Nightly Roundup July 5 2019

first_imgAaron McMann talks about Michigan’s running back situation (LINK). Breakout DE/EDGE Stars for 2019: Xavier Thomas, ClemsonNick Coe, AuburnJon Garvin, MiamiKwity Paye, MichiganChauncey Rivers, Miss StJames Smith-Williams, NC StWyatt Hubert, Kansas StGeorge Karlaftis, PurdueTrevis Gipson, TulsaBoogie Basham, Wake Forest(1/2)— Rich Cirminiello (@RichCirminiello) June 17, 2019  1 0You need to login in order to vote Karsen Barnhart (image via MGoBlue) Nick Baumgardner has a fluff piece on incoming freshman offensive lineman Karsen Barnhart (LINK). Tags: Karsen Barnhart, nightly rounduplast_img read more

New MIT study defines critical period for language learning

first_img Source:http://news.mit.edu/2018/cognitive-scientists-define-critical-period-learning-language-0501 May 2 2018A great deal of evidence suggests that it is more difficult to learn a new language as an adult than as a child, which has led scientists to propose that there is a “critical period” for language learning. However, the length of this period and its underlying causes remain unknown.A new study performed at MIT suggests that children remain very skilled at learning the grammar of a new language much longer than expected — up to the age of 17 or 18. However, the study also found that it is nearly impossible for people to achieve proficiency similar to that of a native speaker unless they start learning a language by the age of 10.”If you want to have native-like knowledge of English grammar you should start by about 10 years old. We don’t see very much difference between people who start at birth and people who start at 10, but we start seeing a decline after that,” says Joshua Hartshorne, an assistant professor of psychology at Boston College, who conducted this study as a postdoc at MIT.People who start learning a language between 10 and 18 will still learn quickly, but since they have a shorter window before their learning ability declines, they do not achieve the proficiency of native speakers, the researchers found. The findings are based on an analysis of a grammar quiz taken by nearly 670,000 people, which is by far the largest dataset that anyone has assembled for a study of language-learning ability.”It’s been very difficult until now to get all the data you would need to answer this question of how long the critical period lasts,” says Josh Tenenbaum, an MIT professor of brain and cognitive sciences and an author of the paper. “This is one of those rare opportunities in science where we could work on a question that is very old, that many smart people have thought about and written about and take a new perspective and see something that maybe other people haven’t.”Steven Pinker, a professor of psychology at Harvard University, is also an author of the paper, which appears in the journal Cognition on May 1.Quick learnersWhile it’s typical for children to pick up languages more easily than adults — a phenomenon often seen in families that immigrate to a new country — this trend has been difficult to study in a laboratory setting. Researchers who brought adults and children into a lab, taught them some new elements of language, and then tested them, found that adults were actually better at learning under those conditions. Such studies likely do not accurately replicate the process of long-term learning, Hartshorne says.”Whatever it is that results in what we see in day-to-day life with adults having difficulty in fully acquiring the language, it happens over a really long timescale,” he says.Following people as they learn a language over many years is difficult and time-consuming, so the researchers came up with a different approach. They decided to take snapshots of hundreds of thousands of people who were in different stages of learning English. By measuring the grammatical ability of many people of different ages, who started learning English at different points in their life, they could get enough data to come to some meaningful conclusions.Hartshorne’s original estimate was that they needed at least half a million participants — unprecedented for this type of study. Faced with the challenge of attracting so many test subjects, he set out to create a grammar quiz that would be entertaining enough to go viral.With the help of some MIT undergraduates, Hartshorne scoured scientific papers on language learning to discover the grammatical rules most likely to trip up a non-native speaker. He wrote questions that would reveal these errors, such as determining whether a sentence such as “Yesterday John wanted to won the race” is grammatically correct.Related StoriesStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationTo entice more people to take the test, he also included questions that were not necessary for measuring language learning, but were designed to reveal which dialect of English the test-taker speaks. For example, an English speaker from Canada might find the sentence “I’m done dinner” correct, while most others would not.Within hours after being posted on Facebook, the 10-minute quiz “Which English?” had gone viral.”The next few weeks were spent keeping the website running, because the amount of traffic we were getting was just overwhelming,” Hartshorne says. “That’s how I knew the experiment was sufficiently fun.”A long critical periodAfter taking the quiz, users were asked to reveal their current age and the age at which they began learning English, as well as other information about their language background. The researchers ended up with complete data for 669,498 people, and once they had this huge amount of data, they had to figure out how to analyze it.”We had to tease apart how many years has someone been studying this language, when they started speaking it, and what kind of exposure have they been getting: Were they learning in a class or were they immigrants to an English-speaking country?” Hartshorne says.The researchers developed and tested a variety of computational models to see which was most consistent with their results, and found that the best explanation for their data is that grammar-learning ability remains strong until age 17 or 18, at which point it drops. The findings suggest that the critical period for learning language is much longer than cognitive scientists had previously thought.”It was surprising to us,” Hartshorne says. “The debate had been over whether it declines from birth, starts declining at 5 years old, or starts declining starting at puberty.”The authors note that adults are still good at learning foreign languages, but they will not be able to reach the level of a native speaker if they begin learning as a teenager or as an adult.Still unknown is what causes the critical period to end around age 18. The researchers suggest that cultural factors may play a role, but there may also be changes in brain plasticity that occur around that age.”It’s possible that there’s a biological change. It’s also possible that it’s something social or cultural,” Tenenbaum says. “There’s roughly a period of being a minor that goes up to about age 17 or 18 in many societies. After that, you leave your home, maybe you work full time, or you become a specialized university student. All of those might impact your learning rate for any language.”Hartshorne now plans to run some related studies in his lab at Boston College, including one that will compare native and non-native speakers of Spanish. He also plans to study whether individual aspects of grammar have different critical periods, and whether other elements of language skill such as accent have a shorter critical period.The researchers also hope that other scientists will make use of their data, which they have posted online, for additional studies.”There are lots of other things going on in this data that somebody could analyze,” Hartshorne says. “We do want to draw other scientists’ attention to the fact that the data is out there and they can use it.”last_img read more

Promoting health equity by understanding cancer risk and outcomes

first_imgJul 11 2018Aiming to reduce cancer risk, improve the understanding of cancer outcomes, and promote cancer health equity in our most vulnerable populations at the community level, the Rutgers School of Public Health and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey have recruited Anita Y. Kinney, PhD, as Director of the Center of Cancer Health Disparities at the Rutgers School of Public Health and Associate Director of Cancer Health Equity and Engagement at Rutgers Cancer Institute.Previously, Dr. Kinney was the Carolyn R. Surface Endowed Chair in Cancer Population Sciences at the University of New Mexico’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine. She was also the Associate Director for Cancer Control and Population Sciences, and a Co-leader of the Cancer Control Research Program, among other roles.Throughout her career, Kinney has conducted research focused on a more comprehensive understanding of the variation in cancer risk and determinants of risk and outcomes. She examined how to apply these findings to develop more effective interventions that can facilitate informed decision making and more efficient practices in preventative care delivery. In her new roles at Rutgers, Kinney will focus on engaging communities impacted by cancer health disparities through research and other initiatives at the Rutgers School of Public Health and Rutgers Cancer Institute.As Director of the new Center of Cancer Health Disparities at the Rutgers School of Public Health, Kinney will engage with communities impacted by cancer health disparities through the development and oversight of a Cancer Health Equity Research work group. Part of her role will include facilitating the translation of the work group’s findings to communities through forums and media platforms. She will also facilitate junior faculty mentorship and create research opportunities for students interested in cancer health disparity research.”Dr. Kinney adds to our growing interdisciplinary portfolio at the Rutgers School of Public Health by enacting cancer research using a social justice lens and a biopsychosocial perspective,” says Rutgers School of Public Health Dean Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH. “She is critical to our mission of keeping the ‘public’ in public health.”At Rutgers Cancer Institute, Kinney’s responsibilities will include enhancing and executing community outreach and engagement initiatives, as well as working with cancer center faculty members to ensure that New Jersey’s most vulnerable populations are integrated into population science, clinical and translational research efforts.Related StoriesHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsAdding immunotherapy after initial treatment improves survival in metastatic NSCLC patientsTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancer”As Rutgers Cancer Institute broadens its reach across New Jersey through our partnership with RWJ Barnabas Health, we have an opportunity to further expand community outreach, population research, clinical trials enrollment, and prevention and screening efforts. An example of this is our recent effort in developing and leading ScreenNJ with the state Department of Health focusing efforts on screening, education and awareness for colorectal and lung cancers. Dr. Kinney’s expertise in cancer control and population science will enhance our ongoing community outreach activities and enlarge our research portfolio so that we can learn more about at-risk populations across the state,” notes Rutgers Cancer Institute Director Steven K. Libutti, MD, FACS. “Her knowledge will enable our teams to develop appropriate interventions as well as clinical decision support tools in order to improve patient outcomes.””I am excited to return to my home state of New Jersey to work toward helping reduce the burden of cancer in the state’s diverse and underserved populations. Our new Cancer Health Disparities Center will promote health equity in cancer prevention and care delivery through community partnerships, outreach and a team science approach. I am also looking forward to mentoring students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty in cancer health equity research and developing sustainable solutions to improve cancer outcomes in New Jersey and beyond,” notes Kinney.Since 1986, Kinney has authored or co-authored more than 125 peer-reviewed publications. She serves on a number of External Scientific Advisory Boards for major cancer centers across the country and is a member of the National Cancer Institute Cancer Care Delivery Steering Committee and a National Institutes of Health Study Section. She also is a Senior Editor for Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, is an American Academy of Nursing Fellow, serves on the Board of Trustees for the Society of Integrative Oncology and holds numerous other leadership roles related to her profession.Source: https://www.cinj.org/improving-public-health-understanding-cancer-risklast_img read more

Researchers unravel how ALL invades the central nervous system

first_imgJul 19 2018A deadly feature of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is its invasion of the central nervous system.ALL in the central nervous system is very difficult to treat, because most drugs are blocked from the organ system due to a “blood-brain barrier” designed to protect the brain. How cancer cells enter the central nervous system has been an unanswered question for researchers and clinicians for decades.Now, a research team led by Duke Cancer Institute scientists found that this blood cancer infiltrates the central nervous system not by breaching the blood-brain barrier, but by evading the barrier altogether.Publishing in the journal Nature, the researchers describe how the cancer cells are uniquely equipped with receptors that can grasp scaffolding proteins on the outside of blood vessels like fire poles, riding them down from the bone marrow through membranes into the space filled with cerebral-spinal fluid.”It’s a very unexpected way for cells to travel into the central nervous system,” said Dorothy Sipkins, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in Duke’s division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy. Sipkins is the senior author of the study, which is published online July 18.”Understanding how ALL gets into the central nervous system arms us with new ways to target this pathway and hopefully shut it down,” she said.Sipkins said the finding culminates more than a decade of research in which much of that time was spent down a blind alley, looking for the key to how ALL crossed the vaunted blood-brain barrier that protects the brain from hazards in the bloodstream.After perfecting a way to view the brains of mice in real time, she still could not see how ALL cells crossed into the central nervous system. More experiments followed, but the mystery remained unsolved, even as the assumption of a blood-brain breach continued to guide both care and research for advanced ALL.”It was very confusing,” Sipkins said. “It should be traceable, so why was it so hard to track the cells penetrating the blood-brain barrier?”Related StoriesSchwann cells induce self-repair of damaged nervesWhat happens when you eliminate sugar and adopt the keto diet?HIV persists in spinal fluid even after long-term treatment and is linked to cognitive deficitsThen a key finding emerged from experiments on a drug that Sipkins’s lab was testing. Mice receiving the drug were not becoming paralyzed from advanced ALL disease, which is what usually happens to the animals when cancer cells infiltrate the central nervous system. Instead, the cancer remained in the animals’ bone marrow.Upon further analysis, Sipkins found that the drug itself did not cross the blood-brain barrier, so it wasn’t activating a therapeutic response in the cerebral spinal fluid. That meant that the drug was somehow preventing the cancer cells from migrating into the central nervous system.”When we dissected the spines and the vertebrae that surround the spinal cord, we noticed this strange thing: you could see all the leukemia cells in the vertebral bone marrow and it looked like they were streaming through a channel at the bone surface straight into the spinal cord,” Sipkins said.But the cancer cells were not simply chewing through the bone. Instead, the researchers found, the ALL cells carry an abundance of receptors for a protein called laminin, which surrounds blood vessels and nerves to help facilitate cell migration. Tiny blood vessels pass directly through the vertebrae to the meninges tissue that lines the spinal cord and brain. The ALL cells were grabbing onto the laminin surrounding these blood vessels and zipping down into the meninges region where cerebral spinal fluid circulates.”It just all made sense in what we see in patients, the anatomy, the molecular mechanisms,” Sipkins said. “It was very exciting to piece together.”Sipkins said the investigational drug that sparked the finding could have therapeutic benefit, but needs further study. She said other molecules that work in a similar way to inhibit cell mobility could also have potential benefit. Source:https://corporate.dukehealth.org/news-listing/researchers-solve-mystery-how-all-enters-central-nervous-system?h=nllast_img read more

Slideshow Muon g–2 ring takes final steps to new home

At the marina, it was lowered by crane onto a waiting barge. It would be carried by boat down the Atlantic coast, around Florida, and up three rivers to Illinois. Fermilab Brookhaven National Laboratory Fermilab Three thousand people turned up to see the ring arrive at Fermilab on 26 July 2013. It had traveled 5000 kilometers by land, sea, and river. Just last week, we rolled the magnet out once again. We had [hauling company] Emmert International come out and help us with the final leg of the journey. They brought it out on Saturday morning around 8 o’clock and towed the ring about a mile to the new building.Then, of course, they needed to get it into the building. We were clever enough to remember to design a hole big enough for it to fit through. There’s no door that you could possibly make that would accommodate it, since it’s 50 feet [15 meters] wide. It kind of looked like a giant CD player, when the whole ring just went sliding into the side of the building on a rail system. Inside, it still looks like the ring is levitating, because it’s on some scaffolding as they slowly lower it down to the experimental floor, which is about 16 feet [5 meters] below ground level.Q: What was the hardest part of the moving process?A: From my perspective, one of the hard parts was finding the right vendor for the job: a transportation company that could safely move this magnet and would have the political skills necessary for all the hurdles when it comes to trying to move a 50-foot-wide thing through areas where nothing that wide has ever been transported before. That was quite a task, but Emmert International was fantastic to work with. In fact, we’re going to meet their crew at the bar in about 2 hours for a beer.Q: What was the scariest moment?A: When the barge was coming up Cape Hatteras, there was a storm blowing up and the wave data started getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger. And we’re like, “Oh, man.” Cape Hatteras is well known as a shipping graveyard. So we made the decision to pull up into Norfolk and wait out the storm before we continued.Q: The most exciting?A: Truly the most exciting moment by far was the reception the ring received when it arrived at Fermilab. We invited the public to come out and see it when it arrived. Three thousand people showed up. The lab eventually had to close the gates because there wasn’t any more room. To have the ring roll down by Fermilab’s reflecting ponds, and a crowd of 3000 people cheering—I don’t know how we’ll ever rival that moment in a science experiment, it was just amazing.Q: The ring is so delicate. Do you know yet if all its systems survived the journey?A: We’ve done all the tests we can on the ring while it’s warm and not hooked up to a cryogenic plant. You can measure the electrical resistances, put a voltage on it, make sure it’s not leaking current, check the piping systems that will hold liquid helium to make sure they’re intact. We’ve done all those basic tests and everything looks good so far.But this is a superconducting magnet, and for it to operate, it has to be cooled down to liquid helium temperatures. That’s the name of the game for the next 6 months. We will be rapidly trying to build the superconducting systems and connect the cryogenic wires and get the power supply operational so we can do the ultimate test, which is to cool and power the magnet.Q: When will the experiment start running?A: You can get it cold in about 6 or 7 months. But it’s not just good enough to have a strong enough magnetic field. It also has to be an extremely uniform magnetic field. So after the magnet is powered, that immediately begins a phase where we spend 9 months to a year iteratively changing little pieces of steel, adding little pieces of wire with currents flowing through them, where we effectively try to “shim” the magnetic field—applying corrections to make it very, very uniform.And then you still have to be able to see the muons somehow. They’re not visible to the naked eye or anything—it takes a very sophisticated set of detectors and electronics and a data acquisition system. There’s a lot to the experiment beyond just the magnet. So all those systems are being prepared.By the time that’s all done, that’s still about 2, 2-and-a-half years from where we are today. The current start date is March 2017, but we’re hoping there are a few tricks we can play along the way that might make it go a little faster. Of course, you never know—it’s science. Building a new ring at Fermilab would have cost $25 million, whereas moving the existing one from Brookhaven cost $3 million. Heavy-haul transport company Emmert International designed a 40-ton transport fixture to hold the ring steady during its journey. Brookhaven National Laboratory The ring left Brookhaven in the wee hours of 24 June 2013, traveling by truck down Long Island’s William Floyd Parkway to the Smith Point Marina. Brookhaven National Laboratory Spectators came out to see the ring at several points during its 1-month journey. Many compared the sight to a UFO. Fermilab Over the next 6 months, physicists will cool the ring to superconducting temperatures and test its magnetic field. Until then, they can’t be sure if the delicate ring survived the journey intact. The team hopes to begin taking data in March 2017. After waiting out a storm near Norfolk, Virginia, the ring made it safely to the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway north of Mobile, Alabama. Brookhaven National Laboratory Fermilab Once it reached Lemont, Illinois, the ring was loaded back onto a truck for a 3-night journey across shuttered roadways to Fermilab. Fermilab Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Fermilab ‹› Brookhaven National Laboratory Fermilab spent the next year building a new home for the ring. It finally moved in on Wednesday, 30 July 2014. By Lizzie WadeAug. 1, 2014 , 5:45 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 A little more than 1 year ago, the Muon g–2 (pronounced “g minus two”) storage ring set out on an epic journey. Beginning at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, it traveled 5000 kilometers down the Atlantic coast, up three rivers, and across several highways to reach its new home at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois. The ring is a key part of an experiment to measure a property called magnetic moment in muons, much heavier subatomic-particle relatives of electrons. Scientists saw tantalizing hints of new physics during Muon g–2’s first run at Brookhaven from 1999 to 2001. But to be sure, they need to run the experiment again with Fermilab’s more powerful muon beam—which is why they moved the 15-meter-wide ring halfway across the country by truck and barge. Science talks to Chris Polly, Muon g–2’s project manager, about some highlights of the trip and what’s in store for the ring at its new home. For more about Muon g–2’s journey, check out the slideshow above.Q: What’s happened at Fermilab since the ring arrived last year?A: Since the ring got here, we’ve been constructing the new home for the magnet. It needs a building with very special temperature and floor stability requirements, and there wasn’t any place here that would accommodate it. After the ring was successfully transported, the work to construct the experimental hall got going at 100%. Email Slideshow: Muon g–2 ring takes final steps to new home The Muon g–2 ring began its life at Brookhaven National Lab in Upton, New York, where it was part of an experiment that ran from 1999 to 2001. The project produced tantalizing hints of new physics, but to be sure, scientists needed to repeat the experimen The ring passed the St. Louis arch as it traveled through Missouri. The Muon g–2 ring began its life at Brookhaven National Lab in Upton, New York, where it was part of an experiment that ran from 1999 to 2001. The project produced tantalizing hints of new physics, but to be sure, scientists needed to repeat the experimen The team decided to move Muon g–2 to Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois. But they knew they couldn’t do without the experiment’s delicate storage ring, which was capable of producing an exceptionally uniform magnetic fie Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Over the next 6 months, physicists will cool the ring to superconducting temperatures and test its magnetic field. Until then, they can’t be sure if the delicate ring survived the journey intact. The team hopes to begin taking data in March 2017. Darin Clifton/Ceres Barge Fermilab Brookhaven National Laboratory read more

Scientists want end to traditional trophy fishing of threatened species

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country 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 Zimbabwe The most common method of certifying the size of landed fish is based on mass. But weighing large fish typically requires anglers to transport them to an official land-based weigh station—a method that makes it unlikely that the fish will survive. In many cases, this means the loss of egg-bearing females, because the females are larger than males in many species. So by killing big fish, the authors note, trophy anglers often remove individuals that are capable of producing the most high-quality larvae and helping depleted populations recover.Shifting to length-based records could reduce such mortality, says the research team, led by researchers at the University of Miami’s Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy. Anglers could use cameras or smart phones to validate catches and release record fish where possible.“If the IGFA stopped issuing records that implicitly require killing the fish for IUCN Red List Threatened species, it would immediately reduce fishing pressure on the largest individuals,” they write. “So long as there are incentives to catch the largest, oldest, most fecund and fittest individuals within a population, recreational fishing pressure will continue to target these fish and likely exacerbate population declines.”IGFA already uses length-based records to verify some “catch-and-release” records. The scientists recommend that the IGFA now declare that weight-based world records will no longer be issued for species on the IUCN’s Red List.The proposed change would affect just 7% of the species on IGFA’s list and have only a small impact on anglers, according to the researchers. But “few policy changes in the world can do so much for so many species for so little cost.”David Shiffman, the study’s lead author and a marine biologist studying shark biology and conservation at the University of Miami, says the analysis was inspired by recent hearings concerning a proposed ban on killing scalloped and great hammerhead sharks in Florida waters—two species listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. “Several anglers said they were opposed to protecting these species, one of which is so depleted that it just became the first species of shark protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act, because it would stop them from going for IGFA world records,” he says.As ScienceInsider went to press, IGFA had not responded to a request for comment.center_img An international angling group should stop awarding weight-based world records for fish species threatened with extinction, researchers argue in a new study. The awards encourage the killing of the heaviest, most fecund fish, the scientists say, and should be replaced by conservation-friendlier records based on length.Since 1939, the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) of Dania Beach, Florida, has been a leading record-keeper for recreational anglers, certifying who has caught the biggest fish. Today, it maintains records for some 1200 species.In their study, published online before print in Marine Policy, the researchers found that 85 of those species are listed as either vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. That’s a concern, the authors say, because although commercial fishers are sometimes barred from killing endangered species, recreational anglers often can. The researchers are particularly worried about the impact of trophy fishing, because removing the largest individuals can have a disproportionate impact on a population. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

Video Gentle microscope captures tiny life in action

first_imgMicroscopists have been able to peer deep into cells, thanks to fluorescent molecules that stick to cellular structures. But the powerful light sources—often lasers—required to activate the fluorescent molecules also burn them out and spark toxic chemical reactions inside cells. A team led by engineering physicist Eric Betzig of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Ashburn, Virginia, has now devised a gentler method, called lattice light-sheet microscopy, that can capture high-resolution 3D images. The approach is less destructive because it illuminates with a lattice, or grid, of light, spreading the energy hitting the specimen. And it’s typically faster than spinning disk confocal microscopy, one of the leading fluorescence microscopy methods. Thus, researchers can observe microscopic action, such as cell and molecular movements, for longer periods of time. Betzig, who shared this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry for developing a different technique that greatly increased microscope resolution, and his colleagues show off the capabilities of lattice light-sheet microscopy online today in Science. They follow individual proteins in clusters of stem cells, trace cellular migration in a developing fruit fly larva, and observe muscle contractions in a nematode embryo (see video, above), among other tasks. Betzig says he’s prouder of lattice light-sheet microscopy than he is of the work that earned him the Nobel Prize. “It’s like having a new baby.”*Correction, 24 October, 1:52 p.m.: This item has been corrected. The original item stated that the video was of a protozoan. It is in fact a video of a nematode embryo.(Video credit: Betzig Lab, HHMI)last_img read more

Incoming Australia research chief touts water dowsing

first_imgSYDNEY, AUSTRALIA—The next CEO of Australia’s leading research agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), is in hot water after suggesting the cash-strapped organization spend scarce research dollars investigating water divining, or dowsing.“I’ve seen people do this with close to 80% accuracy, and I’ve no idea how they do it,” Larry Marshall told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in a recent radio interview. “When I see that, as a scientist, it makes me question, ‘Is there instrumentality that we could create that would enable a machine to find that water?’ … I’ve always wondered whether there is something in the electromagnetic field, or gravitational anomaly,” continued Marshall, who takes up his position in January. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img 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 CSIRO scientists are keeping their heads down in the wake of a 5.45% (AU$111.4 million) budget cut that will see up to 420 jobs eliminated by June 2015, along with the closure of eight research facilities. But some experts outside the agency have been quick to decry the interest in dowsing expressed by a Silicon Valley venture capitalist with a doctorate in physics. “I’m appalled,” says John Williams, a founding member of Australia’s leading group of water experts, the independent Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, who is based in Canberra. A more serious concern, says Williams, former chief of CSIRO Land and Water, is the need to persuade Marshall to shift his focus from water extraction to conservation. “We know where the water is. The trouble is there isn’t much of it, and we don’t know how it’s replenished,” he says. Tim Mendham, executive officer of Australian Skeptics Inc., adds that it’s a “letdown” that anyone with scientific training would use “vague concepts” like electromagnetic and gravitational effects to explain an unproven phenomenon like dowsing.Marshall is sticking to his guns. “I definitely need media training, but check this out,” he wrote in an e-mail to ScienceInsider, flagging a 2014 CSIRO document titled “Quantum Gravity Sensor,” which states that “the largest detectable sources of changing gravitational anomalies are bodies of water and ice.” Marshall told ABC that he’s going to seek further advice from his more “levelheaded” CSIRO staff, but added that although dowsing is “a little out there,” it’s the agency’s job to “push the envelope.”last_img read more

Warming Arctic could bring more mosquito swarms

first_imgThere’s an arms race going on among insects in the Arctic, where temperatures are increasing faster than anywhere else on the planet—and mosquitoes are winning, according to a new study. Warming temperatures may both speed up the development of the insects and increase the rate at which other predators—such as the larval beetle—eat them. To find out how climate change will affect the overall survival of Arctic mosquitoes (Aedes nigripes), a team of researchers placed mosquito larvae taken from ponds in western Greenland into chambers with temperatures ranging from 4°C to 19°C, simulating temperatures measured in the ponds during mosquito development, and then timed how long it took for the adults to emerge. In separate chambers, they also assessed how many mosquitoes the larval beetles would eat at various temperatures. Both the mosquitoes’ development rates and mortality rates increased as the temperatures increased, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. But a model that incorporated both rates showed that the mosquitoes’ overall probability of survival is higher at higher temperatures. That’s because faster development meant less time exposed to predators—and also brought the mosquitoes’ life cycle more into sync with that of the caribou they feed on, which are less mobile as they calve in early spring. Even with more beetles munching on them, an increase of 2°C—the current target cap for global warming—bumps the average mosquito’s probability of survival into adulthood by 53%.last_img read more

Trees in the Amazon make their own rain

first_img 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 Antisana/Alamy Stock Photo Fu thought it was possible that plants were releasing enough moisture to build low-level clouds over the Amazon. But she needed to explicitly connect the moisture to the tropical forest.So Fu and her colleagues observed water vapor over the Amazon with NASA’s Aura satellite, a spacecraft dedicated to studying the chemistry of Earth’s atmosphere. Moisture that evaporates from the ocean tends to be lighter than water vapor released into the atmosphere by plants. That’s because during evaporation, water molecules containing deuterium, a heavy isotope of hydrogen made of one proton and one neutron, get left behind in the ocean. By contrast, in transpiration, plants simply suck water out of the soil and push it into the air without changing its isotopic composition.Aura found that the early moisture accumulating over the rainforest was high in deuterium—“too high to be explained by water vapor from the ocean,” Fu says. What’s more, the deuterium content was highest at the end of the Amazon’s dry season, during the “greening” period when photosynthesis was strongest.The tree-induced rain clouds could have other domino effects on the weather. As those clouds release rain, they warm the atmosphere, causing air to rise and triggering circulation. Fu and colleagues believe that this circulation is large enough that it triggers the shift in wind patterns that will bring in more moisture from the ocean, they report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Scientists have studied the connection between trees and rain in the Amazon before. A 2012 study found that plants help “seed” the atmosphere for rain by releasing tiny salt particles. But the new study strongly supports the idea that plants play an important role in triggering the rainy season, says Scott Saleska, an ecologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson, who was not involved with the work. The deuterium provides a clear “fingerprint” for what plants contribute to the process, he says.The findings also address a long-standing debate about the role plants play in weather, says Saleska, suggesting that they are more than just “passive recipients,” and that they instead can play an active role in regulating rainfall. If that’s true in the Amazon, Saleska says, climate scientists will need to take into account practices like deforestation when predicting regional changes in weather patterns. And curbing deforestation will be an important step for people to take in preventing drought.Next, Fu will be studying rainforests in the Congo, to see whether the same process is happening. By Ilima LoomisAug. 4, 2017 , 2:45 PM The Amazon rainforest is home to strange weather. One peculiarity is that rains begin 2 to 3 months before seasonal winds start to bring in moist air from the ocean. Now, researchers say they have finally figured out where this early moisture comes from: the trees themselves.The study provides concrete data for something scientists had theorized for a long time, says Michael Keller, a forest ecologist and research scientist for the U.S. Forest Service based in Pasadena, California, who was not involved with the work. The evidence the team provides, he says, is “the smoking gun.”Previous research showed early accumulation of moisture in the atmosphere over the Amazon, but scientists weren’t sure why. “All you can see is the water vapor, but you don’t know where it comes from,” says Rong Fu, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. Satellite data showed that the increase coincided with a “greening” of the rainforest, or an increase in fresh leaves, leading researchers to suspect the moisture might be water vapor released during photosynthesis. In a process called transpiration, plants release water vapor from small pores on the underside of their leaves. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Email Trees in the Amazon make their own rain Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Clouds over the Amazon.last_img read more

How politics can shape a persons accent

first_img Linguists will tell you that how you speak—your accent, in particular—is influenced by where you’re from, how old you are, and even the TV shows you watch. However, a new report finds that (for politicians, at least) political affiliations can also play a subtle role. A team of researchers in Edinburgh analyzed more than 10 hours of speech from Scottish members of the United Kingdom’s House of Commons, measuring the acoustic qualities of their vowels and examining what factors could explain broad differences. The strongest correlations were found, not from social class or where the speakers grew up, but from political party, the researchers reported recently in Language Variation and Change. Members of the Scottish National Party (SNP), for example, pronounced the vowel found in words such as “cat” and “that” lower in their mouths compared with Scottish members from the Labour Party. (You can see what it sounds like in this video.) This lowered “cat” vowel has been associated in past studies with anti-institutional attitudes in Scotland, which could help explain its adoption among members of the pro-independence SNP. The findings support previous research on how even small linguistic differences can indicate political affiliation—and help form identities. By Brice RussDec. 1, 2017 , 1:15 PM How politics can shape a person’s accentcenter_img Rex Features/AP Images last_img read more

How does exercise keep your brain young

first_img How does exercise keep your brain young? Email Exercise may protect the brain from disease and dementia as we age, but the mechanisms behind its benefits are still murky. iStock.com/EmirMemedovski Stay active; age gracefully. Behind this truism, there’s a pile of unanswered scientific questions. Researchers are still sorting out what it is about physical activity that seems to lower the risk of dementia later in life. Even more uncertain is whether the effects of exercise can alter the course of diseases that cause dementia—chief among them, Alzheimer’s disease—once they’ve already taken root.A study published today in Science offers some new clues. In mice that mimic a severe, genetic form of Alzheimer’s disease, a combination of treatments that prompt the growth of new brain cells and protect them from damage can mimic the beneficial effects of exercise in preventing memory decline. So could we someday bottle the effects of exercise to treat Alzheimer’s? And if so, what exactly would we need to bottle? Here’s a rundown of what we know, and what’s still controversial.What’s the link between exercise and brain aging?Many large studies suggest staying active and fit throughout life lowers the risk of memory problems later on. For example, a recent project tracked more than 1000 Swedish women over 4 decades and found that for those judged to have “high” cardiovascular fitness on entering the study—as measured by the maximum workload they could handle on a stationary cycle machine before exhaustion—the onset of dementia was delayed, on average, by 9.5 years compared to those with “medium” fitness. But such studies can’t rule out all other confounding factors that might influence dementia risk—from genes to other aspects of a healthy lifestyle common in regular exercisers. And they don’t explain what exercise actually does to the brain.Does exercise fight the effects of Alzheimer’s disease once someone has it?Evidence for this is stronger in rodents than in humans. In one mouse model of Alzheimer’s, access to an “enriched” environment that included a running wheel reduced deposits of sticky brain plaques, made of the protein fragment β-amyloid, thought to drive progression of the disease. And the study published today on a different Alzheimer’s model found that diseased mice with access to a running wheel outperformed sedentary diseased mice on a series of memory tests—for example, a maze where mice had to learn and remember which areas contained a sunflower seed snack. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img 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 Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Kelly ServickSep. 6, 2018 , 2:00 PM But various studies that randomize elderly people with dementia—including those with Alzheimer’s dementia—to exercise or control groups have been contradictory: Only some have shown that exercise improves cognitive function. That raises questions about how much good exercise can do in the human brain once a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s has already taken root.What is it about exercise that might protect the brain?A key benefit of exercise could be that it helps the brain make new neurons. In the hippocampus, a brain structure key to learning and memory, there are cells known as neural progenitors that can give rise to new brain cells. Recently, there’s been debate about whether humans make new neurons throughout life.But studies in rodents have shown that neurogenesis in adulthood helps keep certain cognitive skills sharp, including the ability to learn about the physical environment and remember how to navigate it. And some rodent studies have linked regular exercise to neurogenesis. For example, having mice run on a wheel seems to double the number of newborn hippocampal neurons that survive in their brains. In the new Science paper, the exercising mice that showed brain benefits in the memory tests also had markers of neurogenesis.So can neurogenesis in the absence of exercise help the brain?The new study suggests neurogenesis alone might not be enough. The researchers gave the diseased mice a drug that protects neural progenitor cells in the hippocampus, plus a gene therapy that encourages these cells to proliferate. The mice made new brain cells, but that didn’t seem to help their memory. Only when they got an additional treatment—another gene to boost levels of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)—did they outperform untreated control mice on the memory tests. BDNF, which encourages neural growth, also appeared to reduce inflammation in the diseased brain.The results suggest making new neurons early in life may protect memory later on, but that a brain already afflicted with Alzheimer’s is “a hostile playing environment,” says Rudolph Tanzi, a neurogeneticist at Harvard Medical School in Boston and co-author on the study. BDNF “cleans up the neighborhood … so that the new neurons that are born can live.”Could we treat Alzheimer’s in people with a similar strategy?That approach has gotten less attention from drug companies than efforts to reduce amyloid plaques that surround and kill neurons. But some researchers think it deserves a closer look.There are still important caveats to such an approach, says Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, Maryland. For one thing, progenitor cells in the hippocampus make a type of neuron key to spatial learning and memory, but this isn’t the same type of neuron that appears to degenerate and die in the hippocampi of people with Alzheimer’s. And even if making these new cells protects certain brain functions, there are lots of other brain regions outside the hippocampus affected by Alzheimer’s. Still, the approach is worth further study, he adds. “So far, it’s been kind of tunnel vision in focusing on amyloid,” he says. “The more approaches, in my mind, the better.”last_img read more

Mites that feed on llama poop may track the rise and fall

first_img iStock.com/OGphoto Email Mites that feed on llama poop may track the rise and fall of the Incan Empire By Lizzie WadeJan. 8, 2019 , 9:50 AM The history of the Andes might well be written in llama poop. Researchers have found that in a small, dried-up lake in highland Peru, mites that ate these creatures’ feces closely track major historical events through their population growth, including the rise and fall of the Incan Empire. In certain kinds of environments, this new method of peering back in time might be more accurate than another common one: using dung-dwelling fungal spores to track environmental conditions in the past.The ancient lake in question, called Marcacocha, is now a wetland high in the Andes, near the Incan city of Ollantaytambo. But before it disappeared about 200 years ago, it was a small pool surrounded by grassland and a popular stop for Incan llama caravans. Thousands of llamas carrying trade goods such as salt and coca leaves marched through the basin, drank from the lake, and defecated en masse. That dung washed into the lake, where it was eaten by oribatid mites, a half-millimeter-long spider relative that lived in the lake.The more llamas that passed through Marcacocha, the more poop the mites had to eat, and the larger their populations could grow. When the mites died, they sank into the lake mud, preserved where Alex Chepstow-Lusty, a paleoecologist at the University of Sussex in Brighton, U.K., found them in a sediment core centuries later. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img 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 Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) When Chepstow-Lusty counted the number of mites in each layer of the core, he found that their population boomed when the Incan Empire dominated the Andes from 1438 C.E. to 1533 C.E. But after the Spanish arrived, the number of mites in the core plummeted. That’s because so many of the Indigenous people and their animals died during and after the conquest of the empire, Chepstow-Lusty says. Although the mite population rose again once European cows and pigs moved in and started to poop around the lake, it dropped off around 1720 C.E., when a smallpox epidemic swept through the area.Intrigued by the mite record, Chepstow-Lusty decided to see what another poop-eating microorganism could tell him. The spores of a fungus called Sporormiella live on herbivore dung and are often used to track past populations of large plant eaters, including ice age giants like mastodons and mammoths. An abrupt drop-off in Sporormiella spores is often interpreted as a sign of when those animals went extinct.Chepstow-Lusty saw the Sporormiella population rise and fall in the Marcacocha core. But those cycles didn’t track with the mite population or the known historical events that led to llama die-offs. Rather, the spores boomed during dry periods, when the lake got smaller and the llamas were able to poop closer to its center (the eventual source of the sediment core) and shrank when the lake was bigger, the team reports today in The Journal of Archaeological Science. For certain kinds of small, shallow lakes like Marcacocha, therefore, the Sporormiella record might offer misleading information about past herbivore populations.Mark Bush, a paleoecologist at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, agrees that the environment of Marcacocha doesn’t lend itself to Sporormiella studies. Although the mites “provide an interesting alternative,” he says, there haven’t been enough studies in other places testing the relationship between the numbers of mites and the size of herbivore populations to be sure the mites are truly an accurate proxy.Chepstow-Lusty hopes other researchers will start to tally up oribatid mites in their sediment cores, in hopes of figuring out when and where they may offer accurate information beyond Marcacocha. “You never know what you’re going to find in your lake muds,” he says. All microorganisms—especially the poop-eating ones—deserve a closer look. Andean llamas at Machu Picchu in Perulast_img read more

Creating the right market connect for boosting farm incomes

first_imgUpdated: July 4, 2019 12:34:23 am Advertising From food security to nutrition security More Explained PM Modi is said to plan cash handout for Indian farmers before election indian farmers, indian farmlands, indian farms, indian agriculture model, agrarian crisis, indian agrarian crisis, These potato farmers near Agra can do with better market connect. (Express photo)Business 101 lessons, whether for a start-up or multibillion dollar multinational, begin with a discussion on the “market”. But somewhere along the line, this basic aspect was forgotten vis-à-vis the farmer, who is also a businessman. The obsession with increasing production and keeping consumer prices under check meant that the criticality of marketing of farm produce was ignored. An exception probably was when Verghese Kurien started Amul, by first fixing the market and, then, building up milk supplies. Even during the Green Revolution, the government undertook a procurement programme only for wheat and rice in some pockets of the country at an assured price. For everything else, farmers had to fend for themselves. Much damage was done to the viability of their business activity, which also carries all the risks associated with uncertainties in weather and the global commodity cycle. Post Comment(s) It must be mentioned that the Indian farmer has not been found wanting when consumption patterns have significantly shifted in favour of protein-rich foods (dairy, poultry and fisheries) or fruits and vegetables. The supply response from their end has been impressive, but with no assurance of adequate returns. Several factors have contributed to this imbroglio: absence of marketing linkages or guaranteed buyback arrangements, inadequate storage facilities (particularly for perishable produce), high transport costs, cartelisation by traders, distress sales to meet urgent cash requirements, and so on.It’s only now — when “farmer incomes” and not “output” has taken centre stage — that the “market” is receiving due attention. In the last few years, the government has initiated measures for providing better linkages and reducing risks for the farmer. Some of the important ones are:* eNAM: The government has created an electronic national agriculture market (eNAM) to connect all regulated wholesale produce markets through a pan-India trading portal. Its effectiveness is, however, dependent on the participation of traders from these mandis, who would obviously resist any initiative that lessens their price-setting power. To have any meaningful impact, the above proposed measures must be taken up in parallel rather than sequentially. Also, there can no better opportune moment than in the first 100-days period of this government.Finally, almost all discussions centered around agriculture are prefaced by a comment that “agriculture” is a state subject under List II in the Seventh Schedule of Article 246 of the Constitution. But so were “education” and “forests” prior to the 42nd amendment in 1976, when they were transferred to List III of the Constitution. The experience of that shift, from the state to concurrent list, has been positive, just as the Constitutional amendments for the introduction of goods and services tax (GST) in recent times. The need for reclassifying agriculture in the concurrent list is imperative, though it must be handled with utmost sensitivity while not being seen as stepping on the states’ authority. Given the current mandate at the Centre, a consultative process should be initiated to get the states’ buy-in, by offering carrots (no sticks), and bringing in the necessary legislative changes. During the last government, the Constitution was amended and also a GST Council, representing both the Centre and the states, got created. The then finance minister Arun Jaitley was, then, able to skillfully navigate a complex subject through this mechanism. There’s no reason why a similar framework cannot be created for a crucial area impinging the livelihoods of nearly half of the country’s population. * Farmer producer organisations (FPOs): Creation of FPOs provides better bargaining power to farmers through aggregation and standardisation of their produce, leading to better realisations. But FPOs have been a mixed bag so far, as they often lack management bandwidth.* Risk management: Crop Insurance schemes offer protection to farmers against weather risks. Also, the premium in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana is largely borne by the Government. While still a work in progress, it is a more comprehensive and farmer-friendly scheme than any other one previously rolled out.Addressing the challenges of the “market” is complex, yet doable. Some of the measures one would like to see are:* Increase the number of markets: The Dalwai Committee has estimated that India needs at least 30,000 farm produce markets, as against the approximately 6,500 now. We need to come up with a “mini-market” concept to bridge this wide gap. These can be similar to the collection points in the dairy or sugar industries, which can be linked to the main mandis digitally. With ubiquitous electronic communication and reliable rural roads, they can become viable hubs for economic activity and employment generation. Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 Taking stock of monsoon rain * Demand vs supply: The root cause of price volatility is the uncontrolled cycles of excesses and shortages. Price projections in a particular commodity are often made based on previous years’ trends that may not hold true, leading to excess or low plantings. The government should promote a mechanism that provides real-time guidance to farmers on the choice and management of their crops. This could be based on satellite imagery and ground reports, followed by suitable advisories before and after planting. AgTech startups should be roped in for this job, initially to undertake pilots and then scaling it up.* Warehouse receipt financing: This mechanism needs integration with the mandis, so that farmers faced with low harvest-time realisations can store their crop with accredited warehouses and raise funds, even as they wait for prices to go up. Such a facility should be made widely available, including for small and marginal farmers. Currently, utilisation of warehouse receipt financing is limited due to inadequate awareness and complexity of the schemes on offer.* Producer consolidation: Consolidation of small and fragmented farms into more viable holdings will improve producers’ access to finance and quality inputs, besides enabling better price realisations. One way to do is by encouraging long-term land leasing or consolidation, while at the same time providing suitable legal protection to landowners. This will incentivise much-needed investments in land development/ improvement and farm mechanisation.* Ease of doing agriculture: The narrative of “ease of doing business” is necessary as much for agriculture as other businesses. Removal of restrictions on movement of produce, stockholding, pricing and adoption of new technologies are areas that need to be urgently addressed. The Essential Commodities Act should go, conceived as it was during an era of shortages. Today, with huge buffer stocks and import options, this law has outlived its relevance. Related News P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies Advertising Best Of Express The writer is Chairman & Senior Managing Director, DCM Shriram Ltd LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? For the farmer, things to do Advertisinglast_img read more

Democratic presidential candidates denounce inequality in first debate but diverge over how

first_imgBy New York Times |Miami | Updated: June 27, 2019 8:53:52 am Democratic presidential candidates denounce inequality in first debate, but diverge over how to fix it From left, former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) share a laugh in a commercial break during the first Democratic presidential debate in Miami (Doug Mills/The New York Times)By Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach Post Comment(s) But other Democratic presidential candidates proceeded more cautiously: Without criticizing Warren or other liberal populists by name, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota suggested that certain ambitious progressive plans — to provide free college tuition, for instance — might go too far.Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey stopped short of endorsing Warren’s call to break up the biggest tech companies, like Facebook and Google, while saying it was clear that the economy “is not working for average Americans.”When Booker was reminded that he had attacked Warren earlier this year for naming some of the corporations she would break up, he said “I don’t think we disagree,” adding that he also feels strongly about “the need to check corporate consolidation.”A more clarifying moment came when the moderators asked the 10 candidates which of them would support eliminating private health insurance as part of a single-payer health care plan: Only Warren and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York raised their hands. “I am just simply concerned about kicking half of Americans off their health insurance in just four years,” said Klobuchar, linking her more incremental approach to that of former President Barack Obama.However, Warren won loud applause from the audience when she called health care “a human right” and, without mentioning any of her rival’s names, said that those against Medicare for All are “really telling you is they just won’t fight for it.”Trying to win attention from liberal voters, de Blasio went even further, interrupting the explanation by former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas about why he was opposed to ending private insurance.“How can you defend a system that’s not working?” de Blasio demanded. Advertising Democratic presidential candidates leveled a harsh critique of inequality in the American economy under President Donald Trump in the first primary debate Tuesday, but split in polite but stark terms over just how much change and economic disruption the next progressive president must pursue.Appearing beside nine other Democrats in Miami, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts denounced the current economic system as tilted overwhelmingly toward the wealthy, diagnosing it as “corruption, pure and simple.” Breezing past a moderator’s skeptical question about her sweeping plans to overhaul the government, Warren projected one of her core campaign themes on the biggest stage yet.“We need to attack it head on,” Warren said in reference to what she described as a rigged system. “And we need to make structural change in our government, in our economy and in our country.” Taking stock of monsoon rain Best Of Express More Explained After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Advertising Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach For the most part, though, the contenders trumpeted their own proposals and résumés while training their fire on Trump and Republican economic policies, which they said were favoring the wealthy.“He says wind turbines cause cancer, we know they cause jobs,” said Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington.The debate came at a moment when party activists were unified on the urgency of ejecting Trump from the White House but deeply divided over the best approach.Dating to the day after Trump’s inauguration, when millions of women marched in U.S. cities, Democratic contempt for the president has produced a supercharged liberal activism — and prompted a new level of engagement culminating in last year’s elections, which saw the largest turnout for a midterm campaign in a half-century.This energy has carried over into 2019, as many of the Democratic hopefuls have attracted unusually large crowds at early rallies and forums, large numbers of small-dollar donors and hundreds of volunteers who are already following every dip and rise in the race.But for many of the party’s primary voters, the back-to-back debates represented their first extended look at the Democrats’ historically large, and diverse, field. On Wednesday, 10 of the candidates took the stage at a performing arts center in Miami and another 10 were set to follow Thursday, an accommodation that still left out a few contenders.The initial debates were not expected to pique the sort of broad interest that the first Republican faceoff did four years ago, when the anticipation of seeing a bombastic reality television star on a political debate stage drew 24 million viewers. But the forums could bring more definition to the Democratic contest.The race has been chiefly defined by a central question: Should Democrats rally behind former Vice President Joe Biden, a moderate who is the field’s best-known candidate, or find a more progressive alternative. While Biden has proved to be resilient in the polls since entering the race in April, thanks in large part to his appeal with older and moderate Democrats, he is a fragile front-runner and has already seen his advantage ebb in Iowa and New Hampshire.In recent weeks he has also come under fire from some in his party, including many of his rivals, for only reluctantly embracing public funding for abortion, and for speaking fondly of making policy in a Senate that included a pair of notorious segregationists.Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has retained much of the grassroots and financial network that powered him to unexpected success in the 2016 Democratic race, but he has struggled to expand his appeal beyond his committed supporters.That is in part because the party’s left flank now has a wealth of alternatives, including Warren, who has recently surged in a number of surveys — partly at Sanders’ expense — after months of laying out a series of ambitious policy proposals. But not all of these candidates will be on the same stage this week.For Wednesday’s forum, Warren loomed well above the other nine candidates flanking her on either side. She has gained considerable strength as a champion for the party’s progressive wing, stitching together a still-developing coalition heavy on young people, women and educated liberals. In some national and early-state polls, Warren has caught up with Sanders as the second-place challenger to Biden, or come close to doing so.Yet Warren, an agile and at times cutting rhetorician known for her facility with facts and statistical data, still faces skepticism from influential constituencies in the party, particularly about her ability to win the general election. The debates may be Warren’s best chance both to show Democratic voters that she is capable of defending her liberal policy proposals before a wide audience, and to project the kind of flinty resilience that might give Democrats confidence she can hold her own against a president who has reveled in attacking her personally.To this end, some of Warren’s advisers were hoping for her to use the first debate to focus as much on her modest Oklahoma roots and rise to success as the wide-ranging plans she has unveiled and delights in detailing.For many — perhaps most — of the other candidates on stage Wednesday, the debate appeared to be less a test of momentum than a bid for relevance. No other candidate has broken the 5% mark in recent Democratic primary polls, and at least one, O’Rourke, has seen his support fade steadily since the beginning of the year.O’Rourke and his fellow Texan, Julián Castro, the former federal housing secretary, have increasingly focused on immigration as a campaign theme, highlighting their distinctive border-state credentials — and in Castro’s case, his Latino identity.Trump’s pledge to begin a mass roundup of families residing illegally in the United States has the potential to thrust immigration even more squarely into the center of the Democratic primary contest. Several of the candidates used their trip to South Florida to visit a local detention center for unaccompanied migrant children.“What is happening here in Homestead is wrong,” Warren said outside the detention center Wednesday, hours before the debate. “And we will fight it with everything we have.”Perhaps no other candidate was as grateful for the chance to demonstrate his oratory for a large audience as Booker. Booker has electrified activists at candidate forums and assembled a strong early-state organization, but he has languished in the polls in part because of his inability to draw attention on the internet and on television.Klobuchar has similarly struggled to find traction. She has trumpeted her three Senate victories in a Midwestern state that nearly fell to Trump in 2016, and argued that few other candidates in the field match her record of legislative accomplishments. But she has yet to distinguish herself in a field of better-known and more liberal candidates.Inslee has staked his candidacy on climate change as a singular concern, proposing sweeping energy and environmental plans and vowing to dedicate his presidency to enacting them. He has led the call for a debate focused solely on climate change, though there are no plans for that right now.Other long-shot candidates have tried to break through in less policy-oriented ways: de Blasio, for instance, has positioned himself generally on the left and sought out opportunities to criticize Biden. Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland has adopted a mirror image of that approach, branding himself as a business-friendly centrist and an unapologetic antagonist to Sanders; he has sharply criticized Sanders’ Medicare for All Act. Top News The overabundance of Democratic presidential candidates has made for a logistically awkward, and politically messy, start to the debate season. With two dozen candidates, of varying degrees of seriousness, the Democratic National Committee decided to require that they clear certain thresholds in their polling and fundraising numbers in order to participate in the televised forums. Twenty candidates cleared those light requirements, leading to a split stage for these events and another pair of debates planned for next month. Advertisinglast_img read more

Iran makes new nuclear threats that would reverse steps in pact

first_img NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home Hassan Rouhani says Iran ready to talk to US if sanctions lifted Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, confirmed an announcement that Tehran had enriched uranium beyond the deal’s limit of 3.67% purity, passing 4.5%, according to the student’s news agency ISNA.That followed an announcement a week ago that it had amassed a greater quantity of low-enriched uranium than permitted.The UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, said it was still verifying whether Iran had indeed exceeded the 3.67% limit.Iran has said it will take another, third step away from the deal within 60 days but has so far held back from formally announcing what it plans. Kamalvandi said options included enriching uranium to 20% purity or beyond, and restarting IR-2 M centrifuges that were dismantled as one of the deal’s core aims. In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief UK says seized Iranian oil tanker could be released Such threats will put new pressure on European countries, which insist Iran must continue to comply with the agreement even though the United States is no longer doing so.CENTRIFUGESWashington has imposed sanctions that eliminate any of the benefits Iran was meant to receive in return for agreeing to curbs on its nuclear programme under the 2015 deal with world powers. The confrontation has brought the United States and Iran close to the brink of conflict, with President Donald Trump calling off air strikes last month minutes before impact.Enriching uranium up to 20% purity would be a dramatic move, since that was the level Iran had achieved before the deal was put in place, although back then it had a far larger stockpile than it is likely to be able to rebuild in the short term.It is considered an important intermediate stage on the path to obtaining the 90% pure fissile uranium needed to make a bomb. Advertising Iran makes new nuclear threats that would reverse steps in pact In a separate standoff, Iran’s foreign minister accused Britain on Monday of “piracy, pure and simple” for seizing an Iranian oil tanker last week. Britain says the ship was bound for Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.Iran threatened on Monday to restart deactivated centrifuges and ramp up its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity as its next potential big moves away from a 2015 nuclear agreement that Washington abandoned last year. The threats, made by the spokesman for Tehran’s nuclear agency, would go far beyond the small steps Iran has taken in the past week to nudge its stocks of fissile material just beyond limits in the nuclear pact. One of the main achievements of the deal was Iran’s agreement to dismantle its advanced IR-2M centrifuges, used to purify uranium. Iran had 1,000 of them installed at its large enrichment site at Natanz before the deal was reached. Under the deal, it is allowed to operate only up to two for testing.Still, the threatened measures also appear intended to be sufficiently ambiguous to hold back from fully repudiating the deal. Kamalvandi did not specify how much uranium Iran might purify to the higher level, nor how many centrifuges it would consider restarting. He did not mention other more advanced centrifuges, including the most advanced, the IR-8. Iran has said all the steps it is contemplating are reversible.‘PIRACY, PURE AND SIMPLE’The nuclear diplomacy is only one aspect of a wider confrontation between Washington and Tehran that has threatened to spiral into open conflict since the United States sharply tightened sanctions on Iran from the start of May.Last month, President Donald Trump ordered U.S. air strikes on Iran, only to call them off minutes before.Washington’s European allies have been warning that a small mistake on either side could lead to war.European countries do not directly support the U.S. sanctions, but have been unable to come up with ways to allow Iran to avert them.Britain, one of Washington’s main European allies, was drawn deeper into the confrontation last week when its Royal Marines seized an Iranian tanker entering the Mediterranean off the coast of Gibraltar over separate sanctions against Syria.“Iran is neither a member of the EU nor subject to any European oil embargo. Last I checked, EU was against extraterritoriality. UK’s unlawful seizure of a tanker with Iranian oil on behalf of #B_Team is piracy, pure and simple,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Monday, using ‘B team’ as a derisory term for the Trump administration.The nuclear agreement guaranteed Iran access to world trade in return for accepting curbs on its nuclear programme. Iran says the deal allows it to respond to the US breach by reducing its compliance, and it will do so every 60 days. “If signatories of the deal, particularly Europeans, fail to fulfil their commitments in a serious way, the third step will be stronger, more decisive and a bit surprising,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday. With Iran deal teetering on brink, Europeans assess next steps Advertising Karnataka: SC to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook Related News That could raise serious questions about whether the agreement, intended to block Iran from making a nuclear weapon, is still viable.The two threats would reverse major achievements of the agreement, although Iran omitted important details about how far it might go to returning to the status quo before the pact, when Western experts believed it could build a bomb within months.In a separate standoff, Iran’s foreign minister accused Britain on Monday of “piracy, pure and simple” for seizing an Iranian oil tanker last week. Britain says the ship was bound for Syria in violation of European Union sanctions. Explained: Kulbhushan Jadhav case file Best Of Express By Reuters |Dubai, Geneva | Updated: July 8, 2019 6:36:34 pm Advertising More Explained Post Comment(s)last_img read more

2017 in Tech The Year of Foreshadowing Big Things to Come

first_imgPersonal Home Assistant: Listen Up Several high profile figures — including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, among others — expressed fears that artificial intelligence and machine learning could take control of our very creations. The concern is that sci-fi films such as The Terminator could become self-fulfilling prophecies.AI and machine learning didn’t signal the end of mankind in 2017, but they may have advanced the end of privacy.”Artificial intelligence is woven into an increasing array of online services, and the companies using it are not asking for opt-in permission or, indeed, permission at all,” said Steve Blum, principal analyst at Tellus Venture Associates.”Web services, mobile apps and point-of-sale and similar devices are recognizing who we are, or at least who we might be, and proactively tailoring responses, often without us even asking,” he told TechNewsWorld.”If you’re not paying particular attention, it seems like simple convenience; you don’t have to work as hard to get what you want, even though you often end up with what an AI system thinks you should want,” Blum added. However, “if you are paying attention, it can be very spooky.”At the same time, machine learning may make it easier to tie our devices together. In other words, for IoT to work, we need better machine learning.”AI was the serious growth industry in the last year,” suggested the University of Maryland’s Purtilo.It built on big data’s successes, which set the stage and gave people more to work with for training machines in one or another application. Also, better tools have dropped the entry barrier to innovation significantly.”In the near term, this also means we’ll see a lot of less-than-stellar applications of ML techniques as more people try it without knowing how to do it right,” Purtilo added, “but in the long run that is healthy; it means market forces have something to work out.”One area where it is being worked out is in autonomous vehicles or self-driving cars. 2017 wasn’t the year that the cars did the driving, but machine learning played other roles.”The sharing economy meets machine learning and AI in 2017, where AI has replaced the dispatcher,” noted Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.”In transportation, efficiency is everything, and it’s not a surprise that we’re seeing machine learning and artificial intelligence starting to make a noticeable impact on operations,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Lyft and Uber are utilizing machine learning toschedule pickups so that drivers are never waiting for their next fare.” The past year didn’t see a major hack leading the nightly news — there was no massive cyberattack on a government agency like the 2015 breach of the Office of Personnel Management.Also, cyberattacks have become so common that perhaps even when a major one occurs, it isn’t as newsworthy.”The interesting trend of 2017 was ransomware,” observed futurist Michael Rogers.”Total damages went from (US)$325 million in 2015 to $5 billion in 2017,” he told TechNewsWorld.”A startup with that kind of growth would be on the cover of Fortune, and we’d be waiting for the IPO,” Rogers suggested.”On the plus side, thousands of people learned how to use bitcoin, thanks to the educational how-to-pay-ransom video embedded in most versions of ransomware,” Rogers added.”The trend here is that regardless of good intentions and heightened awareness, the world is not keeping up with cybersecurity,” he warned.Perhaps next year. If there was a true “buzzword” that gained steam in 2017, it may have been “augmented reality,” which melds actual reality with virtual reality. However, the promise of what it could offer largely has remained more hype than delivery.”AR/VR is notable for what didn’t happen, which was to find those breakout apps that the area needs to attract the broader market,” said Purtilo.”The industry sees steady expansion in use of AR technology in manufacturing, just as VR sees steady demand among technologists looking for novel visualization tools — but neither is yet a game changer,” he added. “This year, we just saw more of the same — maybe with signs of impatience that the big promises haven’t yet been fulfilled.” Machine Learning: Head of the Class AR/VR: More Buzz Than Reality Internet of Things: More Promise Than Deliverycenter_img Cybersecurity: The Hacks Kept Coming 2017 wasn’t the year of robot butlers or maids, but digital assistants made significant headway. When Saturday Night Live and South Park offer satirical takes ona product trend, it is truly a sign that it has gone mainstream. South Park’s episode reportedly even affected actual units in viewers’ living rooms.”Personal home assistants — Alexa from Amazon and Google Home — were among the biggest breakout hits for new technology in 2017,” said Netpop’s Crandall.”Alexa’s simple to use voice-interface and ever-increasing set of ‘skills’ have opened up a new market for smart home appliances that were often too demanding for consumers to configure and manage,” he added.”Voice recognition technology reached the point where it can replace manual data and command entry on a routine basis,” noted Tellus’ Blum.”However, the more useful it becomes, the more it is tied to massive artificial intelligence platforms, which gives Amazon, Google and Apple a huge advantage,” he added. “Those three companies are positioning themselves to be the front end for all of our interactions with the digital realm.” 2017 may be the year that developments in the tech world truly were overshadowed by other world events: deepening divisions in the United States and the looming threat of war with North Korea; numerous high-profile Hollywood players, TV personalities, politicians, journalists, business executives and others involved in sexual misconduct scandals; terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere; and the announcement of yet another royal wedding in the United Kingdom, to name just a few.With all of that going on, it would be easy to overlook Apple’s introduction of another iPhone or Nintendo’s comeback with a hit video game console. The truth is that 2017 could be what sports teams often call “a rebuilding year.”It’s not that there was a lack of exciting new tech — it’s just that nothing was a true game-changer or disrupter. Technology has become such an integral part of the our lives that it is easy to forget that today’s smartphones are exponentially more powerful than the computers that helped get humans to the moon almost 50 years ago — and that a 50-inch flat panel TV in the living room wasn’t always the norm.No, 2017 wasn’t a year of innovation in smartphones, breakthroughs in streaming media, or even the debut of bigger, higher-resolution or thinner TVs.What 2017 may become remembered for is its foreshadowing of the technologies that will change our lives in years to come. If there is a buzzword that didn’t buzz quite as much as the digiterati predicted, it is the “Internet of Things,” which has been on the cusp of being the next big thing for way too many years. In fact, the term actually was coined by Kevin Ashton of Procter & Gamble, and later MIT’s Auto-ID Center, way back in 1999.In 2017, it remained mostly hype.”IoT seems stuck, with an industry trying to leverage next year’s gear through last year’s supply chain,” said Jim Purtilo, associate professor in the computer science department at the University of Maryland.”There are only just so many ways to sell to consumers, download mediato them, or turn their house lights on and off,” he told TechNewsWorld.”Where’s the innovation that turns this technology on its ear andconvinces the broad market we can’t live without it?” Purtilo wondered.On the other hand, “certain kinds of IoT — mainly industrial deployments and applications — mostly left the hype behind and began looking commercially sustainable,” said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.”There’s still more than a little hype around the IoT category, especially when it comes to consumer- and home-focused products and services,” he told TechNewsWorld. Yet the size and need for associated professional services makes industrial-focused solutions far more attractive to vendors.That is why 2017 wasn’t the year of IoT, and why it is unlikely that next year will be either.”Until now, IoT vendors have mostly focused on building parts of a solution,” noted Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.”As we move into 2018, vendors like Amazon and Samsung on consumer, and Dell and Cisco on enterprise, will be shifting to providing complete end-to-end solutions,” he told TechNewsWorld.The potential of IoT is there — as are the rewards for those who finally bring it to the masses.”Whenever it emerges, it will be the holy grail of data mining for companies, since however much value they skim by convincing us to carry around mobile trackers and share all our documents, the value pales in comparison to what companies will reap when they can track our moment-to-moment activity in our homes,” Purtilo pointed out. Peter Suciu has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2012. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile phones, displays, streaming media, pay TV and autonomous vehicles. He has written and edited for numerous publications and websites, including Newsweek, Wired and FoxNews.com.Email Peter.last_img read more

2017 in Tech The Year of Foreshadowing Big Things to Come

first_img2017 wasn’t the year of robot butlers or maids, but digital assistants made significant headway. When Saturday Night Live and South Park offer satirical takes ona product trend, it is truly a sign that it has gone mainstream. South Park’s episode reportedly even affected actual units in viewers’ living rooms.”Personal home assistants — Alexa from Amazon and Google Home — were among the biggest breakout hits for new technology in 2017,” said Netpop’s Crandall.”Alexa’s simple to use voice-interface and ever-increasing set of ‘skills’ have opened up a new market for smart home appliances that were often too demanding for consumers to configure and manage,” he added.”Voice recognition technology reached the point where it can replace manual data and command entry on a routine basis,” noted Tellus’ Blum.”However, the more useful it becomes, the more it is tied to massive artificial intelligence platforms, which gives Amazon, Google and Apple a huge advantage,” he added. “Those three companies are positioning themselves to be the front end for all of our interactions with the digital realm.” Machine Learning: Head of the Class Several high profile figures — including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, among others — expressed fears that artificial intelligence and machine learning could take control of our very creations. The concern is that sci-fi films such as The Terminator could become self-fulfilling prophecies.AI and machine learning didn’t signal the end of mankind in 2017, but they may have advanced the end of privacy.”Artificial intelligence is woven into an increasing array of online services, and the companies using it are not asking for opt-in permission or, indeed, permission at all,” said Steve Blum, principal analyst at Tellus Venture Associates.”Web services, mobile apps and point-of-sale and similar devices are recognizing who we are, or at least who we might be, and proactively tailoring responses, often without us even asking,” he told TechNewsWorld.”If you’re not paying particular attention, it seems like simple convenience; you don’t have to work as hard to get what you want, even though you often end up with what an AI system thinks you should want,” Blum added. However, “if you are paying attention, it can be very spooky.”At the same time, machine learning may make it easier to tie our devices together. In other words, for IoT to work, we need better machine learning.”AI was the serious growth industry in the last year,” suggested the University of Maryland’s Purtilo.It built on big data’s successes, which set the stage and gave people more to work with for training machines in one or another application. Also, better tools have dropped the entry barrier to innovation significantly.”In the near term, this also means we’ll see a lot of less-than-stellar applications of ML techniques as more people try it without knowing how to do it right,” Purtilo added, “but in the long run that is healthy; it means market forces have something to work out.”One area where it is being worked out is in autonomous vehicles or self-driving cars. 2017 wasn’t the year that the cars did the driving, but machine learning played other roles.”The sharing economy meets machine learning and AI in 2017, where AI has replaced the dispatcher,” noted Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.”In transportation, efficiency is everything, and it’s not a surprise that we’re seeing machine learning and artificial intelligence starting to make a noticeable impact on operations,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Lyft and Uber are utilizing machine learning toschedule pickups so that drivers are never waiting for their next fare.” If there is a buzzword that didn’t buzz quite as much as the digiterati predicted, it is the “Internet of Things,” which has been on the cusp of being the next big thing for way too many years. In fact, the term actually was coined by Kevin Ashton of Procter & Gamble, and later MIT’s Auto-ID Center, way back in 1999.In 2017, it remained mostly hype.”IoT seems stuck, with an industry trying to leverage next year’s gear through last year’s supply chain,” said Jim Purtilo, associate professor in the computer science department at the University of Maryland.”There are only just so many ways to sell to consumers, download mediato them, or turn their house lights on and off,” he told TechNewsWorld.”Where’s the innovation that turns this technology on its ear andconvinces the broad market we can’t live without it?” Purtilo wondered.On the other hand, “certain kinds of IoT — mainly industrial deployments and applications — mostly left the hype behind and began looking commercially sustainable,” said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.”There’s still more than a little hype around the IoT category, especially when it comes to consumer- and home-focused products and services,” he told TechNewsWorld. Yet the size and need for associated professional services makes industrial-focused solutions far more attractive to vendors.That is why 2017 wasn’t the year of IoT, and why it is unlikely that next year will be either.”Until now, IoT vendors have mostly focused on building parts of a solution,” noted Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.”As we move into 2018, vendors like Amazon and Samsung on consumer, and Dell and Cisco on enterprise, will be shifting to providing complete end-to-end solutions,” he told TechNewsWorld.The potential of IoT is there — as are the rewards for those who finally bring it to the masses.”Whenever it emerges, it will be the holy grail of data mining for companies, since however much value they skim by convincing us to carry around mobile trackers and share all our documents, the value pales in comparison to what companies will reap when they can track our moment-to-moment activity in our homes,” Purtilo pointed out. Personal Home Assistant: Listen Up 2017 may be the year that developments in the tech world truly were overshadowed by other world events: deepening divisions in the United States and the looming threat of war with North Korea; numerous high-profile Hollywood players, TV personalities, politicians, journalists, business executives and others involved in sexual misconduct scandals; terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere; and the announcement of yet another royal wedding in the United Kingdom, to name just a few.With all of that going on, it would be easy to overlook Apple’s introduction of another iPhone or Nintendo’s comeback with a hit video game console. The truth is that 2017 could be what sports teams often call “a rebuilding year.”It’s not that there was a lack of exciting new tech — it’s just that nothing was a true game-changer or disrupter. Technology has become such an integral part of the our lives that it is easy to forget that today’s smartphones are exponentially more powerful than the computers that helped get humans to the moon almost 50 years ago — and that a 50-inch flat panel TV in the living room wasn’t always the norm.No, 2017 wasn’t a year of innovation in smartphones, breakthroughs in streaming media, or even the debut of bigger, higher-resolution or thinner TVs.What 2017 may become remembered for is its foreshadowing of the technologies that will change our lives in years to come. Cybersecurity: The Hacks Kept Comingcenter_img If there was a true “buzzword” that gained steam in 2017, it may have been “augmented reality,” which melds actual reality with virtual reality. However, the promise of what it could offer largely has remained more hype than delivery.”AR/VR is notable for what didn’t happen, which was to find those breakout apps that the area needs to attract the broader market,” said Purtilo.”The industry sees steady expansion in use of AR technology in manufacturing, just as VR sees steady demand among technologists looking for novel visualization tools — but neither is yet a game changer,” he added. “This year, we just saw more of the same — maybe with signs of impatience that the big promises haven’t yet been fulfilled.” AR/VR: More Buzz Than Reality The past year didn’t see a major hack leading the nightly news — there was no massive cyberattack on a government agency like the 2015 breach of the Office of Personnel Management.Also, cyberattacks have become so common that perhaps even when a major one occurs, it isn’t as newsworthy.”The interesting trend of 2017 was ransomware,” observed futurist Michael Rogers.”Total damages went from (US)$325 million in 2015 to $5 billion in 2017,” he told TechNewsWorld.”A startup with that kind of growth would be on the cover of Fortune, and we’d be waiting for the IPO,” Rogers suggested.”On the plus side, thousands of people learned how to use bitcoin, thanks to the educational how-to-pay-ransom video embedded in most versions of ransomware,” Rogers added.”The trend here is that regardless of good intentions and heightened awareness, the world is not keeping up with cybersecurity,” he warned.Perhaps next year. Internet of Things: More Promise Than Delivery Peter Suciu has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2012. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile phones, displays, streaming media, pay TV and autonomous vehicles. He has written and edited for numerous publications and websites, including Newsweek, Wired and FoxNews.com.Email Peter.last_img read more

Apples Cook Blasts Mind Killing Fake News

first_imgLanguage is always in flux, and the meaning of terms can shift, observed Mark Marino, director of the Humanities and Critical Code Studies Lab at the University of Southern California.”Right now, the presidential administration is trying to weaponize the term in an attempt to censor the press and create noise to make it difficult for people to critically assess what’s going on,” he told TechNewsWorld.Even without that noise, fake news can be difficult to spot.”It’s comparatively easy to produce something on the Internet with little money and little training that looks almost identical to what major, professional news organizations produce,” Marino said.”That means that in addition to the usual critical thinking skills of being able to evaluate arguments and evidence, we also need media literacy skills to be able to identify when a news story is from an organization that’s not following professional standards.”Media literacy skills aren’t the only ones needed for an informed public, suggested NU’s Kennedy.”Before we can have media literacy, we need to have civic literacy, because people need to understand why this is important in the first place,” he said. Killing Discourse Apple CEO Tim Cook has called for a campaign against fake news.Its purveyors — largely interested only in getting the most clicks — are defeating the people who are trying to tell the most truth, he told the UK’s Daily Telegraph in an exclusive interview last week.Fake news is “killing people’s minds in a way,” Cook said.The worldwide epidemic of fake news requires a crackdown by both government and tech, he said, but care must be taken not to step on the freedoms of speech and the press.Cook suggested the impact of fake news could be curbed by building public awareness with a massive public service campaign.Tech can do its part to fight the spread of fake news by creating tools to reduce its volume on the Internet, he added, while government can support the cause by bringing the fight into the classroom.”Kids will be the easiest to educate,” he told the Telegraph. “At least before a certain age, they are very much in listen and understand [mode], and they then push their parents to act.” The challenge to Cook or anyone else wishing to crackdown on fake news will be nailing down what exactly “fake news” is.”‘Fake news’ has gone in six months from a useful description to something that’s absolutely meaningless,” said Dan Kennedy, an associate professor at the school of journalism at Northeastern University.Fake news originally was the product of bogus news publishers that posted wildly exaggerated or entirely made-up stories to garner clicks just for advertising revenue.”Now it’s meaningless, because the Trump White House calls anything it doesn’t like ‘fake news,'” Kennedy told TechNewsWorld.”What referred to stories that contained misinformation or disinformation is largely a meaningless term,” echoed John Carroll, a mass communications professor at Boston University.”A number of people have appropriated it to mean news that they don’t like,” he told TechNewsWorld.”I don’t know what ‘killing people’s minds’ means,” he added, “but I know fake news is eroding public discourse, and giving people a false impression not only of the news media but also current events.” What can be done to combat fake news? Both Google and Facebook are making efforts to dam the flow — Google by blocking fake news sites from participating in its advertising platform; Facebook by limiting misinformation on its system.Enlisting Hollywood in the cause may be another way to squelch fake news.”A campaign similar to those used for designated drivers and seatbelts, where references were put into scripts of programs to raise awareness of those issues, could be effective,” BU’s Carroll said.Tim Cook’s concern about the harm fake news can cause is a legitimate one, but the issue could have business implications for Apple, especially if it’s too zealous in its crackdown.”If it’s seen as interfering with people’s expression or access to information, that’s going to hurt them,” Carroll noted.On the other hand, Apple could benefit if it should earn a reputation as being a fake-news-free zone.”Tim Cook’s observation about fake news is right on target,” NU’s Kennedy said.Further, “Apple News is a real alternative to people who want to have an aggregated news product but want to make sure that it is vetted and verified news,” he pointed out. “There is a business opportunity here for Apple. It has a dog in this race, and it’s an increasingly impressive dog.”center_img Combating Fake News John Mello is a freelance technology writer and contributor to Chief Security Officer magazine. You can connect with him on Google+. Weaponizing Fake Newslast_img read more