For Brevity’s Sake: NextStop, Twitter for Activities Launches

first_imgTags:#start#startups A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… dana oshirocenter_img Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Created by former Google employees Carl Sjorgreen and Adrian Graham, privately funded San Francisco-based Nextstop launched this morning to help thrill seekers, tourists and foodies find the concise recommendations they need to plan their daily excursions. At first glance, Nextstop may appear like an amalgamation of crowd-sourced review site Yelp, Yahoo’s event site Upcoming and travel listing site Dopplr; however, the site has two major differences – recommendations are positive and can only contain a maximum of 160 characters. Nextstop hopes to remove the presence of rants and emotional weather reports from the discovery process. The company’s commitment to brevity and positive discovery ensures that recommendations stay relevant and therefore more conducive to search than some earlier review-space predecessors. In other words, Nextstop is scaling back the capabilities of user-generated content for the sake of utility. You might actually find a good Chinese restaurant on your first try. In addition to the limitation/feature of the 160 character count, Nextstop’s contributors reap the benefits of Google’s APIs as each recommendation is met with automatic address and image suggestions. And like any child of the 2.0 era, what would a recommendation site be without Facebook and Twitter and blog integration? Nextstop also sponsors community Challenges to encourage new recommendations. Challenges generally consist of top 5 lists with recommendations on everything from hot spots in Salt Lake City to vegetarian restaurants in New York. Upon completion of many of these challenges, Nextstop makes a donation to a local charity in the area of the recommendation. To complete a challenge in your city visit nextstop.com/communitychallenges.last_img read more

‘Armored lizard’ was ancestor of today’s turtles

first_imgIt’s a primitive turtle, but it looks nothing like today’s dome-shelled reptiles. Resembling a broad-bodied, short-snouted lizard, the 240-million-year-old creature—dubbed Pappochelys rosinae—appears to be a missing link between prototurtles and their modern relatives, according to a new study. If so, the find could fill in a number of pieces about turtle evolution.The findings are “a very important contribution in addressing who turtles are related to, as well as the evolutionary origin of the turtle shell,” says Tyler Lyson, a vertebrate paleontologist at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science who was not involved with the study. “These have been two vexing questions for evolutionary biologists for the last 200 years.”About two dozen or so fossils of the creature have been recovered, all of them from 240-million-year-old rocks deposited as sediment on the floor of a shallow, 5-kilometer-long lake in what is now southern Germany. Most of the remains include only bits of bone and are from individuals of various sizes, says Hans-Dieter Sues, a vertebrate paleontologist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. But between the two most complete specimens yet found, he and Rainer Schoch, a paleontologist at the State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart in Germany, have put together a full skeleton and most of a skull.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)P. rosinae adults likely measured about 20 centimeters long, with half of that being a long, whiplike tail. (The species name is a combination of the Greek words for “grandfather turtle” and the person who helped clean rock from the fossils to prepare them for analysis.) Its peglike teeth suggest the animal fed on worms and other soft-bodied prey, Sues says. Yet skeletal anatomy reveals Pappochelys was no run-of-the-mill lizard, Sues and Schoch report online today in Nature.  Unlike lizards, but much like the earliest known relative of turtles (Eunotosaurus, which lived in what is now South Africa about 20 million years earlier), Pappochelys’s ribs are broad, dense, and have a T-shaped cross section. In later, full-shelled species of turtles, those ribs are even wider and have fused with each other and certain bones in the shoulder girdle to form a carapace, or upper shell. But unlike the earlier Eunotosaurus, Pappochelys has gastralia, or belly ribs. These free-floating bones developed within the tissue of the underbelly, Sues says; in more evolved species of turtles, these gastralia broaden and fuse to form a plastron, or lower shell.Because the fossils were originally entombed in lake floor sediments, the researchers suggest that Pappochelys spent a lot of its time in the water and around the lakeshore—a lifestyle similar to that of today’s marine iguanas, Sues says. So having broad, dense bones and gastralia would have acted like a diver’s weight belt, helping Pappochelys fight buoyancy and forage on the lake’s bottom. But these bones would also have had a beneficial side effect: They would have offered some degree of protection from predators, such as large amphibians or fish living in the lake, by deflecting or blunting their bites.“In the water, predators can get you from all angles,” Sues notes. Over millions of years, evolution sculpted the bones to create the full set of body armor seen in modern-day turtles. The first full-shelled turtles show up in the fossil record about 205 million years ago.The two distinctive holes on the side of the head behind each eye of Pappochelys provide vital clues to the evolutionary heritage of turtles, says Torsten Scheyer, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland who was not involved in the work. Those holes mark the species as a member of the diapsid (“two arches”) group of reptiles. That diapsid group includes crocodiles, lizards, snakes, dinosaurs, and their surviving kin, birds. But because modern turtle skulls lack these holes, some scientists have proposed that turtles were the last surviving members of an anapsid (“no arches”) lineage of reptiles. But now, he adds, these fossils of turtle progenitors firmly back up the results of genetic analyses of living reptiles: Turtles belong on the diapsid branch of the reptilian family tree.Scheyer says fossils that are even more complete, or ones that have the bones preserved in more lifelike arrangements, would provide better information about the species. “I’m really looking forward to see more research done on these outstanding fossils.”last_img read more

Police thrillers: Khaki is the newest hue in Bollywood

first_imgGANGAAJAL: In Prakash Jha’s film, Ajay Devgan dons the uniform and plays an honest officer who takes on the baddiesViolence reverberates through the grimy, paan-stained corridors of Mumbai’s Directorate of Technical Education. Its majestic Indo-Saracenic central hall doubling as a post office after working hours is littered with broken furniture,GANGAAJAL: In Prakash Jha’s film, Ajay Devgan dons the uniform and plays an honest officer who takes on the baddiesViolence reverberates through the grimy, paan-stained corridors of Mumbai’s Directorate of Technical Education. Its majestic Indo-Saracenic central hall doubling as a post office after working hours is littered with broken furniture because Akshay Kumar in police uniform is trading filmi punches with Ajay Devgan.A biff and a bang later, director Rajkumar Santoshi yells “cut”, ending the pantomime on the sets of one of Bollywood’s biggest blockbusters, Khakee. The days Santoshi spent as chief assistant director to Govind Nihalani, tramping through the city’s police stations to recreate the filthy rooms and the rough police speak in the classic Ardh Satya, have stood him in good stead. The star-spangled Khakee, he promises, will be Bollywood’s closest look at the men in the force. Amitabh Bachchan is the honest IPS officer, Devgan the bad guy, Akshay is crooked and comic, and Tusshar Kapoor is the rookie. Trouble is there are a dozen films waiting in the wings, each promising to do just that. Not all of them have Khakee’s stellar line-up, but they collectively have more than Rs 100 crore riding on their back and a range of actors – from the Union shipping minister to a superbrat – in dust brown fabric packing a pistol. From Sunny Deol who grew a beard to play a rustic Sikh constable dispatched to New York in Jo Bole So Nihal to Nana Patekar playing a hardened encounter specialist in the Ram Gopal Varma factory’s Ab Tak Chappan. The call of duty has attracted even bad boy Salman Khan who, sample this for sheer irony, marched straight to the sets in starched uniform after being jailed for nearly a fortnight for mowing down a pavement dweller. Producer Sunil Mehta hasn’t decided what to call the Rs 25 crore film-Satyameva Jayate or Garv- but swears it is “Salman’s best performance till date”. Actors, evidently, are in short supply for such heavy duty acting. advertisementSATYAMEVA JAYATE Or may be Garv. The Khan brothers Salman Khan (right) and Arbaaz Khan team up as policemenShool’s steely officer Manoj Bajpai reprises the role in two films-Pankuj Parashar’s Inteqam and Mehul Kumar’s Jaago, based on the true story of a rape in a Mumbai local train. Three Khakee stars are doing double-shifts as law enforcers in other films-Devgan has just played Gangaajal’s upright officer while Bachchan hops sets to play policeman in Dev, Santoshi’s one-time mentor Govind Nihalani’s film. Akshay Kumar, who plays a conscientious officer in the Madhur Bhandarkar-directed Aan, sits in crisp uniform amid Khakee’s chaos and confesses with the frankness of a child in a candy store, “I read both scripts at around the same time, both were exciting.” The film’s other hero, Union Minister for Shipping Shatrughan Sinha, had to seek prime ministerial approval, no less, to don greasepaint and khaki. But producer Firoz A. Nadiadwala believes his Weapon of Mass Distraction will be Paresh Rawal who sparked off laugh riots in Hera Pheri. His barbs as the bribe-taking constable are specially penned by Neeraj Vora. Bollywood, used to herd-mentality, is dumb founded by the khaki deluge. “This hasn’t happened in the industry before, but it is no trend,” says trade analyst Amod Mehra. “Santoshi, Varma and Nihalani are serious film-makers, not proposal makers.” Varma wanted to make a film on the encounter specialists in the Mumbai Police. “They get a strange sense of achievement in numbers,” he says, explaining his film’s title, Ab Tak Chappan. “But each statistic represents a dead criminal. It is macabre.” After the superlative Ardh Satya and Drohkaal comes Dev where Nihalani realises his “ambition to work with Bachchan”. He won’t call it the last of his police trilogy but a “story of two friends who happen to be policemen”. DEV: In his third police film, Govind Nihalani (centre) fulfils his dream of working with Amitabh Bachchan (left) and casts him opposite the peerless Om PuriAs an after thought, he says it may be “the Ardh Satya for the new millennium”. Anurag Kashyap, scriptwriter of Shool and Satya, who is to direct Black Friday, a police procedural film on the 1993 Bombay blasts, and Allwyn Kalicharan on a corrupt policeman, Anil Kapoor, in a dystopic Delhi of 2015, explains the police obsession: “It is a fascination for the cop- and crime-genre and people who have the power to do the unthinkable and change lives.”Mumbai policemen are a richly mined vein- encounter specialist sub-inspector Daya Nayak inspires characters in Aan, Ab Tak Chappan and Kagaar while Kay Kay plays Additional Commissioner Rakesh Maria in Black Friday. In these all-male films, women are adornments-recruited for oomph, as Lara Dutta is in Aan, or to play a suffering wife like Gracy Singh in Gangaajal. Unless, of course, it is a policewoman played by Sushmita Sen in Samay, a serial-killer flick. “She is the woman in control,” says director Robby Grewal. The khaki wave even promises to do the unthinkable-be authentic. Former police commissioner M.N. Singh, who had a hitlist of films that showed his department in poor light, had to eat his words when he mistook Akshay Kumar-sporting a close crop and in a uniform stitched by the Mumbai Police’s official tailor-for one of his men at the mahurat of Aan. Designer Anna Singh saw her home deluged with bales of brown fabric when she agreed to design uniforms, over a 1,000 of them, for Santoshi’s film. “He is a perfectionist and wanted all the policemen dressed in the same shade of khaki,” says Singh. Bachchan’s IPS uniform had to be aged by 10 years by washing it every day for two months. Onscreen, however, khaki is the newest hue.advertisementlast_img read more