Ernst Walter Mayr was one of the 20th century’s leading evolutionary biologists. He was also a renowned taxonomist, tropical explorer, ornithologist, historian of science, and naturalist. His work contributed to the conceptual revolution that led to the modern evolutionary synthesis of Mendelian genetics, systematics, and Darwinian evolution, and to the development of the biological species concept. Neither Charles Darwin nor anyone else in his time knew the answer to the species problem: how multiple species could evolve from a single common ancestor. Ernst Mayr approached the problem with a new definition for the concept of species. In his book Systematics and the Origin of Species (1942) he wrote that a species is not just a group of morphologically similar individuals, but a group that can breed only among themselves, excluding all others. When populations within a species become isolated by geography, feeding strategy, mate selection, or other means, they may start to differ from other populations through genetic drift and natural selection, and over time may evolve into new species. The most significant and rapid genetic reorganization occurs in extremely small populations that have been isolated (as on islands). His theory of peripatric speciation (a more precise form of allopatric speciation which he advanced), based on his work on birds, is still considered a leading mode of speciation, and was the theoretical underpinning for the theory of punctuated equilibrium, proposed by Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould. Mayr is sometimes credited with inventing modern philosophy of biology, particularly the part related to evolutionary biology, which he distinguished from physics due to its introduction of (natural) history into science.
Transformers is a 2007 American science fiction action film based on the Transformers toy line. The film, which combines computer animation with live-action, is directed by Michael Bay, with Steven Spielberg serving as executive producer. It stars Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky, a teenager involved in a war between the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons, two factions of alien robots who can disguise themselves by transforming into everyday machinery. The Decepticons desire control of the AllSpark, the object that created their robotic race, with the intention of using it to build an army by giving life to the machines of Earth. Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Jon Voight, Anthony Anderson and John Turturro also star, while voice actors Peter Cullen and Hugo Weaving voice Optimus Prime and Megatron respectively. Produced by Don Murphy and Tom DeSanto, they developed the project in 2003 and DeSanto wrote a treatment. Steven Spielberg came on board the following year, hiring Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman to write the screenplay. The United States Armed Forces and General Motors (GM) loaned vehicles and aircraft during filming, which saved money for the production and added realism to the battle scenes. Hasbro organized an enormous promotional campaign for the film, making deals with hundreds of companies. This advertising blitz included a viral marketing campaign, coordinated releases of prequel comic books, toys and books and, as well as product placement deals with GM, Burger King, and eBay.
Back to the Future is a 1985 American science fiction adventure comedy film. It is directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale, produced by Steven Spielberg, and stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover and Thomas F. Wilson. The film tells the story of Marty McFly, a teenager who is accidentally sent back in time from 1985 to 1955. He meets his future-parents in high school and accidentally attracts his future mother’s romantic interest. Marty must repair the damage to history by causing his parents-to-be to fall in love, and with the help of scientist Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown, he must find a way to return to 1985. Zemeckis and Gale wrote the script after Gale mused upon whether he would have befriended his father if they attended school together. Various film studios rejected the script until the financial success of Zemeckis’ Romancing the Stone. Zemeckis approached Spielberg and the project was planned to be financed and released through Universal Pictures. Eric Stoltz was originally cast as Marty McFly when Michael J. Fox was busy filming the TV series Family Ties. However, during filming, Stoltz and the filmmakers decided that he was miscast, so Fox was approached again and he managed to work out a timetable in which he could give enough time and commitment to both.
Nerd Mouse is a cartoon Internet mouse who is the most famous resident of Nerdville.org where he lives with his pet fish, Nerd Fish. He is the Resource Allocation Information Services Analyst Specialist for the County of Nerdonia.net. His friends (both of them) are nerds. He studied computers as a child by reading manuals and quizzing himself nightly. He had the highest grade point average in the history of Nerd Mouse University (a university Nerd Mouse created for himself). He studied nerd culture in school and created a complex grading system for which Nerd Mouse had the only key. He created NerdMouse.com to celebrate nerds and nerd culture (and because he honestly had nothing better to do).
Sydney Irwin Pollack was an American film director, producer and actor. Pollack studied with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, where he later taught acting. He began directing television shows in the 1960s before moving to films. Pollack directed more than 21 films and 10 television shows, acted in over 30 films or shows, and produced over 44 films. Some of his best known works include Jeremiah Johnson (1972), The Way We Were (1973), Three Days of the Condor (1975) and Absence of Malice (1981). His 1985 film Out of Africa won him Academy Awards for directing and producing; he was also nominated for Best Director Oscars for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? and Tootsie, in the latter of which he also appeared. His later films included Havana (1990), The Firm (1993), Sabrina (1995), The Interpreter (2005), and as producer for and actor in Michael Clayton (2007).
Paul Berg is an American biochemist and professor emeritus at Stanford University. He was the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1980, along with Walter Gilbert and Frederick Sanger. The award recognized their contributions to basic research involving nucleic acids. Berg received his undergraduate education at Penn State University, where he majored in biochemistry. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Case Western Reserve University in 1952. Berg worked as a professor at Washington University School of Medicine and Stanford University School of Medicine, in addition to serving as the director of the Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Berg was presented with the National Medal of Science in 1983 and the National Library of Medicine Medal in 1986.
Keno Don Hugo Rosa is an American comic book writer and illustrator known for his stories about Scrooge McDuck, Donald Duck and other characters created by Carl Barks for Disney comics, such as The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Son of the Sun and many others. Don Rosa was exposed to comics at a very young age, as his 11-years-older sister was a comics hoarder, and had thousands of comics for Don to look at and later read. Rosa began drawing comics before being able to write. Until high school, of which he attended Saint Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky his featured characters were a large cast of stick figures featured in comedy-adventures like the Barks comics and old movies Don enjoyed most. He never tried to draw more than stick figures because the drawings, for him, were illustrations to get the story told. Only the story was important to him, not the actual drawings. His favorite comic books growing up were Uncle Scrooge by Western Publishing and Little Lulu comics from Dell Comics (Western Publishing), and his sister’s collection of MAD comics and magazines. When he was 12 years old he also discovered and enjoyed the Superman titles by DC Comics of the editor Mort Weisinger period, drawn mostly by his favorite Superman artists Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger. Shortly after starting to collect Superman comics he started to trade the collection of his older sister for Superman Comics. Since a comic book shop in his area traded 2 old comics for 1 new, he only had 2 Duck comics left from his sister’s collection by the 70s, one of them being The Golden Helmet. When he became a serious collector of older comics, he particularly enjoyed the classic E.C. horror and science fiction comics of the 1950s, Will Eisner’s The Spirit, Walt Kelly’s Pogo, and most comics of the 1940s onward.