Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Oct 17 2010

Benoît Mandelbrot, Novel Mathematician, Dies at 85

Published by Vincent Versace under Uncategorized


Benoît B. Mandelbrot, a maverick mathematician who developed an innovative theory of roughness and applied it to physics, biology, finance and many other fields, died on Thursday in Cambridge, Mass. He was 85.

Shizuo Kambayashi/Associated Press

Benoît B. Mandelbrot, left, and James A. Yorke, sharing a Japan Prize in 2003 for their pioneering work in chaos theory.

Wolfgang Beyer

Graphic representations of the Mandelbrot set have been implanted in popular culture, gracing T-shirts and album covers.

His death was caused by pancreatic cancer, his wife, Aliette, said. He had lived in Cambridge.

Dr. Mandelbrot coined the term “fractal” to refer to a new class of mathematical shapes whose uneven contours could mimic the irregularities found in nature.

“Applied mathematics had been concentrating for a century on phenomena which were smooth, but many things were not like that: the more you blew them up with a microscope the more complexity you found,” said David Mumford, a professor of mathematics at Brown University. “He was one of the primary people who realized these were legitimate objects of study.”

In a seminal book, “The Fractal Geometry of Nature,” published in 1982, Dr. Mandelbrot defended mathematical objects that he said others had dismissed as “monstrous” and “pathological.” Using fractal geometry, he argued, the complex outlines of clouds and coastlines, once considered unmeasurable, could now “be approached in rigorous and vigorous quantitative fashion.”

For most of his career, Dr. Mandelbrot had a reputation as an outsider to the mathematical establishment. From his perch as a researcher for I.B.M. in New York, where he worked for decades before accepting a position at Yale University, he noticed patterns that other researchers may have overlooked in their own data, then often swooped in to collaborate.

“He knew everybody, with interests going off in every possible direction,” Professor Mumford said. “Every time he gave a talk, it was about something different.”

Dr. Mandelbrot traced his work on fractals to a question he first encountered as a young researcher: how long is the coast of Britain? The answer, he was surprised to discover, depends on how closely one looks. On a map an island may appear smooth, but zooming in will reveal jagged edges that add up to a longer coast. Zooming in further will reveal even more coastline.

“Here is a question, a staple of grade-school geometry that, if you think about it, is impossible,” Dr. Mandelbrot told The New York Times earlier this year in an interview. “The length of the coastline, in a sense, is infinite.”

In the 1950s, Dr. Mandelbrot proposed a simple but radical way to quantify the crookedness of such an object by assigning it a “fractal dimension,” an insight that has proved useful well beyond the field of cartography.

Over nearly seven decades, working with dozens of scientists, Dr. Mandelbrot contributed to the fields of geology, medicine, cosmology and engineering. He used the geometry of fractals to explain how galaxies cluster, how wheat prices change over time and how mammalian brains fold as they grow, among other phenomena.

His influence has also been felt within the field of geometry, where he was one of the first to use computer graphics to study mathematical objects like the Mandelbrot set, which was named in his honor.

“I decided to go into fields where mathematicians would never go because the problems were badly stated,” Dr. Mandelbrot said. “I have played a strange role that none of my students dare to take.”

Benoît B. Mandelbrot (he added the middle initial himself, though it does not stand for a middle name) was born on Nov. 20, 1924, to a Lithuanian Jewish family in Warsaw. In 1936 his family fled the Nazis, first to Paris and then to the south of France, where he tended horses and fixed tools.

After the war he enrolled in the École Polytechnique in Paris, where his sharp eye compensated for a lack of conventional education. His career soon spanned the Atlantic. He earned a master’s degree in aeronautics at the California Institute of Technology, returned to Paris for his doctorate in mathematics in 1952, then went on to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., for a postdoctoral degree under the mathematician John von Neumann.

After several years spent largely at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, Dr. Mandelbrot was hired by I.B.M. in 1958 to work at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. Although he worked frequently with academic researchers and served as a visiting professor at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it was not until 1987 that he began to teach at Yale, where he earned tenure in 1999.

Dr. Mandelbrot received more than 15 honorary doctorates and served on the board of many scientific journals, as well as the Mandelbrot Foundation for Fractals. Instead of rigorously proving his insights in each field, he said he preferred to “stimulate the field by making bold and crazy conjectures” — and then move on before his claims had been verified. This habit earned him some skepticism in mathematical circles.

“He doesn’t spend months or years proving what he has observed,” said Heinz-Otto Peitgen, a professor of mathematics and biomedical sciences at the University of Bremen. And for that, he said, Dr. Mandelbrot “has received quite a bit of criticism.”

“But if we talk about impact inside mathematics, and applications in the sciences,” Professor Peitgen said, “he is one of the most important figures of the last 50 years.”

Besides his wife, Dr. Mandelbrot is survived by two sons, Laurent, of Paris, and Didier, of Newton, Mass., and three grandchildren.

When asked to look back on his career, Dr. Mandelbrot compared his own trajectory to the rough outlines of clouds and coastlines that drew him into the study of fractals in the 1950s.

“If you take the beginning and the end, I have had a conventional career,” he said, referring to his prestigious appointments in Paris and at Yale. “But it was not a straight line between the beginning and the end. It was a very crooked line.”

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Aug 27 2010

photokina 2010 :: X-Rite Announces Free Coloratti XritePhotoWalks

Published by Vincent Versace under Uncategorized

Photographers of all levels can explore and photograph Cologne, Germany alongside photography professionals and win great prizes too

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., August 27, 2010 – X-Rite, Incorporated (NASDAQ: XRIT), the world leader in color management, measurement and communication technologies, announces its inaugural ColorattiXritePhotoWalk event-taking place next month during Photokina 2010 in Cologne, Germany. Photographers of all levels are invited to walk, learn about and photograph the beautiful city of Cologne while also learning about photographic techniques and tips from world class professional photographers Vincent Versace, Natural Light Photographer (USA) and Jens Petersen, Fashion, Editorial and Lifestyle Photographer (Germany).

In addition, X-Rite’s Market Manager Photo, Thomas Kunz and ColorChecker Product Manager, Chris Halford, will also join the Photo Walks so attendees can learn more about profiling their cameras with the ColorChecker Passport and enabling one-click color enhancements.

“We are thrilled to offer for the first time at Photokina escorted Photo Walks through this picturesque city,” said Liz Quinlisk, X-Rite’s Director Marketing Strategy, Photo. “It’s a chance for Photokina attendees to take some time either before the show starts in the morning or in the early evening when the light is most beautiful to see and photograph the sites of the city while accompanied by two of the world’s most renowned professional photographers. And it’s a chance to win some fabulous prizes too for the best of the best images taken during the walking tours.”

About the Coloratti XritePhotoWalk

Each free two-hour Photo Walk is a guided tour through the city of Cologne that focuses on teaching participants how to take better photos. After a brief lesson on white balance and camera profiling, the guide will escort the group through sites of interest throughout the city, and attendees will receive photo tips from the professionals along the way. At various points along the tour, participants will be given the opportunity to explore and photograph using their newfound knowledge. A local Cologne travel guide will be on hand to answer questions and provide historical information along the tour route.

When and Where

  • Rheinpark in the Heart of Cologne; Wednesday, September 22nd at 7 am; Meeting Point (Train Station Deutz, Exit Messe) featuring Vincent Versace, Thomas Kunz and Chris Halford (Language: English)
  • Historical Center of Cologne; Wednesday, September 22nd at 5 pm; Meeting Point (Köln Tourismus Information center in front of the main entrance to the Cologne Dome) featuring Jens Petersen and Thomas Kunz (Language: German)
  • Rheinpark in the Heart of Cologne; Friday, September 24th at 7 am; Meeting Point (Train Station Deutz, Exit Messe) featuring Vincent Versace, Thomas Kunz and Chris Halford (Language: English)

Participants in the XritePhotoWalks are also encouraged to enter the Photo Walk Contest by simply selecting one final image that was taken during the walk and upload it to X-Rite’s judging site. Vincent Versace and Jens Petersen will judge and select 3 winning photos that will receive the following prizes:

1st Place: i1XTreme and ColorChecker Passport

2nd Place: ColorMunki Photo and ColorChecker Passport

3rd Place: ColorChecker Passport

Images submitted for the contest can be uploaded to:

All participants will receive an X-Rite Photo Walk t-shirt. Each Photo Walk tour is limited to the first 40 registered walkers. Attendees need to bring whatever camera equipment they shoot with. To register please visit:

About Vincent Versace

X-Rite Coloratti Vincent Versace, Natural Light Fine Art Photographer, is a recipient of the Computerworld Smithsonian Award in Media Arts & Entertainment, the Shellenberg fine art award, a four time nominee to the Photoshop Hall of Fame and is the author of Welcome to Oz: A Cinematic Approach to Digital Still Photography with Photoshop which was chosen as Shutterbug Magazine’s best how to book of the year. His work is part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History.

He teaches regularly at Photoshop World and the Hallmark Institute of Photography, plus the Maine Photographic and Palm Beach Photographic Workshops. For more information about Vincent Versace visit:

About Jens Petersen

Fashion, Editorial and Lifestyle Photographer and X-Rite Coloratti Jens Petersen discovered his love for photography late in life – he bought his first camera in 2005 and it was instantly a part of him. Within a short time his first photos were published in magazines and technical periodicals, and in 2006 he held his first exhibition of Street images in Belgium.

In 2007 he undertook a high-profile re-orientation focusing his photography on People, and decided to become a professional photographer on a permanent basis. It was a brilliant decision – portrait, fashion, lifestyle and editorial – all gave him a base of information, curiosity and, at times, the ability to photographically transport. His clientele includes economic enterprises and fashion labels. For more information visit:

About X-Rite Coloratti

X-Rite’s Coloratti includes the world’s top professional photographers, a group whose vision, passion, leadership, and partnership are recognized and valued by X-Rite. Coloratti photographers are highly respected by their peers and are admired by up-and-coming professionals, enthusiasts, and students alike.

The Coloratti understand the importance of implementing color management in their workflow and freely share their knowledge on how to get the very best color for all images, no matter how they are presented – on screen or in print. The Coloratti photographers have a dedicated passion for the world of photography and achieving accurate color is presented in many of their workshops, seminars and at sponsored X-Rite events. They foster creativity in others and inspire their students and audiences to easily master color control in their imagery and their art. For more information about the X-Rite Coloratti please

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Aug 18 2010

Printing Series: Vincent Versace – Digital Natural Light Photographer & Epson Stylus Pro Master Printer @

Published by Vincent Versace under Uncategorized

Copyright © Vincent Versace – ALL Rights Reserved
Copyright © Vincent Versace – ALL Rights ReservedIn addition to being a well known photographer, Vincent Versace is a “Smithsonian Award Laureate” whose work is part of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History collection. He also enjoys the status of Epson Stylus Pro, X-Rite Coloratti and Lexar Elite Photographer. I hope you enjoy getting to know this well respected Photoshop/photography educator and true master printer.


Vincent Versace only prints on Epson printers. Currently his line up includes 6 Epson printers: the R1900, 2880 (2), 3880 (2) & 9900.

Favorite Papers

My favorite paper is Epson’s Cold Press Natural (Epson video). For 24×30 and 44×36 prints, I have been using Epson Velvet Fine Art but will be phasing that paper out in favor for the Cold Press Natural now that it is being offered in the roll format. I really wish that the Cold Press Natural would come in a size bigger than 17×22 as I would love to use it for my larger prints. Unlike some print masters, I prefer sheet paper to rolls. For my black and white I use Exhibition Fiber Fine Art paper – 24×30 down to 8.5×11. I think the Exhibition Fiber looks just like air dried glossy fiber silver gelatin paper, which was my favorite way to print black and whites when I made silver prints. It is the best looking paper for black and white, to my eye. I tend to print on matte papers because I prefer the way color looks on them.

What volume of printing do you do over the course of a year and what’s the purpose?

A lot. Easily several thousand prints a year. The sizes I print are – 44×36, 24×30, – 20×24 (cut from 24×30(, 300 – 17×22 (cut to16x20), and 13×19 and 8.5×11. The 13×19 and 8.5x 11 are or portfolios that I show at workshops and for buyers. Because these prints tend to take a beating, they get switched out after every other workshop/show/submission.

What things to look in a print before it’s ready for Fine Art Sale?

I want it to be as perfect as possible. I want to make sure there are no blocked up shadows, or over inking, and smooth transitions between shadows to highlights. I also check them to ensure that there are no post processing artifacts. This is why I carefully choose the Epson papers and printers that I use. They are best of class and nothing in my experience competes with them.


Copyright © Vincent Versace – ALL Rights Reserved
Copyright © Vincent Versace – ALL Rights Reserved

Do you have any printer usage recommendations?

I turn my printers off at the printer when they are not in use (NOT at the power strip). This guarantees that the heads are capped and the ink does not dry on the head. Doing this minimizes clogging of any nozzles. If you are using cotton fiber papers it is best to run a head cleaning after every five to ten prints. Cotton fiber papers can throw off particles that may clog heads, (no matter whose printer you use). I have also found that you really don’t need to do it after ever print unless you have a lot of time on your hands and money to waste on ink (unless of course you believe that you have the ability to see the fly poop in the paper).

Trust me, I am pretty anal about my printing and if I thought cleaning after every print mattered I’d do that. However, I just don’t think that it is necessary.

Have you tried using the any other brand of printers besides Epson?

I only use Epson printers because the ink paper and printer are all part of a system which is why I use exclusively Epson across the board. I believe they are the best printers for photography. Canon printers use a thermal head to lay down ink. Thermal systems use heat to eject ink which leads to overspray and I require more accurate drop placement. From the prints I have seen, I feel that they are not there yet. I also feel that the color drifts a bit and it is a little blocked up in the reds. I am more impressed with the HP printers over Canon, but again HP is nowhere near the quality I require for my images. Epson UltraChrome K3 and UltraChrome HDR inks are completely unbeatable.

Do you have any Color Management or Paper Profiling Recommendations?

I’m a real PITA with this. I travel with a ColorMunki (XRite Video) when I have to go mobile and remote for teaching. It does a really nice job for a device that size and it allows me to profile monitors, projectors and create image specific profiles. At my studio, I use a Spectrolino Spectroscan (made by Gretag Macbeth now X-Rite) because I prefer polarized profiles for my fine art prints. The down side with this device is that it takes several hours to build a profile. This is the only device I am aware of that can do this. I also use an X-Rite i1iSis XL Color Calibration System (B&H) but only for testing glossy/semi-gloss papers. The iSis XL is a great profiling device, and very fast which is why I use it. I tend to redo all of my profiles every six months.

Copyright © Vincent Versace – ALL Rights Reserved
Copyright © Vincent Versace – ALL Rights Reserved

Tips before printing and how to get the most out of the driver?

I tend to print in relative colormetric when I print as it provides more accurate color, but it is less forgiving. Soft Proofing is essential! I always print my black & white images through the Epson Advanced Black & White mode, setting warm color toning mode and the tone in the custom color controls dialog to dark. Another important thing to do is always set the platen gap to Wider when printing on Exhibition Fiber paper.

I find that the best PPI, for me, is 360. If you need to enlarge (scale) an image first in the image size dialog turn off “Resample Image” then lower the PPI to 240 from 360 or 300 PPI. If you need to go bigger I use Genuine Fractals. The worst way to up rez an image is the 10% stepping approach. It causes the most artifacts of any scaling approach.

What do you look for in a print before it gets your signature on the bottom?

Perfection. My signature on the bottom of a print means “This is the best that I can do – this is my state of the art.” If I feel that I cannot make that statement about the print I’m holding then I will not sign the image.

Do you use or prefer any RIP software? If so, what do you use it for?

When I use a RIP, I use the Serendipity Black Magic RIP it is the only RIP that uses it’s own screening algorithm with the 9900 all other RIP manufactures I know of use Epson’s screening. I like this RIP for my images that have a lot of blur, I only use this RIP, when I use a RIP at all, for 24×30 and bigger and only for my color images. Beyond that, I will use the Epson driver. The main reason to use a RIP is the difference in screening and ink control. If you need nesting and multi-image layout, then BlueCubit makes software that let’s you do that with the Epson driver. My thought though is if a RIP is going to use the same screening as the Epson driver, and the driver is free with the printer, then why bother?

Copyright © Vincent Versace – ALL Rights Reserved
Copyright © Vincent Versace – ALL Rights Reserved

Do you use any add-ins when preparing your image for printing?

I use Nik Software’s Silver Efex, Sharpener Pro, Color Efex, and Dfine, as well as onOne Software’s Genuine Fractals, and Focal Point.

Anything else that people should know about you as print master?

The best photographer are always the best printers. But the best printers are not necessarily the best photographers.” – Ansel Adams

These are my words to live by. If you want to be a better photographer, then you must become a better printer.


I’d like to thank Vincent Versace for taking time out of his busy schedule (which included a trip to New Zealand during this series preparation). His insight has been quite enjoyable and hopefully will help you to improve your own printing skills.

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Jul 26 2010

Vincent Versace to Lead Workshop to Burma

Published by Vincent Versace under Uncategorized

Palm Beach Photographic Centre is dedicated to enriching life through photography, helping you see the world with new eyes, and creating images that express your unique experience to others.

Join a small group on a travel program designed by and for photographers. The pace of our trips is carefully planned, and locations are well researched and scouted. From years of experience, we know the hill towns and villages where we can meet the indigenous people of the areas that we visit. Palm Beach Photographic Centre has been the world leader in innovative photography tours and workshops since 1986. Our photo tours are built from the ground up for—and by—photographers who want to see and photograph the world’s most interesting cultural locations.

© Vincent Versace, Burma © Vincent Versace, India

Travel with congenial, like-minded people whose primary interest is photography. Our trips include visits to small and out of the way villages, where you get a chance to experience and photograph “real life”, away from the usual tourist spots. Group size is limited, extremely important to photographers, who need to take their time at each location and be as unobtrusive as possible. Anyone with an interest in photography, regardless of age, skill level, or equipment will enjoy our tours, and the one-on-one as well as group instruction and critiques.

We invite you to experience photographic travel at its very best: great destinations, luxurious travel and instruction from the most talented and respected professionals in the field.

Join me on October 29th to November 9th for Exploring Old Burma: The Land of the Golden Pagoda, led by Vincent Versace, or November 9th to the 22nd for a Photographic Exploration of India including The Pushkar Festival.

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Jul 26 2010

Chapter 4: The Unwitting Ally: How to See Color Over Shape: An Exploration of ExDR Sponsored by Epson, OnOne, NIK, Lexar, and X-Rite

Published by Vincent Versace under Uncategorized

Register for this event Thursday, August 19, 2010  |  11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Speakers: Vincent Versace
Event Type: Photography, Software
Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
A Week of Vincent Versace. The B&H Event Space is pleased to host a week long special visit by a modern digital master, Vincent Versace. Vincent will share a number of exciting topics that will invigorate your photography.

Dynamic range does not only apply to exposure. In this seminar, Vincent Versace will show you how to apply a new concept, ExDR, to focus, blur and image structure.  Starting with image-harvesting to the image-editing process, Vincent will teach you the most aesthetic choices to make regarding light, shape, gesture, and color when you first take a picture. Picasso said, “Art is the lie that tells the truth.” With that in mind, you will also apply techniques to create an aesthetically satisfying final image rather than a “historically” accurate one. You will also learn the approach of how the human eye “sees” to guide the viewer’s eye through the image. Finally, you will explore the changes and considerations in workflow that you need to make when working with 24.5 mega-pixel files.

This seminar is the first time a lesson from the revision of Vincent Versace’s book, Welcome to Oz: A Cinematic Approach to Digital Still Photography with Photoshop will be taught! This bestselling book is due out in October.
*Attendees will receive the Versace Edition set of 3 plug-ins from NiKsoftware that they will be able to download


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Jul 26 2010

The Lazarus Effect Raising The Dead Pixel: How Undo and Out of Focus Photograph Sponsored by Epson, OnOne, NIK, Lexar, and MAC Group

Published by Vincent Versace under Uncategorized

Register for this event Wednesday, August 18, 2010  |  11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Speakers: Vincent Versace
Event Type: Photography, Software
Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
A Week of Vincent Versace. The B&H Event Space is pleased to host a week long special visit by a modern digital master, Vincent Versace. Vincent will share a number of exciting topics that will invigorate your photography.

It’s not always possible to get tack sharp photographs straight from your camera. This seminar is for anyone who has taken an image where the focus was a bit “off,” whether you tried to photograph a waterfall, and regardless of your exposure and how carefully you set up your tripod, the focus was too soft, or you shot images you know were in focus, but due to the type of sensor or how the RAW file was processed, the sharpness you expected the lens to deliver is missing. In this seminar, Vincent Versace will not only teach you how to bring detail back from both landscape and portrait images, he will also present a new way of thinking about your images as well as a different approach to seeing and creating.

Attendees will receive actions and Configurators for both CS4 and CS5 as well as the Versace Edition set of 3 plug-ins from NiKsoftware.


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Jul 26 2010

Every Black and White Conversion Technique Known to Man. Sponsored by Epson, OnOne, NIK, Lexar, and MAC Group

Published by Vincent Versace under Uncategorized

Register for this event Tuesday, August 17, 2010  |  11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Speakers: Vincent Versace
Event Type: Photography, Software
Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
A Week of Vincent Versace. The B&H Event Space is pleased to host a week long special visit by a modern digital master, Vincent Versace. Vincent will share a number of exciting topics that will invigorate your photography.
Black and white conversion techniques are like politician making election promises; every one of them claims to be the penultimate solution to your needs. Regardless of their claims, you still need to create images that look like photographs and not like something the viewer sees as “something you did in Photoshop.” Fortunately, there are numerous ways to convert an image from color to hues of gray with natural looking results. Join Vincent Versace at the B&H Event Space, who will show you some of the best ways to convert an Image to black and white without ever leaving the RGB color space. In this seminar, you will learn which methods give you the best results and when to choose a simple or a complex solution.

*Attendees will receive actions and Configurators for both CS4 and CS5 as well as theVersace Edition set of 3 plug-ins from NiKsoftware that they will be able to download


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May 22 2010

Its Pac-Man 30th anniversary and its still going strong

Published by Vincent Versace under Uncategorized

22 May, 2010

It has been 30 years since Namco launched Pac-Man. It is one of the earliest computer games to be launched and yet it is still doing extremely well today.

The game which has very limited chomping circle has undergone many remakes with about 50 versions that have been launched.

The company has licensed about 294,000 arcade editions of the original with the funky rock song “Pac-Man” going gold in March 1982. It also went on sell 2.5 million copies.
At the time of the launch of Pac-Man there weren’t many arcade games available with the demand for new and creative games far outstripping supply. Before the launch of the game, Namco was a small Tokyo based company offering rocking-horse rides at departmental stores.

In 1979 a young designer at Namco Toru Iwatani was asked to make a different kind of a game suing pastel colours that would appeal to the ladies. Iwatani called his team’s creation as Puckman. Realizing that American users would probably replace the P with an F it was renamed as Pac-Man.

At the time of the launch the company didn’t think that the game would be big hit. But it went to become the worldwide phenomenon that it is today. Atari had acquired the licenses to Namco games in 1978 decided to move on its Pac-Man license in late 1981.

Today, Namco is today one of the most recognizable video games in the US and according to the Guinness World Records 2010, majority of Americans can identify the yellow sphere ahead of Nintendo’s Mario.

The simplicity of the game has been the winner and has ensured its sustainability. The game didn’t need a manual to understand it. And that was the reason for its survival. Also the rules of the game were simple, the player has to navigate the maze, eat the dots and avoid the ghosts. The game also managed to draw a lot of female players as compared to other games this one did not involve shooting.

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May 20 2010

Genetic Pioneer Trumpets Birth of First Artificial Life

Published by Vincent Versace under Uncategorized

Katie  Drummond By Katie Drummond

(May 20) — The controversial American scientist who a decade ago developed a remarkable shortcut in mapping the human genome says he’s now produced the first version of synthetic life.

“Synthia,” as Dr. Craig Venter and his research team at the J. Craig Venter Institute have dubbed it, is actually a stripped-down bacterium that’s been outfitted with a man-made genome. The creation cost around $30 million.

“This is the first synthetic cell that’s been made, and we call it synthetic because the cell is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome, made with four bottles of chemicals on a chemical synthesizer, starting with information in a computer,” Venter said of his work, which is described in the journal Science this week. “This is the first self-replicating species that we have had on the planet whose parent is a computer.”

Dr. J. Craig Venter has announced groundbreaking progress in the  creation of artificial life.

David S. Holloway, Getty Images
Dr. J. Craig Venter has rocked the scientific world by claiming he has produced a cell that is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome, a development that could pave the way for custom-made vaccines.

Venter’s breakthrough could open up an entirely new realm of synthetic science, allowing researchers to create custom-made vaccines, eco-friendly biofuels and other beneficial microbes. In other words, make and shape cells to do human bidding.

Venter and company created a genome that’s around 1 million base pairs long (by comparison, a human genome is around 3 billion base pairs long). The code they inserted into the DNA includes the researchers’ names, along with poetry, quotes and an e-mail address — so that anyone who decodes the genome can let the team know.

The process to create the cell was a lengthy one: Venter has been working on the initiative for more than three years. Some experts anticipate that in the future, cell creation will be streamlined and simplified.

“I hope the day comes when making genomes is something everyone can do,” Pamela Silver, a systems biologist at Harvard Medical School, told Live Science.

Venter’s team says it’s already collaborating with major companies, including Big Pharma and oil and gas firms, on ambitious plans for the future of synthetic biology.

Still, there are kinks to work out. Right now, the synthetic bacterium is able to reproduce, but several of its genes don’t yet work properly.

And others in the field aren’t so sure that Venter is using the best approach.

“He has not created life, only mimicked it,” Dr. David Baltimore, a Caltech geneticist, told The New York Times.

While the genome was artificial, the bacterium wasn’t — making it a ready host to turn on the genome, grow and reproduce like a natural cell. Although the genome’s synthetic nature is new, transferring a genome into a host cell has been possible for more than 20 years.

And regular genetic engineering is already making rapid strides in biofuel and vaccine production, among other pursuits. Venter’s approach, while remarkable, will take years to catch up.

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May 17 2010

Combat Camera Group Training

Published by Mickey Strand under Uncategorized

Day one with Combat Camera Group Pacific #CCG on board Naval Air Station North Island.

I wonder if they enjoyed the demos and lessons that Vincent and I ran them through today.
Its always great to bring these lessons to students let alone some old and new shipmates…

Lets see how there homework looks tomorrow morning.

I really enjoy working with my old unit one more time. Getting onto the Base and back into the building brought back loads of great memories, of working along side some of the finest photographers I have ever know. I hope that there present leaders feel the same some day.

aka The Chief

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