Tag: Thom

Big Chill Hits Halifax with Ice Age Mammals

first_imgIt was a time when lions, camels, mastodons and mammoths roamed North America. A remarkable period in Earth’s history, when things looked shockingly different as the planet went through the most recent ice age that lasted between three million and 10,000 thousand years. Ice Age Mammals, a temporary exhibition at the Museum of Natural History, 1747 Summer St., Halifax, examines that time when the world was strikingly different. And while it is a look at the past, it also offers valuable perspective on the future. Visitors during the exhibition, from Feb. 1 to May 31, will be greeted by a 3.6-meter (12-feet) high full-scale replica skeleton of a mastodon, the extinct mammal that once roamed the forests and grasslands of Ice Age Nova Scotia. Upcoming March Break and Wednesday evening public talks will also address the Ice Age theme. The exhibit presents contemporary and relevant research showing the dramatic effects of environmental change over time. “This is a timely and relevant display with a strong focus on the challenges of climate change, and the consequences of global warming that caused the extinction of mammals in the past,” said museum manager Janet Maltby. Visitors will enjoy fascinating Ice Age specimens, interactive kiosks and important scientific research focusing on long-extinct mammals. They will discover the High Arctic four million years ago, when it was much warmer than today, with a boreal forest ecosystem. They will also experience Labrador at a time when it was inhabited by bears, three-toed horses, tiny primitive deer (deerlets) and small beavers called, Diploides. Then they will cross more than two millions years to discover the Ice Age, when glaciers covered most of North America and mammoths, mastodons, and other great beasts, lions and camels roamed the grassy plains of the continent. To complement Ice Age Mammals, the museum has added elements of Nova Scotia’s own story of the last ice age by including incredible specimens from the 1991 Nova Scotia Museum mastodon excavation project. On Oct. 22, 1991, a mastodon tusk was discovered by heavy-equipment operator Stanley McMullin at Milford Gypsum Quarry in Carrolls Corner, Halifax Co. After professional investigation, about 65 per cent of an adult mastodon skeleton and five per cent of a juvenile was recovered from the site. The museum’s display will include parts of the mastodon’s tusk, jaw, leg bones and molars as well as Ice Age pine cones, snake bones, molluscs and coprolites (another name for mastodon droppings). “This exhibit presents a rare opportunity to show visitors the results of important field work, research, and extensive conservation to specimens,” said David Christianson, manager of collections. “This behind-the-scenes work of museum staff is revealed even in the details of the construction of special display units for some of the sensitive material on exhibit.” One remarkable specimen, on display for the first time, will be a 2.5 centimetre fossilized soft-bodied, painted turtle hatchling. The turtle is an ancestor of a species that still exists in Nova Scotia. “This soft-body preserved fossil could possibly be the only one of its kind in Canada or all of North America,” said Mr. Christianson. “It is special because soft-body parts such as skin hair and tissue usually quickly decompose and do not survive.” Ice Age Mammals is presented in French and English. It was produced by the Canadian Museum of Nature in partnership with the Montreal Science Centre, the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology and the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre. Admission will be charged, with free admission Wednesday evenings from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call 902-424-6099 or visit the museum website at http://nature.museum.gov.ns.ca .last_img read more

Amazon to revolutionise shopping with virtual changing room app

The algorithm draws on personal information “sensed or otherwise provided by the access device”, to “determine the temperature or season” in photographs to better predict what they need.“If the access device determined the temperature was hot, it may be more appropriate to display warm weather clothing rather than skiing clothes,” the patent application at the Intellectual Property Office says.“If a [calendar] event was entitled ‘business meeting with James’ the images showing professional wear may be selected. If it was entitled ‘dancing with friends’, leisure or club-wear may be given preference during the selection process.”The app could even scour devices belonging to a “friend or family member” to allow the “user to find an item of clothing to borrow”.Mark Howell, creative director at strategic design agency Play Retail, said an “interactive personal mannequin” could “revolutionise” clothes shopping. Photographs of a customer wearing a variety of styles – such as T-shirt and shorts or long-sleeved shirt and trousers – would be harvested to “provide a realistic view” of them wearing similar clothes for sale. A virtual mannequin, shown in the patent application, would be created using 'nodes' to build the torso and legs of the customer Andrew Busby, founder of Retail Reflections, said many consumers would welcome the move, despite it posing a “real threat” to some stores.He added that Amazon had begun “disrupting” the fashion industry sector, with “more traditional clothes retailers” facing “big repercussions” from advances in technology.“We are seeing Darwin’s survival of the fittest being played on the High Street. The strong will survive, in part because years ago they embraced the internet,” he said.Amazon refused to comment on the patent, which is in its early stages.View latest offers from Amazon Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A virtual mannequin, shown in the patent application, would be created using ‘nodes’ to build the torso and legs of the customerCredit:Amazon An illustration of how the app could work is shown in files lodged with the Intellectual Property Office “The potential amount of data that this technology will be able to generate for Amazon is staggering,” he said.“By having access to a customer’s photos, the retailer can see what they wear, what they drive and even inside their home to better predict what products an individual is most likely to want to buy. “It would analyse pictures to determine segments of the body to create a composite image.“Crucially, it would enable you to ‘try-on’ new outfits digitally.”The app would also enable people to share recommendations, wish lists and favourite outfits via social media.Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said such an app could “radically change the way we shop” potentially “accelerating the shift” away from the High Street.It could reduce the number of so-called “serial returners” who order numerous styles and sizes, before returning all but one outfit. An illustration of how the app could work is shown in files lodged with the Intellectual Property OfficeCredit:Amazon An image from Amazon's patent application shows how any app it develops could look Amazon is developing a fashion app that will “revolutionise” clothes shopping by allowing customers to try on outfits with a ‘virtual mannequin’ created from social media photographs.In a development experts fear will threaten the High Street, the American online giant has lodged a UK patent to scour “selfies” and online calendars to predict clothes a person may like or need.It would “data mine” pictures saved on a phone or computer to produce an Augmented Reality image of the customer actually wearing clothes on sale, potentially eliminating the need to visit a shop’s changing room.The app would also analyse photographs and appointments to establish a person’s job, the climate they live in, how they spend free time and suggest outfits for upcoming events or accessories for other things they own.The patent application, seen by the Sunday Telegraph, says customers could swipe to like or dislike garments their mannequin would be shown wearing.It explains “the number of images digitally captured continues to increase”, in part due to “arms-length … selfies”.They could “search my look”, “randomise” outfits, and “find more like this”.After granting access to personal data, the app acts as a personal shopper, showing them “wearing an outfit for which no image actually exists”. An image from Amazon’s patent application shows how any app it develops could lookCredit:Amazon read more

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