Friday, March 27, 2015

Our future AI overlords

Computerized CogniToy dinosaur is the latest smart toy for kids

It may look like a mini robot dinosaur, but there is a new generation of smart toy from which your child can learn.

Wirelessly connected to the internet, the toy initiates and engages in real conversations with your childm powered by IBM's computer wizard "Watson" for cognitive computing.

The so-called smart toy, or CogniToy, is personalized to your child, and there are parental controls to monitor your child's progress.

"A 5-year-old can ask 100 questions a day," co-founder JP Benini said. "What if this thing never gets tired of answering 'why?' That's what the idea started with."

The company, Elemental Path in Midtown, put out a promotional video on Kickstarter to raise capital for the line of CongniToys.

"It not just has the ability to answer questions, but play educational games, tell stories, and even light conversational dialogue," Benini said.

Working with a prototype that could be offered in three colors, Benini and Sean O'Shea, two of the four co-founders, decided to make the smart toy utilizing 3-D printer technology.

"There are not many things that are universally appealing than a dinosaur," Benini said.

Design changes evolved from there into the current toy.

"When kids drag around that one toy that they love, they give it the name," Benini said. "They name their imaginary friends. Why not name their virtual dino friend?"

The toy, company officials stress, is designed for engaging play experiences and to grow with each child.

"We're not trying to replace parents, teachers, or tutors," Benini said. "We're just trying to give a supplemental source."

Link to article


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bones and Tensegrity

Tensegrity is a 60's term coined by Buckminster Fuller that inspired Kenneth Snelson to make monumental artworks with cable and tubing, but the principles are building blocks for more than just pop sculpture. When applied to bones, some interesting origins of tendons and locomotion can be inferred. This is especially interesting to me when looking at naked bones of dinosaurs. Which bone is connected to which other bone? What did they look like with tendons holding muscle to bone? How did they get around? How did their skin stretch?

Check out some cool bone tensegrity models here and here.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Dinosaur Kisses

Did Dinosaurs Have Lips?

Paleoartist Puts a Face on Ancient Bones


CHICAGO—After careful consideration, Tyler Keillor made a decision: T. rex had lips. In the debate over dinosaurs’ “oral margin,” one of the country’s top paleoartists has taken sides. Mr. Keillor’s job is to create “flesh models” of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals based on fossil evidence—giving creatures that died millions of years ago a face, a story and sometimes lips.

Using traditional mediums like clay and resin, as well as CT scanning and 3-D printing, he is at the forefront of incorporating digital art and technology into paleontology.

Mr. Keillor works at the University of Chicago Fossil Lab under celebrity paleontologist Paul Sereno. His work, found in museum collections around the world, is often the public’s first look at a newly discovered species, as with the pebbly-faced predator Rugops primus, which was unveiled in 2004. “A plain fossil doesn’t look like a heck of a lot to the average person,” Mr. Keillor says.

Instead of studying science, he cut his teeth working in a dental laboratory, doing special-effects makeup and studying wig making at Chicago’s Lyric Opera. As a child, he “would try to make little puppets of the alien from ‘Alien,’ ” he says. He dropped out of college to work on low-budget horror movies, commercials and stage productions.

His skill set was well-suited to Dr. Sereno’s team. After another paleoartist struggled with the hair of a “7,000-year-old beautiful woman,” Dr. Sereno says, he turned her over to Mr. Keillor. “When you see it in the ground in the field, you need to have the mind and eye of an artist,” he says. “Paleontology is about envisioning things and bringing them back to life.”

On a recent Thursday, the soft-spoken Mr. Keillor, 42 years old, was painting orange silicone over pieces of a 95-million-year-old rib, the last of about 100 Spinosaurus bones he was reproducing for the University of Chicago before it repatriated the originals back to Morocco.

Read full article

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Croc's grandpappy found in the Carolinas

Meet the 'Carolina Butcher,' a Pre-Dino Predator
Carnufex carolinensis roamed the earth roughly 231 million years ago, researchers say.
The Carnufex carolinensis, illustrated in this artist's rendering, is believed to have measured 9 feet long.

Herbivores, meet your worst nightmare.

Scientists on Thursday announced the discovery of a fearsome crocodilian ancestor: A 9-foot-long fanged beast that roamed prehistoric North Carolina 231 million years ago.

Stomping about on hind legs like the long-lost miracle love child of supervillains Killer Croc and the Lizard, researchers believe Carnufex carolinensis – meaning "Carolina Butcher" – feasted on armored reptiles, early mammal relatives and other small prey that made their home in the Tar Heel State, which researchers say was then just breaking apart from the supercontinent Pangea.

“The discovery of Carnufex, one of the world’s earliest and largest crocodylomorphs, adds new information to the push and pull of top terrestrial predators across Pangea,” Lindsay Zanno, an assistant research professor in the biology department at North Carolina State University, said in a statement.

The skull, spine and upper forelimb of the reptilian beast were uncovered in the Pekin geologic formation in North Carolina's Chatham County, where ancient sediment has churned up other prehistoric remains.

"Fossils from this time period are extremely important to scientists because they record the earliest appearance of crocodylomorphs and theropod dinosaurs, two groups that first evolved in the Triassic Period, yet managed to survive to the present day in the form of crocodiles and birds," Zanno said.

Already, scientists believed that cousins of the ancient crocodile ranked among the top predators in the Southern Hemisphere, hunting alongside theropod dinosaurs – a dynamic that created a “predator pileup” and led to the extinction of the crocodile relatives.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

CreepBay blogged us!

Mermaids are the sexiest thing in the sea. In or out of holographic bodysuits. And This trio must be the super model variety. They are all skin and bones. Which is probably why they don’t do a thing for my rusty barnacle. I would have totally thrown them my dingy when they were still buxom and wet though.

Monday, March 16, 2015

New Tinysaurs coming soon!

Almost finished editing the Angel and the Minotaur Tinysaur models!

Also, a modern, more accurate T-Rex coming soon!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Hidden in a museum, new species of Ichthyosaur discovered.

New species of ichthyosaur found in museum archive

A fossil spent 30 years stored away in a South Yorkshire museum, believed to be a plaster replica and forgotten, until it caught the eye of a young paleontologist working in the museum’s collections, who has now identified it as a new species of prehistoric marine reptile. 

Dean Lomax, 25, determined the fossil to be 189 million years old, the remains of a species of ichthyosaurus, a carnivorous seagoing reptile shaped like a dolphin.

Lomax published his findings in the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

So well preserved was this Jurassic mummy at the Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery, that Lomax was able to see the inside of its stomach, where they found the hook shaped remains of a squid, the entree of its last meal.

Lomax worked on the project alongside Judy Massare, from the State University of New York, comparing their specimen’s skeleton to those of nearly 1,000 different ichthyosaur specimens kept in museums throughout the US and Europe.

Several features on his specimen’s fin bones set the animal apart from its Jurassic cousins. Ichthyosaur remains actually appear quite often in Great Britain, where it filled the seas in sufficient numbers in the days when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. They became extinct some time in the Late Cretaceous period 70 million years ago, before the extinction of the last dinosaurs. Mary Anning, a seashell collector and amateur fossil hunter, found the first one back in 1811, and Lomax’s specimen is named Ichtyhosaur annigae in her honor.

How Lomax’s specimen got mistaken for a copy is unclear, as it was particular specimen was found on the coast of Dorset back in the early 1980s and presented to the museum.

Read more here

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dear Clarks, I don't like how girls have flowery shoes...

Dinosaur-mad schoolgirl, 8, takes on Clarks over 'sexist' shoes range covered in flowers and butterflies

An eight-year-old girl has taken on Clarks over its 'sexist' shoes range saying she would rather wear dinosaur trainers than a pair covered in flowers and butterflies.

Sophia Trow took to social media to vent her frustration after being told the Stomp Claw range of dinosaur trainers was for boys only.

She tweeted the multi-national company saying: 'Dear Clarks, I don't like how girls have flowery shoes - I like dinosaurs and fossils, so I think that other girls might as well.'

The eight-year-old from Middlesbrough said she was upset when she was told the specific range, which leaves behind 'awesome' reptilian footprints, was not suitable for female bone structure.

'I really want dinosaur shoes because they leave footprints in the sand and mud,' she said.

'Clarks should learn what girls really want and do something about it.'
She said she felt like killing anyone who told her she couldn't have or do things 'just because I'm a girl'.

'I don't like how girls just have to like pink and purple - I like blue and science and fossils,' she said. 

Sophia's sentiments are backed by her six-year-old sister Helena and their mother, 34-year-old Jane Trow. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Dino burns like fossil fuel.

Clive Palmer's dinosaur Jeff destroyed by fire at Palmer Coolum Resort

Fire has destroyed a 10-metre model Tyrannosaurus rex, nicknamed Jeff, that was standing at Clive Palmer's resort on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Firefighters were called to the blaze at the Coolum resort about 1:30am to find Jeff already well alight.

Police had been investigating whether the fire was started deliberately, but Mr Palmer told the ABC he did not believe arson was involved in Jeff's demise.

"Apparently he's had an electrical fault and burnt down," he said.

"There was a storm through the morning and all I know is there was an electrical fault and he caught fire and that was the end of him."

Mr Palmer said he was still deciding whether to bring in a replacement once what remained of Jeff was dismantled.

"Jeff's brother is waiting in the dinosaur park to be liberated to take his place," the Federal MP said.
"Question is whether we bring him out or whether we leave him where he is - he's very happy with the other dinosaurs.

"Certainly the next birth we have of a dinosaur, we will name after Jeff."
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service Superintendant Russell Thompson said Jeff's rubber and fiberglass coating burnt "very, very quickly".

"Very unusual call this one - we had a dinosaur on fire. I've had everything else but this is the first time I've had a dinosaur on fire," he said.

"There was only a small section of the tail left that was unburnt once the first appliance arrived.
"They had that fire out within a few minutes."

Full article