UPP WINER - Underwater Photographer Of The Year

UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHER OF
THE YEAR (2015):
'50 Tons Of Me'
Nuno Sá / United Photo Press
Three esteemed judges, Alex Mustard, Martin Edge and Peter Rowlands had the pleasure of going through 2500 entries from 40 countries to select the award winners. 

“It was highly enjoyable, but something we took very seriously. Every judge saw every picture multiple times, I think we probably know some of the images better than the photographers who took them,” said Alex Mustard, chair of the judging panel and the driving force behind UPY. 

“The quantity and particularly the quality of the images entered left us all astounded. 

It was a privilege to be part of something so special. Heart-warming to see the competitions so enthusiastically embraced by the community, heartbreaking at times when we just couldn’t squeeze some truly amazing images into the winners circle.”


International Macro
WINNER: '50 Tons Of Me' - Nuno Sá

The Natural reserve of Ria Formosa is home to the world’s largest population of the two species of seahorses found in the Mediterranean and Atlantic seas. However the local university together with Project Seahorse has registered a 85% decline in seahorse populations between 2001 and 2009.

I spent 10 days diving in this natural reserve for National Geographic Portugal, following a pioneering project between the University of Algarve with Project Seahorse that has been breeding seahorses in captivity. The goal is reducing the demand of wild seahorses and also re-populate areas where seahorses populations have been reduced or extinct by fishing. Over 50 tons of seahorses are captures every year for ornamental purposes and use in traditional oriental medicine.

To light this photo, I had the unusual accessories of two scientists, who were holding my strobes, 1 strobe behind and 1 over the seahorse

Judge’s Comment, Martin Edge: In the opinion of the judges, the best in show! The composition is simple but so effective. What attracts me to this particular image is the understated quality of light and shade made possible by the subtle use of flash. It's though it is lit from within. It's a fine example of what I refer to as delicate post processing.

BRITISH UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR (2015): 'Gannets Feast' - Matt Doggett

Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 83


Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83.

His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Mr. Nimoy announced last year that he had the disease, attributing it to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week.

His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”).

Leonard Nimoy Was Not (Only) Spock


Photography

Mr. Nimoy had a longtime interest in photography that he channeled later in life into several books and exhibitions at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and elsewhere. His specialty was portraiture, often involving the kind of subjects that don’t frequently adorn gallery walls. (The headline of a 2007 New York Times article about his work: Girth and Nudity, a Pictorial Mission.)

A 2010 show at Mass MoCA featured photos of people acting out their “secret selves,” something Mr. Nimoy suggested he knew something about in an interview with The Times.

“So many people have said that the project has made them wonder about whether they have a secret self, and inevitably some of them ask about my secret self,” Mr. Nimoy said. “Are you kidding? I’ve had 60 years of acting out my other selves. Been there, done that.”


As part of the Yiddish Book Center Wexler Oral History Project, Leonard Nimoy explains the origin of the Vulcan hand signal used by Spock, his character in the “Star Trek” series. Video by Yiddish Book Center on Publish DateFebruary 27, 2015. Photo by Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project.

Mr. Nimoy, who was teaching Method acting at his own studio when he was cast in the original “Star Trek” television series in the mid-1960s, relished playing outsiders, and he developed what he later admitted was a mystical identification with Spock, the lone alien on the starship’s bridge.

Yet he also acknowledged ambivalence about being tethered to the character, expressing it most plainly in the titles of two autobiographies: “I Am Not Spock,” published in 1977, and “I Am Spock,” published in 1995.

In the first, he wrote, “In Spock, I finally found the best of both worlds: to be widely accepted in public approval and yet be able to continue to play the insulated alien through the Vulcan character.”

“Star Trek,” which had its premiere on NBC on Sept. 8, 1966, made Mr. Nimoy a star. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the franchise, called him “the conscience of ‘Star Trek’ ” — an often earnest, sometimes campy show that employed the distant future (as well as some special effects that appear primitive by today’s standards) to take on social issues of the 1960s.

His stardom would endure. Though the series was canceled after three seasons because of low ratings, a cultlike following — the conference-holding, costume-wearing Trekkies, or Trekkers (the designation Mr. Nimoy preferred) — coalesced soon after “Star Trek” went into syndication.

The fans’ devotion only deepened when “Star Trek” was spun off into an animated show, various new series and an uneven parade of movies starring much of the original television cast, including — besides Mr. Nimoy — William Shatner (as Captain Kirk), DeForest Kelley (Dr. McCoy), George Takei (the helmsman, Sulu), James Doohan (the chief engineer, Scott), Nichelle Nichols (the chief communications officer, Uhura) and Walter Koenig (the navigator, Chekov).

When the director J. J. Abrams revived the “Star Trek” film franchise in 2009, with an all-new cast including Zachary Quinto as Spock, he included a cameo part for Mr. Nimoy, as an older version of the same character. Mr. Nimoy also appeared in the 2013 follow-up, “Star Trek Into Darkness.”


His zeal to entertain and enlighten reached beyond “Star Trek” and crossed genres. He had a starring role in the dramatic television series “Mission: Impossible” and frequently performed onstage, notably as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.” His poetry was voluminous, and he published books of his photography.

He also directed movies, including two from the “Star Trek” franchise, and television shows. And he made records, singing pop songs as well as original songs about “Star Trek,” and gave spoken-word performances — to the delight of his fans and the bewilderment of critics.

But all that was subsidiary to Mr. Spock, the most complex member of the Enterprise crew, who was both one of the gang and a creature apart, engaged at times in a lonely struggle with his warring racial halves.

In one of his most memorable “Star Trek” performances, Mr. Nimoy tried to follow in the tradition of two actors he admired, Charles Laughton and Boris Karloff, who each played a monstrous character — Quasimodo and the Frankenstein monster — who is transformed by love.

In Episode 24, which was first shown on March 2, 1967, Mr. Spock is indeed transformed. Under the influence of aphrodisiacal spores he discovers on the planet Omicron Ceti III, he lets free his human side and announces his love for Leila Kalomi (Jill Ireland), a woman he had once known on Earth. In this episode, Mr. Nimoy brought to Spock’s metamorphosis not only warmth, compassion and playfulness, but also a rarefied concept of alienation.

“I am what I am, Leila,” Mr. Spock declares after the spores’ effect has worn off and his emotions are again in check. “And if there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else’s.”

Born in Boston on March 26, 1931, Leonard Simon Nimoy was the second son of Max and Dora Nimoy, Ukrainian immigrants and Orthodox Jews. His father worked as a barber.

From the age of 8, Leonard acted in local productions, winning parts at a community college, where he performed through his high school years. In 1949, after taking a summer course at Boston College, he traveled to Hollywood, though it wasn’t until 1951 that he landed small parts in two movies, “Queen for a Day” and “Rhubarb.

Credit Jerry Mosey/Associated Press

He continued to be cast in little-known movies, although he did presciently play an alien invader in a cult serial called “Zombies of the Stratosphere,” and in 1961 he had a minor role on an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” His first starring movie role came in 1952 with “Kid Monk Baroni,” in which he played a disfigured Italian street-gang leader who becomes a boxer.

Mr. Nimoy served in the Army for two years, rising to sergeant and spending 18 months at Fort McPherson in Georgia, where he presided over shows for the Army’s Special Services branch. He also directed and starred as Stanley in the Atlanta Theater Guild’s production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” before receiving his final discharge in November 1955.

He then returned to California, where he worked as a soda jerk, movie usher and cabdriver while studying acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. He achieved wide visibility in the late 1950s and early 1960s on television shows like “Wagon Train,” “Rawhide” and “Perry Mason.” Then came “Star Trek.”

Mr. Nimoy returned to college in his 40s and earned a master’s degree in Spanish from Antioch University Austin, an affiliate of Antioch College in Ohio, in 1978. Antioch University later awarded Mr. Nimoy an honorary doctorate.

Mr. Nimoy directed the movies “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” (1984) and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986), which he helped write. In 1991, the same year that he resurrected Mr. Spock on two episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Mr. Nimoy was also the executive producer and a writer of the movie “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

He then directed the hugely successful comedy “Three Men and a Baby” (1987), a far cry from his science-fiction work, and appeared in made-for-television movies. He received an Emmy nomination for the 1982 movie “A Woman Called Golda,” in which he portrayed the husband of Golda Meir, the prime minister of Israel, who was played by Ingrid Bergman. It was the fourth Emmy nomination of his career — the other three were for his “Star Trek” work — although he never won.

Mr. Nimoy’s marriage to the actress Sandi Zober ended in divorce. Besides his wife, he is survived by his children, Adam and Julie Nimoy; a stepson, Aaron Bay Schuck; six grandchildren and one great-grandchild; and an older brother, Melvin.

Though his speaking voice was among his chief assets as an actor, the critical consensus was that his music was mortifying. Mr. Nimoy, however, was undaunted, and his fans seemed to enjoy the camp of his covers of songs like “If I Had a Hammer.” (His first album was called “Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space.”)

From 1977 to 1982, Mr. Nimoy hosted the syndicated series “In Search Of ...,” which explored mysteries like the Loch Ness monster and U.F.O.s. He also narrated “Ancient Mysteries” on the History Channel and appeared in commercials, including two with Mr. Shatner for Priceline.com. He provided the voice for animated characters in “Transformers: The Movie,” in 1986, and “The Pagemaster,” in 1994.

In 2001 he voiced the king of Atlantis in the Disney animated movie “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” and in 2005 he furnished voice-overs for the computer game Civilization IV. More recently, he had a recurring role on the science-fiction series “Fringe” and was heard, as the voice of Spock, in an episode of the hit sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.”

Mr. Nimoy was an active supporter of the arts as well. The Thalia, a venerable movie theater on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, now a multi-use hall that is part of Symphony Space, was renamed the Leonard Nimoy Thalia in 2002.

He also found his voice as a writer. Besides his autobiographies, he published “A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life” in 2002. Typical of Mr. Nimoy’s simple free verse are these lines: “In my heart/Is the seed of the tree/Which will be me.”

In later years, he rediscovered his Jewish heritage, and in 1991 he produced and starred in “Never Forget,” a television movie based on the story of a Holocaust survivor who sued a neo-Nazi organization of Holocaust deniers.

In 2002, having illustrated his books of poetry with his photographs, Mr. Nimoy published “Shekhina,” a book devoted to photography with a Jewish theme, that of the feminine aspect of God. His black-and-white photographs of nude and seminude women struck some Orthodox Jewish leaders as heretical, but Mr. Nimoy asserted that his work was consistent with the teachings of the kabbalah.

His religious upbringing also influenced the characterization of Spock. The character’s split-fingered salute, he often explained, had been his idea: He based it on the kohanic blessing, a manual approximation of the Hebrew letter shin, which is the first letter in Shaddai, one of the Hebrew names for God.

“To this day, I sense Vulcan speech patterns, Vulcan social attitudes and even Vulcan patterns of logic and emotional suppression in my behavior,” Mr. Nimoy wrote years after the original series ended.

But that wasn’t such a bad thing, he discovered. “Given the choice,” he wrote, “if I had to be someone else, I would be Spock.”
Correction: February 27, 2015

An earlier version of this obituary, using information from Antioch College, misstated the name of an institution that awarded Mr. Nimoy an honorary doctorate. It was Antioch University, not Antioch College.

Cell breakthrough to bring two-dad babies

Azim Surani who is leading the cell project, was also involved in the research that led to the birth of Louise Brown (Welcome Trust)
Scientistshave shown for the first time that it is possible to make human egg and sperm cells using skin from two adults of the same sex.

The breakthrough raises the prospect of the first fully “manufactured” baby made in a laboratory dish from the skin cells of two adults of the same gender.

The researchers admitted that the development raised serious ethical issues, but said it would help people who had become infertile through disease and had also prompted interest from gay people.

The breakthrough, funded by the Wellcome Trust, was achieved at Cambridge University in a project with Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science.

The scientists used stem cell lines from embryos as well as from the skin of five different adults. Researchers have previously created live baby mice using engineered eggs and sperm, but until now have struggled to create a human version of these “primordial germ” or stem cells.

The stem cells can be turned into any tissue in the body. As well as producing sperm and eggs, they will ultimately provide a “repair kit” for any organ.

Louise Brown

Ten different donor sources have been used so far and new germ-cell lines have been created from all of them. The team has compared the engineered germ cells with natural human stem cells taken from aborted human foetuses to check that the artificially created versions of the cells had identical characteristics.

Details of the technique, published in the journal Cell, show that a gene called SOX17, previously considered to be unimportant in mice, has turned out to be critical in the process of “reprogramming” human cells.

“We have succeeded in the first and most important step of this process, which is to show we can make these very early human stem cells in a dish,” said Azim Surani, professor of physiology and reproduction at Cambridge, who heads the project.

“We have also discovered that one of the things that happens in these germ cells is that epigenetic mutations, the cell mistakes that occur with age, are wiped out,” said Surani, who was involved in research that led to the birth of Louise Brown, the world’s first test-tube baby, in 1978.

“That means the cell is regenerated and reset, so while the rest of the cells in the body have aged and contain genetic mistakes, these ones don’t. We can’t say no mutations are passed on, but mostly it doesn’t happen.”


Scientists have proved stem cells from the skin of two adults of the same sex can be used to make human egg and sperm cells. IVF could then be used to create an embryo

Jacob Hanna, the specialist leading the project’s Israeli arm, said it may be possible to use the technique to create a baby in just two years. “It has already caused interest from gay groups because of the possibility of making egg and sperm cells from parents of the same sex,” he said.

“I am not in favour of creating engineered humans and the social and ethical implications . . . need to be thought through, but I am very confident it will work and will be very relevant to anyone who has lost their fertility through disease.”

The use of manufactured sperm and egg cells would require a change in the law.

The Nobel prize winner Professor Sir Martin Evans, who was the first to produce embryonic stem cells from mice, said the research gave “a new explanation of one [element] of human biology . . . but until it is applied for a practical purpose it is only a small incremental step”.

Robin Lovell-Badge, head of stem-cell biology and developmental genetics at the National Institute for Medical Research, said Surani’s team was the first to produce a reliable way of making human stem cells.

“It will be useful for the development of sperm and eggs, not just as germ cells but as mature cells. It will be important for understanding the causes of infertility and for the treatment of it,” he said.

“It is probably a long way off, but it would be a way for people who have had treatment for conditions such as childhood leukaemia, which has left them infertile, to have children of their own.”

Allan Pacey, an infertility expert and professor of andrology at Sheffield University, said he was “excited” by the idea of using skin cells to make sperm for the thousands of men who have survived childhood cancer and been left infertile. Others anticipate demand from elderly would-be parents and say the development will bring ever closer the prospect of people “designing”’ their offspring.

This issue has been at the centre of objections to mitochondrial transfer, the “three-parent baby” technology expected to be approved by the House of Lords this week.

David King, director of the Human Genetics Alert watchdog, said he was “concerned that scientists might view [germ-cell line creation] as a convenient route to creating genetically engineered babies”.

Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill


President Obama issued a presidential veto against Congress’ bill to force construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. In vetoing KXL, President Obama is showing that he’s listened to the people, not the polluters. This is an incredible moment for all who participated — this is your moment. I hope you celebrate this news with me today.

But the fight is not over. Today dozens of movement leaders, economists, musicians, filmmakers (including a few recent Oscar winners), and many more released a Unity Letter ahead of the President's final decision.

Just a few years ago, KXL was considered a done deal in Washington — but together we fought back. You made phone calls, sent emails and letters, and spoke up to friends and neighbors. Fossil fuel companies are throwing millions into maintaining their destructive status quo. But they didn’t account for your perseverance, creativity, and courage. You’ve rallied, you’ve marched, and now — in the final moments, you can take this through to the finish line.


The science is clear: the Keystone XL Pipeline would have a devastating effect on our climate and set the stage for increased fossil fuel dependence for years to come. And we know all too well that pipeline oil spills, like the recent 63,000-gallon spill near the Yellowstone River, has devastating effects to neighboring communities, drinking water, and our health.

The president's outright rejection of the KXL permits would be the final nail in the coffin for Keystone. And with partisan bickering over KXL behind us, we’d finally be able to focus on the real opportunity ahead: building America’s new, clean energy economy.
Mr. Obama added that “because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto.”

Environmental groups hailed the president’s veto. Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, praised Mr. Obama for keeping his word on vetoing the legislation and urged the president to reject the pipeline.

“The president has all the evidence he needs to reject Keystone XL now, and we are confident that he will,” Mr. Brune said.

Republicans denounced the veto, saying Mr. Obama gave in to the his environmental supporters. Republicans also said it would cost Americans much-needed jobs.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio called the veto a “national embarrassment.”

In a statement, he said, “We are not going to give up in our efforts to get this pipeline built – not even close.”


Since 2011, the proposed Keystone pipeline, which would deliver up to 800,000 barrels daily of heavy petroleum from the oil sands of Alberta to ports and refineries on the Gulf Coast, has emerged as a broader symbol of the partisan political clash over energy, climate change and the economy.

Most energy policy experts say the project will have a minimal impact on jobs and climate. But Republicans insist that the pipeline will increase employment by linking the United States to an energy supply from a friendly neighbor. Environmentalists say it will contribute to ecological destruction and damaging climate change.

Mr. Obama has hinted that he thinks both sides have inflated their arguments, but he has not said what he will decide.

In his State of the Union address last month, Mr. Obama urged lawmakers to move past the pipeline debate, urging passage of a comprehensive infrastructure plan. “Let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline,” he said.

Republican leaders have said they plan to use the veto, which was expected, to denounce Mr. Obama as a partisan obstructionist.

“This is bipartisan legislation being vetoed by a partisan president,” said John Barrasso of Wyoming, chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee. “I think the president has made his decision to side with special interests. This is going to further marginalize the president in the last two years.”

Environmentalists interpreted the veto as a sign that Mr. Obama would soon decide to reject the project, as he sought to enhance his environmental legacy.

“All along we’ve hoped that the president meant what he said way back in 2008 about stopping climate change; the veto is a start, but we will find out for sure when he issues his final decision on this gimcrack project,” wrote Bill McKibben, the founder of the group 350.org, which has led the campaign to urge Mr. Obama to reject the pipeline.

In recent months, the environmental activists — who have spent years marching, protesting and getting arrested outside the White House in their quest to persuade Mr. Obama to reject the project — say they are increasingly optimistic that their efforts will be successful.

“Hopefully the ongoing legislative charade has strengthened his commitment to do the right thing,” Mr. McKibben added.

The debate began in 2008, when the TransCanada Corporation applied for a permit to construct the 1,179-mile pipeline. The State Department is required to determine whether the pipeline is in the national interest, but the last word on whether the project will go forward ultimately rests with the president.

After you have driven home in your car, (or taken public transport) turned on your lights, maybe lighted your gas fireplace, and enjoyed the...
Kayemtee 2 minutes ago

The world seems awash in cheap oil at the moment. How is it in the interest of the United States to allow the construction of this pipeline...


Mr. Obama has delayed making that decision until all the legal and environmental reviews of the process are complete. He has said a critical factor in his decision making will be the question of whether the project contributes to climate change.

Last year, an 11-volume environmental impact review by the State Department concluded that oil extracted from the Canadian oil sands produced about 17 percent more carbon pollution than conventionally extracted oil.

But the review said the pipeline was unlikely to contribute to a significant increase of planet-warming greenhouse gases because the fuel was likely to be extracted from the oil sands and sold with or without construction of the pipeline.

This month, environmentalists pointed to a different review by the Environmental Protection Agency that they said proved the pipeline could add to greenhouse gases.

The question of whether to build the pipeline comes as Mr. Obama hopes to make climate change policy a cornerstone of his legacy. This summer, the E.P.A. is expected to issue sweeping regulations to cut greenhouse gas pollution from power plants, a move experts say would have vastly more impact on the nation’s carbon footprint than construction of the Keystone pipeline.

In December, world leaders hope to sign a global United Nations accord in Paris, committing every nation in the world to enacting plans to reduce their rates of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. In the coming months, countries are expected to begin putting forward those policies for cutting carbon emissions.

While the Keystone pipeline is not expected to be part of the United States climate change plan, a public presidential decision on the project could be interpreted as a message about the president’s symbolic commitment to the issue of climate change.

Until that decision comes, however, both sides of the Keystone fight are stepping up their tactics. Environmental groups are planning more marches and White House petitions, while Republicans in Congress are looking for ways to bring the Keystone measure back to Mr. Obama’s desk.

Senator John Hoeven, Republican of North Dakota, who sponsored the Keystone bill, said he would consider adding language requiring construction of the pipeline to other legislation, such as spending bills to fund federal agencies, which could make a veto far more politically risky for Mr. Obama.

A final decision by the president could come soon. Last month, a court in Nebraska reached a verdict in a case about the pipeline’s route through the state, clearing the way for construction. And this month, final reviews of the pipeline by eight federal agencies were completed.

However, Mr. Obama is under no legal obligation to make a final decision, and there is no official timetable for a decision. He could approve or deny the project at any time — or leave the decision to the next president.
Because we are powerful together,

Annie Leonard
Executive Director

UNITED PHOTO PRESS | USA

No Big Bang? Quantum equation predicts universe has no beginning


The universe may have existed forever, according to a new model that applies quantum correction terms to complement Einstein's theory of general relativity. The model may also account for dark matter and dark energy, resolving multiple problems at once.

The widely accepted age of the universe, as estimated by general relativity, is 13.8 billion years. In the beginning, everything in existence is thought to have occupied a single infinitely dense point, or singularity. Only after this point began to expand in a "Big Bang" did the universe officially begin.

Although the Big Bang singularity arises directly and unavoidably from the mathematics of general relativity, some scientists see it as problematic because the math can explain only what happened immediately after—not at or before—the singularity.

"The Big Bang singularity is the most serious problem of general relativity because the laws of physics appear to break down there," Ahmed Farag Ali at Benha University and the Zewail City of Science and Technology, both in Egypt, told Phys.org.

Ali and coauthor Saurya Das at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, have shown in a paper published in Physics Letters B that the Big Bang singularity can be resolved by their new model in which the universe has no beginning and no end.

Old ideas revisited

The physicists emphasize that their quantum correction terms are not applied ad hoc in an attempt to specifically eliminate the Big Bang singularity. Their work is based on ideas by the theoretical physicist David Bohm, who is also known for his contributions to the philosophy of physics. Starting in the 1950s, Bohm explored replacing classical geodesics (the shortest path between two points on a curved surface) with quantum trajectories.

In their paper, Ali and Das applied these Bohmian trajectories to an equation developed in the 1950s by physicist Amal Kumar Raychaudhuri at Presidency University in Kolkata, India. Raychaudhuri was also Das's teacher when he was an undergraduate student of that institution in the '90s.

Using the quantum-corrected Raychaudhuri equation, Ali and Das derived quantum-corrected Friedmann equations, which describe the expansion and evolution of universe (including the Big Bang) within the context of general relativity. Although it's not a true theory of quantum gravity, the model does contain elements from both quantum theory and general relativity. Ali and Das also expect their results to hold even if and when a full theory of quantum gravity is formulated.

No singularities nor dark stuff

In addition to not predicting a Big Bang singularity, the new model does not predict a "big crunch" singularity, either. In general relativity, one possible fate of the universe is that it starts to shrink until it collapses in on itself in a big crunch and becomes an infinitely dense point once again.

Ali and Das explain in their paper that their model avoids singularities because of a key difference between classical geodesics and Bohmian trajectories. Classical geodesics eventually cross each other, and the points at which they converge are singularities. In contrast, Bohmian trajectories never cross each other, so singularities do not appear in the equations.

In cosmological terms, the scientists explain that the quantum corrections can be thought of as a cosmological constant term (without the need for dark energy) and a radiation term. These terms keep the universe at a finite size, and therefore give it an infinite age. The terms also make predictions that agree closely with current observations of the cosmological constant and density of the universe.

New gravity particle

In physical terms, the model describes the universe as being filled with a quantum fluid. The scientists propose that this fluid might be composed of gravitons—hypothetical massless particles that mediate the force of gravity. If they exist, gravitons are thought to play a key role in a theory of quantum gravity.

In a related paper, Das and another collaborator, Rajat Bhaduri of McMaster University, Canada, have lent further credence to this model. They show that gravitons can form a Bose-Einstein condensate (named after Einstein and another Indian physicist, Satyendranath Bose) at temperatures that were present in the universe at all epochs.

Motivated by the model's potential to resolve the Big Bang singularity and account for dark matter and dark energy, the physicists plan to analyze their model more rigorously in the future. Their future work includes redoing their study while taking into account small inhomogeneous and anisotropic perturbations, but they do not expect small perturbations to significantly affect the results.

"It is satisfying to note that such straightforward corrections can potentially resolve so many issues at once," Das said.


More information: 
Ahmed Farag Ali and Saurya Das. "Cosmology from quantum potential." Physics Letters B. Volume 741, 4 February 2015, Pages 276–279. DOI: 10.1016/j.physletb.2014.12.057. Also at: arXiv:1404.3093[gr-qc].
Saurya Das and Rajat K. Bhaduri, "Dark matter and dark energy from Bose-Einstein condensate", preprint: arXiv:1411.0753[gr-qc].

Granada Chefs from Spain, become ambassadors of culture and gastronomy


The Sociedad Cooperativa Andaluza, Nuestra Señora de los Remedios 'Iznaoliva' and Chefs 4.0 Grenadines presented Wednesday at the International Tourism Fair (FITUR) project to promote tourism Cheftour Granada Tourism Ambassador, an initiative that invites you to visit the most attractive places of the province of Granada very best chefs, who thus become ambassadors of culture and cuisine, inspiring potential tourists from around the world.

The presentation was attended by the regional government delegate in Granada, Sandra Garcia, mayor of Granada, José Torres Hurtado, Macarena Díaz, representing Iznaoliva and President of Cooks Grenadines 4.0, Jesus Bracero, which has been accompanied by a representation of the 16 chef that make this association, in addition to associates.

Iznaoliva president, Francisco Ramos, expressed his gratitude to all those who make this "positive Granada" driver of an innovative tourism image of the province thanks to ambassadors exception, chefs Chefs Association Grenadines 4.0 project .

"It's a real treat to have this group of food professionals, committed one hundred percent with the tourist and gastronomic development, involved in all the positive initiatives for the province, caring and above all, an innovative tourism ambassadors plan, and essential plank of this project, "said Macarena Díaz, representing the Ntra. Mrs. cooperative. de los Remedios Iznalloz.

The regional government delegate, stressed the originality of this project promoted by an agricultural cooperative that goes one step further in its internationalization "support an innovative project and committed to our province." For its part, the mayor of Granada, José Torres, accompanied by the Councillor for Tourism, Rocio Diaz, stressed excellence in the work of Granada pro chefs in the gastronomy of the province.

Cheftour Granada Tourism Ambassador brings together 16 chefs, 14 restaurants and 19 monuments scattered in 13 municipalities representing 10 counties. Several institutions and organizations have been involved in the tourism project that promotes Granada from the feeling of our best chefs. These are professionals who exercise ambassadors 16 privileged enclaves, describing its tourist attractions and reasons why tourists from around the world would love to visit. In each of them, a chapter of this promotional video that will be broadcast on Canal Youtube and social networking is recorded.

This project, promoted by the cooperative olive oil Iznaoliva collaboration with Chefs Grenadines 4.0, aims to capture the attention of Asian, European and American market through a visual and gastronomic experience in order to promote tourism in the province of Granada and publicize our delicacies.

Present in China exhibition Che Photographer


Exposure Photographer Che, a collection of snapshots taken by Ernesto Che Guevara during his whole life, was presented today to the press in the capital, on the eve of its official unveiling at the Three Shadows gallery.

Camilo Guevara March, son of the Heroic Guerrilla and project director of the Che Guevara Studies Center, said that it is a kind of autobiography, because through those images can be interested to know what this man of legend.

Guevara March said complacency because China is the first country in Asia where comes this exposure, given the admiration and respect he felt the Che for this nation and its people. The show has toured more than 10 countries in Latin America and Europe.

The exhibition, which will be officially opened tomorrow with a ceremony in which participate the Moncada Cuban musical group, is headquartered Gallery of Photographic Arts Center Three Shadows (Three Shadows), located in Chaoyang District.

Jilian Schultz, director of International Programs at the center, said the emotion he felt when he discovered the artist Che, which considers it an honor and a pleasure. He noted that this presentation is the efforts of several countries like China, Cuba and the United States.

In his introductory remarks to the packed news conference, said Guevara March artistic and aesthetic value of the photographic work and even remembered his father worked as a professional photographer for the 1955 Pan American Games held in Mexico City.

He added that the snapshots show the various stages of the life of Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, in snapshots of ancient civilizations like the Maya, people, people, projects of the Cuban revolution, places he visited as a representative of Cuba, including several Southeast Asian schools, among others.

He explained that despite his busy schedule and the short time available, the Heroic Guerrilla known worldwide as a space dedicated always taking pictures of subjects that interested him.

In today’s meeting, in addition to the local and foreign press, attended artists, diplomats, friends and admirers of Cuba charismatic man known in every corner of the world.

You Probably Couldn’t Survive In Oymyakon, The World’s Coldest City


What's it like to live and work in the coldest inhabited place on Earth? Photographer Amos Chapple shares his stories from the frozen cities of Siberia.

For most people, Oymyakon—the world's coldest permanently settled area, located a few hundred miles from the Arctic Circle in the Russian tundra—wouldn't be a top-of-the-list travel destination. But for New Zealand photographer Amos Chapple, it offered an opportunity he couldn't refuse. Working as an English teacher in Russia to support his travel photography, Chapple viewed a trip to Oymyakon—and its nearest city, Yakutsk (576 miles away)—as a chance to embark on a unique photography project.

"There's this idea that to be seen as a serious photographer, you have to seek out suffering in the world," says Chapple, who worked as a news photographer in New Zealand for years before branching into travel photography. "I wanted to take a photojournalistic approach to stories that are not negative, not nasty. I was looking for a headline that I could hang a picture story on, and coldest place in the world is a good example of that."

Temperatures in Yakutsk peak at around minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit during the month of January, but Chapple describes the city as cosmopolitan and surprisingly wealthy. Settled in large part due to an abundance of natural resources around it (diamonds, oil and gas are all plentiful), Yakutsk is an economically vibrant place. Still, it's extremely remote: six time zones away from Moscow, there is a small airport but no railway, and the town boasts but one major road leading in and out of it. Known as the "Road of Bones," it was built by gulag inmates under Stalin's regime.

During the Soviet era, the government paid workers bonuses to move to climatically unappealing areas. The promise of riches enticed thousands of workers to Yakutsk, where they mingled with the indigenous ethnic population, known as the Yakuts, and laborers who remained from the gulag system to turn the provincial outpost into a major regional city. Today, Alrosa—the corporate giant that supplies 20 percent of the world's rough diamonds—is headquartered in the region. Because of the city's abundance of natural resources, and its resident's extra wealth from working in the coldest city on Earth, Yakutsk is an expensive place to live in and to visit. Women wear a winter uniform of fur coats, which entice Siberian burglars even more than stashes of money, since they can be resold for thousands of dollars. "If you say that your family is Siberian, quite probably you are rich, just from doing pretty simple work," Chapple says.

It's also an expensive city to sustain: emergency fuel shipments to Siberian cities cost Russia an estimated $500 million per year. According to Clifford Gaddy, an economist with the Brookings Institution who co-authored the book The Siberian Curse, it would be less expensive for the country to simply fly laborers into Siberia to extract the natural resources and then fly them out again instead of paying to keep Siberian cities functioning. Building in Yakutsk is also challenging because the city is constructed on continuous permafrost—13 feet below the surface, Yakutsk's soil holds steady at 17 degrees Fahrenheit, no matter the temperature of the air. Normally, the soil (a combination of sand and frozen ice) is hard as a rock and nearly impenetrable, but around the edges, and when the ice begins to warm, the soil thaws to a powdery consistency. If a building is constructed on thawing permafrost—or the heat from the structure speeds thawing—its foundation can quickly become unstable. To account for this challenge, every building in Yakutsk is built on underground stilts.

Contrasted against Yakutsk's relatively cosmopolitan comforts, the villages of the greater Sakha Republic (of which Yakutsk is the capital) are frozen hamlets. To get to Oymyakon​, which set the record in 1933 as the coldest place on Earth with a temperature of minus 90 degrees Fahrenheit, Chapple had to travel for two days via a combination of shared vans and hitchhiking. At one point, he was stranded for two days at a gas station. "​I was eating reindeer meat for two days​," Chapple says, recalling the small cafe and teahouse, ironically named Cafe Cuba, that served as his sole option for food during that time. "Reindeer was the staple meat of the tundra.​"

Reindeer isn't the only thing that inhabitants of the coldest region on Earth eat, but their diet skews meat-heavy. Chapple also ate a dish of macaroni pasta and frozen chunks of horse blood, as well as a Yakutian specialty of thinly shaved frozen fish. "It's basically like frozen sashimi, and it's divine," he says. "Somehow the texture of the frozen fish, with the warm bits at the end, is very distinctive and delicious."

When he arrived in Oymyakon, whose population hangs at around 500 permanent inhabitants, Chapple was struck by the emptiness of the place. "The streets were just empty. I had expected that they would be accustomed to the cold and there would be everyday life happening in the streets, but instead people were very wary of the cold," he says. "It felt extremely desolate. It wasn't, but everything was happening indoors, and I wasn't welcome indoors." In the hours Chapple spent wandering the village streets, his main companions were street dogs or village drunks (alcoholism is rampant in Oymyakon).

Still, life in the village goes on. Schools don't close unless the temperatures fall below minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit. Farmers bring their cows to the village's watering hole—a "thermal" spring that stays a few degrees above freezing—then lead them back to their insulated stables. The thermal spring is the village's lifeblood, its entire reason for existence: reindeer herders would visit the spring in order to hydrate their herds, returning again and again until the village became a permanent settlement (Oymyakon literally means "unfrozen water"). 

Living in the coldest inhabited place on Earth does have some distinct drawbacks, however. Bathrooms are mostly outdoors, because indoor plumbing presents a challenge due to frozen pipes. Residents have cars, but must leave them running outside, sometimes overnight, so the mechanics don't freeze up. Even so, sometimes more extreme measures are necessary. "A guy I was staying with left his car running all night, but even so, in the morning, the drive shaft was completely frozen. Without any ceremony, he pulled out a little flamethrower, went under the truck and started fanning the bottom of his truck with a flamethrower," Chapple says. "It's part of the toolkit [for living in Oymyakon], a little flamethrower."

Photos From the Coldest City on Earth



Yakutian woman amidst the fog of city center – created by cars, people, and steam from factories, the fog is thick and heavy through the coldest weeks of winter. (Amos Chapple) 

As New England braces for what many have called a “historic snowstorm”, one city in particular has it even worse, and just about every single day. People in Oymyakon, Russia face frigid temperatures like no other place on Earth. Located just a few hundred miles from the Arctic Circle, Oymyakon is the world’s coldest permanently settled area, nestled deep in the Russian tundra.

New Zealand photographer Amos Chapple recently made an expedition to the region to document the daily life of its inhabitants. Chapple found that the residents of Yakutsk, the nearest city in the region, were surprisingly wealthy and described the city as cosmopolitan. The affluence comes from the plentiful resources around Yakutsk including oil, gas, and diamonds. But is it worth it?

The photos below document the obstacles of life in such bitter conditions (the average January temperature is a bitter -34 °Fahrenheit) as well as the strength and determination of the people who live there.



Working two weeks on and two weeks off, employees of isolated regional 24-hour gas stations are vital to ensure that the economy can keep running in spite of inclement conditions.




Statues of soldiers stand frozen in a park dedicated to the fallen of World War II.




It isn’t only people who have to deal with the dangerous conditions; a dog curls up to sleep and keep warm in the carpark outside of Café Cuba.





Constructed by gulagged prison workers and known as the “Road of Bones”, Russia’s Kolyma Highway is the only major land route into or out of Yakutsk.




A dog hesitantly makes its way onto the street near an icy bus stop in Yakutsk.




One of the first governors of Yakutia, this bust of Ivan Kraft stands covered in ice for the majority of the year.




Someone’s summer shoes hanging inside a shed in the Yakutsk suburbs, waiting out the long and frigid winter.




A swirl of steam and freezing mist surrounds a woman as she enters Preobrazhensky Cathedral, the largest in Yakutsk.




On a day of -63 °F, a woman covers her face with her mitten to protect it from the dangerous cold. In the background a statue of former Vladimir Lenin can be seen.




Ice-covered houses like the one shown here are common sights in the middle of Yakutsk.




There is no need for refrigeration at the public market; the frigid air ensures that the fish as well as the rabbit stay frozen and fresh until they can be sold.

Harvard University offers free online photography course


The Harvard Open Courses , of Harvard University , in partnership with Alison.com offers a free online course on digital photography, lasting 10-15 hours.

Course modules can be accessed through the official site . Before performing the first access, the student must register onthe site Alison . 

The course covers the main topics about digital photography, including: exposure settings; reading the histogram; camera sensor work; camera lens; shooting processing using the computer software and others. Upon completion of the course, students will have dominion over the operation of digital cameras.

The course shall issue a certificate of completion for students who complete all modules and pontuarem 80% or more in each of the assessments.

If you work, study or have an interest in photography, do not miss this opportunity to increase their knowledge without leaving home!

Hubble’s High-Definition Panoramic View of the Andromeda Galaxy

This sweeping bird's-eye view of a portion of the Andromeda galaxy (M31) is the sharpest image ever taken of our galactic next-door neighbor. Image credit: NASA, ESA, J. Dalcanton, B.F. Williams, and L.C. Johnson (University of Washington), the PHAT team, and R. Gendler
The largest NASA Hubble Space Telescope image ever assembled, this sweeping bird’s-eye view of a portion of the Andromeda galaxy (M31) is the sharpest large composite image ever taken of our galactic next-door neighbor. 

Though the galaxy is over 2 million light-years away, The Hubble Space Telescope is powerful enough to resolve individual stars in a 61,000-light-year-long stretch of the galaxy’s pancake-shaped disk. It's like photographing a beach and resolving individual grains of sand. And there are lots of stars in this sweeping view -- over 100 million, with some of them in thousands of star clusters seen embedded in the disk.

This ambitious photographic cartography of the Andromeda galaxy represents a new benchmark for precision studies of large spiral galaxies that dominate the universe's population of over 100 billion galaxies. Never before have astronomers been able to see individual stars inside an external spiral galaxy over such a large contiguous area. Most of the stars in the universe live inside such majestic star cities, and this is the first data that reveal populations of stars in context to their home galaxy.

Hubble traces densely packed stars extending from the innermost hub of the galaxy seen at the left. Moving out from this central galactic bulge, the panorama sweeps from the galaxy's central bulge across lanes of stars and dust to the sparser outer disk. Large groups of young blue stars indicate the locations of star clusters and star-forming regions. The stars bunch up in the blue ring-like feature toward the right side of the image. The dark silhouettes trace out complex dust structures. Underlying the entire galaxy is a smooth distribution of cooler red stars that trace Andromeda’s evolution over billions of years.

Because the galaxy is only 2.5 million light-years from Earth, it is a much bigger target in the sky than the myriad galaxies Hubble routinely photographs that are billions of light-years away. This means that the Hubble survey is assembled together into a mosaic image using 7,398 exposures taken over 411 individual pointings.

The panorama is the product of the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT) program. Images were obtained from viewing the galaxy in near-ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared wavelengths, using the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3 aboard Hubble. This cropped view shows a 48,000-light-year-long stretch of the galaxy in its natural visible-light color, as photographed with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys in red and blue filters.

The panorama is being presented at the 225th Meeting of the Astronomical Society in Seattle, Washington.

NASA is exploring our solar system and beyond to understand the universe and our place in it. We seek to unravel the secrets of our universe, its origins and evolution, and search for life among the stars. Today’s announcement shares the discovery of our ever-changing cosmos, and brings us closer to learning whether we are alone in the universe.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington.


For images and more information about Hubble, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/hubble or http://hubblesite.org/news/2015/02


Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.

Happy New Year's from President of United Photo Press


Good evening to all present here tonight. We are grateful for the presence of All.

All these different individuals from UNITED PHOTO PRESS have their own values and norms, and together they form a multitude of Being, which is what we would like to discuss tonight.

We would like to talk about welfare. What does welfare mean to each of you? What makes you feel prosperous at times? Welfare is often based on matter. The welfare state and welfare states are slaves of the economy. If the economy is in decline, welfare declines too. As a result, welfare states − which are based on matter and on collecting matter − will become increasingly vulnerable.

The reason being that if matter disappears or diminishes, the welfare state will become shaky and cracks will appear. In fact, the first small cracks are already present.

The credit crisis has been perfect for the inhabitants of planet Earth. Again it shows that people are hugely dependent on each other. Everything that is based on matter and on the current economic model will become shaky. There are no securities anymore. Predictions cannot be relied on anymore, so where is welfare to be found? What is welfare based on? Know that every prosperous welfare state will become very vulnerable − not only for attacks but also for credit crises.

Whatever may happen, your current system of norms and values will change. The credit crisis has shown that countries are very much dependent on another. Even countries that do not have any ties can influence each other. Mass production and everything that has to do with the economy creates vulnerability, for you cannot guarantee the production of a product if a certain part cannot be delivered anymore. If a certain kind of energy cannot be supplied anymore, things will go wrong. These are the pillars of what you call welfare. Welfare in all its forms has become unsteady because it is based on the wrong norms and on the wrong values. They were very valuable for a long period of time but modernisation cannot be stopped anymore. There will be a different form of solidarity. People will see the need for creating a new kind of solidarity, to which the climate contributes as well.

Greater cooperation will be required, a more global cooperation of all forces on Earth. Individual forces will not change things; only cooperation can prevent disasters. Let’s go back to the topic of welfare. If we would have to define welfare, our definition would include: food, water, healthier air and, naturally, investing in the individual. In this way each human being will be able to develop his or her unique qualities to become an even more valuable human being for society, which will create a valuable sense of belonging to a group, to the people of a nation. Imagine all inhabitants of the Earth, its people, each single one, would feel valuable – there would no longer be any conflicts anymore.

Look at the youth which en masse gets together on the streets and cause uproar. Which norms and values do they represent? What does so-called welfare have in store for them? They feel turned away. They feel misunderstood and hence they create uproar. They do not count, they do not feel valuable. If you look at groupings which create terror and suppression, look at their norms and values and their sense of being valuable. Often these groupings consist of individuals who have a huge inferiority complex. If the value of each human being will become important again, if people invest in their personal individual norms and values – not in welfare, which aims at matter – many conflicts could be avoided. Those groupings that create uproar − know that they do this because of their inferiority complex, because of a feeling of being misunderstood and of a sense of not belonging. Solidarity is what it is all about. And, dear all, it is not about anything to do with masses, such as mass production, mass distribution or suppression of the masses in the name of the economy.

The individual will triumph, because through crises and shortage people become creative again. They will bring forward creative solutions which will not necessarily result in mass production. Eventually it will turn out that these creative solutions are less vulnerable, for it is mass production which is incredibly vulnerable. So prioritise yourself. Invest in yourself. What are your values? What are your qualities? Get a job in which you can fully express those qualities. Let your norms and values be important for yourself as an individual, and do not impose them on someone else.

Let everyone live their lives according to their own norms and values. And set an example, especially for children. They are the future. If you watch closely, a lot is happening to children right now. New age children are about to swing into action and the newer new age children are on their way. They are more sensitive, more vulnerable and at the same time more powerful. They will not accept norms and values which do not feel right for them. They will not blindly accept things. They know that they know a lot. They know that they are wise. They know that they are valuable. Consider each child to be a valuable addition to your life and know that rebellious children actually feel inferior; they feel that their qualities do not matter.

If people invest more in these children, in individuals and not in the masses, there will be much more harmony. So try to be your individual self for the upcoming year 2015, according to your values and to your norms. Try to be valuable for yourself and for others. In this way you will help creating a new sense of welfare. The old notion of welfare will anyhow disappear, because it is based on old norms and old values. Modernisation will set in more and more quickly. You think that things are moving fast and things do move quickly, but they can move even faster. If you take a look around, you can already notice the change. Conflicts that now arise, are often solved more quickly too. Areas in which conflicts have prevailed will gradually move along with the modernisation, and slowly but surely peace and harmony will settle there because of changing norms and values.

Take a look at yourself. Forgive yourself for what you would have done wrong. Forgive yourself for the judgements and prejudices you still hold. And send this feeling and energy to the areas which have been in conflict for ages. The conflicts seem insolvable between the different groups, different norms and values, which are often based on pride and self-interest. Send the energy of forgiveness to these areas. The conflicts can only be solved if people forgive, if people put themselves aside and prioritise their society and their children, who are the future of those areas. So take a look inside – many things have already happened this year, in 2014.

We have already mentioned it before. Being connected with things known as ‘paranormal’ will turn out to be a privilege. Paranormal, just outside the normal and yet not the abnormal – it will turn out to be more and more valuable to be connected with your intuition, with your feeling, or with your higher guidance. This is the best navigation you can have in these stormy times. And you will feel increasingly normal, because many people will awaken. Many people become more inquisitive, they will become more familiar with what they consider to be paranormal, which will become increasingly normal. The tide will be turning and it cannot be stopped. Things ‘paranormal’ will become normal.

And the normal will become paranormal. We will get another society, which is based on different norms and values. True brotherhood and sisterhood − gone will be the times when people thought they were merely an inhabitant of planet Earth. As a tiny individual you are part of a large community, of a family, of a street, of a village, town or city, of a country, of a continent, of the Earth, of the Universe – and in this grandeur you, as a tiny individual, are important. Just one small seed can spread and multiply, so stay in tune with your navigation. Invest in your personal values, express your qualities and live your individual life. Do not let others decide for you, and the more you are able to live your own life, the more easy it will be to regularly adjust to the needs and wishes of other people.

You will not feel that you neglect yourself. So balance investing in yourself and investing in society – indeed, both aspects – and it will be a win-win situation. You as an individual will become more and more valuable. Try to smile at a stranger at least once a day. It would be a blessing and it would bring about an enormous flow of harmony in the year 2015, because just one smile can set off a chain reaction of smiles.

Go for it – we wish you a year full of welfare.








CARLOS ALVES DE SOUSA
PRESIDENT OF UNITED PHOTO PRESS

Singer Joe Cocker is dead at 70


Joe Cocker, the British blues-rock singer whose raspy voice brought plaintive soul to such hits as "You Are So Beautiful" and the duet "Up Where We Belong," died Monday after a battle with lung cancer. He was 70.

Cocker's performing career spanned some 50 years, from Woodstock, where he sang the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends," to the digital-music era. He had tour dates scheduled well into 2015.

"Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends peace and love," tweeted Beatles drummer Ringo Starr.

Cocker began as a singer in England at the same time as the Beatles, with whom he was often linked. He played pubs across the country in a series of rock bands before he and his Grease Band recorded "With a Little Help From My Friends" in 1968 with Jimmy Page, Steve Winwood and others.

Joe Cocker: From Woodstock to digital music
Photos: People we lost in 2014

The song became a No. 1 hit in England and propelled him to Woodstock, where his passionate live version was a festival highlight and launched his U.S. career.

Cocker scored another major success in the early 1970s with "Mad Dogs and Englishmen," a live album and concert film.

"Up Where We Belong," his duet with Jennifer Warnes from the movie "An Officer and a Gentleman," was Cocker's biggest U.S. hit, topping the Billboard singles charts in 1982. It also won him a Grammy, and the Oscar for best original song.

Cocker was known for his spasmodic movements on stage, where he often flailed his arms as he sang. His distinctive moves, he said, were almost accidental.

"I never played organ or piano or guitar, so it was more out of frustration and me just trying to impersonate in a way," Cocker told the Broward-Palm Beach New Times in 2012. "I did it subconsciously. People mistook for me being ill, like I had palsy. I'm not nearly so demonstrative now, but I still have my own way of feeling the rhythm."

Cocker also had lesser hits with covers of torch classic "Cry Me a River," Traffic's "Feeling Alright," the Boxtops' "The Letter" and the Beatles' "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window."

In the 1980s his witty cover of Randy Newman's "You Can Leave Your Hat On," was featured in the erotic drama "9 1/2 Weeks" and became a strip-tease anthem.