Welterweights to battle for Contender payday

first_img (SUB DECK) Popular series gets under way on March 9 Welterweight boxers will be in the spotlight this year when the very popular Wray and Nephew 2016 Contender boxing series kicks off on Wednesday, March 9, at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium on Hope Road in St Andrew. The series, which started in 2011 and alternates between middleweight and welterweight boxers each year, is a made-for-television production that is sanctioned by the Jamaica Boxing Board.  It will be broadcast live each week on Television Jamaica (TVJ) at 9 p.m. and will see 16 boxers drawn from the Caribbean and the United States vying for top honours. The first prize is one million dollars. The team concept will again be used this year, with one team of eight boxers being designated Green and the other eight-man team Yellow. One boxer from each team will go up against a boxer from the opposing team every week in the preliminary rounds. At the quarter final stage, the eight boxers left in the competition will be seeded and a draw will take place to decide on the matchup each week. There will be eight preliminary bouts, four quarter-final fights, the two semi-finals and then the finals. There will also be two amateur bouts each night. There will be an official launch on Thursday this week, at which the promoters will give the details of the format that will be followed this year, the names of the boxers on the two teams and the total prize money that will be paid out to the boxers. The Caribbean team will have boxers from Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana and Barbados and will be a mixture of new talent and tried and proven crowd favourites. Previous winners were in 2011, middleweight boxer Ricardo Smith; 2012, welterweight Donovan “Police” Campbell; 2013 middleweight Devon Moncriffe; 2014 welterweight Sakima Mullings; and 2015 middleweight Kemahl Russell. BOXING: Wray & Nephewlast_img read more

Man fined $ 15,000 for narcotics possession

first_imgVinjindra Kayman was on Thursday fined $15,000 for narcotics possession after he admitted to the Wales magistrate that Police, on Wednesday, found him with 2 grams of cannabis at Bell West, Canal Number Two, West Bank Demerara (WBD).The 43-year-old was also charged with having a pipe that is used to smoke the prohibited substance. He pleaded not guilty to this offence by simply saying that he did have the pipe to smoke marijuana. Kayman’s fine carries an alternative of one month’s jail.last_img

Rangers tipped to sign M’Vila

first_imgYann M’Vila continues to be linked with a move to QPR.Rangers have not made a fresh approach for the French midfielder, having attempted to sign him two years ago before he joined Rubin Kazan from Rennes.However, it was recently reported that Rangers had approached Inter about scrapping their season-long loan deal so they could sign M’Vila with Adel Taarabt moving to Italy in exchange.It was then claimed that M’Vila had rejected a move to Loftus Road.And now more reports in Italy claim QPR are likely to take the player on loan.Meanwhile, the Express have again linked Chelsea with Juventus’ Paul Pogba.It comes after his agent Mino Raiola apparently suggested the former Manchester United midfielder could be on the move.Raiola is quoted as saying: “He cannot stay for very much longer in Italy.“We extended his contract and we are happy that we did so. But when it is the right time to leave, we will inform them. I don’t know when that moment will be.”Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, linked with a move to Chelsea in recent weeks, is also a target for Manchester United, the Express say.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

A Bird, a Mushroom, and a Fly Fossilized Fast

first_imgExceptional preservation of soft tissues required rapid fossilization. Did they really die a hundred million years ago?The BirdDetail of feathers. Photo credits: Ming BaiA baby bird has been found fossilized in Burmese amber. Its foot, feathers and eyelid are all visible in a gallery shown by National Geographic, which funded the study. The discoverers, publishing in the journal Gondwana Research (open access), call attention to “unusual plumage” several times, but more astonishing is the claim that the exquisite detail seen in the feathers has been entombed for 98 million years.Based on various features of the anatomy, they assign it to a group of extinct tooth birds called the Enantiornithines which evolutionists say emerged 145 million years ago and died in the end-Cretaceous extinction along with the dinosaurs. The precocious bird already had a full set of flight feathers, Live Science says. The artist reconstruction of the bird in National Geographic shows it completely bird-like, with beak wings and feather markings. It’s doubtful anyone looking at it would have noticed anything unusual about it. The surprising thing is the preservation. The article calls attention to Xing’s three-time repetition of the word surprise:“[I thought we had] just a pair of feet and some feathers before it underwent CT imaging. It was a big, big, big surprise after that,” says Xing.“The surprise continued when we started examining the distribution of feathers and and realized that there were translucent sheets of skin that connected many of the body regions appearing in the CT scan data,” adds team co-leader Ryan McKellar of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.The MushroomHow do you fossilize a mushroom? The delicate tissues of fungi decay rapidly, as anyone knows trying to keep them fresh. Live Science says that the world’s oldest mushroom, 115 million Darwin Years old, must have floated down a river before becoming entombed in limestone. Laura Geggel tells this story with the aplomb of an eyewitness, but then shares what the scientist thought about it:About 115 million years ago, when car-size pterosaurs flew overhead and long-necked sauropods tromped about on Earth, a tiny mushroom no taller than a chess piece fell into a river and later fossilized — a feat that makes it the oldest-known fossilized mushroom on record, a new study finds….“Most mushrooms grow and are gone within a few days,” study lead researcher Sam Heads, a paleontologist at Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS), said in a statement. “The fact that this mushroom was preserved at all is just astonishing.”The contrast between Geggel’s aplomb and Heads’s astonishment continues in the next section:After the mushroom fell into the river, it floated into a salty lagoon and sank to the bottom, where fine sediments began to cover it. Over time, the mushroom mineralized, and its tissues were replaced with pyrite, a mineral also known as fool’s gold. Later, the pyrite transformed into the mineral goethite, the researchers said.“When you think about it, the chances of this thing being here — the hurdles it had to overcome to get from where it was growing into the lagoon, be mineralized and preserved for 115 million years — have to be minuscule,” said Heads, who found the mushroom while digitizing a collection of fossils from the Crato Formation.This fossil from Brazil is older than the previous record holder, a mushroom caught in the same Burmese amber as the bird reported above. This mushroom had gills like modern mushrooms. Because of its ‘magnificent’ preservation, the researchers call it Gondwanagaricites magnificus (magnificent mushroom from Gondwana).It was a big, big, big surpriseThe DamselflyImagine damselflies being fossilized so quickly their courtship behavior can be inferred. That’s what Phys.org says about some odonates (carnivorous insects including damselflies and dragonflies) found, once again, in Burmese amber. Look at the photo of the amber in the article, then the artist reconstruction. The detail is remarkable, yet evolutionists think this piece of hardened tree sap is 100 million years old.Update 6/09/17: Another fossil must have been buried rapidly: an African dinosaur said to be 66 million years old. Phys.org says this large abelisaur (like a small T. rex with a blunt snout), found in a phosphate mine in Morocco, was found in marine sediments! Most animals dying at sea are quickly destroyed by worms and other burrowing organisms if they land on the bottom, or are preyed upon by fish and birds if they float. Nick Longrich expresses the astonishment: “This find was unusual because it’s a dinosaur from marine rocks—it’s a bit like hunting for fossil whales, and finding a fossil lion.”A lot can happen in a hundred million years. A lot can happen in a thousand years, or a hundred. Huge canyons can be carved in days or weeks. Volcanoes can obliterate a landscape. Tsunamis and large landslides can dramatically change an area: in fact, geologists estimate that Heart Mountain detached and slid 55 miles in just 30 minutes (creation.com). Humans have witnessed major events in just a few centuries or millennia: new islands rising out of the sea, end of an ice age, the burial of Pompeii, the sinking of Santorini. Geologists were astonished at the amount of erosion along the Colorado front range in just one winter’s storms in 2013. it’s a bit like hunting for fossil whales, and finding a fossil lion.Even with their charts of Darwin Years, evolutionists themselves believe there were major geological changes in far more recent times: uplifts of mountains, sinking of valleys below the sea, subduction of continents, meteor impacts, carving of major river valleys, enormous lava flows, and rearrangement of continents. Entire continents could have eroded down to sea level in just a few million years, given rates of erosion known in some parts of the world today. Phys.org says that the eastern Amazon experienced two major flooding events in just a few million years, leaving marine fossils far inland. The whole Grand Canyon could have been carved in just 5 million years, according to some models. And in less than ten million Darwin Years, the evolutionists proclaim that wolves became whales and chimps became humans.Yet they want us to believe that a delicate little chick, a mushroom, and a damselfly just sat waiting in their little fossil tombs for a hundred million years – many times longer than these geological events and major evolutionary transformations. We agree with Heads that the chances of such things being are minuscule. On top of that, the creatures haven’t evolved in all that time: they look essentially the same as they do today! Geggel should learn from Dr. Heads that astonishment, maybe even embarrassment, is more appropriate than aplomb.“The attribution of ancestry does not come from the fossil; it can only come from us. Fossils are mute; their silence gives us unlimited license to tell their stories for them, which usually take the form of ancestry and descent…. Everything we think we know about the causal relations of events in Deep Time has been invented by us, after the fact.” —Henry Gee, Nature 1999, quoted by Tom Bethell, Darwin’s House of Cards (2017), p. 29(Visited 653 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Lawmakers Spar Over CCC Funds

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Chris ClaytonDTN Ag Policy EditorWASHINGTON (DTN) — The House of Representatives easily passed a continuing resolution Thursday afternoon to keep the federal government operating until at least Nov. 21 and also ensuring commodity and trade-aid payments would go to farmers without delay.The House voted 301-123 on the short-term funding measure that now goes to the Senate.While that should have resolved the fight over Commodity Credit Corporation funds used by USDA to pay for the Market Facilitation Program, there was still a fair amount of partisan finger-pointing Thursday morning at a House Agriculture Subcommittee hearing meant to focus on USDA disaster funds.Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, chastised Democrats over the possible tie of CCC funds as “shameful.” Conaway said Democrats tried to use the funds “as leverage simply because you don’t like President (Donald) Trump.” He added that the CCC funds in the future are at risk of being held hostage over politics.“From now on, this process will be a weapon both sides can use,” Conaway said. “Shame on us to allow that to happen.”Conaway also split the distinction between threats to delay funds in the continuing resolution to the Republican-led effort in 2012 to limit then-Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s use of CCC funds after Vilsack gave disaster money to Arkansas in 2010 even though the Senate at the time would not pass a disaster bill. Conaway said Republicans at the time restricted “future promises,” while this time around, farmers have already been promised funds through the Market Facilitation Program.MFP has come in two cycles. The first cycle from last year has paid $8.6 billion to more than 1 million farmers. The new program that started this summer has paid just over $4 billion to more than 302,000 farmers.Conaway said the continuing resolution placed restrictions on USDA because it will require USDA to produce a report by Oct. 31 detailing how the CCC funds have been used and the analysis USDA used in how Market Facilitation Program payments are being divvied up.House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., responded that the limits were put in place by Republicans initially.“You guys put this in place, not us,” Peterson said. He added, “What’s happened ever since is the appropriations waived that provision. This time it became an issue.”Until the dispute over Commodity Credit Corporation funds came up last week, Peterson said, few members outside of the Agriculture Committee had any idea what the fund was or how it works. Peterson also said the initial effort to delay CCC funds came from the Senate, not the House, though Peterson declined to say where that information was from.“There weren’t a handful of members who knew what the CCC was before all of this started,” he said. “The president using this for farmers has elevated this thing.”The CCC fund allows USDA to spend up to $30 billion for commodity programs at the discretion of the agriculture secretary.Shortly later, Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Texas, chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities, tweeted a comment that appeared to be directed at Conaway, who led efforts to restrict food stamps for single people when Conaway chaired the committee.“Our caucus doesn’t need to be lectured by a racist Christian pretender who led the effort to starve America’s poor. Every Democratic member of this committee championed the efforts to protect MFP in this week’s CR negotiations,” Vela tweeted.All the while, Bill Northey, USDA undersecretary for farm production and conservation, waited to testify.Among Northey’s first comments was that sign-up for the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program will be extended from Sept. 20 to Sept. 27 to give dairy farmers more time to enroll for 2019. Currently, USDA figures show slightly under 77% of eligible producers have signed up for the program, and USDA is trying to get as many of those other 23% to enroll as possible. So far, 20,647 dairy farmers have received $276.8 million in DMC payments.Some producers who had signed up for the old dairy program have not signed up for the new program yet, and USDA is trying to extend outreach to those farmers.“We have done all that we can and will continue to do so over the next week,” Northey said.Peterson and other lawmakers also had questions about USDA staffing at local Farm Service Agency offices. In 2004, USDA had 11,500 people at local FSA offices, but those numbers have fallen to about 8,400 now. Yet those local FSA offices are being asked to do more because of enrollment in disaster programs and the MFP payments.Northey said USDA is trying to hire more people as enrollment has begun in the commodity programs — ARC and PLC — and signup will also begin soon for the Conservation Reserve Program.“So we are working to staff up,” Northey said. “We certainly have burdened those folks with additional activities.Peterson said he’s aware of major agricultural counties in his district where the local offices are now only open two or three days a week and are using staff from other offices.“My concern is we don’t have the staffing out there that we need,” Peterson said.Northey agreed. “There certainly is no magic bullet in trying to serve all of the needs out there,” he said.Peterson also questioned the USDA hiring process for local FSA offices, saying he understands now that applications have to run through USDA headquarters in Washington where someone approves of the hires.“I don’t understand why we’re letting someone in Washington decide who should be hired in a local county,” Peterson said.Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.comFollow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN(AG)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Smart data exchange will bring value to smart city innovation

first_imgRelated Posts When it comes to smart city innovation, it’s arguable that most use cases are not that exciting to the average resident. A connected garbage bin, traffic light or parking meter is not going to cause applause and adoration for city officials at least in the first instance. But as more and more local systems start to communicate, it will start to make more sense and increase consumer satisfaction, at least until residents forget a life before they existed.I spoke to Peeter Kivestu, director of travel industry solutions and marketing from analytics solutions and consulting services company, Teradata.  Kivestu believes that much of the focus has been on connecting the ‘things’ rather than the data within. The value of data grows with use according to Kivestu: “If you have data and you use it, it increases in value, particularly if you curate it, integrate it or get to use it in a purposeful way.”He believes that there’s an opportunity for cities to embrace a platform business model where the city enables a level of connectivity around its data. Inherent to this is what he calls a smart data exchange, a new kind of asset that enables cities to evolve into a new way of delivering value for its citizens so this when it gets back to the social economic benefits.Smart data from cities is, for the most part, siloed and fragmentedAccording to Kivestu:“A city is working when all of its systems work together and when all of its people benefit in some way. But when systems are disconnected or parts of the population are disconnected and not able to access value, then the city is dysfunctional. A city is a system of systems. Yes the systems themselves are physically connected. So you’ve got highways, energy systems and buildings and city services they’re all there happily coexisting in the real universe, but digitally they’re not connected at all.”Kivestu offers the example of wanting to attend a football game at a local stadium, mindful that traffic around the stadium will be at capacity:“I’m just going to drive my car to a local parking lot and park there and take transit. So that’s a reasonable thing to do and I can do that in the physical world. Digitally I can find out when the transit is leaving, the departure times and so forth. But I really don’t have any idea about the situation in the parking lot so I drive my car to the parking lot. I find out the parking lot is full and therefore I miss the transit and I miss the football game.”This kind of technology in progress and shared data would increase opportunities for innovation in this space. For example, smart app, Just Park, that sells parking spaces that guide you not only to the stadium but your seat. Smart stadiums can also benefit staff and officials through accurate real-time data such as the number of people present and their locations, tools that are useful in case of an emergency or a missing child. Smart surveillance can also be utilized to provide safety evacuation information such as instructions and directions in the case of an emergency analytics can be coordinated with weather and traffic information outside of the stadium. This means fans can leave happy, with the knowledge of their fastest route home.Connecting Commercial and Public InfrastructureHowever, for this to happen outside of the commercial arena, like smart stadiums, the data needs to be connected across the city and commercial infrastructure. As Kivestu explains:“There are lots of cases where we have data but it resides in silos as it was built for different purposes. For example, there are safety implications to create variable speed limits on highways. If there’s been a blockage on the highway up ahead of you then the variable speed limit sign shows a lower speed to warn drivers that ahead of traffic congestion.However, the two systems of data that collect the blockage on the highway and determine the speed shown on the highway live in two different environments. So if somebody comes along and asks a question ‘Do variable speed limits work?’ The next thing they find it will not be easy to answer not knowing that they operate in two different systems. Then, in the process of bringing the data together, you find that the data is measured in different units or the speed limits are on roadway mile markers and the highway speed data is referenced in some other way making them difficult to compare from a data perspective.” Good data is open data with cities setting their own needs based local agendaIntegral to the notion of a shared data repository is accessible open data, a concept embraced in many cities including LA, Barcelona and New York. Many cities are opening their data to both businesses, universities, and citizens to enable them to gain in-depth insight into the lived reality of the city.  Every guy who wants to build an app like that if they have to go build their own data systems it is going to take longer.”Ultimately, Kivestu believes that each city needs to determine what data is most fundamental to the life of their city.“It may be sustainability, greenhouse gases, the best way to distribute electric vehicle charging stations or what should be built and where. The growth of electric vehicles means that it makes sense for car and electricity grid data to be connected.You want to give developers the information so that they have so that they are encouraged to do the right thing. Smart cities need to make life better in the city especially with an aging population base. These problems are not going to go away.” Cate Lawrence Tags:#connect stadium#data exchange#open data#smart city#smart transport#Teradata How Data Analytics Can Save Livescenter_img AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Follow the Pucklast_img read more

From Lip Reading to Google Glass and Beyond: The Evolution of Wearable IoT Devices

first_imgRelated Posts Ryan Ayers Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Tags:#Future#IoT#Trending Ryan Ayers is a researcher and consultant within multiple industries including information technology, blockchain and business development. Always up for a challenge, Ayers enjoys working with startups as well as Fortune 500 companies. When not at work, Ayers loves reading science fiction novels and watching the LA Clippers. Up until a few years ago, interconnected devices were more dream than reality, and it’s easy to feel like the fitness tracker fad was the beginning of wearables. In reality, of course, the groundwork was laid decades before— years even before the Internet was launched.With all the amazing potential for wearable IoT devices, it’s important to realize how far we’ve come—and how many devices didn’t end up changing the world, but did make important contributions to the future of IoT. Even dreams of the future in culture and art laid the framework for one of the world’s most exciting industries. Let’s take a look at how we got to today’s incredible wearables—wearables that will one day be replaced by even more sophisticated technology.The First Wearable ComputerSurprisingly, the first wearable computer on record was created in 1955—and was designed to predict roulette wheels. The developer, Edward O. Thorp, used the device secretly in the early 60s. It was not known to exist until 1966, though it was developed years earlier.Early Wearable IoT: Head-Mounted DisplaysBack when televisions were still a marvel of engineering, head-mounted displays were already piquing the interest of enterprising minds.In 1960 Morton Heilig received a patent for head-mounted display technology, but it was not until 1968 that the first head-mounted virtual reality system was built. The Sword of Damocles was a rudimentary headset developed by computer scientist Ivan Sutherland, and had to be suspended from the ceiling as it was too heavy to wear. Though the graphics were very simple, the fact that this early VR device was created nearly 50 years ago is incredible. The year before, in 1967, Hubert Upton used the head-mounted display concept for a more practical purpose: aiding in lip reading. His device was mounted using glasses, and was one of the first wearable computers.Sega’s VR Glasses and Google Glass Consumer VR devices had several flops before they started to become successful in recent years. In 1993, Sega’s prototype VR glasses never made it to market and cost the company a huge amount of money. Google’s much-anticipated Google Glass headset (a complete wearable computer with displays designed as a pair of glasses) came on the public market in 2014, but soon lost momentum, since it struggled with technical difficulties. Recently, however, it has successfully reemerged with an Enterprise Edition as a tool for workers in industries like manufacturing.Fitness Trackers & Beyond Fitness trackers like FitBit didn’t really introduce new technology of their own—but they fused several technologies together into one wearable device. GPS, pedometer functions, heartrate monitor, and other sensors heralded the future of wearables—multi-function trackers.Wearables used to track health and fitness are common among people who are watching their weight and trying to live healthier lives, but they’re also beginning to emerge in healthcare settings. By helping patients monitor their health more closely and making healthcare professionals more efficient, wearable technology could reduce healthcare costs by $200 billion in the next 25 years.Present and Future Applications for Wearable IoT Obviously, we’re only beginning to scratch the surface when it comes to practical applications for wearable IoT. There’s a lot more that can be done with sensors and IoT technology than tracking our steps and sleep.One area that could see incredible benefit from wearables is emergency management. Hurricanes in the 1960s and 1970s caused trillions of dollars in damage, and spurred the growth of the emergency management field. With hurricanes causing extensive damage each year, disaster relief is more important than ever. Now, IoT wearables could help get relief to victims and help them find their loved ones or their way to safety when phone lines and other methods of communication are shut down.Wearables are also becoming popular for personal safety—people who are out late on their own can call for help at the press of a button. Some of these devices even record audio that can help loved ones gain context about the danger.History Illustrates IoT’s Potential The great minds of the 20th century set the stage for a boom in VR devices and other wearable technology that’s helping us live better lives. With all the progress that’s been made in the last 50 years, it’s exciting to think about how far we still have to go—and about all the devices we’ll one day be able to wear. Follow the Puck Top 5 Areas Where Companies Want IoT Solutions Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You…last_img read more

Why ‘The Force Awakens’ Feels Like ‘A New Hope’

first_imgAs Disney prepares to release quite possibly the biggest film of all time, let’s take a look at why and how The Force Awakens feels like A New Hope.Top image via Nerdist.comWhen word came down that George Lucas had sold Lucasfilm to Walt Disney in an amazing $4 Billion deal, nerds around the world rejoiced, as many believed Disney would give Star Wars the Marvel treatment. This belief was fully realized within moments of the official word from Disney CEO Bob Iger. From that point on, fans of the saga hoped that the franchise would get back to its roots and away from the digital spectacle that was the prequel trilogy.Many believed and hoped that legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg would helm the relaunch of the franchise, but that was quickly shot down by Spielberg himself. However, Spielberg did have someone in mind to take the director’s chair, though Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy didn’t think this director would want to revitalize another franchise. It took some coaxing from Spielberg and Kennedy, but J.J. Abrams jumped on board, and along with him came the classic characters from the original trilogy.J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy and Lawrence Kasdan with the cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens via Star WarsAbrams knew that authenticity was paramount, and to ensure that The Force Awakens would satisfy fans around the world, he worked tirelessly to craft the new film with the original film in mind. Let’s take a look at exactly how Abrams crafted The Force Awakens using A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi as his benchmarks.Pre-Production BeginsDirector JJ Abrams and Writer Lawrence Kasdan on set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens via Star Wars Crafting the StoryOne of the factors that pushed Abrams to finally join as director of the newest Star Wars film was Kathleen Kennedy’s ability to hire legendary screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who penned The Empire Strikes Back as well as Raiders of the Lost Ark.For the next full year, Abrams and Kasdan worked diligently to craft a story rooted in the original trilogy that could also lay the groundwork for future films. This process was incredibly difficult, but as Abrams recently said to AOL Build, their first goal was to create the main characters, create their motivation, figure out why the audience would care, and then develop the conflict.However, in order to appeal to a broad audience, the writing duo knew they needed to emulate one major success of the original trilogy — the youthful main characters.Casting Youthful HeroesWhen Star Wars: A New Hope debuted in 1977, the cast of main characters was populated by young and largely unknown actors. Another aspect of these characters is that each one was flawed and not perfect, thus emulating the real struggles of the youth watching the film. Luke Skywalker was a young teenager who dreamed of big things, but felt stuck in a small town seemingly going nowhere. This resonated deeply with many viewers.It was brilliant not having to cast someone from the same old list of names. You don’t want somebody who was ‘that guy from some other franchise.’ You want them to entirely belong to this world. – Casting Director Nina Gold via IndependentDaisy Ridley and John Boyega in Star Wars: The Force Awakens via Star WarsWith this in mind, Abrams and casting director Nina Gold began looking for largely unknown actors to play the main characters. The result is a mixture of actors that, in the end, mirror the cast of the original trilogy — a strong female lead accompanied by two male leads, one of which is confident while the other is unsure of himself. But the thing that worked the best for the cast of the original trilogy is that they were largely unknown, which allowed the characters to belong almost entirely to the Star Wars Universe. For Abrams, it’s about sparking the imagination of today’s youth today, showing them they’re capable of anything, as he said to Good Morning America recently.I’m looking forward to kids seeing this movie and to seeing themselves in it, and seeing that they’re capable of doing what they could never imagine was possible. – JJ AbramsDesigning a New World Based on the Old OneIn keeping with the creative decision to use the original trilogy as the foundation and model for the new film, Abrams and his pre-vis team began developing the design and concept of the film. To help them achieve this, Abrams and his team employed many of the unused concept designs from original Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie.Concept art from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed via Industrial Light & Magic.As is evident in these pieces of concept art (and from what we’ve seen in the trailers for the film), the film nails the gritty aesthetic of the original trilogy. Everything feels old, worn, and past its warranty date.Concept art from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed via Industrial Light & MagicFraming a Galaxy Far, Far AwayNext up, let’s take a look at the gear Abrams used to capture The Force Awakens. As was the case with the pre-production process, the director and his crew looked back to the original trilogy for inspiration here as well.If you’re a fan of J.J. Abrams, then you’ll know he’s a huge advocate for film. While the vast majority of the film was shot using 35mm film stock, there were a few sections filmed in IMAX, as well as some composite shots done using both a RED EPIC and ARRI ALEXA.But again, the majority of the film as shot using the classic Panavision 35mm camera, which is the same brand of camera and film stock that was used on the original trilogy.Director JJ Abrams and actress Daisy Ridley on set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens via ColliderFinding the Right LocationsRemember the saying “location, location, location?” Well, it applies greatly to film production. Luckily for Abrams, he had one of the very best location managers in the biz in Martin Joy, who oversaw the locations for Batman Begins, Skyfall, and War Horse.Joy and his team scoured the earth looking for the right locations for specific scenes, eventually visiting Abu Dhabi, Berkshire, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Skellig Michael, and more.John Boyega on location in Abu Dhabi for The Force Awakens via Star WarsEven more interesting than the actual physical locations for the film are the narrative locations. As Empire Magazine released back in late November, the planets we’ll see in the film are Jakku, Takodana, D’Qar and Hosnian Prime. We see three of these planets in the trailers for the film as one is a desert planet, one is lush with thick forests, while another is a frozen tundra.Skellig Michael located off the coast of Ireland via Star Wars NetWhat makes these locations so interesting is that they again mirror the original trilogy. In A New Hope we found ourselves on the desert planet of Tatooine, then in The Empire Strikes Back we started things off on the ice planet of Hoth. Finally, in Return of the Jedi, we visited the Ewoks on the forest moon of Endor. This is just another glaring example of Abrams using the original trilogy as a foundation.Building a Tactile WorldWith the right camera equipment in hand and the perfect locations scouted, all that was left to do for the crew of The Force Awakens was to bring those environments to life — but in a tactile way. As with every part of the process, Abrams once again tapped into the success of the original trilogy and, with a large team of skilled craftsmen, began actually building the worlds of the film.For Abrams, this was one of the most important pieces of the process and what made the originals so special… the fact that the worlds felt real and that they actually existed.BB-8 and J.J. Abrams via Star WarsWhile practical effects and sets aren’t used as much anymore due to the advancements in computer graphic technology, there’s just no way a CGI model can beat a well-crafted practical set. In fact, production designer Darren Gilford, who worked on Oblivion and Tron: Legacy, told IndieWire that Abrams directed them to craft the sets based off of the original designs.J.J.’s mandate from day one was authenticity and being as true to the original trilogy as possible. And he felt the prequels were flawed by the fact that they had every [CG] tool known to mankind and used everything at their disposal. I use the metaphor of disco when the synthesizer came about and everyone was using it in any way possible. And I think J.J. wanted to reconnect with how the original films were made. – Darren Gilford via IndieWireVideo via Star WarsThis firm foundation that is rooted in the massive success of the original trilogy should be one of the major reason why The Force Awakens will resonate well with fans, but also spark a revolution in the world of post-production.As it stands now, there have been countless arguments made on the over reliance of CGI and less of a reliance on practical effects and sets. However, when practical effects and sets are used more abundantly, with CGI acting as a visual support, things seem to go extremely well and audiences sense the magic they once did. For production designer Darren Gilford, recapturing that child-like magic is key.…it was about reconnecting with my childhood and playing with those toys and helping steer that for the next generation [so] some kid has the same experience that I had. – Darren Gilford via IndieWireAdding the Finishing TouchesWhile the post-production process was the most vastly different portion of the film from the originals, it still retained the spirit of the originals. Abrams put a limit on the number of VFX shots in the film at 28 out of 357 total scenes. This number is strikingly low compared to other big-budget films of today.Editors Maryann Brandon (Left) and Mary Jo Markey (Right) at Bad Robot via Geek & SundryBeyond the VFX of the film, the process to edit this epic took some time… and for Bad Robot editors Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey, time was not something they had a lot of. Because of this, the editors and the entire sound and design team at Bad Robot relied heavily on Avid and its host of software, from Media Composer to Pro Tools, all running on the Avid ISIS Storage System, which allowed network-based integrated collaboration between the different post-production departments.Classic Millennium Falcon action via Star WarsIn the end, the team at Bad Robot was able to finish the fine cut of the film with plenty of time to spare — and then used that extra time to perfect upon what they believed was perfect.The Same Old Galaxy Far, Far, Away That You Know and LoveFor Abrams and company, using the original trilogy of films as a base to begin development was crucial, as this set a tone for the rest of the production process. Hopefully, starting today, we’ll be able to see those efforts pay off in a big way as we return to a universe that we know well.Dogfighting starfighters via Star WarsWith any luck, the next line of filmmakers who are taking on Star Wars films (like Gareth Edwards, Rian Johnson, and Colin Trevorrow) will see what Abrams has done and utilize the original trilogy as the foundation on which to build the franchise’s future.Are you bored with all the Star Wares hype? Or are you like us and can’t get enough? Share your position in the comments below!last_img read more