Playing Fast and Loose with Evolution

first_imgThe word evolution gets used and misused often.  Strictly speaking, neo-Darwinian evolution demands that mutations and natural selection operate with no foresight or oversight, no purpose or direction, no impetus toward a desired outcome.  In actual practice, scientists and reporters play fast and loose with the term, making it into a designer substitute. Here are some quick samples of how the word evolution gets used and misused in the popular press: Normally we speak of intelligently-designed automobiles going into overdrive.  Replace each of the stories with design language and they make a lot more sense: a designing force for multicellularity, designed liver enzymes, adults designed to adapt to oxygen levels, designed molecular powerhouses, an Earth-moon system designed to permit life, and designed overdrive for functional adaptation.  This coincides with our normal, everyday understanding of the cause and effect structure of the world.  One cannot use evolution in those senses; that is nonsense.  Undirected, impersonal, purposeless processes do not adapt and function.  Putting the word in passive voice (“had evolved”) or infinitive (“allowing life to evolve”), or omitting the subject (“thought to have evolved” – who thought such a ridiculous thing?) are distractions. These and many other articles in the press show that the word “evolution” has become a meaningless catch-all assumption for anything biologists cannot explain.  If it exists, it evolved; if it works, it evolved; if it went up or down or sideways, it evolved.  It evolved because it evolved.  For the simple-minded, there’s nothing else to say.  Darwin Daddy-O said it, they believe it, that settles it. Grow up.(Visited 25 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Yeast:  Science Daily spoke of an “evolutionary force that led to multicellularity,” but the data referred only to living yeast cells that seem to operate better in clumps than alone.  Rats:  PhysOrg spoke of rats that “have evolved liver enzymes to metabolize large amounts” of plant toxins. Giant insects:  National Geographic puzzled over how insects grew so large during the Carboniferous.  It wasn’t higher oxygen; in fact, no theory won the day, but reporter Ker Than was certain that after the giant dragonflies (as big as seagulls) had their day on the evolutionary stage, “adults would have evolved to require more oxygen” and would have died out as oxygen levels dropped. Mitochondria:  The powerhouses of the cell that house ATP synthase are surely some of the most complex regions in any cell, but to some reporters, it’s no problem for Darwin. “They are thought to have evolved more than a billion years ago from primitive bacterium which was engulfed by an early eukaryotic cell resulting in endosymbiotic relationships between the host cell and the newly formed organelle,” Science Daily tells us.  “During evolution the vast majority of the mitochondrial genetic material left the organelle and got integrated into the nucleus of the host cell.” Man but a worm:  PhysOrg used the E-word repeatedly in a short article titled “From worm to man,“ speaking of “our distant evolutionary cousins” the flatworms, the “evolutionary origin of mammalian kidneys,” two main “branches on the evolutionary tree of life,” and the “the evolution of certain attributes” in various animals. Everything:  In an article about whether the moon is needed to stabilize the Earth, Space.com said that wild orbital swings “could potentially affect the evolution of complex life.”  Reporter Nola Redd continued the theme, saying that even without a moon, a planet “may be stable enough for life to evolve”. Evolutionary overdrive:  National Geographic also reported a new discovery of hydrothermal vents in the North Atlantic, with “evolution in overdrive” occurring there.  “It’s an example of what happens to organisms when they become isolated and evolution goes into overdrive,” said one of the discoverers.last_img read more

First Footage: This Short Film was Shot on the Canon C200

first_imgSee the versatility of the Canon C200 in the short film From Dock to Dish.All images and video from Canon Pro.From Dock to Dish gives us our first glance at the image-capturing capabilities of Canon’s latest addition to their cinema line, the Canon C200. Directed by Andrew Fried (Chef’s Table) and DP’d by Bryant Fisher, the film follows the journey of a fisherman from catching a fish all they way to serving it in a dish. Take a moment and check out the camera’s imaging power.First Impressions and Image QualitySimply put, this camera captures outstanding imagery. The colors and pictures are crisp, sharp, and clean. Since the filmmakers captured this entire film with Cinema RAW Light, it showcases what this camera is capable of capturing.Right out of the gate, I immediately noticed how well the shadows performed in the opening scene — they retain a remarkable amount of detail. The highlights from the lamps are similarly impressive. The fifteen stops of dynamic range offered from the C200 also performed well. One thing I did notice is that the shadows did include some noise. According to the BTS video, the filmmakers captured these scenes between 1600 and 2000 ISO. Although the noise is noticeable, it’s not an unpleasant sight, and it is still 100 percent usable.Another impressive demonstration of the C200’s image capture capability involves the interior scenes from the market. Granted, we don’t know much about the filmmakers’ lighting setup, but I would assume the overhead fluorescent lights here were not pretty. However, the RAW codec would have provided enough information to feature the clean colors and grade that we see in these scenes.I wish that this film would have featured 4K footage in the 150 mbps quality. Although the RAW feature is very exciting, it’s not practical in many scenarios. I think most C200 shooters will utilize the lighter codecs more frequently.Slow MotionOne of the most anticipated features of the new camera is slow motion at 4K. This short showcases the slow motion feature, which yields a smooth and detailed image. Often, when you use a camera’s slow motion feature, it significantly reduces the data rate of the image. This then degrades the image to almost an unusable state. However, the slow motion on this camera looks just as detailed as its 24p counterpart. Being able to shoot 4K at a standard frame rate and in slow motion without jeopardizing quality is a huge bonus.ConclusionThe Canon C200 is an exciting new camera. The short film, From Dock to Dish, gives us the first detailed look at how well this camera can perform in real-world situations and even less-than-ideal lighting scenarios. It can produce beautiful imagery that’s flexible in post-production. The number of features this camera offers is a big step up for Canon, and it’s what filmmakers have been waiting for.What are your thoughts on the new Canon C200? Let us know in the comments.last_img read more