Youre Perfect The Way You Are

first_imgby, David Goff, ChangingAging ContributorTweetShare20ShareEmail20 SharesThere is a brief snippet of a story that introduced me to the subject I want to reflect on here. I was sitting in my men’s group many years ago when one of the men recounted this portion of the story. It seems a Zen Master was addressing his students, and he said, “You are perfect as you are” and “you could use a little improvement.” Hearing that story kicked me into a level of self-reflection that continues to this day. I have evolved since that time and so has my take on this paradox. Today, in this writing I hope to find out more about this on-going evolution. Bear with me, because I want this exploration to be more than merely an exercise in narcissism, I am hoping to touch what is universal about the task of loving oneself.When I first heard this story I realized I had spent most of my life being on the “you could use a little improvement” side of things. I was a growth junkie. I had devoted myself to rooting out all of the ways I have holding myself, or anyone, hostage to my lack of development. Always, I was a work in progress. I still am. This wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t affect everything around me. At first, I was just aware of how it was a way I maintained a kind of perpetually inadequate self-image. Now, I’ve come to see it is more pervasive than that.The remedy then was to shift my focus from “needing improvement” to “perfection as you are.” This provided an essential antidote. I was a lot easier on my self and slowly even developed more self-compassion. I remembered the story and maintained a kind of perspective on my self. My attitude towards me changed some. I say some because I have come back around to this little piece of wisdom and found myself fed anew by it. It turns out my happiness, and how I regard and treat others, is effected by how I hold the paradox alluded to by this little story. Here’s what I mean.Until now, I have been a one-sided man. I haven’t had much capacity to hold paradox. As a result, even though I could relate to how this little story reminded me of the necessity of balance, I didn’t really have the capacity for paradoxical awareness, the ability to hold both sides. I got better, but I also got more sophisticated, and developed another thing to work on. I now, could strive for a new level of realization, and think myself honorable, while perpetuating my feeling of inadequacy. I was still a work-in-progress, I told myself, who wasn’t a work-in-progress, and that is true, but that belief only deepened my self-delusion. I knew I contained imperfections, which made it hard for me to settle down, and believe I was perfect as I was.Lately, I’ve had a greater opportunity to be happy. The benefits of aging are setting in. Things like, more self-possession, less emotional reactivity, more interest in others, and a greater sense of connection with all of Creation, have altered my life. I’m ripening into somebody I’ve always wanted to be, but I still keep myself, and others, on edge, because I don’t hold the whole paradox fully yet. Recently, I became aware again, of how easily I let go of being “perfect as [I] am.”I realized that my happiness hinges upon my developing, but still insufficient, ability to be “perfect” and to need “a little improvement.” Not only that, but I realize that holding myself hostage to my way of being one-sided, not only meant I couldn’t be happy with myself, but I couldn’t be happy with anyone else either. I have been a therapist, family counselor, community-builder and spiritual being, and always I relied on my ability to sense what was wrong with a situation. I have been good, and have learned how to promote growth. But, because of my one-sidedness, I have also promoted inadequacy and reliance on growth.Now, I am becoming more capable of something I could only dream of before. Instead of seeing everything in terms of either/or, I am much more capable of both/and awareness. Thanks to the reminder of my friend Xan, I know I haven’t developed this capacity through my own efforts, instead it has been grown through me, by Life. I am ripening into a more complex awareness, that lets me see that I (like everyone else) am like Creation. Creation is perfect like it is, and it has the remarkable capacity to extend its perfection into improving/evolving.As a self-identified change agent, I’ve come to a deeper level of this realization, that there is a wholeness at play, and that my best efforts only assist what is already underway. The best move I can make is to stay out of the way, and to dance happily in celebration of what is happening. Under these conditions, my happiness turns into happiness with others. Wow! What a good feeling follows!Photo by Elijah HiettRelated PostsCeremonyI’ve been captivated these last few weeks by grief and a growing sense that the quality of my life, perhaps of all life, depends in large part upon a relationship with death.Does The Road Make A Difference?I want to offer another frame: What if it is not so much the roads we choose, but the way we walk them, and the fact that we continue to walk them, that makes all the difference?Grief and PraiseThere seems to be a relationship between grief and praise. I am finding that I am experiencing more loss, thus more grief, as I am coming back to life.TweetShare20ShareEmail20 SharesTags: happiness improvement Slow Lanelast_img read more

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Obesity increases viral shedding duration in adults with influenza A

first_imgAug 2 2018Obesity, which increases influenza disease severity, also extends by about 1.5 days how long influenza A virus is shed from infected adults compared to non-obese adults, according to a multi-year study of two cohorts of Nicaraguan households. The findings implicate chronic inflammation caused by obesity as well as increasing age as reasons for extended viral shedding, which puts others at risk of infection.The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, provided primary study funding through its Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance program. University of Michigan researchers coordinated the study in collaboration with colleagues at the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health, the Sustainable Sciences Institute in Nicaragua, and the University of California-Berkeley.Related StoriesResearch team receives federal grant to study obesity in children with spina bifidaMaternal obesity may negatively affect children’s lung developmentMetabolic enzyme tied to obesity and fatty liver diseaseThe researchers monitored 1,783 people from 320 households in Managua during the three flu seasons between 2015 and 2017. Overall, 87 people became ill with influenza A and 58 with influenza B. As defined by body mass, obesity was found in 2 percent of the people up to age 4, 9 percent of those ages 5-17, and 42 percent of those ages 18-92. Obese adults with two or more symptoms of influenza A (n=62) shed the virus 42 percent longer than non-obese adults–5.2 days compared to 3.7 days. Obese adults with one or no symptoms of influenza A (n=25) shed the virus 104 percent longer than non-obese adults–3.2 days compared to 1.6 days. Obesity was not a risk factor for increased viral shedding duration in children ages 5-17 or for adults with influenza B.According to the researchers, the amount and duration of viral shedding likely affects how efficiently influenza viruses are transmitted to others. Obesity alters the immune system and leads to chronic inflammation, which also is known to increase with age. The authors propose that chronic inflammation caused by obesity may be responsible for increased influenza A viral shedding. The researchers are continuing to study the correlation between obesity, inflammation and viruses. However, they note that reducing obesity rates could be an important target to limit the spread of viral infectious diseases. The study also notes that obesity rates range widely throughout the world: in 2014 adult obesity in the United States was 35.5 percent, compared to 17.4 percent in Nicaragua and 4.4 percent in other low-income countries.​Source: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/news-events/obesity-extends-duration-influenza-virus-sheddinglast_img read more

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Abnormal levels of metabolites can reliably predict lung disease in 911 firefighters

first_img decreases in sphingolipids, such as sphingosine 1-phosphate, a fat that has previously been linked to higher rates of asthma and found to trigger inflammation; declines in branched-chain amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, including leucine and valine, whose supplementation has in previous research been shown to counter chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); increases in levels of stress hormones, especially vanillylmandelate, which may lead to elevated levels of fatty acids, potentially inducing inflammation. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 4 2018Abnormal levels of more than two dozen metabolites -; chemicals produced in the body as it breaks down fats, proteins and carbohydrates -; can reliably predict which Sept. 11 firefighters developed lung disease and which did not, a new analysis shows.Researchers say the results, published by NYU School of Medicine researchers in the journal BMJ Open Respiratory Research online Sept. 4, could lead to metabolic tests for early detection of lung damage in all disaster victims exposed to fine particles from fire, smoke, and toxic chemicals, not just 9/11 firefighters.The study, researchers say, offers the first evidence that metabolite blood tests conducted within months of the disaster could still help in the detection of obstructive airway disease, or OAD. Such analysis could aid in diagnosing OAD in the roughly 9,000 firefighters exposed to toxic chemicals at the World Trade Center (WTC) on Sept. 11, 2001, or during the cleanup that followed.Senior study investigator Anna Nolan, MD, says the team hopes to develop a precise chemical profile of firefighters most at risk of developing OAD -; including asthma, chronic bronchitis, and/or emphysema -; by analyzing fluid samples from 9/11 firefighters not included in the current study.Nolan, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at NYU Langone Health, says her team’s findings raise the possibility that correcting metabolic imbalances -; through dietary changes or food supplements -; could ward off or even reverse loss of lung function. Already, the team has plans to test a low-calorie Mediterranean diet, known for its ability to rebalance the body’s metabolites, for its potential effects on the firefighters’ lung health.”Healthy lung function is essential for everyone, but especially firefighters, to carry out their work,” says Nolan. She says all firefighters, including those exposed to toxic chemicals on or after 9/11, are routinely monitored through annual physical and medical exams, and “decreases in their lungs’ strength to inhale or blow out air are a sign of respiratory ill health.”Related StoriesOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchChaos in the house and asthma in children – the connectionNolan says previous research has shown that nearly one in 10 firefighters exposed to dust at the WTC site is showing signs of lung injury. She says the WTC dust was laden with dangerous heavy metals, such as chromium and mercury, in addition to powdered concrete and toxic fibrous glass, asbestos, and components of jet fuel. When firefighters inhaled some of the dust at the disaster site, she says, it amounted to a slow chemical burning of their lung tissue that, in turn, led to chronic inflammation and lung injury.For the current study, led by co-investigators George Crowley and Sophia Kwon, DO, MPH, the NYU Langone team analyzed blood levels of 580 metabolites frequently found in the body. All samples came from 9/11 firefighters who were tested within seven months of the disaster, and whose lung function has been tested annually ever since. Researchers matched 15 firefighters whose lung function had sharply declined by 2015 with 15 whose lung function had remained healthy, despite similar levels of exposure to WTC dust. Advanced computer software was then used to analyze the large volume of metabolite data.When researchers plotted all metabolites on graphs, various chemical groups stood out as highly predictive of the majority of cases of OAD and lung injury.Key among them were: Nolan says it is likely that metabolic imbalances contribute to the chronic inflammation that underlies most OAD and lung injury.​center_img Source:https://nyulangone.org/last_img read more

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Muscle protein may beef up bones after exercise

first_imgWe know that not exercising takes a toll on our bones; it’s part of the reason astronauts suffer dramatic bone loss (shown in artist’s illustration above.) But how does exercise prevent this, specifically? To find out, researchers investigated a hormone known as irisin. Previous research found that exercise prompts muscles to secrete this protein fragment into the bloodstream, and that it may help burn fat by causing energy-storing white fat cells to act like energy-burning brown fat cells, although its activity in humans is still controversial. The team gave mice weekly injections of irisin for a month, then conducted a series of tests to gauge the size and strength of their shin and thigh bones. Cortical bone—one of the two types of bone tissue—was stronger in the treated mice than the controls, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (For example, the bones of treated mice scored an average of 19% higher on a measure of the ability to resist twisting stress, known as the polar moment of inertia.) They don’t yet know which receptors irisin interacts with, but they suggest it prompts the production of proteins that in turn increase the expression of key genes—those that drive immature cells to differentiate into osteoblasts, which synthesize new bone. If more research can demonstrate a similar effect in humans, the authors say, irisin could offer a new therapy for osteoporosis.last_img read more

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3D printing soft body parts A hard problem that just got easier

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country To form the matrix, scientists push the liquid molecules through a printer nozzle and then cross-link them into gels of various consistencies through exposure to chemicals or stimuli such as light. But the mixtures tend to flow away or collapse before they can stiffen into the elaborate shapes required for functioning organs. To solve this problem, Feinberg and his colleagues decided to try printing their gels in a slurry made of blended collagen. Their new approach—called freeform reversible embedding of suspended hydrogels (FRESH)—worked. The collagen slurry, semisolid at room temperature, held printed objects in place until they hardened. And because the melting point of the slurry is much lower than that of the objects, it melted away once the temperature was raised to 37°C (99°F), they report today in Science Advances. In the same journal last month, Thomas Angelini’s lab at UF described a similar printing method using a support gel made of synthetic materials, which they washed off with water.To put the FRESH system through its paces, Feinberg and his colleagues printed replicas of real organs based on magnetic resonance imaging and microscopy images. Their creations included a miniature human brain and a scaled-up heart of a baby chicken, both printed to about the size of a quarter. They also made a branching pattern of arteries with walls less than one millimeter thick. The team printed structures in a variety of materials, including collagen and fibrin—both structural proteins found in the human body—and a seaweed-derived substance called alginate that is widely used as a thickening or structural agent in food, industry, and medicine. Whereas the more complex structures were made of a single material, the FRESH system can also print multiple materials simultaneously.Jonathan Butcher, a biomedical engineer at Cornell University who is using another method to develop 3D-printed heart valves, found the artery tree particularly impressive. “I don’t know if we can make that geometry with our approach,” Butcher says. “The material complexity that they’ve been able to fabricate is really stunning.”What’s more, Feinberg and his colleagues did it on the cheap, using open-source machinery and software. They started with an inexpensive commercial printer, and used it to make their own custom extruder heads. Now, other researchers will be able to make a basic FRESH setup for less than $500, says Thomas Hinton, a graduate student in Feinberg’s lab and first author of the study.The next major hurdle for FRESH is incorporating live cells into their gel matrix. Feinberg and his colleagues have already demonstrated that cells can survive the FRESH process by printing a sheet of muscle cells in a simple sheet. But the model organs described in the paper contained no cells, and they only mimicked the outside surface of body parts. In order to function in the body, printed tissues need complex internal structures populated with living cells, or, in some cases, layers of cells on scaffolds.The researchers are currently working to incorporate live cells into their matrices to create functional heart muscle, Feinberg says. Their next goal is to develop heart muscle “patches” that would repair heart defects. In the short term, such artificial tissues could help researchers study disease processes and test new drugs in the lab. Eventually, printed heart muscle might repair damage from a heart attack and help pump a living person’s blood. Meanwhile,  Feinberg says he wants to make his method as widely available as possible. “I hope other people will take this up and run with it,” he says. “Even in ways I can’t imagine.” Humans are squishy. That’s a problem for researchers trying to construct artificial tissues and organs, and one that two separate teams of engineers may have just solved. Using a dish of goo the consistency of mayonnaise as a supporting “bath,” a team led by biomedical engineer Adam Feinberg at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, can now print 3D biological materials that don’t collapse under their own weight as they form—a difficulty that has long stood in the way of printing soft body parts. Once printed, the structures are stiff enough to support themselves, and they can be retrieved by melting away the supportive goo. The other team, from the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville, has a similar system for printing, but without the slick trick of the melting goo.The Carnegie Mellon team’s body parts—which include models of brains and hearts—are more intricate than anything created before, says Anthony Atala, a tissue engineer and director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who was not involved in either project. “I think it’s a very nice strategy that will open up even more avenues for future development and research,” Atala says.To date, that research has largely been geared to using rigid 3D-printed materials as prosthetics, some of which are even implanted in peoples’ bodies. They take many forms, from titanium plates that replace missing chunks of skull to dissolvable tracheal splints that hold open collapsed airways. Several groups have been working to extend this success to create squishier tissues, with the initial structure crafted in watery gels composed of loosely linked sugars or proteins. This matrix would then form the support for growing cells, with live cells either printed in the gel or added afterward.center_img Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more

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Giant shipworms discovered hiding in sulfurous lagoons

first_img By Ryan CrossApr. 17, 2017 , 3:00 PM Giant shipworms discovered hiding in sulfurous lagoons Digging 3 meters down into the dark marine mud of a former log storage pond in Mindanao, Philippines, scientists have discovered five live specimens of an elusive creature previously known only through the 1- to 1.5-meter-long calcium carbonate shells it left behind. By carefully chipping away at the end of a chalky tube (seen in photo above), researchers found a long, black, wormlike mass oozing from its casing—the first live specimen of the giant shipworm Kuphus polythalamia. The animal’s length makes it the longest of any living bivalve, a class of typically small critters including clams, oysters, and scallops. And as far as shipworms go, which usually burrow into and feed on wood from ships or sunken trees, K. polythalamia is unique for squatting down and making a home in ocean mud. A look at their digestive tracts indicates that these creatures don’t eat—or poop—a whole lot, the researchers report today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Wood-munching microbes on the sea floor expel hydrogen sulfide, the molecule responsible for the distinctive smell of rotting eggs. A different set of microbes living in the gills of K. polythalamia uses this hydrogen sulfide as an energy source to make carbon molecules that help sustain their shipworm host. The researchers suggest that studying the shipworms’ transition from eating wood to relying on sulfur might help illuminate the evolution of animals such as deep sea mussels and giant tube worms that consume hydrogen sulfide from hydrothermal vents on deep ocean sea floors.center_img Marvin Altamira last_img read more

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Hawaii Supreme Court rules in favor of giant telescope

first_img TMT International Observatory Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Artist’s impression of the Thirty Meter Telescope Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Science News StaffOct. 30, 2018 , 10:35 PMcenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Hawaii Supreme Court rules in favor of giant telescope The Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii has cleared the way for astronomers to build one of the world’s largest telescopes atop the Mauna Kea volcano. In a 4-1 ruling, the justices rejected an effort by groups representing native Hawaiians to block a 2017 decision by state regulators to issue a permit to build the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). But telescope backers will still need to decide whether to move forward with the project, which is expected to cost more than $1 billion.The ruling caps years of controversy and legal wrangling over the TMT. Some native Hawaiian groups objected to the project, saying it would mar a mountaintop they consider sacred. In 2015, protestors blocked roads to the site, preventing the start of construction. Legal action by opponents then forced state officials to reconsider a key permit for the project, but last year the telescope’s backers, which include the University of Hawaii (UH), again secured permission to move ahead. Today’s 73-page ruling upholds that decision.“We are excited to move forward in Hawaii and will continue to respect and follow state and county regulations, as we determine our next steps,” Henry Yang, chair of the TMT International Observatory Board of Governors, said in a statement. The decision is “disheartening,” Kealoha Pisciotta, a member of one of the plaintiff groups, Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, told Big Island Video News.Hawaii Governor David Ige (D) and UH leaders praised the court’s decision. “We will ensure that this project is accomplished appropriately and with deepest respect for the awesomeness of Maunakea,” said UH President David Lassner in a statement. “The high court reviewed thousands of pages of documents and testimony over many years, so it’s difficult to imagine the monumental task the justices had in reaching this decision,” Ige added. “We believe this decision is fair and right and will continue to keep Hawaii at the forefront of astronomy.”The TMT organization’s statement did not say when construction might resume and it noted there are still number of regulatory steps to complete. Prior to today’s decision, TMT officials had considered moving the project to Spain’s Canary Islands.last_img read more

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Mysterious childhood brain illness in Africa shows surprising similarity to Alzheimers

first_img Mysterious childhood brain illness in Africa shows surprising similarity to Alzheimer’s A 2012 image from Uganda shows an 11-year-old boy suffering from nodding syndrome. Email A disease mystery with no shortage of leads now has an intriguing new one. Since the 1960s, thousands of children in poor, war-torn regions of East Africa have developed epilepsy-like seizures in which their heads bob to their chest; over time, the seizures worsen, cognitive problems develop, and the victims ultimately die. Researchers have proposed causes for nodding syndrome that include malnutrition, parasites, and viruses, but have not proved a clear link to any of them. Now, the first published examination of the brains of children who died after developing the condition suggests it has a key similarity to certain brain diseases of old age, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s: It leaves victims’ brains riddled with fibrous tangles containing a protein called tau.”Nodding syndrome is a tauopathy,” concludes Michael Pollanen, a pathologist at the University of Toronto in Canada who is lead author of a report published last month in Acta Neuropathologica. Pollanen believes the finding “suggests a totally new line of investigation” into the syndrome. As significant as the discovery of the tangles may be what his group of Canadian and Ugandan researchers didn’t find: any sign of the brain inflammation that might be triggered by a parasite or virus. “Our hypothesis is that nodding syndrome is a neurodegenerative disease, like Alzheimer’s,” Pollanen says.Some who study the condition are skeptical, but the possibility excites researchers working on other tauopathies including Alzheimer’s. Childhood forms of those diseases are exceedingly rare, but the nodding syndrome finding “means [tau deposition] is not an age-dependent problem,” says John Hardy, of the UK Dementia Research Institute at University College London. Something else must have triggered the tauopathy in these children. And because nodding syndrome struck a small region of East Africa, over a specific time period—in Uganda, the condition appears to be vanishing—its trigger might be relatively easy to identify, and could shed light on the causes of diseases like Alzheimer’s, Hardy and others say. JAMES AKENA/REUTERS Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Laura SpinneyDec. 19, 2018 , 4:30 PM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe First, though, the researchers need to convince others who have studied nodding syndrome for years that they are right. Originally reported in Tanzania, the disease spread to what is now South Sudan in the 1990s and to northern Uganda after 1998. Uganda has reported 3000 cases, but no new ones since 2014. The current study was done on the brains of five Ugandan children who fell ill while living in camps for internally displaced persons between 2005 and 2010, when Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army was terrorizing the region, and later died.The brains are among a dozen obtained by U.S. and Ugandan researchers between 2014 and 2017, overcoming challenges such as persuading relatives, harvesting the organs promptly after death, and transporting them from remote areas in a tropical climate. Initial investigations done in the United States were never published—it’s not clear why—and the brains were returned to Uganda, where Pollanen’s group studied all 12. They hope to publish their analyses of the remaining seven soon.The current paper is thin on detail and lacks important controls, cautions neurologist Avindra Nath of the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Maryland, who has studied nodding syndrome. It does not describe the brain pathology in children from the same population who died of other forms of epilepsy, for example.Robert Colebunders, an infectious disease expert at the University of Antwerp in Belgium who has long worked on nodding syndrome, says he has still-unpublished postmortem findings from seven children who fell ill at the same time, in the same camps, but survived longer because they received better care and experienced fewer seizures. None of them shows tauopathy, he says. “My conclusion is that tau [deposition] is a consequence of seizures, not a cause.”Colebunders favors a long-standing theory that the ultimate cause of nodding syndrome is infection by a parasitic worm called Onchocerca volvulus, which is endemic to the same regions. There is no evidence that the worm itself penetrates the brain, but last year, Nath and others proposed that a protein in the worm triggers the production of antibodies that attack a similar protein on neurons, in a misdirected autoimmune response.It’s dangerous to propose that nodding syndrome is a neurodegenerative disease, Colebunders says, because it could divert resources away from much-needed efforts to eradicate the worm and to improve care for children with the illness. “With good care and nutrition, the epilepsy can be controlled and the children can go back to school without suffering any cognitive deficit,” he says.But Peter Spencer, a neurotoxicologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, suspects the worm is a bystander. He suggests it opportunistically infects people who have another condition that also triggers seizures and tau deposition. How it all fits together is unclear, but tau gives investigators one more piece of the puzzle, Spencer says. “We have an opportunity here to discover the primary cause of this disease, and then to do primary prevention.” Not only will that benefit affected children, Spencer adds, “It will potentially open up our understanding of other tauopathies, too.”last_img read more

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Three in four female physics undergrads report sexual harassment

first_img Fully three in four U.S. undergraduate women majoring in physics reported being sexually harassed over a 2-year period ending in 2017, according to a new paper in Physical Review Physics Education Research.That year, scholars surveyed more than 450 undergraduate women attending conferences sponsored by the American Physical Society. They represented a significant chunk of female physics undergraduates, considering that in 2015—the most recent year for which data are available—1349 women received bachelor’s degrees in physics.Questioned about specific forms of harassment, 68% reported experiencing sexist remarks such as “women aren’t as good at physics” or being treated differently, ignored, or put down because of their gender. Fifty-one percent said they endured sexual jokes; were the object of sexual remarks about their bodies, appearance, or clothing; or had their sexual activity discussed. And 24% reported receiving unwanted sexual attention. By Meredith WadmanApr. 23, 2019 , 1:45 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img The study found that experiencing harassment significantly predicted feelings of not belonging and of being an imposter, both of which are linked to students leaving scientific disciplines. Indeed, the harassment may help explain why only 18% of undergraduate U.S. physics majors are women. “Thirty years of literature [demonstrate] that the more women are harassed in a field, the more they contemplate leaving and ultimately leave,” the authors write, citing a landmark 2018 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.The first author on the new study is Lauren Aycock, a science and technology policy fellow with AAAS in Washington, D.C., which publishes Science. Email Three in four female physics undergrads report sexual harassmentlast_img read more

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South Texas Law Review Gets 1st Black EditorInChief

first_img2L Kenesha Starling earned the esteemed role as the first black editor-in-chief of South Texas Law Review, shattering a nearly 100-year-old glass ceiling at Houston’s oldest law school. Read more >> https://t.co/E8DuyvS6zF pic.twitter.com/IWd9lmrQ1N SUBSCRIBE Education , Kenesha Starling , Law , South Texas College of Law Houston , South Texas Law Review Entertainment, News and Lifestyle for Black America. News told by us for us. Black America’s #1 News Source: Our News. Our Voice. Kenesha Starling is the first African American to be named editor-in-chief of the South Texas Law Review in the school’s 96-year history. The institution is Houston’s oldest law school. Starling— who is working towards completing her final year in law school—has a lot of experience in both the business and law sectors. Throughout her journey, she’s balanced working full-time for a federal agency, pursuing her educational goals, and motherhood.In her new role, she hopes to bring diverse narratives within the legal community to the forefront. “Our school has a rich and impressive history; our alumni are Texas Supreme Court justices, judges, U.S. and district attorneys, and presidents of state and local bar associations, to name a few,” she said in a statement. “Our Law Review should reflect that same culture; it should be a leading resource for the legal community. It is not enough to be on Law Review — we have to increase our presence and open doors for all the law students who follow our stead as the esteemed South Texas Law Review.”Starling is fully aware of the responsibility that comes with being the first Black editor-in-chief and does not take her appointment lightly. She says she wants to do her best to open doors for others who look like her to follow in her footsteps. STCL faculty members believe that her appointment is a major step towards fostering diversity.Black women are stepping into leadership positions at prestigious colleges and universities. In November 2018, Kristine E. Guillaume was appointed to lead the Harvard Crimson; making her the first African American woman to become president of the paper since it launched in 1873. SEE ALSO:Yale University Elects First Black Student Body PresidentHarvard Crimson Appoints First Black Woman President Thanks for signing up! Get ready for Exclusive content, Interviews,and Breaking news delivered direct to your inbox. Get ready for Exclusive content, Interviews,and Breaking news delivered direct to your inbox. Black Twitter Is Split On Reparations After Contentious House Hearing — STCL Houston (@STCL_Houston) June 12, 2019 House Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing On American Slavery Reparations Black students across the country are making historic moves in academia. Just weeks after it was announced that Yale University elected its first-ever Black student body president, South Texas College of Law Houston has appointed its first Black editor for its law review publication, the National Jurist reported.last_img read more

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House Democrats gear up to block planned move of USDA research agencies

first_img *Update, 20 December, noon: A group of influential Democratic legislators has signaled their desire to overturn Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s plan to relocate and realign two research agencies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) once their party takes control of the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2019.Today, the legislators introduced a bill (HR 7330) that would keep the National Institute on Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Economic Research Service (ERS) in the Washington, D.C., area. USDA has received 136 bids from communities wishing to host the two agencies, and Perdue has said he hopes to select a winner in late January 2019. The bill would also block the secretary’s plan to move ERS from under the head of research, education, and economics to the office of chief economist.The legislation has no chance of being passed by the current Congress, which is expected to finish its business this week. But the lineup of sponsors—which include lawmakers in line to lead both the House appropriations committee and its agriculture panel, as well as the next House majority leader—suggests it will be a Democratic priority in 2019. By Jeffrey Mervis House Democrats gear up to block planned move of USDA research agencies Related story Researchers split on who should oversee USDA statistical office “We thank the bill’s sponsors for their leadership and commend their championing of evidence-based policymaking, as well as food and agricultural research,” said Lisa LaVange, president of the American Statistical Association in Alexandria, Virginia, which has spearheaded community opposition to the USDA plan. “We look forward to working with them and all members of the 116th Congress to ensure the agencies best serve the nation and its taxpayers.”Here is our original story, which ran on 17 December:Agricultural scientists are deeply unhappy with a plan by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to move two of its research agencies out of Washington, D.C. However, to date, their objections have gone largely unheeded, as the scientists find themselves outmaneuvered politically and lacking the clout to convince Congress to intervene. Instead, USDA hopes to pick a new location by the end of next month and complete the moves by the end of 2019.On 9 August, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced plans to relocate the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in Washington, D.C., USDA’s primary source of competitive grants for academic research, and the Economic Research Service (ERS), its major in-house research and statistical office. He also said that ERS would be reporting to the department’s chief economist (see sidebar) rather than its undersecretary for research, education, and economics (REE), which also oversees NIFA and the Agricultural Research Service. In a shrewd political tactic, Perdue simultaneously invited communities to compete for the opportunity to host the two agencies and gain the 700 jobs that would be transferred.Perdue said the move would bring those agencies closer to the farmers and ranchers who ultimately benefit from the research that NIFA funds and the analyses and number crunching that ERS conducts. He also claimed the move would save money through cheaper rent and enable USDA to attract and retain top scientists now repelled by the high cost of living in the nation’s capital.But many researchers say those reasons don’t make sense. “All of them are bogus,” says Sonny Ramaswamy, an entomologist who stepped down this May after leading NIFA for 6 years. “The entire rationale offered by Secretary Perdue is based on false assumptions and zero data.”One such erroneous assumption, researchers say, is that the two agencies directly serve farmers and ranchers. Although the government hopes the research NIFA funds will ultimately improve agricultural practices and productivity, the land-grant colleges and universities that conduct the research are NIFA’s actual constituency. Similarly, ERS reports are aimed at senior USDA officials, members of Congress, and Washington, D.C.–based think tanks involved in agriculture and nutrition, not a lay audience.The proposal is not simply wrong-headed, opponents add. Instead of seeing the benefits that Perdue claims, researchers predict that productivity at the two agencies would plummet, not improve because talented scientists would leave rather than move to a different city.“The most likely result is that you’ll lose a lot of good people,” says Joseph Glauber, former chief economist at USDA and now a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C. “I’ve already been asked to write several letters of recommendation for ERS people [applying for another job], and that’s really disappointing.”Draining the swampWhy is Perdue trying to move NIFA and ERS out of Washington, D.C.? The simple answer is that he can.Perdue, a Republican and former two-term governor from Georgia, has been busy reworking the sprawling agency since taking office in April 2017. Within a month he had created an undersecretary of trade position to reflect one of the priorities of President Donald Trump, erasing a similar slot for rural development. Last fall, he consolidated several offices dealing with commodity procurement and outreach efforts.Moving NIFA and ERS continues that effort, which aligns with Trump’s management directives to restructure the federal government. It is also consistent with calls from many Republican legislators to “drain the swamp,” including a bill (S. 2592) by Senator Joni Ernst (R–IA) that would encourage Washington, D.C.–based federal agencies to relocate their operations outside the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.The announcement caught the research community completely by surprise. Its leaders say Perdue’s refusal to consult with them ahead of time was disappointing, but not surprising. It’s symptomatic of the field’s second-class status within the federal research hierarchy, they add.“It’s embarrassing how little the government spends on basic agricultural research,” says Jack Payne, senior vice president for the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in Gainesville. As proof, he contrasts the $400 million budget for the competitive grants program within NIFA with the $32 billion given the National Institutes of Health and the $6 billion research budget of the National Science Foundation.Food and plant scientists say the move would worsen the years of fiscal neglect by the federal government for their field. Of the major research agencies, agriculture is the only sector in which investment has shrunk over the past decade in constant dollars. “This move will weaken our agricultural system at a time when the world is facing a growing challenge to feed 10 billion people [the projected global population in 2050],” Payne argues.Catherine Woteki, who served as chief scientist and REE undersecretary at USDA for most of former President Barack Obama’s administration, is one of three dozen prominent agricultural scientists and economists who have signed a letter opposing the relocation and urging Congress to force USDA to weigh the pros and cons before acting. But she understands Perdue’s political calculus.“They are two small, research-oriented agencies, and research is not at the top of the agenda for this administration,” Woteki says. “He doesn’t have to worry about pushback from any of the food and agricultural organizations that have the president’s ear.”Perdue chose a time of transition within the department’s research programs to launch his plan. Ramaswamy’s successor at NIFA, soil scientist Scott Angle, didn’t take office until 29 October. USDA hasn’t had a Senate-confirmed undersecretary for REE, which also oversees the Agricultural Research Service, since Woteki left at the end of the Obama administration. And the same day Perdue announced his relocation strategy, he abruptly transferred the longtime ERS administrator, Mary Bohman, to another USDA agency, leaving an acting administrator at the helm.Scott Hutchins, an entomologist who retired this fall from Corteva Agriscience, the agricultural division of DowDupont in Indianapolis, was nominated on 16 July as chief scientist and research undersecretary. In his 28 November confirmation hearing, he made it clear that he’s on the same page as his boss regarding the restructuring.“From what I have read, I believe that the secretary’s goals are the right goals, to be effective, efficient, and customer-focused,” he said. “My priority would be to ensure that the science is not affected and the collaborative spirit [among the agencies] that now exists is not affected.”Hutchins also assured lawmakers that he’s up to the task. “The experience I’ve had with corporate mergers and closing of facilities and large activities will serve me well,” he said. “Anything can be managed, and this has to be managed well.”Can Perdue be stopped?Many scientists hold a decidedly less rosy view. Since Perdue’s announcement, the community has mounted an aggressive campaign to slow the process. They’re hoping sympathetic legislators will put language into a pending spending bill that would prohibit USDA from moving forward without conducting an independent analysis of the impact of the relocation and realignment. If that strategy fails, Plan B is to wait until after a winner is chosen and hope legislators from states who lost out will be more willing to take a critical look at the reshuffling.In the meantime, the agency’s inspector general is looking into whether USDA has the legal and budget authority to relocate and reorganize NIFA and ERS. “The administration’s motivations for the proposed relocations appear suspicious,” said Representative Steny Hoyer (D–MD) and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D–DC), the two Washington, D.C.–area legislators who requested the investigation, which is expected to take several more weeks. “We are also concerned about the harm this proposal would cause to the USDA’s mission and its impact on over 700 federal employees.”However, the concern expressed by the research community has been partly undermined by the fact that dozens of land-grant universities are now vying to host the two agencies. USDA says it has received interest from 136 communities in 35 states, and many of the applications include a university partner. Many scientists think Perdue is betting that the chance to win such a national competition will neutralize any Democratic opposition in Congress to the relocation. And his strategy seems to be working.Payne recounts a recent visit to Capitol Hill. “One legislator told me, ‘I share your concern. But I’ve got three applications in from my district and I can’t go up against their interests.’”Members of Congress aren’t the only ones with divided loyalties. The competition has left many agriculture deans in “an untenable position,” notes a 6 September letter to lawmakers from Payne and other opponents of the move. “Many land-grant administrators will feel obligated to submit [bids] or support state [bids],” the letter notes, even as they “question the impact” of a move on NIFA.“People should be ashamed of themselves, for all lining up to get this,” says Ramaswamy, now president of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities in Redmond, Washington. “But I have to hand it to Sonny Perdue. He’s a brilliant tactician, and he knows that politicians are absolutely drooling over the prospect of having hundreds of well-paid federal employees in their district or state.”Food scientist John Floros can well imagine being caught in that scenario—and what his response would be. As the new president of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, Floros has signed onto the most recent letter opposing the move. But until July he was dean of agriculture at Kansas State University in Manhattan, which this fall joined in a bid to host the two agencies.“If I were still dean at K-State, I probably would have been told that this is going to happen,” Floros explains. “Then I would have been asked, ‘Do you want to be part of it?’ And most likely I would have sent in a proposal.”Floros and other signers of the letter say one important reason to keep NIFA in Washington, D.C., is so that agricultural scientists and university administrators can visit other federal research agencies at the same time they meet with NIFA program managers. NIFA’s location, they add, also facilitates joint research initiatives between it and other agencies to tackle problems that require a transdisciplinary approach.Floros also worries that moving NIFA would “perpetuate the myth that agriculture research is somehow separate from the rest of science” and reduce its visibility on the national stage. “Out of sight, out of mind,” he says.More to the point, this year Trump proposed slashing ERS’s budget by 48%. Such a drastic cut would have cut its 320-person workforce by more than half and eliminated research and statistical analysis relating to rural development, food assistance and nutrition programs, and international food security.Congressional appropriators rejected those cuts and have proposed a $1 million increase, to $87 million. But many scientists see Perdue’s proposal as a backdoor way to achieve the same reductions—at least in the short term—by assuming that a significant proportion of ERS employees won’t make the move.“It’s hard to read it as anything other than a way to cut ERS,” says Glauber about Perdue’s plan. “As far as I’m concerned, there’s no good rationale for it.” Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email By Jeffrey MervisDec. 20, 2018 , 12:00 PM iStock.com/maomspv Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) A plan to move two U.S. agencies that fund farm research and track agricultural statistics out of Washington, D.C., has drawn opposition from researchers. Should agricultural economists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, D.C., continue to report to the department’s chief economist, or would it be better if they served under its head of research? It depends which scientists you ask.Leaders of the U.S. food and plant science community (see mainbar) are aggressively fighting a proposal by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to relocate the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Economic Research Service (ERS) outside Washington, D.C., saying it would cripple the two research agencies. Perdue also plans to place ERS under the auspices of the department’s chief economist rather than the undersecretary for research, education, and economics (REE), where it has sat since a 1993 departmental reorganization. And although most of those research leaders also oppose that idea, several economists say the realignment is a more nuanced issue with no simple answers.“There are a lot of pros and cons, and I’m in the middle,” admits economist Sally Thompson, who recently retired after a long career in academia and government, including at ERS. “To me, it makes sense for ERS to stay within REE because it’s a research and statistical agency. But it is also very important for ERS to maintain a good relationship with the chief economist.”Resisting pressureERS is one of 13 statistical agencies within the federal government. USDA contains two of them—ERS and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). NASS conducts surveys on the production and supplies of food and fiber, whereas ERS’s mission is to anticipate “trends and emerging issues in agriculture, food, the environment, and rural America … and conduct high-quality, objective economic research” to inform policymakers within USDA and across the nation.The guidelines for federal statistical agencies emphasize the importance of allowing them to operate in “an environment that is clearly separate and autonomous from the other administrative, regulatory, law enforcement, or policy-making activities within their respective departments.” The goal is to avoid politicizing their activities and bending their results to serve one side of any partisan debate. But striking the right balance is a perennial challenge for every administration.“As REE undersecretary I had to stand up and tell the secretary that ERS would be releasing the data on time, when the chief economist may have wanted to have it delayed because the timing may have conflict with something that the secretary was doing,” says Catherine Woteki, who headed REE for 6 years during former President Barack Obama’s administration and who is helping lead the opposition to the relocation. “And on more than one occasion I was chewed out by the secretary for sticking to the [release] schedule we had announced. That happens to the head of statistical agencies from time to time.”Joseph Glauber, who joined ERS in 1984 and retired from USDA in 2014 after 14 years as deputy and 7 years as its chief economist, agrees that ERS “needs an advocate.” But he doesn’t think its independence and integrity would be threatened by putting it under the chief economist. And he sees one big advantage in bringing it into the secretary’s office.“ERS’s comparative advantage is its proximity both to the data and to policymakers,” says Glauber, now a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C. “And all the secretaries that I’ve served under asked the same question: Why don’t they report to you?” Both Glauber and Thompson think moving ERS and NIFA outside Washington, D.C., is a bad idea. But they find it odd that Woteki and many others agricultural researchers argue ERS would be politicized by moving into the chief economist’s office. The REE undersecretary is a political appointee, they note, whereas the chief economist is a career civil servant.“Everybody in the department ultimately reports to a political appointee,” Glauber says. “What’s important is that its boss back ERS and defend its research.”Finding a homeThe debate over where ERS fits on USDA’s organizational chart isn’t new. A 1999 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that its location “is not conducive to its mission to provide research and information support for the economic policy mandate of USDA.”The report complained that “the chief economist … has no direct line of authority” to what it called the department’s “greatest concentration of talent” for providing economic advice to policymakers. Its remedy was to have both ERS and NASS report to the chief economist.That idea was ignored. “I wanted advice on how to run a social science research agency, and they made several recommendations that we adopted,” says Susan Offutt, who as ERS administrator requested the report. “I didn’t ask them to look at reorganization because it was a settled issue,” she adds. “So that part of their report didn’t go anywhere.”Offutt says the recommendation reflects “nostalgia” for an earlier USDA organizational chart in which ERS did report to the assistant secretary for economics. “But they didn’t think about the advantages of having a research agency within REE,” says Offutt, who agrees with Woteki that Perdue’s reshuffling will weaken ERS. “REE was created to make sure that the research USDA funds is credible, high-quality, and useful to policymakers.” In contrast, she says, the role of the chief economist is to support the priorities of the agriculture secretary and his boss, in this case, President Donald Trump.Thompson, an agricultural economist who served on the 1999 National Academies panel, thinks the debate over ERS’s place within USDA is a proxy for the community’s fear that the Trump administration doesn’t care enough about the health of the government’s statistical agencies. “This proposal does not appear to be well thought out and supported by solid evidence,” she says. “I think that’s what people are really worried about. If it were just about a new alignment, I think that we could all find a way to get along.”last_img read more

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The gluey tentacles of comb jellies may have revealed when nerve cells

first_img Andrey Nekrasov/Alamy Stock Photo By Elizabeth PennisiJan. 10, 2019 , 1:35 PM Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) TAMPA, FLORIDA—Swimming through the oceans, voraciously consuming plankton and other small creatures—and occasionally startling a swimmer—the beautiful gelatinous masses known as comb jellies won’t be joining Mensa anytime soon. But these fragile creatures have nerve cells—and they offer insights about the evolutionary origins of all nervous systems, including our own. Inspired by studies of a glue-secreting cell unique to these plankton predators, researchers have now proposed that neurons emerged in the last common ancestor of today’s animals—and that their progenitors were secretory cells, whose primary function was to release chemicals into the environment.Joseph Ryan, a computational evolutionary biologist the University of Florida Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience in St. Augustine, suggested that scenario last year after tracing the development of nerve cells in embryos of comb jellies, among the most ancient animals. Earlier this week at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) here, he marshaled evidence from developmental studies of other animals, all pointing to common origins for some neuron and secretory cells.“What Ryan is proposing is novel and important,” says David Plachetzki, an evolutionary biologist at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Among other mysteries, it could resolve a long debate about whether the nervous system evolved twice early in animal life. The gluey tentacles of comb jellies may have revealed when nerve cells first evolvedcenter_img Today, nerve cells are among the most specialized cell types in the body, able to transmit electrical signals, for example. Some versions talk to each other, others relay information from the environment to the brain, and still more send directives to muscles and other parts of the body. They are also an almost universal feature of animals; only sponges and placozoans, an obscure group of tiny creatures with the simplest of animal structures, lack them.When and how the animal nervous system arose has remained murky, however. Ryan and Whitney lab postdoctoral fellow Leslie Babonis were drawn into the debate by their recent analysis of the developmental origin of the colloblast, a specialized cell unique to most comb jellies. Studding the tentacles of comb jellies, the cells secrete glue that grabs passing prey.By tracing the development of individual cells in comb jelly embryos and monitoring each cell’s gene activity, Babonis discovered that colloblasts arise from the same progenitor cells as the animal’s nerve cells. “That was not expected at all,” recalls Ryan, whose team published those results on 30 August 2018 in Molecular Biology and Evolution.Since then, however, he’s learned of additional studies pointing to common origins for neurons and other secretory cells in embryonic development—and perhaps in evolution. In his talk at the SICB meeting, he noted that one team showed more than 25 years ago that the stinging cells of jellyfish, another specialized secretory cell type, arise from the same embryonic precursors as the animal’s nerve cells. He cited similar evidence for hydra and fruit flies. “It’s a really generalizable thing,” he says.The finding could settle a long-standing debate. In 2013, a research team analyzing the newly sequenced genome of a comb jelly known as the sea gooseberry (Pleurobrachia bachei) discovered it was missing multiple genes active in the nervous systems of most animals: certain Hox genes, which control development, and the gene for the neurotransmitter serotonin. That discovery led the team to propose that comb jellies evolved a nervous system independently from almost all other animals. But many wondered how something so complex could have evolved twice.Finding a common developmental source for neurons in comb jellies, jellyfish, and many other branches of life suggests it didn’t, Ryan and others now say. The work shows “the platform upon which the nervous system was built was there” in the last common ancestor of animals, says Timothy Jegla, a neurobiologist at Pennsylvania State University in University Park. “Relatively simple reprogramming [of] stem cells during development can lead to whole new cell types and tissues, and the nervous system is probably just another example of that.” Other researchers, however, say it’s still possible that nerve cells had multiple origins after the last common ancestor, each time arising from the same stem cell lineage.Next, Ryan, Babonis, and Whitney lab neurophysiologist Yuriy Bobkov hope to learn how progenitor cells develop into neurons by studying a simple sensory organ—the “warts” of the warty comb jelly, or sea walnut (Mnemiopsis leidyi). Recent work shows that each wart contains about 500 nerve and muscle cells that react to light, the smell of fish, and mechanical stimuli. Warts regenerate if cut off, and by tracing gene activity of their cells as they regrow and specialize, Ryan hopes his team can pin down the genes directing nerve cell formation—and perhaps, he says, “peel back some of the complexity of the evolution of neurons.” The rudimentary nervous system of the warty comb jelly may help resolve when nerve cells arose. 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NASA selects three companies to lead its robotic return to moon

first_img NASA selects three companies to lead its robotic return to moon By Paul VoosenMay. 31, 2019 , 3:55 PM Nearly a half-century after the United States last landed a spacecraft on the moon, NASA today announced the details of its first robotic return trip. But the agency’s visit, which could come as soon as next fall, won’t be on a spacecraft it designed. Instead, NASA will be buying a ride on three small robotic landers to be built by similarly small U.S. companies.The agency has awarded a total of $254 million in contracts to Astrobotic of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Intuitive Machines of Houston, Texas; and Orbit Beyond of Edison, New Jersey. Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines plan to land their machines in the summer of 2021, whereas Orbit Beyond has set an aggressive schedule of landing in September 2020 on Mare Imbrium, a lava plain previously visited by Apollo 15.The contracts represent an important step for the agency, says Clive Neal, a lunar scientist at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. “If you’re going to have a space program, the way to keep it going is to show return of investment to the taxpayer.” The regular cadence of these missions, which could launch three to four times a year by 2024, could grab the public’s imagination—and enable scientists to answer questions about the moon that they didn’t even know to ask until recently. But the speed could also have a cost: an increased risk of failure. Last month, for example, a small, low-cost Israeli lander, Beresheet, crashed on the moon’s surface. “Some of these will fail,” Neal says. “But failure is a learning experience.” NASA will not be the only customer on these missions, even though it will be the largest and most important. Astrobotic, which has been developing its lander for a decade, will carry up to 14 scientific instruments for the agency on the decks of its Peregrine lander, along with an additional 14 payloads from seven other countries, the company’s CEO, John Thornton, said during the announcement. “NASA is now a major partner of the future of the moon.”Orbit Beyond’s aggressive schedule is driven by its adoption of a lander developed by its partner, Team Indus, an Indian company that was not eligible to bid on the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program on its own and had previously pursued the canceled Google Lunar XPrize. The company will carry up to four payloads, with plans to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Both Orbit Beyond and Astrobotic also plan to bring along small robotic rovers, not developed by NASA, to deploy once they land.Intuitive Machines, less well-known than its peers, will carry up to five payloads to Oceanus Procellarum, or the Ocean of Storms, a dark lava plain on the western edge of moon’s near side. Each company proposed its landing spot, and all three focus on such plains in attempt to minimize potential hazards and demonstrate their capability. “A safe landing is most important,” Thornton said.NASA has asked its own scientists, and outside researchers, to scour their shelves for ready-to-fly instruments that it can place on the landers. Although the agency has already selected some instruments, it has not yet decided how they will be divided among the landers. A common theme among them will be a focus on understanding lunar water, which is far more abundant than once thought. “This is science that in many cases even five years ago we didn’t know to ask questions about,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science in Washington, D.C.Late last year, NASA announced that it had selected nine companies to compete for regular contracts to carry scientific instruments to the lunar service. CLPS, is meant to jump-start the agency’s lunar ambitions, spurring private development much like its program that has paid private space companies to deliver cargo to the space station. NASA is willing to pay up to $2.6 billion for these services over the next decade, and the companies not selected today will remain eligible to bid on future missions.These first landers pale in capability to traditional NASA missions. They’ve been asked to only operate for about 2 weeks. Their landing sites are not exotic. But their success will pave the way for robotic exploration of the moon’s poles and far side, which have long been scientific targets for the stories they can tell about the history of the solar system. They are also “critical testbeds for the technologies and architectures needed to ensure a safe human return to the moon by 2024,” says Ryan Watkins, a lunar scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in St. Louis, Missouri.The target for a human return in 2024 is the moon’s south pole. That means it’s almost definite that future CLPS awards would target that region, Zurbuchen said. “We want to go explore where we want to land.” Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! 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Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) ASTROBOTIC TECHNOLOGY Astrobotic’s Peregrine is one of three landers selected to put experiments on the moon for NASA.last_img read more

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The oldest known extract of The Odyssey found in Greece in a

first_imgHomer’s epic poem The Odyssey, written in ancient times, is considered among the world’s greatest works of literature. You might assume that physical versions of the poem are long gone, but, remarkably, archaeologists in Greece have found 13 verses from The Odyssey chiseled into a clay tablet dating to some time between 675 and 725 B.C. The tablet was discovered close to the ruins of the Temple of Zeus after three years of excavation in the ruins of the ancient city of Olympia, on the Greek peninsula the Peloponnese.The terracotta slab of 13 lines was found “in a pile of tiles and bricks, stones and other remains of the Roman period,” according to LiveScience.Olympia is famous as the site of the ancient Olympic Games.A Roman mosaic depicting a maritime scene with Odysseus.The plaque is a “great archaeological, epigraphic, literary and historical exhibit,” said the Greek Cultural Ministry. The Odyssey could have been originally composed as long ago as the 8th Century B.C. It was handed down in an oral tradition for before this tablet was inscribed. Other means were also found to record it in those centuries.The Odyssey is 12,109 lines of poetry telling the story of Odysseus, king of Ithaca. It took him 10 years to return from the Trojan War to his wife and family.7 Things you may not know about Roman Gladiators.The 19 lines that were found are from the section of Odysseus reaching his home and meeting his onetime loyal servant, Eumaeus, who does not recognize him. In the poem, only his faithful dog knows who he is at first. His identity is further known when his female servant, Eurycleia, washing his feet, comes upon a scar she remembers.A 15th-century manuscript of The Odyssey, book i, written by the scribe Ioannes Rhosos for the Tornabuoni family, Florence, Italy (British Museum).With the help of his son, Telemachus, Odysseus murders the suitors who are harassing his wife, Penelope. She feared him dead but still did not want to remarry.A team of researchers from the Hellenic Institute of Political Science, the German Archaeological Institute, and the Universities of Darmstadt, Tubingen, and Frankfurt am Mainz found other relics as well, the most noteworthy ones from the beginning of the Cycladic Bronze Age.Interestingly, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has a papyrus fragment in its collection with lines from The Odyssey.Euboean amphora, c.550 BC, depicting the fight between Cadmus and a dragon.“This is the first early Ptolemaic fragment of the Odyssey ever discovered,” says the Met exhibit. “It contains three lines from Book 20 that do not occur in the standard text preserved today and is a physical testimony to the fact that local variations of this famous work existed in the 3rd century B.C.”Bust of Homer in the British Museum.The exhibit also says, “The most important repository of Homeric texts in the Hellenistic world was at the library of Alexandria, Egypt, the first comprehensive public library ever built, which was founded by the Ptolemaic kings in the early third century B.C. As Homer was the poet par excellence, his work was central to the library’s collections, which contained copies of the Homeric poems from many different city-states, including Chios, Argos, and Sinope.”Who was Homer? Although he has had a major impact on Western culture, very little is known. He is believed to have been born sometime between the 12th and 8th centuries BC, on the coast of Asia Minor. Some scholars believe Homer was one man, others that the stories in The Iliad and The Odyssey were created by a group.A clay tablet with an engraved inscription showing 13 verses of Homer’s Odyssey. Photo EPA/Greek Ministry of CultureStories of the feats and tragedies of the Trojan War, the battle for Helen of Troy, continue to fascinate us to this day, with new films and TV series coming out all the time. In the story, Odysseus is the Greek who comes up with the idea of the Trojan Horse, used to sneak into Troy and defeat their enemies.Read another story from us: Archaeologists prepare to open a mysterious black sarcophagus in Alexandria, the largest ever foundHistorians do believe some sort of war took place, one which Homer embellished. There was most likely a Greek expedition to Troy, now in Hisarlik, in Turkey. But how big a war, and how long it lasted, no one knows.Nancy Bilyeau, a former staff editor at Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and InStyle, has written a trilogy of historical thrillers for Touchstone Books. For more information, go to www.nancybilyeau.com.last_img read more

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Snowflake library provides kids with handson learning

first_imgSnowflake library provides kids with hands-on learning February 27, 2019 Photo by Toni GibbonsAshlee and Thad Frei (pictured) of Snowflake love to come to the Snowflake Public Library. Ashlee said they are always reading books as they are “important and necessary.” Assisting the Frei’s with their books is Librarian Cathie McDowell (left).center_img By Toni Gibbons         In the age of technology where so many things are screen driven, the Snowflake Public Library is aiming to provide hands-on classes for kids from three to 10 years oldSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adlast_img read more

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China steps up trade war and plans blacklist of US firms

first_img Taking stock of monsoon rain Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 China steps up trade war and plans blacklist of US firms The Chinese government said on Friday that it was putting together an “unreliable entities list” of foreign companies and people, an apparent first step toward retaliating against the United States for denying vital American technology to Chinese companies. (NYT)Alexandra Stevenson and Paul Mozur Chandrayaan-2 gets new launch date days after being called off Advertising P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies Advertising Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 The vague announcement also opens the door to retaliation of other kinds, perhaps against individuals or companies that depend heavily on the Chinese market for selling their products. If China decided to target individuals specifically, it could raise questions for foreigners doing business in China.It could also give Beijing a way to punish American firms without forcing them to shut down operations in a way that would hurt China’s economy or its long-term growth prospects.Gao Feng, the Commerce Ministry’s spokesman, said in the statement that the list would be aimed at those who block supplies and “take other discriminatory measures.”An entity would be added to the list, he added, when its activity “not only damages the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises, and endangers China’s national security and interests, but also threatens the global industrial chain and supply chain security.” Advertising Post Comment(s) P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies Best Of Express But China must be careful in how it retaliates, since many U.S. companies are already reconsidering their dependence on the Chinese market and Chinese suppliers. If neither side backs off, the brinkmanship could permanently pull apart the supply chains that entwine the countries’ economies.Still, any move to shut down U.S. technology companies’ operations in China could hurt Chinese companies and the country’s longer-term tech development. A shutdown of Microsoft’s and Google’s offices would mean that Chinese workers lose access to valuable training. Many of China’s leading artificial intelligence entrepreneurs got their beginnings at Microsoft’s AI lab.Forcing US companies out of China’s electronics supply chain could have a major impact on Chinese manufacturers. It would also most likely hasten strategies by US technology firms to diversify their supply chains away from China.Yet if Beijing was willing to take that hit, many companies would struggle to immediately replicate production elsewhere. China’s density of component makers and assembly factories is unmatched around the world. Still, the language echoes that of the U.S. government, which in recent months has placed Chinese companies on what it calls an “entity list” of firms that need special permission to buy U.S. components and technology. Two weeks ago, the Trump administration placed Huawei, the Chinese maker of telecommunications gear, on the entity list, which could deny it access to microchips, software and other U.S.-provided technology it needs to make and sell its products.Shortly afterward, some US technology companies, including Google, said they would stop supplying Huawei. The US government has since granted Huawei a 90-day waiver, giving Chinese and US officials time to reach an agreement. The Trump administration is also said to be considering putting Hikvision, a Chinese video surveillance company, on the list.If Friday’s move is calculated to be a tit-for-tat strike back at U.S. technology companies, Beijing will have ample targets. Although major websites like Facebook, Twitter and Google are already blocked in China, and rules strictly control other businesses like online payments and cloud services, most American technology firms have a big presence in China.Both Google and Microsoft run sizable research and development operations in the country, and their Android and Windows operating systems are ubiquitous on Chinese smartphones and computers. Google and Facebook probably pull in billions of dollars in advertising revenue from Chinese companies. The Chinese government said Friday it was putting together an “unreliable entities list” of foreign companies and people, an apparent first step toward retaliating against the United States for denying vital U.S. technology to Chinese companies.China’s Ministry of Commerce said the list would contain foreign companies, individuals and organizations that “do not follow market rules, violate the spirit of contracts, blockade and stop supplying Chinese companies for noncommercial reasons, and seriously damage the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.”It did not give any details of which companies or entities it would include on the list, or what would happen to them. The ministry said specific measures would be announced in the “near future.” By New York Times |Beijing | Published: June 1, 2019 8:57:50 am Top News More Explained “It’s a really high-risk way to go about it,” said Andrew Polk, a founder of Trivium, a consulting firm in Beijing. “They are effectively forcing companies to choose, and companies will probably choose the U.S.” Chandrayaan-2 gets new launch date days after being called off last_img read more

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Lathicharge on people protesting Tabrez lynching over 24 hurt police says 850

first_img Lathicharge on people protesting Tabrez lynching, over 24 hurt; police says 850 booked, situation normal Police clash with protesters in Mawana on Monday. (Express photo)A day after the police resorted to lathicharge in Meerut Sunday evening to disperse hundreds of protesters demanding martyr status for Tabrez Ansari, a victim of mob lynching in a Jharkhand jail on June 21, the police had to wield batons once again in Mawana town,around 20 km from here,to break up a crowd outside a mosque Monday. Top News Chandrayaan-2 launch on July 22 at 2.43 pm: ISRO Advertising “We tried to control the crowd and told them that that we have decided to end the peace march at the college itself but they went ahead. At least two dozen in the crowd have suffered injuries in the police action. We have also submitted a memorandum demanding the status of the martyr for Ansari,” said Badar Ali, chief of Yuwa Sewa Samiti.The five police stations where FIRs were filed are Delhi Gate, Civil Lines, Kotwali, Lisadi Gate and Nauchandi. “The FIRs were lodged under 14 sections of the IPC and the NSA will also be invoked on those who are being identified by us through available mobile videos to us.Those who have took out the procession without valid permission will be dealt with a stern hand,” said Meerut SSPNitin Tiwari. “The situation is under control in Mawana now and we will take strict action against law-breakers,” added Tiwari. P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies Advertising The protesters at Mawana was also demanding that Tabrez be declared a martyr and that adequate compensation should be given to the family members of the deceased.The local administration in Meerut suspended Internet services for the whole day on Monday to curb rumour mongering following Sunday evening’s tension. The police registered cases against nearly 850 persons (50 named, 800 unidentified) in five police stations of Meerut while the police in Mawana town has filed FIR against dozens on Monday.In Mawana,hundreds gathered at a mosque on Mill Road Monday morning where the Shahr Qazi, Maulana Nafis Ahmed, also condemned the Jharkhand incident. The crowd then wanted to go out as a procession to present a memorandum in this connection but the police denied permission.The mob protested violently and the police used force to disperse the crowd, sources said. Chandrayaan-2 launch on July 22 at 2.43 pm: ISRO center_img Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 Best Of Express Divisional Commissioner Anita Meshram held meetings with senior officials and BJP legislators Monday afternoon. BJP MLAs Satya Prakash Agarwal and Somedra Tomar were present in the meeting, in which Meshram too emphasised that no one should be allowed to vitiate the atmosphere.In Meerut, chief of a local outfit, Yuwa Sewa Samiti, Badar Ali, had sought permission for taking out a peace march Sunday evening to pay homage to Ansari from a college on Dehi Road but was denied permission on the plea that assemblage may lead to trouble as section 144 CR.PC has already been promulgated (assembly of more than four persons at a point unlawful). However, the outfit went ahead with the programme.The Shahr Qazi,Zainus Sajjidin and Badar Ali have addressed a crowd of several hundred people in the college Sunday. “Mob lynching incidents which started from Dadri (victim Mohammed Akhlaq, September 2015), followed by Rajasthan (Pehlu Khan, April 2017) are on the rise and now Ansari has died in Jharkhand. The governments in these states should ensue adequate security for the people,” said Zainus Sajjidin while demanding the the Jharkhand victim be given the status of a martyr and that adequate compensation should be given to his family members.“We had denied permission for Sunday’s march, yet the organisers went ahead with their plan and took to Meerut’s streets, protesting the Jharkhand incident. We tried to restrain them but the crowd attacked policemen, forcing us to use mild force. Five policemen were injured at three different places,” said Akhilesh Narain Singh, SP (city), Meerut. Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies Written by AMIT SHARMA | Meerut | Published: July 2, 2019 10:28:54 am 0 Comment(s)last_img read more

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Barack and Michelle Obama sign deal to produce podcasts for Spotify

first_img Advertising On world stage, Trump backs North Korea’s scathing criticism of Biden By PTI |Los Angeles | Published: June 7, 2019 2:04:08 pm “We’re excited about Higher Ground Audio because podcasts offer an extraordinary opportunity to foster productive dialogue, make people smile and make people think, and, hopefully, bring us all a little closer together,” the former president said in a statement provided by Spotify.Michelle said through these podcasts their aim is to tell inspirational stories which can help people connect emotionally.“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to amplify voices that are too often ignored or silenced altogether, and through Spotify, we can share those stories with the world. Our hope is that through compelling, inspirational storytelling, Higher Ground Audio will not only produce engaging podcasts, but help people connect emotionally and open up their minds — and their hearts,” she added.Spotify will distribute the Obamas’ podcasts worldwide to its paid and ad-supported user base. The streaming platform, however, did not provide details on the specific projects the Obamas may be planning at this point.“President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are two of the world’s most important voices and it is a privilege to be working with them to identify and share stories that will inspire our global audience, which looks to Spotify for unique, breakthrough content,” said Spotify chief content officer Dawn Ostroff. You have to practice hardwork: Michelle Obama Post Comment(s) Related News Under the multiyear deal between Spotify and the couples’ Higher Ground Productions, the duo are set to develop, produce, and lend their voices to select podcasts on a various of topics.According to Variety, the deal is with Higher Ground Audio, a new division of the Higher Ground production company.“We’ve always believed in the value of entertaining, thought-provoking conversation. It helps us build connections with each other and open ourselves up to new ideas. Advertising As Biden looms, Trump is still running against Obama Barack and Michelle Obama sign deal to produce podcasts for Spotify Michelle said through these podcasts their aim is to tell inspirational stories which can help people connect emotionally. (AP)Former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama have signed a deal to produce a series of podcasts for music streaming platform Spotify.last_img read more

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62 US Border Agents are linked to degrading Facebook posts

first_img Advertising Advertising In cases that were brought to the attention of internal watchdogs, “we did conduct an investigation,” Klein said. US mulls increasing merit-based immigration to 57% 62 Border Agents are linked to degrading Facebook posts From January 2016 to last month, 80 Customs and Border Protection employees have been investigated for inappropriate posts on social media websites. (AP)Written by Zolan Kanno-Youngs Salve hails verdict, says ICJ protected Jadhav from being executed Enormous potential for growth in ties with India: US Related News Facebook should not be trusted with ‘crazy’ cryptocurrency plan – US senators Post Comment(s) Best Of Express At least 62 current federal border agents have joined private Facebook groups and other social media pages that included obscene images of Hispanic lawmakers and threats to members of Congress, internal investigators said Monday.In all, 70 current and former Customs and Border Protection employees were identified as members of the groups, officials from the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility said.Investigators are examining inappropriate images, memes and comments in multiple Facebook groups, said Matthew Klein, a Customs and Border Protection assistant commissioner. Additional agents may be identified later, he said, as investigators continue to gather evidence. ‘Truth, justice have prevailed’: PM Modi on Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict By New York Times |Washington | Published: July 16, 2019 9:25:54 am “To be clear, the expectations of professional conduct don’t end at the end of the shift,” Klein told journalists. “Those are our expectations of our employees.”Border Patrol officials will decide how to discipline current agents — which could mean losing their vacation days or losing their jobs — after they receive evidence from the internal investigators.Called “I’m 10-15” — a law enforcement code for unauthorized immigrants in custody — the first secret Facebook group was revealed two weeks ago by the investigative news site ProPublica as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and other Democratic lawmakers toured overflowing Border Patrol facilities in Texas.The closed group included posts questioning whether a photograph of a dead migrant father and child was staged and depicting offensively doctored images of Ocasio-Cortez. Last week, The Intercept reported that Carla Provost, the Border Patrol’s chief, was among the Facebook group’s members. More Explained Explained: Kulbhushan Jadhav case file Provost condemned the group as “inappropriate” after it was revealed, and Ocasio-Cortez described Customs and Border Protection as a “rogue agency.” The Democratic lawmaker last week told the House Oversight and Reform Committee that an agent tried to take a photograph of her while she toured a facility.Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, described the Facebook posts as “racist and misogynist” during a Monday hearing on overcrowded Border Patrol facilities.“Not only did CBP leadership know about this group, it now appears that the chief of the Border Patrol herself was a member,” Nadler said in his opening remarks. “This is the context in which we must consider the horrific conditions in CBP facilities.”Talking with journalists on Monday, Klein declined to say if Provost was one of the 62 current employees identified as a member of the “10-15” group. Initially, the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general was asked to investigate the Facebook page, but it referred the case to Customs and Border Protection, an agency within the department. The department’s acting inspector general, Jennifer L. Costello, said last week that her office would investigate whether top Customs and Border Protection officials took appropriate action against employees who were members of the social media groups.On Monday, Klein said 64 of the identified current and former agents were connected to the “I’m 10-15,” group, which had about 9,500 members. Six others were members of at least one other group.“Messages posted on a private page that are discriminatory or harassing are not protected and violate standards of conduct,” Klein said. Failing to report misconduct is also a violation, he said, but he added that membership of the Facebook group alone would not automatically compel punishment.He said investigators were still examining who was active on the page and who knew about the insulting comments.From January 2016 to last month, 80 Customs and Border Protection employees have been investigated for inappropriate posts on social media websites, Klein said.Pressed on why they did not investigate the “10-15” group earlier, Klein said Customs and Border Protection “didn’t immediately jump to the conclusion that there were other groups.” Jharkhand court drops ‘donate Quran’ condition for bail to Ranchi woman over offensive post Advertisinglast_img read more

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The Art of Manipulation and Misdirection

first_imgRob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has undergrad degrees in merchandising and manpower management, and an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob. We live in a very hostile world, and back at CES I saw one product that I thought addressed best the kind of threats we now face as homeowners or owners of small businesses. Symantec announced a high-performance router, the Norton Core Router, that not only provided distributed wireless networking but also incorporated a comprehensive security solution. Wrapping Up: Trump There’s an art to manipulation and misdirection. I first became aware of this skill in college while doing my undergraduate work. One of the modules in a class I took on manpower management was on manipulators — people who were good at getting people to do things for them, changing minds, and generally, well, manipulating others.There was a test for measuring this skill, and the scoring range was 1-20. Anyone who scored more than 12 had a high inherent ability to manipulate, according to the test. One poor guy scored 15 and everyone in the class made fun of him. However, there was another student who scored 17, and no one even noticed. He was the one who focused the rest of us on the guy who scored 15 — and he didn’t even know he was doing it.People with this skill often end up in marketing where their ability is valued and utilized. If you are observant, however, you’ll see the same skill applied by friends, family and coworkers — both to accomplish their unique goals and often just to mess with people. Surprisingly, the person doing it often doesn’t even seem aware of the behavior. While the Apple vs. Qualcomm fight seems to be about pricing, it is potentially much more than that for Apple. This is largely because most people still see Apple the way it was and not the way it is. Otherwise, its market valuation would have fallen sharply.I saw this when Steve Ballmer ran Microsoft. It held value for a long time, but when Steve tried to buy Yahoo — something that appeared to most to be incredibly stupid — the market suddenly realized that Steve’s Microsoft and Bill’s Microsoft were very different — and even though Microsoft’s financial performance was stable for the most part, its valuation fell like a rock.To hold, Tim Cook can’t have a moment like Steve Ballmer did at Microsoft, when people suddenly open their eyes and realize that Apple doesn’t seem capable of producing hits — or worse, when Apple’s only differentiator is that it is far more expensive than the rest. To be clear, that was pretty close to what Apple almost became before Steve Jobs came back and saved the firm.This lawsuit with Qualcomm is forcing a lot of folks to look at Apple’s falling quality, to start looking at the problems with their Apple devices as less unique and more endemic of that falling quality, and to start seeing Apple as having shifted too sharply from being focused on creating magic for customers to being far too focused on increasing margins.At the very least, it’s forcing people to realize that Apple is shifting from using the best technology in its very high-priced products to trying to cover up that the devices aren’t very competitive anymore in either capability or price.Like the Apple Watch, the new HomePod appears to be just a different expensive spin on an existing market — unique only because of its high price and connection to Apple’s ecosystem. Even in Apple accounts, the Amazon Echo is surveying as the more popular product — and outside of Apple accounts, the HomePod almost falls beneath consideration.In short, the products clearly art showcasing that Apple has weakened significantly, but the disclosures from the Qualcomm lawsuit could become the trigger that finally gets people to look at the company differently — much like Yahoo did for Microsoft. Art Appreciation The Talented Steve Jobs I was at Qualcomm last week, listening to an economist talk about Apple’s complaints that Qualcomm had charged Apple too much for access to patents. What I thought was fascinating was that Apple had folks focused on the 5 percent that Qualcomm had charged it instead of on the massive profit that Apple made on each phone.The price of the iPhone 8 is rumored to be well over US$1,000 — but it could cost well under $500 to build. (Check out this WSJ video on how you can build a decent smartphone for less than $70 in China.)All other smartphone prices seem to be trending down, while Apple’s appear to be trending up. This near-magical behavior is an example of expert manipulation, and in a world of fake news, it’s suddenly a more interesting topic to cover. (It also suggests that Apple’s level of control over its customer base could be an anti-customer, if not an antitrust, problem.)Oh, and that’s on top of the issues that may prevent the iPhone from being shipped in the first place.I’ll use Apple as an example to illustrate the art of manipulation and misdirection — although it’s hardly the only one that engages in it. I’ll close with my product of the week: a new router from Symantec that may be the perfect thing for securing your home in a hostile world. The most powerful natural manipulator I’ve ever seen was Steve Jobs (much of what I’m talking about is covered in the book iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business). Jobs changed a lot in skill level from when he first helped found Apple to his return to the company. At first, he seemed to be unaware he was doing it. Sometime between when he was fired from the company and his comeback, he became an expert.Before he left, there were stories of all the drama that seemed to go on around him, which often is one of the indicators of a manipulator operating on autopilot. They tend to enjoy getting people worked up and often haven’t yet realized that to be effective they need to be very subtle. Jobs wasn’t, and eventually he overreached and got himself fired.When he came back, though, he seemed able to get what he wanted without as much drama. Things just seemed to fall into place magically, and his skills at marketing blossomed.For example, Apple’s product line sucked at the time, and prior to coming back to the company, Jobs had been outspoken about that. After getting the job, he immediately reversed himself and praised the products, becoming their greatest advocate.Throughout his time, he successfully prevented strong challengers for the iPod from HP and Dell, and disparaged the Microsoft Zune so successfully — characterizing as “stupid” unique compelling advantages like video playback (which the iPod back then didn’t have) — that the iPod largely remained unchallenged by anything but the iPhone.Even with the iPhone, he caught the market flatfooted. The first iPhone was basically an iPod with poor phone features, but Jobs convinced massive numbers of people they had to have it long before it was really a competitive product. He achieved that through a combination of brilliant placement, advertising, and a very nice — but largely cosmetic — design.While Jobs is no longer at Apple — and I really don’t see anyone there with his kind of manipulative genius — the firm clearly is still operating like it can control hearts and minds. However, without a hit since the iPad, it should be becoming clear to most that post-Jobs Apple doesn’t have the capability that Steve Jobs’ Apple had in spades. Apple vs. Qualcomm NortonCore Router Using a combination of Qualcomm’s advanced wireless networking technology and Symantec’s antimalware resources, you could have one product and a subscription that, on paper, should keep your home or small business not only well connected with the highest speed 4X4 MU-MIMO technology — providing speeds that rival what you can get with wired connections — but also better protected, ensuring your connected devices aren’t infected by viruses or otherwise used against you. The system just became available for preorder at a $30-off price of $249.It isn’t even bad looking, with a design that could allow you to put it in a far more visible and advantageous networking position than in a cabinet or in a closet (if your wiring allows it). We need more comprehensive solutions like this if we are going to protect our ever-more-connected homes from an ever-more-hostile world. As a result, the Norton Core Router is my product of the week. It’s hard to write anything about manipulation and misdirection without mentioning our president, who seems also to be a natural at it. However, unlike old Jobs, he seems to do a lot of it without focus or purpose, which is why so many of the problems President Trump is dealing with seem to be self-created. It is this contrast between the older Jobs and President Trump I want to leave you with.Manipulators can be incredibly powerful tools or they can be self-destructing disasters depending on their focus and maturity. Young Steve Jobs was the latter, old Steve Jobs the former, and he clearly made Apple great again. President Trump has the core capability, but he currently lacks the maturing experience that, ironically, I think Jobs got as a result of being fired from Apple.Apple either needs to recreate the capability it lost when Jobs died, or stop tempting fate by taking risks that will cause people to see the company differently. As Steve Ballmer discovered, once the market corrects, the eventual outcome is not a great one for the career of the CEO or the image of the firm.One final thought: At some point, manipulators need to realize that without good goals they’ll end badly, and the rest of us have to decide if we’re OK with being manipulated. In this age of fake news from all sides, I’m wondering how many of us have made an unfortunate decision in this regard, by accident. last_img read more

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