How do we know if we’re looking at the three-dimensional world or at a kind of trompe l’oeil image painted on the inside of a huge glass sphere? More to the point, how would a robot know?Blessed with brains and the power of biological computation, humans can compute the most likely explanation for what we see. Our neural networks turn the fizz of photons, hitting a curved screen, into perception.That’s awfully difficult to translate into code, says David Cox, who holds a joint appointment as assistant professor of molecular and cellular biology and of computer science at Harvard.“Vision is the process of figuring out what’s out there in a 3-D world, from a set of 2-D images cast onto our retinas,” Cox explains. “It’s actually really hard, and the only reason it seems easy is that we’re seeing the world through the solution to the problem.”After all, evolution over hundreds of millions of years has given us a system that works rather well. When we look out at the world, Cox marvels, “we sort of just transparently see.”“That’s one of the challenges for computer vision,” he says: “Our intuitions about what’s easy and what’s difficult are usually wrong, because all of our intuitions are coming by way of this biological system. When you sit down and try to write a computer program that does the same thing, you discover just how hard it is.” Read Full Story
It’s that time of year again. As the warm weather returns, so do the dreaded mosquitos. While entomologists don’t think the state will see a surge in West Nile virus cases early this summer, they are worried about a potential rise in chikungunya virus cases and expect healthy populations of nuisance mosquitos. Georgia is home to 63 mosquito species, most of which fall into the “nuisance” category, meaning they are more disruptive than dangerous. Eliminating standing water, where mosquitos lay their eggs, is the key to reducing populations and defending your summer afternoons. West NileWhile the recent rain has led to many water-filled containers that need to be emptied, the rain has also decimated the habitat for mosquitos that spread West Nile. “The heavy rains of the past few weeks will serve to flush the storm drain systems across the state,” said Elmer Gray, an Athens-based University of Georgia Extension mosquito specialist. “This reduces and slows the development of southern house mosquito populations (the species that transmits West Nile).” Consequently, entomologists aren’t expecting an outbreak of West Nile cases this spring, but they’re still being vigilant against other mosquito-borne illnesses. Chikungunya Chikungunya is a virus transmitted to people by mosquitos. While not deadly, the disease is still serious, causing fever and incapacitating joint pain. Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Africa, Europe and Asia, and spread to the Caribbean in late 2013. So far, state health officials have documented 34 cases of international travelers returning home and becoming sick after visiting areas where the disease is active. While local transmission is possible, there have been no such cases to this date. There is no vaccine or treatment available, so it is important to take preventative measures. Prevention “Chickungunya is transmitted by mosquitos that develop in containers around our homes and communities,” Gray said. “People need to eliminate all standing water around their homes and talk with their neighbors to see that they do the same. If the water can’t be eliminated, it should be brought to the attention of the county health department, public works or the county Extension office, so it can be evaluated for mosquito production.” Be on the lookout for abandoned planters and flowerpot saucers, mop buckets, toys, overturned Frisbees and anything else that can hold water. Larvicidal briquettes are available to treat water gardens, rain gardens, clogged drainage ditches or any other permanent landscape feature that holds water for more than a week. Mosquitos are most active at dawn and dusk, so people may want to stay inside during those times to avoid bites. Make sure door and window screens are intact, as they are the home’s first line of defense, Gray said. If you do go outside, especially in grassy or wooded areas, be sure to apply insect repellent that is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There are several commercially available EPA-approved repellents, like picaridin, lemon eucalyptus oil and IR3535. Gray recommends using repellents containing DEET at a 30 percent or lower concentration and reapplying every few hours. Children as young as 2 months old can be safely treated with DEET-containing insect repellents, Gray said. “Products containing DEET are still the best choice for young children,” Gray said. “Parents should put the repellents on their hands, rub the child’s exposed skin – full coverage is important. Upon returning indoors, repellents should be washed off with warm water and soap.” Pet owners should also take time this spring to make sure their pets are up to date on heartworm preventative treatments. In addition to spreading West Nile and chikungunya, mosquitos transmit heartworms to dogs and cats. Veterinarians recommend keeping pets on heartworm preventative medication all year, but if pet owners have let this slip, now is the time to treat.
JONATHAN Carter and Miguel Cummins gave a good account of themselves on the opening day of West Indies’ two-day fixture against Emirates Cricket Board XI in Dubai.The fast-bowling pair picked up seven wickets between them to reduce their opponents to 56 for 7, after the batsmen, led by Shai Hope and Leon Johnson, had scored half-centuries in their total of 249 for 6 declared in 70 overs.Scores: Emirates Cricket Board XI 56 for 7 (Anwar 23; Carter 4-20, Cummins 3-12) trail West Indies 249 for 6 decl. (Hope 59, Johnson 50) by 193 runs.The West Indians, who have already lost the T20I and ODI series against Pakistan, had the top six batsmen getting off to starts after they elected to bat. Apart from Hope and Johnson, Roston Chase, who brought up his maiden Test century against India in Jamaica in July, and Jermaine Blackwood retired on 38 and 45 respectively.An opportunity for some of the fringe players like Johnson, Shane Dowrich and Jonathan Carter, all of whom chipped in with useful contributions, came up as three regulars in the Test squad – Kraigg Brathwaite, Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo – are in the midst of the ODI series against Pakistan.Off-spinner Rohan Mustafa and medium-pacer Amjad Javed picked up one wicket apiece for the Emirates Cricket Board XI. With the bat, only Shaiman Anwar offered any sort of resistance, to end the day unbeaten on 23. He was the only one to reach double figures as five of his teammates did not open their accounts. (ESPN Cricinfo