New Ediacaran Fossils: Do They Ignite the Cambrian Explosion?

first_imgWell-preserved fossils of seaweed-like colonies have been reported from China.  They are dated by the scientists at 600 million years old, from the Ediacaran period.  Can these be missing links, lighting the fuse of biodiversity that culminated in the Cambrian explosion?    PhysOrg summarized the findings published in Nature.1  “In addition to perhaps ancient versions of algae and worms, the Lantian biota – named for its location – included macrofossils with complex and puzzling structures,” the article said.  “In all, scientists identified about 15 different species at the site.”  Pictures of the seaweed-like fossils show fronds with a distinctive holdfast, like modern seaweed use to cling to the seafloor.    The paper in Nature shows pictures of frond-like and tube-like organisms “with uncertain phylogenetic affinities,” but no clear Cambrian-like body plans.  A couple of them, Guy Narbonne speculated in the same issue of Nature,2 are “probable ancestors of radial and bilaterian animals.”  The discoverers mentioned a hopeful case: “The axial structure in Types D and E is puzzling and it could represent the digestive structure of worm-like animals,” they hinted; “In an animal model, the holdfast and stalk of Type D would be alternatively interpreted as the proboscis of an early worm-like organism.”  The photos are not compelling.    Both papers spent much of their space discussing what effects varying levels of oxygen in the oceans might have had on the evolution of life.  For instance, “To reconcile the conflicting geochemical and palaeontological indicators of palaeoredox conditions, we propose that the Lantian basin was largely anoxic but punctuated by brief oxic episodes,” the original paper said, harking back to the jargon of punctuated equilibrium, if that somehow helps evolution.  “These oxic episodes were opportunistically capitalized on by benthic macroeukaryotes that were subsequently killed and preserved by frequent switch-backs to anoxic conditions.”  Evolution did not seem to be going in any particular direction toward complex animal life.    The paper claims the Lantian biota is “probably older than and taxonomically distinct from the Avalon biota,” the previous record setter for “earliest-known fossil assemblage with macroscopic and morphologically complex life forms” at 579-560 million years old.  That suggestion, however, does not create any evolutionary linkage between the two independent groups.  Even so, neither fossil beds show any of the complex organs seen in Cambrian phyla.  The paper calls them multicellular eukaryotes.  The focus of the research was not so much on evolution upward and onward from these seaweed-like impressions, but “suggests that morphological diversification of macroscopic eukaryotes may have occurred in the early Ediacaran Period, perhaps shortly after the Marinoan glaciation, and that the redox history of Ediacaran oceans was more complex than previously thought.”1.  Yuan et al, “An early Ediacaran assemblage of macroscopic and morphologically differentiated eukaryotes,” Nature 470 (17 February 2011), pp. 390�393, doi:10.1038/nature09810.2.  Guy Narbonne, “Evolutionary biology: When life got big,” Nature 470 (17 February 2011), pp. 339�340, doi:10.1038/470339a.Even with the most generous concessions to Mr. Darwin, these fossils do not help explain the Cambrian Explosion.  They are simple frond-like colonies of eukaryotic algae, with no clear differentiation or body plans typical of Cambrian animals.  No amount of acquiescence to the evolution-incestuous dating methods can link these imprints with trilobites and vertebrates by an evolutionary sequence.    That’s why they changed the subject to talking about rising and falling oxygen levels in the oceans.  It’s a distraction and a red herring, intended to give a false impression that they are making some kind of progress solving this super-falsification of evolutionary predictions (01/07/2011). (Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Read More →

Analysts: Amazon About To Get Serious Competition In The Cloud

first_imgAmazon Web Services (AWS) clearly leads the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) market and by some distance. But whether developers should follow AWS largely depends on where they want to go, according to new research from Forrester. Not only does this require a choice between Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings and IaaS, but there’s also real IaaS competition brewing for AWS from Microsoft and Google.The easy choice of “AWS or more AWS?” may be about to disappear.Why Amazon Wins In CloudBut let’s not get ahead of ourselves. For now, AWS offers five times the utilized compute capacity of each of its other 14 top competitors—combined. That’s a big lead, and stems from AWS’ quasi-religious focus on its customers’ needs, as Gartner’s Lydia Leong offers. Couple this with a “willing[ness] to invest massively in engineering” and “iterate at shocking speed,” and you get a sense both for why Amazon has been so successful, and why it’s so hard to catch up.Small wonder, then, that Forrester’s developer survey finds that AWS has a clear lead, with 62% of developers surveyed indicated that they’ve implemented AWS already, with another 23% planning to do so. The numbers for Microsoft and Google are not nearly so good: Tags:#cloud computing#developers#Forrester#Gartner#IaaS#paas#RDBMS Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo… Related Posts Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … This could be a function of enterprises turning to a trusted database provider for their RDBMS needs. It could just be a short-term blip as enterprises explore other cloud database offerings, an area in which AWS excels and Google is growing. Or it could just be, as Hammond suggests, that one-cloud-size-does-not-fit-all.In such a world, according to Leong, different cloud vendors bring different strengths, and each of the two primary challengers has pockets as deep or deeper than Amazon. Take Microsoft, for example. “Microsoft has brand, deep customer relationships, deep technology entrenchment, and a useful story about how all of those pieces are going to fit together, along with a huge army of engineers, and a ton of money and the willingness to spend wherever it gains them a competitive advantage.” And what about Google? “Google has brand, an outstanding engineering team, and unrivaled expertise at operating at scale.”Lots To Play For In CloudIn short, we’re a long way from deciding an absolute winner in cloud computing. In part this is because we’re still in the early days of adoption, and in part it’s because, as Hammond insists, developers are increasingly buying the best tool for a particular job. Amazon has established a clear leadership position, but it isn’t the only cloud vendor with a strong cloud story. Microsoft still needs to overcome its Microsoft-centric approach to the cloud (and everything else), and Google still needs to figure out how to operate like a business that enterprises can understand and buy from, but these are solvable problems.One thing is clear: as these problems are solved, an interesting but not particularly competitive cloud market will become even more interesting, and much more competitive.Image courtesy REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton.center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Amazon has been looking to extend this lead by making its IaaS offerings more enterprise friendly. Importantly, Amazon isn’t building out a separate enterprise cloud, but instead is meshing enterprise features with its public cloud, a strategy that jibes with Leong’s belief that “customers actively do not want two different clouds, since nobody really wants to shift between different clouds as you go through an application’s lifecycle, or for different tiers of an app, some of which might need greater infrastructure resilience and guaranteed performance.”And lest anyone think AWS simply serves the rinky-dink individual developer with a dev/test workload, Leong stresses that its customers are decidedly “traditional enterprises of the Global 2000 variety (including some of the largest companies in the world),” in addition to the mid-market, “projected spend levels… increasing dramatically… use cases [that] are extremely broad,…[with] workloads [that] increasingly have sensitive data and regulatory compliance concerns.”So, game over, Amazon wins?Cloud Competitors RisingNot so fast. If ever there were a market with deep-pocketed competitors who can financially afford to catch up and compete, this is it. And, as Forrester’s Jeffrey Hammond argues, “We’re moving away from distinct leaders in a single market segment, like IaaS or PaaS, and toward a model that mirrors a traditional buying pattern, where app development professionals choose between best of breed services (e.g., compute, storage, RDBMS, messaging, CRM) or integrated data-centers of services (AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Salesforce/Heroku/Database.com).”In this world where buyers focus on best-of-breed, AWS doesn’t necessarily always have the upper hand.For example, Microsoft already competes quite well with AWS when it comes to developers using a cloud relational database (RDBMS), as Forrester’s survey finds: Matt Asay How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloudlast_img read more

Read More →

Rules for Sales Role Plays

first_imgProfessionals and performers rehearse. They prepare themselves to do their very best work when it matters most. In sales, it’s easy to pretend that we are too busy to train and to role-play our most important conversations, creating a state of stasis as it pertains to our effectiveness.One of the ways to create breakthrough effectiveness is to role play the different scenarios to improve and develop strategies and language. These rules will ensure your roleplay improves performance.Use Real Cases: Case studies are beneficial when you want a group of people all to share the same problem. In sales, you are provided with case studies every day, providing you with an endless stream of real scenarios to work on. Using the real deals you are pursuing allows the salesperson to role-play conversations in an environment where they can improve their talk tracks and their strategy. It can be a bit more work, but it is worth the effort if the outcomes can be put to use in winning deals.Accept the Premise: This is a rule that all great improv groups know well. If one party provides information, you accept it as true. If the salesperson says, “The last time I called you, you mentioned that you were concerned with potential disruptions to your business,” their partner playing the client cannot say, “No, I didn’t. Instead, the client can say, “Yes, and I still am concerned about that,” or “We believe we can live with the disruption, but we’re concerned about the investment.”Focus on Principles: Almost all role plays are around objection-handling, something better described as resolving concerns, as there is invariably something real behind the words that sound like objections. Role plays are valuable when you can tie them to principles, like trading enough value to gain a commitment, controlling the process, describing your differentiation, and dealing with difficult situations. The best role plays focus on outcomes that can be universally applied.Rehearse Language: Sounding scripted isn’t the same as having a script. Good talk tracks are important, and powerful language is better than ineffective language. You want a chance to rehearse your language in role plays, with multiple attempts to go over the same ground and improve your delivery. Even if the talk track is excellent, role plays provide a chance to rehearse (something we don’t do enough of in sales).Allow Do-Overs: It’s easy to ruin a first—or third attempt—at a role play. Because the person playing the role of the salesperson is trying to find the right words, they are prone to saying things that they don’t like once they leave their mouth. Because it is a role play, the person speaking can start over, adjusting and improving their talk track.Say No: If the person doesn’t use language that their partner believes would work in real life or violates a principle, their partner needs to “say no,” or whatever words are necessary to let them know they failed to achieve their outcome. The role-playing partner also needs to explain why they said no to the salesperson’s request, giving them the feedback they need to improve their next attempt.The first time you say something, you might come up with something so brilliant it bears repeating. More often, the best talk tracks are developed over time, after you have iterated and have made adjustments. Follow these rules for role plays, and go into client conversations with excellent and effective strategies and language, the strategies and language that ensure you achieve your outcomes.last_img read more

Read More →