Dan Cohen AUTHOR Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.), co-chair of the House Defense Communities Caucus and a member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, won her Republican primary runoff Tuesday over a challenger who attacked her as insufficiently supportive of President Trump. Trump, however, tweeted an endorsement of Roby last month, a culmination of her efforts to make amends with the president after opposing his candidacy in the wake of the “Access Hollywood” tape, reports Politico.Photo by Will Noonan
Post a comment Now playing: Watch this: Netflix 50 Photos Wonderstorm If you can’t wait for the final season of Game of Thrones, The Dragon Prince might satiate your hankering for a fantasy epic show. Bonus: You can watch it with your kids. The animated series on Netflix magically, and effectively, checks off a lot of entertainment boxes. The tone wildly swings from silly to sad and poignant, yet somehow manages to juggle all the conflicting emotions in a charming, binge-worthy package. While it’s a cartoon, The Dragon Prince, like the now-concluded Voltron: Legendary Defender, straddles the line between adult and children’s entertainment. That’s no coincidence, as the showrunners of both also worked on Avatar: The Last Airbender, a Nickelodeon cartoon that’s built up a massive cult following over the years. Share your voice 1:59 What’s streaming in February 2019 “Hopefully, it’s something you can watch more than once at different ages, and see something different,” co-creator Aaron Ehasz said in an interview at New York Comic-Con in October. The Dragon Prince centers around three central characters: teenage prince Callum; his younger stepbrother, Ezran, the true heir to the throne; and Rayla, an elfin assassin on a quest to kill their father. Complications and a key revelation tied to the show’s name band the unlikely trio together on a Lord of the Rings-style journey. To reveal more would be spoiling the fun, but here’re some reasons you should check out The Dragon Prince. Likeable, complex characters Seeing an assassin bond with her target’s two sons isn’t a dynamic you’d normally encounter in a cartoon, but it’s effective thanks to their natural chemistry. It helps that all the characters are really likeable. Rayla is a Moonshadow Elf assassin. But she’s got a sunny side to her too. Wonderstorm Callum starts off as the wisecracking lead, and Rayla the brooding one, but the showrunners wisely choose to spend plenty of time exploring the characters’ depth. Conversely, Callum goes through an intense emotional journey as the show goes on, while Rayla gets to be silly once in a while. Ezran is anything but the typical annoying 10-year-old, exuding a calmness and charm that make him easy to root for. “We try to find a balance between archetypes and tropes but also be original and authentic to the character,” Ehsaz said. Flipping the script Fantasy stories have almost universally had a European bent, so it’s refreshing to see a splash of diversity here. Where many fantasy and children’s stories position the stepmother as the antagonist, here the stepparent is a positive force: King Harrow is a wise, noble stepfather to Callum. Subverting fantasy cliches was one of the creative team’s goals. “There’s an opportunity to tell a story in a genre that’s been done a lot of ways, with characters that are more complex, that reflect the modern world, reflect a more diverse world,” Ehasz said. One of the most engaging characters is Amaya, Callum and Ezran’s aunt on their departed mother’s side. She’s deaf, and the show’s creators spare no expense animating her sign language. Subtitles don’t appear when she communicates, but you figure things out through context. She’s a general, and you quickly learn through bold action that she’s the most badass character, a fantastic example of the mantra “show, don’t tell.” Epic world building The Dragon Prince’s first season, which started last September, is only nine half-hour episodes. But it lays out an expansive world steeped in hints of history. There’s the unique way magic works for humans versus other creatures like elves. Years before the show’s story starts, humans used dark magic to kill the Dragon King, resulting in a detente between humans and elves, with each side occupying half the land. The second season, meanwhile, builds on that world, wisely using flashbacks to tell the tragic backstory of the previous generation of key players. Past mistakes ripple through to affect Callum and Ezran. Well-rounded villains There’s only one full-blown antagonist on the show, Viren, once the faithful adviser to King Harrow. But the dark mage has a somewhat understandable justification for his actions, even while they sink deeper into darkness as the show goes on. More entertaining are his two children, the dark, magic-wielding Claudia and her boisterous brother and crown guard, Soren. Both are tasked with retrieving the princes, and they walk the line between threat and comedy relief. Claudia, who often has to sacrifice creatures to power her dark magic, is particularly effective as someone who genuinely cares for the main characters, adding a satisfying level of emotional complexity. Fantasy, for beginners Though my 2-year-old is a bit too young for The Dragon Prince, I can imagine him taking to this show in a few years. I didn’t get into J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings until I was in junior high school, but this show gives kids a relatively safe place to get their feet wet in fantasy. Lord of the Rings this is not. New Line Cinema That’s not to say there isn’t death and some mature themes. But the show handles its darker tones with an impressive deftness. Adorable creaturesThere’s a grumpy toad called Bait who changes colors and glows. And he’s just the start. Trust me, your kids will love the creatures in this show. “We want to tell a great epic story with epic characters that we hope the audience finds funny and compelling,” Ehsaz said. You can catch The Dragon Prince on Netflix now. 0 TV and Movies 2019 TV shows you can’t miss Tags
Explore further More information: Greg J. Stephens, et al. “Statistical Thermodynamics of Natural Images.” PRL 110, 018701 (2013). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.018701 (a) A grayscale image of a forest. Photo by Dan Ruderman. (b) The same image after it is quantized into two equally populated levels of black and white. The researchers found that small patches within this quantized image retain substantial local structure. This finding led them to discover that the photo is scale-invariant—its structure stays the same as its scale changes. Credit: Greg J. Stephens, et al. ©2013 American Physical Society (a) 4 x 4 patches from the quantized forest image with the lowest energy states, starting with the lowest energy states of all: solid black and white blocks. The other patches are local minima, and many of them can be interpreted as lines and edges. The scientists speculate that the visual system might build neurons that identify these local minima in order to build a representation of the world. In part (b), the researchers computed the average light-intensity images that correspond to those in part (a). These average images resemble those that trigger neuron responses in the primary visual cortex. Credit: Greg J. Stephens, et al. ©2013 American Physical Society This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Copyright 2013 Phys.org All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of Phys.org. The scientists saw this scale invariance as a hint that natural images may have something in common with a physical system at a critical point. In physical systems, scale invariance emerges only when the temperature reaches a critical value, at which point a phase transition occurs between two phases characterized by different forms of order.To examine whether the ensemble of natural images has its own critical point, the researchers treated the distribution of pixels as the Boltzmann distribution for a physical system, where the patterns of pixels in the small patches are associated with different energy levels according to their probability. Remarkably, as the patch size increased so too did a peak in the specific heat, a thermodynamic variable that characterizes fluctuations in the energy of the ensemble. These results suggest a sharp transition in the thermodynamic limit of large patch sizes, similar to how a physical system reaches this limit at a critical temperature.The researchers found that this approach to the thermodynamics of images also shares similarities with Zipf-like distributions. According to Zipf’s law, elements in a group (for example, words in a book) that are sorted from most common to least common will follow a pattern where the second most common element is 1/2 as common as the first, the third most common element is 1/3 as common as the first, etc. Zipf-like distributions have been found to hold for many different situations, and here the scientists found that they also closely describe the distribution of the size of pixel patches ranked by the structure as determined by their black and white pixels.Perhaps the most interesting implication of viewing natural images from a thermodynamics perspective is what it reveals about the nature of image patches that correspond to the low energy states. The patches with the absolute lowest energy states are those that are either all black or all white. However, a small number of patches have pixels in both states yet are considered local minima, since flipping any single pixel would increase the energy. Looking closer at these patches, the researchers found that many of them have distinct patterns, such as edges between dark and light regions.The researchers speculate that the importance of these local minima in natural images may help us and other creatures “see” our surroundings, even when our eyes don’t absorb every pixel. The visual system may build neurons that are tuned to these “basins of attraction.” In other words, these low-energy patches may assist the brain in filling in the details using some kind of error-correcting code based on the thermodynamics of the visual world. A team of researchers at Princeton University has taken a closer look at images of nature and proposed that the scale invariance of images closely resembles the thermodynamics of physical systems at a critical point, with the distribution of pixels in the images analogous to the distribution of particle states in a physical system such as a ferromagnet. The parts of an image that correspond to the low-energy states, or local minima, have surprisingly interpretable structure, and these thermodynamic characteristics may help the brain see.The researchers, Greg J. Stephens, Thierry Mora, Gašper Tkačik, and William Bialek, at Princeton University, have published their study on the thermodynamics of images in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.In their study, the scientists analyzed an ensemble of photographs taken in a forest at Hacklebarney State Park in New Jersey. The researchers converted the grayscale camera images to binary (black and white) images. Although intensity information was lost in the quantization, many details such as the structure of the trees and a body of water could still be identified. The worlds smallest 3D HD display Journal information: Physical Review Letters The researchers then divided each binary image into much smaller patches composed of 3 x 3 and 4 x 4 pixels and examined the distribution of black and white pixels in these patches. To quantify how much structure is present in these tiny segments of natural images, the researchers measured the entropy of the distribution of pixels. Randomly distributed pixels would give an entropy level of 9 and 16 bits, respectively, for the 3 x 3 and 4 x 4 pixel regions. But the researchers found that the entropy levels of the same-sized regions from the photo were only 6.5 and 11.2 bits, suggesting that substantial local structure remains in the tiny patches.To explore how local image structure changes with scale, the researchers averaged neighboring pixels within each image and repeated their patch analysis. After such “coarse-graining,” the image had lower resolution, but remarkably both the entropy and pixel distribution were unchanged from the original image. Even after repeating this coarse-graining process four times, the pixel distributions in the small square regions remained the same, indicating that the photo is scale-invariant—its structure stays the same as its scale changes. Citation: Thermodynamics of visual images may help us see the world (2013, February 13) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-02-thermodynamics-visual-images-world.html (Phys.org)—Although researchers know that a large portion of the brain is devoted to visual processing, exactly how we interpret the complex patterns within natural scenes is far from understood. One question scientists ask is, is there something about the structure of the visual world itself that enables our brains to process and understand our visual surroundings, and is this structure something that can be described quantitatively?