Deinotherium - Hoe tusker
When: Mid-Miocene to Early Pleistocene (~10 million to 3 million years ago)
Where: Asia, Africa, and Europe
What: Deinotherium is a proboscidiean. The only two living species in Proboscidiea are the African and Indian elephants, but there are dozens of fossil species in this order. Unlike some other groups that not only have a much greater number of fossil species than living but a much wider variety of morphologies to go along with that, most fossil elephants well… look like elephants! That being large, graviportal, and trunked.
However, even though there is less extreme differences in morphology within proboscidieans, there are still a lot of variations on the basic elephant body plan. One great source of variation is in the tusks. The tusks of Deinotherium are enlarged incisors of its lower jaw whereas in modern elephants the tusks are enlarged upper incisors. The clade containing Deinotheirum spilt off from the rest of the order roughly 40 million years ago, and the last common ancestor had slightly enlarged upper and lower incisors - thus it appears that some elephant clades further enlarged one set over the other. Oh, one last note about Deinotheirum… it was over 3 times the size of the modern african elephant. It was the 3rd largest land mammal ever to lumber accross the Earth!
Misdirection, Doublespeak, Non-Answers, And Straight Up Bad Decisions
God bless Danny Sullivan. You should read his latest post tonight in which he tries to squeeze some information — any information — out of Google chairman Eric Schmidt about today’s rather disastrous deep Google+ integration into Google Search. Unfortunately, all he gets are bursts of hot air.
Schmidt tells him that Google would be happy to talk with Twitter and Facebook about integration into the new Search+ features. So why didn’t they do that before, you know, they rolled the feature out? Well, never you mind that. Schmidt refuses to say one way or another if they did or didn’t. “I’m not going to talk about specifics.”
My understanding is that they didn’t. But perhaps more telling is the fact that they didn’t have to.
Both Twitter and Facebook have data that is available to the public. It’s data that Google crawls. It’s data that Google even has some social context for thanks to older Google Profile features, as Sullivan points out.
It’s not all the data inside the walls of Twitter and Facebook — hence the need for firehose deals. But the data Google can get is more than enough for many of the high level features of Search+ — like the “People and Places” box, for example.
New York Times
Steven Klein, Hiding Behind the Camera
By Ruth La Ferla
ON an outsize screen in “Time Capsule,” a multipanel video installation shown in Moscow last week, a Garbo-esque siren past youth’s first blush rests in a chair as an attentive major-domo clamps an oxygen mask to her face.
The image is one of 10 at the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture that show its subject, the actress and model Amber Valletta, aging by chilling degrees from 20 to 110. Spectators, including Naomi Campbell, sheathed to the ankles in alabaster fur, may well have been puzzled. Was this world-weary creature sucking oxygen to shore up her looks? Or was she seeking some far-out pharmaceutical high?
Steven Klein, the photographer and auteur of this vaguely sinister spectacle, wasn’t about to clear up the mystery. “I like what’s obscure,” he said simply.
Mr. Klein, after all, has long been an enigma in the world of style, cultivating a sphinxlike mystique by hiding in plain sight. It is not by chance that the self-portrait on this page was backlit to mask his features. Yet he makes no secret of trading in shock effects. Of the oxygen mask Ms. Valletta wore, he said, “I put it there to disturb people.”
He was discussing his work at his spartan studio in Chelsea, where he stows his digital files, the kinky collection of fashion photographs and celebrity portraits that have cinched his reputation as an A-list photographer of A-list celebrities, and one of fashion’s most cunning provocateurs.
During the interview, a rare one, granted in the weeks leading up to his Moscow show, Mr. Klein betrayed almost nothing of the steely character who turns models into fembots in his shoots for Vogue, and who famously persuaded pop-culture deities like Brad Pitt and Madonna to contort themselves for his camera.
Taut beneath his white T-shirt and sporting a corona of curls, Mr. Klein is unnervingly seductive — a sexual omnivore, you suspect. Sitting opposite him, you feel drawn into a hermetic bubble, the rest of the room falling away. He exerts a Pan-like charm, asking more questions than he cares to answer. Who are your favorite photographers, he inquires. Have you seen “The Tree of Life”? (That film, Terrence Malick’s cinematic exercise in mysticism, profoundly affected him, he says.)
He talked about his interaction with his subjects, a partnership of sorts in which Mr. Klein has majority stake. As a photographer, he confided, he is a kind of stalker.
At a tender age, as he recalled, he fell in love with a somewhat older schoolmate. Dark and sloe-eyed, “she epitomized the perfect beauty,” he said. When she didn’t return his ardor, he pursued her nonetheless, “chasing her with my camera.”
To this day, he remains most comfortable behind the camera, from which he pursues his subjects with a mix of curiosity and dread. “I like them and I fear them — I do fear them,” he said, raking his fingers absently across the table. “But at the same time I desire them.”
He brought some of those mingled emotions to the “Time Capsule” exhibition in Moscow. Organized by Dasha Zhukova, the heat-seeking Russian art impresario, the installation of 9-foot-by-16-foot panels was arranged in a circle above spectators’ heads.
Many guests were enthralled. “When you stand in the center of the circle,” said Maria Pertsova, a young accountant, “it’s like you’re standing in the center of the subject’s life.”
Some visitors were seeing the show for a second time. It made its debut in New York in September at the Park Avenue Armory, in a cavernous room lighted only by the video panels overhead. Some visitors were as beguiled, but others responded more coolly. Age happens, said Carine Roitfeld, the former editor of French Vogue: “It’s a reality, unfortunately.”
Ms. Roitfeld was doubtless aware that in raising the specter of human decline, Mr. Klein had taken a pickax to fashion’s most fearsome taboo. “Showing age is always a disturbing thing,” said Stefano Tonchi, the editor of W magazine and the former editor of T: The New York Times Style Magazine, who commissioned the video project and published still images from the shoot in W’s September issue.
Exhibiting time’s corrosive effects, Mr. Tonchi suggested, is particularly unnerving to the fashion crowd, which tends to regard old age as a state that can be deferred indefinitely. “Steven touched a chord, for sure,” he said.
About his own age, Mr. Klein is mum. Indeed, he deflects most attempts to probe his past. He grew up in the 1960s in Cranston, R.I., with an older sister in a middle-class family. He used to dig holes in his backyard, he recalled, “trying to find clay and make things.” Encouraged by his parents, he took up ceramics, eventually imparting his fresh skills to the residents of a nearby mental institution. “I saw them as people in cages,” he said.
Does he view his famous subjects in a similar light? Not necessarily. He professes to feel a strong empathy for his actors and models and, for that matter, “anybody who dares to sit in front of a camera.” In a way, he said, “they are putting their life in my eyes.”
Mr. Klein says that his work is collaborative, yet his subjects are proverbial clay in his hands, twisting themselves into pretzel formations to accommodate his disquieting vision. “He tends to push further than any of his contemporaries,” said Vince Aletti, the curator of “Weird Beauty: Fashion Photography Now,” a 2009 exhibition at the International Center of Photography that featured many of Mr. Klein’s images. His work, said Mr. Aletti, who ranks him among a handful of world-class American fashion photographers, is an “expression of his genuinely dark vision.”
Mr. Klein has in fact been expressing that vision for decades. He first took up a camera at the Rhode Island School of Design, where as an art student in the mid 1970s, he began exploring his disturbingly violent, erotically charged and, some would say, unholy themes. His reputation rests in part on preternaturally polished images that owe a debt to Helmut Newton, whose models were often trussed in prostheses, as animated as blowup dolls. Mr. Klein’s celebrity portraits are sexier in a waxy sort of way.
In a 2003 W shoot, Madonna writhed in a series of steamy yogic poses. In the same year, in a portfolio for Dutch magazine, Brad Pitt was photographed kneeling and bare-chested, being brutally cuffed by the police.
Mr. Klein revels as well in portraying nature unleashed, as he did, to startling effect, in a series of photos of horses in mating throes, shot on his horse farm in Bridgehampton, N.Y.
Still, he insists, pinning a visitor with his icy blue eyes: “I don’t see men or women as my sexual objects. I keep myself out of that equation.”
He appears to love taunting self-appointed guardians of public decency. In “Alejandro,” his 2010 video collaboration with Lady Gaga, she dons a red-painted phallus, simulates sex with her dancers and ingests a rosary. Pornography, cross-dressing, nudity and gore are all part of his arsenal of subversion.
So is an air of glacial detachment. His models often look impenetrable, even otherworldly, an effect he heightens by oiling their skin; adding masks, assorted straps, clamps and even preposterously fake scarlet lips; then shooting them in settings as immaculate, and alienating, as a surgical clinic.
Their glazed robotic quality is to some degree a commentary, Mr. Klein said, on the dehumanizing aspects of digital manipulation, which has “removed more and more the feeling of skin against skin.”
Yet the digital process is paradoxically suited to his aims. “I like to show subjects inside a sealed veneer,” he said. “There’s a sense that you can’t get in.”
Push too far and you may regret it, Mr. Klein seems to suggest in a photo of a young man lying naked, his throat slashed. “I was trying to create an opening in the skin to see inside,” he said matter-of-factly. The writer and art curator Neville Wakefield had a more portentous view: “He literally digs to expose, if you want, the beast within.”
Harrowing as that notion may be, it is scarcely more disturbing than “Time Capsule,” which documents Ms. Valletta’s transformation to priestess-slash-crone. Mr. Klein is not the first to venture into such uncharted terrain. Subjects slouching toward their sunset years have been variously colonized, and glamorized, in publications including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and in niche magazines like V. Ms. Roitfeld tested readers’ tolerance during her tenure at French Vogue. She invited Tom Ford to edit the December 2010 issue and raised eyebrows by featuring Mr. Ford’s photographs of a sleekly groomed, diamond-festooned elderly couple in fevered embrace.
But Mr. Klein is arguably the first photographer to treat the aging process lyrically, from time to time injecting an element of the grotesque. There is a creepy “Sunset Boulevard” moment in the video when a young man in a dinner suit plants a kiss on Ms. Valletta’s withered face. She averts her eyes — in shame or self-loathing?
Mr. Klein shrugs. The project was less about examining the corrupting effects of time on beauty, he said, “than about exploring time itself.” His objective was to demonstrate that life is cyclical: past, present and future, unfurling simultaneously. In the final frame, Ms. Valletta, dressed as if for some ecstatic sadomasochistic encounter, gazes into the distance. Behind her, a young man cradles an infant. Was the child meant to be a reincarnated version of Ms. Valletta herself?
Mr. Klein would not, or could not, explain. “I think what happens is that you do the project first, then you think about what it’s about,” he said. “Years later, you figure out why you’ve done things.”
thegiantsquid submitted: “Some facts for those who try to mix religion and politics”