Homeowners in Landslide Path Look For Property Tax ReliefSenate Bill Requires Vaping

first_imgSome homeowners in a landslide threatened area of Wenatchee Heights are seeking to get their property taxes reduced.Cracks in a closed section of Whispering Ridge Road indicate the ground in the area’s shifting. Chelan County Assessor Deanna Walter says homes with foundation issues could qualify for relief if there’s structural damage.She said “If the foundation’s altered, cracked or whatever, it may result in other things like windows not setting right, problems with trusses.  There could be a whole host of issues.”Houses structurally damaged from ground shifting or a landslide would qualify for property tax reductions as “destroyed property”. Such damages  allow home values from 2015, which are due in the current year, to be lowered.Homeowners evacuated because of the landslide threats can get their taxes reduced for that reason, but will have to wait.Walter says “If they can’t access their property and there’s no power and water, then we’ve certainly got some issues with value.  But that would impact their value this year.”Because taxes are paid based on the previous year’s values, those who are currently evacuated must wait until 2017 to experience any property tax relief.22 homes in the subdivision along Whispering Ridge Road are valued between $120,000 and $425,000.  Walter says she’s offered to meet with the homeowner’s association to explain property tax options for homeowners with structurally damaged houses, or homeowners who’ve been evacuated.She’s also placed calls to the county PUD and Emergency Management regarding how the residents who’ve been evacuated are being handled.last_img read more

Taking vacations could prolong life suggests new study

first_img Source:https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/Take-a-vacation-it-could-prolong-your-life Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Aug 28 2018Taking vacations could prolong life. That’s the finding of a 40-year study presented today at ESC Congress and accepted for publication in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging.”Don’t think having an otherwise healthy lifestyle will compensate for working too hard and not taking holidays,” said Professor Timo Strandberg, of the University of Helsinki, Finland. “Vacations can be a good way to relieve stress.”The study included 1,222 middle-aged male executives born in 1919 to 1934 and recruited into the Helsinki Businessmen Study in 1974 and 1975. Participants had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease (smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, glucose intolerance, overweight).Participants were randomized into a control group (610 men) or an intervention group (612 men) for five years. The intervention group received oral and written advice every four months to do aerobic physical activity, eat a healthy diet, achieve a healthy weight, and stop smoking. When health advice alone was not effective, men in the intervention group also received drugs recommended at that time to lower blood pressure (beta-blockers and diuretics) and lipids (clofibrate and probucol). Men in the control group received usual healthcare and were not seen by the investigators.As previously reported, the risk of cardiovascular disease was reduced by 46% in the intervention group compared to the control group by the end of the trial. However, at the 15-year follow-up in 1989 there had been more deaths in the intervention group than in the control group.The analysis presented today extended the mortality follow-up to 40 years (2014) using national death registers and examined previously unreported baseline data on amounts of work, sleep, and vacation. The researchers found that the death rate was consistently higher in the intervention group compared to the control group until 2004. Death rates were the same in both groups between 2004 and 2014.Related StoriesFinancial incentives may help people quit smoking and remain smoke-freeDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustMathematical model helps quantify metastatic cell behaviorShorter vacations were associated with excess deaths in the intervention group. In the intervention group, men who took three weeks or less annual vacation had a 37% greater chance of dying in 1974 to 2004 than those who took more than three weeks. Vacation time had no impact on risk of death in the control group.Professor Strandberg said: “The harm caused by the intensive lifestyle regime was concentrated in a subgroup of men with shorter yearly vacation time. In our study, men with shorter vacations worked more and slept less than those who took longer vacations. This stressful lifestyle may have overruled any benefit of the intervention. We think the intervention itself may also have had an adverse psychological effect on these men by adding stress to their lives.”Professor Strandberg noted that stress management was not part of preventive medicine in the 1970s but is now recommended for individuals with, or at risk of, cardiovascular disease. In addition, more effective drugs are now available to lower lipids (statins) and blood pressure (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers).He concluded: “Our results do not indicate that health education is harmful. Rather, they suggest that stress reduction is an essential part of programmes aimed at reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Lifestyle advice should be wisely combined with modern drug treatment to prevent cardiovascular events in high-risk individuals.”​last_img read more

Using VR to train next generation of paramedics

first_imgAug 30 2018Virtual reality (VR) is being used to train and prepare the next generation of paramedics to respond to terrorist attacks and natural disasters.Edith Cowan University researchers have worked with Perth VR production company Virtual Guest to create a fully immersive 360 virtual reality environment which simulates a mass casualty event.The researchers are examining how the VR experience compares to traditional methods of mass casualty training, which use actors with Hollywood style make-up to simulate wounded patients.Preparing for the worstECU School of Medical and Health Sciences researcher Dr Brennen Mills said traditionally mass casualty event training had been taught either in lectures or seminars, or by conducting live simulations.“Both of these approaches have their drawbacks,” he said.“It’s impossible to provide a realistic experience of responding to a mass casualty event in a classroom.“While live simulations give a more authentic learning experience, they require a significant amount of resources to do, including multiple actors, various settings, patient moulage (wound make-up) and substantial coordination of personnel.”First to respondDr Mills said mass casualty event training aimed to help students develop the decision making skills to operate under intense pressure.“Mass casualty events are chaotic and confronting. The focus of paramedics who first arrive at the scene won’t be to treat patients, but to gauge the urgency of each wounded person to decide the order of treatment when more resources arrive.”“We hope to be able to show that using VR simulations can help better prepare students to respond to mass casualty events.”Virtual benefits Related StoriesSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchExperts discuss 5G health risks as network switches on in the UKAXT enhances cellular research product portfolio with solutions from StemBioSysThe VR training program provides users with a 360 degree fully immersive environment that they interact with using a headset and hand-held controls.“This allows the user to look around the scene in every direction, as if they are really there. The scene features actors with different injuries and in varying states of distress. The user can interact with these actors in the simulation to get information about their vital signs, including their heart rate and breathing,” Dr Mills said.“The students then have to make an assessment of each patient and assign them a priority for treatment.”ECU paramedic lecturer Peggy Dykstra is undertaking her PhD research on the use of VR for paramedic training. She said the student’s immersion, performance and satisfaction with the VR simulation would be compared to a live simulation.“This will tell us if VR can be used as an immersive and cost effective way to train for mass casualty events,” Ms Dykstra said.The research is funded through an $85,000 ECU Industry Collaboration grant in partnership with Virtual Guest.VR limits the variables of live simulationsVirtual Guest founder and CEO Brandon D’Silva said VR offers a number of advantages over live simulations.“Unlike live simulations where there are variables that can’t be controlled, such as the actors’ performances, with a VR experience we can ensure that each student receives the exact same experience,” he said.“We are also able to capture data on how people interact with the VR experience, which will allow us to modify and improve it going forward.” Source: http://www.ecu.edu.au/last_img read more

Podcast The origin of dogs clues to longterm memory and more

first_imgHave scientists found the earliest evidence for life on earth? Where did dogs really come from? And could holes in the brain help store long-term memories? Science’s David Grimm discusses these stories and more with Susanne Bard. Plus, Rhitu Chatterjee discusses Project Prakash and the neuroscience behind reversing blindness in children, teenagers, and adults in rural India.last_img

Top stories Filthy kitchen sponges Cold War espionage and Greeks nearmythical origins

first_img(Left to right): © Leonard Freed/Magnum Photos; BlankeZr/iStockphoto; siraanamwong/iStockphoto Your kitchen sponge harbors zillions of microbes. Cleaning it could make things worseThat sponge in your kitchen sink harbors zillions of microbes, including close relatives of the bacteria that cause pneumonia and meningitis, according to a new study. Surprisingly, boiling or microwaving the sponges doesn’t kill off these microbes. Indeed, the researchers have found that sponges that had been regularly sanitized teemed with a higher percentage of bacteria related to pathogens than sponges that had never been cleaned.The Greeks really do have near-mythical origins, ancient DNA reveals By Giorgia GuglielmiAug. 4, 2017 , 3:30 PM Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Ever since the days of Homer, Greeks have long idealized their Mycenaean “ancestors” in epic poems and classic tragedies that glorify the heroes who went in and out of favor with the Greek gods. Although these ancestors were fictitious, scholars have long debated whether today’s Greeks descend from the actual Mycenaeans, who dominated mainland Greece and the Aegean Sea from about 1600 B.C.E. to 1200 B.C.E. Now, ancient DNA suggests they did, and that only a small proportion of their DNA comes from later migrations to Greece.Could diabetes spread like mad cow disease?Prions are insidious proteins that spread like infectious agents and trigger fatal conditions such as mad cow disease. A protein implicated in diabetes, a new study suggests, shares some similarities with these villains. Researchers transmitted diabetes from one mouse to another just by injecting the animals with this protein. The results don’t indicate that diabetes is contagious like a cold, but blood transfusions, or even food, may spread the disease.After French drug trial tragedy, European Union issues new rules to protect study volunteersThe European Medicines Agency has issued new, stricter rules for studies that test drugs in people for the first time. They aim to better protect participants in such first-in-human studies—often healthy volunteers who receive a financial reward. The guideline will take effect in February 2018 and comes in the wake of a tragedy in a French drug study last year that led to the death of one man and serious neurological damage in four others. But some say the revision isn’t going far enough.Elderly chimps may get Alzheimer’s, renewing interest in studying these animalsResearchers have discovered tell-tale signs of Alzheimer’s disease in 20 elderly chimpanzee brains, rekindling a decades-old debate over whether humans are the only species that develop the debilitating condition. Whether chimps actually succumb to Alzheimer’s or are immune from symptoms despite having the key brain abnormalities is not clear. But either way, the work suggests that chimps could help scientists better understand the disease and how to fight it—if they could get permission to do such studies on these now-endangered animals.Cold War espionage paid off—until it backfired, East German spy records revealFrom 1957 to 1985, former Nazi party member and physicist Hans Rehder stole thousands of invaluable files from his employers, West German electronics firms Telefunken and AEG, and delivered them to East German agents for a monthly fee. Although spying paid off for Rehder, economists and historians have long wondered whether industrial espionage is worth it for the country doing the spying. Now, researchers have analyzed more than 150,000 previously classified documents from the former East German Ministry for State Security (also known as the Stasi) to reach a surprising conclusion: Stealing can boost economic productivity in the short term, but it cannibalizes long-term investment in research and development. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email Top stories: Filthy kitchen sponges, Cold War espionage, and Greeks’ near-mythical originslast_img read more

Once this Viking warrior was revealed to be a woman some began

first_img C. Hedenstierna-Jonson et al., American Journal of Physical Anthropology (8 September 2017) © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. By Michael PriceSep. 14, 2017 , 2:13 PM Once this Viking warrior was revealed to be a woman, some began to question her battle bona fides Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email This 1889 sketch of a female Viking’s gravesite shows the weapons, armor, and horses she was buried with.center_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 Last week, archaeologists reported that a Viking buried with a sword, ax, spear, and two shields—first discovered in the 1880s and long thought to be a man—was, in fact, a woman, making her the first known high-ranking female Viking warrior. Yet some Viking scholars have expressed doubt about whether the woman was actually a Valkyrie-like, battle-hardened fighter, or whether she had just been buried with a warrior’s accoutrement.Science spoke with the team’s lead author, archaeologist Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson of Uppsala University in Sweden, about what archaeologists can infer about the Viking woman in question, and the double standards that crop up when female remains defy historical stereotypes. This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Q: Is it sexist to question whether this woman was actually a warrior in life, rather than someone just buried like one?A: Well, that’s the key question: How do we interpret a grave? That’s something we always face in archaeology. What does a grave represent? Asking whether the person buried ever fought in battle is a relevant question, but this has been known as a warrior grave since the 1880s and nobody has questioned it before. Nobody has made that comment before they knew the bones were from a woman. The archaeology has not changed. The only thing that has changed is our knowledge that it’s a woman and not a man.Q: What are other possible interpretations?A: There are no female objects within the grave. She’s not wearing a dress, which would have been typical for a buried female. They made a lot of effort in portraying her in this way. So one interpretation is that she did have this role while she was living, but another interpretation would be that she symbolizes a role she didn’t have, which would also be interesting and unique. In other words, she may not have been a warrior, but she was held in similar esteem and so was given a warrior’s burial.Q: Was she considered a leader?A: The predominant way of burying people during the Viking Age was cremation. But in these Viking towns, when they did bury people, they tended to bury them in coffins, or they could just be put in the ground. This woman was buried in what was called a chamber grave, which is more elaborate, filled with meaningful items from the person’s life. The people buried in them are generally thought to be cosmopolitans. The way she was buried points to her belonging to a high level of society.Q: How would a Viking woman end up as a warrior?A: Viking Age society was not an equal society. It was very hierarchical and it was probably patriarchal, as well. With that said, it was also complex, just like modern society is complex, and there are always exceptions—exceptional people or exceptional situations where people go outside the norm. In the Viking world, the sphere of the warrior was the ideal. Entering that sphere as an active warrior would normally have been closed to women. But in circumstances where, let’s say, you were from a high-status family and you had the personal attributes and strength and character suitable to the role, there could be exceptions to the norm.Q: Can more testing reveal whether she ever fought in battle?A: We could actively look for those kinds of things, but realize the skeleton is 1000 years old, it’s brittle, it’s incomplete, and you have to be careful when you handle it. But also, to my mind, there’s no study that actually states, “These are the types of skeletal signals that indicate a warrior.”What are we then looking for? You could look for sharp-force trauma, but interestingly, there are not that many graves showing sharp-force trauma in the Viking Age, despite the fact that we know it was quite a violent time. You could look for how muscle use alters the skeleton, like how a smith uses one arm more than the other, but you don’t see that in all cases. And more than that, there’s not a good standard for what a warrior’s skeleton should look like. So it’s a very interesting question and there should be more studies on it, but we just don’t have good diagnostic criteria for what makes a warrior.last_img read more

Humongous fungus is almost as big as the Mall of America

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 Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Elizabeth PennisiOct. 10, 2018 , 12:20 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Zoonar GmbH/Alamy Stock Photo In the late 1980s, researchers discovered the biggest organism on record, a “humongous fungus” on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that covered 37 hectares, about the same size as the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Now, the same team of scientists has found that this Armillaria gallica, which gives rise to honey mushrooms (above), is about four times as big—and twice as old—as they originally thought.Like other fungi, Armillaria sprouts tiny threads underground; but unlike most fungi, these threads fuse to form shoelace-size strings that extend great distances to consume dead or weak wood. To find out how big the massive underground network of fungus really was, the scientists took 245 far-flung string samples and analyzed their genes. Not only did they belong to the same individual fungus, but—based on how fast the underground strands grow—that fungus must be at least 2500 years old, they report in a non–peer-reviewed study posted last week to the bioRxiv preprint server.By sequencing the genomes of 15 evenly distributed samples, the researchers could also see how the honey mushroom’s genome changed over time. To their surprise, it has a very slow mutation rate, with just 163 genetic changes among the genome’s 100 million bases. Mutation rates often reflect how quickly an organism can evolve—and this fungus, it seems, doesn’t evolve very fast. The researchers aren’t sure how the mutations rate is kept in check, though a well-developed DNA mechanism or simply being underground and out of sunlight may do the trick. ‘Humongous fungus’ is almost as big as the Mall of America But even with its new size estimate, the Michigan fungus has already been eclipsed by a different Armillaria in Oregon, discovered in 1998. That one, now the largest organism in the world, may be more than 8000 years old and covers more than 770 hectares.last_img read more

Heres why the outcomes of this weeks European elections are good news

first_img Now there could be space for a liberal or green research champion … 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 European Parliament’s debating chamber in Strasbourg, France Email According to provisional results published yesterday, the biggest winner is the centrist Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, which would add 40 MEPs to its current 69, whereas the greens would grow from 52 to 69 MEPs. The biggest losers are political groups that have long dominated European politics: the conservative European People’s Party and the socio-democrats, which would lose 36 and 39 seats, respectively. Voter turnout was at its highest since 1994, at about 51%.Liberals and greens will now have more clout to push their already articulate research agendas, says Thomas Jørgensen, senior policy coordinator at the European University Association in Brussels. “You have these research veterans in the Parliament; almost all of them are conservative,” Jørgensen says, alluding, for example, to MEPs Jerzy Buzek from Poland and Christian Ehler from Germany, who have focused much of their careers on research and innovation policy. “Now, there could be space for a liberal or green research champion, giving broad support to research and pushing for climate and sustainability issues.” Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country On international cooperation, Jørgensen expects the new Parliament to support the European Commission’s “open to the world” approach, which seeks to develop scientific collaborations with countries outside Europe and allows nonmembers such as Norway, Switzerland, and Israel to compete in research funding programs in exchange for an association fee. “So many progressive MEPs have been elected on that ‘open society’ ticket”—as opposed to the nationalist and “Europe first” discourses of populist parties, he says.Far-right and euroskeptic parties did score high in countries such as Italy and France, but the predicted populist flood didn’t materialize across the continent. (The two main euroskeptic groups combined would go from 78 MEPs in the outgoing Parliament to 112 after the elections, whereas the European Conservatives and Reformists lost 18 seats.) But scientists and their institutions should remain vigilant about their influence, says Maud Evrard, head of policy affairs at the Brussels-based Science Europe, a group of funding agencies and research organizations.“We’re concerned about academic freedom. We shouldn’t take it for granted,” she says. (In Hungary, the government of Viktor Orbán has taken aim at Central European University, a private institution in Budapest, for instance.) “We will push the Parliament to promote and defend freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and thought” at the national level, Evrard says, as well as evidence-based policymaking.Parliament’s exact balance of power will be decided in the coming weeks; 29 MEPs are not allied to any existing political group yet. At its first plenary session in July, Parliament will then vote to elect the next president of the commission, who is put forward by the European Union’s heads of state and government. They will assemble a new commission, the European Union’s executive arm, including a commissioner for research and innovation to succeed Carlos Moedas from Portugal. The new Parliament will have a chance to grill the candidate for that post—and reveal its science policy inclinations—after the summer. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Although populist and euroskeptic parties grew in last week’s elections for the European Parliament, the tsunami that EU supporters feared didn’t happen. That comes as a relief to many scientists, because several of the populist movements now on the rise in Europe appear to have little interest in science, flirt with antiscientific ideas, or have tried to curtail academic freedom.Observers in Brussels expect the new Parliament to continue its policy of defending generous research budgets. But the rise of pro-European Union green and liberal groups—at the expense of the Parliament’s traditionally two dominant parties—could lead to small shifts in science and technology priorities, some say, such as greener policies.The elections’ direct influence on EU science policy is limited because most of the details of Horizon Europe, its next 7-year research funding program, have already been agreed to by the outgoing Parliament and member states. But the new members of Parliament (MEPs) still have to negotiate two big items: the program’s budget from 2021 to 2027, which could be about €100 billion, and rules for the participation of countries outside of the European Union. Next year, Parliament will also examine rules for big public-private partnerships on research and innovation. By Tania RabesandratanaMay. 28, 2019 , 3:55 AM Here’s why the outcomes of this week’s European elections are good news for science Thomas Jørgensen, European University Association DAVID ILIFF (CC-BY-SA 3.0) last_img read more

This tiny waspinspired drone can pull 40 times its own weight

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email This tiny wasp-inspired drone can pull 40 times its own weight By Courtney MiceliOct. 24, 2018 , 2:00 PMcenter_img This tiny robot may look unassuming, but even at a mere 100 grams—about as heavy as a bar of soap—the FlyCroTug can pull up to 40 times its own weight, according to a new study.To create FlyCroTug—named for its flying, micro, tugging features—researchers took a cue from wasps. Typically, these insects use their stinger to subdue prey before transporting it back to their nest. If the prey is too heavy to fly with, some wasps plant their feet on the ground and pull their prey home. Similarly, when a payload is too heavy for flight—anything bigger than the robot itself—the FlyCroTug stays on terra firma, where it uses adhesives and tiny metal hooks called microspines to stick to a surface, and a powerful tether to tug on an object.Researchers demonstrated the FlyCroTug’s capabilities by anchoring it atop a partially collapsed building and having it haul up a bulky set of sensors to inspect small openings in the rubble. FlyCroTugs can also work together to open doors; one pulls the handle downward while sticking to the door itself, and another pulls the door open while anchored to the ground, the team reports today in Science Robotics. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country FlyCroTug’s unprecedented strength gives it an advantage over other miniature drones, which—because of their size—can typically only survey their environment instead of actually interacting with it. That could make this new class of robots useful in everything from planting sensors in hard-to-reach spots in tall buildings and bridges, to removing debris in disaster zones.last_img read more

Empathy expert resigns as head of Max Planck institute after report confirms

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) In August, Science reported that a number of researchers at the institute had leveled complaints against Singer, including allegations that she had created an “atmosphere of fear” in the workplace, and mistreated female employees who became pregnant. All but one of the researchers asked to remain anonymous because they feared for their careers.In September, Martin Stratmann, president of the Max Planck Society in Munich, Germany, appointed a committee to investigate. Last month, the committee submitted its report, which confirmed the bullying allegations but noted there was no evidence that Singer had committed scientific misconduct. News of Singer’s resignation was first reported by Buzzfeed.In her letter, Singer wrote that she had not intended to hurt researchers in her department, and that she had “worked on the expense of my own balance, even though this was apparently not visible to you.” She also noted that Max Planck officials have agreed to let her finish remaining projects together “with a mini‐group, separated from Leipzig.”There are still some unresolved questions, however, including which institute her research group will ultimately join. Singer intends to remain as the principal investigator for at least some of the work of The ReSource Project, her ambitious study investigating the effects of meditation, according to one of Singer’s colleagues.Bethany Kok, a former member of Singer’s research group who is now lead data scientist at EmpowerTheUser, a tech company in Dublin, felt relieved by yesterday’s announcement. “What I wanted out of this was that other people would not have to go through what we went through and it sounds like some of that will be achieved. She won’t have as large a lab, and people who do work with her will go in informed.”PhDnet, a network of Ph.D. students within the Max Planck Society, also welcomed the decision. “It was necessary and appropriate,” they wrote in a statement. “In particular we welcome that Ms. Singer will not have any management functions anymore and that no more junior researchers will have to suffer under her misconduct.” But the statement also criticized the Max Planck Society for being slow to take the allegations seriously, and acting only after media reports. “We would wish future cases to be handled faster, more transparently and more skillfully.”Singer’s case and a similar case at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany, have sparked a wider debate on whether the administrative structure of the Max Planck Society, which operates dozens of research centers across Germany, is contributing to misbehavior. Stratmann has announced a task force to investigate whether “the events that have taken place at a few institutes are isolated cases or if we are dealing with structural problems.” Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country In The ReSource Project, Tania Singer sought to demonstrate that meditation can make people more kind and caring. Empathy expert resigns as head of Max Planck institute after report confirms bullying allegationscenter_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 Moritz Hager/WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) By Kai KupferschmidtDec. 5, 2018 , 1:45 PM Empathy expert Tania Singer will resign as director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, after a commission confirmed allegations of bullying made by several members of the institute.“[S]ignificant failures in leadership had occurred” at the institute, the Max Planck Society said in a statement released yesterday. “In order to avoid a further escalation of the situation and to enable all parties involved to return to focused scientific work, the Max Planck Society and Ms. Singer have agreed that she will step down from her position as Director on her own initiative.” The neuroscientist “will continue her work as a scientific researcher, on a smaller scale, without a management function outside the Leipzig Institute,” the statement noted.Singer apologized “for the mistakes I made as a young director of a big Max Planck Department” in a letter to her former lab members. “My psychological and physical resources are exhausted and my reputation and my scientific career are severely damaged,” she wrote.last_img read more

Top stories The science of false confessions transforming blood types and Brazils

first_img This psychologist explains why people confess to crimes they didn’t commitFalse confessions are surprisingly common. That’s in part because standard interrogation techniques place suspects under psychological stresses from which a confession can seem like the only escape. Now, psychologists and other scientists studying interrogation methods and false confessions are placing more scrutiny on a piece of evidence once held as irrefutable in a court of law.Type A blood converted to universal donor blood with help from bacterial enzymes Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Top stories: The science of false confessions, transforming blood types, and Brazil’s war on drugs By Alex FoxJun. 14, 2019 , 4:15 PM On any given day, hospitals across the United States burn through some 16,500 liters (35,000 pints) of donated blood for emergency surgeries, scheduled operations, and routine transfusions. But recipients can’t take just any blood: For a transfusion to be successful, the patient and donor blood types must be compatible. Now, researchers analyzing bacteria in the human gut have discovered that microbes there produce two enzymes that can convert the common type A into a more universally accepted type.Brazilian government accused of suppressing data that would call its war on drugs into questionIs Brazil experiencing a drug epidemic? The answer to that question has spiraled into a legal battle between scientists and government officials over the release of a national drug use survey done by the renowned Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Researchers familiar with the study accuse government officials of suppressing publication of the survey because it contradicts a political assertion that drug abuse is a growing and widespread problem in Brazil.Watch an ant rip apart a spiderweb to rescue a siblingAnts are famous for putting themselves at risk for the wellbeing of their colony, but desert harvester ants are especially heroic. New research suggests the insects charge into spiderwebs to rescue their ensnared nestmates, sometimes ripping the silk apart to free them.Spotted for the first time: a fish holding its breath underwaterLike us, fish need oxygen to survive. But to breathe, most pull oxygen-containing water into their mouths and pump it through their gill chambers before expelling it out of their gill slits. Now, for the first time, scientists have seen fish “holding” that breath, some for up to 4 minutes at a time. (left to right): DREW GURIAN; ISTOCK.COM/ARINDAM GHOSH; FABIO TEIXEIRA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Emaillast_img read more

Franklin Seduced France with Coonskin Cap Diplomacy

first_imgIn 1778, Founding Father Benjamin Franklin was in France attempting to secure support for the United States Colonies during the War for Independence. Great Britain and France had been at odds with one another for many years as the two most powerful nations in the world.The American Continental Congress knew that enlisting aid from France would further infuriate King George III.Benjamin Franklin in London, 1767, wearing a blue suit with elaborate gold braid and buttons, a far cry from the simple dress he affected at the French court in later years. Painting by David Martin, displayed in the White House.The Americans were fully aware they could not win the war with Great Britain alone. They had no navy, and military supplies such as guns and ammunition were hard to come by as the Colonies depended on Great Britain for most of their supplies.The British had recruited North American Indian tribes to fight for their cause — promising if Britain retained control of the Colonies, the Native Americans would be left alone. The only hope the Colonists had was to enlist foreign aid.Hessian troops hired out to the British by their German sovereigns.The Colonies were forbidden to trade with foreign countries, but smuggling had been going on for years.  American rice and tobacco were to be shipped only to Britain but were secretly shipped to northwestern France and Amsterdam in exchange for much-needed items such as tea, fabric for clothing, gunpowder, arms, wig powder and other necessities.Great Britain was aware of the illegal trading but mostly ignored the situation until they found out about the weapons and gunpowder. In 1774, the British sent ships to Texel Island in northern Holland to curtail the trade with Amsterdam.  According to Aermican Herritage by the beginning of 1775, the British had unknowingly sent almost six million dollars’ worth of war munitions to the Colonies.Statue of Benjamin Franklin at Washington Square Park in San Francisco, CA. The statue was donated to the city of San Francisco by Henry Cogswell in 1879.At the age of seventy-one Benjamin Franklin was sent to France, along with Silas Deane and Arthur Lee, to gain help from Louis XVI. On May 2, 1776, the French King signed documents making France an American ally which dishonored her treaties with Britain.Recumbent statue of King Louis XVI in the Basilica of Saint-Denis, royal necropolis of France, in Saint-Denis, near Paris, France.In 1770 Massachusetts appointed Franklin as the first foreign ambassador to France. By 1778, Franklin, Deane and Lee had negotiated the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with their new ally.Benjamin Franklin’s Reception at the Court of France, 1778.Franklin had already proved his worth in the Colonies by his writings, inventions, research of electricity, and his brilliant use of diplomacy. Although he was self-taught, Franklin held honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and Oxford University in England.He also helped found the University of Pennsylvania in his hometown of Philadelphia. The French, fascinated by Franklin, welcomed him with open arms. He learned French and was set up in a house in the Parisian suburb of Passy.Picture of a statue of King Louis XVI of France and Benjamin Franklin signing the Treaty of Alliance.His charm, wit and humble dress made him one of the most popular people in Paris. He wore a coonskin cap to play up the French belief that Americans were wild frontiersmen. In fact, Franklin was so popular in France that even today some French citizens think he was an American president. Franklin was criticized by his contemporaries for living the high life, going to balls and parties and hobnobbing with the wealthiest of society.For Franklin to have mixed with the poorer people would have alienated him from the king and wealthy potential donors to the cause. It was the eve of the French Revolution, and the public had had about enough of squalid living conditions while the wealthy flaunted their money in over the top decadence.Signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and of Alliance between France and the United States by Charles E. Mills.At the end of the Revolutionary War Franklin successfully negotiated the Treaty of Paris in 1783.Having spent about ten years in France, Franklin returned to Philadelphia in 1785. He assisted in the creation of both the Bill of Rights and the United States Constitution.In April of 1790, Franklin died at the age of eighty-four at the Philadelphia home of his daughter, Sarah. According to Biography, Franklin had written his own epitaph when he was twenty-two:“The body of B. Franklin, Printer (Like the Cover of an Old Book Its Contents torn Out And Stript of its Lettering and Gilding) Lies Here, Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be Lost; For it will (as he Believ’d) Appear once More In a New and More Elegant Edition Revised and Corrected By the Author.”Read another story from us: The Sneaky Ways America First Lured Innovative Thinkers and Industries to its ShoresAlas, the inscription on his headstone in Christ Church Burial Ground reads “Benjamin and Deborah Franklin 1790.”  The Poor Richard Club mounted a plaque near the grave with Franklin’s epitaph for himself and another with a timeline of Franklin’s life.last_img read more

City plans to waive residency requirements for employees

first_imgCity plans to waive residency requirements for employees By Linda Kor During the Nov. 14 meeting of the Holbrook City Council, the council addressed an item on the agenda regarding the residency requirement in the city’s personnel policy. According to City Manager RandySubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad November 24, 2017last_img

US withdraws special tax exemption to Pakistani diplomats

first_img US imposes sanction on Pakistan; may deny visas to Pakistanis There was so far no response from Pakistan’s foreign ministry in Islamabad. (Representational Image)The US has withdrawn its special tax exemption to Pakistani diplomats, over a year after the Trump administration imposed travel restrictions on them, forcing the officials to stay within 40 kms of the city they are posted in. The Diplomatic Tax Exemption programme — usually granted to foreign diplomats and consulars — provides sales and use, occupancy, food, airline, gas, and utility tax exemptions to eligible foreign officials on assignment in the United States. The facility is enjoyed by the officials’ dependents too. How Trump’s Huawei ban could impact the global tech industry Advertising The decision to take back the special tax exemption cards issued to the Pakistani officials was made on May 15, after which the affected staffers had to surrender the privilege, The News International reported from Washington. The number of affected staffers of the Pakistani embassy are a little over 20, the report said. Tax exemption privileges for foreign diplomats, consular officers and staff members are generally based on two international treaties: The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.Since all such services and privileges are based on the principle of reciprocity, that means no privileges are granted to a foreign official unless the United States Embassy and Consular personnel receive the equivalent privileges in that country. A State Department spokesperson confirmed to The News that there were pending tax exemption issues related to the US diplomatic mission in Pakistan.However, the department said that both sides were in talks and hoped to resolve the issue and restore the tax privileges. Answering a question about the issue, Pakistan’s embassy in Washington claimed that the issue of tax exemption and refunds is a routine topic of discussion between any two countries. “There are thus ongoing discussions between Pakistan and the US on the status of exemption/refunds on the basis of the principle of reciprocity, which should not be construed as withdrawal of any privileges,” the embassy said. Related News Appeals court puts Trump abortion restrictions on hold again Post Comment(s) US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigns amid Trump’s anger over border By PTI |Islamabad, Washington | Published: May 31, 2019 5:59:50 pm There was so far no response from Pakistan’s foreign ministry in Islamabad. Last year, the US placed “reciprocal restrictions” on the movement of Pakistani diplomats in the country from May 1, forcing them to stay within 40 kms of the city they are posted in.The US’ move came after Pakistan imposed restrictions on American diplomats in the country and barred them from visiting the tribal belt and Karachi. Advertisinglast_img read more

QA Ron Vale new chief of Janelia Research Campus on why 15

first_img By Jocelyn KaiserFeb. 22, 2019 , 3:25 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Alison Yin/AP Images for HHMI This week, cell biologist Ron Vale was named executive director of Janelia Research Campus, the in-house research arm of the $20 billion Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Vale, now at the University of California, San Francisco, has been part of HHMI’s cadre of roughly 300 investigators at institutions for the past 24 years. Next January, he will replace fruit fly geneticist Gerald Rubin, Janelia’s director since its founding in 2003.When the now–$130 million Janelia opened its doors on the site of a former farm in Ashburn, Virginia, some questioned its narrow focus on neurobiology and suggested the funding should go toward adding HHMI investigators. But the institute is now a well-established research center with 41 small groups and 190 total lab staff.In late 2017, HHMI announced some tweaks: Focus areas will be limited to 15 years. The institute is refocusing its work on brain circuitry to study the mechanisms of cognition. And a new research area will be added every 5 years, starting with one to be chosen by an ongoing open competition. One constant will be the institute’s work on tools such as novel microscopes. Ron Valecenter_img Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Q&A: Ron Vale, new chief of Janelia Research Campus, on why 15 years is a good research time frame Vale, 60, studies motor proteins that move cargo around cells. He’s also known for his open science projects, such as ASAPbio, a nonprofit he founded that promotes the sharing of preprints among biologists. Vale, who will also be an HHMI vice president, recently spoke with ScienceInsider about his new job. (The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.)Q: What appealed to you about this position?A: I’m greatly interested in science culture and that’s one of the reasons I was very attracted. Janelia is a very interesting, kind of unique experiment that allows scientists to do their work in unique ways, from small groups that work together to promoting young scientists, to an environment that rewards technology and tool building. Doing that experiment well is important for scientists elsewhere as well. The impact could be much greater than that of Janelia itself.Q: Were you involved in setting the 15-year time frame for Janelia focus areas?A: It began before the search [for my position]. But all of the changes are also really great … I’m fully on board with them. It’s a very important balance between having enough time to take on important and potentially high-risk problems, but also from a counterpoint, having some dynamicity to the organization and the institute.Q: What if a field is just hitting cruising speed after 15 years?A: No doubt things are going to be learned, but starting off, 15 years is a nice amount of time. It promotes risk-taking and willingness to take on something ambitious at a much longer time scale than the standard 4- or 5-year grant. At the same time, there is some sense of urgency. I think some sense of a time window can be very healthy for people to feel like they should strive to succeed at the highest level and get as much done as they can in that period of time.Q: So, will part of your job be moving people out and bringing new ones in?A: I think the challenge of this dynamic model is people are coming in, projects are coming in and leaving but at any given moment you want the place humming like a well-integrated system, where everyone’s communicating well, where it doesn’t feel like siloed projects. There’s going to be a continuous remodeling of Janelia in terms of projects and ideas. It will be fun for me and my goal is to make it fun for everyone working at Janelia.last_img read more

Next Up Game Consoles Is There Anything Google Cant Do Badly

first_imgIt’s interesting to compare Google and Amazon — two of the most incredibly powerful companies in the world. Amazon brings out product after product, with more successes than failures. Google largely buys companies and then loses interest in what they do.Amazon is a retailer, and profit is built into its efforts, while Google largely lives off selling users’ information and providing access to content that doesn’t belong to it — kind of like living off an allowance from parents who don’t really want to give it but don’t see an alternative.Google’s latest effort is rumored to be a gaming system to compete with PlayStation and Xbox (but with streamed games). I expect it will end badly, largely because Google won’t want to expend the effort to make it successful and will lose interest within a brief period of time.I’ll share some thoughts on Google’s next likely failed effort and close with my product of the week: the Miix 630, a new tablet-forward Always Connected PC from Lenovo. Lenovo Miix 630 The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network. Google really doesn’t have much of a history of product success. Yes, YouTube and Android — both largely acquisitions — have been successful, but Google gives them away and makes its money selling ads and usage data. Googl’es Home smart speaker hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, and Nest, which it purchased, seems to be dropping into obscurity. Google Glass was a train wreck, and Google+ looks like Westworld at the end of Season 2 (mostly dead people).The irony for Google is that even though the company subsists largely on revenue from other companies’ marketing, it doesn’t seem to understand how to market itself. The firm is like a drug dealer who makes money from drugs but wouldn’t touch the stuff himself.This is not to say the company’s product offerings are bad — its smart speaker is one of the best in market. Google just doesn’t get that you must build demand for a product, or people will buy something else that they have been made to want more.This isn’t an uncommon problem for companies made up of engineers. In Google’s case, the result is a complete lack of human interaction skills and a lack of understanding of both the need and the process to build demand. Yet Google still seems to want to create retail products that people will buy.I doubt Google’s efforts in gaming will be successful, even though I expect the hardware to be rather impressive. The issue for this class is that you generally end up with an interesting laptop computer but the tablet capability sucks, so no one uses it. Three factors — battery life, weight and screen size — were less than ideal.The Always Connected PC effort is based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835, not on Intel’s x86, to address the battery life issue, and this latest offering gets up to a whopping 20 hours of life. For a lot of folks that means up to three days of work off charger.In tablet form, it is under 2 pounds, so it is very light. However, there is still a problem with the size of the device, given its near 13-inch screen, which is ideal for work but too large for most who want to use it as a handheld device to read watch movies.This means the product is much better for those who actually want to use the stylus and either write or draw on it. It also would be handy for reading digital legal documents and contracts, particularly if you must annotate them.At US$899 this isn’t a cheap date, but it does come with both an active stylus and a decent keyboard. About the keyboard: Most that come with tablet-forward designs tend to be a bit flimsy, but this one is nice and solid, so you feel comfortable typing on it.This 2-in-1 likely would be ideal for an editor, writer, artist, or anyone who mostly wants to create documents or pen annotate them, work on contracts, or draw. This is likely one of the best portable products for a graphic artist.Because the Lenovo Miix 630 is likely the closest thing to a true 2-in-1 currently in market, and because it could be a godsend for certain users, it’s my product of the week. Google’s Pattern Defining the Console Game Market Wrapping Up: Insanity center_img To drive console sales, what’s typically needed is a hit game that is paid for by the console manufacturer — for example, the epic Xbox game Halo. This is because people won’t buy a game console unless there is something they want to play on it, and developers won’t build a game until there is a critical mass of gaming consoles in market.It is the typical cart and horse issue, where a lack of unique content can cripple a game console rollout. This is one of the big problems with virtual reality at the moment. There really isn’t a VR title that folks are excited about yet, and thus the related technology has been struggling.Once you have a hot title, you still have to market both the game and the console with specials, bundles, and compelling ads that get people excited. You’ll still have a huge disadvantage relative to the existing vendors, because their customers don’t have to buy a new console to play new games — your customers do. Given that parents buy a critical mass of these things, when given a choice to buy a game for a console they already have purchased or a game that requires a new console too, the parents generally will pick the cheaper path.This means you have to do a lot of hardware seeding so that influencers are talking and writing about how much fun they are having on the new hardware. This creates envy, and envy can get people to open their wallets and buy into a new platform. Even with everything in place, it can take up to five years of significant losses before a market comes around to your product. My second Always Connected PC, theLenovo Miix 630 comes closest to the ideal 2-in-1 concept that Intel ironically brought to market in response to the iPad’s success. The console game market has three major players: Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. Both Microsoft and Sony largely use the razer/blade model, in that they either sell their consoles at a loss or for cost, and make money on a percentage of game sales. Nintendo is a bit different in that it sells its console for a profit and also makes money from game sales.To increase profits and revenue opportunity, the entire industry has been exploring in-game purchases with mixed results. These tend to detract from game play and can make the related titles less attractive, so the financial benefits of the approach often have been offset by lower game revenues. Still, the practice does allow for lower-priced games that are still profitable. Breaking Into the Console Game Market I’m back to that definition of insanity — you know the one. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. The list of meh products from Google is pretty impressive, so you’d think its leaders would step back and try to figure out why success with those efforts has been fleeting. That isn’t Google, though.Instead, the company will throw a bunch of cash and resources at this effort, likely get a nice initial spike, and then after 12 to 36 months lose interest in the effort and leave the poor folks who bought its console hanging out to dry while it moves to its next soon-to-fail effort.The lesson Google — and sadly many other companies — has failed to learn is that you have to fund and resource your way to success. Just spending a lot of money doesn’t get you there, and if you aren’t willing to make the effort, then you’d be better off doing something else.By the way, this will be Google’s second effort. The first one, Nexus, came out in 2014 and was mostly forgotten by 2015. Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the technology industry. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob.last_img read more

Study investigates influence of different opioids on driving performance

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 5 2018Taking opioids for the treatment of pain has been associated with increased risks of crashing among drivers, but it is unknown whether this applies to all opioids or pertains to specific opioids only. A new British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology study found that the influence of single analgesic doses of methadone and buprenorphine–two different opioids–on driving performance was mild and below the impairment threshold of a blood alcohol concentration of 0.5 mg ml-1.Related StoriesOpioids are major cause of pregnancy-related deaths in UtahStudy: Dozens of counties in the U.S. are at highest risk for opioid deathsParental opioid use doubles the risk of suicide attempts by their childrenBoth opioids produced impairments of cognitive task performance and increased sleepiness at the highest dose, however. Four out of the 22 participants in the study stopped their on-road driving test while under the influence of either opioid due to sleepiness.The findings indicate that it is impossible to state that use of buprenorphine and methadone will not impair driving in any patient. Consequently, patients should always be informed about the potential driving impairment that might be caused by buprenorphine and methadone.”For the first time an actual on-road driving study has been performed to investigate the acute effects of opioids in drug-naïve persons on driving. The results tell us that caution is required when initiating treatment with these drugs,” said lead author Dr. Maren Cecilie Strand, of Oslo University Hospital, in Norway. Source:https://newsroom.wiley.com/press-release/british-journal-clinical-pharmacology/study-examines-effects-different-opioids-drivinglast_img read more

Hepatitis Cinfected patients with a history of liver cancer can be treated

first_img Source:https://www.utsouthwestern.edu/newsroom/articles/year-2019/hepatitis-c.html Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 18 2019A large, multi-center study refutes earlier suggestions that antiviral drugs for treating hepatitis C may lead to a higher recurrence of liver cancer.Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center studied the records of patients who had been successfully treated for liver cancer at 31 medical centers in North America, comparing those who were and were not given direct-acting antivirals for hepatitis C. The study found no significant difference in the recurrence of liver cancer between the two groups.Similarly, the study found no difference in the aggressiveness of the cancer in those patients who did experience a recurrence.”Our study was inspired by a single-center study from Spanish investigators in 2016. That study gained a lot of press and sparked fear about treating liver cancer patients for their hepatitis C,” said Dr. Amit Singal, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Medical Director of the Liver Tumor Program. “Based on these new data, providers can feel reassured that it is safe to treat hepatitis C in these patients and allow them to receive the known benefits of hepatitis C therapy.”Related StoriesNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskLiving with advanced breast cancerSome 3.2 million individuals in the U.S., the large majority of them baby boomers, have chronic hepatitis C infection. Many of these individuals struggle with inflammation of the liver and impaired liver function, as well as cirrhosis, or scarring of liver tissue. Since 2013, effective antiviral drugs have been available to treat hepatitis C infection.Chronic hepatitis C infection is also one of the leading causes of liver cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of all individuals with liver cancer have underlying chronic hepatitis C infection.The rate of new cases of liver cancer has been rising steadily in recent decades, and the state of Texas has one of the highest rates of occurrence in the country.When liver cancer is diagnosed early, it can be effectively treated with surgery, ablation, or radiation therapy. Sometimes liver cancer patients have their tumor successfully removed, but the underlying chronic hepatitis C infection remains and continues to impair liver function further.In this study, published in the journal Gastroenterology, 42 percent of liver cancer survivors who were treated with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) experienced a recurrence of their cancer, compared with 59 percent of patients who were not treated with antivirals.”Our results suggest that use of DAA therapies is safe and potentially beneficial in hepatitis C-infected patients with a history of liver cancer,” said Dr. Singal, who holds the David Bruton, Jr. Professorship in Clinical Cancer Research and is Clinical Chief of Hepatology.​last_img read more

FDA grants clearance to Hologics assay for detection of common sexually transmitted

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 23 2019Hologic, Inc. announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted clearance for its Aptima® Mycoplasma genitalium assay, the first and only FDA-cleared test to detect this under-recognized but increasingly common sexually transmitted infection (STI). This newest Aptima assay joins a growing suite of market-leading tests offered by Hologic to help combat the rise of STIs in the U.S.Hologic’s first-in-category assay, cleared through the FDA’s De Novo request process, provides laboratories with a highly sensitive and specific molecular diagnostic method to identify infections and enable effective treatment.First discovered in the early 1980s, Mycoplasma genitalium (M. genitalium) was listed as an emerging public health threat by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2015. Current estimates indicate that M. genitalium may affect more than 15 percent of men and women in certain high-risk populations, and its prevalence is growing.3 Because of the lack of an FDA-cleared test until now, M. genitalium has often been misdiagnosed as other STIs and, in some cases, treated with the wrong antibiotics. This often leaves the underlying infection untreated, which can lead to increased transmission and recurrent infections.”Although Mycoplasma genitalium is typically more common than gonorrhea, there is very little public awareness of this rising sexually transmitted infection, which can cause serious and potentially devastating health problems,” said Damon Getman, Ph.D., senior principal research scientist and director of research at Hologic. “The introduction of the Aptima Mycoplasma genitalium assay gives healthcare professionals the opportunity to provide optimal care for their patients and reflects Hologic’s commitment to developing innovative solutions that address emerging public health threats.”In men, M. genitalium symptoms may include urethritis, the swelling and inflammation of the urethra. In women, M. genitalium has been linked to cervicitis, the swelling and inflammation of the cervix. If left untreated, infections can lead to infertility in women and increased risk of HIV acquisition and transmission. Patients infected with M. genitalium may be asymptomatic or experience symptoms similar to those associated with a chlamydial infection, so accurate diagnostic tests are critical to help healthcare professionals and their laboratory partners identify these bacterial infections and treat them appropriately. Research has shown as many as 50 percent of women and 42 percent of men with M. genitalium may have an antibiotic-resistant strain, further emphasizing the importance of early detection and regular screening.Related StoriesChronic inflammation removes motivation by reducing dopamine in the brainPipettes of the Future: Automation for AccelerationBioTek introduces new Scratch Assay Starter Kit”We are tremendously proud of the team of scientists and engineers who developed this assay,” said Tom West, Hologic’s division president, Diagnostic Solutions. “They exemplify Hologic’s dedication to help arm laboratories and healthcare professionals with superior diagnostic tools to identify harmful infections, and this FDA clearance represents another milestone in furthering that mission.”In published research, Hologic’s ribosomal RNA-based M. genitalium assay displayed greater sensitivity than lab-developed or CE-marked DNA-based tests . Hologic introduced the first FDA-cleared diagnostic test kit for STIs in the 1990s using its innovative RNA-based technology. Since then, Hologic has expanded its Aptima STI portfolio to include assays for chlamydia, gonorrhea, human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes simplex viruses (HSV 1&2), trichomonas, and Zika virus. The Aptima virology portfolio also includes quantitative assays for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B and C (HBV and HCV). All are available on Hologic’s fully-automated Panther® system. In 2017, the Aptima assays helped an estimated 40 million patients obtain fast, high-quality test results.Including the first IVD for the detection of Mycoplasma genitalium, Hologic’s Panther and Panther Fusion® system now offers 14 FDA-cleared or approved assays that detect more than 20 pathogens, making it the only high-throughput molecular diagnostic platform in the United States to combine comprehensive sexual health, cervical health, viral load, respiratory testing and open channel10 functionality on a fully automated system.Source: https://www.hologic.com/last_img read more

Pepperpicking robot demonstrates its skills in greenhouse labour automation

first_img First ever working sweet-pepper harvesting robot The team of experts involved in the project recently gave a live demonstration of the technology in a commercial greenhouse in the Netherlands. A video on the project website shows the robot in action. The video explains that the SWEEPER robot consists of an autonomous mobile platform with a robotic arm holding an end effector for fruit harvesting.As stated in a press release on the project website, the robot is “designed to operate in a single stem row cropping system, with a crop having non-clustered fruits and little leaf occlusion.” According to the same press release, preliminary test results showed that by using commercially available crop modified to mimic the required conditions, the robot harvests ripe bell peppers in 24 seconds with a success rate of 62 %. In laboratory experiments it was possible to harvest 1 fruit in less than 15 seconds, excluding platform movement.The ongoing SWEEPER project builds on CROPS (Intelligent sensing and manipulation for sustainable production and harvesting of high value crops, clever robots for crops), a previous EU-funded project. The CROPS software modules based on the robotic operating system is maintained and expanded in SWEEPER. In addition, the gripper end effector is retained. SWEEPER improved on CROPS’ pepper harvester technology by building in sensors and advancing algorithms to improve the localisation of fruit and the detection of fruit maturity, as explained on CORDIS. “The robot can now detect obstacles and can calculate a collision-free path to the fruit, allowing maximum free space to grip and cut off the fruit.” Post-harvest logisticsThe project team also plans to add a conveyor belt and harvest trolley to the SWEEPER system and automate post-harvest fruit and vegetable packing logistics. The SWEEPER (Sweet Pepper Harvesting Robot) project’s main objective is to “put the first-generation greenhouse harvesting robots onto the market,” its website explains. It addresses some of the issues that growers face in the greenhouse sector, including labour costs, availability, food safety and quality.Project partners expect the commercial sweet pepper-harvesting robot to be available within a few years. They also anticipate that the technology will be transferred to other crops. The SWEEPER team notes that further research is needed to make the robot work even faster and reach a higher harvest success rate. The project brings together a wide range of disciplines. These include horticulture, horticultural engineering, machine vision, sensing, robotics, control, intelligent systems, software architecture, system integration and greenhouse crop management. Credit: MONOPOLY919, Shutterstock Explore further With the rising shortage of skilled workforce in agriculture, there’s a growing need for robotisation to perform labour-intensive and repetitive tasks in greenhouses. Enter SWEEPER, the EU-funded project developing a sweet pepper-harvesting robot that can help farmers reduce their costs.center_img Provided by CORDIS Citation: Pepper-picking robot demonstrates its skills in greenhouse labour automation (2018, September 17) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-pepper-picking-robot-skills-greenhouse-labour.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more