutter speed in terms of a door opening or wheel spinning, letting light in for a certain amount of time. To quote Todd Blankenship:“Shutter angle is a measurement system that has stuck around from the film-camera days. There was a circular shutter that would constantly spin in front of the film emulsion. The shutter angle is a measurement (in terms of degrees) of how much of that circle is left open for the duration of the rotation.”This is but one of the many ways you can determine how your image will look in relation to how much light reaches the sensor.Understanding ISOThe ISO can be a bit tricky, especially since the ISO settings you use to properly expose your shot change from camera to camera.You can think of adjusting the ISO as adjusting the signal you get from the “photosites” on the sensor that measure blue, green, and red colors. So when you increase the ISO, you increase the camera’s sensitivity to light. Some cameras can produce a clear image in very dark situations, while other cameras yield noisy, grainy, unusable images under the same circumstances.So, it really depends on your camera’s capabilities. I always watch test videos on YouTube and check out camera reviews before purchasing a camera. It’s a good way to see what your camera can do without forking over your savings in advance.Once you have your camera set and the lighting is just right, here are some camera moves and techniques to consider.Pan, Tilt, and ZoomLet’s start with the pan. The pan moves the camera along a horizontal plane. Usually, you’ll perform this movement on a tripod. You can find this type of shot in the work of famous directors like Wes Anderson or Stanley Kubrick. You can use it comedically or for dramatic reveals — either way, it’s just a method of directing the audience’s attention.The tilt is basically the same idea, but instead of moving along a horizontal plane, you move the camera along a vertical plane. Think of this as a movement from point A and point B. A good rule of thumb is to catch your subject in focus at point B, so that when the camera stops moving, you don’t have to refocus.Zooming is pretty self-explanatory, but there are ways you can pull off a perfect zoom, meaning your image is in focus exactly when you need it to be. For tricks like putting tape on your lens as a focus marker, check out these articles:The Death and Rebirth of the ZoomUnderstanding Zoom Lenses and How to Use Them Properly Close-Ups and WidesMastering the close-up can take time, but these shots can be absolutely crucial to the plot if you’re filming a narrative piece. This is when we get up-close-and-personal with the characters. Getting this shot requires a shallow depth of field, which directs your audience’s attention to exactly what you want them to see — usually a character’s eyes or mouth. Outside of narrative film, the close-up will come in handy if you’re ever shooting product photography.The wide shot is a little more versatile. This all-encompassing shot is perfect for many different scenes and scenarios, like a walk-and-talk, a conversation, a landscape, or an action scene. Wide lenses are usually anything from 15mm to 35mm. Most of your image will be in focus, so choose your locations and surroundings carefully.7 Standard Filmmaking Shots Every Cinematographer Must KnowHow to Frame a Wide Shot Like a MasterHow to Shoot Close-Up Shots like Sergio Leone Tracking and Dolly ShotsNow, let’s look at moving the entire camera rig. Tracks and dollies are the end-all-be-all if you want to add a cinematic look to your video. It’s a smooth, sweeping, controlled movement that even the best in the business have trouble mastering from time to time. What is a tracking shot? It’s simple: follow your subject on a horizontal plane from a manageable distance while keeping the subject in focus.There are dozens upon dozens of ways to pull it off. Even Oscar-winning cinematography maestros like Emmanuel Lubezki pull out all the stops to get the shot. Here are a couple of cheap ways you can do so on your own if you don’t have a crew.The 5 Most Powerful Camera Movements in Cinema History5 Ways to Use a Gimbal to Capture Cinematic Footagecenter_img Using a JibThis shot requires a specific piece of gear. It might not be the easiest rig to build yourself, but we can still take a look at what the shots tell us from a narrative standpoint. For instance, moving the jib from ground level to over your characters as they walk is a good introductory shot that also reveals the location to your audience.The jib is also versatile enough to get overhead shots, low shots, shots from the ground looking up, etc. The possibilities are endless.5 Amazing Tripod Camera MovesThe Filmmakers Guide to Using the Establishing ShotFrame a High Angle Shot like a ProSo, you have all your masterfully captured footage. What next? Well, you’re going to need to edit the project, and you have options.Choosing the Right Editing ProgramIf you’re just getting into editing, there are three main programs to consider, and each offers a different user experience. Whether you can only afford a monthly subscription or a hefty one-time fee, these programs have everything you need. Adobe Premiere Pro is the primary option for anybody serious about video work. Final Cut Pro X has had its fair share of problems in the past, but Apple has been making strides lately to right their wrongs. We’ll see if a life-changing update is on the way.DaVinci Resolve is the unsung hero, in my opinion. There’s a free version you can download, and honestly, it’s awesome. Before I made the video above, I hadn’t really used this program very much, but it offers some pretty outstanding features — as well as a user-friendly interface.As far as working with the NLE’s we’ll get to that down the road, but this should be enough to get you started on an illustrious filmmaking career, and if you’re already a pro, I hope this trip down memory lane was a good refresher.Looking for more video tutorials? Check these out.Best Lenses for Gimbal CinematographyCreate Seamless Transitions with the Whip PanVideo Tutorial: How to Use a Vehicle as a Dolly SystemTutorial: How You Can Travel the World Making VideosUnderstanding Keyframe Interpolation in Adobe After Effectslast_img read more

800 resume yatra day after Chamoli landslip

first_imgOf the around 2,000 pilgrims on the Char Dham yatra in Uttarakhand, who were stranded after a landslip in Chamoli district, 800 have resumed their onward journey and work is on to clear the debris, officials said on Saturday.The Rishikesh-Badrinath National Highway was closed near Vishnuprayag, one of the five important points of the Alaknanda river, between Joshimath and the hill shrine of Badrinath.Huge boulders had rolled down the Hathi Pahar mountain on Friday afternoon, blocking the highway.CM’s directiveChief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has directed the Secretary of the Disaster Management Department, Amit Negi, to monitor the situation.‘Arrangements in place’“There were no unfortunate incidents, 1,800 tourists were affected and arrangements were made for them. The Border Roads Organisation and other authorities are working on clearing the debris and the route will be opened today; all the suitable arrangements are in place,” Mr. Rawat tweeted.He said, “Information of landslides was shared with various towns along the route.”Chamoli District Magistrate Ashish Joshi dismissed reports that around 15,000 people were stranded. “Only 2,000 people have been affected,” he said.last_img read more

STAR PREVIEW New Zealand v South Africa

first_imgRassie Erasmus gave hope to many South Africa fans when taking over the Springboks but this has been a tough Rugby Championship for them and things could get much more difficult against New Zealand early on Saturday.There have been signs of improvement from South Africa since he took over from Allister Coetzee and the World Cup is the big target, but flaws remain in a side that has struggled for wins and there is much to work on.New Zealand, sailing along at the top of world rugby, made a raft of changes before their match against Argentina. Many new faces played a big part in a 46-22 win that flattered New Zealand given how competitive Argentina were, but a disallowed try along with a heavy penalty count and back-wheeling scrum eventually played a big part in the winning victory margin.There will be a couple of changes again for the All Blacks -Brodie Retallick and Ngani Laumape have been ruled out for six and three weeks respectively, but Sonny Bill Williams, Ryan Crotty and Sam Cane have been passed fit for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash – but their quality will shine through at some point.It was too much for Argentina last week with two tries from promoted scrumhalf T.J. Perenara and other tries to returning winger Nehe Milner-Skudder, and the deeply impressive Shannon Frizell amongst New Zealand’s six tries.There was no shame in South Africa’s defeat to Australia in a game which went down to the wire, but Australia were missing David Pocock, Israel Folau and Adam Coleman from their number and lost their two games against New Zealand by a combined 58 points. The hosts, whatever side they name, can cover the handicap.HEAD TO HEAD RECORD(Maximum 10 matches, Home team on the left unless specified)OCT 2017 RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP South Africa 24-25 New ZealandSEP 2017 RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP New Zealand 57-0 South AfricaOCT 2016 RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP South Africa 15-57 New ZealandSEPT 2016 RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP New Zealand 41-13 South AfricaOCT 2015 RUGBY WORLD CUP South Africa 18=20 New ZealandJUL 2015 RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP South Africa 20-27 New ZealandOCT 2014 RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP South Africa 27-25 New ZealandSEP 2014 RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP New Zealand 14-10 South AfricaOCT 2013 RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP South Africa 27-38 New ZealandSEP 2013 RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP New Zealand 29-13 South AfricaRECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)BACK NEW ZEALAND (-22.5) 10pts at 5/6 with starsports.betPROFIT/LOSS SINCE JAN 1 2017: PROFIT 134.94 points(not including Test series recommendations and Premier League ante-post)last_img read more