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A small, mysterious creature found only in a single lake in Zambia has become the first known case of a fish that uses teamwork to trap prey.
Neolamprologus obscurus lives in groups that dig out little refuges under the rocks at the bottom of Lake Tanganyika. These crevices may also attract shrimp, which try to hide in them during the day, scientists reported March 6 in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. The more fish are on hand, the larger the burrow they can build—and the more shrimp it can catch.
Groups of N. obscurus are headed by a high-ranking female with a troupe of one to 10 male and female assistants who help protect her young from predators. The helpers may also clean her eggs, “just mouthing [them] a bit to remove the bacteria,” says Hirokazu Tanaka, a researcher at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Bern in Switzerland who led the new study. The helpers, which grow up to 2 inches long, are responsible for digging and clearing out sand that has fallen into the shelters as well.
Not much else is known about N. obscurus, partly because it spends so much of its time literally living under a rock. “We couldn’t really see what it’s doing inside the shelter,” Tanaka says. However, he did notice that while several other fish in the lake also dug hollows under the stones, those of N. obscurus were deeper. He also knew that the fish weren’t the only creatures taking refuge under the rubble. Shrimp—a favorite meal of N. obscurus—rise up through the water at night to feed. When dawn arrives, the shrimp sink back down and hide.
To find out if N. obscurus’s large burrows might be used to lure in unsuspecting shrimp, Tanaka planted plastic boxes of different sizes on the bottom of the lake. These manmade shelters were lined with rocks and left to sit overnight. The larger the box, the more shrimp Tanaka and his team found inside the next day. They also found shrimp in the bellies of both helpers and breeding fish.
Then the researchers counted how many helpers dwelled in different groups of N. obscurus. The larger the shoal, they found, the greater the size of its burrow. Finally, Tanaka captured helpers from different groups and returned a week later to check on their shelters. With one less helper to clean out sand and other debris, the dens had begun to shrink.
All this suggests that the helpers enlarge their shelters to attract more shrimp for the entire group, Tanaka says. However, the helpers might not get to enjoy much of the spoils. It’s not clear how the fish share the shrimp they have caught, but Tanaka suspects that the reigning breeder may claim much of the food for herself.
Still, the helpers do get a few perks from the arrangement. Members of N. obscurus that live alone must build and maintain an entire shelter by themselves. Working in a group means that each individual fish doesn’t have to spend quite as much energy on their home’s upkeep. It’s also easier to chase off predators when you’re part of a group. And the helpers are usually siblings, cousins, or other relatives of the breeding female. So by helping her raise her young, the helpers are still passing on their genes indirectly.
There are a few other cases where animals work together to make traps—some group-living spiders build large webs to capture prey that they share amongst themselves. It’s possible that other fish work together to catch prey this way as well, Tanaka says.
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Your pearly-white smile has a fishy origin story. And no, we’re not referring to your overuse of tooth whitening products. Actual fish were involved, millions of years ago.
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, protecting your teeth from damage. Enamel is only found on vertebrate teeth, but how it came to armor our mouths remained a bit of a mystery. Now, scientists think they might have found an answer in 400 million-year-old fish scales.
In a paper published today in Nature, researchers found that a shiny substance in fish scales called ganoine is related to enamel. The researchers took samples of scales containing ganoine from living armored fish like the spotted gar, which looks like this:
The researchers found that proteins in the spotted gar’s skin were identical to proteins linked to enamel development in human teeth. The gar has ganoine in its scales and on parts of its teeth. Looking back through the fossil record, the scientists found that early fish, like Psarolepis romeri from 400 million years ago, had the same substance, ganoine, in their scales but not their teeth. This suggests that at some point between the two, ganoine production moved from just the scales to encompass the teeth as well.
Artist’s interpretation of what Psarolepis romeri would have looked like.
“We hypothesize that enamel originated on the scales, before colonizing the dermal bones and finally the teeth,” the authors write. They think that the enamel-like ganoine started just protecting scales of ancient bony fish, creating armored plates like the spotted gar still has today. The teeth of these fish were simply unprotected, “naked dentine”. Dentine is the hard, white part of the tooth just under our enamel–still sturdy, but not as tough as enamel. Somewhere along the evolutionary line, some of these ancient fish began to incorporate ganoine/enamel into other hard surfaces of their bodies, including the tooth-like structures called odontodes which they had on the outside of their mouths. Eventually, this theory says that fish began evolving with ganoine/enamel on their actual teeth, a trait that has been passed down the evolutionary line to almost all toothed creatures today, from humans to crocodiles.
How and precisely when the change happened remains a subject for future research.
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
True wireless earbuds have come a long way. Battery life has gone up all the way to a full day of use, lossless codecs and better drivers have improved sound quality by leaps and bounds, and high-end features like active noise cancellation are now commonplace on even affordable true wireless earbuds. However, there’s one feature that still makes me reach out for my traditional wired or over-the-ear Bluetooth headphones — an audio input jack.
Miss the 3.5mm too? Here are the best phones with a headphone jackIt’s a digital world, but analog still rules
Audio input jacks are convenient. Sure, smartphones might have moved on from headphone jacks, but there’s a world of audio sources that depend on the connector. As an avid traveler, I usually plug my noise-cancelling headphones into the seat-back entertainment system on a flight. At home, the Meze 99 Classic plugged into the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller is my go-to for immersive late-night gaming sessions. When I take out my iPod Nano for a run, it’s wired earphones that I rely on. And if I want to enjoy some records, I often plug a pair of headphones into the record player’s amplifier. The experience is robust, reliable and just works.
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
That said, I’m a big fan of the convenience and pocketability of true wireless earphones. Given how ubiquitous they’ve become, it is surprising that almost no company has tried to combine the convenience of using a pair of quality true wireless earphones with regular ol’ analog sources. Enter the LG Tone Free FP9.
I’ve been wirelessly jamming to tunes from my iPod, but a few improvements would make the LG Tone Free FP9 nearly perfect.
That said, the implementation isn’t entirely without its faults. To start with, I’d have liked the addition of multipoint Bluetooth support. This would allow the earphones to stay connected to a phone when used in transmitter mode so that you don’t miss out on important calls or messages in the middle of a gaming session. As it stands, it is an entirely either-or situation. I also observed that overall volume levels drop a notch or two when in wired mode, but that’s a small miss, given the overall convenience. Still, there are plenty of other things to link about the LG Tone Free FP9 too.
Read more: The best true wireless earbuds you can buy
Does the LG Tone Free FP9 sound any good?
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
If you are curious about how good the LG Tone Free FP9 sounds, you can refer to the in-depth LG Tone Free FP8 review by our sister site SoundGuys. The two earphones are largely unchanged in the audio quality department. Spoiler alert, the sound quality is plenty good with a robust selection of equalizer presets available via LG’s app to further tune the audio experience to your liking. LG’s house sound has a bit of a treble boost to make the upper frequencies cut through the mix. Personally, I enjoyed the 3D soundstage setting that bumped up the bass and offered a fuller sound, though not a particularly neutral one.
The LG Tone Free FP9 sounds great, but the active noise cancellation is far from best in class.
Like most premium true wireless earphones, the LG Tone Free includes active noise cancellation to reduce ambient noise. It is possible to adjust the active noise cancellation between two levels via the app. With noise cancellation set to high, I observed a fair amount of attenuation though it wasn’t anywhere enough to envelope me in silence. Additionally, the earphones tend to leak through some sounds in the form of digital sounding artifacts. Overall, the active noise cancellation is functional but far from the LG Tone Free FP9’s forte.
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
The LG Tone Free FP9 also carries forward what is quickly becoming a common feature amongst premium LG true wireless earphones. Yes, I’m talking about ultraviolet light-based sanitation. It’s a fun little gimmick but isn’t going to convince germophobes. For one, it only works on the ear mesh instead of cleansing out the entirety of the earbuds. Moreover, it only triggers when you place the earphones on charge for over five minutes. You will, of course, still have to clear out any debris stuck behind the medical-grade silicon tips.
A Bluetooth transmitter built into the case is an ingenious solution I hope others end up cribbing.
As true wireless earbuds, the LG Tone Free FP9 does a perfectly serviceable job. However, the product’s true value lies in LG’s innovative introduction of a never-seen-before feature. The Bluetooth transmitter built into the case is an ingenious solution that extends the utility of true wireless earbuds beyond just phones. This is one feature that I hope every earbud ends up cribbing.
LG Tone Free FP9 Wireless Earbuds
See price at Amazon
A content marketing strategy is a must.
Building a content marketing strategy will help ensure that all your time, energy, and money are focused on reaching a particular goal that helps your business grow. Concentrating on this goal will prevent you from creating irrelevant content pieces that will stand in the way of attracting new visitors and listening to the needs of existing customers or clients.
Additionally, a content marketing strategy will help you reach a much broader audience and distribute your content more effectively to professionals, bloggers, and journalists.
A smart content marketing strategy will also help drive more organic traffic to your website on a daily basis. There’s no better source of traffic than organic search because it delivers relevant traffic with little or no additional investment required.
So how do you build one? Here’s a five step process for creating a content marketing strategy that works.1. Define Your Goals
This is the most important step. It will put you on a path toward building the winning strategy.
Although defining your goals may sound easy, it isn’t always. You need to think about how you want content marketing to help you and what objectives you will accomplish once it’s integrated into your work schedule.
Your objectives might include increases in:
Unique page views.
Frequency of posts. This KPI is focusing on quantity when you should be focusing on what you get out of your content marketing. Squandering your potential by creating a myriad of posts that provide zero value won’t earn you readers and will be counterproductive to your marketing strategy because the investment needed to create all those posts will be extensive.
Brand awareness. This KPI is incredibly hard to measure through any one channel. Understanding how recognizable your brand is to a particular audience will require some intricate and costly research. Instead, consider much simpler metrics for gauging brand awareness, such as direct traffic growth and search queries for branded keywords.2. Investigate the Competitive Landscape
Find out what kind of content your competitors and other industry leaders have produced, and how this content is performing.
You can use BuzzSumo to analyze specific posts and articles created by your rivals and industry experts. Not only will this tool tell you all about your SMM signals like shares and likes, but it will also tell you your number of links.
The only thing BuzzSumo doesn’t offer is organic traffic analysis. Thankfully, there are tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush. I prefer using Ahrefs’ Batch Analysis tool, which allows you to process up to 200 URLs at a time.3. Find Out What Content Has Worked Best for You
When some people hear someone say, “Go to Google Analytics” out loud, shivers often run down their spines. But it’s really not that complicated.
Google’s support forum typically explains everything in a step-by-step manner. So, go to Google Analytics and check which of your articles are getting the most page views:
Find out which pages generate the most organic traffic. To do that, check the “Search Analytics” report in the Google Search Console:
After that, analyze your content performance using BuzzSumo.4. Learn About Your Audience’s Interests & Needs
Tune into what your users are telling you using their keyboards. See what your target audience is searching for in Google using a tool called Answer the Public. This tool scrapes Google’s autosuggest search queries.
Humans are curious by nature. We’re always asking questions.
Twitter Audience Insights is another great source of information for getting to know your users better. This will give you an idea of what kind of content is highly appreciated in your industry.5. Create an Amplification Plan Use Paid Ads on Facebook
Pay attention when setting up your ad and selecting different audience interests. Use brands that your audience also likes. For instance, if I were creating an ad for the digital marketing industry, then for a post about ‘content marketing,’ I’d add the key phrase “digital marketing industry” as one of my audience’s interests.
I’d also select an additional interest for my target audience. Let’s say for the purpose of this example it’s Canva. Tweaking these details gives me the assurance that users who encounter my post are interested in its subject.
Targeting the correct audience also allows you to reach users who are already familiar with your product. If you have 10,000 emails in your user database, then your best bet is to create a custom audience.
If you don’t have that many users, then Facebook will charge you more for an ad like that. The smaller your audience is, the more you have to pay for a targeted ad, so it’s not always cost-effective.Use the Power of Outreach
Typically, you want to look for articles related to your own. You can find them with the help of BuzzSumo. Besides that, you can get a list of referring domains (where your backlinks are coming from) using BuzzSumo, Ahrefs or Majestic.
Once you have a list of sites you want to connect with, then comes the most dreadful part: You need to figure out how you are going to reach out to them. There are a couple of ways to do that, and I want to go over the pros and cons of each of them:
Filling Out Websites’ Contact Forms
You’ll find these on most bloggers’ sites. Putting together a list of URLs with contact forms you can paste your information into seems to be pretty easy. One of the pros here is that it doesn’t take a lot of time to put things together, but the response rate might be next to zero.
This is my favorite method of promoting content. Yes, you need to spend a horrendous amount of time finding these email addresses. But with the help of tools like chúng tôi chúng tôi or Slik.ai, you can save precious time and enjoy peacefully sipping your latte or watching your favorite show.
Another cool thing about sending emails is that you can check if the email you sent was opened or not, and follow up on the conversation when needed. Tools like Yesware, Mixmax, or Mailtrack will help you determine whether your email has been opened and read.
Using Social Media Channels
In case you decide to use social media to chase down an expert, I wouldn’t use Facebook to send messages because people rarely use this social network for work purposes. However, Facebook groups, especially closed groups, are the right place to do that. You’ll be able to reach your target audience and effectively promote your piece of content.
The same goes for LinkedIn groups. The only thing that you should keep in mind is to never share a link to your article without writing a short intro to your content. That would look abrupt and spammy. Ideally, you need to write a separate introduction for each group for which you’re going to publish your content, and that’s why it’s a time-consuming task.
Another option would be connecting with industry professionals and content producers on LinkedIn. This tactic has proved to be highly effective, and it can be used together with email outreach.
We also can’t forget about Twitter. Using BuzzSumo, you can find a list of users who have previously shared similar content. Those will be the people you want to talk to.
Outreach Mix: Emails & Social Media Channels
You can dramatically increase your email response and open rates by connecting with people on LinkedIn first (before you send them emails). Yes, it requires some extra time, but it’s always good to know you’ve established meaningful and potentially strong connections. People who have heard your name before will be more likely to respond to your emails.Conclusion
Now you know how you can build a powerful content marketing strategy from scratch.
You need to know exactly what kind of posts resonate best with your audience and get strategic about your outreach plan.
Featured Image: Unsplash
In-post Images: Screenshots by Alex Tachalova. Taken June 2023.
The double declining balance (DDB) depreciation method lets you depreciate assets more in early years after you buy them.
The DDB depreciation method is easy to implement and track in most accounting software.
The DDB depreciation method can lead to greater depreciation recapture if you sell an asset before the end of its useful life.
This article is for entrepreneurs and professionals interested in accounting software and practices.
The double declining balance (DDB) depreciation method is an approach to accounting that involves depreciating certain assets at twice the rate outlined under straight-line depreciation. This results in depreciation being the highest in the first year of ownership and declining over time.
Given the nature of the DDB depreciation method, it is best reserved for assets that depreciate rapidly in the first several years of ownership, such as cars and heavy equipment. By applying the DDB depreciation method, you can depreciate these assets faster, capturing tax benefits more quickly and reducing your tax liability in the first few years after purchasing them.
Editor’s note: Looking for the right accounting software for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.What is the double declining balance (DDB) depreciation method?
The DDB depreciation method is a common accounting method of depreciation wherein an asset’s value depreciates at twice the rate it would under straight-line depreciation – another and perhaps even more popular method of depreciation.
When a business depreciates an asset, it reduces the value of that asset over time from its cost basis (what it paid to acquire the asset) to some ultimate salvage value over a set period of years (considered the useful life of the asset). By reducing the value of that asset on the company’s books, a business is able to claim tax deductions each year for the presumed lost value of the asset over that year.
These are the most common depreciation methods:
Straight-line depreciation. This method depreciates an asset from purchase price to salvage value by even amounts over a defined term (the useful life). The annual depreciation amount is equal to the total depreciation amount (purchase price minus salvage value) divided by the asset’s estimated useful life.
Double declining balance depreciation. This method depreciates assets at twice the rate of the straight-line method. Users of this method start by calculating the amount allowed under straight-line depreciation for year one and then doubling it. The next year, they calculate remaining depreciable balance, divide by remaining years and multiply by two. They do this each year until the final year of the asset’s useful life, where they depreciate any remainder over the asset’s salvage value.
Sum-of-the-years digits depreciation. This method requires taking the useful life of an asset and adding up the number of each year (e.g., 5+4+3+2+1 for a five-year useful life). Each year, you divide the number of years left to depreciate the asset (starting with the highest number) by the year-value total. Then you multiply the resulting percentage by the remaining depreciable value of the asset.DDB depreciation formula
The DDB depreciation method is a little more complicated than the straight-line method. Here’s the formula for calculating the amount to be depreciated each year:
(Cost of asset / Length of useful life in years) x 2 x Book value at the beginning of the year
This formula works for each year you are depreciating an asset, except for the last year of an asset’s useful life. In that year, the amount to be depreciated will be the difference between the book value of the asset at the beginning of the year and its final salvage value (this is usually just a small remainder).
Once the asset is valued on the company’s books at its salvage value, it is considered fully depreciated and cannot be depreciated any further. However, if the company later goes on to sell that asset for more than its value on the company’s books, it must pay taxes on the difference as a capital gain. This is called depreciation recapture.
On the whole, DDB is not a generally easy depreciation method to implement. You can also use leading accounting software to track the value of an asset while you depreciate it, though you may need to calculate the annual depreciation amount manually each year, depending on the software and depreciation method that you use.
Just because you may need to calculate your depreciation amount manually each year doesn’t mean you can change methods. Once you choose a method, you need to stick with it for the duration.How to calculate DDB depreciation
Follow these steps to calculate depreciation of an asset using the DDB depreciation method:
Determine your cost basis in an asset. This includes not only the acquisition price, but also any ancillary costs, such as broker fees, legal charges and other closing costs.
Identify the useful life of the asset. These are provided by the IRS and vary by value and type of asset.
Look up the asset’s salvage value. This is an estimate of the asset’s value at the end of its useful life. Guidance for determining salvage value is also provided by the IRS.
Calculate the first year of depreciation. Use the formula above to determine your depreciation for the first year.
Continue calculations until you reach salvage value. Repeat this process until the final year, when you write off any remaining depreciable amount.
Calculating DDB depreciation may seem complicated, but it can be easy to accomplish with accounting software. To see which software may be right for you, check out our list of the best accounting software or some of our individual product reviews, like our Zoho Books review and our Intuit QuickBooks accounting software review.Example of DDB depreciation
Consider a widget manufacturer that purchases a $200,000 packaging machine with an estimated salvage value of $25,000 and a useful life of five years. Under the DDB depreciation method, the equipment loses $80,000 in value during its first year of use, $48,000 in the second and so on until it reaches its salvage price of $25,000 in year five.
Because the equipment has a useful life of only five years it is expected to quickly lose value in the first few years of use – making DDB depreciation the most appropriate method of depreciation for this type of asset.
Here’s a closer look at the depreciation each year:
YearNet book value at beginning of yearDDB depreciationNet book value at end of year1$200,000$80,000$120,0002$120,000$48,000$72,0003$72,000$28,800$43,2004$43,200$17,280$25,9205$25,920$920$25,000
Now compare this with straight-line depreciation. This is what the schedule would look like when depreciating the same $200,000 asset using straight-line depreciation:
YearNet book value at beginning of yearStraight-line balance depreciationNet book value at end of year1$200,000$35,000$165,0002$165,000$35,000$130,0003$130,000$35,000$95,0004$95,000$35,000$60,0005$60,000$35,000$25,000
Using the example above, the same asset would lose $35,000 in the first year and each subsequent year until it was fully depreciated in year five. Comparing the two schedules above, it’s clear that much larger portions of the asset’s value are written off in early years using the DDB depreciation method, creating greater tax savings in early years.
However, this also means that, if you sold the equipment for $180,000 in year three, you would incur much greater tax liability from the DDB depreciation method as a result of depreciation recapture than you would using the straight-line method.
Apple may not be interested in making a full-on television set after all, if Yukari Iwatani Kane’s scathing book, titled Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs (available on the iBooks Store), is anything to go by. Needlees to say, that’s not stopping those mockups from coming.
Take, for instance, German website chúng tôi which today put out an interesting concept envisioning Apple’s rumored oversized iPad, the iPad Pro with a 12.9-inch edge-to-edge screen.
The same outlet previously mocked up a next-generation Apple TV concept sporting an interesting looking remote with touch controls that resembles the iPod touch. Unlike some other crazy concepts, the publication did its homework by basing the renderings on rumor-mill reporting.
Let’s take a look at the iPad Pro concept first.
Back in June of last year, The Wall Street Journal set the tongues wagging by quoting by citing people familiar with Apple’s plans as claiming that the company had been testing a prototype iPad device with a 12.9-inch screen.
The rumor-mill readily picked up the report though recent reporting seemingly suggests that Apple may have put the project on hold. The usually reliable Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, for instance, thinks we won’t see the iPad Pro until 2023 although the company is accelerating development of the device.
And earlier this month, the hit-and-miss DigiTimes claimed Apple had actually shelved the project due to various developmental issues, based on supply chain and channel inventory sources.
A few salient points by Curved.de:
The iPad Pro design is pretty close to its siblings, the iPad mini Retina and iPad Air. Curved corners and a flat back. Sound is provided from speakers that are placed left and right from the Lightning connector.
Touch ID is integrated in the saphire glass protected home button, which was introduced for iPhone 5s.
The screen is 12.9 inch wide and has a 4K-solution with 3,072×2,304 pixels (298 ppi), using LED-backlights and IPS-technology.
Even though it’s wider, it’s still as thin as the iPad Air: 7.5 mm.
The bigger screen with more pixels requires an A8 chipset with 64-bit-architecture.
Apps for the iPad Air are shown optimized by the iPad Pro. Dedicated apps – labelled with “Pro” – use the higher resolution and performance of the all new iPad Pro.
New pencils may fully employ all the features like pressure sensitivity. But don’t hold your breath for a multi button pen made by Apple.
Here’s the full gallery of iPad Pro mockups.
For what it’s worth, I’m not entirely convinced that the iPad Pro makes sense. Even though such a device would no doubt win heats and minds of creative professionals – think touch-optimized Aperture and Final Cut Pro on a 12.9-inch multitouch screen – it would admittedly lack mass-market appeal and Apple rarely caters to niche markets.
And now, on to Curved.de’s Apple TV concept.
The website is envisioning a 4K resolution-capable next-generation Apple TV thanks to an HDMI 2.0 port, driven by the A7 chip already used in the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display.
“The main attraction is the revamped remote control, completely redesigned as a touch device that might be wirelessly rechargeable via Apple TV,” the story notes, adding you’d still be able to control the set-top box through Apple’s free Remote iOS app.
And here’s the full gallery.
The publication goes on to put DVD Audio, SADC, Dolby Digital Plus, True HD and dts-HD, 32 channel audio and 1536 kHz sample rate on their wish list. We’re of course expecting an Apple TV App Store for games as well, in addition to speedy 802.11ac Wi-Fi networking, Bluetooth and more.
At any rate, these mockups are just that – mockups – so don’t read too much into them as we’re reposting the images here for the discussion’s sake.
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