27 April 2009

I wrote this in response to a student’s blog: “Electronic media makes it hard to think for yourself, whereas BOOKS allow you to discover what is really on your mind. Do you agree?” What do you think?

Also, note to all class levels — esnips, the podcasting site, will not work in our classroom because it is for Microsoft only and will not cross platforms.


A look at an actual treatment —

T-Rex – “Nest to Death”

T-rex – “Nest to Death” builds dramatically over two graphic hours to reveal the vivid, explosive and little known life cycle of Tyrannosaurus rex. Through the crystal ball of paleo-science, we witness the infamous predator muscling his mates and astounding our demographic with feathery displays and thundering dances.
“Nest to Death” follows the life cycle of a Tyrannosaur we name Dakota, after T-rex’s capital, her killing ground, the state where the largest numbers of her ancestors have been uncovered.
“Nest to Death” puts a face on our favorite killing machine. Dakota and her pack come to three-dimensional life as the individual characters they were, with unique colorations and discrete but death dealing personalities.
Traveling through deep time, our team peers into a murderer’s row science has named Bob and Scotty, Black Beauty and Wyrex, Sue and Stan.
And locked away in our vaults lurks the newest monster of the midway, the first specimen of a juvenile T-rex, which Jurassic panjandrum Dr. Robert T. Bakker has declared to be “one of the most scientifically significant and most exciting T. rex skeletons…of any age or locale.” The little Rex, dubbed Tinker, emerges as a kind of oracle, allowing scientist to conjure from its bones new information about rex’s life cycle. At age six, the juvenile is already a delinquent, a formidable hunter and treacherous killer. His smaller jaws offer estimates of bite strength. We learn about rex’s growth rate, diet. For here is the missing link, unraveling secrets of speed and pack behavior, coloration and feather location.
A full palette of video effects will drive the show, effects ranging from realistic 3D to textured 2.5D to CSI style 2D; approximately 50 percent of the program would consist of animation. We will re-create and reveal Rex’s sex life, the paleo-porn of his mating rituals. Sound design will be detailed and telling, echoing vocalizations. Cries that have been lost to prehistory will be summoned to life by a collaboration of science and our sound artists.
Dakota’s biopic will be told by narration and threaded through by expert commentary, carrying our story from scientist to site, and site to animation, asking the questions that elicit new stories about an old terror.

Act One – A Nest of Vipers

Our show fades up on the barren wastelands of South Dakota. We hear the approaching thump of helicopter rotors. Inside the chopper two men speak over intercoms, wondering about how T-rex could have survived in such a desolate and forbidding landscape. One explains that these badlands had been swamp; the other suggests that sixty-five million years ago, South Dakota looked more like the bayous of Louisiana. The helo’s rotors kick up clouds of dust that morph us back in time to the Cretaceous, 65 million years ago.
At first, we hear the deep vocalizations the narrator describes as the mating call of a T-rex and then a moment later, a bellowing warning call. In the distance trees move, the earth trembles, sounds rumble toward us, closer and closer. The male Tyrannosaurus announces himself, causing leaves to tremble, water to ripple, and wildlife to fall suddenly silent. The “camera” zooms through the ancient forest to reveal a female Tyrannosaur preparing the ground, digging and fussing. She’s going to nest. The narrator tells us that this female has been gestating less than three months. She is colored in deep, bold patters that camouflage her mass. A close-up reveals that she bears the scars of mating across her shoulders. Her snout is still healing from “love bites.”
She scratches out a shallow hole in a well protected hollow. Now, she roars and displays at any possible threat. Nearby, a big male stands restless guard. These may be signs –cooperation, team work– that these T-rexes have mated for life…however brief. She’s edgy, but she’s also busy as a bird with her preparations. Branches are torn off and deposited in the nest. The male occasionally contributes to the labor.
On the horizon, the sun is setting. The female quiets and falls into a trance. She steps backwards into her nest, and then the first of two eggs squeeze simultaneously from her uterus. She does not turn to examine her labor, but the camera pulls in for a tight close-up. The shot is similar to a female turtle laying eggs, but the circumstances make the images extraordinary.
Her labors complete, she pulls down more vegetation to cover the eggs. She kicks dirt atop the pile, camouflaging it, and protecting the eggs from the weather. Rocks fly at the “camera.” We learn that the female is creating a virtual incubator; for as the morning sun rises higher in the sky, the vegetation wilts and decays, warming the nest and its precious cargo. Suddenly, the big female turns directly to camera and bellows into the lens, which fogs and fades to black.

Act Two – A Mysterious Brood – The Birth of Dakota

Below us, as we fly low and slow over the badlands of South Dakota, we see a pack of Tyrannosaurs, large and small, moving among the trees. We count five, but there may be more. They are not hunting, but patrolling along the tree line. Cutting to ground level, we are drawn to the sound of snuffling, a grunting, like a pack of large, wild dogs. We recognize this place. This is where the female built her nest. The camera snorkles between the legs of a big male, barely missing the slowly moving tail, and approaches the now decayed heap of dirt and vegetation.
Experts explain the various theories about T-rex nesting behaviors. Although many paleontologists believe that Tyrannosaur nests were very primitive structures with little or no vegetation in the nest, new evidence suggests that T-rex had a much more advanced brain and most likely used the same nest building techniques as we see in modern alligators, crocodiles and ground nesting birds.
Edging forward through puddles and slime, the camera weaves through the detritus of the nest. The eggs are close to hatching. Though, we learn from the narrator that the actual eggs of Tyrannosaurus have never been found, it is possible to speculate. From the surface of the nearer of two eggs, an “X-ray” image reveals the development of the soon-to-be hatchling, full sized, about two-feet long, an alien-like creature coiled and squirming. Suddenly, the shell cracks, then widens and splits. What is this we see — not a limb, not a face, but something foreign, something that closely resembles a stray feather? Fade to black.

Act Three – Climbing the Family Tree

Fade up on the nesting site, as the big rexes from the pack gather for a look-see. Some roar, others display. The male and female mates duck around snapping threateningly. Beneath the leaf clutter, the camera returns to the egg from the previous act. What appears to have been a stray feather as we bumped-out of the last act is now a clump of feathers. Meet, Dakota! The two-foot long monster is almost bird-like, as she shrilly displays and hisses. Her piercing cries stirs the other egg in the nest, which also begins to crack open. We watch the second hatchling struggle to emerge, wet with yoke and pasted over with albumen.
“There’s no guarantee of survival,” remarks one of our experts VO, as the camera reveals that we are not in the Cretaceous, but in a paleontologist’s laboratory, watching the birth scene unfold on a video display. We are not so far from the large screen to witness the sudden act of violence, as Dakota overpowers its sibling and eats it. Two of our commentators sit on either side of the screen, discussing the sequence that just transpired. The issues are survival, populations, and behaviors. One issue they both agree upon is that Tyrannosaur had feathers, and they launch into a discussion of Dilong, the ancient forbearer of the feathered hatchling and survivor, Dakota. The continue VO as we cut to 3D CGI graphics of two Dilong Tyrannosaurs hurtling through the wooded hills of Liaoning province in western China.
Narrator: We are in the Jurassic, 90 million years before Dakota hatches in the bayous of South Dakota. Dilong means Emperor Dragon in Mandarin, and our dragon lives in a landscape dotted with lakes and marshes. On one side of the screen, graphic overlays display the creature’s metrics — size and weight, required food intake, range, etc. The stunning ancestor to T-rex is brightly feathered. Speculation is that the feathers were used for display as well as for warmth.
Our experts continue to discuss the family tree of Dakota and the recent discovery of Avityrannus, a new species of Tyrannosaur that changes our entire outlook on the origin of this mighty species of predator. Rather than evolving in Asia or North America, this discovery might prove that they actually first evolved on the Iberian Peninsula.

Act Four – Natural Born Killers

In the badlands of South Dakota where our helo landed in Act One, we find our top experts at the site of what will soon become a bustling dig. It is a quiet moment, just two men talking in the wind blown waste.  A place like this would have been a natural site for Dakota to hunt and kill. As Dr. Bakker describes the scene, it is a rich mosaic of preserved fossil leaves, stems, nuts, snails, clams, and crocodile teeth, a detailed picture of the local habitat as a quiet ox-bow pond. Of course, there is no evidence of Dakota, but here surely is the spot her ancestors claimed for their own. The camera captures a portrait two scientists talking in the now windblown waste. Here, the old story of T-rex takes a new turn, and our image of Dakota’s life cycle will be redrawn. This is the actual site where scientists found the fossilized remains of another killer, one code-named, Tinker, a six-year-old Rex, a dinosaur-prince scientists had only dreamed of finding. An actual T-rex like Dakota is rare enough. Only 30 of his kind have been found. But stumbling upon this natural born killer turns out to be a stroke of luck. Here is a young Tyrannosaur, a missing link. and, for his prey, a prince of death. The young skeleton that has been found has large jaws and seven-inch teeth, suggesting that it ate an adult diet, even though it isn’t large enough to hunt big prey. Its head is about three feet long – large, but small enough to fit inside the jaws of a fully-grown adult, what we might have expected of Dakota at the same age. Scientists suggest that this young rex’s parents also hunted for its meals, and then fed their off-spring, indicating social behavior. In fact, the remains of a leg torn from a huge duck-billed dinosaur turn up in Tinker’s stomach, adding credence to the idea that his parents had killed the prey, ripped a leg off and fed it to the six-year-old missing link. But could this also mean that the juvenile fed soon before it died? This and other signs point to murder, a prehistoric regicide.
A bulldozer arrives and begins the process of removing the overburden that covers the juvenile dinosaurs remains. We fade out with the roar of the bulldozer.

Act Five – The Vault and the Crypt

Two scientists stand at the site of Tinkers excavation. Work is now in full swing. A large crew of paleo-excavators work diligently in the background. They are searching for the last remains of Tinker, the world’s only juvenile rex. Studying Tinker will explain much about other Tyrannosaurs like Dakota. The scientists discuss a new advanced form of mapping technique that will give them a never before level of unprecedented measurements of accuracy of the burial site of dinosaurs. Such details may lead to new conclusions and unexpected evidence. It’s a technique that holds great promise. But there are problems, too. The scientists brood over legal matters that have forced the original skeleton to be temporarily locked away, kept from science. One obvious result is that the mystery of Dakota’s early life has been put on hold. But that will soon change. A new ruling promises the paleontological community access to this once in a lifetime discovery.
Cut to a scene of out two scientists pulling up in their dusty Land Rover, stopping before a chain-link fence. A sign declares, “Private Property. Keep Out.” Legal matters have been settled. Tinker is about to make his debut. A tight shot shows the driver working the combination lock. The camera pulls back as he unravels a set of chains from the fence. We see the vehicle driving past the gate and disappearing down a dirt road. It comes to a short skidding stop in front of a painted metal warehouse. The barn doors of the storage vault are unmarked and chained shut. It takes both men to swing them open. We enter an endlessly large storage room. Matte-work has been drawn to create the disappearing distances of an immense government repository, a la Indiana Jones. Down one long corridor, boxes of all types are piled up. The scientists stop at a row of six dusty crates set side-by-side and marked consecutively TKR 01, TKR 02, etc. “The Prince of Death,” one says, as the camera pans from code number to code number. “Tinker,” his colleague replies, swiping at the dust with a work glove.
Dissolve from the dust as it rises into the storage room lights to the bright lights of a working lab, where the crates marked TKR 01, TKR 02 are being unpacked and the big bones carefully removed. Experts are dividing and repacking the bones to be shipped to various laboratories for inspection and study. A mystery will be revealed, shedding light on an unknown period — the all-important pre-teen years, the coming of age – perhaps the very moment when Dakota reaches sexual maturity.

Act Six — Who Killed Prince Rex?

In several laboratories throughout North America, experts study the remains of Tinker, delving deeper into its life, and the clues that lead to its death. And while, his demise won’t directly provide information about Dakota, it will fill in crucial gaps in her life cycle.
Each expert brings a unique point of view to the unfolding tale. We learn that the juvenile T-rex code-named Tinker suffered broken bones, which might have spelled death. But while the bones were broken, they had had the time to heal. This can only mean one thing. Tinker had been crippled and hurt, but he had survived. This information is precious. It means that Tinker had been protected, and only a Tyrannosaur could have protected him. Could this indication of parental care signal monogamy in Tyrannosaur? Surely, Dakota’s parents watched over her as well. And could this indicate that Dakota will one day mate for life?
Close to the crime scene, additional evidence is being uncovered: possibly the killer’s teeth. Our experts point to this finding, serrations in the teeth, evidence that Nanotyrannus was a distinctly different creature, not to be confused with a young rex. A long-standing debate has been put to an end at last. Now we know for certain what Dakota must have looked like, and it was not Nanotyrannus.
But the scientists also recognize that Nanotyrannus — smaller, faster and no match for Rex, except when hunting in packs – might have preyed on these vulnerable Tyrannosaurs. We learn that paleobotanists have collected forensic evidence of fossilized insect cocoons near the site. They tell a story, helping scientists calculate the decomposition rate of Tinker’s hide, perhaps explaining how and when he died. Tinkers jaws give us insight into the bite force of a young Tyrannosaur, and the discovery of his legs will answer the question about his speed. This is significant information about Dakota’s life cycle. And in the paleo-lab of Ohio University, Dr. Larry Witmer and his team attempt to 3-dimensionally reconstruct Tinkers skull, perhaps providing us with a snap shot of Dakota at age six.

Act Seven – Rex Sex

Findings from Tinker’s “autopsy” help bring Dakota to life. There is a body of evidence suggesting Rex hunted in hierarchical packs. Dakota would have played a role in the life of the pack by age six. More incredibly, Dakota’s behavior signal Tyrannosaurs may have been monogamous. Even now, she is sought after as a mate. Watching Dakota helps us to determine the sexual behaviors of a love monster like Tyrannosaur. In interviews backed by animation, experts talk about Tyrannosaur’s penis size, and the dangers to a female mounted by a seven-ton male. Perhaps smaller, younger males had an advantage. We witness a male dancing for Dakota. He displays and attempts to attract her. His movements represent a primitive choreography. Sexual roles emerge. But mating can look like war, and the verbal combat among our experts over dino monogamy may require referees.
But how to determined the sexual behaviors of a love monster like Tyrannosaur, after 65 million years of abstinence? In interviews backed by animation, experts talk about the King’s penis size, and the dangers to a female mounted by a seven-ton male. The sexual dance we witness adds a twist to the old bit about love bites. By comparison with the violence in Act One, the ferocity of the mating ritual grows meaningful with each thrust and gesture. What appeared to have been a struggle becomes an intricate but dangerous bop. Sexual roles emerge. The hierarchy of the pack becomes plain. And if mating looks like war, the verbal combat among our experts over dino monogamy and life in a Rex-pack requires referees.
This is the world in which Dakota must reproduce – which may well explain why these great monsters were so rare: it took nearly perfect conditions for a female to lay fertile eggs, and a continuing period of relative stability for the eggs to mature. For even Tyrannosaurus rex lived a precarious life, and old age was never assured

Act Eight – The Cannibal King

Dakota has reached sexual maturity and the overwhelming need to reproduce has forced her to leave the security of her family pack. She carefully maneuvers her way through the landscape, using territorial scent marks like a Cretaceous roadmap. Intruding into the domain of a mated pare of Tyrannosaurus could mean death for this young female.  Through her incredible sense of smell and hearing, she locates the territory of a male Tyrannosaur. He announces his bachelorhood with scent marks and verbal communications. He is looking for a mate. Slowly, cautiously Dakota moves in for a closer look. She roars an announcement and begins to leave scent markings over those of the male; a sure sign of an interest to reproduce.
Brought together by sound and smells, the two rexs meet. The male is considerably older and larger than Dakota, and must display his intentions to mate. He begins an ancient reproductive dance that has been passed down for generations. Dakota responds with a dance of her own. The pair begins to mate.
For Dakota and her mate, territory is non-negotiable. The king is a carnivore. His only real rival is starvation. It is late summer and the bayous of South Dakota are running thin. There is little left to scavenge. Fewer Duck-billed dinosaurs linger around watering holes, where once these three-ton vegetarians would feed a pack of Tyrannosaurs for a week. But now ribs are visible on the thinning flanks of young and old. In a world of necessary violence, there is no compromise. For our scientific experts, an old theory that said rex was a scavenger and not a hunter is thrown into harsh perspective. Hunger drives behavior. Dakota and her mate scavenge what they can and kill when it is possible. Often, rexes cross into each other’s territory; sometimes they fight to the death. At least this desperate episode of intra-species combat provides food. Cannibalism is not uncommon, particularly for the most vulnerable; the weak and the lame became meals, allowing the strong to survive. Under these circumstances, reproduction is out of the question. The eggs are eaten, and if by chance instinct overrides necessity and there are hatchlings, Dakota will devour her young. Or her mate will. What does emerge from these trying times are the uneasy alliances that may be the source of the pack behavior we recognize in the tyrant king.

Act Nine – Murderer’s Row

Monsters pose in the great hall of Natural History Museum. Swooping cameras fly us through a “murderers’ row” of T-rexs. Here, the bones give us a sense on a human scale of Dakota’s great size. The camera rests on one rex in particular, as it morphs to life. Organs and flesh are layered on. It’s an anatomy lesson, not for the squeamish. It could resemble a ”Night at the Museum.” When fully formed, the toothy dinos roar and rear. Perhaps this creature resembles our heroine, Dakota, as she might have stood fully grown.
The eight most important Tyrannosaur specimens ever discovered make up our “Murderers Row”.  From “CM 9380”, the first T-rex ever discovered, to “Wyrex”, a first Tyrannosaur found with skin and feather impressions, to “Scotty”, a brand new discovery of the world’s oldest known, and quite possible the largest, Tyrannosaurus rex specimen. Each has its own identity, a predator’s personality.
•    CM 9380 – The first T-rex ever discovered
•    Black Beauty – The first nearly complete T-rex skull ever found
•    AMNH 5027 – The first nearly complete skeleton ever found
•    Sue – The most complete T-rex on earth
•    Wyrex – The only T-rex found with skin and possible feathers impressions
•    Bob- The only identifiable female tyrannosaurus ever found
•    Scotty – The most northern T-rex and possibly the largest ever found
•    Stan – Its body littered with bite wounds from a battle with another rex
Experts discuss the details of each of these eight dinosaurs, and explain how the discovery of this “murderer’s row” changed the way we look at Tyrannosaurus rex. As a result, our vision of Dakota has been forever changed. We conclude with our last highlighted killer, “Stan”, a Tyrannosaur whose massive wounds suggested that it fought in a life or death struggle with a rival rex. We might muse whether it was a battle for Dakota’s attentions.
The set falls away and we are back in a Cretaceous forest where Stan and another giant male meet and display. We glimpse creatures nearby scuttling for safety. as the two Kings display and pose for combat. Posturing is important among these killers, the narrator tells us, because much like lions, the last thing they want to do is fight to the death. So this is really a game of winning by intimidation. But! If they were equally matched, all bets are off, and it would be every Rex for himself.

Act Ten –Motherhood and Maturity

Dakota’s body is now ripe with two fertilized eggs. Using images from our “anatomy lesson” in Act Nine we “X-Ray-in” on her maternal organs. Instinctively she knows that she must construct a nest, and so like her mother and grandmother before her, she begins to scratch out a shallow nest on the ground. She has chosen the perfect location for a nest and, with her male counterpart standing guard, she lays her eggs. But as with all most new mothers, Dakota lacks the parental skills necessary to insure the survival of her offspring. In a moment of hunger she leaves her nest unguarded and ventures out to find food. She returns to find that her nest has been raided by a pack of Dromaeosaurs, “Raptors”!
Shot at the foot of a huge Tyrannosaurus skeleton, two experts discuss the hardships that young Tyrannosaurs faced. New evidence suggests that the lives of all Tyrannosaurs were filled with danger, but the young were especially vulnerable. The sheer lack of baby Tyrannosaur remains in the fossil record suggests that babies were actually seen as a food source to rival dinosaurs. And a second look at the remains of Tinkers broken and healed bones are revisited to lend support this theory.
Dakotas’ first stab at motherhood has failed miserably. It will be a year before she is ready to breed again. But in that time her maternal instincts will continue to mature along with her body. She will emerge a much more efficient parent who can give her offspring a better chance at survival.

Act Eleven – The End of the Beginning

Winter has proven mild and the rains have replenished the watering holes. The hunting is good. A helicopter shot reveals a great migration underway and lurking in the trees lining the plains we spy packs of rexes lying in ambush. A particular young female watches the scene coldly. The thundering migration hides the sudden explosion of power as Dakota springs from the tree line and rushes toward a terrified Hadrosaur. There’s no getting away. Dakota literally overruns the big duck-billed dinosaur, then quickly turns and envelopes its head in her mouth. Like swarms of fish, others in the herd divert away from the scene of the attack only to swing into the grip of the other charging rexes. It is a feeding frenzy.
As a hungry Dakota devours her meal, her diminutive forelimbs prove to be both strong and dexterous. She uses them to help tear loose meat and bones, then hold leftovers at the ready, as she continues her meal. Nearby, her mate crashes through the forest in pursuit of another Hadrosaur.
We cut to a laboratory in the Denver Museum of Natural History where experts discuss the hunting techniques deployed by Tyrannosaurs. New evidence shows that T-rex was actually faster than anything within its environment, and that the arms, though tiny in comparison to the body, were incredibly strong and functional. The latest fossil evidence shows signs of Tyrannosaur predation and the ability for its powerful jaws to break through the thickest bone.
Cut back to Dakota. In the midst of the carnage, the carnal signals survival. For the first time in nearly a year, the conditions are right, and this time, when Dakota mates, her eggs will be fertile, and it is only a matter of time now, before she will scratch at a hollow in the earth and lay on branches for a new generation.  From within the nest, Dakotas chicks begin to stir. As she lifts the last leaves from the nest, the feathery face of her offspring emerges. The juvenile looks directly into the camera and screeches with a raspy hiss. The camera pans up to Dakota who then roars in response.
Fade to black.

New Information/Discoveries Revealed

•    The first crucial find of a juvenile Tyrannosaurus, a six-year-old prototype for a killing machine. Act 4
•    The ability, for the first time, to determine the actual growth rates of T-rex. Act 6
•    Bite is everything and scientifically significant; the youthful hunter’s big jaws allow us to compare strength to strength, a minor T-rex versus an adult.
•    First ever speed estimates for a juvenile T-rex. Act 6
•    Stomach contents give us a new understanding about the digestive system of a Rex. Act 4
•    Discovery of the earliest member of the Tyrannosaur family: “Dilong” proves that Tyrannosaurs were feathered.  Act 3
•    Discovery of “Dilong” and “Guanlong,” the first early ancestors to Rex, lays out the evolutionary path of Tyrannosaurs. Act 3
•    And then this! The discovery of a new species called, “Avityrannis jurassica” may alter long held theories about the origin of Tyrannosaurs. Rather than evolving in Asia or North America, this discovery might prove that they actually first evolved on the Iberian Peninsula. Act 3
•    New cranial studies will alter our understanding of the Tyrannosaur’s breathing system, suggesting new information about the creature’s range and endurance. Act 7
•    Discovery of a new, large Tyrannosaur found in Canada. It’s significance is more than size. Even in the Cretaceous, far North America had a colder climate, which supports the notion that T-rex’s metabolism was not dependent on the warming sun, but was able to function – to hunt, to survive and to kill — in the cold, indicating warm-bloodedness. Act 9
•    Proof that Nanotyrannus is not a juvenile Rex, but is instead a new and distinct species.  Act 6
•    The discovery of a T-rex found in Montana shows that T-rex actually had two-and-a-half fingers, rather than only two, overthrowing old beliefs and deepening the mystery surrounding this mistakenly familiar theropod. Were those disproportionately small forelimbs merely atrophied, vestigial, or were they used to some purpose, perhaps social behavior?  Act 9
•    New discovery that proves that its small arms were packed in muscle and were quite functional. Act 9
•    New discovery of T-rex skin and possible feathers. Act 9
•    Broken and healed bones prove that a T-rex’s life was incredibly brutal. Act 10
•    New evidence that T-rex battles to the death between rivals. Act 9
•    New evidence that proves that T-rex could run faster than any prey animal within its domain. Act 8
•    CT scanning of the brain suggests that T-rex was sophisticated enough to build incubation nests, like modern alligators and crocodiles. Act 2
•    A new finding about the resting and sitting posture of T-rex. Act 9
•    Demonstration of a new, highly advanced form of GPS mapping. Act 5

Expert List

•    Dr. Phillip Currie – Preeminent expert on predatory dinosaurs. One of only two paleontologists who have seen the bones of Tinker.

•    Dr. Robert Bakker – One of the most recognizable paleontologists on earth. He is credited with proposing the theory that dinosaurs were fast, warm-blooded creatures; more closely related to birds than lizards. Dr. Bakker is the paleontologist who is most familiar with Tinker.

•    Dr. Tom Holtz – A rising star among paleontologists and a leading thinker in the area of predatory dinosaurs. He is one of the growing numbers of scientists who accepts the premise that Nanotyrannus is indeed a juvenile T-rex. His first look at Tinker will give him the opportunity to see, first hand, new evidence for his findings.

•    Dr. Lawrence Witmer – The worlds’ leading expert in the field of CT scanning of dinosaur skulls. Dr. Witmer and his team have imaged numerous dinosaurs, including Tyrannosaurus rex.

•    Peter Larson – President of Black Hill Institute, and the man who has excavated more Tyrannosaurs than anyone else on earth.

•    Dr. Mark A Norell is a paleobiologist who is one of the leading advocates in the debate over whether dinosaurs were feathered.

•    Dr. Steve Nicklas, a prominent Archaeologist and Paleontologist whose pioneering worked has created detailed and precise 3-D mapping models.

•    George Blasing – Animal behaviorist and expert paleontologist.

•    Dr. Ken Carpenter – Denver Museum’s chief paleontologist and expert in Tyrannosaurus rex.

21 April 2009

New Media – Old Medium:

http://mediatedcultures.net/ksudigg/?p=206 and

Level One – Period Two:

Review the template…

What is a treatment … This one is for a music video.

Writing Video Treatments

At the beginning of every video project, there is a need to work with the production company to define a desired treatment. A video treatment, also known as video concept, outlines what the video is about:

•    A video treatment, for instance, could show the artist performing the song in front of a live audience or by itself;

•    alternatively, it could present a story line where certain situations and storytelling takes place.

•    Furthermore, it can also be an experimental exercise where random images are shown to complement the music in a more abstract way.

•    The treatment describes locations, situations, stories, images, look and feel, tone and color, pacing …A well written treatment is one that can successfully communicate complete ideas to artists.

The treatment is written to allow the production company to communicate its ideas to the artists, and it allows artists to make decisions regarding the direction of their video.

20 April 2009

Welcome home —

Have you talked about break with your teachers, periods two and three?

Did the rain make anyone blue?

Did the sun make you shine?

The first days were the best, or did the break get better as it went along?

Think for a moment: Tell me two or more things that you enjoyed most about the break?

Level I, Period Two –

Each day this week, we’ll spend reviewing the previous month’s work. Today is Monday, so it must be January

1 – Class ruleshttps://wordpixel.wordpress.com/2009/01/19/

How have things in changed in the class?

How can I improve these rules?

2 – Are you for sale? https://wordpixel.wordpress.com/2009/01/22/23-january-2009-%E2%80%93-lesson-plan%E2%80%A6-level-i-and-ii/

3 – The Template — relate to discussion about separating content from technique.

Lecture — The written word.

– Mass Communications begins with the written word.

– The importance of clarity.

– The problem of ideas… creativity. The second report period takes us from consumers of media to creators of media… Word and ideas are intermingled.

– This week we’re going to learn how to create and to write a treatment.

Level Two – Periods one and three

9 April

Something to consider — from Walt Mossberg at the WSJ:

Is it possible to download a YouTube or similar file to my computer?

Yes. One program that does this is TubeSock. It works on Mac and Windows, and creates a file you can keep for offline viewing on your computer. It creates the necessary formats for use on your iPhone or iPod, your Sony PSP or Palm Treo. The program works not only with videos on YouTube, but with those on some other sites. It’s available at stinkbot.com/Tubesock/, for $15. But while the makers of TubeSock believe their product is legal, as long as videos aren’t used for commercial distribution, Google (which owns YouTube) may not agree. A quick scan of YouTube’s terms of service reveals that the company sees most of its videos as intended solely for online streaming.

7 April 09

o – Remember the news aggregator (newsreaders like Google Reader)? The Associated Press feels threatened. Read all about it! http://tinyurl.com/ctyb4o

o – Tips for documentary film making — http://www.videomaker.com/vidcast/152/

6 April 2009

1. A brief video on making documentary films –


2. A brief history of documentaries


3. Everyone worries about cell phone coverage. Here are two sites to investigate to see whether your provider can do better, or whether you need a better provider!

deadcellzones.com and also http://www.cellreception.com/